Survey: Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center

Posted August 05, 2010 by Anonymous
Part 1.
Year Founded: 
1c. Organization's annual budget.: 
$250,001 - $500,000
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
Multipurpose Space [Amalgam of Multiple Artistic Disciplines]
Part 2.
2a. Mission Statement: 
A. To provide a center for contemporary art. B. To recognize and serve a vital community artistic presence which is global in its outlook, challenging in its ideas, pluralistic in its concerns, and diverse in its expression. Hallwalls’ twofold mission is to serve artists by supporting the creation and presentation of new work in the visual, media, performing, and literary arts, and to serve the public by making these works available to audiences. We are dedicated in particular to work by artists which challenges and extends the traditional boundaries of the various art forms, and which is critically engaged with current issues in the arts and--through the arts--in society. Finally, we believe that the right of freedom of expression for artists, and for free access to their works by interested individuals, must be protected as a fundamental and necessary condition of our mission.
Website Link to Mission Statement:
2b. Organization History / Organizational Overview. Index of important events in organization's history.: 
Hallwalls was founded on Buffalo’s West Side in late 1974 by a group of young visual artists (some of them still just students at the time)—including Diane Bertolo, Charles Clough, Nancy Dwyer, Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, and Michael Zwack—who carved an exhibition space out of the walls of the hall outside their studios in a former icehouse. From the beginning, their interest was in exhibiting new work by local artists (including, at first, their own) and providing opportunities for exchange between them and artists in other cities, by inviting visiting artists to give talks or create installations, and by organizing exchange shows with similar spaces springing up in other cities. Their focus was always interdisciplinary as well as outward looking, featuring not only visual artists, but also musicians, writers, filmmakers, and video and performance artists. Hallwalls soon established itself as an influential force for innovation within the community as well as nationally, and stretched its then minimal resources by joining forces with other cultural institutions—both larger and smaller—on collaborative projects. All of these founding principles and artistic strategies continue to guide the organization today. But in the ensuing three decades, Hallwalls necessarily enlarged not only its reputation in the field, but its outreach within the community, embracing wider and more diverse publics. Hallwalls’ programs grew in distinctly different directions, depending on their curators’ interests and the needs of the disciplines and communities they served, always unified, however, by Hallwalls’ mission to bring the newest and most challenging work in the contemporary arts to the interested public, whether in painting and sculpture, conceptual art, experimental film, video art and activism, documentary film, performance, fiction, jazz, new music, or any number of other art forms that make up Hallwalls’ eclectic programming mix. After a spurt of growth in the late 1980s, public arts funding at all levels of government was cut drastically, accompanied by attacks on artists’ free speech. Hallwalls—like all organizations nationwide—was forced to cut back, both its overall budget and its staff size, while simultaneously embracing a new additional role as a fearless advocate for artistic freedom as well as innovation. The downward trend in public funding plateaued somewhat toward century’s end, but has plummeted even more steeply since 2000. But by making more cuts, joining forces with other organizations to share resources (as well as advocating for restored funding), and increasing both earned revenue and fundraising efforts, Hallwalls has managed to survive and carry on its mission. The quality and quantity of our programming is undiminished, and we actually have more members by far and many more people coming through our doors than in the late ’80s and very early ’90s when our annual budget was larger. People are constantly astonished at the volume, range, and influence of our programming in so many different disciplines, especially with such a small core staff and on such a relatively modest budget.
Website Link to Organization's History / Organization Overview:
2c. Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History.: 
Please click on "Visual Arts" "Media Arts" or "Music" from the link below for specific programs.
Website Link to Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History:
Part 3.
3a. Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals:: 
Edmund Cardoni
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Bruce Adams
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Ronald Ehmke
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Anthony Bannon
3b. Could any of these individuals assist in providing an oral history of your organization?: 
Part 4.
4a. Is organization currently active?: 
4b. Year activity suspended if no longer active.: 
Organization Still Active
Part 5.
5a. Type of organization at its founding.: 
Collective / Unincorporated Association
5b. Type of organization currently, or at the termination of activities.: 
Non-Profit [IRS certified]
Part 6.
6a. Does the organization have an archive?: 
6b. Are there any short or long-term threats to the organization?: 
None / Not Applicable
6c. Other threats to the organization:: 
Generally declining local government and other government arts funding.
Part 7.
7a. How important is to the organization to preserve the organization’s historical material. From 1 – Very Important to 5 – Not Important.: 
1. Very Important
7b. Has planning for the preservation and documentation of archive begun?: 
7c. Does the organization know how and where to seek expertise and assistance?: 
7d. Does the organization have specific concerns regarding starting an archive working with its historic materials?: 
Not Applicable
Part 8.
8a. Is the organization's archives in the collection of another institution or promised to one?: 
8a. Location: 
Poetry Collection, State University of New York at Buffalo.
8b. Archival materials are also located at:: 
Where are these locations?: 
I’m sure key individuals involved in the founding of Hallwalls and throughout its subsequent history do have interesting (perhaps even unique) items of their own they may have saved, but we feel we have a quite thorough collection of organizational archival materials, quite satisfactorily stored and organized either at our own facilities or at the SUNYAB Poetry Collection.
Part 9.
9. Does the organization maintain archives for any other organization.: 
IF YES to 9: 10a. Please describe:
Part 10a.
10a. Is the archive accessible to scholars, curators or researchers?: 
Part 10b.
10b. Are there conditions of access for scholars, curators or researchers?: 
Part 10c.
10c. How are arrangements made for access to archive?: 
Queries are directed to the curator of the Poetry Collection at SUNY at Buffalo, Michael Basinski. He, in turn, contacts Hallwalls when there is specific interest in an aspect of the collection and in Hallwalls’ history.
Part 11.
The following questions address the historical materials (type, quantity and storage) of the organization. 11a. Paper Files and Documents: 
Artist Files
Board Minutes
Exhibition or Production Files
Financial Records
Legal Documents
By-laws / Incorporation Documents
Other Paper Files
11b. Artwork and Documentation: 
Audiotapes [Any Format]
Oral History, Recordings and / or Transcripts
Other Audio Recordings (i.e. records, etc.)
CDs / DVDs [Pre-Recorded or CD-R / CD-RW / DVD-R / etc.]
Other Digital Materials
Unique Art Objects
Other Artwork. Please describe below.
Mail art. The collection of unique art objects is very small, but includes pieces by important artists such as Sol Lewitt, Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, and Harry Kipper.
11c. Press and Promotional Materials: 
Announcements, Mailing Cards, etc.
Newspaper / Magazine / Media Clippings
Posters / Flyers
Other Press or Promotional Materials:
11d. Printed Publications: 
Artists' Publications
Commercially Published Materials
Checklists / Performance Programs / Price Lists
Programs of Events
The most relevant publication is our own 1996 publication CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVES: 20 YEARS OF CONTEMPORARY ART AT HALLWALLS, 276 pages, edited by Ronald Ehmke and Elizabeth Licata. It is replete with excerpts reprinted from primary published materials and excerpts of interviews conducted with founders and others involved with Hallwalls over its first 20 years (especially artists), and illustrated with reproductions of archival materials such as photographs; posters, invites, and other ephemera; period newspaper clippings; etc. It also contains a checklist of a retrospective exhibition curated by Elizabeth Licata in 1995, a detailed year-by-year timeline (1974-1995), original commissioned essays by both participants and critics, etc. In addition to what appears in the pages of the book, Ron Ehmke, the book’s editor and Hallwalls performance curator during its middle decade (1985-1993), has files containing the complete texts and interviews from which the published excerpts were taken.
11e. Other: 
Architectural Drawings / Floor Plan
Layouts / Sketches / Instructions for Installations
Layouts / Sketches / Instructions for Performances
Mock-Ups / Models / Prototypes
Props for Performances
Part 12.
