DIGITAL STORY RESOURCE CENTER FOUNDER MARK LACY.
As a documentary photographer and avid traveler, Mark Lacy made hundreds of thousands of film and digital photos. As a journalist and researcher he created hundreds of thousands of documents. As a radio host and media producer he collected thousands of CDs, audio recordings and videos. As a non-profit director he filed hundreds of thousands of documents and printed materials. As a genealogist he produced hundreds of items of importance to others doing family research.|
The work adds up, the millions of photos, historic items and documents, to a very big problem. Lacy's archives sit in 350 square feet of storage. And he knows that many others face similar problems dealing with their personal creations or organizational files.
While teaching photography and digital storytelling as a visiting lecturer at the University of Houston and simultaneously producing programs and conducting research as director for Houston Institute for Culture, as valuable material stacked up in file boxes, Lacy conceived the idea for the Digital Story Resource Center.
Mark Lacy's experience is widely varied in journalism, education, non-profit management, community development, marketing and public relations, along with research and documentation in arts, culture and economics. He has served as a non-profit organization director, event planner, grant writer, fundraiser, media producer, journalist and photographer. He has also volunteered as a radio host, panel and workshop presenter, and music historian.
Lacy first worked as a photographer and entertainment reporter. He was published in entertainment newspapers and the Houston Chronicle. He additionally covered news events and protests, and worked as a surveillance photographer for groups that protested the Ku Klux Klan in Texas. He was editor of several publications at the University of Houston before being hired as a scientific photographer for the UH Cullen College of Engineering. His work in scientific documentation for noted research faculty, such as John Lienhard, host of the popular national radio program "Engines of Our Ingenuity", Paul Chu, founder of the Texas Center for Superconductivity, and Alex Ignatiev, founder of the Space Vacuum Epitaxy Center, led to key roles in accessing grant funding and public-governmental support for education and research programs.
In addition to winning numerous awards for news, feature and scientific photography, Lacy exhibited and published documentary photography of music, political demonstrations, medical mission work on the U.S.-Mexico border, refugees, New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians and other Gulf Coast traditions. He also conducted research on economic conditions in the subject areas of his documentary work.
Lacy is also a studio lighting expert with extensive success and awards in commercial photography. He has taught classes and workshops on many aspects of photography, including studio and location lighting.
WRITING / EDITING
Lacy has written editorials and feature articles for Literal-Latin American Voices, the Houston Chronicle, Collegium-The Magazine of the University of Houston, and several entertainment publications. He was the editor of a printed translation of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca's historic Journal. He has written many successful grant applications. While a student at University of Houston, Lacy was writer and editor for numerous student publications, including Editor-in-Chief and managing Editor for the Houstonian Yearbook, and Entertainment Editor and Sports Editor for The Daily Cougar. As a student, Lacy defended a critical Prior Restraint (censorship) case with the help of the Associated Collegiate Press, at a highly-relevant time as they worked on a landmark case before the Supreme Court.
Lacy has written features and information for Houston Institute for culture websites and publications for nearly 20 years. Presently, he is finishing a book about his experiences, and plans one about community improvement, drawing from his research on economy and cultural tourism.
Lacy has worked on a $360 million university capital campaign. serving in a variety of capacities, from assisting the university president to producing marketing publications, presentations and donor appreciation events.
Lacy contributed to numerous science and education grant applications, before taking on the challenge to fund non-profit arts and culture activities as a grant writer. He became director of Houston Institute for Culture and produced more than 600 programs, in addition to 100 more within a network of Houston universities, primarily supported with grant funding through competitive and merit-based national, state, and local arts and humanities agencies and foundations. Half of the organization's programs were supported by various outside sources - National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, and area tourism-based funds - having a local impact of about $3 million for arts, culture and education.
As a non-profit director and grant writer, Lacy produced more than 600 public events in art spaces, university facilities and major public parks and theaters, along with highly effective youth programs, and extensive documentary and educational resources. He raised over $1 million for Houston Institute for Culture programs and assisted many other organizations in their fundraising. Lacy compiled statistics on the community and visitor impacts of programs for government agencies and funding sources. He additionally studied the history of non-profit organizations, their positive and negative benefits, and their overall impact to communities. In an extensive study, he analyzed the economic, education, visitor/tourism and quality-of-life impacts of significant cultural attractions in major U.S. and international cities.
Lacy produced lines of programs in traditional arts, media arts, historic celebrations and environmental sciences. The organization made possible and facilitated a wide variety of activities, from operation of art spaces, collaborative productions, and programs to preserve public history, including the stories of Katrina, Rita and Ike hurricane survivors through community involvement and exhibits. Many of the documents are in the archives of the Library of Congress, Houston radio stations, and organization files and personal collections.
