Drachen Foundation Newsletter: March 2011

Letter from the President


A photo from our offce of black files with documents.

A Better Drachen

It is an exciting time at the Drachen Foundation as we work frantically to digitize our entire collection and archive. The reason is that various technologies have converged to allow us to present our entire 15 year history in a cogent and easy-to-navigate format (interesting how we use a nautical term to describe our movement in websites). The past years have been wonderful. To know about something one must study it, and that has been the worthy process that Drachen has pursued these last 15 years. We've traveled the world and combed almost every corner to learn about the kites and the people who are responsible for them. These years have taken us to some very interesting places and given us a contact list in every possible language. It was all terrific and our warehouse and computer hard disks are bursting with the documented results. We did the best we could to maintain the collections, housing them in very affordably creative ways. Space is always the issue, whether it is your own office or rented space. The question always remains, what does one do with all these items - memories in the form of photos, DVDs, prints, slides, videos, drawings, kites, accessories, ephemera and writings?

Then it happened, foundation administrator, Ali Fujino, and I were dragged, "kicking and screaming" into the age of the internet when we started to post Foundation activities on the internet. We have since found, of course, that this is the window that most people choose to look through when finding the Drachen Foundation. Internet activity has shown us that our biggest audience is teachers - those looking for exciting classroom activities or cultural and artistic complements to their curricula - so we need to be concerned with their usage while also serving the kite community at large.

For over ten years, we have patched new technology onto the antique framework of our website. It is time for us to embrace new technology (like Druple) that can actively search every word of our website as well as direct readers to other online resources. This is the original mandate for the Drachen Foundation; to disseminate information about the art, science, culture, and history of kites.

We plan to introduce the new website this spring and ask kite enthusiasts to take a serious look and offer feedback and join us! We anticipate that the process will take all of 2011 and we will be constantly adding and "filling holes" in our informational database. Certainly one factor in this push is the expense of maintaining a stable archive and collection. We are grant finalists in two archive grants, but these are double-edged swords: for every dollar they might grant us, we will need to invest two or three dollars to complete their directives. Maintenance costs for any collection, museum quality or otherwise, continue to rise, and even established museums are selling portions of their collections, asking for paid membership, and soliciting money from benefactors. Our move to a totally accessible online collection and archive is a first step in making the Foundation permanent and dynamic even if our resources are reduced.

- Scott Skinner

 

Come Fly With Us!


Photo credit: GraphicsHunt.com

After 15 years, we have come to realize that building and maintaining a kite collection is too big for one organization and we can only succeed if we have your help!

Work on the new DF website is progressing quickly and we are learning how the latest web tools can be used to share not only the DF collection but also post and host information from collections, collectors and kite enthusiasts from around the world. Imagine being able to upload a kite image, describe the kite and have the information be part of a searchable kite database for world-wide access for everyone. Share your kiting passion! More details coming soon.

 

Become a DF Publishing Patron

Barriletes Gigantes: The Kites of Guatemala

One of the greatest kite stories never told. This will be the first definitive publication on the traditional kite making of Guatemala. Join Scott, Jose, Latin Cultural graduate Christopher Ornelas, Guatemalan kite maker Victorino Tejaxun and Ali as we detail the vision and work of the kite artists and their use of these kites as their media of expression. Join the international kite clubs, members and kites stores and help us to make this publication possible.

To make this publication possible, click here (PDF file) to become a publishing patron.

Visit the Drachen Guatamalan kite film on YouTube by clicking on the arrow.