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Chicago, Illinois 60616
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Susan Dobinsky Collection

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Collection Identifier: C.2021-10
Preservation Sponsor: Susan Dobinsky
Extent of collection
60 16mm film reels totaling approximately 24,700 feet; 40 open reel audio tapes.
Inclusive Dates
1988 - 1990
The Susan Dobinsky Collection consists of outtakes and elements from an unfinished film made about murals in Chicago shot during 1988-1991. The footage captures murals in the neighborhoods of Pilsen, Little Village, West Town, and Humboldt Park during this time; accompanying audio tapes feature interviews with local artists. The unfinished film was spearheaded by Dobinsky and Julia Kurtz and funded primarily through a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, and supported by filmmakers Ronn Bayly and Susan Regele's then Chicago-based company Lightbound, which was active from 1980-1990.

Much of the footage shot includes street scenes, interviews with muralists, as well as close ups of distinct murals, some of which no longer exist. Some of the public figures interviewed include Sandra Antongiorgi (an artist and musician), Cuban-American artist José Bernal, and Spanish artist José Guerrero, among others.

A few of the audio tapes in the collection also feature a soundtrack composed for the film by Fareed Haque, a music professor at Northern Illinois University whom Ronn Bayly had contacted to provide music.

Dobinsky, Susan (was created by)
During her time as a graduate student at the University of Illinois Chicago earning her Master's degree in Spanish, Susan Dobinsky became interested in photographing murals and talking to community members about them. She then worked with colleague Julie Kurtz, a translator with a background in Spanish language and folklore, to try to "decode" the visual language of images depicted within murals, producing several articles for academic journals on the subject.

One of the articles, published circa 1986, caught the eye of then Chicago-based filmmakers Ronn Bayly and Susan Regele, who became interested in working on a film about the topic. The group received a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, and began filming soon after. In 1990, the group ran out of funding, and were thus unable to finish the film. 
Custodial History
The films were transferred to CFA in 2021.
Language of Materials
Access Restrictions
This collection is open to on-site access. Appointments must be made with Chicago Film Archives. Due to the fragile nature of the films, only video copies will be provided for on-site viewing.
Dobinsky, Susan
"Murals" 1) José - 10/8/88 - Describes Boys/Girls Club Mural 2) José - 3/20/89 - Talking to Friends at Park Service Mural - Sc 6, 7 + 8
"Murals" 1) José 10/29/88 Describes "Ban Plan 21" Mural 2) Olga - 11/13 - w/ Sis on Walk at Ben. Juar. Sc 1, 2 + 3
"Murals" 1) Olga - 12/11/88 - Describes Lawndale Bank Mural 2) Sandra - 1/13/89 - Describes Cooper School Mural
"Murals" 10/29/88 José - Off Camera Interview at Ban Plan 21 Wild Street Snds at Ban Plan 21
"Murals" 3/12/89 Ivan On-Cam Interview