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Thursday January 31

ART & MORALITY: Recently, a Canadian critic blasted a production of Richard Strauss's Salome, and seemed to be as upset with the content of the opera as with the director's vision. The controversy brings up an interesting conumdrum for critics: since art doesn't exist in a vacuum, shouldn't critics be allowed to dislike art that offends modern sensibilities? "You can't just denounce a play because you dislike its characters and are disappointed that they aren't being punished for their crimes. Or can you?" The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 01/31/02

HOW ARTISTS MAKE A LIVING: The Urban Institute has announced plans to study the support structure for artists in nine major American cities. According to the Institute, there has never been a scientific investigation into what types and amounts of support are available to assist artists, and the information found in the study will be used to compile a national database for artist use. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 01/31/02

SLOW TALKING: Does the ease of e-mail and instant messaging and cell phones degrade our ability to communicate eloquently? "I have witnessed a manifest decline in the grammar, literary style, and civility of communication. People are less likely these days to stroll down the hall or across campus to converse. Our conversations, thought patterns, and institutional clockspeed are increasingly shaped to fit the imperatives of technology. It is time to consider the possibility that—for the most part—communication ought to be somewhat slower, more difficult, and more expensive than it is now." Utne Reader 01/30/02

Wednesday January 30

NEW NEA CHIEF DEAD: Michael Hammond, who became the chairman of America's National Endowment for the Arts only a week ago, was found dead in Washington Tuesday. "Hammond, 69, a composer and former dean of Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, had told his staff on Monday that he was sick, and stayed home that day. Monday night he attended a dinner and cocktail party at the Shakespeare Theatre but left halfway through. When Hammond didn't show up for meetings Tuesday morning, several members of the staff went to the house he had borrowed in the American University Park neighborhood. When no one answered the door, they called the police." Washington Post 01/30/02

  • ACCOMPLISHED ADVOCATE: "He was still in the process of charting a course for the federal arts agency. But he had made it known that getting children interested in the arts early in life and building a wider audience for the arts among the general public were among his top interests." Dallas Morning News 01/30/02

LANGUAGE OF ART AND SCIENCE: Science, like art, helps explain the world around us. And yet the language of science, the words used to explain it, are often not easy to understand. Likewise, art has not often helped us to learn about science. But there are signs that art is taking new interest in expressions of science. National Post (Canada) 01/30/02

ARTS LOSSES SINCE 9-11: The numbers are starting to come in for arts losses since September 11. "Nearly $30 million was lost between September 11 and October 31, based on 419 responses from arts groups in the five New York City boroughs. Box office income at the reporting institutions was down $11.6 million in that period, and they received $3 million less than anticipated from foundations." Village Voice 01/29/02

BETTING ON BELFAST: What city will be chosen Europe's Capital of Culture for 2008? Of the 13 cities in the running, Belfast is the oddsmakers' favorite "because of its venues, the reputation of its council, but above all because Prime Minister Tony Blair stands most to gain politically by selecting it." The Guardian (UK) 01/30/02

ARGENTINE CRISIS HITS THE ARTS: "Argentina’s artists and institutions learned long ago to live with small budgets. During the last few years the State has barely been able to keep its museums open, with most of the shows underwritten by foreign institutions, embassies and corporate sponsors. But devaluation and its concomitant loss of revenue, along with decreased consumption, seems certain to affect the privatised utilities’ support of the arts." The Art Newspaper 01/30/02

Tuesday January 29

THE LINCOLN CENTRE MESS: "Lincoln Center is a community in deep distress, riven by conflict over a grandiose $1 billion redevelopment plan that was supposed to repair its deteriorating buildings and bring the cultural jewel of New York into the twenty-first century. But instead of uniting the center's constituent arts organizations behind a common goal, the project has pitted them against one another in open warfare more reminiscent of the shoot-out at the OK Corral than of a night at the opera." New York Magazine 01/28/02

SO NO ARRESTING SALLY MANN, GOT IT? "Massachusetts' highest court has overturned the child pornography conviction of an art student who photographed a 15-year-old girl with her breasts exposed. The Supreme Judicial Court said Monday that John C. Bean, who was taking courses at the Worcester Art Museum, 'had no lascivious intent' and the pictures were 'neither obscene nor pornographic.' A judge had sentenced Bean to six months' probation on a charge of 'posing a child in the nude.' Bean also faced having to register as a sex offender." Nando Times (AP) 01/28/02

