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Thursday, July 31, 2003

Flash-Mobs - Hard To Take Seriously? Are the so-called "flash-mobs" springing up in cities around America a serious movement or a quick-to-pass fad? "Whether one views them as part of a serious social movement or a form of quirky entertainment (or both), flash mobs are perfectly appropriate for this town. Historically, San Francisco has been rife with pranking and performance art organizations. Loosely organized groups of merrymakers - including the Amateur Press Association, the Church of the SubGenius, Survival Research Laboratories, Billboard Liberation Front, the edgier Suicide Club, Santarchy, and the still-kickin' Cacophony Society - have been tugging San Francisco's pigtails since the turn of the 20th century." SF Weekly 07/31/03

Arts Students Die At An Earlier Age? "A study of thousands of former students of Glasgow University found that arts and law students were most likely to die early. Arts students were most likely to die from lung cancer or other forms of respiratory disease." BBC 07/31/03

From Books To Art Evansville Indiana has a beautiful old 1931 Art Deco central library which is due to be vacated after the library moves into a new home next year. So what to do with the vacant building? One plan is for a new mixed used community cultural center... Evansville Courrier & Press (Indiana) 07/31/03

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

California Eviscerates Arts Funding California slashes its arts funding from $18 million to a token $1 million, effectively shutting down the agency. "The new budget translates to less than 3 cents per person statewide. California will now rank dead last in per capita state spending for the arts. The national average is $1.10 per person." San Francisco Chronicle 07/31/03

"Fortress America" As Visits To US Sharply Down Travel to the United States this summer is sharply down. "Both tighter restrictions on getting into this country - and a strong disillusionment with the US abroad - are causing tens of thousands of people worldwide to forgo trips to America. Critics say the decline is evidence of a visa-screening process too restrictive, creating a 'fortress America.' But supporters see that process as essential to protecting the nation in a post-9/11 world." Christian Science Monitor 07/30/03

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Express Yourself The Free Expression Policy Project has a comprehensive report on free expression in arts funding. "The report includes candid interviews with agency officials regarding funding disputes, political accountability, and most important, ways of reaching out to communities and opening up dialogue about challenging or provocative art. The report also contains extensive background on the "funding wars" of the 1990s, illustrations, and two appendices summarizing free expression statements and policies among all state arts agencies and a random sample of local agencies." Free Expression Policy Project 07/03

What It Means To Copy (And What's Allowed) Is copying a movie or music outright theft (piracy) as the movie and music industries claim? Maybe. But maybe not. There are lots of misconceptions as to what is stealing, what is fair use, and what is infringement of copyright. Here's a primer on what is allowed and what isn't. The Register 07/28/03

Monday, July 28, 2003

Berlin Slashes Away At Its Cultural Support "Since the 18th century almost every German city has had a subsidised theatre, opera and orchestra. In Berlin the local authority spends up to €200 (£141) on each theatre or concert hall seat every year whether filled or not. But the city can no longer afford it. With debts of nearly €50bn, the city is effectively bankrupt." So it is slashing its culture budget, laying off arts workers and reigning in expenditures on the city's arts, to the anguished cries of artists and citizens. The Guardian (UK) 07/29/03

Towards A New Cultural Manifesto Max Wyman spent 35 years as a critic at the Vancouver Sun before retiring. Now he's working on a manifesto intended to suggest a new relationship between government and the arts. "Intended as a tool kit of public debate, the manifesto calls for a new cultural contract between government and the governed. Its central thrust is the belief that culture, like health and education, is not only an unassailable human right but essential to the social and ethical well-being of society -- and should be fostered and funded appropriately." Vancouver Sun 07/27/03

Sunday, July 27, 2003

History vs. Agriculture "A campaign launched 133 years ago finally resulted yesterday in a demand by archaeologists to end the trashing of 8,000 years of British history, through successive governments permitting and even encouraging farmers to plough archaeologically sensitive land... The scale of the destruction is awesome, and getting worse. There are government-issued ploughing permits for almost 3,000 scheduled ancient monuments, the archaeological sites that are recognised as nationally important." The Guardian (UK) 07/26/03

American Arts Interest Stays Stagnant "A recently released report from the National Endowment for the Arts indicates that the percentage of adults attending at least one jazz, classical music, opera, musical, play or ballet performance or visiting an art museum over the course of a year has stayed stubbornly at around 40 percent over the last 20 years. The total number of arts participants has increased, but so has the total U.S. adult population." Chicago Tribune 07/27/03

Is Australia's Racism Killing The Arts? Australia has swung to the right politically in recent years, and some observers believe that the increased hostility to foreigners and aboriginals is having a terrible effect on the nation's artistic diversity. "The socially-conservative mood, say some arts groups, is also hampering audience willingness to step out of their cultural comfort zones. In turn, this development may be driving commercially safer arts patronage." The Age (Melbourne) 07/28/03

Austin Looks To The Future, Struggles With The Present In Austin, civic leaders are banking on the idea that a dramatic new performing arts center slated to open in 2006 will secure the city's performing arts scene for decades to come. But the PAC has to get built first, and supporters are finding that that's no easy task in the current economy. The hall is expected to cost $110 million, and the city only has $62 million in hand, forcing organizers to move to a phased building plan which will not alleviate the city's performing space crunch anytime soon. Still, the PAC will eventually allow the city's arts groups to perform in a top-notch space at relatively low cost. News 8 Austin 07/25/03

Ohio Slashes Arts Budget By 1/5 Ohio has become the latest state to make severe cuts to the amount spent on the arts in an effort to balance the budget. The Ohio State Arts Board will take a 21% hit in its funding level over the next two years. The cuts don't take effect until next year, but the board is already moving to reduce the amount of some of this year's grants. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 07/26/03

  • As Ohio Cuts, Cleveland Innovates "Revised legislation introduced at the July 16 Cleveland City Council meeting would require 1.5 percent of the budget for each new municipal construction or improvement project to go for artwork, brightening everything from new firehouses to bridges, parks, utilities and streetscapes." In addition, an upcoming ballot measure could result in a slight sales tax increase with all proceeds going to local arts initiatives. The moves are part of a concerted effort to bolster Cleveland's image through the nurturing of a serious arts scene. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 07/26/03

Friday, July 25, 2003

Wouldn't It Be Better To Force Them To Give More? This week, the du Maurier Arts Council, a division of the du Maurier tobacco company, handed out its annual arts grants for the last time. A new Canadian federal regulation prohibits tobacco companies from being directly involved in arts funding, as part of a larger bill which restricted tobacco advertising. With money for the arts hard to come by in any case, many arts advocates are furious at the new regulation, with one theater executive saying, "The federal government telling anyone they can't give money to the arts is a load of s---." Calgary Herald 07/24/03

When A Concert Hall Isn't Just A Concert Hall "With world-class acoustics and a dramatic, curved steel exterior that looks more like sculpture than architecture, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is more than just a new home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. When the $274-million, Frank Gehry-designed building opens this fall, government officials and business leaders are counting on it to become the signature of the downtown skyline and an impetus for revitalizing the area." Washington Post (AP) 07/25/03

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Pew Trust To Separate From Parent Company "The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the nation's largest foundations, is taking steps to separate itself from Glenmede Trust Co., the money-management firm created in 1956 to administer the Pew family's fortune and its charities." The move is largely a financial decision, allowing the Pew to become a full-fledged non-profit corporation, creating a significant tax savings. Glenmede would continue to administer the Pew's multiple trusts, but would no longer employ the Pew's staff. Philadelphia Inquirer 07/23/03

Booking Space At Ground Zero "More than 10 well-known New York arts and cultural institutions are working on plans to be part of the new center that will be built at Ground Zero. The proposals, from institutions ranging from off-Broadway theaters to museums, are in response to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.'s recent request for formal expressions of interest from cultural groups that wish to be part of the site." Among the groups which have already declared their wishes to relocate to the site are the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, and the Joyce Theater. Crain's New York Business 07/21/03

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Hockey And Beethoven - Together At Last What could be better than a brand spanking new concert hall with the latest in acoustical technology, built to host a chamber music festival previously housed in a high school gym? Well, how about that same concert hall, but with a hockey museum attached? "A centre in Parry Sound, Ontario, containing both the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame and an impressive concert hall for playing classical music is the latest in a list of strange compromises in Canadian culture." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/22/03

Is Hip-Hop Culture Destroying African-American Youth? A new book accuses the hip-hop culture which is so dominant among African-Americans of "doing a better job of demeaning black people than the Ku Klux Klan ever did... [The author's] main point is that by glorifying 'gangsta' and 'playa' lifestyles, most major label rap releases are stereotyping black Americans as sex-crazed simpletons prone to violence." The book doesn't argue against rap music in general, only against the "thug" image which drives the form in today's corporate-dominated music industry. The book is winning slow and cautious support from some on the fringes of the hip-hop world, who claim that the form has been co-opted by gun-wielding thugs and pretend 'pimps.' Boston Herald 07/22/03

Austin Arts Scene Drooping Austin, Texas is frequently cited as the Lone Star State's cultural oasis, a small city with a legendary music scene and more arts than it knows what to do with. But things are tough all over. Last year, "Austin Lyric Opera fired one of its founding members, the Austin Musical Theatre couldn't afford to finish its season, and the city slashed arts funding by 33 percent across the board. With these uncontrollable events behind them, the need for adequate performing space persists along with a fierce competition for patrons' dollars." News 8 Austin 07/21/03

