The Center for Documentary Arts is an independent, nonprofit initiative to integrate art, culture, and humanitarian awareness. Broadly defined, documentary arts are narrative and lyric forms of photography, film, oral history, theatre, painting, poetry, etc. that address social themes and bear witness to the human condition. The Center promotes artists of the highest accomplishment who seek through their work to impact conscience and consciousness. Such art penetrates the heart, awakens empathy, and fosters justice, essentials for the activism Martin Luther King called “love in action.” The Center exists to serve these principles through exhibitions, film screenings, readings, publications, and the creation of original art.
The Center for Documentary Arts was founded in 2009 by Timothy Cahill with funds from the estate of Kayla Mitchell. The first public project was the presentation of the exhibition Battlesight: Dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan by International Photographers, October 22 through December 19, 2010, at the Arts Center of the Capital Region. The exhibit, curated by founding director Timothy Cahill, featured work of Pulitzer-Prize winner Cheryl Diaz-Meyer, Balazs Gardi, and Teru Kuwayama. Of the show, critic David Brickman wrote, “It's as though the International Center of Photography opened a branch in Troy. The exhibition Battlesight is that good and that important.”
Selections from Battlesight were selected as the featured exhibition for the 2011 Rensselaerville Festival of Writers, July 29-31, 2011.
In April 2011, the Center hosted director Hugo Perez to lead a screening and discussion of Neither Memory Nor Magic, his documentary portrait of the Hungarian Holocaust poet Miklós Radnóti. The screening, held at the Opalka Gallery at the Sage College of Albany, was the first of a program of screenings, readings, and artist appearances that have also included the New York premiere of the documentary An Encounter with Simone Weil with director Julia Haslett; readings by author Helen Benedict from her novel, Sand Queen; the area premier of Roko Belic's film Happy; and a screening of Andrew Himes' study of war and poetry, Voices in Wartime.
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