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Sunday, February 29, 2004

Campaign To Give More For The Arts A campaign to try to convince wealthy people in Britain to give more money for the arts is about to launch. "Britain lags behind other countries. In the US 5.7% of philanthropic giving went to the arts, against 3.4% in Britain." The Guardian (UK) 03/01/04

Cleveland Voters Vote On Arts Funding Measure Cleveland voters go to the polls tuesday to vote on a measure that would provide $100 million for economic development. "Half the money would underwrite job creation, worker training and retraining, brownfield cleanup and business start-ups. The other half would go to cultural groups and artists through a county-run grant process involving the review of applicants by panels of community leaders and out-of-region arts experts." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 02/29/04

Attacking The Idea Of The Creative Class Richard Florida's "Creative Class" ideas have been widely embraced in America. But there's a backlash, and he is "taking political hits from the right and the left "There is just one problem: The basic economics behind [Florida's] ideas don't work," writes one critic. Another "calls Florida's city-revitalization theory 'so wrong and backward that it reads like satire.' Florida has mistaken the side effects of a booming economy for the causes of growth. After all, 'Potemkin bohemias' are not going to get old steel cities humming again." Boston Globe 02/29/04

A Cultural Wave - Gay Marriage Gay marriage is an inevitable social certainty, writes Frank Rich. "The polls find a clear majority of those ages 18 to 29 in favor of same-sex marriage. In America, generational turnover is destiny — especially when it's plugged into capitalism. In a country where only half the families are intact heterosexual marriages with children, those that break the old mold are a huge developing market — for weddings, tourism, housing and anything else American ingenuity can conjure up for consumption." The New York Times 02/29/04

An Attack On French Intelligence? Members of France's intelligentsia have risen up to complain that the French government is attacking the country's "intelligence." "Underneath the polemics, as usual, lie money and politics. The protesters say that President Jacques Chirac's government has been trimming cultural, educational and scientific budgets to the detriment of the country's 'intelligence.' While the government has a solid majority in parliament and the Socialist opposition is in disarray, the intellectuals are using next month's nationwide regional elections to get attention." The New York Times 02/28/04

Thursday, February 26, 2004

An Arts Incubator At Ground Zero At the World Trade Center site, "an unusual nexus of arts philanthropies, arts organizations, and far-thinking designers is set to create an autonomous complex fostering the creative spirit on stage, page, and canvas. Tentatively dubbed the 'Arts Incubator,' the project is being bankrolled by such well-heeled organizations as the American Express Foundation and the Norman Lear Family Foundation and will be the handiwork of architect-turned-set-designer David Rockwell and Kevin Kennon." Backstage 02/26/04

Challenging The Nea Funding Increase President Bush's proposal to increase the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts by 15 percent is a good thing, right? So why are so many arts supporters talking down the idea? Backstage 02/26/04

Monday, February 23, 2004

In The UK: Bribing Students To Take Math? There's been a big drop in students enrolling in math classes in UK and in the number of teachers to teach it. How to entice more into the math game? Maybe the government should make tuition for maths free. Or even pay students to take it up? The Guardian (UK) 02/24/04

Keeping Cuba Out Of The USA "Over the past few months, the State Department has cracked down on Cuban visitors - specifically artists - seeking to enter the United States. Since November, every Cuban musician who applied for a visa — 151 in all — has been turned down, including the five Grammy nominees invited to the recent awards' ceremony. The State Department denies a specific policy against musicians, although officials appear to have raised the bar for performers who want to tour the United States." MSNBC 02/23/04

A Critic's Place...(Hmnnn...) "Like it or not, and most critics don't, people turn to theater critics more for consumer advice than for wit, wisdom, perspective, or any of the other lofty reasons that are taught in Criticism 101. As time and money become more scrunched, readers are less interested in how Samuel Beckett may have influenced David Mamet or whether August Wilson ever read Eugene O'Neill than whether they should shell out up to a hundred bucks for a theater ticket." Boston Globe 02/23/04

Sunday, February 22, 2004

In Connecticut - Are Arts Supporter's Troubles Trouble For The Arts? Connecticut governor John Rowland has been a major supporter of the arts. Now the governmor's in trouble, and his "troubles couldn't come at a worse time for cultural groups. The arts are weathering tough economic times locally, statewide and nationally. New initiatives are being downsized or postponed. And a new state super-agency - established by the legislature at the governor's urging last year to oversee the state's interests in tourism, arts, history, culture and film - is still finding its identity, focus and voice. During this time of trials and tribulations for the governor, is the arts agenda lost?" Hartford Courant 02/22/04

Kinnock To Head British Council Neil Kinnock, former leader of Britain's Labour Party and currently vice-president in charge of reforming the European civil service for the European Union, has been appointed head of the British Council. The Guardian (UK) 02/21/04

Making A Case For The Arts In North Carolina "One out of every eight people in North Carolina is a member, supporter or volunteer of an arts organization. The craft arts make about $538 million a year for North Carolina." Wilmington Star-News (North Carolina) 02/20/04

Thursday, February 19, 2004

A Code Of Ethics For Non-Profits As government officials consider drafting new oversight rules for non-profits, a Washington group proposes a code of ethics that non-profits could sign on to. "As a matter of fundamental principle, the nonprofit and philanthropic community should adhere to the highest ethical standards because it is the right thing to do. As a matter of pragmatic self-interest, the community should do so because public trust in our performance is the bedrock of our legitimacy." Backstage 02/19/04

Yerba Buena Lays Off Curator, Staff San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center has laid off its chief curator and eight others because of financial concerns. Curator Renny Pritikin, "who got his pink slip last week and left Friday, was widely respected by artists and curators, who admired his keen eye for contemporary art and willingness to blur the boundaries between so-called high and low art. Pritikin will not be replaced. Nor will the other laid-off employees, who worked in various departments - finance, operations, marketing and development." San Francisco Chronicle 02/19/04

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

A Trio Of Jobs Three of New York's most important cultural institutions have vacancies in their top jobs. Running Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera and the Public Theatre are among the most difficult arts jobs there are. And it's not immediately obvious who the should get the jobs. The New York Times 02/19/04

French Intellectuals Protest Government "Anti-Intellectualism" "More than 20,000 French artists, thinkers, film-makers, scientists, lawyers, doctors and academics have signed a petition accusing the centre-right government of 'waging war on intelligence' and instituting 'a new state anti-intellectualism'." The Guardian (UK) 02/18/04

Florida Arts Groups Fighting To Restore State Funding Cuts Last year the Florida State Legislature cut its arts funding by 75 percent. This year Arts and cultural groups are "fighting back to restore money that had been legally set aside for cultural and historic preservation. They have found surprisingly strong support, convincing many legislators that the arts are not just about culture but are also an economic issue important to tourism and jobs." The Sun-Sentinel (South Florida) 02/18/04

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

America's Closing Borders (Artists Too) "According to organisations connected with film, theatre, music, opera and dance, new American immigration and visa policies are making it extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, for foreign artists of all sorts to come to the US to perform and show their work. No one, it seems, is exempt." The Guardian (UK) 02/18/04

Looking At Art Since 9/11 What kind of art has been made since 9/11? Can any conclusions about it yet be made? "Writers, musicians, filmmakers and theater artists have struggled to create art in its shadow — art inspired not only by anger and disbelief but also by the bedrock American values that the terrorists were unsuccessful at toppling. Indeed, what art in the post-9-11 era seems to have in common is a commitment to making sense of an experience that epitomized senselessness." St. Louis Post-Dispatch 02/14/04

Monday, February 16, 2004

Study: American Participation In The Arts Is High A new study of audiences for the performing arts in America confirms a high rate of participation and consumption of the arts. "Approximately three-quarters of those participating in the newest survey reported attending one live professional performing arts event within the past 12 months. While this ranged from a high of 78% for Boston respondents to a low of 71% for those in Sarasota, the numbers nevertheless represent a significant level of continuity across a broad swath of the nation." Backstage 02/16/04

