DIRECTED BY: Emilio Murillo
PRODUCED & EDITED BY: Marc Levin
THE FEDERAL ARTIST (1979)
The largest Federally funded job program for artists in the nation, New York City's CETA Artists project, is the subject of "The Federal Artist," an hour-long video documentary which aired on WNET/THIRTEEN.
The program was produced by Media Works, a project administered by the Foundation for Independent Video and Film as part of the Cultural Council Foundation's Artists Project.
"The Federal Artist" is a portrait of the beginnings of an historic experiment in public service employment. Not since the Depression's WPA Arts project have so many artists (ove 600 thus far) been put to work by the government.
In addition to creating a composite portrait of "The Federal Artist", the program provides a look at how government support of artists works, at a time when the entire public service employment system is coming under increasing scrutiny.
The program looks at many "Federal" artists teaching or performing for the poor, the sick, the institutionalized - people for whom art is usually inaccessible. Johan Sellenraad is seen redesigning an aging subway station. Sandra Esteves performs her poetry in the South Bronx. Charles Cook and Jane Goldberg revive tap dancing on the streets of New York. The CETA Jazzmobile brings the sounds of the Big Bands to Rikers Island. Bannerjee creates a mural with 5 year olds. The Philharmonia Orchestra of New York presents a concert at a hospital in Brooklyn. Also depicted is a painting class of Marguerite Munch at the Sirovitch Senior Citizens Center. When 86-year-old Sam Bernsteing is asked whether such a project is worthwhile, he says, "If it weren't for art, I wouldn't be here."
"The Federal Artist" is a production of Media Works, and is presented by WNET/THIRTEEN, New York. The videotape was produced and edited by Marc Levin and directed by Emilio Murillo. All those who worked on the tape had their positions funded by the CETA program.
This documentary features Charles Cook, Jane Goldberg, Sandra Esteves, Johan Sellenraad.