"You take a canvas, divide it up like a checkerboard... and go from there." - Man Ray

About Checkerboard Films

"You take a canvas, divide it up like a checkerboard... and go from there."

- Man Ray

Edgar Howard founded Checkerboard in 1979 to document the artistic process of those engaged in the visual arts. We believe that a greater understanding of an artist’s work leads to a broadened appreciation for the work. This conclusion evolved from Howard’s first films on artist Brice Marden (1977) and photographer Duane Michals (1978). Since 1979, Checkerboard has produced over 70 films on the American arts. We are extremely grateful to the many supporters who have made this possible. Our films are acquired by an ever-expanding list of educational institutions and media outlets in the U.S. and abroad.

Our next major challenge is to archive and preserve an estimated 850 hours of interviews with artists, architects, photographers, writers, dancers, art historians, and others. Ultimately, we wish to make this material available for research purposes.

The Foundation’s educational mission is comprised of a three-pronged structure:

We distribute to public libraries, universities, museums, and other media outlets and individuals across the U.S. and abroad. Our films may be purchased by these institutions and individuals directly via our website or through third party distributors, and made available to students both in the classroom as a teaching component and as an independent resource.

We work directly with museums worldwide to set up screenings in conjunction with exhibitions of work by artists we have profiled. These screenings are either installed as part of the exhibition or scheduled as a separate, but concurrent, activity via the museum’s education department.

Lastly, we distribute our titles directly to interested individuals and patrons of the arts. They are screened at film festivals, and broadcast on public and cable television.


Behind the scenes