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George Eastman House to Receive National Endowment for the Arts Grant Award

Seven masterworks by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Leo Hurwitz to be preserved

 

Rochester, N.Y., May 6, 2015—George Eastman House has received a grant award of $60,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for the museum’s Leo Hurwitz: Art, Conscience, and the Documentary Film preservation project. Through its grant-making to thousands of nonprofits each year, the NEA promotes opportunities for people in communities across America to experience the arts and exercise their creativity.

“Film preservation is an essential part of our museum’s mission,” said Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director, George Eastman House. “We are grateful for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to support our restoration of seven of Leo Hurwitz’s artistically and historically important documentaries. This grant represents a posthumous triumph for Hurwitz, a pioneering advocate for social justice who was blacklisted during the McCarthy period.”

This grant award from the NEA ArtWorks program will provide support for the preservation of seven masterworks from director Leo Hurwitz’s filmography that survive in 16mm acetate safety prints in George Eastman House’s film collection. This preservation project is designed to engage the public by creating new viewing prints of Leo Hurwitz’s acclaimed films. As a result of the project, new black and white 16mm projection prints will be made to replace the few remaining original copies, severely damaged over the years. Digital elements will also be created to allow broader public availability of the films. This project will expand access to Hurwitz’s technically skillful and emotionally complex work, enabling a generation of film viewers to discover crucial issues of twentieth-century American social and cultural history as it was documented by an artist who lived it.

“Leo Hurwitz is one of the greatest documentary filmmakers of all time,” said Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator of the Moving Image Department, George Eastman House. “By preserving his work, the museum also wishes to pay tribute to his stalwart advocacy of civil rights and social justice in the United States and worldwide.”

The total project budget is $122,300 and in addition to the NEA grant award, includes matching funds from the Rohauer Collection Foundation, Sony Pictures, the Louis B. Mayer Foundation, and in-kind support from the museum.

“I congratulate George Eastman House on this tremendous $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts,” said Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. “This grant is yet another testament to how George Eastman House’s work enriches our community in many ways, among them by keeping their vast collections accessible to researchers and the public. Worldwide, George Eastman House is praised for their expertise and this funding will help to ensure that well into the future.”  

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to arts.gov.