Location, Personnel, and Contact Information
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Founded in 1985 by Alan Govenar to present new perspectives on historical issues and diverse cultures, Documentary Arts, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Dallas, Texas and New York City. Between 1992 and 2001, Documentary Arts operated the 5501 Columbia Art Center with Contemporary Culture, a non-profit organization founded by Kaleta Doolin. Still located in East Dallas, the main office of Documentary Arts is still based at 5501 Columbia Avenue (map) in a completely renovated landmark building, formerly Fire Station No. 16, which received a 1993 American Institute of Architects Citation Award for its adaptation to a community service facility. Over the years, Documentary Arts and Contemporary Culture, organized numerous exhibitions. installations, and public programs, and both organizations continue to have an active role in the arts.
In 1995, Alan Govenar and Kaleta Doolin founded the Texas African American Photography Archive, located directly across the street from the firehouse. In addition, Documentary Arts and Contemporary Culture operate a state of the art audio/video editing facility.
The best way to reach us is by email, but if you require a physical mailing address, please use our official PO box (at right), rather than our street address.
Alan Govenar is a writer, folklorist, photographer, and filmmaker. He is president of Documentary Arts. Govenar has a B.A. with distinction in American Folklore from Ohio State University, an M.A. in Folklore and Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. in Arts and Humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author of eighteen books, including Texas Blues: The Rise of a Contemporary Sound, Stompin’ at the Savoy: The Story of Norma Miller, Extraordinary Ordinary People: Five American Masters of Traditional Arts, Untold Glory: African Americans in Pursuit of Freedom, Opportunity and Achievement, Stoney Knows How: Life as a Sideshow Tattoo Artist, Deep Ellum: The Other Side of Dallas, Portraits of Community, and The Early Years of Rhythm and Blues. His book Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper’s Daughter won First Place in the New York Book Festival (Children’s Non-Fiction), a Boston Globe-Hornbook Honor; and an Orbis Pictus Honor from the National Council of Teachers of English. The off-Broadway premiere of his musical Blind Lemon Blues (website), co-created with Akin Babatunde received rave reviews in The New York Times and Variety.
Govenar’s film, Stoney Knows How, based on his book by the same title about Old School tattoo artist Leonard St. Clair, was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and was selected as an Outstanding Film of the Year by the London Film Festival. Govenar has also produced and directed numerous films in association with NOVA, La Sept/ARTE, and the corporation for public broadcasting for broadcast and educational distribution, including The Voyage of Doom, Le Naufrage de la Belle, The Devil’s Swing, Texas Style, Everything But the Squeak, The Human Volcano, The Hard Ride, Dreams of Conquest, and Little Willie Eason and His Talking Gospel Guitar.
Jason Johnson-Spinos has worked as an editor at Documentary Arts since 2011. He edited the feature documentary You Don't Need Feet to Dance, did additional editing on The Beat Hotel, and edited the short films Bridging Utopia, The Silent Witness Speaks and What George Grosz might have seen had he come to Texas earlier and stayed longer. In addition, he has worked for Documentary Arts in many other capacities, including graphic design, photo editing, proofreading, and data entry.
Blas Garcia has worked at Documentary Arts since 2011 as an animator, assistant editor, and website designer. He has worked on several projects including animation for The Beat Hotel, redesigning the cover for the latest Masters of Traditional Arts DVD-Rom, and creating the Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide website.
Daniel Dunnam has worked with Documentary Arts since 2000 as an audio editor, designer, and web developer. He has worked on various projects including the Masters of Traditional Arts DVD-Rom, Facing the Rising Sun: Freedman's Cemetery, NOVA: Voyage of Doom, as well as the company website, and several recordings.