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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Challenging Patents For Rest Of Us The Electronic Frontier Foundation is targeting ten patents it believes have been issued in error and whose technology -in wide use - is not patentable. "These patent owners have been threatening people that just can't defend themselves. They're trying to claim ownership over some fundamental part of software of the Internet that people use every day, and they're threatening small companies or individuals that can't afford lawyers." The list includes Clear Channel's claim of patent on a process for making concert recordings available after concerts. Wired 06/30/04

NYC Increases Culture Budget Earlier this year, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed cutting the city's culture budget. But this week the mayor and city coucil actually increased the budget by almost 4 percent, from last year's $118.8 million to $123.3 million. The new budget takes effect July 1. Backstage 06/30/04

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Miami PAC Manager Abruptly Quits Gail Thompson, who was demoted last week from project manager of the troubled Mimai-Dade Performing Arts Center project, suddenly quit her new job Monday. "Building of the center, touted as Miami's cultural centerpiece, is 20 months behind schedule and $67 million over budget. Thompson, hired in 1999 after successfully overseeing the construction of Newark, New Jersey's Performing Arts Center, was pushed aside last week by Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess in an attempt to get the project back on track." Miami Herald 06/29/04

The Arts In America - Taking A Measure "There are about 548,000 creative businesses in the U.S., ranging from nonprofits like museums, symphonies and theaters, to film production, architecture and advertising companies. They account for about 2.2 percent of the workforce tracked in Dun & Bradstreet's business database, or about 3 million jobs." Denver Post 06/29/04

Massachusetts Increases Arts Budget The Massachusetts Legislature has approved a $1 million increase in the Massachusetts Cultural Council's budget to $8.3 million in the 2005. This follows a $12 million cut in arts funding made in 2002. Boston Globe 06/29/04

The SF Arts Shuffle - Unintended Consequences San Francisco is facing a $300 million budget deficit, and its mayor, "in an effort to achieve greater efficiency, has proposed merging San Francisco's nationally recognized Grants for the Arts with the San Francisco Arts Commission. Managerially, the merger might seem to make sense, but the unintended consequences could be dramatic." San Francisco Chronicle 06/29/04

Gioia To Silicon Valley: Where's The Art? NEA chairman Dana Gioia goes to Silicon Valley and says the area has been a miracle of creativity but that that inspiration has yet to be translated into art. "You've had an economic renaissance but haven't created the visual legacies of that. Florence at the height of the renaissance was smaller than Palo Alto but look what it left behind." San Jose Business Journal 06/28/04

Beverly Hills To Get New Arts Center The Annenberg Foundation has announced plans for a cultural center for Beverly Hills. Wallis Annenberg, the "daughter of Walter H. Annenberg, the philanthropist, art collector and communications mogul, who died in 2002, said the center would include a 500-seat theater, a 150-seat studio theater, a rehearsal hall, classrooms and a sculpture garden. The overall project, costing $30 million, is expected to be completed in late 2007." The New York Times 06/29/04

The Artists Move In, The Artists Move Out Artists in the Brooklyn neighborhood known as DUMBO are relocating as they get priced out of their lofts. Nothing new about this kind of gentrification - except the speed at which it's happening. "Five years ago, when I first came here, there were no city services, no trash pickup, and it was completely dark and desolate." The New York Times 06/29/04

A Measure Of The Arts In America An Americans for the Arts study reports that "arts-related businesses make up 4.3 percent of all the companies in the United States, and employ almost 3 million people, according to the most detailed account yet of their economic impact. The New York metropolitan area ranks No. 1 nationally in arts-related businesses, with nearly 55,000." Newsday 06/29/04

Monday, June 28, 2004

Hawaii Governor Proposes Major Arts Funding Cut Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle proposes cutting state arts funding by 61 percent. "The Legislature allocated nearly $1.2 million for the foundation for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Thursday. Lingle's plan is to reduce that amount by more than $730,000. The foundation, which has taken budget hits since 1994, when it received more than $6 million in state funding, supports more than 110 nonprofit arts organizations." Honolulu Advertiser 06/28/04

New Laws For American Non-Profits? Last week's US Senate hearings on how non-profit organizations work is likely to lead to new legislation in the fall. "Like the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act targeting public companies, the draft seeks to make non-profits' dealings transparent and accountable. It proposes, among other things, increased and timelier financial reporting and auditing, more reliance on independent directors, limits on board size and on pay, and stiffer penalties for violations. It also would create restrictions on donor-advised funds, a fast-growing area of philanthropy not now subject to any special government rules." Chicago Tribune 06/28/04

