Howard Stein began collecting photographs in the 1980s. In those early years, he acquired significant works by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century masters, but also had a growing interest in contemporary photography. As his collection grew, Mr. Stein became actively engaged with many of the photographic artists he was encountering. He understood the profound impact of photography and its potential to influence every sphere of human endeavor, becoming an important advocate for the medium. His collection took on a life of its own, much greater than the sum of its parts. Taken as a whole, it is an active conversation between the past, present, and future.
In 1998, Mr. Stein founded Joy of Giving Something, Inc. (JGS), a not-for-pro! t organization dedicated to the photographic arts. His vision was to create a foundation at the forefront of modern photography, offering support for artists who were taking risks, redefining the field, and doing work of social significance. Mr. Stein donated a significant portion of his private collection to JGS, giving the foundation the mandate to carry out its mission.
One of JGS’s earliest initiatives were the “Corridor Shows,” a series of compact, economical photography shows with original supporting material. Incorporating a video of the artist at work, a published book, and exhibition prints, the program offered museums easy access to new and exceptional talents at little cost and with a minimum of long-range planning.
JGS also created the photography journal Witness, distributed by Nazraeli Press. Each issue was guest-edited by a contemporary artist whose photographs and writing were featured in that issue. Witness editors/artists have included such luminaries as Lee Friedlander, Todd Hido, Daido Moriyama, Martin Parr, and Stephen Shore.
In the earliest years of the Internet explosion, JGS put much of its collection of photographs online, making it one of the earliest cyber-museums on the web. This was followed by the creation of the Forward Thinking Museum, a virtual gallery for showcasing new artists. FTM continues to support emerging artists with curated exhibitions, a quarterly juried contest, and an annual artist award.
Over the years, JGS has produced a number of original video series, including The Observer Observed, which documented the artistic process of twenty-four contemporary photographers; Art and Science, which explored the use of photography in scientific research; and Careers in Photography, which spotlighted alternative ways of making a living with a camera.
Another goal of the foundation is improving arts education in New York City and nationally through grants and scholarships, afterschool programs, access to museums, mentoring, and online engagement. College scholarships have been established in partnership with museums and educational organizations, including Imagining America, The Studio Museum in Harlem, ICP, Appalshop, Perpich Center for Arts Education, and Santa Barbara Museum of Art. To date, more than fifty scholarships have been awarded to students pursuing post-secondary education in photography or media arts.
In 2011, JGS launched an afterschool photography program at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx. Students meet once a week to learn the basics of digital photography. The program culminates in an exhibition at the Poe Park Visitor Center on Grand Concourse. JGS also provides funding for photography programs at Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, Mark Twain Intermediate School for the Gifted & Talented, The Boys’ Club of New York, Photography and Literacy Project (PAL Project) at Syracuse University, and Community Darkroom at the Genessee Center for the Arts in Rochester.
The sale of the 175 works featured in this catalogue will allow Joy of Giving Something to further its not-for-profit mission and expand its active charitable programs.
To learn more, please visit our websites:
Education and Outreach Director, JGS, Inc.