Spelman College recently announced a $1 million gift from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation to establish the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation Center for Documentary Media Studies in the new Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., Center for Innovation & the Arts. Spelman College is the first Historically Black College & University (HBCU) to offer a bachelor’s degree in documentary filmmaking.
The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation supports organizations that advance social justice by empowering world-changing work in investigative journalism, documentary film and arts & culture. The documentary film program and the motion capture room and corridor will bear the Foundation’s name.
“We are grateful to the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation for this generous contribution to Spelman College to establish the new Center for Documentary Media Studies, which will help deepen the intersection of the arts, technology and entrepreneurship for our students,” said Helene Gayle, M.D., MPH, president of Spelman College. “This support creates pathways for our professors and students to develop innovative and groundbreaking work through our liberal arts curriculum.”
“Our gift to Spelman comes at a time when hearing new voices in the documentary field is more vital than ever. The talented women of Spelman College have insights to share and important stories to tell, and documentary film is a powerful way to bring them to light,” said Jonathan Logan, president & CEO of the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. “We are also proud to honor Dr. Ayoka Chenzira, a blazing star, a brilliant professor and a dear friend.”
Spelman College will also name the Documentary Production Lab within the Center for Innovation & the Arts, in honor of Dr. Ayoka Chenzira as a result of this gift.
“I am grateful to the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, known for its commitment to storytelling from underrepresented communities and advocacy for social justice, for recognizing our program. The generous new gift will allow our students to be the next group of emerging Black women documentary filmmakers to produce their creative and bold ideas for films in a state-of-the-art facility,” said Dr. Chenzira. “It is a surprise and an honor to have a production lab in the Mary Schmidt Campbell Center for Innovation & the Arts bear my name. I am forever grateful to the Foundation and Spelman College.”
Dr. Chenzira is division chair for the Arts at Spelman and the Diana King Endowed Professor in Film and Filmmaking, Television and Related Media. She is an Emmy-nominated director and also received a nomination for an NAACP award for her work as a television director. Her distinctive work spans fiction, documentary, animation, performance, experimental, television, interactive films and theater. She is widely recognized as one of the first African American women to write, produce and direct a 35mm feature film, “Alma’s Rainbow,” developed at Sundance Institute. Her collection of films recently received 4K restorations by the Academy Film Archive, part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and The Film Foundation, with funding from the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.
Dr. Chenzira is also considered the first African American woman animator with her film, “Hair Piece,” which was inducted into the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America.
The Center for Innovation & the Arts, scheduled to open in the fall of 2024, will serve as a learning-hub for entrepreneurs and innovators. It will house Spelman’s arts programs and Innovation Lab, giving students access to more cross-disciplinary learning opportunities. The 84,000 square-foot development will be home to cutting-edge collaborative programs including: The Arthur M. Blank Innovation Lab, co-curricular activities for the Center for Black Entrepreneurship and a satellite gallery for the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. The Center is the first new academic facility at Spelman in nearly 25 years.