As a journalist and public relations professional, Lacy had the opportunity to interact with and learn important, often lesser known facts and insights from noted government officials and recognized public figures, including Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry, U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Soviet Cosmonaut Valentin Lebedev, and UH professor Doug Michels, a visionary artist, architect and founder of the Ant Farm Collective. He had the opportunity to meet with and gain insights from Nobel Peace Prize recipients, including Linus Pauling, Rigoberta Menchu, and many more. He recorded interviews with Doug Michels, Civil Rights leader and Baptist minister William Lawson, and important theatre writers and directors, including Edward Albee, Stuart Ostrow and Sir Peter Hall.
While working in university relations, Lacy had the unique privilege of hosting and interacting with many Nobel Peace Prize recipients, including Linus Pauling, Rigoberta Menchú, Elie Wiesel, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Jody Williams and Betty Williams. As director of Houston Institute for Culture, he was a presenter on local economic issues during a youth conference at the UH College of Social Work, along with Nobel Peace Prize recipient Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. Lacy met Desmond Tutu as a college journalist and recorded Wangari Muta Maathai for Houston educational radio distribution. He also covered many national and international leaders, including presidents from the United States, Ukraine and Taiwan.
EVENT PLANNING / PRODUCTION
Lacy produced numerous international cultural exchange events, including a talk at University of Houston (with NASA cosponsorship) by Soviet cosmonaut Valentin Lebedev, author of "Diary of a Cosmonaut: 211 Days in Space". Lacy hosted Czech photographer Pavel Stecha, who documented Vaclav Havel during his participation in Prague Spring and his ascension to become the first president of the Czech Republic following the Velvet Revolution that ended Soviet domination in Czechoslovakia.
As an event producer at Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston largest public amphitheater, Lacy had the privilege to present concerts by leading legends in American music, including Allen Toussaint, C.J. Chenier, Joe Sample, Leo Nocentelli, Rebirth Brass Band, and rising star Troy Andrews ("Trombone Shorty"). He presented the highest caliber of traditional African-American music, including leading Zydeco bands, brass bands and blues, funk and soul artists.
Lacy produced many documentary film screenings, bringing audiences of hundreds, as many as 900 once, for topical and educational presentations in university theaters and community spaces. He planned important exhibits based on current national affairs, and also facilitated numerous artists' work in gallery and event spaces, including the Artery and East End Studio Gallery.
Lacy began producing events during with his time as a student at the University of Houston, where he booked exciting, new bands in university venues, and organized (even brought innovation to) the university's major spring festival. He held panel discussions on subjects like Apartheid with engaged activists and organized major, international lectures.
TEACHER / WORKSHOP PRESENTER
Lacy taught Educational Uses of Photography and Digital Storytelling as a visiting lecturer for the University of Houston's College of Education. He realized the value of the public history and citizen journalism curriculum in empowering youth to improve their communities and address peer issues in schools, inspiring him to developed youth programs in area middle schools, including Youth Voices, Media Makers, Students for a Better Houston, a youth think tank, and an environmental education program, Houston Cool, to promote the benefits of trees to cool the urban heat island and clean the air in industrial neighborhoods.
Lacy taught numerous workshops for important conferences, including cultural competency seminars for NASA and U.S. State Department officials traveling abroad. He also taught classes and workshops for university departments and local foreign consulates, and presented topical films and panel discussions for university and city-wide audiences. Topics included community improvement, media localism (to benefit local communities and small businesses), social media trends, and photography and media production. He has presented lectures on historic subjects, such as Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca, history of Mexico, origins of Mardi Gras Indian traditions and the diverse cultures that influenced Texas music.
RADIO PRODUCER / HOST
As a radio host for more than 25 years with Rice University Radio and Pacifica, Lacy became a music historian and a collector of international and historic regional music. He curated numerous programs and events based on his knowledge of music history and regional traditions, including Houston's Juneteenth Celebration, Carnival Connection and other series of events at The Artery (documented by the Artery Media Project) for educational use and broadcast on the local PBS television.
MUSIC WRITER / HISTORIAN
Lacy became interested in music from an early age and happened to be in many of the epicenters of Texas music at the right time. He threw the Dallas Morning News newspaper while in grade school, folding papers in the middle of the night across the street from the legendary Dallas night club, Mother Blues, which attracted major touring acts from Great Britain who were interested in Texas music as a source for inspiration. He experienced the heyday of Texas blues, Austin clubs and roadhouse music during the peak of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and ZZ Top. Lacy documented punk bands in the early days of alternative music, having pictures published in Henry Rollins' book, "Get in the Van", as well a recent publication that is receiving excellent reviews, "Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements".
