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Artists working in media, and the curators who regularly showcase
their work, view the funding of artistic expressions in media as integral
to our culture. As John Hanhardt, senior curator of Film and Media
Arts at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, asserts, "If one is
not supporting film and the media arts, then one is not supporting
the leading edge of transformation of our culture."
Nevertheless, many funders do not understand the value of funding
Successful projects undertaken by funders have included media-based
art such as:
Funders have utilized a variety of strategies
and approaches to funding media. Merrill Lynch funded the retrospective
of Nam June Paik's video art that took over the Guggenheim in 2000.
Anita Contini, first vice president, senior director of Global Sponsorships,
saw the exhibition as an opportunity to associate Merrill Lynch "with
technological innovation, particularly because Nam June Paik is one
of the greatest originators and innovators of contemporary multimedia
art." Beyond this, Merrill Lynch used the Paik retrospective
as a chance to educate its employees about video art.
- Video art and installations
- Experimental film
- New media
St. Paul-based Jerome Foundation, a small private foundation, funds
"emerging" makers, which it defines as:
The Directors of Jerome Foundation chose this
strategy because they "always try to find a niche in the arts
funding environment in which a small foundation like Jerome can make
a difference." In addition, Jerome provides support for the Museum
of Modern Art (MoMA) to purchase a number of works funded by the foundation.
- Professional-level artists and
- Early-to-late-career artists whose work is not
yet substantially recognized by their peers
The Rockefeller Foundation has funded groundbreaking feature films
Although these films achieved a certain commercial
success, it was not as important as artistic success. Joan Shigekawa,
of The Rockefeller Foundation, explains, "Foundations ask a different
set of questions than for-profit investors. We ask if the production
will reach its intended audience? We hope that as many people see
it as possible, but our net return on a supported project is that
the audience engages the issue, and not how much money was made on
ticket sales. That's why we're a grant making institution and not
a cinema production company."
- Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust, a
poetic evocation of a time of transition in the culture of the
Gullah, descendants of slaves living on the islands off South
Carolina and Georgia.
- Chris Eyre and Sherman Alexie's Smoke Signals,
the first feature film written, directed, and acted by Native
The Daniel Langlois Foundation, based in Montreal, has been an important
funder of new media since its founding in 1997. Jean Gagnon, the president
of the foundation, believes that it is incumbent on all foundations
to support leading-edge work, "I think that given the fact that
new technologies are becoming increasingly dominant in society as
a whole, it is crucial for private foundations or those involved in
philanthropy to be able to grasp that phenomenon."
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In the beginning of the 21st century, it is crucial for foundations
interested in furthering an artistic culture to fund media. According
to John Hanhardt, "The sustained confident attention to these
media art forms is absolutely essential, and it should come from foundations,
both the large ones and well-known as well as newer ones."
According to Merrill Lynch's Contini, media is "an important
art form to support, as important as supporting any of the visual
or performing arts."
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