Jon Alpert and Keiko Tsuno, founders of the Downtown Community Television Center in New York City, are the 2017 School of Media Studies Hirshon Artists-in-Residence.

Jon Alpert and Keiko Tsuno of Downtown Community Television Center are the 2017 Hirshon Artists-in-Residence

Since 1972, Jon Alpert and Keiko Tsuno have worked to expand public access to electronic media through the Downtown Community Television Center in New York City. Driven by the belief that citizen access to media production strengthens democracy, the pair have provided free or low-cost production courses to diverse communities, as well as access to film equipment, for an estimated 75,000 young New Yorkers. 

Now, Alpert, a 16-time Emmy Award winner, and Tsuno are sharing their passion for expanding public access to media arts with The New School community as the School of Media Studies 2017 Hirshon Artists-in-Residence. 

As part of their residency, Alpert and Tsuno will lead master classes for media and documentary studies students and present a public lecture, Five Decades of Community Media from Canal Street to Cuba, on Thursday, March 30, 7 p.m. in the Auditorium at 66 W. 12th Street. The program, which will feature a retrospective of their work, is free and open to the public with a reception to follow.

“Jon Alpert and Keiko Tsuno’s DCTV community media project and filmmaking achievements are unparalleled in US community media education,” said Media Studies Dean Carol Wilder. “Their steadfast 45-year commitment to youth media and to progressive documentary filmmaking establishes them as the gold standard for community media engagement.”

Named for the late New School Trustee Dorothy H. Hirshon, the Hirshon Artist-in-Residence program was established through a bequest in 2003 to promote excellence and education in filmmaking arts. Past recipients have included D.A. Pennebaker, John Waters, Laurie Anderson, and John Cameron Mitchell.