Warning! Moron Alert! What we need? A terrorism alert system for the arts, write Dominic Papatola. It could be administered by the NEA, he imagines: "At a press conference Friday in Washington, Gioia unveiled a Moron Alert System, under which all concerts, plays and recitals would be color-coded to identify what the chairman referred to as 'heightened and specific' threats to the integrity of a given performance." St. Paul Pioneer-Press 06/27/04

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Mixed-Up Artists In Toronto, like in many cities, artists communicate with other artists in their own fields, but seldom interact with artists in other artforms. A couple of Toronto art entrepreneurs have begun a program to mix things up. "But it's almost anti-art world, anti-industry. I don't like to use the term, because it sounds negative, but we look outside of what's already established and allow other people access that they would otherwise not have, due to a lack of connections. A lot of these artists would have no idea where to start, getting themselves out there, promoting themselves. And that's where we come in." Toronto Star 06/27/04

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Seattle Arts Group Recruits Audience For Reviews Seattle contemporary performance presenter On the Boards signs up audience members to blog reviews of its performances. Powered by ArtsJournal, the blogs stimulate interaction with OtB's audience. Sure there have been negative reviews mixed in with the good, but OtB figured that "we want to offer a place for our audience to exchange ideas, and that's what it's turning out to be." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 06/25/04

NY's Indian Invasion Broadway's Bombay Dreams is only the latest piece of Indian culture to hit New York. "Jazz musicians have been absorbing ideas and collaborating with Indian musicians at least since the 1960's. Hip-hop has latched on to Indian rhythms. In New York's clubs, the sounds of Bollywood and other South Asian fusions have been drawing crowds for years: some to dance, some to listen, some to mingle and network." The New York Times 06/25/04

Will Non-Profits Be Reclassified As "Political Committees"? "The Federal Election Commission is examining whether to classify 501(c)(3) organizations, a category covering arts groups, as "political committees." "Calling nonprofits 'political committees' would require them "to register and report on activities that are currently legal but require no registration or reporting." Backstage 06/24/04

Americans For The Arts Sues Bank Americans for the Arts is suing the bank that managed the $100 million bequest from Ruth Lilly. "The lawsuit alleges that the bank, rather than selling the stock after the creation of the trusts in January 2002, held on to it during a time when the share price declined from $75 to $47. The result, he said, lowered the overall value of the gift by some $25 million." Backstage 06/24/04

Artists, Not Buildings Why is the Austraian government of Victoria spending most of its money on culture on building buildings? "Each year, arts and cultural buildings and the bureaucracy required to manage them, suck more and more out of the arts budget. This is not to say that we should tear down these buildings, but there must be more provision in the budget for artists to make the work that complements them; some balance between the desire for infrastructure and a genuine attempt to support the industry for which these buildings are created." The Age (Melbourne) 06/25/04

Culture In Canada - An Election Issue Culture has become an issue in the Canadian federal election. The parties have staked out their positions. "In this election, culture is about owning our own airwaves, being able to tell our own stories and the ability of performers to make a living in our country. These are the issues we put to the five major political parties." CBC 06/24/04

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

What Is The Freedom Center? Ever since the Freedom Center was announced as one of the cultural tenants of Ground Zero, observers have been asking exactly what the center is. So far, we've been told mainly what it isn't: "It will not be a palace of pro-American propaganda... or a place for sentimentally commemorating victims of the Sept. 11 terrorists." But the center's organizing principal - "looking at different parts of the world transitioning from tyranny to freedom" - sounds an awful lot like American flag-waving, and the center's developer is a longtime friend of President Bush. The New York Times 06/24/04

County Grills Miami PAC Mangers For Cost Overruns Unhappy Miami-Dade County officials are grilling project managers for the county's new performing arts center, currently under construction and $67 million over budget and 20 months behind schedule. "It's a money pit. The report says total costs still aren't capped. I guarantee they're going to be back for more money. It's a 900-pound gorilla, and we've got to rein it in." Miami Herald 06/23/04

Senate Investigates Non-Profits The US Senate holds a hearing on the behavior of non-profits. "The U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing focused on abuses that may occur at up to 10 percent of the nation's 1.6 million charities. The abuses -- ranging from inept oversight by volunteer boards of trustees to the willingness to become partners in tax shelter schemes -- cost the nation billions of dollars each year, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark Everson said." Newark Star-Ledger 06/23/04

