The grant is awarded to aid the Public Library in preserving various sectors of the performing arts through audio and visual documentation. The grant – which begins Feb. 1, 2008, and continues through Jan. 31, 2010 – is earmarked for the Library's preservation of 25 live jazz, contemporary dance and theatre performances. The funding will also allow the Library to record some 45 oral histories relating to the performances in order to capture the history and creation of live art.
In addition, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation grant will fund the preservation of over 70 hours of oral histories relating to the work of American choreographer Martha Graham. The Graham tapes, currently housed at the Library, are deteriorating and unavailable to the public due to their condition. The newly awarded grant will allow the Library to make digital versions of these tapes available to the public.
Jacqueline Z. Davis, executive director of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, commented, "We are extremely grateful to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for this generous grant. It enables us to protect and preserve a unique and dynamic performing arts legacy by recording innovative and inspiring live performances and capturing individual and institutional oral histories that would otherwise be lost to future generations of artists, scholars, researchers, and arts professionals. All of the artists and organizations supported by the Foundation are already represented in the Library's collections. But this project will give greater depth to our materials and offer more profound insight into the artists' work."
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is well known for its collection of historic recordings, videotapes, autograph manuscripts, correspondence, sheet music, stage designs, press clippings, programs, posters and photographs. Its divisions are the Circulating Collections, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Music Division, Billy Rose Theatre Division and the Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center is located on the Lincoln Center campus at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.