  • When The Money Isn't There In Austin, arts supporters have been upset over the way the city allocates the funds it receives from the municipal hotel tax, which is earmarked for cultural activities. But the city insists that this year's 30% cut in funding was necessary because of the slumping tourism industry. The city's arts leaders are currently working on a series of economic impact studies, which they hope will convince civic officials that the arts are the type of investment that returns more money to the community than it takes out. But such studies tend to be difficult to quantify. News 8 Austin 07/22/03

Portland Bucks The Trend Nearly all of Portland's major arts groups ran in the black in the fiscal year just concluded, despite the nationwide economic malaise which has seen so many orchestras, museums, and theatres in other cities struggle to stay above water. The Oregon Symphony is right on its budget target, Portland Opera outdid its own fundraising expectations, and several smaller performing arts groups also met or exceeded their budget goals. The key to Portland's success seems to be agressive fundraising and sound management practices. The Oregonian (Portland) 07/22/03

Monday, July 21, 2003

Could The Arts Pull Detroit Back To Respectability? Detroit has been losing population for years, and the city's image in the national consciousness is hardly a positive one. Everyone wants to see a turnaround, but where to begin? Other cities have harnessed to power of the "creative class" to make their urban core more attractive, more exciting, and therefore more attractive to homebuyers. Paul Horton writes that Detroit has plenty of artists, so why not see what a little unity can do? "A hip and happening atmosphere is a crucial element in a city that 'works' and is a key to prosperity... If the elements needed to draw new residents are not in place, Detroit and other urban cities will continue to lag behind." Detroit Free Press 07/21/03

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Everything But The Cash The city of Orlando wants to build a new performing arts center, and everything has been falling into place lately. The mayor is on board, and a prime plot of land in the downtown district has been acquired and earmarked for the project. There's just one thing missing: $200 million. So far, not a single donor has come forward to offer assistance for the project, and one official has suggested that "presenting a community such as Orlando with a fund-raising goal as large as $200 million can be overwhelming." Orlando Sentinel 07/20/03

Schultz Still Guilty Of Dealing In Stolen Goods "In a long-awaited decision, a US federal court has rejected an appeal by a New York antiquities dealer who argued that he should not be convicted of violating US law for having dealt in Egyptian antiquities. The objects are claimed as Egyptian property under Egyptian law. The dealer, Frederick Schultz, was sentenced in June 2002 to 33 months in prison for conspiracy to receive stolen property, but argued that Egypt’s claim to own the objects under its patrimony law did not make them 'stolen' in the U.S." The Art Newspaper 07/18/03

Friday, July 18, 2003

Cleveland's Arts Industry Takes A Big Hit A new study showing that Cleveland's arts industry has lost 163 jobs and millions of dollars in the last year is raising serious red flags among the area's cultural and political power players. The arts are hurting all over, of course, but in Cleveland, which has never made arts funding a priority, the economic pain is multiplied, and arts advocates are saying that only a large infusion of cash can hope to turn around the city's slumping cultural fortunes. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 07/18/03

Fortifying An 'Arts Neighborhood' "Standing by a South Boston construction site, Mayor Thomas M. Menino yesterday quoted Pablo Picasso, as the Fort Point Cultural Collaborative announced plans for Midway Studios, a 200,000-square-foot development that will house 89 new artists' live/work studios, a gallery, a black box theater, and other cultural facilities in Boston's Fort Point neighborhood." The project is designed to combat the seemingly endless cycle that sees artists move into a run-down urban neighborhood and breathe new life into it, only to be forced out by the rising property values that their good work makes inevitable. Boston Globe 07/18/03

Committing To The Arts In Elvis City The city of Memphis is known mainly for barbecue and Elvis, but lately, the western Tennessee city has been making a concerted push to become what is commonly referred to as a "big-league town." That means getting at least one major league sports franchise to move in: Memphis swiped Vancouver's NBA team last year. It means a serious effort to revitalize the downtown area: check. And, according to the folks in charge of Memphis, it means creating major public-private partnerships to support the arts and cultivate a unique musical and artistic scene in the city. Despite the nationwide trend towards slashing arts funding, Memphis is launching "a fund drive to generate $25 million for the Greater Memphis Arts Council." Memphis Commercial Appeal 07/18/03

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Recycle Me "Is nothing new under the sun? some critics are asking (properly attributing that phrase to the writer of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, of course). Author Joan Didion pointed out in a 1996 speech that when she arrived at college 'it was immediately impressed on me that all the novels necessary had already been written.' Does that suggest we're living in unimaginative times in which lazy artists simply mimic the past or, worse, slip into plagiarism? A quick scan of popular culture could suggest that." Christian Science Monitor 07/18/03

