History of IMAC

Publication Type:

Unpublished

Source:

(undated)

Keywords:

groups
Full Text: 

The Inter-Media Art Center, Inc. is a publicly supported, non-profit, Charitable media and performing arts center located in Huntington, Long Island. IMAC offers a variety of programs and services to the New York State public and non-profit arts, educational and social service communities. Over the past 30 years, "IMAC" has been honored to receive support from the National Endowmentfor the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts and the Nassau and Suffolk County Offices of Cultural Affairs, as well as corporate, foundation and public support for it's broad range of programs and services. As a result of IMAC's impact on the cultural quality of life on Long Island, the New York State Council on the Arts and the Governor of the State of New York designated IMAC a "Primary Organization" in 1983, which is an official designation for a cultural organization making important contributions to the State of the Arts in the State of New York.

IMAC began it's existence in Huntington, New York in 1974 when, through a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, IMAC set up facilities as the first non- profit Media Arts Center on Long Island. The Center was designed to make a full range of video production resources and services available to artists, independent producers, and non-profit organizations producing a wide variety of non-commercial works of art and information.

IMAC set up studios and editing facilities in a large house on six acres of wooded land, which often served as set backdrops. The goal of the Media Arts Movement of the mid-seventies was to make professional television facilities and services available to citizens, artists and non-profit organizations with the hope that a whole array of new television products would be created. For the New York State Council on the Arts, the practical question was how to get services, equipment and expertise into the hands of these new artists and producers around the state. Since it wasn't possible to put a TV studio in the hands of every videographer, government funding helped create a new type of cultural organization, the regional Media Art Center. IMAC was among the 13 original pioneering Media Art Centers that sprung up around New York State to stimulate the video phenomenon that has since permeated the culture worldwide. Thanks to the vision of the New York State Council on the Arts who pioneered the concept and funded the lions share of the establishment of these new organizations, Media Art Centers can now be found all over the United States and in many countries throughout the world promoting and supporting the creation, exhibition and preservation of cultural, artistic and informational media works.

In 1976, IMAC moved its facilities to Bayville, NY. where it developed a more sophisticated multi-camera video production studio, videotape editing facilities, a visual arts gallery and small black box theater which hosted performances of music, dance, performance art and film screenings. As a video production center, IMAC offered a full line of television production services, which included equipment loan, location and multi-camera studio production, videotape editing, computer graphics. 3D animation and a broad line of video skills workshops at its facilities. Since 1974, IMAC has provided a full spectrum of subsidized and free professional television production services to literally thousands of artists, independent producers and non- profit organizations. It was also in Bayville that IMAC was developing its presenting "chops". During our 8 years in Bayville. IMAC had developed a much acclaimed live performance program featuring live performances of cutting edge music and dance and multi-media performances to small but enthusiastic audiences.

In 1983. IMAC made a bold move when we relocated back to Huntington, this time occupying the balcony space of an abandoned vintage theater. Currently, IMAC is located in an old movie palace that has been converted into a charming intimate concert hall and performing arts center. The IMAC concert hall has become known for its bold stage with excellent sight lines, great acoustics and high quality sound system. Originally a vaudeville house in the 1920's, the theater has been a cultural pillar for the Huntington area for over three-quarters of a century. As vaudeville died out, the theater was renovated to support screenings of major first-run films and was known as "The Huntington". In the early 70's the theater fell into abandonment and underwent a renovation to convert the theater to business and office spaces and in the process almost every aspect of majestic theater architecture had been removed from a theater that once served as one of the queens in a fleet of theaters that ran from Queens, NY to eastern Long Island. Oddly enough, there was one major aspect of the old theater left intact and that was the balcony seating area which just hung elegantly looking out into empty bare space. In 1976 a local Ballet company seeking a home envisioned the potential that this space would have if a new stage could be built up at balcony level and then proceeded to build a sprung and floating dance stage that ranks among the best dance stages in the country. Unfortunately, the cost of maintaining the theater and running a dance company overwhelmed the group financially and they soon went out of business. Other attempts at taming the beast included a "midnight madness" film theater showing cult films and a laser light show in the late 1970's. All attempts at resurrecting the theater had failed. The theater had developed a reputation as an expensive white elephant with extensive restoration problems. One local arts organization spent $50,000 in a study which found that the theater had too many problems would never work as a successful facility.

IMAC's occupancy began in winter of 1983 and the theater was in terrible shape. The stage did not exist legally, there was no heat or A.C., no sound, no lighting system, leaking roof, crumbling plaster, no dressing rooms or toilet facilities and IMAC had no grants, gifts or budget for the project. IMAC set itself a six week goal to get the theater and up and running and by the appointed date IMAC opened it doors with a 5 part dance series which was met by excellent audience attendance and critical acclaim. One interesting fact about the first presentation was that we had just finished wiring the plugs on the lighting system 10 minutes before curtain and we didn't know if it would all work...but it did! A bit like King Arthur and excaliber, we felt as if we'd pulled the sword from the rock and the promise of an exciting new facility was born. Since then IMAC has been working diligently to build a momentum to bring a broad spectrum of music not normally found on Long Island to Long Island audiences. IMAC concerts feature living composer/musicians performing their own compositions in the genres of, but not limited to, Jazz, Blues, Folk, Country, Americana, Contemporary and World music with a sprinkling of Dance and theater.

Since moving to this facility in 1983, IMAC has become a very strong presenter recognized nationally for it's unique programming. Newsday has called IMAC..."Best Concert Venue" on Long Island. More importantly, IMAC's charming theater space, state of the art presentation technology and informal atmosphere has made IMAC the place of choice not only for people from all over Long Island, but from Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and places beyond.

 
Michael Rothbard
Kathy Bodily 

http://www.imactheater.org

Group Name: 
Inter-Media Art Center
Group Dates: 
1974 - present
Group Location: 
Huntington, NY