12. What years does the materials cover?: 
Part 13.
13a. How is the material stored?: 
Banker Boxes
Other Boxes
File Cabinets
Flat Files
Three-Ring Binders
Other - Please describe below.
Please describe: 
Recordings (video and audio) are now placed on open metal shelving within a secure, climate-controlled environment at the UB Poetry Collection.
13b. Are some or all of these storage units “archival”?: 
Part 14.
14a. Estimated Number of Boxes or Milk-Crate Sized Storage Units: 
200 +
14b. Estimated Number of Archive Drawers: 
151 - 200
14c. Estimated Number of Archive Notebooks: 
151 - 200
14d. Estimated the total Linear Feet. ["Linear Feet" is standard measure of the quantity of archival materials on the basis of shelf space occupied or the length of drawers in vertical files or the thickness of horizontally filed materials. For example, a: 
I can’t access the material to determine this
Part 15.
15. Is the historical materials - or archives - inventoried or catalogued in any way, either formally or otherwise?: 
Part 16.
16a. Is there a key, index or finding aid to the materials inventoried?: 
16b. Paper-based:: 
Written or Typewritten Inventories
16c. Electronic Based:: 
Word Processing Document [i.e. Word]
Part 16 / Electronic Files & Archival Management
16f. Does the organization have a back-up program, or back-up schedule, for its electronic records and perform monitoring of its removable media (i.e. floppies, ZIP disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs, portable hard drives, etc.)?: 
16g. Who is responsible for working with the archival material?: 
Full-Time Archivist
Other - Please describe below.
Please describe: 
The Technical Director and individual curators and administrators at Hallwalls.
Part 16 / Database
16d. What type of database software is in use?: 
IMAP FileMaker Template
Other “archives management software” - Please identify below.
Part 17.
17. How are new materials processed?: 
Electronic (Database, etc.)
Part 18.
18. What, if any, conservation methods are in place for both physical materials and electronic data?: 
Controlled Access
Disaster Plan
Fireproof Building / Fireproof Room
Part 19.
19. What type of climate-controls are present in the area[s] in which the archives are stored?: 
Dedicated climate control system
Part 20.
20a. What are the goals for the historical materials for the next year?: 
Launch information about Hallwalls Archive on the University at Buffalo website, as well as
20b. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these short-term goals?: 
Funding. (We had some, have conserved as many tapes as we could afford, and have now exhausted it.)
20c. What goals are in place for the historical materials for the next three to five years?: 
To make them even more accessible to researchers, both on site and on line.
20d. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these long term goals?: 
Funding for production, design, licensing fees, distribution, and promotion.
20e. Are there any additional goals for the organizations historic materials?: 
Part 21.
21. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next year.: 
$35,001 - $40,000
Part 22.
22. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next five years.: 
$100,001 - $150,000
Part 23.
23d. Other - Please describe below.: 
Facilitating sharing and exchange amongst all of our far-flung archives to create one master, field-wide database.
Part 24.
24. What archival issues could / should visual arts organizations address collectively in the next three to five years? Ranked from 1 (highest priority) to 5 (lowest priority).24a. Shared standards / protocols for digitization: 
Promote professional standards / protocols for digitization
Part 25.
25a. Is the organization a member of, or in contact with, any organizations concerned with archival issues?: 
25b. Who?: 
NAMAC (National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture) IMAP (Independent Media Arts Preservation) The Standby Program/ Mercer Media (Joanna Raczynska, Media Arts Director at Hallwalls, is joining the Association of Moving Image Archivists this month). SUNY at Buffalo Poetry Collection (which, by the way, in addition to housing Hallwalls’ and other arts organizations’ archives, has its own extensive archives of literary magazines, small-press publications, etc., so they might also be interested in filling out one of these surveys.)
Hallwalls, Inc., 341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14202
Who executed this survey.: 
Joanna Raczynska, Media Program Director & Edmund Cardoni, Executive Director
Is this survey complete and all appropriate questions answered?: