Treasures of NY Public Library for the Performing Arts - Al Hirschfeld's Drawing Table and Barber's Chair
BroadwayWorld.com is excited to kick off a new special exclusive content series, in collaboration with The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Future entries will delve into the library's unparalleled archives, and resources. Next up, a special entry by Jacqueline Z. Davis, Barbara G. and Lawrence A. Fleischman Executive Director of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
I have often referred to The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts as a living, breathing entity because its mission is to ensure that the performing arts live. At The Library for the Performing Arts, we house and preserve materials of the artistic process - the playwright's drafts, the composer's handwritten manuscripts, the artist's private correspondence, recordings, and more - and provide free access to these treasures for researchers, students, performers, and arts enthusiasts from around the world.
The New York Public Library
But The Library for the Performing Arts is more than just the sum of our parts, and more than simply an impressive collection of remarkable materials. I am reminded of this every day when I see Al Hirschfeld's drawing table and barber's chair, which are on permanent display in the Library's Lincoln Center Plaza entrance. Al Hirschfeld's drawings were a fixture of the theater community for decades, and to be drawn by him was a major milestone in an actor's career, a sign someone had "made it." I see this table and chair as a symbol of what makes The Library for the Performing Arts special: we are home to unique collections from icons like Hirschfeld, Hal Prince, Richard Rodgers, and Katharine Hepburn, but we also understand that the performing arts are more than just what happens on stage. We also document, preserve, and celebrate the performing arts by collection materials that reflect and enrich the performing arts community of the past, present and future.
I also believe that the Library itself plays a vital, active role in the performing arts community. We bring the arts to life through our free exhibitions and public programs, which draw on our collections to inspire the next generation of creative professionals.The passionate staff here at the Library also helps bring our materials to life by working with students at the beginning of their careers and professionals at the height of their careers. Additionally, much of the Library's staff are themselves working performing artists and devoted fans. They are firmly embedded in the performing arts community because, like me, they are in the theater almost nightly. And because The Library for the Performing Arts is located within the Lincoln Center campus, we are part of what is arguably the performing arts capital of the world.
I look forward to introducing you to our talented staff in this column each month, where you will get a behind-the-scenes look at what happens here at The Library for the Performing Arts and the treasures we hold. In the meantime, I encourage you visit the Library and take advantage of all the free resources available here, and browse our digital collections online anytime.