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Do Arts Taxes Help The Local Economy? "Does spending tax dollars on the arts give the local economy any more of a boost? Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) residents will vote in March on Issue 31, a property-tax levy that would raise nearly $21 million annually to help local industries, including the arts. If it passes, what can the voters expect in exchange for their higher property tax?" The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 02/15/04

How To Save The NEA? Privatize! Tony Brown writes that it's all well and good for George Bush to propose budget increases for the National Endowment for the Arts. But if he really wanted to do something, he should privatize the agency and give it a real endowment that could sustain its funding for years to come. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 02/15/04

Of Religion And Art - Scandals For The Centuries "In Western culture the question of how to picture divinity has a history longer than Christianity's. Plato chewed on it while his Greek contemporaries had no qualms about personifying deities in statuary and vase painting. Eventually Christianity, Judaism and Islam all codified their own prohibitions against imaging divinity, though all tolerated breaches of the rules at various times for various reasons. Over the centuries disputants in the matter filled libraries with esoteric arguments for and against likenesses of deity." San Francisco Chronicle 02/15/04

Americans For The Arts - How To Spend $80 Million In 2001 Americans for the Arts learned it was getting a bequest of between $80 million-$120 million. And what will AFA do with the money? "The first installment in January 2003 topped $3 million, and a comparable cheque arrived last month. The board is handling the funds with great caution. Newly established committees for investment and planning decided to put most of the income into an endowment to extend the value of the donation beyond 30 years, with a target of $100 million." The Art Newspaper 02/13/04

Is This Who We Are? A new book paints an unflattering picture of Americans: According to statistics the author has collected, only 48 percent of American adults understand that the earth orbits the sun yearly. A mere 15 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 can find Iraq or Israel on a labeled map, and 11 percent can't find the United States. Americans consume a ton of ice cream apiece in the course of a lifetime, spend more on fast food than on higher education, discard 20 billion diapers annually, and develop 9 square miles of rural land every day." Boston Globe 02/15/04

Friday, February 13, 2004

UK Report On Publicly-Funded Arts Projects Is Grim A report on cultural spending paints a sour picture. "From the building of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre to the restoration of the Royal National Theatre, the Commons Public Accounts Committee report highlights a series of publicly funded projects that went wrong. The report criticises Arts Council England and urges it to spend less cash in London - even though it is the nation's artistic and cultural hub." London Evening Standard 02/13/04

Was Lottery Money Wasted On Arts Buildings? A parliamentary report says British lottery money is nbeing wasted - pointing to two funded institutions - the National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield and the Dovecot Arts Centre in Stockton-on-Tees - which closed for lack of visitors. "And it says another £78m spent by Arts Council England is tied up in five projects facing cash problems." BBC 02/13/04

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Attack On English Arts Funding A new report for British MP's criticizes the way lottery money is awarded to arts groups. "It attacks Arts Council England for wasting lottery and taxpayers' money to bail out venues such as the Royal Opera House and Sadler's Wells in London, and for not putting enough cash into working-class areas or attracting more diverse groups to theatres." The Guardian (UK) 02/13/04

Japanese Culture Seeps In To Korea For 50 years after World War II, South Korea banned Japanese culture from the country. But in 1998, some of the restrictions were lifted. Since then, "Japanese movies, video and computer games, songs and albums are not sweeping through the Korean Peninsula like a tycoon, but are seeping in through cultural osmosis brought on by gradual market integration." Korea Times 02/13/04

Bush's NEA Increase Proposal - Just Hot Air? George Bush proposes increasing the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts by $18 million. But in arts circles, "suspicion of Bush's motives, however, is widespread. Why in the world is this president offering a palm frond to the arts, even a modest one, while cutting other domestic programs in a $2.4 trillion budget that's heavy on defense and military spending and simultaneously aimed at deficit reduction?" San Francisco Chronicle 02/12/04

