FROM THE CHAIRMAN|
It might be understatement to say that it has been a long and winding road that has led ATOA to where we find ourselves today. There have been more than a dozen venues, beginning in Soho and wandering, nomadic-style from six or more sites there to Tribeca, back to Soho, then Chelsea and most recently to SVA where we have camped now for over two years. Along the way we have staged some 900 events, mainly panels but also a fair number of two-person dialogs, since our founding in 1974 and our first panel "What Ever Happened to Public Art?" in January of 1975. Over 6,000 artists have appeared in what has been the longest continually running, preeminent and most pluralistic panel discussion series in the history of art.
As if that weren't enough of an accomplishment, we had the forethought to begin recording
the events right at the outset. First, this was done in audio only, mainly as Philips
audio cassettes and later, starting in 1993, in 3/4 inch U-matic videotape as well.
Now, that archive comprises over 800 programs or about 1,600 hours, as most programs ran
just under two hours each. Our most recent count revealed that we have logged more than
450 audio recordings and 360 video recordings in all. Nearly every event was captured and
virtually all are accounted for today. Even the legal release forms were scrupulously
Additionally, there are documents, such as copies of each mailing piece
(some are fancy color flyers, the earliest modest B&W postcards). Then there are thousands
of still pictures of the panels and audiences and artists' portraits, and artists' slides
of their work donated to the ATOA picture library. Eventually all of this rich media will
be scanned and preserved along with the analog A-V materials that we are now about to
digitize. A grant from NEA which we have more than matched with our recent November 2006
auction at the Chelsea Art Museum all but guarantee that the full archive will be
digitally preserved during the next year.
We are deeply grateful to the generosity shown
us by our auction event chair, Joan Giordano, as well as our honorary chair, Ron Feldman
and his co-chairs, Missy Sullivan and Peter Trippi. And, to the more than 130 artists who
donated their work to this important cause. As well, our thanks goes to the dozens of
board members and volunteers who sacrificed to bring this auction to a successful
conclusion. Our preservation crew are preparing the materials to be digitized by an
outside vendor and reviewing more than a dozen bids for the job that were solicited this
past fall. There is an intern from SVA's film and TV department, Bomyee Hwang and several
new interns are now joining the project team. Megan Farrell, a recent graduate of the
University of Vermont, another intern, who is the project team director. Several board
members, comprising a preservation committee are also helping in the decision making
Plans for distribution are still in the works but among the models being explored
are web-based pod-casting ands streaming, creating an ATOA channel and disk based
(CD and DVD) distribution to colleges, libraries, museums and interested individuals.
While the programs will be offered, initially, uncut and in their full length documentary
versions, future ATOA plans call for editing the same material into more bite-sized
portions that may be desired by cable stations and in teaching applications. They will
most likely run 30 minutes. That, however, is the subject of another round of financing,
after the preservation project is accomplished. To that end further grant applying will
occur as well as another auction now scheduled for November 2007.
Meanwhile, as they say, life goes on and we must stay focused on our core mission of
providing stimulating panels and dialogs to the art world. To that end we continue to
plan and hold panels from October to May and the latest edition for winter and spring
2007 contains many delights. See our schedule on this site for the details. Interested
in helping to plan for the next series, in fall 2007? Contact Ann Lydecker, ATOA's
programming director at A_lydecker@yahoo.com and
share your thoughts with her.
we conduct our Curator's Choice slide competition and this one is being judged by
Eitoku Sugimori of the A-forest Gallery in Chelsea. See our contest
prospectus for the form or send an SASE to us at ATOA, 10 Waterside Plaza, 33 D, to
receive the form by return mail.