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VSW Press Release Archive


2021 / 2022 Project Space Artists-in-Residence

Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation Grant and Jobs Announcement

Visual Studies Workshop (VSW) is pleased to announce our project, Towards a Democratic Medium: Video Activism and Community Television in the 1970’s-Preserving the Portable Channel Tapes has received a $36,950 Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), a program made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This CLIR grant will enable the digitization and online access of two hundred open reel video tapes from the Portable Channel collection.

Portable Channel (1971-1987) was founded in Rochester by feminist filmmaker and disability rights activist Bonnie Sherr Klein. Klein, along with other independent media activists in the Rochester region, created Portable Channel to support community access to video equipment, provide training, and produce programs with an emphasis on community activism, documentary and independent filmmaking. Portable Channel also assisted underrepresented populations in Rochester with producing programs that addressed issues and interests important to their communities. Under Klein’s leadership (1971- 1975) Portable Channel developed a relationship with the public television station WXXI-TV, which gave the group a monthly slot that aired their program titled HOMEMADE TV. The programs varied in format and content but were united in the goal to expand television’s possibilities. A selection from the archive is available to watch on the VSW website

About VSW:
Visual Studies Workshop was founded in 1969 by photographer and curator Nathan Lyons (1930–2016). VSW’s mission is to support makers and interpreters of images through exhibitions, publications, education and research collections. Visit vsw.org for more information.

About CLIR:
The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning. To learn more, visit www.clir.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information:

Contact Tara Merenda Nelson, Curator of Moving Image Collections