A brief look at the background to the collection – its creation and the innovative ways in which it has expanded the audience for films on art – and at exciting future developments.

The impetus for the collection was generated by Anthony Roland’s nationwide lecture tour of the United States, where he presented five films that he had directed to museums and universities in twenty-eight cities. The response from art educators was an overwhelming demand for readily accessible films on art. Anthony Roland took up the challenge to search out and select the finest films available and to distribute them worldwide. This involved extensive work at film laboratories around the world, making negatives compatible with US standards.

The Roland Collection was launched as an official cultural event of the Olympics in Mexico City. Since then the collection has supplied programs to over four thousand clients in eighty-two countries, and to two hundred film festivals, as well as creating unique festivals of films on art in their own right.

The Art Film Centre was set up in central London: for two years two cinemas were dedicated to showing films on art, bringing together members of most of the capital’s art associations, and art-lovers from across Europe, who came to spend whole weekends at the centre.

The Guardian paid tribute to

“the magnitude of Anthony Roland’s faith” and to his choice of films that combine “intrinsic filmic quality with worthy subject-matter,”

and in the Times the sculptor Henry Moore wrote:

“that it required the enterprise and courage of one individual to bring such a concept into being is a matter for amazement”;

the Sunday Times acclaimed Anthony Roland as a

“one-man UNESCO.”

Using forty large video monitors, 500 programs on art have been presented over a number of days at numerous shows:

A mobile art museum, named Artscope, was created, consisting of sixteen open-air cinemas, with a 6,400 seating capacity. Its month-long world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival was a huge success.

The Scotsman called Artscope

“the most extraordinary spectacle to be seen anywhere in the festival”.

This was followed by a five-week US premiere on the National Mall in Washington DC, and a New York City summer season.

“Artscope is a three-dimensional catalog of Roland’s film collection. Looking like a campfire-circle for culture vultures … the atmosphere is glorious”  Washington Post

“Artscope … a unique amalgam of international talent.”  The Smithsonian Associate

“Anthony Roland believes commercial distributors don’t screen the world’s best films. So he’s come up with a way to take great films directly to the people. His solution transforms any large park or city square into an open-air arena containing sixteen separate film screens. The result is a festival of art, film, music and bacchanal all rolled into one” Special Events Report, Chicago

Other festivals organized by the Roland Collection include a three-day festival at the National Gallery Art Book Fair in London; a five-day festival of rare films on art for the International Council of Museums in Quebec City; 106 screenings over four days using twenty screening rooms at the Munich Medianet (an international market of audiovisual and interactive programs for culture and education).

  • Museums and Heritage show, London
  • MILIA (International Publishing and New Media Market), Cannes
  • Salon International des Techniques
  • Museographiques, Lille
  • Audiovisual Creative Fair, Brussels
  • European Council of International Schools, Montreux

The Roland Collection also exhibits intermittently at numerous annual conventions:

  • American Library Association (ALA)
  • College Art Association (CAS), USA
  • International Council of Museums (ICOM)
  • International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
  • International Film and Programme Market for TV, Video, Cable and Satellite
  • (MIPCOM), France
  • International Television Programme Market (MIPTV), France
  • National Art Education Association (NAEA), USA
  • National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE), USA
  • National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD), UK