Monday January 28

ARTIST SUES CATHOLICS: A California artist is suing the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and its president for $100 million for comments the group made in protesting an art exhibition in Napa. The Catholic League had protested Catalan artist Antoni Miralda's exhibit of the pope, some nuns and Fidel Castro defecating. Catholic League president derided the exhibit and asked: "Now I get it: To show his appreciation of Mother Earth, Miralda had to show the pope and nuns defecating. But why couldn't he have chosen the Lone Ranger and Tonto instead? Or better yet, just Tonto and a few of his Indian buddies?" Jon Howard, a part Cherokee artist who lives in Santa Rosa is suing, claiming the remarks were libelous. San Francisco Chronicle 01/25/02

  • Previously: PROTESTING A DEFECATING POPE: An exhibition at the Copia Museum in California features "defecating ceramic figurines of the pope, nuns and angels." Catholic groups are protesting. The museum says the figures are "caganers" or "figurines are part of Spain's Catalonian peasant tradition dating back to the 18th century." But a Catholic spokesman says: "When it's degrading, everybody knows it except the spin doctors who run the museums." Nando Times (AP) 01/06/02

IS OXFORD FALLING BEHIND? Oxford is one of the world's great universities. It is "a byword for Britain's ancient scholarly traditions and still one of the country's best-known cultural symbols, finds itself having to prove that it has an equally meaningful future - or else risk the fate described by a onetime professor of economics here, of 'sliding gradually into mediocrity'. Unthinkable as it might once have been, too, Oxford has seen its academic reputation successfully challenged by other British institutions of higher learning that, until recently, were not even considered fully fledged universities." Chronicle of Higher Education 01/25/02

Sunday January 27

ARTISTIC OUTPOURING: "Immediately after Sept. 11, thousands of people in New York and around the world set out to capture the meaning of those events through artistic expression. In the intervening months, thousands more have joined the effort, resulting in what may turn out to be the largest creative response in history to a single day's event. Poetry, prose, dance, architecture, photography, soundscapes, TV, popular music, theatre, comic books, film, painting and sculpture: They have all grappled with the attacks and their aftermath, in the process provoking questions about the nature of art, its practical usefulness, and the legitimacy of artistic aspirations by non-artists." But while such art may be therapeutic, is it good? "With art that is made in response to an immediate situation, it is rare that that kind of work is able to go beyond commemorating or documenting in the most straightforward manner." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/26/02

  • RUSH TO MEMORY: Why rush to produce memorials for the events of September 11? There are so many proposals and ideas. "This is partly because America's hurry-up, need-it-now culture can't spare the time to let consensus develop organically. We're too impatient to let historical perspective determine what is sufficiently important to cast in bronze. Still we insist on public memorials, even though interest-group politics complicates the process considerably. No public monument can satisfy everyone, but today, it seems, it's difficult for a monument to satisfy anyone." Philadelphia Inquirer 01/27/02

GAY FUND PLAYS IT STRAIGHT: Colorado Springs is not exactly a tolerant place for gays and lesbians (the city is famous for an anti-gay rights initiative passed in the early 1990s). But today Colorado Springs is home to the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, which "since its inception in 1997 has become part of the fourth-largest foundation in Colorado. It has awarded more than $7.3 million, including $2.9 million to arts and culture organizations." The fund has an agenda - it "provides money only to nongay-specific organizations and productions." Denver Post 01/27/02

THE GREAT VANILLA MIDDLE: How's this for a definition of the middle class - "pacific, tolerant, secular, preferring prudence and profits to glory, conscious of itself as a group and, crucially, inward-looking to the point of neurosis." A new book charts how "throughout the 19th century, this minority - just 12 per cent of western populations - grew in influence until it ruled cultural and political life. 'The lower orders can feel but not speak, the aristocracy can speak but has nothing to say; only the bourgeoisie interpret and express the national will,' the French critic Emile Faguet wrote in 1890. What was it like to belong to this elite?" Financial Times 01/25/02

Friday January 25

MARKERS: What is an appropriate memorial for the destruction of the World Trade Center? New York is full of memorials to other tragedies. "Those commemorating large-scale tragedy assume an astonishing variety of forms, from a 148-foot Doric column to a pocketful of blackened dimes and nickels. But each embodies the notion that even the most appalling catastrophe is part of a living continuum." The New York Times 01/25/02

  • INSTA-ART: A flood of new artwork coming out responds to the events of September 11. But "can good art can really be summoned up on demand like that, even in response to cataclysm?" Some of the best, most enduring artistic responses to tragedy haven't appeared until years after the events. Public Arts 01/24/02

MADE TO ORDER: This year's Adelaide Festival is showing films. But unlike most festivals that collect up films to showcase, Adelaide has commissioned artists to make movies just for the festival. The Age (Melbourne) 01/25/02

Thursday January 24

AT THE MERCY OF THE DONOR LIST: The collapse of Houston-based Enron Corporation has sent shock waves through Wall Street and Washington, and launched a whole new slew of late-night TV jokes. But the wholesale disappearance of such a massive company is having a potentially devastating effect on Houston's already shaky arts scene. Replacing a donor who regularly drops tens of thousands of dollars on local ballets, symphonies, and playhouses is a herculean task. Andante 01/24/02

HELPING MANHATTAN ARTISTS: The Andy Warhol Foundation has given $600,000 to help artists in Lower Manhattan. "The grants of $15,000 to $25,000 will go to 29 small to midsize visual arts organizations in Lower Manhattan that have financial hardships. 'We really feel strongly that these groups are just vital to the city'." The New York Times 01/24/02

Wednesday January 23

TAKING A NATIONAL VIEW: The Scottish Arts Council's new chairman has a reputation for being tough. He's set himself a big task. "The arts council must match the significance of the circumstances. It’s got to take a national view, to lift its head from administrative purposes and say: ‘Look what can we do to push Scotland on’. It has to make far more impact, so it’s got to be riskier as well." The Scotsman 01/23/02

Monday January 21

ENGLISH AS AN ENCROACHING LANGUAGE: English is turning up more and more in German speech and writing. "The unhostile takeover of English in trade journals, at conventions and in scientists' and economists' 'speechlessness' with regard to German have fostered a dilution of democratic discourse." Will the Germans follow the French and set up a national council to "protect" German from the encroachment of English? Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 01/21/02

Sunday January 20

OBVIOUSLY A SOCIALIST-ELITIST PLOT: "As American schools struggle to beef up test scores and lift attendance and graduation rates, millions of dollars are being spent to send squadrons of unlikely heroes -- musicians, dancers, poets and painters -- into classrooms. Minnesota is helping to lead this massive educational experiment, even as critics point out that no concrete evidence supports this approach as either cost-effective or beneficial to children." Minneapolis Star Tribune 01/20/02

RANKING THE EGGHEADS: A new book purports to examine the top intellectuals in America, quantifying their importance largely by how widespread their reputation is. A high number of Lexis-Nexis hits counts for more than a substantive idea, making for a predictably controversial list. Is Dinesh D'Souza washed up? Was Lionel Trilling overrated? And what the hell is Sidney Blumenthal doing anywhere near a list of intellectuals? The New York Times 01/19/02 (one-time registration required for access)

Friday January 18

REINSTATING AN OLD ART FORM: Soviet communists, in their zeal to stamp out religious influences, stripped their nation's churches. Almost the first things to go were the bells: they were melted down to make power cables and tractor parts. Now, with a resurgence of religion, there's a demand for replacements. So Russian metal-workers are trying to relearn the old art of casting bells. The Moscow Times (AP) 01/18/02

Thursday January 17

BAD SIGN FOR THE THEATRE? "In a new survey of 1,002 adults ages 18 and older, the Gallup Organization found that the overwhelming majority of Americans prefer home-based activities to a night on the town. In fact, only 10 percent said they'd go out." Christian Science Monitor 01/16/02

THE AESTHETICS OF ART: Artists tend to be repelled by aesthetics, for a number of reasons. Many are suspicious that too much analyzing of their art will harm their creativity; it will encourage them to develop their rational ego at the expense of their creative unconscious. Or they suspect that aesthetic analysis will have no effect on them, that thinking about art in this way is simply useless. Aesthetics-online 01/02