Boston To Create New Artist Center Boston is about to break ground on a new project to develop artist spaces in three hundred-year-old warehouses. The Fort Point artist project is a $23-million, 206,000-square-foot complex. "Architectural designs for the project include 200-seat and 50-seat black box theaters, classroom and rehearsal space, an art gallery and cafe, and 89 units of artist housing ranging from 920 to 2,300 square feet. The collaborative also plans to rent about 7,000 square feet of office and retail space to nonprofit arts groups and arts-related businesses." Boston Herald 07/17/03

Californians Rally To Save State Arts Funding Hundreds of Californians rallied in San Francisco Wednesday to protest state legislature plans to eliminate arts funding. "Beating drums, reciting poetry and waving signs, the crowd of artists and arts lovers danced, chanted and cheered as speakers urged the state Legislature to spare the 27-year-old California Arts Council. Legislators are considering slashing the agency's budget to help close the state's $38.2 billion deficit." San Francisco Chronicle 07/17/03

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Ending Cal. Arts Funding Is Shortsighted (And Costly) A proposal to zero out the California Arts Council will make recovering it difficult later. "Eliminating the Arts Council in a bad budget year is like taking your car to the junkyard because you can't afford to buy gas this week. Times will get better, and when they do, re-creating a state arts council will be far more costly and complex than keeping the existing one in place." San Jose Mercury-News 07/16/03

Delaying Hall Might Put Austin Arts Groups On The Street Because of funding problems, a long-awaited new performing arts center in Austin, Texas might be delayed. And that could be a disaster for the city's performing arts groups. "It remains to be seen whether the opening of the Long Center will come before the University of Texas must close Bass Concert Hall for safety improvements in 2006. If neither large hall is open, the city's symphony, opera and ballet and major touring shows will be left without a suitable home." Austin American-Statesman 07/15/03

Libeskind, Silverstein Agree To Team Up On Ground Zero Rebuild Ground Zero will be rebuilt with oversight from an apparently tenuous partnership between architect Daniel Libeskind and developer Larry Silverstein. Still, for New York officials, any partnership is better than the uncertainty that has been dogging the project. "The agreement... came during an eight-hour negotiating session that stretched from Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning... The impasse centered on how much influence Mr. Libeskind would have on the design of the first office building to go up at the site, the 1,776-foot tower that will define the rebuilt trade center's presence on the Lower Manhattan skyline." The New York Times 07/16/03

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Will California Wipe Out Its Arts Funding? California - known as a center of creativity - could soon become the first American state to eliminate its arts funding. "Cultural groups and artists say the death of the 28-year-old agency would have a ripple effect throughout the state. They predict as many as 14 regional arts councils receiving Arts Council funding could be eliminated, and the National Endowment of the Arts would divert $1 million earmarked for Arts Council distribution to other states. The state ranks 40th in the nation in per capita arts funding." San Jose Mercury-News 07/15/03

Is The Art Or Applause Dying? Rupert Christiansen observes that audiences seem less enthusiastic with their applause these days. "Why should this be? As a culture, we are much less repressed than we used to be. Nobody any longer fights back the tears manfully - in fact, you can hardly switch the radio on without hearing some disaster victim collapsing into gut-churning sobs. We are repeatedly exposed to the sounds and images of extreme drama, both actual and fictional. This may mean that the excitement that live music stimulates is less intense and surprising - we hear it, after all, every day, reproduced with a fidelity that wasn't possible in the pre-FM, pre-digital era. The passivity of television and a certain fed-on-a-plate laziness about our consumption of art also contribute to the fall in the clapometer." The Telegraph (UK) 07/16/03

Alternatives To State Arts Funding? "The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies has reported that total funding for state arts councils will be $354.9 million in 2003, down more than 13% from the $408.6 million recorded for 2002. And with budgets in California and a few other states in limbo, that figure could still take a tumble." So are there alternative public arts funding plans that could work? Backstage 07/15/03

Monday, July 14, 2003

Is Latin America The Next Big Thing? "The notion that Latin America will give birth to the next great wave of art and ideas isn’t exactly new. For several years the topic has been the source of lively discussions when arts folk gather. But how does an industry whose machinery is programmed to face New York and Paris turn to face Mexico City and Buenos Aires? Step by step … and step one just happened." Orange County Register 07/13/03

Do Florida Politicians Dislike The Arts? Florida legislators recently turned art-unfriendly. "Increasingly, this state's leaders seem to regard arts and cultural endeavors as expensive luxuries, in cities, towns and schools alike. Even worse, they regard government funding for cultural programs with an air of disdain and suspicion. In the recent legislative session, legislators diverted most of the state's cultural funding to cover gaping holes left in other parts of the budget..." The News-Journal (Florida) 07/13/03

