Chicago Film Archives is proud to announce that it is the recipient of a CARES grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The award, in the amount of $54,743, will be used to uncover the Midwest histories hidden within four varied and distinctive collections in our care. According to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the NEH received “more than 2300 eligible applications from cultural organizations, for projects between June and December, 2020. Approximately 14 percent of the applicants were funded.”
This support will allow CFA to focus on the labor-intensive task of stabilizing, cataloging and digitizing portions of four large audiovisual collections that document Midwestern culture and history: the Tom Palazzolo Collection which captures the outermost fringes of life in Chicago; the Frank Koza Collection of newsreels; the Rhodes Patterson Collection of design, architecture and industry films; and the William Franklin Grisham Collection, which documents early African-American filmmaking in Chicago and elsewhere.
This grant will also allow CFA to re-acclimate our operations to the new environment of social distancing and remote work. Over the last three months, CFA staff, like most others, have pivoted from working in close proximity to actively learning new and distant means of communication and coordination of our full-time activities. These changes have allowed us to focus on aspects of our work that have been neglected in order to address the day-to-day tasks we would typically face in the office. This new arrangement has given each of us time to be more reflective and innovative about the work that we do at CFA.
We see the remaining months of 2020 as a time of experimentation and transformation for our organization. We hope to find new means of amplifying the accessibility of our archival materials, and new ways to more effectively move our mission forward.
Huge thanks to the NEH, and congratulations to the other deserving grant recipients.