Cal State L.A.’s television, film and media studies department has received a $1-million grant from the Los Angeles art gallery Hauser & Wirth.
The gallery, whose outposts include L.A.'s Arts District as well as New York, London and Zurich, gave $20,000 in 2017 to the university, which started the Community Impact Media production course in which students create short documentary films about local nonprofit organizations. The Youth Justice Coalition in Inglewood, the My Friend’s Place homeless youth program in Hollywood, Communities for a Better Environment in Huntington Park and Green Technology in Altadena have been featured in work by students in the first three semesters.
Last year the gallery gave an additional $20,000 to support the class and department. Funds went toward equipment as well as faculty and visiting instructors.
The new $1-million grant kicks off a five-year partnership between the gallery and the university, which will receive $200,000 a year. Hauser & Wirth also will make space at its Arts District complex for public screenings of student and faculty films as well as other programming.
“We’re opening up our education loft for whatever they need, different programs related to this initiative,” Hauser & Wirth senior director Stacen Berg said.
The goal, Hauser & Wirth said, is to help advance diversity in the entertainment industry as well as give exposure to the student films — and the nonprofits featured in them.
“What’s been so fascinating about this program is the way the students are choosing the nonprofits they highlight,” Berg said. “It’s because they believe in the work they’re doing. Through their filmmaking they amplify the mission of the nonprofits.”
The university’s commitment to civic engagement and public service aligns with the gallery’s desire to contribute to the communities where it’s located, Hauser & Wirth vice president Marc Payot said in a statement. “We want to support scholarship in all forms, from art historical research and the preservation of artists’ archives, to the efforts of young students seeking to become community activists themselves through the art and films they are learning to make,” he said.
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