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Finalists For WTC Cultural Center New York City Opera is among the arts groups in consideration for a new cultural center at the World Trade Center site. "Other groups competing to relocate to the site include the Joyce Theater Foundation, the Signature Theatre Co., the Children's Museum of the Arts, the Drawing Center, the Museum of Freedom and the New York Hall of Science, the agency said. The list released Tuesday was narrowed from 113 interested institutions who responded to a worldwide invitation last summer." Andante (AP) 02/12/04

Sacramento Helps Out Opera, Ballet With Loans The Sacramento City Council votes to help the city's opera and ballet companies financially. "Both the Sacramento City Council and county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to grant the Sacramento Ballet a dollar for each dollar it pays of a $362,000 consolidated loan from 1989 and 1995, without interest. Over the next decade, the ballet will donate half that amount in tickets and arts programming to underprivileged audiences. The Sacramento Opera will pay half of a $76,781 loan from the city in the same manner over five years." Sacramento Bee 02/11/04

  • Sacramento Arts Groups Ask City To Forgive Loans The Sacramento Opera and Sacramento Ballet are asking their city to forvive loans to the companies. "The Sacramento Ballet will appear before the City Council and the county Board of Supervisors with a proposal to be forgiven a dollar for each dollar it pays on a $362,000 loan, without interest. The Sacramento Opera seeks to repay a $76,781 loan from the city in the same manner over five years." Sacramento Bee 02/10/04

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Cuban Musicians Denied Vist To US For Grammys The US government is continuing to make it difficult for foreign artists to perform in the United States. Last week, visas were denied for Cuban musicians invited to the Grammy awards. And other musicians hired to perform in the US are finding they can't get their visas sorted out in time. (second and third items - scroll down) SF Classical Voice 02/10/04

Monday, February 9, 2004

Shreveport Times Ditches Arts Reviews In Drive To "Improve" Arts Coverage The editor of the Shreveport Times has some interesting ideas on how to "improve" his paper's arts coverage: Starting immediately, "the Times will no longer do reviews of plays, symphonies, ballets and art shows. The Times will expand and improve its arts coverage during the coming year. These last two sentences are not mutually exclusive. Not running reviews does not mean The Times is cutting back on its arts coverage. We want to improve it." Shreveport Times 02/08/04

Toledo Arts Groups Painting The Town Red Arts groups in Toledo, Ohio are selling plenty of tickets these days. But that isn't protecting the bottom line. "Some of Toledo’s best-known regional arts and community assets - from black-tie traditions to avant-garde artists - are working in a new medium: red ink. At least four of the area’s major venues have posted a string of deficit years, according to records they’ve filed with the IRS: the Toledo Opera, the Arts Commission, COSI, and Citifest." Toledo Blade 02/09/04

Iraq's Intellectuals Being Targeted For Execution Iraq's intellectuals are being targeted and killed. "By silencing urban professionals, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, a spokesman for the occupation forces, the guerrillas are waging war on Iraq's fledgling institutions and progress itself. The dead include doctors, lawyers and judges." The New York Times 02/07/04

Sunday, February 8, 2004

Really? An Increase For The NEA? Linda Winer was, like many arts lovers, stunned that George Bush wants to increase the National Endowment for the Arts' budget by $18 million. "So why, when important segments of the GOP are complaining about Bush's election-year spending spree, would the president dare to wave millions of NEA dollars at Congress? Sorry, but I cannot keep from fearing that the new elevated visibility of the NEA will put artists right back in the crosshairs..." Newsday 02/08/04

Jumping Hoops To Support Cleveland Arts In Cleveland, county commissioners are trying to get more money for the arts. "The Cuyahoga County Commissioners resolved that half of the $20 million-per-year property-tax increase would go to arts groups and individuals to protect those jobs, encourage new arts enterprise and stabilize cultural assets that boost the county's image, attracting visitors and investors. But state law prohibits the arts from being named as a beneficiary of an economic development tax. Because voters won't see arts and culture mentioned on the ballot, campaign leaders want to make sure they understand that the levy is about both arts and general economic development, especially jobs." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 02/06/04

Saturday, February 7, 2004

Increase Funding For The NEA? Yeah, Right! So arts supporters are cheering George Bush's proposal to raise the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts. Big deal, writes Dominic Papatola. "Even if Bush's proposed boost isn't the cynical political maneuver it appears to be — who wants to bet that congressional Republicans don't have a backroom deal to nix the increase? — the NEA budget will still be $37 million less than its high-water mark. And that's in nonadjusted dollars." St. Paul Pioneer-Press 02/08/04

Thursday, February 5, 2004

The World's Top Cities - A List The London-based The Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked 130 cities worldwide for their quality of life, "using 12 factors including housing, education, recreational activities, health, climate and terrorism. The (EIU) survey ranked Melbourne, Vancouver and Vienna as the best cities for expatriates to live, with Perth fourth and Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney equal sixth." The Age (Melbourne) 02/06/04

The Battle Over Disney "Michael Eisner's Disney has been a case study in poor corporate governance. Over the years, the board was disproportionately stocked with insiders, professionals who had dealings with the company, people whose children or relatives worked at the company, and others who were ill-equipped to exercise oversight over Eisner. One of Eisner's main deficiencies has been an inability to manage key relationships and heed advice." And now Eisner may be fighting for his job... Slate 02/05/04

Where The Ahts Are Wicked Populah "More than three-fourths of metropolitan Boston residents took in a performing arts event in 2002, according to the results of a new national survey to be released today at City Hall. In fact, more Greater Bostonians attend performing arts events (78 percent) than professional sports events (56 percent) each year, according to a report by the Performing Arts Research Coalition." And in Boston, home of some of the country's most rabid sports fans, that's saying something. Boston Globe 02/05/04

Vandals Hit Detroit Arts High School - Again The music program at the Detroit High School for the Performing Arts is one of the best in the nation, and has been widely praised for its work in bringing the arts to an inner-city population which might otherwise have been economically frozen out of such opportunities. But the program has apparently also become a favorite target of area vandals, with more than $200,000 of damage caused to instruments and equipment in the most recent break-in. Desiree Cooper is dismayed by the vandalism, but wonders if such rebellions without cause are actually further evidence that Detroit's youth desperately need a chance to experience the arts. Detroit Free Press 02/05/04

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

American Named To Head Melbourne Festival American Kristy Edmunds, a "38-year-old artist, playwright, curator and institution-founder from Portland, Oregon, was announced yesterday as director of the 2005 and 2006 Melbourne festivals. The Australian 02/05/04

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Promoting Smoking Through The Arts In Seattle, the company that makes Lucky Strike cigarettes has become a patron of the arts. The company spreads money around, promoting Luckys in subtle ways - such as hiring attractive young people to sit in bars passing out tickets to alternative arts events (and talking up smokes). "Instead of battering the brain of the target audience, Lucky slides neatly into consciousness, trailing clouds of glory gathered from discreet arts funding. Credit spreads by word of mouth, making the product -- which was launched as a brand in 1871 -- appear modest and friendly." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 02/03/04

Monday, February 2, 2004

Star Struck A few weeks ago playwright David Hare blasted The Guardian for topping its critics' reviews with stars. Now readers weigh in about the shorthand practice... The Guardian (UK) 02/03/04

Sunday, February 1, 2004

Denver Arts Institutions Had A Difficult 2003 Overall, Denver's arts organizations saw declines in attendance, membership and fundraising in 2003. It was the second year in a row of declines... Rocky Mountain News 02/01/04

Participatory Artocracy "From musicians to Hollywood studios, and from network executives to owners of newspapers such as this one, the creators and purveyors of arts and letters are realizing that Americans increasingly are unwilling to sit down, shut up and consume their culture in the time-honored fashion of grateful passivity." Chicago Tribune 02/01/04

The NEA Reborn So George Bush is proposing that the National Endowment for the Arts get a big increase in funding. Roger Kimball writes that while there's still plenty of room to debate whether the arts should be publicly funded, the NEA has reinvented itself into an institution that suddenly matters. "After a couple of decades of cultural schizophrenia, the NEA has become a clear-sighted, robust institution intent on bringing important art to the American people." National Review 01/29/04

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