Wednesday January 16

GERMANY'S CULTURAL STATESMAN: "The Goethe Institute is responsible for Germany's cultural policies on the international front. And lately the institute has not enjoyed many opportunities for relaxed cheerfulness - though perhaps this is about to change" as a new president is chosen. "The job of president of the Goethe Institute has the cachet of statesmanship - after all, this most prestigious instrument of Germany's foreign cultural policy has roughly 3,500 employees in 128 cultural institutes in 76 countries, and the presidency is an internationally visible position. But it is also an almost volunteer position, which is why other candidates of retirement age, who prefer better remuneration in their declining years, have indicated their lack of interest." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 01/16/02

NY CUTTING BACK CULTURAL SPENDING: New York's cultural institutions are preparing for big cutbacks in funding from the city. City departments have been asked to plan for budget cutbacks of 25 percent. "Since no one wants to go back to the days when they didn't paint the bridges, cultural projects will be at the bottom of the list. And when they get to the bottom of the list, there's going to be nothing left." The New York Times 01/16/02

WHO WILL HEAD NYT SUNDAY ARTS? Who will succeed John Rockwell as editor of the New York Times Sunday arts section? "Since last month, the name of Kurt Andersen has landed on lists of those believed to have spoken with [executive editor] Howell Raines about the job. But Andersen — former editor of New York magazine, co-founder of and host of an arts program on National Public Radio — said he's had no talks and doesn't want the job." Raines is believed to want the section to take on more popular culture. New York Daily News 01/15/02

  • Previously: NYT CHANGING ARTS COVERAGE? New York Times Arts & Leisure editor John Rockwell has announced he's stepping down from the job. Rockwell says Howell Raines, the Times new editor, wants to change the paper's cultural coverage. "I found out Howell Raines wanted to take this section in a new direction – which, I might add, is perfectly within his rights as executive editor. Howell wants to take it more in a populist direction, more popular culture'." New York Observer 12/19/01

Tuesday January 15

MAYOR LEAVES ART TO CRITICS: New York's Jewish Museum is opening a show in March that looks at the growing artistic use of symbols from the Nazi era. But while religious leaders are bound to protest, don't look for coercion from the city's new mayor Unlike previous mayor Rudy Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg plans to stay out of debates over art: "I am opposed to government censorship of any kind. I don't think the government should be in the business of telling museums what is art or what they should exhibit." The New York Times 01/14/02

THE EDUCATION PRESIDENT: That's what George Bush wants to be. "This year's reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is widely regarded as the most ambitious federal overhaul of public schools since the 1960s. States will now test all students annually from third to eighth grade, while launching a federally guided drive for universal literacy among schoolchildren. Perhaps more strikingly, a political party that once called for the abolition of the Education Department has radically enhanced the federal presence in public schools. After repeating the mantra of local control and states' rights for a generation, the GOP now intrudes on both. What has happened?" The Nation 01/14/02

REDUCED FOR NOISE: The Sydney Fringe Festival begins this week. There are 73 events in the 16-day program, "yet this year's Fringe has suffered a massive budget set-back" because the "noise police" have clamped down on one of the more popular large events. Sydney Morning Herald 01/15/02

Monday January 14

WE LOVE L.A.: While many arts groups across America have had tough times since September 11 (falling attendance, donations and revenues, causing layoffs and a scaling back of activity) Los Angeles arts groups seem to have done fine. "Their income for 2001 may be flat or down slightly, but top officials say they know of no layoffs at major Southern California cultural organizations and only a few cancellations in this year's schedules." Los Angeles Times 01/14/02

EDUCATION SPENDING CONTINUES TO RISE: As the economy has slowed in the US, so has spending on higher education. A survey of states says that appropriations for higher education are up this year by 4.6 percent, the "smallest such increase in five years." Still, adjusted for inflation, state spending on higher education rose by 2.7 percent going into 2001-2. Chronicle of Higher Education 01/14/02

Friday January 11

THE WHY'S WHY OF SMART: Even people who made the "top intellectual" list are skeptical about it. After all, why consider Thomas Friedman but not Maureen Dowd? Why say you don't count novelists (who have an iffy claim on intellectual status anyway) if you then include Toni Morrison and Aldous Huxley? The New Republic 12/31/01

