AJ Logo Get ArtsJournal in your inbox
for FREE every morning!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Voting On The Arts (Tuesday) Alongside the national races Americans will be voting on Tuesday, numerous communities will be deciding on local arts-funding initiatives... Backstage 10/29/04

Cleveland's Arts Problem "While the arts and cultural base clearly falls among Cleveland's top three comparative advantages, we haven't adequately embraced this area in our region's economic strategy. Arts and culture have an enormous impact on our economy, and yet our region has one of the lowest rates of public support for this sector in the country." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 10/31/04

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Per-Capita Spending Falls in NYC Arts Education The New York City public schools' revised arts curriculum has yet to reach all students. "The Education Department has a spanking-new arts and music program this fall - but nearly 200 schools lack a full-time arts teacher and more than 500 do not have a music room, it was revealed yesterday. Meanwhile, arts funding has dropped to $57 per student from $63, school officials said yesterday after a City Council hearing on arts education." New York Daily News 10/27/04

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Better Times For Fund-raising? Giving to America's 400 most successful fund-raising organizations was up 2.3 percent last year. So does that mean we're out of the fund-raising hell that has dried up contributions in the past several years? Not necessarily... Chronicle of Philanthropy 10/28/04

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Pittsburgh - Steeling For The Arts Think of arts and you think of... Pittsburgh? Absolutely. Over the past 20 years the city has transformed itself from rust bucket industrial to cultural Mecca. "We're the town of Mr. Rogers and Andy Warhol, which speaks of what we are and what we're becoming." Christian Science Monitor 10/21/04

Canadian Artists Lose Ground The lives of artists in Canada aren't getting better - at least in economic terms, reports a new study. Though there are more artists than ever, "in 2001, artists made $23,500 – or about 26 per cent less than an average annual salary for all workers. The gap had increased from 1991, when they made 23 per cent less than the average." CBC 10/21/04

The Canadian Artist "Close to one-half of Canada's artists live in just three cities -- Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal. And while the number of artists across Canada has increased by almost 30 per cent in the last decade, they're earning on average 26 per cent less than other workers in the labour force, a study released yesterday shows." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/21/04

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Lincoln Centre's $1.5 Billion Impact On NY A new study measures the economic impact of Lincoln Centre on New York City. It's significant. "Direct spending on operations by Lincoln Center and all of its resident organizations, the report says, totaled $530 million in 2003; fully $350 million of that figure represented spending on employee wages and benefits. This translated into 9,000 full-time, part-time, and contract positions, equal to approximately 5,500 full-time employees." Back Stage 10/20/04

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

DC Arts Finally Recover Post-9/11 After 9/11, arts institutions in Washington DC struggled to find audiences (and income). But the post-9/11 slup is officially over, with attendance (and income) on the rise. "The upturn is attributed to the rise in tourism, resumption of school field trips, economic security enjoyed by the theater-going public, and rise of the Internet as an easy way to buy tickets, according to managers of many of the region's 60-plus theatrical companies." Washington Post 10/19/04

Texas Artists Against Bush A group of Texas "writers, musicians and arts patrons are placing newspaper ads against President Bush this week, declaring 'the Texan in the White House doesn't speak for us'." Dallas Morning News 10/19/04

Monday, October 18, 2004

That Dirty, Dirty Museum Web sites are of great value to museums, with the potential to reach a far wider swath of the public for a smaller cash outlay than most forms of advertising. But what if the public can't find your site? It's a nightmare scenario being experienced by the UK's Horniman Museum, which has found its site blocked by automatic web filters and its e-mails discarded by spam blockers. Why the nasty treatment for a legitimate art museum? Try saying the name a few times, and you'll get the idea. The Guardian (UK) 10/16/04

Ignoring The Arts In The Halls Of Power The man charged with relaunching London's South Bank Arts Centre is furious with the city's political establishment, declaring "I don't know any other country in the world where politicians don't actually want to come along to arts events." According to Michael Lynch, the long-overdue overhaul of South Bank has been an example of the disengagement of UK politicians from the arts. "He suspects that politicians fear they will be categorised by the public as highbrow, but he is concerned because when those in positions of power do not see arts events for themselves, securing funding becomes more difficult." The Observer (UK) 10/17/04

