Culture videos get tentative home

Footage of artists is offered a home in an archive in Ellis Library.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:14 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

For more than a year, Scott Wilson has kept busy in pursuit of his passion: video production. Wilson quit a job with Verizon that he’d held for 19 years to film and edit videos for the Missouri River Cultural Conservancy.

With nearly 35 hours of footage that features local performers, Wilson, 44, realized the need to archive the materials and share it with the public. He has found a prospective home for the videos at the Western Historical Manuscript Collection at MU’s Ellis Library.

Legal details involving copyright and ownership issues need to be finalized before the conservancy can begin storing the videos at the library site.

“We’re glad the conservancy is capturing these performances and offering them to our repository, where they will be available for future generations,” said David Moore, associate director of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection. “The materials will make a wonderful addition to our holdings.”

The conservancy is the brainchild of the late singer-songwriter Jerome Wheeler, who wanted to promote the local art community.

“Wheeler had the idea to archive folks before they died,” Wilson said. “Two months later, Wheeler died.”

Two other prominent Columbia musicians, Forrest Rose and Ken Shepard, also died before they could be included in the project.

The footage contains mostly the work of local singers and songwriters, but Wilson said the nonprofit organization would like to archive additional artists such as actors, writers and poets.

“Our goal is to have these other artists archived by the end of 2007,” Wilson said.

“By doing this, we can freeze-dry time and still influence future generations,” Wilson said. “Not only can we hear the artist’s voice, but we can see their art and faces as they were in that time.”

The Columbia public access channel, CAT3 TV, has aired some of the archived footage under the title Winter Sessions at Cooper’s Landing. In addition to airing the footage, CAT3 TV has provided training, equipment and editing space to Wilson and the conservancy.

Original, local artists of all ages are archived for free by the conservancy, which receives funds through special events at local venues or donations.

“We are thinking of ways to raise money to purchase more equipment and meet our goals,” said conservancy board member Mike Cooper, owner of Cooper’s Landing . Cooper said the group is hoping to have a fund-raising event in Columbia next spring to make the community aware of the organization and help finance the archiving project.

“We encourage more involvement with local artists in this project,” Wilson said. “Everyone has a song.”

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