December eBulletin—your latest media arts + culture news

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From the Executive Director

Wendy LevyIt’s been an incredible year at NAMAC. If you are reading this, you were likely an important part of making it happen.

We came together with a fervent agenda—to collaborate, innovate, grow strategically, and create change. This Alliance, a far-reaching group of artists, organizations and institutions, culture workers, educators, media makers, storytellers, code builders, deep thinkers, and creative leaders—forged new bonds and made commitments to do some deep work together.

People showed up:

  • • to the launch of the Creative Leadership Lab at Sundance (an extension of NAMAC’s signature National Leadership Institute);
  • • to participate in the birth of the Creative Impact Network and HatchLabs;
  • • to the launch of the Innovation Studio, where participatory media projects can grow into system-changing forces of nature;
  • • to write for two new blog series, Storytelling Matters and The Meaning of Creative Leadership;
  • • to add their voices to powerful online conversations hosted through our Video Roundtable program including Black Lives Matter and the Future of Storytelling and The Future of the National Youth Media Network (stay tuned for a video report from Black Lives Matter and the Future of Storytelling later this month);
  • • to plan and produce a seriously badass NAMAC Conference—coming your way June 9-12, 2016 in Oakland. Save the dates. Seriously, you won’t want to miss it.

It’s happening. This is what a commitment to “field-building” feels like. And it gets even better. In 2016, we will deepen our work supporting collaborating artists and organizations to connect with meaning, ethics, and impact in global communities and cultures; to explore new media technologies and storytelling modalities with accountability and intention; to model new methods and practice through case studies, research, and training; and to foster dynamic and boundary-pushing conversations at every turn.

Please check out our expanding network of Consulting Producers—these are the amazing folks who will be working closely with me next year to create, produce, and facilitate NAMAC programming. I am grateful to them for stepping into this Alliance with all they have and offering their leadership and expertise—just as I am to our visionary funding partners, who make the work possible: Andy Warhol Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Adobe Foundation, Fledgling Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, and Philadelphia Foundation.

If you’ve thought about joining NAMAC, now is the time. Our members are our value and our promise—so if you’ve joined or renewed this year, THANK YOU. I am an optimist by nature; even in the midst of the crises we have faced, and continue to face, in the growing winter cold, I am moved by the collective force of our tribe and feel blessed to be part of helping us chart true north—as artists, seekers, storytellers, and global citizens.

A happy and safe New Years to all,

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Wendy

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Member News and Notes

Xia Xiaowan at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum
a photo by Lydia M. Chen of a walk-through landscape installation by Xia Xiaowan at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum

Updates from Lydia M. Chen’s Art and Smog
Renewing member Lydia M. Chen has updated her blog with new stories and photos from her research for Art and Smog—the working title for her in-progress documentary revisiting the lives of several Beijing artists whom she first profiled in her 1991 documentary Inner Visions.

The Loft Cinema gets a 70mm film projection upgrade
Late last month, Tucson’s Loft Cinema announced its acquisition of a new Norelco DP75 film projection system, which will both give the cinema better access to 35mm prints and allow it to screen 70mm prints for the first time. To celebrate, Loft is screening 2001: A Space Odyssey in 70mm in January, with more to follow.

Harmony Institute explores social issue docs at the box office
In a blog post, Harmony Institute‘s Matt Olivo analyzes a number of different metrics for predicting box office performance for social issue documentaries.

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Media Policy Watch

Philadelphia City Council hearing on its franchise agreement with Comcast

By Rose Kaplan

Back in May, we reported on the efforts of Philadelphia residents to hold Comcast accountable in advance of Philly’s then-upcoming Comcast franchise renewal talks. This week, those talks were ongoing—with Philly.com reporting late last night that Comcast and the City of Philadelphia had finally reached a deal.

While franchise renewal talks happen regularly all over the country, the Philly talks have added significance; in Philadelphia, America’s poorest big city, many residents lack access to broadband, and Comcast is the only Fortune 50 company headquartered in the city. For details on the deal and the weeks of talks, including comments by folks from youth media, public access, and more, check Technical.ly Philly’s archive of Comcast-related stories.

The media mergers keep coming—this time, Charter wants to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Free Press reports on the drawbacks to this proposal, including higher rates, disproportionate impact on communities of color, and less competition. A petition against the deal is live at nomoremergers.com.

The media policy world lost Wally Bowen last month, Free Press reported. Bowen was the co-founder and Executive Director of the Mountain Area Information Network, which in 1996 began providing Internet service to rural communities throughout Appalachia. MAIN also launched a low-power FM station, MAIN-FM, which continues today as WPVM—Voices of Asheville.

A few other stories, in bullet-point fashion:

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