Mrs. Schwarzenegger Takes On California Museum California's State History Museum is nearly broke, and could close in the next few months if a sudden influx of cash is not found. The state's first lady, former journalist Maria Shriver, is proposing to convert the institution into a museum celebrating the contribution of women to California's history, but a backlash began the moment Shriver stepped into the fray, with detractors accusing her of strong-arming the museum board. Shriver insists that the board approached her, and that she is "happy to help." Sacramento Bee 10/16/04

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Colorado Looks To Renew Its Arts Tax Colorado's Scientific and Cultural Facilities District is the fancy name for a sales tax that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for arts and cultural groups in the state. But the tax is up for a renewal vote this fall, and the public is likely to want tangible assurances that the money is having a positive impact. "Cultural organizations have bigger budgets and larger staffs because of the tax. And SCFD funding has helped create cooperation among groups in terms of programming (even some shared mailing lists), and more sophisticated, persistent marketing." Rocky Mountain News (Denver) 10/16/04

Ignoring The Arts Obviously, the arts are not the first issue that leaps to mind when one thinks of this year's U.S. presidential race. But is it really necessary for both candidates to completely ignore such issues as arts education, federal support for artists and performers, and the future of the NEA? "I suppose you could try to dismiss arts issues as a tangential topic in a campaign where war, terrorism and the economy are the driving issues. But the arts touch our lives and those of our children daily. Can you honestly say the same about gay marriage?" St. Paul Pioneer Press 10/17/04

Friday, October 15, 2004

Arts PAC Prepares To Up The Ante Americans For The Arts has announced that it will create a political action committee to directly lobby politicians for greater arts support. The new PAC is funded by a $120 million grant from the Lily Foundation, and "one of the group's first moves will be to issue congressional report cards on individual legislators' support of the arts and arts issues. Another of the group's functions will be training advocates on how to promote bond, tax or other arts-funding issues in their communities." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 10/15/04

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Brits Can Force ISP Reveals "The British music industry has been granted a court order forcing internet service providers (ISPs) to reveal the names of illegal music swappers." The ruling comes only days after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a federal decision prohibiting the American recording industry from using the same practice. BBC 10/14/04

  • Previously: Court Deals Recording Industry A Major Blow The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of the federal court ruling that barred the music industry from compelling internet providers to turn over the names and addresses of their subscribers. The decision could throw a major monkey wrench into the industry's tactic of suing illegal file-traders anonymously, then forcing providers to match the computer footprints with user information. A high court decision on whether it will rehear a separate case concerning the liability of manufacturers in piracy cases has not yet been announced. Wired 10/12/04

Ashcroft Vows To Fight Intellectual Property Crime "While the entertainment industry has had some recent setbacks in its fight against piracy in the courts and in Congress, it has a new ally in John Ashcroft, who recently pledged to make cracking down on copyright violators a top priority. On Tuesday, the attorney general released a report from the Department of Justice's Intellectual Property Task Force that outlines plans to beef up enforcement of copyright violations." Wired 10/14/04

Lincoln Center Makes An Economic Case "Lincoln Center -- home to the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic, among others -- released a study Wednesday showing its significant economic contribution to the New York city, state and metropolitan area. Prepared by the Economic Development Research Group in association with Mt. Auburn Associates, the study finds Lincoln Center's total economic contribution in 2003 to the greater metropolitan region was $1.52 billion of business sales, which in turn supported 15,200 workers with $635 million in benefits and wages." Yahoo! (Variety) 10/14/04

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Hemingway Home Restoration Held Up By Politics "In what architects describe as a preservation emergency, [Ernest Hemingway's Havana] house, known as Finca Vigía or Lookout Farm, is tumbling down. An effort to save the finca, an American cultural treasure and an important Cuban tourist attraction, seems threatened by a storm of politics." An American foundation has offered millions to fund the restoration of the house, but the U.S. government has refused to allow the project to go forward, claiming that it would promote tourism in Cuba, thereby helping the economy of the Communist nation. The New York Times 10/14/04

