Survey: Ad Hoc Committee for May 24 (1978)

Posted August 05, 2010 by Anonymous
Part 1.
Year Founded: 
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
Ad hoc committee that organized a public panel to encourage African-American writers to write about African-American visual art. The committee included a former director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, a NY Times reporter, & a former Ms. Magazine editor. Panelists included Romare Bearden & Mel Edwards.
1c. Organization's annual budget.: 
$0 - $50,000
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
Part 2.
2a. Mission Statement: 
At a time when some white entrepreneurs consider fine art a better investment than gold, it is alarming that most of the black media has done little or nothing to inform black Americans about our own wealth of visual arts resources. In order to remedy this situation, it seems crucial to begin closing the communication gap between black artists and black writers. Thus, we have organized a symposium to facilitate such dialogue. Scheduled to take place on May 24, 1978 at the National Arts Consortium, 36 W. 62nd St., New York, NY, the program of the "May 24 Dialogue" is as follows: 7:00 Reception; 7:30 Slideshow - recent work by black artists; 7:45 Artists’ Commentary - Hughie Lee Smith, Melvin Edwards, Charlotte Richardson, Algernon Miller; 8:05 Panel - artist Romare Bearden, historian John Henrik Clarke, librarian Ruth Ann Stewart, magazine editor Marcia Gillespie; 9:05 Open Dialogue.
2b. Organization History / Organizational Overview. Index of important events in organization's history.: 
According to my notes, the committee began meeting to plan the symposium on April 11, 1978 at Bill Hutson’s loft on W. 20th St. Subsequent meetings took place there on April 18, May 4, and May 9. The committee consisted of Shirley Bowen, a U.N. staff photographer and videographer; Gerald Fraser, a N.Y. Times cultural reporter; Bill Hutson, artist and former art director, the National Museum of Nigeria, Lagos; Ed Spriggs, former director, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Judith Wilson, art student, freelance writer, and former associate editor, Ms. Magazine. The artists’ slideshow was created by Dorothy White, a private art dealer, and Camille Billops, artist and archivist. Shirley Bowen and a colleague (named "Jack") were supposed to provide video documentation of the symposium. I don’t remember whether this took place and, if so, who kept the videotape. I have an audiotape of the symposium. I also have a copy of the guestbook, which was signed by fifty-two attendees. They include artists Jack White, Tyrone Mitchell, Ademola Olugebefola, Ed Clark, Al Loving, Melvin Edwards, and Vincent Smith; photographers Dawoud Bey and Ming Smith; authors William Demby and Wilfred Cartey, among others.
2c. Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History.: 
Event Program - "May 24th Dialogue" May 24, 1978 National Arts Consortium, 36 W. 62nd St., New York, NY 7:00 pm Reception 7:30 Slideshow - recent work by black artists 7:45 Artists’ Commentary - Hughie Lee Smith, Melvin Edwards, Charlotte Richardson, Algernon Miller 8:05 Panel - artist Romare Bearden, historian John Henrik Clarke, librarian Ruth Ann Stewart, magazine editor Marcia Gillespie 9:05 Open Dialogue.
Part 3.
3a. Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals:: 
Ed Spriggs
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Bill Hutson
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.: 
Collective / Unincorporated Association
Part 6.
6a. Does the organization have an archive?: 
6c. Other threats to the organization:: 
The archival material I possess consists of audiotape cassettes, a guestbook, and a small file containing handwritten notes from meetings, drafts of correspondence, copies of the symposium program, and lists of tasks to be completed. All of this material currently resides in metal file cabinets in my garage in Southern California. The space isn’t climate controlled and neither the (paper) documents nor the file folder in which they are stored are acid-free. I have not attempted to play the cassette. It is one of several dozen tapes (mostly interviews conducted by me with African-American artists) I hope to eventually digitize. As I do so, I am discovering that some tapes are badly damaged, others are not.
Part 7.
I am a disabled, former art critic & historian with a personal archive spanning roughly 1975-2009 that includes thousands of slides, dozens of audiotapes, books, exhibition catalogs and files of correspondence, clippings, notes, and manuscripts. I have MS and would like to help organize this material for future researchers while I still have the cognitive ability to do so.
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?: 
Other Concerns - Please describe below.
Part 8.
8a. Is the organization's archives in the collection of another institution or promised to one?: 
8a. Location: 
IF YES to 8: University (Name)
8b. Archival materials are also located at:: 
Where are these locations?: 
There may be video of the "May 24th Dialogue" in the possession of committee members Shirley Bowen or Ed Spriggs.
Part 9.