  • WHAT'S IT TAKE? "Let us now stipulate that it is a goddamned outrage that [your name here] and/or [your friends' names here] were not included, and that [your enemies' names here] were. Restitution can and must be sought in the courts." Slate 01/07/02
  • Previously: WHO'S WHO OF SMART: A new book attempts to determine who America's leading intellectuals are by counting media mentions. Dumb methodology but great fun. "The top public intellectual by media mentions in the last five years turns out to be Henry Kissinger, followed by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Sidney Blumenthal comes in seventh, which of course undermines the entire enterprise." New York Observer 01/02/02

Thursday January 10

CANADA'S FAILING ARTS: A Canada Council report studying Canada's largest arts institutions comes to a depressing conclusion: "that the big arts groups have reached the limits of their growth in a society that increasingly can find no more public nor private money to pay for them." Attendance is static or falling, public funding has dropped, and private fundraising hasn't kept up. "Do we need the debt-laden Toronto Symphony? Should we tell the Stratford Festival that, with a $2-million surplus to its credit, it no longer requires public subsidy? Will the National Ballet still be worthy of the name when it has only 35 dancers and never tours?" The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/10/02

ARTS CLUB RAIDED: New York's venerable 104-year-old National Arts Club was raided by police last Friday. Police "arrived at the crack of dawn with a search warrant and orders to raid the club’s administrative offices as part of an investigation into possible grand larceny and tax evasion. The club has been rocked by controversies in recent years, and some members fear that "some of the club’s sizable art collection, which the 1997 audit said had an appraised value of $4.9 million, could be sacrificed to pay for the club’s legal bills." New York Observer 01/09/02

CAUGHT IN THE CULTURE WAR: Performance artist William Pope.L was one of two artists whose grants from the National Endowment for the Arts were held up by the then acting head of the NEA last month. Though money was later approved for a production of Tony Kushner's Kabul play was later approved, Pope.L's grant has not been released. Says the artist: "The NEA has an institutional responsibility not to bring besmirchment to or blacken, if I may, their character by valuing work that can possibly bring criticism on them. But in limiting themselves, they encourage a particular way of looking at American culture, don't they?" Village Voice 01/09/02

Wednesday January 9

DECLINE IN ARTS FUNDING FROM UK LOTTERY? The arts' tremendous building boom in the UK in the past seven years has been largely the result of big slugs of cash from the National Lottery. But the lottery's take in the past six months is down five percent, falling to £668 million for the half year, down from £708 million in a similar period the year before. The arts stand to get about 16 percent of the total, and this is the third year in a row that lottery revenues are declining. The Art Newspaper 01/08/02

TRYING FOR A RETURN TO BEAUTY AND LIGHT: It's a tough time for newspaper columnists. There is a lingering sense that to write about anything but the aftereffects of September 11 would be disrespectful, or at least ignorant of current priorities, and yet life has moved on, and many writers are desperate to return to the days when, if they felt like sitting down at the keyboard and banging out 1200 words on narrative form, they could do so. But how to ignore the daily barrage of war news? The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 01/09/02

Monday January 7

ADELAIDE MAKEOVER: Having purged Peter Sellars as director of this year's Adelaide Festival, the festival has revealed a new lineup that keeps some of the Sellars fare and adds new performers. Still at the heart of the festival is John Adams' El Nino directed by Sellars. The Age (Melbourne) 01/07/02

Sunday January 6

PROTECTING IDEAS TO DEATH: "Lawrence Lessig's passionate new book, 'The Future of Ideas, argues that America's concern with protecting intellectual property has become an oppressive obsession. ''The distinctive feature of modern American copyright law,' he writes, 'is its almost limitless bloating.' As Lessig sees it, a system originally designed to provide incentives for innovation has increasingly become a weapon for attacking cutting-edge creativity. Why, Lessig asks, does American law increasingly protect the interests of the old guard over those of the vanguard?" The New York Times 01/06/02

THE IDEA OF GENIUS: "Do any artists deserve a transcendent label? At one time such questions would have seemed somewhat strange. Philosophers have argued about how to define genius, not about whether it exists. But challenges to the idea's validity have become commonplace in recent years. Genius has been judged to be little more than a product of good marketing or good politicking." The New York Times 01/05/02

CHANGE OF VENUE: In the past decade new performing arts venues have sprung up all over Atlanta. But some have not lived up to their extravagant ambitions. "Now, facing serious deficits, an unforgiving economy and a loss of creative leadership, two of the biggest halls are confronting their greatest challenges. The question is not whether they can survive, but whether, in a newly competitive market, the venues can continue to be as experimental in their programming." Atlanta Journal-Constitution 01/06/02

OF INTELLIGENCE AND MORALITY: A new book looks at the politics of intelligent people. "It is now a commonplace - but for all that still unnerving - that it was very often not merely the stupid but the highly intelligent who gave their support to the Hitlers and the Stalins of the last century. Anyone in search of an explanation for this fact might therefore think it better to look not to the quality of mind of these devotees but rather to their character, their moral psychology. This is an intricate, treacherous field of inquiry, and one for which we have no particularly powerful philosophical idiom: since at least the 18th century, philosophers have given over the matter to novelists, and the older vocabularies - of corruptibility, of akrasia, or weakness of will - no longer have broad intellectual resonance." The New York Times 01/06/02

ART TO THE RESCUE: Like many charities, the New York Times' Neediest Cases Fund has seen contributions decline since September 11. So the paper has decided to hold an auction of art to try to make up the shortfall. Artists donating work include Ross Bleckner, Louise Bourgeois, Larry Clark, Chuck Close, Gregory Crewdson, Jenny Holzer, William Kentridge, Sol LeWitt, Shirin Nashat, Nam June Paik, Doug and Cindy Sherman, Mike Starn and Christopher Wool. The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation has also contributed a painting by the late Pop artist." The New York Times 01/05/02

Friday January 4

THE FUTURIST'S TOMORROW: "The future is coming up faster than ever, and it will not be long now before we drive our even bigger cars, fitted with instant e-mail communications, from the high-rise office built behind the façade of a fine old structure -- façadism will be the architectural style of the era -- to our exurban homes decorated with the odd Old Master leased by the year from the local museum in a curators' brainwave we will call Rent-a-Rembrandt." Or so says Faith Popcorn, who has something of an impressive record with such predictions. National Post (Canada) 01/04/02

Thursday January 3

LINCOLN CENTER SUFFERS MORE HITS: Lincoln Center's controversial $1.2 billion refurbishment plans got a double hit Wednesday when new New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg "suggested that the project would have to be delayed" and that the city might have difficulty in following through with a promised $240 million contribution. Meanwhile, Lincoln Center's interim executive director said she was leaving to head Philadelphia's new Kimmel Performing Arts Center. The New York Times 01/03/02

HELPING ARTISTS, NOT CORPORATIONS: There are countless organizations devoted to funding art, and millions of dollars are spent every year by philanthropists doing their part to bring new works to the world. But most of the available cash comes in the form of grants that can only be applied for by incorporated non-profits, leaving independent artists out in the cold. But in Pennsylvania, a familiar foundation has begun devoting a good-sized chunk of change to helping out the proverbial "starving artist." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 01/03/02

Wednesday January 2

OLYMPICS CULTURAL CHIEF RESIGNS: The director of the Athens Cultural Olympics has resigned. The cultural event is to be held in conjunction with the 2004 Athens Olympics. "The resignation was the newest head-on blow to the 2004 Games organizers, who had been dogged by infighting, bureaucracy and delays. The International Olympic Committee has repeatedly warned Athens to quicken its work if it wants to host good Games. The Cultural Olympics, initially envisioned as similar to the ancient Greek poetry and art contests that were held along with sports competitions in Ancient Olympia, were one of Greece's strong points in winning the bid for the 2004 Games." Andante (Xinhua) 01/02/02

GOING FORWARD: Most novels are told in the past tense. But great art, great thinking happens in the present dreaming of the future. That's really the essence of modernism - using the past to build a future rather than declaring the past and future as cause-and-effect. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/02/02

THIS YEAR's CULTURAL CAPITALS: In promoting culture, the European Union has been choosing a "Cultural Capital" each year. The idea promotes the arts in those chosen cities and has spurred greater investment in the arts. "For 2002, there are two Cultural Capitals, both small, historic cities: Salamanca, in western-central Spain, and Brugge, near the coast of Belgium." Chicago Tribune 01/01/02