The coalition eventually put Arthur Ginsberg, formerly of Video Free America, and Bonnie Engel of Public Eye in charge of their committee. It was an attempt at democracy that resulted in two very different people who did not like each other becoming the initial directors of the project. Klein gave $35,000 in 1977 "just to say that we were serious," and Ginsberg brought in Gall Waldron, who had previously worked at Synapse Syracuse, NY, and was a relative newcomer to the Bay Area, to direct the organization. Waldron ran BAVC until 1983, and the Rockefeller Foundation funded it through 1982 with substantial core support for a total of $525,000. The bulk of this money was spent on equipment acquisition. In 1978, Klein gave a total of $175,000 to the Bay Area, which included $60,000 for BAVC, $35,000 to KQED for a showcase series for independents, and $80,000 to Arthur Ginsberg (a grant that Klein justifies as "a reward for the work he had in putting together BAVC") for a pilot project called "Paperback Television", a magazine-format series Ginsberg was developing, which ultimately stagnated in the pilot stage.
The democratic process that gave birth to BAVC is also part of its makeup - the board includes many producers and artists, and each proposal for subsidized rates is reviewed by a BAVC committee. Its primary function is to provide low-cost access to production and post-production equipment to independent producers and artists, and it also provides workshops and a newsletter and has produced several series for public television. There is much controversy as to how well BAVC served its constituency during the 1970s. In its initial years, given the weighty role it assumed in receiving the only Rockefeller Foundation media funds in the area, BAVC was the object of much criticism that it did not, indeed, fit the bill of a "coalition." Given the expectations under which this organization was conceived, clearly not everyone could be satisfied with the final product, but as it celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, it is seen increasingly as an organization that provides a base for the Bay Area media community.
Waldron set up BAVC as a financially healthy organization and was instrumental in expanding its wide range of funding support, despite the fact that her tenure at BAVC alienated certain factions of the media community and was marked by baffles over the use of some funds. Realizing that the foundation would not fund the coalition forever and that BAVC was too grant dependent, Waldron set up a two-tiered system of payment where the facility would be used by commercial clients to earn income to subsidize the non-profit projects. While it is still supported by grants, BAVC has a high earned income percentage, which, in a sense, offsets the money it once received from Rockefeller. Klein was instrumental in advising BAVC throughout the years he funded it and in helping the organization wean itself of the foundation. Waldron was aware of his role: "Howard has an entrepreneurial and active approach to grant-making that is uncommon. BAVC would never have happened without him."18 Despite its rocky beginnings, BAVC has emerged as a significant media arts center, with an annual budget of over $500,000, through which a very large number of independent projects have been produced. In many ways, it can be
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