9. Does the organization maintain archives for any other organization.: 
I’m probably not the only or primary holder of documents for the magazine, ISSUE: A Journal for Artists. But during 1985-86, I served as one of the editors for a couple of issues and editor-in-chief of (I think) one issue and have files on that material, as well as audiotapes of several interviews I conducted for the magazine--including ones with Richard Bellamy, Ed Clark, and Raymond Saunders. From 1986-88, I edited "The Afro-American Art History Newsletter," a publication that aimed to document current exhibitions and publications concerning art by African Americans past and present throughout the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. A team of correspondents in various locations sent material that I vetted and edited into a consistent format, then teleported to the African-American Studies Dept. at U. Mass. Amherst, where my cousin (who was the department chair) oversaw the layout and distribution of the final product. In addition to copies of the two issues of the newsletter we produced, I have original copies of all the exhibition announcements, brochures, etc. that were submitted by our correspondents throughout the world.
Part 10a.
10a. Is the archive accessible to scholars, curators or researchers?: 
Part 10d.
10d. Would you allow access in the future?: 
Part 10e.
10e. Under what circumstances would access to archives be allowed.: 
Currently, all of the material is in file cabinets in my garage. When I retired in 2006 and these cabinets were moved from my former campus office, the already idiosyncratic organization of these files was further complicated by the need to abandon two cabinets and consolidate their contents. In order for me to make my archives accessible to others, basically the following needs to happen: 1. The contents of the file cabinets needs to be inventoried. 2. The contents need to be rearranged according to a logical and consistent order. 3. Paper documents--including exhibition announcements and brochures--need to be digitized and catalogued. 4. Slides need to be digitized and catalogued. 5. Audiotapes need to be digitized and catalogued. 6. Copies of documents that are stored digitally in obsolete formats (WordStar CP/M DOS and WordPerfect ProDOS) need to be converted to current Mac or PC formats. I have equipment for doing most of this--a slide scanner, document scanners, a device for transferring analog audio to digital, etc. But without institutional support or assistance, I have frankly felt overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task.
Part 11.
The following questions address the historical materials (type, quantity and storage) of the organization. 11a. Paper Files and Documents: 
Board Minutes
Exhibition or Production Files
11b. Artwork and Documentation: 
Audiotapes [Any Format]
Other Artwork. Please describe below.
An unsigned, original copy of the symposium program designed by Bill Hutson with calligraphy by the artist.
11c. Press and Promotional Materials: 
Other Press or Promotional Materials - Please describe below.
Xeroxes of the program, a handwritten mailing list, and unused typed mailing labels.
Other Printed Publications
Part 12.
12. What years does the materials cover?: 
Part 13.
13a. How is the material stored?: 
File Cabinets
13b. Are some or all of these storage units “archival”?: 
Part 14.
14a. Estimated Number of Boxes or Milk-Crate Sized Storage Units: 
14b. Estimated Number of Archive Drawers: 
1 - 10
14c. Estimated Number of Archive Notebooks: 
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: 
1 - 10
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:: 
Not Applicable
16c. Electronic Based:: 
Not Applicable
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.)?: 
We do not have any electronic files
16g. Who is responsible for working with the archival material?: 
Other - Please describe below.
Please describe: 
Nobody but me.
Part 17.
17. How are new materials processed?: 
We are not currently processing new material
Part 18.
18. What, if any, conservation methods are in place for both physical materials and electronic data?: 
None or Limited
Part 19.
19. What type of climate-controls are present in the area[s] in which the archives are stored?: 
No or minimal climate controls [i.e. in an attic, basement, unheated / uncooled storage area, etc.]
Part 20.
20a. What are the goals for the historical materials for the next year?: 
Determine institutional interest; find a potential home for my entire collection of art-related material
20b. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these short-term goals?: 
My multiple sclerosis.
20c. What goals are in place for the historical materials for the next three to five years?: 
Get them organized.
20d. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these long term goals?: 
See #20b above.
20e. Are there any additional goals for the organizations historic materials?: 
I’d like to be stored in a way and at location that provides maximum access to researchers.
Part 21.
21. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next year.: 
Part 22.
22. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next five years.: 
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?: 
Part 26.
26. Additional information, comments, observations, and questions.: 
Sorry if my survey answers are confusing. My responses were initially intended to cover only the small (about 2.5 linear inches) archive of material I have from the "Ad Hoc Committee for May 24." But as I continued, I couldn’t help referring to the much larger archive--approx. 2.33 x 10 x 4.33 ft. of cabinet space--that encompasses my 34 years of research, writing, and teaching about (primarily) African-American art and artists. Not all of this material concerns avant-garde art or alternative organizations. But a substantial portion of it does.
Who executed this survey.: 
Judith Wilson, Ph.D.
I wish to defer payment and allow AS-AP to use these funds to further AS-AP’s efforts to preserve the history of the alternative and avant-garde movement in America.
Is this survey complete and all appropriate questions answered?: