important notes on our 33rd Annual Conference next week

Greetings, VRA colleagues —

With just over one week to go before our 33rd Annual Conference begins, the Executive Board is excited to welcome conference goers to Denver, Colorado. With an excellent program and a vibrant location, we are confident that you will enjoy every minute of your stay in the Mile-High City.


A few important notes to share as you prepare for your journey:

  • Bring layers, as the weather in Denver can change radically and rapidly without much warning. We can feel cautiously optimistic about Weather Underground‘s prediction that the first day of our conference (Wednesday, 3/11) will be in the low 60sºF, but Coloradans know better than to put our winter clothes away at this time of year. Who knows what Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will bring.
  • As in past years, there will be no printed programs given out. This is not only great for the environment, it also helps keep our conference costs down, along with your registration costs. While there will be a registration desk copy of the schedule to refer to if you need it, we encourage you to create a SCHED account ( and either sync it to your mobile device or print your personalized program.  A PDF of the final program should also be available on the conference website by the end of this week (
  • Be sure to come to the Sponsors’ Meet and Greet & Poster Presentations event on Thursday (4:30-6:00pm), where you can enter a drawing to win one of several great prizes:
    • Museum passes (generously donated by the Denver Art Museum and History Colorado)
    • A delightful gift bag of mementos from the Wild West Chapter states (generously donated by members of the new Wild West chapter, who are thrilled to welcome you to Colorado)
    • An iPad Mini  (provided by an anonymous donor)
    • Ownership of the Base Module & 1-year free Subscription to the entire Archivision Research Library (generously donated by Archivision)
    • A license of EmbARK Cataloguer (generously donated by Gallery Systems)
    • One of two $500 certificates for vrcHost services and/or hosting (generously donated by vrcHost LLC)
  • Please sign up in advance at the registration desk for the Birds-of-a-Feather lunches and the Saturday morning walking tour (History of Denver and the City’s Urban Design, including Significant Downtown Buildings). Space is limited! Please note that the tours of the Clyfford Still Museum and the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art are full.
  • We got such positive feedback about having no name badge ribbons at last year’s conference that we are not including them again this year. Numerous attendees reported that they feel that everyone is equally approachable without the presence of ribbons, which some find intimidating.
  • A related reminder to seasoned conference goers: please approach new faces at social events. We all know what a collegial organization we are; let’s welcome newcomers whenever we have the opportunity.
  • If you are still thinking about your ground transportation options, note that the Travel page of the conference website has detailed information that should help you plan:
  • Be sure to look at the News section of the conference website, which contains information about dining, shopping, and cultural attractionsgathered by the Local Arrangements Committee:


Looking forward to seeing many of you next week!


Safe travels,





Elaine Paul, Director

President, Visual Resources Association


Some ideas for shopping and dining in Denver!

Hello, VRA members who are coming to Denver to Elevate Your Image!

The local planning committee has compiled some local shopping and eating/drinking spots for you that are near to or accessible from the Conference Hotel.

Here’s another link to the handy map of downtown courtesy of the City of Denver:


If you are in need of a sundry or perhaps some printer ink, there is a Walgreens, a 7-eleven, and an Office Depot on the 16th Street Mall within walking distance (and Free Mall Ride accessible!) from the Westin:

Walgreens (16th and Stout)

7-eleven (16th and Champa)

Office Depot (16th and Market)

The Denver Pavilions is an indoor shopping experience six blocks from the Westin also on the 16th Street Mall. There are 40 shops, restaurants, and entertaining venues at the Pavilions, including a movie theater, bowling alley, liquor store, Hard Rock Café, and Native Foods Café (vegetarian).

There are a number of specialty shops (and some familiar chains) on 16th Street in both directions from the Westin, and some clever shops on Larimer Street as well. The 1400 block of Larimer Street is known as “Larimer Square” (even though it’s still really a street!) and has lots of dining and shopping choices:

Here’s a link to a handy, interactive map showing the shops and attractions in Downtown Denver:,4793?ct/4793

You might want to stock up on some snacks at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (between 15th and 16th on Lawrence) or visit a local legend, the Tattered Cover Book Store, which has a branch at 16th street and Wynkoop, about 5 blocks from the Westin.

The Tattered Cover LoDo branch is near Union Station, which is the end point for the Free Mall Ride (so you can’t miss it!) and a newly renovated feature of Downtown Denver. There are specialty shops in Union Station and a number of restaurants and bars of different price ranges and themes.


Speaking of restaurants and bars, the variety in Downtown Denver is quite remarkable. Restaurants closest to the conference hotel: The Corner Bakery and the Fine Green Salad are on the south corner of the Westin Block (both well-priced and with a lot of variety—Corner Bakery has gluten-free options as well), and there is a Starbucks (one of several on the Mall) on the corner of Lawrence and 16th Street.

The local planning committee members struggled to narrow down a list of fun/cool/comfortable restaurants and bars in LoDo (Lower Downtown) near the Westin! Here are a FEW places we can comment on from personal experience but this list is far from comprehensive–so many choices along the 16th Street Mall area!

Fogo de Chao is a yummy Brazilian restaurant (at 15th and Wynkoop)

Hapa Sushi and Grill is good too (15th and Blake)

City O’City (vegan and vegetarian), SE corner of Sherman and 13th (east of the Denver Public Library on Capitol Hill—a little farther away but still doable)

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has a restaurant and bar near Union Station (at 1634 18th Street) called Wynkoop Brewing Company that features Colorado based cocktails, beer, and a well-priced menu.

The Broker, one of the oldest Denver Restaurants, is located in the lower level vault area of a bank building built over a hundred years ago (corner of 17th and Stout). It’s expensive but the food is delicious—stop by after 4 for a happy hour cocktail at the bar and check out the giant vault doors that still decorate the walls.

The Vesta Dipping Grill, on Blake Street between 18th and 19th, is a unique spot focusing on grilled meats inspired by preparations from around the world served with a number of savory sauces.

Rioja, on Larimer between 15th and 14th streets (in “Larimer Square”), has “a menu inspired by Mediterranean ingredients and influenced by local and seasonal ingredients.” A foodie friend of Lynn Lickteig’s recommends the artichoke ravioli!

Russell’s Smokehouse, also between 14th and 15th on Larimer Street, is an unusual restaurant with delicious appetizers and ribs

and it is adjacent to the Green Russell speak-easy style bar

Speaking of bars, there are a number of happening bars near the Westin. The Front Porch (on 15th between Larimer and Lawrence)

has Happy Hour Specials that include displaying three first names everyday and if your name is one of those three, you drink for free all night! (opens at 5 PM)

Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret is right next to the Westin, in the historic Venetian-style campanile. Lannie Garret’s club features burlesque, drag, impersonators, comedy, and more…. A local favorite!

There is a hardcore DJ (“jersey-shore” style) nightclub called Beta on Blake and 19th, near the National Ballpark Museum. In 2013, Rolling Stone chose it as the number one “Best Dance Club” in America!

If arcade bars are your thing, Denver ‘s 1-Up is a happening place. It has two locations, one in LoDo on 1925 Blake Street (about 5 blocks from the Westin), and one on Colfax (Denver’s notorious main street) between Washington and Clarkson (cab recommended for the latter).

Denver has a number of breweries you might like to try, too. The Ballpark Neighborhood near Coors Field (baseball) has several spots:

Falling Rock Taphouse on Market and 19th:

and the Great Divide Brewing Company on 22nd between Arapahoe and Lawrence:

If you’re looking for a dram of whiskey instead, Pints Pub is very charming and right next to the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still (on 13th between Bannock and Cherokee). They have a 16 page menu of scotch and whiskey!

This is just a small sampling of the shops and restaurants in Denver! There will be plenty to do in Denver during the VRA Conference and if you need help finding something or have questions about the area, don’t hesitate to contact any of us!

Heather Seneff, Co-Chair, Local Arrangements Committee

Hannah Unsderfer, Co-Chair, Local Arrangements Committee

Megan Patton, Local Arrangements Committee



Special Events

Greetings, VRA colleagues —

With just over a month to go before our 33rd Annual Conference begins, I’d like to call your attention to the special events scheduled for our meeting in the Mile High City of Denver. While sessions and workshops provide invaluable opportunities to learn about the latest developments in image and media management, seasoned conference goers know that tours, plenary speakers, and networking events also create unparalleled opportunities for attendees to meet and learn the unexpected from one another. Please join us in Denver for the following activities (see the schedule at for details):


(Wednesday, 3/11, 10:00am: Tour: Clyfford Still Museum is full)

Thursday, 3/12, 7:45am
Walking Tour: Colorado State Capitol Building (free!). Opened in 1894, the Capitol is surmounted by its distinctive gold dome. Its upper stories provide spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains, the city of Denver, and surrounding plains. The Capitol’s interior spaces are resplendent in Rose Onyx and other rare materials, and decorated with stained glass and other works of art.

Saturday, 3/14 7:45am
Walking Tour: The History of Denver and the City’s Urban Design, including Significant Downtown Buildings (free!). Led by Ken Schroeppel of the College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver, this tour takes advantage of the Westin’s ideal location near the border between the Lower Downtown historic district and the Central Business District. Highlights cover historic and modern buildings, including the historic Brown Palace Hotel and Union Station.

(Saturday, 3/14, 1:30pm: Tour: Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art is full)


Wednesday, 3/11, 4:35pm
VRAF Legacy Lecture, Opening speaker: Aaron Straup Cope, Head of Engineering, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum. Aaron Straup Cope is currently Head of Engineering (Internets and the Computers) at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum.

Saturday, 3/14, 11:35am
Closing speaker: Emily Gore, Director for Content, Digital Public Library of America. Emily Gore is the Director for Content of the Digital Public Library of America. In this role, Emily provides strategic vision for DPLA content and metadata, coordinates content and collections workflows and oversees the DPLA Hubs program.


Birds of a Feather Networking Lunches provide conference attendees with an opportunity to socialize, network, and casually discuss focused topics of interest over lunch. Topics include Dealing with Difficult People, The New You (evolving roles of the visual resources profession; tips and strategies for becoming a more effective instructor), Moving Images, Solo VR Curators, Veteran Members, and Visual Literacy.

Friday, 3/13, 12:05pm
Ask the Experts Brown Bag Lunch: Questions about Conference Participation Answered: Have questions about conference content, proposals, formats, how to find speakers, or how to moderate or organize a session? Don’t have all day? Drop in with a brown bag lunch to ask questions, or discuss with other members your ideas for conference proposals.


Wednesday, 3/11, 6:00pm
Welcome Reception: Catch up with friends and meet new colleagues over light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

Thursday, 3/12, 7:30am
New Members & First Time Attendees Breakfast: Have breakfast on us while you mix and mingle with both new and longtime members of the Association. The event is also an opportunity to meet VRA leaders. Attending the breakfast is a great way to meet others in our organization in a friendly and social environment.

Thursday, 3/12, 4:30pm
Sponsors’ Meet and Greet & Poster Presentations. Enjoy refreshments while you mix, mingle, and learn during this afternoon’s social reception. This event consists of exhibits showcasing products/services by VRA sponsors, commercial or non-profit partners, friends, donors, etc. Stop by all of the sponsors’ tables to enter a drawing for great prizes. Visit the poster presentations by conference attendees, a feature meant to stimulate dialogues with colleagues.

Thursday, 3/12, 7:00pm
Members & Awards Dinner. A highlight of the conference, the Members & Awards Dinner brings colleagues together for an opportunity to relax and socialize over dinner in an elegant setting.  The evening’s festivities include recognition of the Association’s honors and awards recipients along with the generous donors who have made these awards available.

Friday, 3/13, 8:00am
Annual Membership & Business Meeting / Breakfast. The VRA Annual Business Meeting is the official forum for conducting Association business. There will be an opportunity for questions and announcements from the membership. Breakfast will be provided; the Executive Board cordially invites all Visual Resources Association members to attend and participate.

Friday, 3/13, 5:00pm
SEI Meet up / Reunion. The Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources & Image Management, a joint project of the VRA Foundation and ARLIS/NA, has provided educational summer workshops on image management since 2004. Previous SEI attendees as well as instructors, co-chairs, implementation team members, and sponsors are welcome to attend. If you are thinking about registering for a future SEI or hosting SEI at your institution someday, this event is also for you!

Friday, 3/13, 8:00pm
Visual Resources Emerging Professionals and Students (VREPS) Night Out. An informal “Dutch treat” social outing that provides emerging professionals an opportunity to get to know each other, discuss conference sessions, and form new professional relationships.

Saturday, 3/14, 10:30am
Coffee Break. With a program so full of educational, professional development, and social opportunities, you’ll want to recharge before our fascinating closing speaker.

Haven’t registered for the conference yet? It’s not too late! Online registration is available through February 20, after which on-site registration will be available in Denver.

Best regards,

Get ready to Elevate Your Image in Denver this March!

The Colorado members of the VRA are excited to welcome our colleagues to Denver for the 2015 VRA Conference, Elevate Your Image!

Denver City was incorporated in 1861 and became the territorial capital of Colorado six years later, when the city’s name was shortened to Denver. Mining and cattle brought prosperity to the city and both endeavors remain strong components of Denver’s and Colorado’s economies (you’ll see cattle frequently in public art around Downtown). You’ll delight at the cultural offerings brought by Denver’s twenty-first century innovation economy, most of which are within easy access of our conference hotel.

The conference hotel, the Westin Downtown, is well situated for access to museums, innovative restaurants of all price ranges and types, a variety of entertainment options, and public transportation. The Westin sits adjacent to the 16th Street Mall, an outdoor pedestrian shopping mall with free bus transportation (the Mall Ride) running along its mile length. The Mall Ride runs from the recently remodeled Union Station to the conveniently located Civic Center Bus Station near the “Golden Triangle Museum District.” A great map of Downtown is available as a pdf on the website for visitors to Denver:

You can see the Westin is almost dead center (a little up from center) on Lawrence, between 16th and 17th Streets.

Denver’s excellent bus and lightrail service make getting around town a breeze:

Take advantage of public transit to visit Denver’s diverse cultural institutions! A brief list of museums you might want to visit can be found here:

Denver’s nickname is the Mile High City because we are 5280 feet above sea level (a number you may see frequently during your visit!). If you find yourself a bit “breathy” using the stairs or walking around town, remember you’re a mile up! Drink lots of water and, if you feel a headache coming on, drink more water. For tips about dealing with the altitude, check out the official site for Denver visitors (which is chock full of information in general about Denver):

Colorado is also one of the few states to legalize recreational marijuana. Visitors to Colorado who are curious about this subject should check out the official Colorado website on the topic:

Denver is situated on the “Front Range”–the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide (the western side of the Divide is known as the Western Slope). The weather in Denver can be quite changeable (one day in early January this year the temperature rose 50 degrees from sunrise to afternoon!). Keep your eye on the weather forecast before the conference and bring layers. And bring your sunglasses—Denver gets over 300 days of sunshine a year!

The local VRA members look forward to helping the 2015 Conference attendees have a great experience in the Mile High City! If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of the local VRA members!

Heather Seneff, Hannah Unsderfer, Elaine Paul, and Lynn Lickteig

Conference highlights

Dear colleagues,

In less than two months, the Visual Resources Association’s 33rd Annual Conference begins in Denver, Colorado.  If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to view the schedule. Here are some selected highlights among many:

