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Volunteer Solving Art Inventory “Mystery” at the Library




By Karla Ortiz

La Biblioteca shelters more than 150 works of art along all its corridors. Many of them are paintings, and others are photos, all of which have probably gone unnoticed by most, but not by Debra Broussard, an honorable volunteer who set herself a goal and achieved it to solve the mystery that the art of the Library holds.

She is not an artist or a curator of art, but when she saw so many paintings, she asked if they were registered, or at least inventoried. When staff told her that, unlike with donated books, the artworks on the walls had all been donated by artists or owners without ever being inventoried. So, from that day, Broussard found her mission. She also found a ladder and began to lower the pictures, one by one, to measure, examine and study them, collecting as much information as possible from each one.

Slowing down the process was the fact that many did not have a signature, or even a title.

“I probably spent 200 hours on this project,” Broussard joked. “100 hours here in the Library and another 100 hours on my computer at home.”

She searched everywhere, and with the help of issues of Atención, she managed to get in touch with the people involved with the paintings. She made appointments, scheduled breakfast dates, and conducted interviews, managing to gather information. There are still many works that remain without attribution, but Debra does not lose hope of being able to take the entire inventory. “I see that all Library employees are always striving to do their jobs, to help children with their studies or foreigners in search of things. Even though the place is very small, with many books, many pictures, and little space for meetings, there is activity all the time. It’s incredible,” she said.

Included in Broussard’s inventory record are the artist’s name and the artwork’s title, the creation date, the technique used, a description of the work, its framed and unframed size, its signature location, the source, and the artwork’s location in the library. Also included are the donor information, an inventory number and any other relevant notes. Each work is also photographed.

La Biblioteca, its staff and members of the board are very grateful for Broussard’s hard work, which was done without expecting anything in return, as a labor of love.

Anyone with information about any of the paintings or photographs in the Library, please contact Broussard at:


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