As a music writer, photographer and fan, Lacy has witnessed more than 2,000 live concerts and festivals, experienced over 7,000 live performances. For radio use and research, he collected over 5,000 CDs of music representing world music, regional and historical music, pop, modern and alternative styles, and rare genres. A substantial portion of his collection of more than 500,000 photographs is music related. His files include interviews with historic figures, including influential Western Swing artist Leon "Pappy" Selph and Jazz legend Joe Sample.
TRAVEL ORGANIZER / TOUR GUIDE
Lacy has lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Houston, New Orleans and Albuquerque. He primarily vacations in eclectic historic towns and quirky arts communities, including Santa Fe, New Mexico, Moab, Utah and Bisbee, Arizona. He has explored the nation's great cities, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles, extensively. During most of his years at the University of Houston, he operated a home-based travel business, Lost Dutchman Expeditions (also known as "Expediciones Fotograficas de las Barrancas y los Rios"), taking groups on educational and recreational tours of the Pacific ranges (Sierras and Cascades), Southwest U.S. and Mexico. He has organized volunteers to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and served as a volunteer and host for foreign presenters during the Smithsonian Institution's annual Folklife Festival on the National Mall.
Lacy's travel experience was invaluable in developing concepts and operating of youth camps, including Camp Dos Cabezas for at-risk children and Camp Chaco, to develop academic interests and scholarship capabilities for children.
SURVEYOR, DRAFTSMAN AND RESIDENTIAL DESIGNER
As a high school and college student, Lacy worked as a surveyor (beginning at age 14), map maker and residential architect, even having many of his house plans built while he was in high school. His work with engineers and builders inspired his lifelong interests in renewable energy and efficient design.
OTHER WORK AND INTERESTS
Lacy is interested in hiking and even has a "Walking Resume" that includes his walking and hiking accomplishments, such as his early crossings of Mexico's Copper Canyon and walking distances of up to 41.5 miles in Houston. It includes his research in the areas of pilgrimages, parades, processions, trade routes and the history of competitive walking. He finds many useful lessons in the subject of walking and connections with cultural history aspects. He has followed significant segments of Cabeza de Vaca's journey on land and sea for his research and adventure. Lacy has traveled to nearly all of the national parks, monuments and historic sites in the contiguous United States, as well as many in Mexico, to pursue hiking and photography.
He has also worked in hospitality, sports services and tourism, giving him unique first-hand perspective on service industries and their impact on the economy.
Lacy plans to complete several writing projects and develop interest in visionary ideas, with the goal to promote cultural education and community improvement. He views the continuation of the nation's investment in visionary projects (like the National Parks) to ideas that meet today's needs - some of his own and others by various community and civic leaders - as critical, progressive steps that contribute to education and quality of life, and may one day contribute to several Texas and Louisiana cities being recognized as World Class Cities.
Lacy conducted a three-year study of the cultural resources and assets of large cities around the nation and the world, comparing the benefits of education, quality of life and tourism with major Texas cities. He additionally studied the future of non-profit organizations, with special consideration for funding and sustaining them, since there are now more than one for every 100 people in the nation. He has been concerned that Houston lost many important non-profits in 2014, while city officials tried to determine a tourism strategy and assume the role of cultural purveyor and place maker in the absence of successful grass-roots efforts.
Lacy is interested in the history of the best ideas in America, the most effective means for community improvement and the characteristics of World Class Cities. He developed concepts for future museums in Houston, where he lived for many years, and possibly the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with which he is rapidly becoming reacquainted. He has additionally followed New Orleans' progress in rebuilding and preserving its historic cultural assets, Miami's art scene redevelopment, Memphis's renewed interest in music and historic districts, Tulsa's rise as an American music capital, and Oklahoma City's unusual approach to becoming a city known for outdoors and adventure activities. After returning to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Lacy become interested in Dallas's renewed interests in its arts and cultural assets, Fort Worth's visionary planners and modern health initiatives, Grapevines efforts to be a major tourism locale in Texas, Irving's place at the top of America's most diverse cities, and Arlington's drive for major sports facilities.
Lacy supported the establishment of the East End Cultural District in Houston and preservation of the Astrodome as a significant historical and cultural landmark. He views these interests and developments as a means to advance the most effective potential concepts for Houston. He proposes a provident, international museum, the Houston Museum of Culture, to bring several million annual visitors to a prominent location with cultural tourism interest, like the 8th Wonder of the World, or the International District in Southwest Houston, or possible the new Universtity of Texas campus near the Astrodome. Lacy promotes a similar vision, a Texas Museumof Culture, for Arlington's Texas Rangers stadium, or the historic Fair Park in Dallas.