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Breaking Tax Law For Non-Profits? The US Congress is scrutinizing tax laws that provide breaks for donations to non-profits. Some of the proposed reforms could be onerous. "To deputize the nonprofit community with the responsibility for these inquiries would assign the highly technical and complicated work of determining an appraisal's accuracy to individuals who are not qualified nor authorized to deal in these matters." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 06/22/04

Where's The Shock Of The New? What do the arts need more than anything else? Playwright David Edgar says artists need to provoke and outrage arts institutions. "He argued that the arts in this country had been at their most successful when the spirit of provocation was most alive - as in the late 1960s and early 70s." The Guardian (UK) 06/22/04

Monday, June 21, 2004

Study: Arts More Than Sports A study on arts participation released at the National Performing Arts Convention in Pittsburgh echoes previous reports. "Once again, as in studies past, more people reported attending a live performing arts event at least once in the past year than reported attending a professional sporting event. Eight out of 10 acknowledging that the performing arts improve the quality of life in their communities. More than that, between 58 and 71 per cent of those interviewed agreed that attending live arts events encouraged them to be more creative. This has traditionally been an argument used to support arts education in schools. It was interesting to find, in this era of diminished arts education, that so many people still subscribe to the belief." Toronto Star 06/20/04

Arts as Essential Service Why is the city of Philadelphia cutting its arts funding, when investment in the arts has returned major benefits? "Why, given all of the studies showing how much the arts contribute to a city and region's health, have we not figured out how to fund the arts in a way that they don't have to go begging every year for mere survival. Why is it that we can support transit, education, health and human services, recreation and other line items with the understanding that they are necessary to our existence, but still treat dance, music, theater and art as if they are luxury items - nice if you can find the money, but not essential?" Philadelphia Inquirer 06/20/04

Sunday, June 20, 2004

UK To Investigate Ticket Rip-Offs The UK is launching an investigation into ticket agency fees for concerts and West End theatre. "The consumer affairs watchdog has launched a fact-finding study to discover if agents are distorting the market and overcharging customers following a series of complaints." The Guardian (UK) 06/18/04

Culture Clash: When Opera Shares A Home With Ballet In Toronto, a new hall meant to house the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet has turned up some cultural differences between the two groups and how they'd like to use the building. "A good deal of horse-trading went on as to who would use the 12 less desirable weeks, particular those in the hot summer months. In the end, both companies accepted some of them. But the ballet, being a tenant rather than a partner in the project, had the weaker bargaining position. Its season will now push into July." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/19/04

(Under)Funding The Humanities "According to the report by the Foundation Center and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, funding for the humanities by a sample group of some 1,000 large U.S. foundations more than doubled, from $134.1 million in 1992 to $335 million in 2002. But total foundation giving tripled in that period, to $15.9 billion in 2002, and the humanities' share of the pie crumbled from 2.5 percent in 1992 to 2.1 percent in 2002. In 2002, education ($4.2 billion) and health ($2.9 billion) were the prime recipients of the sample group's dollars, according to the Foundation Center." Chicago Tribune 06/20/04

Sorting Out The Politics Of Artists "For years, many conservatives have railed against the political leanings of the arts world and opposed the use of public money in arts funding. It's a world that has taken as its official motto Andy Warhol's observation that art is whatever you can get away with. . . . It shovels you between ennui and disgust. It's axiomatic that much of the mainstream discourse in arts circles would be regarded as the language of the fringes in other fields. 'It's very lonely,' says Don Schwartz, a sculptor based in Connecticut who argues that the liberal dominance of the arts world is a result of liberals disliking economics and thus drifting to jobs in culture. 'It's very intimidating to be a conservative in the arts. A lot of conservative artists give up'." Chicago Tribune 06/20/04

Are Arts Groups Losing The Financial Puzzle? The strain of trying to keep arts organizations afloat financially is beginning to show. "While theaters, ballets, museums and operas perpetually live hand to mouth, as do most nonprofit groups, fundamental changes in the nature of arts financing suggest that they will continue to struggle even as the economy and capital markets recover." The New York Times 06/20/04

