Tony Bannon’s 16 years: Part 5

Posted by on Apr 28 2012 | History

At George Eastman House we are planning a tribute gala for Dr. Anthony Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director, for May 12 titled “An Evening in Technicolor.” He leaves Eastman House after 16 years at the helm. Over the last week we have shared highlights of the Museum’s amazing successes during his tenure. This is the fifth and final installment, including numbers 13 through 16 (16 stories for 16 years). Thank you, Tony, for a fabulous 16 years!


13) Honors for Eastman House and the Photo and Film World

Dresden Engle, public relations manager:

During Tony’s tenure Eastman House received top honors for motion picture preservation from the International Documentary Association and Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, plus the Briggs & Stratton “Top Ten Lawns” for the estate’s landscaping. The Museum has also earned the Gold Award for podcasts from the American Association of Museums as well as numerous awards for publications and public relations from the American Marketing Association and Public Relations Society of America. Bannon himself also has been honored for his work. He was named CEO of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America, Rochester Chapter, in 2008, and in 2007 Tony earned the Golden Career Award from the FOTOfusion Festival of Photography & Digital Imaging. In 2010, Tony 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. A total 26 prestigious awards were given by Eastman House to filmmakers and actors and celebrated citizens over the last 16 years, including the George Eastman Award, title of Eastman Honorary Scholar, Eastman Medal of Honor, and Eastman House Honors. Recipients include Meryl Streep, Dennis Hopper, Ken Burns, Kim Novak, Richard Gere, Tony Curtis, Jessica Lange, John Landis, Graham Nash, and Jeff Bridges.

Tony Bannon, left, with musician/photographer Graham Nash, when Nash received the title of George Eastman Honorary Scholar. At right is Trustee Lisa Brubaker.


14) National Accomplishments:

Pamela Reed Sanchez, director of strategic planning and resource development:

While Tony would be too modest to share this himself, he has accomplished much nationally during his tenure. He enlarged and diversified the Board of Trustees, which has more of a national focus with most members from outside the Rochester area, and helped enlarge our bases of support in cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Chicago. Museum efforts under his direction garnered lead stories in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Variety, Popular Photography, and Forbes, to name only a few. He has increased Eastman House’s face globally through his world travels, serving as a guest judge for major awards and festivals, and collaborations, such as teaming with Kodak and leading artists to present Photo Week at Chautauqua in summer 2010. Tony has lead fundraising campaigns resulting in tens of millions of dollars for the Museum’s endowment and urgent capital needs.


15) Alliances

Roger Bruce, Director of Interpretation (retired): George Eastman House announced and forged a formal alliance with International Center for Photography in New York City in 2000, making collections and programs more accessible to the public. Our most aggressive joint project to date was the critically acclaimed exhibition and book titled Young America: The Daguerreotypes of Southworth & Hawes, featuring the Southworth & Hawes archive at Eastman House as well as 37 additional institutions. In December 2010, Eastman House announced a formal alliance with the University of Rochester, across all disciplines, which the American Association of the Museums called it the most extensive museum and university alliance in existence.


16) On a personal note …

Tony Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director, George Eastman House

I have been totally invested in George Eastman House and its wonderful extended family, but I feel it is time to move on. We have set into place a new and vigorous strategic direction, and it is time for new energy and vision to take that forward. I have been saying for years that our forebearers 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. As I look back on the last 16 years of magnificent experiences — the important acquisitions and exhibitions, the graduate schools that teach the world’s next leaders about preservation of collections, the movie stars who now are good friends of Eastman House – amidst the glitz and the glamor, I have one memory that is most treasured of all. That is the day I married my wife, Elizabeth Stewart, in the Rock Garden at Eastman House. Clearly, this Museum forever will be in my heart.


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    Dresden Engle is the Public Relations Manager for George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

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