Is America's Free Press In Danger? From the FCC crackdown to judges who feel free to lock up reporters who refuse to reveal their sources, first amendment activists have had a lot to complain about this year. Frank Rich claims that such recent events make the Bush Administration the biggest threat to free expression since Nixon, and worries that much of the nation seems perfectly willing to accept censorship and outright media intimidation, so long as the resulting "news" coverage conforms to their political point of view. The New York Times 10/17/04

What? We Can't Steal Your Ideas? "Since the dawn of the film industry, it has been common practice for writers to send scripts and pitch stories to movie executives and producers. And for almost as long, scores of writers have sued the studios for stealing their ideas, only to have suits, filed on hard-to-prove copyright infringement grounds, which are dismissed or quietly settled. But a recently published opinion from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in Jeff Grosso v. Miramax Film Corporation, may soon shift the balance of power in this age-old tug of war." The New York Times 10/13/04

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Court Deals Recording Industry A Major Blow The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of the federal court ruling that barred the music industry from compelling internet providers to turn over the names and addresses of their subscribers. The decision could throw a major monkey wrench into the industry's tactic of suing illegal file-traders anonymously, then forcing providers to match the computer footprints with user information. A high court decision on whether it will rehear a separate case concerning the liability of manufacturers in piracy cases has not yet been announced. Wired 10/12/04

Quantifying Art's Value To The Taxpayer In Wisconsin, civic and arts leaders are holding a Congress at the spectacular new Overture Center in Madison to try to sell legislators and the public on the idea that the arts are a good investment. The main thrust of the argument is that the arts attract tourists, who spend dollars in the state. (Of course, the Overture Center itself was built entirely with private money...) Wisconsin State Journal 10/13/04

The Arts, Now 50% Off Times are tough in the art world, and attendance has been slow for many organizations. So a group of Philadelphia arts groups have banded together to try out a very old-fashioned method of gaining new business: they're offering half-price admission to everything from operas to plays to pop concerts to museums. But the discounts are a one-time event, since no arts groups wants to create a ticket base that gets used to not paying full price. Philadelphia Inquirer 10/10/04

The High Art Of The Pre-Show Reprimand "People recall that distant age when the theatre began with nothing more than a lowering of the lights and the raising of a curtain, when the whole notion of pre-emptive audience rebuke was unheard of, but those days have passed into misty legend." By now the reminder to turn off your cell phones, beepers and chiming watches -- and to unwrap your candy now -- is ubiquitous. Fortunately, it has also evolved into an opportunity for creativity and humor. Back Stage 10/11/04

The Singing, Dancing, Acting Irish? The University of Notre Dame is known for two things: Catholicism and football, not necessarily in that order. With a new, $64 million performing arts complex intended to be a presenting and teaching space, the university is seeking to become known for prominence in a third area: the arts. The New York Times 10/12/04

Monday, October 11, 2004

Viva France! France will officially become the first nation to allow owners of theaters and concert halls to install cell phone jamming equipment. The devices will still allow emergency calls to be made from the premises when necessary, but will block all other signals to and from the building during performances. Similar devices are explicitly banned in other countries, but the French decision could be a harbinger of things to come elsewhere. The Telegraph (UK) 10/12/04

The New Generation of Protest Art "Inspired by the war in Iraq and the upcoming presidential election, painters, sculptors, graffiti artists, guerrilla poster makers and aspiring artisans have been showing an unprecedented level of political outrage... Nothing to date has been created on the scale of Pablo Picasso's 1937 apocalyptic mural Guernica, considered one of the most powerful anti-war statements in modern art. But the amount of political art being produced recently has been unprecedented, even exceeding the anti-administration views displayed during the Vietnam War." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/11/04

  • Previously: Where Is This Generation's "Guernica"? Among artists and intellectuals onstage at last weekend's New Yorker Festival, "questions were repeatedly raised about the political potential of art and the role of intellectuals to be socially responsible. There was an urgency to the question that reflected the reality of time and place, of a presidential election four weeks away and of the inescapable reminders of Sept. 11." But the answers remained debatable. San Francisco Chronicle 10/06/04

