CFA one of 15 MacArthur recipients for $50,000 grant


Chicago Film Archives was one of 15 Chicago arts and culture organizations to receive a $50,000 MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund in December for diverse artistic collaborations with 14 countries.

CFA’s archivists and filmmakers will create an “International Media Mixer,” in partnership with Lab 80 film of Bergamo, Italy. They will exchange digitized film footage from their respective repositories to produce new artistic works and to bring a sense of scope to the international practice of media conservation.

Each organization will then commission a media artist from its country to create new works using the partner’s digitized footage.

CFA calls it “a sort-of cross cultural ‘call and response’ exercise,” mixing and layering artistic audio/visual expressions that emanate from artists of two different cultures.

When these four new silent video works are completed, the two partnering organizations will again exchange the works so that two musicians / bands from the partnering country can score the new pieces.

The new works will be screened in Chicago and in northern Italy, with live accompaniment by the musicians who created the scores.

Some of the other $50,000 grant recipients are:

Facets Multimedia, for a film exchange that pairs young women in Chicago and Lahore, Pakistan, to create a collection of films reflective of their cultures.

Chicago West Community Music Center, for an exchange with Shanghai, China, to teach Chinese musicians about music from Chicago and for Chicago musicians to learn about the traditional music of Shanghai that can be shared through music lessons to youth from low-income families.

DuSable Museum of African American History, for an exchange with the Jewish Historical Museum in Holland to showcase a play that highlights the lives of Anne Frank and Emmett Till and the common challenge of injustice.

Museum of Contemporary Art, for an artistic exchange with Mexico City to bring together interdisciplinary artists to devise a performance and related works that draw on the cultural and social conditions of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in Chicago.

MacArthur initiated its International Connections Fund in 2008 to enable Chicago arts organizations to launch new partnerships and creative projects with cultural organizations in other countries. Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than 100 such grants totaling $4.8 million.

Overall, MacArthur in 2016 provided more than $11 million in funding into more than 300 Chicago arts and culture groups, mostly in general operating support.