An Evening in Technicolor®: A Tribute Gala for Tony Bannon celebrated Saturday, May 12

Ceremony, party, and fireworks send off long-time director as he retires from George Eastman House

For Release 2012-04-25

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — After 16 years at the helm running George Eastman House, Dr. Anthony Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director, is departing from the museum. In his honor, a gala event is planned for Saturday, May 12. “An Evening in Technicolor®: A Tribute Gala for Tony Bannon” will feature dancing, live music, food, cocktails, a silent auction, a tribute ceremony, fireworks, and surprises throughout.

Bannon is the longest-standing director in the history of the museum, starting his post in 1996. Bannon’s time at Eastman House has been eventful, with the creation of three post-graduate preservation schools, alliances with museums and universities, collectors clubs in large U.S. cities, and many of the most-attended exhibitions in the museum’s 64-year history, as well as the digitization of collections and aggressive social-media campaigns to share Eastman House’s unparalleled collections with the world. The chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Rocco Landesman, told the press while touring Eastman House last year, “Tony Bannon is a legend throughout the country.”

Tickets to the gala range from $50 to $250 and include a variety of receptions with live music. For details please visit eastmanhouse.org or call (585) 271-3361 ext. 218. Guest are asking to dress in their most Technicolor®iinspired cocktail attire. Sponsorship and tribute book ads are also available for purchase. Please call (585) 271-3361 ext. 293 for more details.

All funds raised will be used to meet current capital and operating needs of George Eastman House, including the restoration of the Palm House and the renovation of the Dryden Theatre. The Board of Trustees will name an exhibition space the “Anthony Bannon Gallery” upon receipt of $300,000 in tribute gifts. 

“I am totally invested in George Eastman House and its wonderful extended family, but I feel it is time,” said Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director. “We have set into place a new and vigorous strategic direction, and it is time for new energy and vision to move that forward. I have been saying for years that our forbearers here at George Eastman House wrote the book about the photograph and film as objects worthy of preservation, of care, and of significance. Now it comes to us to share how these work in history and culture and to use them as vehicles that can carry us to any destination we might choose.”

Bannon, 69, announced his retirement from Eastman House last July. Since then he has decided to take a position at SUNY-Buffalo, where he will lead the Burchfield-Penney Arts Center, a position he held just prior to joining Eastman House. Before entering arts administration, Bannon was editor and art critic with The Buffalo News and a filmmaker.

Thomas H. Jackson, chairman of the George Eastman House Board of Trustees, noted Bannon has raised the Eastman House to a heightened level, by bringing the museum into the digital era; reinstating vigorous touring exhibition, loan, and publishing programs; creating degree and certificate programs with three universities in New York and Canada; adding important collections in every archive; leading endowment, capital, and operations campaigns; creating formal alliances and collaborations; increasing Eastman House’s face globally through his world travels and service as a speaker and juror for major awards and festivals; and garnering lead stories in major publications such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Variety, Popular Photography, and Forbes. 

Major acquisitions during Bannon’s tenure include the archives of the Technicolor corporation and Merchant Ivory Productions; the Edward Steichen estate; Kodak’s Colorama collection; and continued deposits by filmmakers including Ken Burns, Spike Lee, and Martin Scorsese, who are among the many faces of the photography and film world honored by Eastman House during Bannon’s tenure. Among those receiving awards are Richard Gere, Jeff Bridges, Tony Curtis, Kim Novak, Graham Nash, Jessica Lange, Dennis Hopper, and Meryl Streep.

The world-leading post-graduate programs created under his direction are The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, launched in 1996 as the world’s first permanent school of film preservation, offering both a one-year certificate program and a two-year master’s degree program in conjunction with the University of Rochester. A master’s degree program in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management has been offered since 2004, in conjunction with Ryerson University in Toronto, in addition to a one-year certificate program. These programs combine study of preservation practices with intense study of the collections. A world leader in photograph conservation and preservation for more than three decades, Eastman House was the first institution to offer classes and training in these disciplines.

Bannon earned the Golden Career Award from the FOTOfusion Festival of Photography & Digital Imaging in 2007 and a year later was named CEO of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America, Rochester Chapter. In 2010, Bannon and an exhibition he curated that year — Roger Ballen: Photographs 1982-2009 — were ranked among the top five finalists for Curator/Exhibition of the Year by the Lucie International Photography Awards. And during Bannon’s tenure, Eastman House has earned the Governor’s Award and also honors for the motion picture collections and preservation efforts from the International Documentary Association and Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

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