Selling The KC Arts Tax "People may not always agree on what art is, but Kansas City area voters will be asked Nov. 2 to pay for lots of it. Residents of five counties will consider a quarter-cent sales tax to raise $500 million to $600 million for arts projects over the next 12 to 15 years, including $50 million for a downtown performing arts center... Arts supporters say the issue is quality of life. Does Kansas City want more and better theater, art galleries, museums, concerts and other entertainment?" But opponents are saying that the arts are no more culturally relevant than a tractor pull (seriously, someone said that,) and that tax money should stay out of the mix. Kansas City Star 10/10/04

Reaching Out In A Big (And Highly Visible) Way It's a major year for the arts in Minnesota's Twin Cities, and not a bad year for construction companies, either. The Guthrie Theater is putting the finishing touches on a massive new riverfront home designed by architect Jean Nouvel, and major expansion projects are well underway at the Walker Art Center, the Children's Theatre Company, and the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. "Most of the institutions are expanding their missions or reaching for new audiences with their new facilities. And all are trying to redefine what it means to be a home for the arts." St. Paul Pioneer Press 10/10/04

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Canada's Paltry Support For The Arts Canada prides itself on its willingness to pay high taxes to support a considerable social safety net, but according to some in the arts industry, the country has a long way to go to approximate the level of arts support appropriate for a developed nation. "The Canada Council's grants for all cultural organizations across the country... totals $142 million — about half the annual subsidy received by Berlin's three opera houses." Toronto Star 10/09/04

Well, That'll Do Wonders For Their Credibility The scholars who emerge every year or so to reassert that William Shakespeare didn't write the plays attributed to him are not what you would call the popular kids in academic circles. But that's never stopped the Shakespeare Fellowship Foundation from calling attention to itself, with its efforts focused mainly on the logical-sounding notion that an uneducated glovemakers' son simply would not have had a wide enough world experience to write such worldly plays. But at its annual convention this month, the SFF has waded hip-deep into a new controversy, claiming that the man they believe to have written the Shakespeare plays was also the lover of Queen Elizabeth I. Baltimore Sun 10/09/04

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Actors' Insurance An Ever-Dicier Proposition "Living the actor's life often means uncertainty. Your job, working environment, and level of income are constantly in flux. While most actors are happy to choose this sometimes thrilling, sometimes terrifying existence over the grind at a fluorescent-lit cubicle, the very nature of it also means that certain necessities aren't a given. Like rent money. Or health insurance. The process of getting and maintaining reliable coverage is a chief worry for the working actor." Back Stage 10/06/04

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Where Is This Generation's "Guernica"? Among artists and intellectuals onstage at last weekend's New Yorker Festival, "questions were repeatedly raised about the political potential of art and the role of intellectuals to be socially responsible. There was an urgency to the question that reflected the reality of time and place, of a presidential election four weeks away and of the inescapable reminders of Sept. 11." But the answers remained debatable. San Francisco Chronicle 10/06/04

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Major Layoffs Planned At Royal Festival Hall The refurbishment of London's Royal Festival Hall, which will begin with the hall's closure next summer, is expected to create 181 so-called "redundant" positions, and fully one-third of the venue's staff will likely be laid off. The staff will be increased again when the hall reopens in 2007. The Guardian (UK) 10/06/04

Australia's Arts Policies: Same Old, Same Old It's an election year in Australia, and as Prime Minister John Howard struggles to hold his Liberal government majority together, the arts have taken a back seat to more hot-button issues. And despite some serious problems in the country's orchestral industry, and uncertainty surrounding the future of the National Portrait Gallery, neither the ruling Liberals nor the opposition Labour Party appear to have any new strategies for the arts. In fact, "the arts policies of the major parties appear to cancel each other out rather than break any new ground." Adelaide Advertiser 10/06/04

Putin's Crackdown On Free Expression As Russian president Vladimir Putin continues to consolidate power around himself, the country's artists, authors, and journalists are becoming alarmed at what seems to be a return to Soviet-era censorship. Books are being confiscated by government agents, media outlets are almost completely under the thumb of the Kremlin, and authors are facing official harassment, even prosecution, for expressing controversial opinions. The Chronicle of Higher Education 10/08/04

Spending Money To Make Money "After nearly two years of debate over how to spend a $120 million gift from pharmaceutical heiress Ruth Lilly, Americans for the Arts has decided to spend a small slice of it to start a citizens' movement for the arts. The organization's officials are expected to announce today in Washington that they are creating the Americans for the Arts Action Fund, a membership group that will adopt the fundraising and lobbying tactics of the Sierra Club and the League of Women Voters to build support for arts and arts education." The program is expected to cost $1 million. Washington Post 10/05/04

Ignore the Masses, Find A Niche The days of mass marketing in the entertainment world seem to be swiftly drawing to a close. As new technologies give consumers an increasingly diverse array of options, niche marketing is the wave of the future, and marketing to the bland middle as a way of reaching everyone is no longer the most reliable route to profitability. "Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it in service after service, from DVDs at Netflix to music videos on Yahoo! Launch to songs in the iTunes Music Store and Rhapsody." Wired 10/05/04

BAM's Big Boost The Brooklyn Academy of Music has long struggled to maintain fiscal solvency in the face of slack attendance and an underfunded endowment, but in recent years, BAM has begun a turnaround that will culminate this fall with the completion of an $8.6 million restoration. In addition, the academy has announced two major gifts totalling $30 million, which will double the size of its endowment. Still, the organization's long-term success seems to be inextricably tied to the fortunes of Brooklyn as a whole. The New York Times 10/05/04

Monday, October 4, 2004

Rosetta Code Actually Cracked 800 Years Ago "It is famed as a critical moment in code-breaking history. Using a piece of basalt carved with runes and words, scholars broke the secret of hieroglyphs, the written 'language' of the ancient Egyptians. A baffling, opaque language had been made comprehensible, and the secrets of one of the world's greatest civilisations revealed - thanks to the Rosetta Stone and the analytic prowess of 18th and 19th century European scholars. But now the supremacy of Western thinking has been challenged by a London researcher who claims that hieroglyphs had been decoded hundreds of years earlier - by an Arabic alchemist." The Guardian (UK) 10/03/04

Arts Thrive, But The Coverage Sucks A new study of arts journalism by Columbia University's National Arts Journalism Program finds that the arts are thriving in cities and towns across North America. But arts journalism is going in exactly the opposite direction, throttled by an increasingly profit-driven business model and the ever-shrinking 'news hole.' "Many art sections have become viewer guides, devoting the bulk of their efforts to calendars, the daily TV grid and tiny thumbnail reviews. At some dailies, criticism is vanishing." Los Angeles Times 10/03/04

We'll Just Call It A History-Based Display Module, Then As part of Toronto's ongoing downtown redevelopment, a new $200 million cultural center is being planned for the waterfront, and organizers hope that it will become the go-to place for Toronto's history and heritage. But don't you dare call it a museum - those are for stuffy people. Toronto Star 10/03/04

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Dave Eggers Wants You To Vote Ohio is widely considered to be one of the three or four most important states in any presidential election, and presidential candidates sink millions of advertising dollars into the state's television markets. And yet, voter turnout in the Buckeye State is no better than in any other part of the country. Enter Operation Ohio, a touring group of big-name authors holding get-out-the-vote efforts at colleges and universities across the state. The events are billed as non-partisan, but there is a distinct anti-Bush ring to the speeches. The New York Times 10/02/04

Friday, October 1, 2004

Is Political Correctness Smothering Art? As the phenomenon known either as "contextualization" or "historical revisionism" (depending on your point of view) continues to remake our view of art, a new book suggests that political correctness has turned much of art history into a collection of palatable lies. In the author's view, "the history of Western art—art spanning continents and centuries—is being systematically turned on its head and rendered unrecognizable to anyone who approaches such matters from within the boundaries of normal human understanding." In other words, the intellectuals are just ruining art for all the normal people. Commentary 10/04

Home | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©
2002 ArtsJournal. All Rights Reserved