All aspects of Culture, our ways of life, are in the design for a prominent, innovative Museum of Culture, including practical applications in areas like transportation: removal and submersion of freeways east of downtown Dallas, complete bike corridors and connectors along the Trinity River between Dallas and Fort Worth; bike freeways using Houston's utility right-of-ways, possibly including use of the Pierce elevated for connections; rail and trolley services for Arlington, possibly connecting High Speed Rail planned for routes to roughly parallel I-45 and I-35; and, removal of an elevated stretch of the I-10 bridge in New Orleans' historic Treme and Seventh Ward areas.
DIGITAL STORY RESOURCE CENTER
As an important personal goal, Lacy is developing the concept and structure for the Digital Story Resource Center (DSRC). The center's mission will be to preserve endanger archives, and provide guidance and assistance to people and organizations that face similar challenges. The first goal will be to organize, digitize and find various ways to utilize Lacy's personal and organizational archives. The DSRC will present an extensive group of websites with features, special interests, travel and lifestyle advice, and visionary goals for cities and regions - primarily focusing on several prominent cities and regions in the U.S., Mexico and possibly the Caribbean. Topics will range from Travel, Music and Culture to Food, Health and Living. It will provide critique and commentary on visionary ideas, like "What if We're Wrong: Thinking About the Present as if it Were the Past" by Chuck Klosterman, and groundbreaking essays, like "The American Replacement of Nature: Everyday Acts and Outrageous Evolution of Economic Life" by William Irwin Thompson.
The websites will not purposely cover sensational content or contentious issues, though important topics such as media literacy, the digital divide and other relevant cultural and social issues may be explored. Additionally, the website will not be commercially supported, but rather, it will function similar to college and community radio, with community support, public service messages, promotional announcements and sponsors. A major goal is to avoid and prevent inappropriate and intrusive advertising, banner ads and popup windows. The center will offer a newsletter, resources for educators and community members, on-going programs for involved individuals and organizations, and services to build and present important and interesting archives.
In his scarce free time, Lacy became interested in family genealogy. He views it as a natural compnent of the DSCR He has taught introductory workshops on genealogy and researched his family roots as far back as the Norman invasion of England in 1066. He following the episodes of family members who made perilous journeys across the Atlantic Ocean, survived the Salem Witch Trials and colonial persecution, migrated across the northern Great Lakes region, and eventually came to Missouri as Carpetbaggers and Oklahoma as Sooners. He discovered an important key to having greater understanding of history - beyond abstract family trees on computer screens and DNA tests - is to appreciate the connectedness and the relevance of historical times to the family's past and present conditions.
Finding his family's connections to early railroads and Route 66, and the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, Lacy credits his grandmother for her enjoyment of simple things and love of a reliable automobile for his own desire to see the nation's parks and historic places.
Lacy notes, it was his uncle who emerged from dark times with enthusiasm to experience the best the world had to offer. He invited cultural mystery writer Tony Hillerman to apply for a newspaper job and join him in Santa Fe, contributing to one of the great golden ages in the "City Different", and helping to build an important American legacy in literature. Lacy became aware that many people, like his uncle, have a place in history that is sometimes easily forgotten.
Lacy believes that cultural literacy and competency in cultural history is an important key to every person's value, educational interests and quality of life. He plans to launch programs through the DSRC for amateur historians and genealogists, combining the two disciplines to further participants' personal abilities and increase their community involvement.
The Digital Story Resource Center formally launches in the fall of 2016 with a tour of many great National Parks and the route envisioned by the 100-year-old National Park-to-Park Highway Association.
Examples of Mark Lacy's first photography project, a Black and White documentary series of the vibrant Houston music scene are provided below. The project was exhibited numerous times and the images were printed in music and entertainment publications. Recently, a collection of Lacy's images appeared in the book, Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements.
The Digital Story Resource Center publishes on-line journals, feature magazines and print publications, maintains archives, provides conservation and documentary services, and offers classes in photography and digital storytelling.
Promotional Announcements and Public Service Messages that appear on Digital Story Resource Center (DSRC) websites are selected specifically for their quality, relevance and respectability. The PAs and PSAs support DSRC websites and make it possible to provide content that is educational, informative and interesting to our visitors.
For a better viewing experience, DSRC does not permit pop-up ads, banner ads, subscription requirements, email sign-up requests, or animated graphics that slow down, hinder or impair viewing of the webpages. Those who wish to sign up for special announcements may visit the Contact Page.