Friday, June 18, 2004

Ontario Culture Budget Gets A Bump Up The province of Ontario is having budget problems like governments everywhere. But the new budget for culture is going up. "Estimates for the 2004-05 fiscal year, released this week, show that the Ontario government's cultural program will involve expenditures of close to $150-million. That's an increase of almost 7 per cent over last year, and the first substantive hike in culture funding in more than five years." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/18/04

Study On State Arts Agencies Sparks Debate A new RAND study on US state arts agencies criticizes them for "failing to be forward-thinking in their visions and politically astute in their operations, and for failing to become financially insulated from the vagaries of the economy and state budgeting." But Jonathan Katz, CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, takes issue with some of the report's findings. Backstage 06/18/04

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Cheaper Than The Real Stock Market, Too Do you want to attend a theater, music, or sporting event, but just can't tear yourself away from your thrill-a-minute life trading stocks? StubHub, a web site that turns ticket brokerage into something akin to an eBay auction held in the trading pit of a stock exchange, is here to help you... The New York Times 06/18/04

In America, We Just Call That 'Free Enterprise' A government investigation has been launched into London ticket brokers who are allegedly charging exorbitant fees for West End productions. The investigation will look into whether such brokers are "distorting the market" and possibly even working with event organizers to cheat the public. The Guardian (UK) 06/18/04

Adding Up The Bad News For Miami Performing Arts Center "The long-awaited, much-troubled Miami-Dade Performing Arts Center will cost about $411 million -- $67 million more than originally planned. And the higher price tag leaves unfunded $27.4 million in phones, security systems, furniture and preopening operating costs. The center also will be 20 months late, with completion set for May 2006." Miami Herald 06/17/04

Debate Begins On New NEA Budget Debate on a new budget for the National Endowment for the Arts is beginning in the US House of Representatives. Initial consideration will be on a bill to keep NEA funding at the same level as this year. Backstage 06/16/04

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Canadian Artists: Where's Our Culture Policy? Canadian artists are increasingly perturbed that the country's political parties aren't articulating any serious positions on culture in the current national election. "A constellation of Canadian stars came out Wednesday to warn that the country faces cultural integration with the United States and that the nation's political leaders are not being clear enough during the current election campaign on where they stand on the issues." Canadaeast.com 06/16/04

Staying Relevant Without Going Dumb The phrase "dumbing down" has long been a catch-all term used by arts aficionados to take potshots at any organization daring to try to update their programming for modern audiences. More often than not, the changes aren't dumbing anything down, merely acknowledging that the line between high culture and pop has blurred significantly in the last century, and that the average American's frame of reference is defined not by symphonies and plays, but by rock albums and TV shows. At the National Performing Arts Convention in Pittsburgh, arts groups have been sharing ideas for embracing 21st-century culture without alienating their base or losing their souls. CNN International (AP) 06/14/04

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Arts + Office Space = Civic Rebirth Times are tough for corporate real estate brokers operating in Center City Philadelphia. But one area of the city's urban core which had been considered dead and worthless fifteen years ago has been reborn in the eyes of private companies looking for an attractive place to locate their headquarters. South Broad Street, which was rechristened the Avenue of the Arts under former mayor (now PA governor) Ed Rendell, has flourished since becoming home to the Kimmel Center (home of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and multiple theaters. In fact, at the end of 2003, the Avenue of the Arts had an office vacancy rate of only 5%, compared to nearly 13% citywide. Philadelphia Business Journal 06/11/04

Grand Jury Impaneled In Kurtz Case The case of the chemical-hoarding art professor gets serious today, as a grand jury begins hearing testimony to determine whether charges should be brought against Steven Kurtz under the U.S. Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act. Kurtz's friends and colleagues remain incredulous that the government is even remotely suspicious of him, since he has a long history of using agricultural chemicals in his work. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 06/15/04

  • Previously: Sounds Like The Next Michael Moore Film, Doesn’t It? Steven Kurtz is a widowed art professor who uses agricultural products in his work to create protest art aimed at the genetically modified food industry. But to the government of the United States, he is a dangerous potential terrorist hoarding controlled agricultural chemicals in his home with unknown intent. It all started when a paramedic, called to Kurtz’s home when the artist’s wife had a fatal heart attack, spotted some of his chemicals, and called the feds. Now, "several of Mr Kurtz's colleagues and artistic collaborators have been subpoenaed and a date for a federal grand jury hearing set for Tuesday. Both artist and his art are set to go on trial for their alleged links with terrorism." The Guardian (UK) 06/12/04

Arts Groups Jump Into Canadian Election Fray For the first time in ages, Canada's Liberal Party, which dominates national politics, is in serious danger of losing its grip on power, and arts organizations are getting worried about what a Conservative victory could mean for them. The current Liberal culture minister has been fanning the flames, implying that the Tories would adopt "a scorched-earth policy" towards national arts funding, but some independent observers say that such dangers are being grossly overstated. Still, there's no doubt that the Conservatives are strongly in favor of lower government spending and open markets, which arts advocates fear could further sink Canada into the ocean of American culture. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/15/04

Will Anyone Care About Ground Zero's Cultural Tenants? Now that we know which of New York's arts groups will be housed at Ground Zero, it's time to ask an important question: will these art centers really have any significant cultural impact? John Rockwell isn't sure: "The winners were picked not because anyone gave first thought to their worthiness as art, but because they represented a canny mix of institutions likely to make downtown a better place to live and do business... [but] arts gentrification tends to work best in this city when applied to underutilized old industrial neighborhoods, rather than already-crowded residential districts." The New York Times 06/15/04

  • Lincoln Center Concerns Affected Ground Zero Decisions The decisions handed down by New York city and state officials concerning which cultural groups will be allowed to make their home at the Ground Zero site in lower Manhattan was apparently strongly influenced by financial issues at Lincoln Center. The city-owned complex is kept running largely by the rent paid by its various resident groups. That fact made it unlikely that the city would approve any move to Ground Zero by New York City Opera, which went to great lengths to keep its proposal alive in the face of mounting opposition from city leaders. The New York Times 06/15/04

  • Where Are The Headliners? Terry Teachout is perplexed by the selection of a collection of, frankly, second-string arts organization for Ground Zero's cultural component. The groups selected are "serious and respectable, but they simply don't add up to anything remotely approaching a world-class center for the arts... What a disappointment. What a wasted opportunity." The Wall Street Journal 06/15/04

Monday, June 14, 2004

Taxing Sports To Pay For The Arts? Michigan is hoping to restore the 50% of state arts funding that was cut from last year's budget with an unprecedented per-ticket tax on sports and entertainment events. Despite the financial difficulties faced by many of Michigan's arts groups, the state ranks sixth in the nation in arts funding, and the new tax would bump it up to second. But the proposal faces a tough road ahead in the conservative state legislature, and the governor has yet to even take a position. Detroit Free Press 06/14/04

Hoping For Status Quo The upscale Marshall Fields department store chain is being purchased from Minneapolis-based Target Corporation by the decidedly cut-price May Department Stores, and the changeover is causing some nervousness in the Twin Cities' top arts organizations. Marshall Fields has a history of being extremely generous to Minnesota cultural groups, and while May insists that it has no immediate plans to scale back Fields' charitable arm, such largesse doesn't seem to fit May's overall business plan. Minnesota Public Radio 06/14/04

Is Stability For The Arts Too Much To Ask? The UK Arts Council has released a study indicating that the arts are more popular than ever in Britain, and yet, the Council is concerned about its own future. "The council is a government arts body to promote, fund and develop the arts. Its current funding deal will see it receive £412m in 2005/6. But it is worried it may lose out when it learns details of its new funding settlement in the next few months." BBC 06/14/04

Bush-Bashing Good For Arts Business George Bush doesn't seem much interested in the arts. "But under his presidency, corners of the arts have been flourishing—foremost, publishing houses flush with profits from anti-Bush screeds and pro-Bush paeans. Now independent film studios IFC and Lions Gate hope that Michael Moore’s vitriolic Fahrenheit 9/11 will produce similar profits. No doubt such sales will fund the filmmakers, poets, and novelists of tomorrow. (Laura Bush’s stuffy, NEA-sponsored “American Masterpieces” tour of art surely won’t.) Who’d have thought that a Bush presidency would be so good for the arts?" New York Magazine 06/14/04

America's Arts Organizations Gather In Pittsburgh Over the past week, 4,400 arts professionals representing America's arts groups, gathered in Pittsburgh to talk about their work. It was the first time members of Dance/USA, the American Symphony Orchestra League, Theatre Communications Guild, Opera America, and other groups met together... Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 06/14/04

