WNED-TV has been awarded a $437,782 grant from The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation to fully fund a one-hour national documentary about East Aurora, N.Y.’s Roycroft community and its flamboyant founder, Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915).
ELBERT HUBBARD AND THE ROYCROFTERS is scheduled to air on public television in late 2009 or early 2010. WNED senior producer Paul Lamont describes his upcoming film as “a story of love, art, passion and controversy set against the backdrop of the Arts and Crafts Movement at the turn of the 19th century” as well as “a profound reminder that great moments of our past can be found in places small.”
Hubbard’s Roycroft artisans were at the forefront of the cultural and artistic movement that emphasized “head, heart and hand” in crafting simple designs for everyday objects. Hubbard, a colorful and controversial national figure, was an influential author, publisher, lecturer and entrepreneur who attracted master craftspeople, as well as numerous dignitaries, to his inn and campus.
Hubbard’s essay, “A Message to Garcia,” tells the story of a young man in the Spanish-American War who unhesitatingly followed his superior’s orders and delivered a dispatch against fearful odds. This paean to blind acceptance of duty took the country by storm. The New York Central Railroad ordered more than a million reprints of “A Message to Garcia.” The corporate world followed suit and the essay was reprinted in many languages and dialects and distributed widely throughout the world.
The nonprofit Roycroft Campus Corporation (RCC) is restoring the original campus ― a National Historic Landmark and the nation’s only authentic Arts and Crafts community ― located twenty minutes from Buffalo.
“Hubbard’s story and his contributions to American culture have been a nearly forgotten chapter in our collective history,” said RCC President Douglas Swift. “This film will be a tremendous boost to our efforts to restore the Roycroft Campus and turn it into a working Arts and Crafts community and cultural tourism destination, contributing greatly to Western New York’s economic development strategy.
“The RCC is thrilled that WNED will be producing this documentary and grateful to the Margaret L. Wendt Foundaton for their ongoing support and their sponsorship of this important production.”
“Elbert Hubbard and hisRoycrofters were key players in a movement that made a significant contribution to our regional and national heritage,” said WNED President and CEO Donald K. Boswell. “Bringing their grand American story to a national television audience is part of WNED’s commitment to sharing our community’s many cultural and environmental treasures with the world.”
WNED’s catalog of recent national productions or co-productions includes Frank Lloyd Wright’s Buffalo (2006), Niagara Falls (2006), The Adirondacks (2008), Fort Niagara: The Struggle for a Continent (2004), Window to the Sea (2005)and The Marines (2007). Projects currently in development include The War of 1812.
Through WNED-TV, ThinkBright TV, Classical 94.5/WNED-FM and WNED-AM 970 The Information Station, the member-supported Western New York Public Broadcasting Association provides high quality programming and services that enlighten, inspire, entertain and educate our communities.