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Rebranding German Culture Is German culture stolid, dull and humorless? "To counter their stereotyping as humorless, rude, know-it-all, perfectionist workaholics with a historic tendency toward murderous chauvinism, Germans will soon be portrayed in advertisements across Europe as hedonistic, with-it, athletic sexpots. Think Claudia Schiffer, not Helmut Kohl." Boston Globe 07/13/03

Friday, July 11, 2003

Flash-Mobs - Art Or... "In recent weeks, New Yorkers have been using forwarded e-mails to coordinate 'flash mobs,' or not-so-random crowds that appear and dissipate within a matter of minutes. Is it performance art? The cutting edge of a new social movement? Or just an easy way to flummox carpet salesmen?" Chicago Tribune 07/11/03

Thursday, July 10, 2003

NY Spent $2.4 Billion On Arts Buildings In 90s A new study charts spending on arts projects in New York in the booming 90s. "The combined spending in public and private money for capital construction for these groups hit $2.4 billion during the 10-year period in question, $1.8 billion alone being spent from 1997 to 2002. The spending generated $2.3 billion in economic activity, including $512 million in wages, 2,255 full-time jobs, and $36 million in personal income, sales, and corporate revenues flowing back into the city coffers." Backstage 07/10/03

Gioia: My Vision For The NEA In a speech to the National Press Club, national Endowment for the Arts chief Dana Gioia takes a stab at artciulating an "overarching philosophy and vision for the once-embattled agency." After "assailing the European subsidy system, Gioia defended the NEA's budget even as he declared his intention to have the agency 'fully funded' within the next few fiscal years. Still, Gioia's singling out of Italy ("some of these lavishly supported houses [have] not staged a single production in the previous year because of organizational problems, labor issues, or reconstruction") could be seen as a reflection of Republican party orthodoxy: 'Government support does not solve all artistic and organizational problems, or guarantee that an institution serves its local community'." Backstage 07/11/03

It's Getting Loud In Here What is it with the sound at pop concerts, movies and theatre performances? It's so uncomfortably, unrealistically, ammoyingly LOUD! "Virtually the entire entertainment spectrum — pop music, movies, Broadway musicals and even opera — has become increasingly enslaved to manipulative and sometimes apocalyptic sound engineering, and we've all learned to cope." Los Angeles Times 07/11/03

Does Marriage Stunt Creativity? A new study says that "regardless of age, the great minds who married virtually kissed goodbye to making any further glorious additions to their CV. Within five years of making their nuptial vows, nearly a quarter of married scientists had made their last significant contribution to history's hall of fame. The energy of youth and the dampening effect of marriage, are also remarkably similar among geniuses in music, painting and writing, as well as in criminal activity." ABC.com (Australia) 07/11/03

Point-And-Click Phones A new generation of cell phones allows users to point and click their phones on hyperlinks in the real world. In museums "visitors could download high-quality audio and visual content about exhibits. Tourists could retrieve sightseeing information as they walk through a city. Users could even leave contact details like their e-mail addresses to receive updates on events, exhibitions or special offers." Wired 07/10/03

Prestigious Melbourne Festival In Danger The Melbourne Festival is suddenly without a sponsor for the first time in years. "The festival organisers are also uncertain if the State Government will maintain its support at $6.6 million next year. The 2004 festival will celebrate opera, which demands that companies be booked early to fit into international schedules. The funding uncertainty is making this difficult." The Age (Melbourne) 07/11/03

Fund-raising Slump Hits Smithsonian It won't come as a surprise to any arts organization which has tried to mount a major fund-raising campaign in the last year, but the Smithsonian is facing a rather severe drop in donations. "In the six months ending in March, the Smithsonian raised $51 million. In the same period a year earlier it brought in $117 million -- including $10 million gifts from Lockheed Martin, General Motors and the James S. McDonnell Charitable Trust. But even without $30 million in major single gifts, the fundraising is down $36 million." Officials at the nation's largest museum complex are staying upbeat, however, saying that they believe the drop to be a temporary problem. Washington Post 07/10/03

Save Canadian Art! Revoke NAFTA Now! A new survey of Canadian culture reveals that the dollar value of Canada's 'cultural exports' last year was a record CAN$2.3 billion, with U.S. consumers accounting for 96% of that purchase total. But Canada's cultural import business grew even more, despite the insistence of Canadian citizens that they want to buy home-grown. (The U.S. is the culture-gobbling villain in this equation, too.) The Canadian publishing industry was hardest hit by the lack of import-export balance, and the only corner of the arts not badly affected was the film industry. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/10/03

