Film/Video/Multimedia Fellowships Evaluation

Published in: GIA Newsletter, Vol 9, No 2 (Fall 1998)

Don Adams and Arlene Goldbard Review by Sarah Lutman

December 1997, 77 pages, The Rockefeller Foundation Arts and Humanities Division, 420 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10018-2702, 212-869-8500

The Rockefeller Foundation commissioned an evaluation of its Film/Video/ Multimedia Fellowships, which are intended to encourage artists "to work toward enriching perspectives of culture and society with new definitions and visions." Since the program's inception in 1986, a total of $4,655,000 has been awarded in 133 fellowships for media artists. The report includes an evaluation of the fellowships' impact on recipients, an evaluation of the application and selection process, and a commentary on the role and impact of the Rockefeller Foundation in the media field. It is one of the most comprehensive evaluations of any individual artists' support programs to have been released in recent years. The report concludes with a detailed analysis of the state of the media arts field and opportunities for action (including opportunities for action in philanthropy).

Grantmakers who operate or otherwise fund individual artist support programs will find the Rockefeller report extremely useful, both as an example of the kind of evaluation that is possible and for its specific content. Grantmakers who fund media arts organizations are likely to find the report pertinent and timely—attention seems less focused on film and video at present than on new media and new technologies. The report is a helpful reminder of the lack of funds available for serious noncommercial film and for video artists and their projects. As such, it provides documentary evidence that could be useful for grantmakers arguing internally for funding support of the media arts.

Sarah Lutman