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From Ava DuVernay to Nadia Hallgren, Black women have used filmmaking as a vessel to reclaim their narratives and magnify societal truths. Thanks to a generous donation Spelman College will be able to empower the next generation of storytellers.

The Atlanta-based HBCU received a $1 million endowment from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation for the creation of a new center focused on documentary media studies. The philanthropic foundation supports social justice-focused nonprofits leading work at the intersection of investigative journalism, arts & culture, and documentary filmmaking.  The development of the school—which will sit in the Mary Schmidt Campbell Center for Innovation & the Arts—is historic as Spelman will become the first HBCU to house a documentary filmmaking center.

Spelman College President Helene Gayle says the new center will contribute to opening up pathways for scholars within the arts. “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,” she shared in a statement. “This support creates pathways for our professors and students to develop innovative and groundbreaking work through our liberal arts curriculum.”

Jonathan Logan, who serves as President & CEO of the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation added, “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.”

The Center for Innovation & the Arts—which is slated to officially open in 2024—will also house a documentary production lab named after Dr. Ayoka Chenzira, chair for the Arts at Spelman and the Diana King Endowed Professor in Film and Filmmaking, Television and Related Media, whose poignant work has been included in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.

News about the donation comes nearly a year after Spelman College received a $12 million endowment for the development of its Center for Innovation & the Arts.


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