Avignon Cancelled As Strike Continues France's Avignon Festival has been called off, with no end in sight to the strike by the nation's arts workers. "The opening days' events were cancelled, but organisers had hoped to salvage the later stages. Those hopes were dashed early on Thursday, when actors voted to continue their strike, dealing a fatal blow to the event." Avignon was to have run for three weeks. BBC 07/10/03

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

  • French Strikers Shut Down Avignon Fest/Nicholson Movie Shoot Striking French arts workers shut down shooting on a Jack Nicholson movie in Paris (after meeting with strikers, Nicholson expressed his solidarity) and closed the Avignon Festival for a second day. "At the Avignon festival in southern France, organizers said the remainder of the three-week event - which draws 700,000 people a year for round-the-clock theater performances - will be decided each day the strike continues. They say they stand to lose $3.7 million in ticket sales alone if the event is called off." New Jersey Online (AP) 07/09/03

Did British Culture Really Win The Lottery? Britain's lottery has funded dozens of major arts projects, and its supporters celebrate its remaking of the country's cultural scene in the past decade. But the lottery's success is rather more mixed than that, writes Norman Lebrecht. "Those lottery schemes which have indeed 'made Britain a better place' are the ones which would have happened anyway, but where a modest application of lottery lubricant facilitated a triumphant resurgence." London Evening Standard 07/09/03

Nailing Down Mother Teresa's Copyright Nuns of Mother's Teresa's order are trying to file a copyright on use of her name and insignia. "In her lifetime, Mother Teresa expressed on a number of occasions her wish that her name not be used by any other individual or organisation without her permission, or after her death, the permission of her successor, the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity." Yahoo! (AFP) 07/09/03

Berlin's Cultural Bite Berlin is famed for its lavish cultural riches. But "after decades of floating along on generous public handouts, Berlin's famed cultural world has been feeling the chill wind of the fiscal austerity that has now descended on Germany, with the German capital saddled with debts totalling more than EUR 40 billion and a massive hole emerging in the city's annual arts budget. 'Den Guertel enger schnallen' (belt tightening) has suddenly become the new chorus rising from the German capital's army of arts bureaucrats, forcing them to seek funds in very unknown territory the private sector." Expatica 07/03

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

WTC Redevelopers To Artists: Come On Down The group overseeing redevelopment of the World Trade Center site is soliciting arts groups that might want to be part of the project. "The 'Invitation to Cultural Institutions for the World Trade Center Site' is a nine-page 'request for information' that also provides the first glimpse into how much space, in terms of square feet, may be allotted to arts groups as the area rejuvenates." Backstage 07/09/03

French Arts Strike Cancels Festivals "Despite a last-ditch plea from the culture minister, French actors and backstage workers walked out as promised yesterday, forcing the country's most renowned drama festival to abandon its opening night and threatening the Rolling Stones' 40th anniversary Paris mega-gig. 'It's the future of French arts that's at stake'." The Guardian (UK) 07/09/03

  • French Arts Strikers Disrupt Tour De France Striking performance artists - who include actors, sound technicians and costume designers - "briefly slowed the Tour de France, tried to block a Rolling Stones concert and canceled opening day of a drama festival in Provence. In the northern town of Saint-Dizier on Tuesday, demonstrators stepped into the road to block cyclists in the Tour de France. The protesters stepped out of the path of the lead cars, but still forced the main pack of racers to slow down, with some touching their feet to the pavement to keep from falling." New Jersey Online (AP) 07/08/03

French Strike Cancels, Disrupts Arts Festivals French show unions say they'll go ahead with a strike during the Avignon Festival. "The strike by actors, dancers, filmmakers and technicians has already cancelled dozens of artistic events throughout France during the summer festival season. In some cases, artists didn't call off shows but merely disrupted them, blasting fog horns or bursting on-stage to explain their demands. Some festival organizers have waited day by day to see if performers would return to the stage." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/08/03

Arts-Based Schooling Spreading A program that infuses teaching the arts into all aspects of the school program has been a big success in North Carolina, and the program is expanding elsewhere in America. "In the schools' first four years, they have performed at least as well as the rest of North Carolina's public schools on the state's school and student performance tests, known as the ABCs. That's especially notable, evaluators said, because A-plus students are not "taught to test" - and the schools have a larger percentage of minority students, who typically score lower than other groups on the tests." Washington Post (AP) 07/05/03

Eliminating Arts Funding Will Damage California California is considering eliminating its state arts funding. John Killacky writes that the idea is shortsighted. "Should the arts be held exempt when funding for human services, libraries, road repairs, affordable housing and education is being slashed? Of course not, but the intellectual and social capital the arts contribute to the vitality of life in California must not be underestimated. Multiculturalism and innovation are essential elements in making our state's economy among the largest in the world." San Francisco Chronicle 07/08/03

