2020 ANNUAL REPORT

LETTER

 

                                                                                                                                         

In 2020,  Seeing for Ourselves continued its second effort, on behalf of the clients of New York's Department of Probation (DOP).

Chelsea continued to run the project on the ground as a temporary employee of the Department (as she pursued a Master's in Social Work at Columbia University).  The effort went virtual starting in March thanks to the pandemic.  An exhibit at the Denise Bibro Fine Art Gallery opening that month could not be attended, while a major retrospective of Seeing for Ourselves at Islip Art Museum had to be postponed until the museum reopening.  A symposium scheduled for Columbia University in the spring and an outdoor exhibit on Governor's Island over the summer similarly were postponed indefinitely.  Meanwhile,  Jonathan completed a half-hour documentary, winning DOP approval in November. The work is to be submitted to film festivals and promoted online in 2021. Meanwhile, George continued to provide overall direction while maintaining momentum for the Islip Art Museum exhibition.

The effort was funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Sigma Corporation of America provided the cameras, and the city's Work Progress Program allowed us to pay stipends to participants so they could earn while they learned.  WPP's function was transferred during the year to NYC Opportunity at the Mayor's Office, along with NYC Opportunity, both of which paid the participants directly.

The balance sheet for the year, as previously, was effectively a blank. We put out funds and then were reimbursed by NEA and WPP.  With the pandemic cancelling the London Book Festival in February and thwarting our agent's attempt to land a book deal, NEA allowed that portion of its grant allocated to the book to be redirected to the film. (A new literary agent would be found at year-end, but the arrangement would not last.) DOP graciously reimbursed a small portion of the documentary expenses as well, Jonathan contributing the rest. Meanwhile, Jonathan and George continued to contribute a person-year between them in voluntary labor, even as Jonathan's travel down from his Maine home to NYC came to a halt.

 

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