·         Opening speaker Aaron Straup Cope, Head of Engineering, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, March 11.
·         Exciting tours of the Clyfford Still Museum, the Colorado State Capitol Building, downtown Denver architecture, and the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art.
·         Don’t miss out on networking opportunities provided by Birds of a Feather Lunches throughout the conference, and the Sponsors’ Meet and Greet & Poster Presentations, March 12.
·         Honor our associates at the Members & Awards Dinner, March 12.
·         Informative and affordable workshops (some free!), March 11 & March 14. Limited participation, so don’t postpone registration.
·         Fast-paced lightening talks on a diverse range of issues at 24 x 7 at VRA 2015, March 11.
·         Sessions and case studies covering such topics as digital humanities, visual literacy, mapping and geospatial projects, image rights and reproductions, usability testing, new technologies, digital asset management, crowdsourcing, cataloging, embedded metadata, sharing collections, professional advancement, archives, research data management, visualization, and more throughout the conference.
·         Closing speaker Emily Gore, Director of Content, Digital Public Library of America, March 14.
The online conference schedule allows for Sign up / Log in via SCHED to connect with your favorite social media sites, create and print custom schedules, and share interests with fellow attendees.  (Please note that you cannot register via SCHED.)   Bookmark the schedule on your mobile phone by visiting: so that you’ll have access at your fingertips.  Click here for information about mobile options.
Register now to take advantage of reduced rate early bird fees before they end on February 6.  Rates rise on Feb 7.  Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Denver,
Steven Kowalik

Plenary speakers; registration begins tomorrow

Dear VRA colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce the exciting plenary speakers for our upcoming 33rd Annual Conference in Denver (March 11-14, 2015). Opening speaker Aaron Straup Cope, Head of Engineering at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum and also an artist, will discuss how the New Cooper Hewitt Experience engages visitors with interactive and immersive creative technologies. Closing speaker Emily Gore, Director for Content with the Digital Public Library of America, will address the strategic vision for DPLA content and oversight of the DPLA Hub program.

Kudos and many thanks to Vice President for Conference Program Steven Kowalik for coordinating these innovative thinkers’ presence at our conference.

See the conference website for more information about the preliminary program (including more details about our plenary speakers), accommodations, travel arrangements, and more ( As you will see from the preliminary program, we have stellar sessions, workshops, meetings, and events lined up for attendees.

And get ready: conference registration begins tomorrow! Keep an eye out for an e-mail with registration information.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in the Mile High City for what promises to be an outstanding conference.

Elaine Paul,
President, Visual Resources Association

VRA Conference Travel Awards — Application Now Open!

Dear colleagues,

We are delighted to announce that VRA Travel Awards are available for attendance at the 2015 VRA conference in Denver, Colorado March 11-14. The deadline for receipt of applications will be Monday, November 17, 12pm EST. The list of recipients will be announced on the VRA listserv the week commencing December 15.

A preliminary conference schedule with a listing of workshops and sessions has already been posted at: and information about costs is posted here: and here:

Before you apply, PLEASE READ “Travel Award Rules, Guidelines and Tips” for VRA Travel Awards Applicants, and “Types of Travel Awards”, both linked here as PDFs:

HERE’S THE LINK TO THE APPLICATION (also accessible from the VRA Travel Awards Committee webpage):

You do not need to be a member of the VRA to apply for a travel award, but please note that upon winning an award an applicant who is not a member of VRA must purchase a membership.

Please also note that award checks are distributed at the conference and as such, recipients will not have access to those funds ahead of the conference to set against travel expenses.

In order to allow funding to go further, Tansey awards will be distributed according to financial need i.e. full awards (up to $850) may be given to some, whilst lower amounts may be awarded to others with partial institutional/ other support.

For 2015, we are fortunate to have generous financial support from sponsors and funds provided by the membership including:

* Two New Horizons awards of $850 each. These awards are aimed at members in the following categories: solo VR professionals, part-time VR professionals, geographically isolated VR professionals, VR professionals in smaller institutions, and/or first-time attendees
* A New Horizons student award of $300, for a full-time student enrolled in an accredited degree program and considering a career in visual resources
* Tansey fund awards ranging from $250 to $850 each

More awards may become available and will be announced on the VRA listserv. Also, stay tuned and watch VRA-L and the VRA website for further details about the conference. Please email if you have any questions not answered by the documents noted above.

So don’t delay – apply today!

We look forward to receiving your applications,

Vicky Brown & Jeannine Keefer
Co-Chairs, VRA Travel Awards Committee