School Daze: Creativity Beyond The Classroom So maybe school isn't for everybody. A surprising number of creative and accomplished people were expelled or dropped out of high school. Some find school rejection "catastrophic in the worst way. They start to think of themselves as worthless. Others see it as a challenge. The curtain hasn't dropped on their creativity and emotional development. They say to themselves, 'So be it. Adults don't think very much of me. I'm going to prove them wrong'." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 07/08/03

Monday, July 7, 2003

Video Games Don't Harm Students' Grades Think video games are detrimental to your child's progress as a student? "One-third of college students play video games on their cell phones and laptops during class, but apparently with no effect on their grades, according to a report on video games and campus life released Sunday." Chicago Tribune 07/07/03

Sunday, July 6, 2003

Miami Building Its Center Of Art Miami's new performing arts center is rising under construction cranes. "For many, the $255 million PAC - which includes a 2,200-seat symphony hall and a 2,480-seat ballet opera house - represents the arrival of Miami's burgeoning cultural scene. The PAC has drawn comparisons to New York City's Lincoln Center and Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center. But beneath the surface, Miami's arts community remains a work in progress that will take at least another generation to complete." Miami Herald 07/06/03

Is The Performing Arts Center A Dinosaur? Is the performing arts center an idea whose time has passed? "Those performing arts complexes were conceived in the '50s, when the country was puffing out its civic chest and no one quite knew what burgeoning suburbs would mean for the cities they surrounded. By the time the first of the complexes was ready for audiences — Lincoln Center in 1962 — there were 68 others under construction, or planned, around the United States. Many were seen as tickets to legitimacy, playing the role that sports stadiums and museums would assume in later years. Now, decades later, the leaders of these monuments to the arts find themselves searching for new uses of aging halls and for more diverse new generations of patrons, all while spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make their fortress-like campuses more open. The performing arts center is being rethought, if not reinvented." Los Angeles Times 07/06/03

Patriotism In Creativity Patriotism isn't just about jingoism and flag-waving, writes Frank Rich. "Patriotism needn't make us so weary. Look around our culture, and it isn't hard to find a faith in America that is not defined by government-commissioned flag-waving, political demagoguery or cable news's jingoism-as-marketing-strategy. The most telling American fables don't come in the blacks and whites of our current strident political and cultural discourse, which so often divides Americans into either flag-draped heroes or abject traitors. The great American stories, from Huckleberry Finn's to the Dixie Chicks', have always been nuanced; they can have poetry and they can have dark shadows. They can combine a love of country with an implicit criticism of it." New York Times 07/06/03

Why Invest In Arts? Because Of "We The People" California legislators are deciding whether to eliminate the California Arts Council. The state has a huge budget deficit, but doesn't the state have a compelling interest in investing in culture, too? "Not as a matter of deciding what pictures get painted, not as a matter of supporting this or that artist, but as a matter of promoting excellence, the 'common wealth.' We certainly pay enough lip service to these ideals..." Los Angeles Times 07/04/03

Saturday, July 5, 2003

Should Foundations Be Required To Spend More? A proposal before Congress would increase the amount of money foundations are required to give away each year. The foundations are opposed. "At root, the bill exposes the conflict over whether foundations exist to make an impact quickly and divest themselves of assets, or whether they exist to perpetuate themselves—and enrich the executives who run them." Slate 07/03/03

Indianapolis' Big Cultural Initiative While other American cities have been cutting back their cultural initiatives, Indianapolis has been putting together a new $10 million plan for the arts. "The thing I've been most struck by is the intense emotion everyone feels about this initiative. Right or wrong, individual or organization, there is a very strong conviction that this is our chance, and we'd better not blow it." Indianapolis Business Journal 07/07/03

NEA: Colorado Can Keep Grant Money The National Endowment for the Arts has decided to let the state of Colorado keep this year's NEA grant of $613,000. "The funding was at risk after the Colorado legislature reduced next year's funding to the CCA from $1.9 million to $200,000, leaving the agency with just one full-time employee. In the past, the NEA has not funded states lacking a fully functioning state arts council." Denver Post 07/04/03

  • Dismantling Colorado Arts Funding Colorado has all but eliminated its arts council, reducing funding to $200,000. The NEA has come across with another $600,000, but things are bleak. "The dismantling of the council has been slow and insidious, and painful to watch. Though some legislative support exists, there also has been a certain disinterest, if not scorn, for the agency's role in bolstering the state's cultural profile." Rocky Mountain News 07/05/03

California Arts Council Fights For Its Life The California Arts Council is in dancer of going out of business next week. "The arts council is listed on a seven- to eight-page document totaling $11 billion in cuts, and it includes things like hearing aids for people with hearing disorders - so when you're looking at things that are sustenance for the elderly, the blind and the disabled, you have to keep that in mind when you're looking at the arts council." San Francisco Chronicle 07/04/03

