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Monday, May 31, 2004

Abu Ghraib - New Front In The Culture Wars? Is what happened with the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib the fault of sleazy American pop culture? Frank Rich says some are making the argument. "If porn or MTV or Howard Stern can be said to have induced a "few bad apples" in one prison to misbehave, then everyone else in the chain of command, from the commander-in-chief down, is off the hook. If the culture war can be cross-wired with the actual war, then the buck will stop not at the Pentagon or the White House but at the Paris Hilton video, or "Mean Girls," or maybe "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." The New York Times 05/30/04

UK's Endangered Cities "The civic pride and freedoms of Britain's great regional cities have been "brutally gutted" during the past 100 years and power must be given back to them, the Guardian Hay book festival was told on its opening day." The Guardian (UK) 05/31/04

Does Scotland Know Enough To Judge Its Arts? Scotland is undergoing a study of its cultural landscape in order to help the government formulate its funding priorities. But critics warn that a "scarcity of reliable facts and figures will hamper the work of the new commission, established a month ago by the Scottish Executive to inform and shape the future of arts and culture in Scotland." Glasgow Herald 06/31/04

Friday, May 28, 2004

John Paul: America Must Fight Against Becoming "Soulless" Pope John Paul II is concerned that America is turning into a "soulless" nation. "To fight this, the pontiff argued, the U.S. church must study contemporary culture to find a way to appeal to youths. He made his remarks to bishops from Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee who were making a periodic visit to the Vatican. The American church 'is called to respond to the profound religious needs and aspirations of a society increasingly in danger of forgetting its spiritual roots and yielding to a purely materialistic and soulless vision of the world'." Boston Globe 05/28/04

Getting Culture On The Agenda In Canadian Election Canadian arts advocates are trying to make sure some consideration of arts policy is included in the country's national election next month. "While organizations like the Heritage Canada Foundation and Friends of Canadian Broadcasting say they know the issue of culture won't make or break an election campaign, their tactics are designed to ensure it becomes part of the general political debate." CBC 05/28/04

Thursday, May 27, 2004

NY Arts Groups Protest City Funding Cuts New York City arts groups are protesting mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to slash city arts funding. "We are sending a distress signal to the mayor and the City Council that if the budget is adopted at this level, it would become the fourth year in a row that the city's cultural institutions have been seriously underfunded. Instead of helping the city to rebound, the proposed cuts risk severely imperiling the fiscal health of our city's most cherished cultural treasures." Backstage 05/27/04

SPAC Faces Its Public The Saratoga Performing Arts Center's executive leaders held their annual meeting this week, and the good news was that, after several years of deficits, SPAC finished better than $100,000 in the black this past season. The bad news is that the center's members and subscribers are furious with the management for dumping New York City Ballet from the roster of guest artists, and several are already making plans to oust board members in next year's board elections. SPAC officials are sticking to their guns, though, insisting that "attendance ultimately will determine the future of all classical programming, including ballet, the Philadelphia Orchestra and a chamber music festival." The Saratogian (NY) 05/27/04

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Did NYC Deputy Mayor Intimidate Arts Leaders Over Donations? Did a New York City deputy mayor call arts leaders and ask if they were donating money to the mayor's opponent? "According to three sources, Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris rebuked the arts and cultural executives in recent months, and in one instance used a City Hall telephone to do so. Some arts officials said her calls had the effect of scaring [Mayor Bloomberg's opponent's] donors out of future contributions, and critics said she blurred the line between government and campaign politics." New York Observer 05/26/04

Bailing Out Orange County "Chronically behind in their fundraising, Orange County [California] Performing Arts Center officials said Tuesday that they will issue $180 million in bonds to ensure completion of a theater and a 2,000-seat concert hall. Center officials said they have raised $117 million in cash and pledges toward their $200-million goal to pay for the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, the 500-seat Samueli Theater and an education center. Officials previously said they had hoped to raise $130 million by the end of 2003. But in the past 11 months they have raised only about $5 million." Los Angeles Times 05/26/04

KC Bistate Tax Initiative Ready For Vote An unprecedented bistate tax proposal is headed to the voters of Kansas City and its surrounding suburbs. The initiative, which calls for a quarter-cent sales tax to be collected for 15 years in order to support arts and sports projects in the area, is complex because of the geographical location of the city. Kansas City proper actually stretches across the Missouri-Kansas state line (technically divided into two separate cities,) and the metro area stretches far and wide in both states. The ballot measure was approved after months of haggling over how the money from the tax would be divided - more than 50% of the funds will go to small community groups. Kansas City Star 05/26/04

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

What's Happening To The WTC Cultural Facilities? Some New York arts leaders are wondering if the planning for the World Trade Center site has lost its focus and whether plans for arts facilities will be realized. "Lost in the debate over whether an opera house can fill its off-season or whether a dance and theater space could together attract sufficient funds, some arts leaders and planning experts say, is the more fundamental question of whether either of these options lives up to the grand plans for Lower Manhattan's hallowed ground." The New York Times 05/26/04

Columbia Tuition Scaring Prospects Away Tuition for Columbia's arts degree programs has risen so high, the school is losing prospects to other universities. "Last month, several hundred graduate students in the school's visual arts, acting, writing and filmmaking programs marched across campus, protesting a decision to raise tuition to $33,052, from $31,240, in the fall. The school plans to continue increasing tuition 5.8 percent annually." The New York Times 05/25/04

Afghanistan Sings Again Music is starting to flow again in Afghanistan. "A revolutionary musical revival is under way here after six years during which all music, even humming on the streets, was forbidden. The lively scene on Kabul's version of New Orleans' Bourbon Street is one indicator. Another is the birth of Radio Arman, a new station unlike anything Afghanistan has ever seen. 'When you deprive someone of water for five days and then you finally give them some, you will see what the taste will be. That's what music is to us Afghans'." Miami Herald 05/25/04

Monday, May 24, 2004

Reconsidering The Mayans "Researchers are now moving from establishing facts about the Maya towards understanding the meaning of their rituals. The decipherment of their script has been the greatest achievement of recent years. The Maya invented what may be the most complex writing system ever devised. It had both alphabetic and pictographic characters, and the “spelling” rules seem to have been largely aesthetic. The same word could be written in a dozen ways. The new exhibition contains superb examples of the most florid, which look more like sculpture than writing." The Economist 05/20/04

Sunday, May 23, 2004

So Why Is Making A Buck Off Your Work Wrong? So Michael Moore is a relentless promoter of his movies. And Dick Clarke had a book he was trying to sell. Why does that diminish what they're selling? "Most people who create things -- films, TV shows, books -- naturally hope to have their creations experienced by as many people as possible. Second, the essence of capitalism is to come up with goods or services that one can sell and, by selling, generate a profit. Since when did the desire to be rewarded for one's work become a grubby, back-alley enterprise for which one must be publicly scolded?" Chicago Tribune 05/22/04

Durham Debates Giant Clear Channel Theatre The Durham (NC) City Council is considering a plan for "a 4,000-seat theater adjacent to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the American Tobacco complex renovation. Supporters of the proposed American Center for Performing Arts say the region needs a theater of this size, and that it would serve as a permanent home to the American Dance Festival, which has long outgrown crowded Duke University stages." But media giant Clear Channel Communications would manage the theatre, and a coalition of other arts groups is coming together to oppose the plan. Durham Independent 05/20/04

What Are They Paying For, Anyway? Another art sales record was broken this month when a Picasso sold for over $100 million. But do such absurd sale prices actually tell us anything about the quality of art? "Such news always engenders in hearers the notion that something about the art has to justify the price in the way that the number of carats determines the value of diamonds. But it's much more complicated than that, as the appeal of art objects depends on many factors apart from aesthetics." Chicago Tribune 05/23/04

Whatever Happened To Funding The Arts Just Because We Should? Economic impact studies are becoming the preferred method of convincing the citizenry to support public subsidies for arts and culture. But not everyone is buying the message: "The arts folks are trying to sell their idea... by using the vehicle the public seems eager to buy these days: It will help the economy. The arts’ pitch is smaller but not dissimilar to the pitch made by the biotech people. We can not only cure diseases, we were told, we can cure downturns in the business cycle... When we make these arguments long enough, other economists will come up with research that shows these are not such good investments. This will lead to more resistance to funding projects we probably ought to fund for the civic good." East Valley Tribune (AZ) 05/23/04

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Growing Hearing Loss In Performers Audiologists are "seeing a growing number of musicians, singers, and even audience members who report ringing or buzzing in their ears -- called 'tinnitus' -- and duller hearing following a theatre performance, rock concert, or movie, with its blasting previews of upcoming features." Backstage 05/20/04

Remaking Davenport, Heavy On The Arts Times have not been good lately in Davenport, Iowa, one of the four adjoining Iowa/Illinois river towns known as the Quad Cities. But the city is trying to make its own good luck with a $113.5 million revitalization program focused on making Davenport a cultural center for the region. From the wholesale renovation of a ballpark frequently called the most beautiful in all the minor leagues to a $9 million dollar museum and performance venue celebrating the city's jazz/blues tradition to a spectacular new $34 million building housing the Davenport Museum of Art, civic leaders have unquestionably been putting their money where their mouths are. Chicago Tribune 05/20/04

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Arts Consumers - Buying The Expectation "There's a simple truth about marketing arts and culture," writes Andrew Taylor. "Audiences don't buy arts and cultural events. They can't. The experience doesn't exist until well after they've made their purchase decision. Instead, when they are deciding to give their money or time, audiences are 'buying' an expectation, an assumption, a hazy feeling of what that experience might hold. Since audiences can't buy the cultural event, why do so many arts organizations spend all of their energy selling it?..." The Artful Manager (AJBlogs) 05/19/04

NEA Awards $58 Million In Grants "The endowment announced this week the distribution of $57,958,600 to not-for-profit national, regional, state, and local organizations across the country, funding projects in the categories of arts on radio and television, folk arts infrastructure, heritage and preservation, learning in the arts, and state and regional partnerships. The NEA's budget for the year is $122.5 million." Backstage 05/19/04

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

New Deal For Toronto Performing Arts Center A Threat To Some Tenants? A controversial motion passed recently by the Toronto City Council to change the governance of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Performing Arts, has raised concerns that it amounts to a takeover by primary tenant CanStage." The center's six other, smaller resident tenants charge that their survival would be in doubt under the new arrangement. Toronto Star 05/18/04

Monday, May 17, 2004

Vancouver Arts Presenter Appeals For Programming Help "After a season of 'financial suicide' at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts, the co-owner of the troubled facility is appealing to Vancouver theatre-goers to tell him what kind of programming they'd like to see. 'Most things haven't worked in terms of audiences even though we've offered a huge variety'." Vancouver Sun 05/17/04

Italy's New Party Of Aesthetics Italy has a new political party. "The Party of Beauty’s manifesto is simple: stop destroying Italy’s landscape with uncontrolled development and stop inappropriate new building in the cities. “We have got to protect the identity of places”, said Mr Sgarbi, who is well known to the Italians as an art historian and tv pundit. “We have to give this battle some political bite. I am realistic about the number of people likely to go for us, but..." The Art Newspaper 05/17/04

Company Sues Newspaper Over Donation To Arts Center "Cox Enterprises Inc., which owns nearly half of The Daytona Beach News-Journal, has sued the newspaper's board of directors, accusing them of wasting $13 million for naming rights to a community arts center in Daytona Beach. The lawsuit seeks to stop the transaction and return the money to the newspaper, or have Cox's ownership share bought out. Cox also wants unspecified damages and prior approval for any similar deals in the future." Baltimore Sun (AP) 05/15/04

Denver Arts Post Big Gains In 2004 It's been a rough couple of years for the business of being an arts organization. But in Denver, at least, the tough times are decidedly over. Ticket sales and memberships are up in dramatic fashion in the first quarter of 2004. Rocky Mountain News 05/16/04

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Art For Art's Sake (And More) How to support the arts and solve funding problems? The answer is not just to talk about about the economic benefits and social goods that can accrue. "Put another way, the Medicis weren't asking Michelangelo why this was good for business. Unfortunately, that was the almost exclusive approach of summit participants, perhaps because so few artists and other creative types were in evidence. Modern Medicis should take note." San Jose Mercury-News 05/16/04

Scottish Artists Protest Government "Fifty-five of Scotland’s best-known musicians, authors and artists have signed an open letter to the country's First Minister in which they argue that 'a void' has opened up where an arts strategy should exist. The signatories include the composer laureate Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, authors Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Alasdair Gray, and opera singer Jane Irwin. Dozens of theatre directors, poets, critics and administrators have also put their name to the letter, which represents an unprecedented revolt against government arts policy." The Scotsman 05/16/04

  • Arts Funding Equation - Not Money In, Quick Results Back "Politicians have to give up the idea that financial investment in the arts has to produce a quick and easily measurable result comparable to shorter hospital waiting times or improved school exam results. The insistence on the institution of a national theatre shows that the politicians remain incapable of giving up that perennial question when it comes to arts funding: “But what do we get for our money?” Glasgow Herald 05/16/04

Art As Fodder For Other Art Artists are increasingly using other artists' art as the raw materials for their own work. While artists have always drawn inspiration from other work, "the difference now is that artists -- professionals and amateurs alike -- are taking existing works and messing with their content and expression to create something new. If you want a name for the phenomenon, you could look at its insistence on the rights of the individual and call it democratic art, or focus on its wholesale limb-splicing and call it FrankenArt, in a nod to Mary Shelley's science-fiction horror story." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 05/15/04

Who Will Raise $600 Million For WTC Buildings? New York governor George Pataki has had difficulty finding a leading fundraiser to head the effort to raise $600 million for a memorial and cultural buildings at the World Trade Center site. "Mr. Pataki's inability so far to find a leader for the campaign has contributed to a delay in deciding which cultural organizations will occupy the site The New York Times 05/15/04

Thursday, May 13, 2004

US Congress Revising Copyright Act? A US Congressional sub-committee is working on a bill to amend and declaw the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. "Called the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act, the amendments are backed by librarians, liberal consumer groups and some technology firms. But they're bitterly opposed by the entertainment industry, including Hollywood, major record labels and the Business Software Alliance." C/Net 05/12/04

Nova Scotia Arts Chief Quits: Council A Sham "The chair of Nova Scotia's Arts and Culture Partnership Council has resigned, claiming that the purpose behind the newly established group was simply to placate the arts sector and to allow the government to make major arts-funding decisions without any consultation. In March 2002, the Nova Scotia government shut down the provincial arts council, which was responsible for distributing up to $1.2 million in grant money to the arts community annually. At the end of the year, the province announced it was creating a similar agency but one that would be more financially accountable." CBC 05/12/04

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

An Arts Budget Cut For New York New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed his $46.9 billion executive budget. The Department of Cultural Affairs would get $104.03 million. That's $10 million more than the mayor had proposed in January for his FY05 preliminary budget; but it's $15.7 million less than cultural funding for the present fiscal year. Backstage 05/12/04

Minnesota Mayor Wants More $$ For Arts The mayor of St. Paul has responded to a study which showed the city's arts groups stuck in a cycle of deficits by proposing a new annual infusion of cash into the arts scene. Mayor Randy Kelly's proposal, which was crafted in consultation with several arts leaders, calls for a $25 million bump in annual support for St. Paul's cultural sector, including $6.5 million in new public subsidies. St. Paul arts groups have been struggling in comparison wth those across the Mississippi River in larger, more cosmopolitan Minneapolis. St. Paul Pioneer Press 05/12/04

Pooling Resources in Glasgow A new umbrella organization backed by many of Glasgow's high-profile arts organizations has been created to attract audiences to cultural events in the city. Glasgow Grows Audiences (GGA) is funded in large part by the Scottish Arts Council, and "will act as a marketing organisation for the theatres, galleries and companies based in the city." GGA's first project will be to undertake extensive audience research to determine where the city's residents are spending their entertainment dollars. Glasgow Herald (UK) 05/12/04

  • Previously: Scotland's Meager Arts Funding A new report says that Scotland spends less than a half per cent of its public funding on the arts. A review of the government's arts funding is underway. BBC 05/10/04

He Cuts Because He Loves? San Francisco's new mayor recently announced that the city's arts grant program would be taking a 25% hit in his new budget, infuriating arts supporters. But Gavin Newsom insists that he loves the arts, and plans for them to be a major part of his administration's goals for the city. The mayor got together for a meeting with 200 area artists last week, with author Dave Eggers moderating the discussion. San Francisco Chronicle 05/12/04

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Angry Arts Workers Threaten Cannes French officials plan to meet with angry arts workers, who are planning to protest at the Cannes Film Festival and could disrupt France's summer arts festivals again this summer. "The event's organizers are due today to meet unions representing 60,000 to 100,000 part-time actors and technicians who plan protests against cuts in their welfare benefits." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 05/11/04

Massachusetts' Billion Dollar Culture Crisis A new report says that Massachusetts cultural groups pump more than a billion dollars a year into the economy. But the "cultural sector is losing its luster as a tourist destination, and it is in danger of losing ground as a cultural hub as well. Theaters and historic homes are crumbling, and vital museums and arts centers are struggling to pay for basic repairs, maintenance, and expansion planned, the report found. Yet Massachusetts is one of the few culture-rich regions of the country that provides no steady support for capital improvements." Boston Globe 05/11/04

Monday, May 10, 2004

Innovation Sure, But What About Inventing In The Arts? "You could argue that the massive growth in arts and cultural activity in the United States over the past 50 years has been about innovation and diffusion, rather than true invention. Building and blending creative forms invented centuries ago (theater, opera, orchestral performance, and such), creative people have found new innovations in how to bundle and present these forms to wider and more diverse audiences, while funders, nonprofits, universities, and others have built a new infrastructure to distribute them across the country." But how do we get to be more "inventive" with the arts? The Artful Manager (AJBlogs) 05/10/04

Scotland Spends More On Arts "Arts spending in Scotland accounts for less than half of 1 per cent of all public expenditure in the country, a major University of Glasgow survey has found. But spending per head is sharply higher in Scotland than in other parts of the UK." The Scotsman 05/11/04

Scotland's Meager Arts Funding A new report says that Scotland spends less than a half per cent of its public funding on the arts. A review of the government's arts funding is underway. BBC 05/10/04

Sunday, May 9, 2004

The Culture Wars? Artists Get A Pass This Time In a year when cultural warriors could have been attacking the National Endowment for the Arts, where's their attention? On TV and obscenity. "It's great to see huge media corporations in the hot seat instead of a handful of artists and an arts endowment that deserves more robust federal support. And it's wonderful to see at least the rudiments of a public debate over a culture awash in images of sex and violence, not to mention spam e-mail." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 05/09/04

Spain Opens A "Cultural Olympics" Barcelona has opened a five-month-long festival of international cultural programs. "Organisers say they expect more than five million visitors to the 2004 Forum of Cultures. It is being promoted as part-festival, part meeting-of-minds on broad themes such as peace, cultural diversity and sustainable development." BBC 05/09/04

Saturday, May 8, 2004

SF Mayor Surprises Arts Groups With 25% Funding Cut "San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom riled some of the city's big arts organizations Thursday night when he unexpectedly announced plans to cut city funding to the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, Ballet and Museum of Modern Art by 25 percent to help deal with San Francisco's $325 million budget deficit." San Francisco Chronicle 05/08/04

St. Paul Mayor: Let's Spend $25 Million On Arts The mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota has released a report that says that the city should commit to a $25 million annual investment in the arts. Why? The report says "the city's arts, culture and entertainment sector — a broad category that includes everything from concerts at Xcel Energy Center and exhibitions at the Minnesota Children's Museum to scrappy, itinerant theaters staging edgy work in makeshift Lowertown performing spaces — draws more than 5.6 million people to St. Paul each year. Those visitors, about 90 percent of whom come from outside the city, add more than $600 million to St. Paul's economy." St. Paul Pioneer-Press 05/08/04

Friday, May 7, 2004

US - Shutting Out Cuban Artists More than 150 Cuban artists have recently been refused visas to perform in the United States. "U.S. officials say the restrictions implemented in November are among a series of measures designed to further isolate the hemisphere's only communist regime and pressure Cuban President Fidel Castro to make democratic reforms. The officials contend that Cuban artists are using concert tours in the United States to promote the sales of CDs and other products, with a majority of the profits ending up in Cuban government coffers." Chicago Tribune 05/07/04

Cincinnati Arts Fund Raises Its Way To No. 1 Cincinnati's Fine Arts Fund became "the largest united arts fund-raiser in the country this year, raising $10.4 million in its annual pledge campaign. That's 4 percent more than last year, faster growth than 59 similar regional campaigns in cities such as Milwaukee, Charlotte and Louisville that also raise money for a number of arts organizations at once." Cincinnati Enquirer 05/07/04

Thursday, May 6, 2004

The Case For Sarasota Arts Arts supporters in Sarasota, Florida are making their case for the arts. "The Urban Institute's Performing Arts Research Coalition study shows that 71 percent of residents attend arts events. In addition, 43 percent of those surveyed said that the arts played a part in their decision to move to Sarasota. Data gathered by the Renbrook Consulting Group shows that 20 percent of all arts admissions are free, and that people of all income levels attend the arts. This dispels the popular notion that culture in Sarasota County is for the elite few." Sarasota Herald-Tribune 05/06/04

  • Previously: Florida City Bets Future On Arts The city of Sarasota, Florida has decided that its future is with the arts. "A consultant's proposal would add up to 375,000 square feet of new cultural space and 300,000 to 600,000 square feet for shops, restaurants, galleries, offices and residences. There's also a planned three-acre public park, a 10th Street pier and marina, and a baywalk path along the water." Sarasota Herald-Tribune 04/25/04

Putting Real Money Into The Arts In the Australian state of Victoria, legislators have added an extra AUS$52 million to this year's arts budget. The Melbourne Festival, which has been in precarious fiscal position recently, received a funding commitment for the next four years, allowing it to plan future editions of the fest without wondering whether they'll actually be presented. The Australian Centre for the Moving Image also received a big bump in funding, to AUS$16 million per year, and several other museums and theaters will see increases as well. The Age (Melbourne) 05/06/04

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Court Throws WTC Project In Doubt Suddenly, a court ruling concerning the insurance payout to the developer of the World Trade Center site has put the entire project in doubt. "Now, barring a lengthy appeals process, it appears that developer Larry Silverstein is a day late and a dollar short of the time and money he needs to build back all 10.5 million square feet of the office space he lost on Sept. 11 according to the Governor’s aggressive plans. And so everyone downtown is buzzing Larry Silverstein is unlikely to be the developer behind most of the office buildings at Ground Zero. Another developer will have to step in. But who has billions of dollars to spend on a spanking new building with no guarantee it will fill up?" New York Observer 05/05/04

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

Fire Destroys Southern California Arts Colony A Southern California fire Sunday night destroyed Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, founded in 1979 in the foothills of Palomar Mountain. "The fire destroyed valuable antiques once owned by the colony's late founders Ellen and Robert Dorland, including a Steinway grand piano believed to have been played by renowned Russian pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff." San Francisco Chronicle (AP) 05/04/04

Monday, May 3, 2004

NY Artists Get Ready For Republicans New York Artists are getting energized for this summer's Republican convention in their city. "Dozens of arts organizations are making plans for at least four nights of political theater during the convention at East Village clubs, established theaters like Symphony Space, public libraries and of course the streets. The Internet is throbbing with information and strategies exchanged by people often identifying themselves by first name only or by acronym. They want to make it clear that this is not the same old same old." The New York Times 05/04/04

Creative Aging? "Creativity, some scientists say, may play an important role in healthy aging - conversely, the ill can shed extraordinary light on just how the brain perceives art. Even though our brains age, it doesn't diminish our ability to create. The big question, as arts projects become more common in retirement and nursing homes, is whether tapping elders' creativity truly brings them physical health benefits as well as joy. And if so, what works best?" NJonline (AP) 05/03/04

The Unrest Behind France's Arts Workers "When the wheels fell off a French government program designed to help guarantee the livelihood of a certain number of artists and musicians, it caused a ruckus which is still echoing in the corridors of power." La Scena Musicale 05/03/04

British Culture Minister: Art For Art's Sake Tessa Jowell, the British Secretary of State for Culture, will "pledge tomorrow to roll back decades of Whitehall antipathy by asserting that culture and the arts are fundamental human rights. In a reversal of the post-war obsession with using culture as a tool of social policy - in tackling crime, boosting educational standards and regenerating rundown cities - Ms Jowell will make a surprising plea for art for art's sake." The Independent (UK) 05/03/04

Sunday, May 2, 2004

Casting For Arts Support In Silicon Valley When philanthropists in Silicon Valley give money to charitable organizations, it's not usually to arts and culture. That's a problem when you're trying to build an arts community. "Strong participation by business executives is a prerequisite for generating more money for the arts. But the issue is sensitive, because it's tied to the notion that the valley's corporate leaders often have neglected or undervalued an arts community that is vital to a region's quality of life." San Jose Mercury-News 05/02/04

Artists: We Struggled Under Saddam What was it like to be an artist in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's regime? "The situation for artists was not good. There was the prohibitive cost of materials and the problem of being blocked off from the outside world, Saddam stopped all government support for art facilities and was interested only in having thousands of portraits of himself made, for which artists were well paid. Although Iraqi art survived underground, State-sanctioned art in Iraq was dying and the galleries were full of works on sale to foreigners at cheap prices." The Art Newspaper 04/30/04

Can Artists Create A Balanced Picture Of Islam? With the entire world seemingly caught up in conflicts involving radical Islam, it is becoming ever-more imperative that residents of primarily non-Islamic countries gain some sort of cultural recognition of the broader scope of Islamic culture. In Australia, the city of Melbourne is uniquely positioned to make such an educational push, say Greg Barns and Jane Rankin-Reid, but it will require a concerted effort on the part of the city's artistic and cultural institutions. The Age (Melbourne) 04/26/04

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