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Sounds Like The Next Michael Moore Film, Doesn’t It? Steven Kurtz is a widowed art professor who uses agricultural products in his work to create protest art aimed at the genetically modified food industry. But to the government of the United States, he is a dangerous potential terrorist hoarding controlled agricultural chemicals in his home with unknown intent. It all started when a paramedic, called to Kurtz’s home when the artist’s wife had a fatal heart attack, spotted some of his chemicals, and called the feds. Now, "several of Mr Kurtz's colleagues and artistic collaborators have been subpoenaed and a date for a federal grand jury hearing set for Tuesday. Both artist and his art are set to go on trial for their alleged links with terrorism." The Guardian (UK) 06/12/04

Artistic Profiling? Arthur Robins was spending a leisurely afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, when suddenly he found himself being interrogated by several cops from the Joint Terrorist Task Force of the NYPD. According to the cops, Robins had been fingered as the man who had been surreptitiously hanging cartoonish paintings of President Bush in major museums up and down the Eastern seaboard. That night, the investigators showed up at Robins’s apartment for more questioning. Here’s the kicker, according to the suspect: “Out of 90,000 street artists in New York, they picked the one who doesn't despise Bush.” The New York Times 06/12/04

Thursday, June 10, 2004

More Calls For Scrapping Libeskind The voices speaking out against the official plans for the WTC site are growing ever louder, and those calling for a strict rebuild of the original Twin Towers are gaining ground. The obvious argument is visceral, of course - you knock our buildings down, and we'll just put 'em right back up! - but there is more to the increasingly popular movement than simple defiance. "We are replacing a symbol of world peace and human cooperation with a self-absorbed salute to America," says the man who is leading the charge, adding that Daniel Libeskind's design is "tone deaf to a monumental degree." The Guardian (UK) 06/11/04

WTC Arts Tenants Announced "Pledging to reinvigorate cultural life in Lower Manhattan, state and city officials yesterday announced the selection of arts groups devoted to dance, theater and drawing, along with a museum celebrating freedom, as the cultural anchors for the World Trade Center site... The Signature Theater Company, the Joyce Theater, the Freedom Center and the Drawing Center" were the lucky winners in a process which had been roundly criticized by arts leaders as insufficiently open to public scrutiny. The New York Times 06/11/04

Report: State Arts Agencies Must Change Their Tune A new study notes cuts in funding for US state arts agencies in 2003 and suggests that the cuts are not an aberration. "The reason for these cuts is not just a one-time fiscal crisis, but the political weakness of state arts agencies that has arisen because of a growing mismatch between their roles and structures and the cultural and political realities they face. A shift in the arts agencies’ focus and funding may be a solution, but it cannot take place until important conceptual and practical issues are resolved." Rand.org 06/09/04

The Right To Boo (It's Essential) "Freedom to express opinions is a cornerstone of our liberties, and if one has the right to bravo noisily, one must stand up for the right to boo noisily too. In any case, as a critic, I suppose I rank as a professional booer (and cheerer too, on occasion), so it would be hypocritical of me to argue on the side of politesse. Nevertheless, there are complexities and contradictions in our attitude to booing." The Telegraph (UK) 06/10/04

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Perth's Housing Crisis Perth, Australia has a big shortage of performance space. "Why has the same urgency rarely been felt about the lack of decent dance and theatre venues that has plagued the Perth International Arts Festival for at least two decades? And why have actors been told they must wait until 2008 for a new theatre, the first major performance space in 30 years, to open its doors? News Interactive (AUS) 06/10/04

Musing On WTC Culture What cultural projects should be grown in Lower Manhattan around the site of the former World Trade Center? A report is critical of the process so far. "We have a vision of Lower Manhattan as an arts mecca," reads the executive summary, "with clusters of new and existing cultural groups connected by streets identified as arts corridors and signified with public art." Backstage 06/09/04

Tomorrow's Arts Leaders Today Where is the next generation of top leadership in the arts going to come from? A new program in the UK spots talented young arts managers on the way up and tries to embue them with just a little extra... The Independent (UK) 06/09/04

SF Plan To Merge Arts Agencies Worries Arts Advocates San Francisco's mayor says that to deal with the city's deficit, he wants to combine the area's two major art funders. "But in moving the Grants for Arts program under the Arts Commission umbrella, many say, the mandates of the two different agencies could clash and endanger a fragile arts ecology in San Francisco." San Francisco Chronicle 06/09/04

