| number of such grants were distributed
in the late 1970s, after the foundation ceased giving the bulk of its funding
to public television projects, including grants to such diverse individuals
as Ros Barron, Bill and Louise Etra, Hermine Freed, Ron Hays, Shigeko Kubota,
Alan and Susan Raymond, Wendy Clarke, and Amy Greenfield. However, the arbitrary
nature of many of these grants could explain why it was difficult to see
a logical program of individual artist support at the foundation. Certainly
in reviewing this list of grants, it is easy to question whether the foundation
really did support the doctrine of serving the needs of individual artists,
since a significant amount of this funding went into building institutions
and post-production programs. There, of course, lies Klein's dilemma.
In a growing field, how does a foundation with limited funds best spend
its dollars? How can a foundation give only individual grants to artists
if there is no support structure in the field? Says Klein,
We made grants to individuals to buy equipment, but we quickly realized that you can't give $20,000 to everybody to buy a new color camera. So we had to go an organizational route. We were doing two things: we were trying to provide more common denominators of support to the people who used these facilities, and we were strengthening an emerging field by giving them a little equipment. How do you lay the bricks very carefully so that you have a nice little pathway through the garden, as opposed to building an enormous thing?
The foundation provided initial funds for smaller organizations such as Global Village, helped to initiate video exhibitions at Anthology Film Archives, and provided ongoing support to the Downtown Community Television Center. In the realm of exhibition, this policy of funding equipment helped establish programs of video exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as the post-production facility of the Long Beach Museum of Art. For these museums, the actual initial money provided by the foundation was minimal-$13,900 for the Whitney, $20,000 for MOMA, and $30,900 for Long Beach but remarkably influential. It was the seed money that pushed those programs into existence and gave them the ability to seek out other funding sources. It provided the Whitney with its first exhibition equipment and allowed Barbara London at MOMA to work full time on her program, begin a lecture series, and begin acquiring tapes. If the power of a little bit of Rockefeller money can be seen anywhere in the field of video, it is with these small yet timely grants to what are now the primary exhibition programs of video in this country.
Issues of access, whom the foundation money would and should serve, and how best to "be the most help to the most number of artists" all came to the fore with the foundation's involvement in the San Francisco Bay Area. After the demise of NCET in 1975, Klein decided that the foundation must continue to support artists in the Bay Area, and he went about trying to establish how they could do it best. I went to San Francisco and invited
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