Film viewing at museums and cultural centers

(this program suspended in 2009)


(above: Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848 - 1907, Diana, 1892-93, 1928 cast bronze, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, digital photo by Postdlf. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons*)


TFAO seeks to facilitate viewing of documentary videos related to American representational art. Films referenced in TFAO's Videos -DVD/VHS catalogue may be appropriate, as well as others not yet listed. Helpful lists of videos for some topics may be found at Topics in American Representational Art. TFAO may financially assist non-profit cultural centers and museums in providing funds for all or a portion of direct costs for a showing, or series of showings, including

core costs:

optional costs:



The Smithsonian Archives of American Art said in a March, 2009 news release:

Film and video have obvious advantages for portraying visual art and artists' processes, and each audiovisual format has its own intrinsic visual qualities that help evoke a particular period of recent history, such as kinescopes from early television and black-and-white Portapak videos and Super8 films from the 1960s and 1970s. Audiovisual recordings also convey details that traditional documents cannot, such as their subject's personality and style, gestures and attitudes, the changing light in a studio, and the buzz of excitement in a room.

We agree.

Original inspiration for TFAO providing film viewing grants came from the Wildling Art Museum's "Free Friday Flicks." The Museum said:

The first Friday of each month, the Wildling Art Museum in Los Olivos, a museum devoted to the art of America's wilderness, screens notable films about nature or art and invites the public to come see them free of charge. The Museum also provides free popcorn and cookies, wine, water, and soft drinks. Reservations are not required, but space is limited and seats are available on a first come, first served basis.

One of the films shown was Maynard Dixon: Art and Spirit, which reveals the rich canvas of Dixon's life through insightful interviews with his family, friends and members of the art community. Jayne McKay, director of the film, was present at the viewing. Many people were turned away at the door because of the limited seating. Wine, popcorn and cookies were served as refreshments.



Assistance will be provided upon these conditions:

applicant sends a letter of inquiry by email to TFAO (No self-assessment is necessary for this program);
upon TFAO's review and acceptance of the letter of inquiry, the applicant and TFAO work together on further steps leading to project funding;
videos are shown without charge and for educational purposes (viewings may be restricted to members and not announced to the public at the option of applicant);
applicant obtains public performance license if necessary from copyright holder (see discussion of public performances from the Motion Picture Association of America on fee issues).


Examples of film viewing grants

In 2007 TFAO granted to Casa Romantica, a cultural center in San Clemente, CA 1/2 of the funds needed for an evening event including the showing of Borderlands: Gerald Clarke, Cahuilla Artist Crossing the Line, commentary by Sean Owen on the making of the film, singing by Gerald Clarke and his cousin in their Cahuilla Indian native language, and refreshments.

Borderlands: Gerald Clarke, Cahuilla Artist Crossing the Line. Of this 47 minute 2005 DVD directed by Sean Owen, National Film Network says: "Gerald Clarke's return to the Cahuilla reservation opens this film about his life, art and people. After his father's death, he gave up a tenured position at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma and moved with his family to the Cahuilla reservation near Anza, California. He now lives in the house he inherited from his father... This documentary, which emphasizes contemporary perspectives, contains interviews with Gerald, other Cahuilla tribal members -- including elders -- and centers on the themes of mixed blood, adaptation to reservation life, and cultural identity."

In 2008 at the request of TFAO a fund of the Orange County Community Foundation provided a gift to the Amon Carter Museum for viewing Winslow Homer: Society and Solitude, with a presentation by filmmaker Steven Ross.

Winslow Homer: Society and Solitude is a 2007 full-length documentary by filmmaker Steven John Ross, professor of communication, University of Memphis. The film is intended for national broadcast on PBS. Excerpts from an April 6, 2007 press release from Colby-Sawyer College follow:

Ross, a professor at the University of Memphis, worked on the Homer documentary for six years. He is best known for his award-winning PBS documentaries, "Oh Freedom After While!" (2000),"Black Diamonds, Blues City" (1996) and "At The River I Stand," (1993), and the literary adaptations "A Game of Catch" (1990) and "The Old Forest" (1984).

Don Coonley, professor of humanities and communication studies at Colby-Sawyer College, is one of the film's co-producers and sound recorders. Coonley is also the on-screen and voice-over actor representing Homer in the re-creation sequences filmed at the artist's studio on Prout's Neck, Maine. Coonley and Ross have collaborated on each other's film projects over the last 28 years.

"Winslow Homer: Society and Solitude" exists in two forms: as a feature length documentary (one hour and 49 minutes long); and as two separate, 55-minute films, the first depicting Homer's life and work up to 1880, and the second dealing with the last three decades of his life and work.

The film depicts more than 180 Homer paintings, watercolors, etchings and illustrations, which were filmed in the Homer family archives and museums such as The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The National Gallery of Art, The Portland Museum of Art and The Fogg Museum at Harvard University. Re-creations of Homer in Maine were shot with the cooperation of his descendants at his cliff-side studio in Prout's Neck. Other locations captured by 16mm cameras for this project include Gloucester, Mass., and The North Woods Club in The Adirondack Mountains.

This documentary offers multiple perspectives on the artist through interviews with artists and major Homer scholars. Noted scholars and artists who appear in the film include Frank Kelly, Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Judith Walsh, Sarah Burns, Linda Docherty, Elizabeth Johns, Gary Gallagher, Ted Stebbins, Marc Simpson, David Tatham, Peter Wood, Tim Rollins, David Driskell, Sue Welsh Reed, Carol Troyen, Roy Perkinson and Patricia Junker. Other scholars who served as consultants include John Wilmerding, Bruce Robertson, Katherine Woltz, Margi Conrads, Henry Adams, and Nancy Mowll Mathews.

In 2008 TFAO granted to Buffalo Bill Historical Center funds towards the viewing the documentary Maynard Dixon: Art and Spirit.

Maynard Dixon: Art and Spirit reveals the rich canvas of Dixon's life through insightful interviews with his family, friends and members of the art community. More than four hundred Dixon paintings and drawings, and Dorothea Lange's family photographs are included in the documentary, as well as photographs of Dixon taken by lifelong friend Ansel Adams. Filming took place in Montana, Utah, Arizona, California and New Mexico bringing Dixon's paintings and drawings to life framed by the breathtaking panoramas of the land that he loved so deeply. .

Six years of research and preparation have resulted in Producer/Director Jayne McKay becoming a leading expert on the life and art of Maynard Dixon, and the careers of photographer Dorothea Lange and artist Edith Hamlin. The film is narrated by award-winning actress Diane Keaton, an avid collector of Dixon's paintings. Western actor and songwriter, Don Edwards, provides the voice of Maynard Dixon.

The soundtrack contains original music composed by Grammy winner, John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Michael Ronstadt and his band, the Santa Cruz River Band, contribute a song once performed for Maynard Dixon, when the Ronstadt family lived across the street from the artist's home in Tucson. The desert was Maynard Dixon's sanctuary, a timeless place where he could forget the hurried pace of his life in San Francisco. He would often leave his wife and children, his paying work in the city, and his friends in the bohemian art scene for months of solitary searching in the American West. Under the desert stars, Dixon wrote poetry. Under the desert sun, Dixon painted, sketched and drew. His travels took him to the camps and reservations of the Hopi and Navajo, where he was welcomed with reverence for his talent with pencil, crayon and paint. He lived with the Native Americans and his art became a language between two cultures. The film was written by Jayne McKay and Daniel Dixon. The film contains interviews with Dixon's sons, Daniel and John, granddaughter Becky Jenkins, and Dixon's friends, artists Ray Strong and Milford Zornes. Also interviewed are Dixon biographers, Donald J. Hagerty and Linda Jones Gibbs. This documentary won the 2008 Spur Award for best western documentary from Western Writers of America. The information on this film, released in 2007, was provided to TFAO on September 11, 2007 and March 17, 2008 by Jayne McKay. There is a website dedicated to the DVD. The DVD is being shown in museums throughout the Western United States and can be screened with payment of a public performance fee.

In 2009 TFAO also granted to Fresno Art Museum funds towards the viewing the documentary Maynard Dixon: Art and Spirit.

In 2008 TFAO granted to Madison Museum of Contemporary Art funds towards the viewing the documentary George Segal: American Still Life. Director: Amber Edwards. George Segal's life-size plaster casts command attention in major museums and exhibition halls throughout the nation. This 60 minute 2001 documentary contains archival footage of the Pop Art scene in the 60s and chronicles his life and work through interviews with the artist, his friends, family, and art historians. Amber Edwards. From Kultur Video. George Segal: American Still Life: 60 minutes 2000. "This video chronicles the life and work of George Segal whose sculptures have captured seemingly uneventful moments of life in the form of plaster casts of actual humans. As he says, "It strikes me that daily life is baffling, mysterious, and unfathomable." View Segal at work casting a model in his studio with commentary from friends, critics, art historians, and rare archival footage from the 1960s Pop Art scene." ASIN: B0015NR2DE

In 2009 TFAO granted to Portrait Society of America funds towards the viewing "Who Does She Think She Is?," a video about female artists in the United States directed by Pamela T. Boll. To visit the Web site for the film please click here.


rev. 4/20/09

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TFAO catalogues:

TFAO's Distinguished Artists catalogue provides online access to biographical information for artists associated with this state. Also, Search Resource Library for online articles and essays concerning both individual artists associated with this state's history and the history of art centers and museums in this state. Resource Library articles and essays devoted to individual artists and institutions are not listed on this page.

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