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Director's Note: Partnering with the Community

The George Eastman Museum continually seeks out ways to collaborate with other cultural, educational, and community organizations. Such joint efforts create exciting opportunities to reach out to new audiences and share the tremendous assets in our region.

As I write this note, we are in the midst of a film series that celebrates America’s favorite pastime with twelve classic baseball films being screened in the Dryden Theatre throughout the summer. We partnered with the Rochester Red Wings, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Genesee Country Village and Museum. Working with these organizations not only enhanced promotion of our programs, but also, most importantly, brought in new audiences—in person and online.

Indeed, partnerships give us the ability to include a broader community in our conversations. In conjunction with our current exhibition of work by photographer Eugene Richards (on view through October 22), we reached out to local agencies that work with the challenging and complex social issues examined in Richards’s photographs. These organizations assisted us in developing questions that we present in the exhibition to spark dialogue among our visitors. In August, representatives from the Breast Cancer Coalition, Flower City AmeriCorps, and the Veterans Outreach Center, to name a few, joined us for enriching conversations in the gallery. We also partnered with Flower City Arts Center for the Documentary Photography for Teens workshop, which included a session with Eugene Richards.

Eugene Richards talks with teens about photography

Bringing artists to the museum is an important way in which we work with other organizations in our community. Through September 17, the Memorial Art Gallery is presenting artist Charles Atlas’s video installation Here she is . . . v1, and on September 15, the Dryden Theatre will host Charles Atlas for a screening of Ocean, his ode to a four-decade collaboration with the genius choreographer-dancer Merce Cunningham (see page 19).

Later in September, we will again participate in the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival, this year partnering with TableTopOpera, a chamber ensemble of faculty, alumni, and friends of the Eastman School of Music. Their multimedia presentation, titled Within the Quota, looks at immigration through photography and film. A panel discussion on immigration policy will follow the performance on September 19 (see page 13 of the September/October 2017 bulletin).

Through the annual PhotoFinish 5K, scheduled for October 14, the Eastman Museum enables other nonprofit organizations, large and small, in Greater Rochester to raise funds for their own programs. This year, four teams from our own institution are participating to raise funds to support various worthy projects. Visit eastman.org/5k to learn how you can participate.

October also brings an opportunity to collaborate again with Rochester Cocktail Revival, a series of special events and seminars started four years ago. Masquerade in the Mansion, on October 27, will be our third such event; our first was a James Bond-themed evening in conjunction with Taryn Simon: Birds of the West Indies, and this past May, we hosted Manhattan Wednesday, inspired by Richard Renaldi: Manhattan Sunday.

Online partnerships are increasingly important for our institution as well. We have recently worked with the online review resource Yelp and I Heart ROC—which promotes the riches of Rochester through stories and interviews on their website and Instagram— to present uncommon gallery tour experiences in conjunction with our exhibitions.

A key part of the mission of the George Eastman Museum is to contribute to our local community. We strive to make our engagement with the people of Greater Rochester more inclusive, expansive, and inventive. Our efforts succeed with the support of our donors, volunteers, and partners.

Bruce Barnes, Ph.D.
Ron and Donna Fielding Director
September/October 2017 Bulletin