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

The Great Arts Confab Five thousand performing arts professionals are converging on Pittsburgh this week in the first-ever joint meeting of America's performing arts organizations. "The idea behind the project was to give performing-arts people across the country a chance to share their thoughts on important industry problems and pool their strength. There were real, fieldwide issues that were not subject to solution by any single art form. I had the feeling that we would always be minor-league players while we operated in our silos." The lain Dealer (Cleveland) 06/08/04

Korea To Invest In Arts The Korean government has announced it will make a major investment in culture over the next few years. "The Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced on Tuesday that the government plans to invest over 1.7 trillion won into a new arts development policy in the next five years." Korea Times 06/08/04

Monday, June 7, 2004

How About An Artist For Arts Job? Why should the government's culture minister be a bureaucrat? How about an artist? "Britain has many suitable candidates. At random, I could suggest Simon Rattle, Elton John, Trevor Nunn or Richard Attenborough, all of whom have spent their lives working in the arts. Surely any one of these would be a better choice of arts minister than a professional politician who perhaps sees the job as a stepping stone and who may have some difficulty telling their Arne from their Elgar?" The Telegraph (UK) 06/08/04

WTC Culture Groups To Be Named This Week? "The field of arts organizations vying for space has also been narrowed to six from a group of 15 named in February, a source familiar with the decision told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity. They are the New York City Opera, the Joyce Theater, the Signature Theatre Company, the New York Hall of Science, the Freedom Center and the Drawing Center, the source said." New York Post (AP) 06/07/04

Sunday, June 6, 2004

Some Ideas For Culture At The WTC Site What cultural buildings should be built at the site of the World Trade Center? And what cultural groups ought to be invited to take up residence there? Eight New York Times Critics weigh in with their dos and don'ts. The New York Times 06/06/04

4,500 Arts Professionals In One Place "Tuesday through Sunday, Pittsburgh will host what is arguably the largest gathering of non-profit arts executives ever, anywhere. In an unprecedented show of unity, OPERA America, Dance/USA, Chorus America and The American Symphony Orchestra League will hold their annual conventions simultaneously in Pittsburgh. Nine other arts organizations will hold off-year gatherings at Downtown hotels, including the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and American Composers Forum." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 06/06/04

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Why Does Government Prefer Bland Art? "Public culture long ago became synonymous with public acrimony. The direct negotiation over meaning and value that occurs between patron and artist, or buyer and seller, never happens when art is displayed by a patron state as an act of general cultural "uplift." Instead, the cultural becomes political, and the less meaning a work has -- "art that does not offend anyone" -- the better for the state." Reason 05/04/04

Crunch Time For Miami PAC The overdue, over-budget Miami-Dade Performing Arts Center is at a flashpoint this week, as county officials are demanding a final cost estimate from the PAC's designers and builders. "The builder's contract with the county calls for the center to cost $254.6 million, but the builder has asked for $47 million more and estimates that its final extra costs could run as high as $61 million, the county said. The architect's contract is for $25.35 million; it wants more, but won't say how much. County Manager George Burgess vows to hold the line. The county has offered the builder an additional $8.9 million, rejected $26 million and is negotiating over the rest." Miami Herald 06/02/04

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Concern About Culture At WTC Site "Last June, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation invited arts groups worldwide to submit proposals for a museum and a performing arts center planned for ground zero. Since September, the corporation — together with the city and state — has been evaluating the 113 responses. It was expected to announce its selections in April, but the decision has been delayed, in part by the difficulty of finding a chairman of the foundation charged with raising $600 million for the cultural buildings and a memorial." Critics are unhappy with the lack of transparency in the process. "Unfortunately, residents, arts sector leaders, artists and local elected officials have had little or no direct say in any of these decisions so far, and that does not bode well for a successful memorial/cultural fundraising campaign." The New York Times 06/02/04

NEA Establishes New Critics' Institutes "The institutes will be designed for journalists who cover the arts for print and broadcast outlets located outside the country's largest media markets, where professional development opportunities are limited. Institutes for dance critics will be hosted by the American Dance Festival at Duke University; for classical music and opera critics at Columbia University; and theater critics at the University of Southern California."
NEA 06/01/04

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Jowell: Let's Support Art Because It's Art UK culture minister Tessa Jowell has made a case of art for art's sake, for supporting the arts because it's a good thing to do. "Too often politicians have been forced to debate culture in terms only of its instrumental benefits to other agendas - education, the reduction of crime, improvements in wellbeing..." The Guardian (UK) 05/29/04

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