Mellon Foundation Grant supports art history publishing initiative

The Pennsylvania State University Press, in collaboration with the University of Washington Press (primary grant recipient), the Duke University Press and the University of Pennsylvania Press, has been awarded a collaborative publishing grant of $1.2 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to publish first books by scholars in the field of art history. The Art History Publication Initiative (AHPI) will assist in the publication of 40 books during five years through an innovative collaboration that addresses the special challenges facing art historical scholarship in the digital age.

AHPI aims to make art historical scholarship more widely accessible in both print and electronic forms. Authors whose projects are selected for inclusion in AHPI will receive financial assistance and guided support to acquire illustrations and secure permissions. All books published with AHPI support will appear in both print and digital editions. Once published, AHPI books will have an ongoing web presence on a shared website housing electronic enhancements to standard print publication, including but not limited to audio, video, illustrative material, animation, and podcasts, and will benefit from a robust print and digital marketing program.

The AHPI collaboration will streamline procedures for illustration and permission management, reduce costs to first-time authors, and utilize new media to increase the flexibility and appeal of heavily illustrated works of art historical scholarship.

Collectively, the consortium represents a comprehensive range of sub-fields within art history, ensuring that the benefits of the collaboration serve scholars across the discipline. Each participating publisher will continue to maintain a distinctive acquisitions program by managing projects independently through the stages of manuscript selection, peer review, revision and formal approval. The grant will be administered by the University of Washington Press, which organized the cooperative effort and presented the proposal to the Foundation.

"Penn State Press is an internationally recognized publisher of elegant and scholarly books in art and architectural history and photography. The generous support from the Mellon Foundation and the opportunity to collaborate with presses at the other institutions will help Penn State Press meet the special challenges posed by publishing art history in a digital age. It will ensure the continuance of Penn State's support of truly exemplary art history scholarship and publications and will add to the corpus of landmark works in this field," said Penn State President Graham Spanier.

"Penn State Press's innovative alignment with the Libraries provides a perfect opportunity for involvement in collaborations with our peer institutions in digital scholarly publications creating resources for future generations from the work of our outstanding faculty," said Barbara Dewey, dean of University Libraries and scholarly communications.

For more information, visit or contact Heather Smith, publicity manager for the Penn State Press, at

Last Updated January 27, 2011