  • Impact Of California Arts Cuts Would Be Severe "The 27-year-old agency is best known for its grants to local organizations, and much of the funding is used to send artists and performers into public schools. In the fiscal year that ended Monday, the Arts Council spent almost its entire budget of $18.2 million on grants." Contra Costa Times 07/03/03

Thursday, July 3, 2003

Assessing The Sea Change In Arts Funding It's not easy being in charge of a big museum in the middle of a major expansion while, all around you, budgets are being slashed and legislators are calling you an expendable piece of the state funding puzzle. Eugene Gargaro, Jr is a month into his new job as board chair at the Detroit Institute for the Arts, and after only a few weeks, he's feeling the legislative pinch. "There's been a significant change in state funding. Ten years ago, the museum received about $16 million. It's possible that we'll only receive $2 million or less next fiscal year. We've come a long way since the early 1990s, and yet we still need that vital state support, and we have to get better at making our case." Detroit Free Press 07/03/03

Artists' Strike In France Threatens Summer Season "They've already called off operas and foiled film festivals. On Wednesday, thousands of France's performing artists took their strike on the road, puffing into tubas or waving puppets as they marched through Paris' streets in a demonstration. Now that spring strikes by transport workers, teachers and trash collectors have ended, a standoff over unemployment benefits for artists is threatening to ruin France's summer artistic season. Dozens of performances... have been canceled. Actors, musicians, filmmakers and theater technicians are worried about changes to a unique French system that protects performers with an unemployment plan that takes into account their downtime between projects." Andante (AP) 07/03/03

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Cleveland's Hard Times "Things are about as bad as they've ever been for the arts in Cleveland. Three of the region's most important theatres (Ensemble, Dobama and Cleveland Public Theatre) cancelled the tail end of their 02/03 seasons earlier this year, mainly in an effort to stop the red ink. The Cleveland Film Society laid off half its staff after trying to compete with a made-for-TV "reality" series set in Iraq. Meanwhile, the majors are nervously raising and spending millions for huge capital projects..." Cleveland Free Times 07/02/03

Art Lives In New Jersey New Jersey's state budget is now official, and the arts have survived. "The budget calls for $19 million in funding for arts and cultural programs. That's a drop from the $31.7 million the state gave to arts groups last year but a far cry from McGreevey's original budget proposal, which called for eliminating arts funding entirely." Trenton Times 07/02/03

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

New York Restores Some Arts Cuts New York has restored some of its planne arts budget cuts. "While the arts budget will be cut by more than $11 million, another $16.2 million in planned cuts was restored, leaving cultural institutions surprised and relieved. 'It's a significant restoration. It will prevent us from having to do things like charging New York City school groups, closing galleries and closing days'." The New York Times 07/02/03

Arts Advocates To Sue Missouri For Funding? Arts advocates are considering suing the state of Missouri for more funding for the arts. "The state budget for the fiscal year that started Tuesday includes no money for Missouri arts, so the Missouri Arts Council had to dip into a separate trust fund to keep local arts programs going." KWMU (St. Louis) 07/01/03

France: Closed For Culture? A strike by arts workers threatens France's cultural summer. "Theatres, films and television have been hit by moves to bring the show business industry to a halt in a dispute over the reduction of unemployment pay for 'resting' performing artists and technicians. This weekend, the Montpellier dance festival and the Tours jazz festival were among cancelled events while the opening of the summer's biggest opera gathering, at Aix-en-Provence, was postponed. Paris's top theatres called off plays and ballets at the last minute while trade unions prepared for 'a fight to the finish' over a decision to make it harder for freelance performers and temporary backstage staff to claim benefits." The Guardian (UK) 07/01/03

On Being Canada What makes Canada different from the United States? Quite a few things, actually, and the differences are growing. "Just when you had all but forgotten that carbon-based life exists above the 49th parallel, those sly Canadians have redefined their entire nation as Berkeley North. It's like we woke up and suddenly we're a European country."
Washington Post 07/01/03

Canada - More Than Just Anne Murray What kind of culture does Canada project to the rest of the world? To itself? "I moved to Toronto in April, 1996, and have been slowly discovering that Canada (as a land, as people, as a political identity) and its culture are not always in sync. This is not necessarily a bad thing. A place where fringe, marginal or esoteric sensibilities come to stand for a whole country can't be that bad. But it may account for the lack of interest in Canadian popular culture locally. If you don't see your life reflected in your own culture, why look in the first place?" The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/01/03

Gioia: State Arts Funding Crisis NEA chief Dana Gioia says there is a crisis in state arts funding. "He said although no state has eliminated arts budgeting, "the mere debate suggests that the political and social consensus that once existed on the necessity of public support for the arts and arts education is breaking down." Newsday (AP) 07/01/03

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