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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Ivey: American Arts Need A Rethink Former NEA chairman Bill Ivey says it's time to rethink about how we think abou the business of arts in America. "Look at record companies -- they're almost all for-profit. Museums are almost all nonprofit. Theatre is unusual because some institutions are in one world and some are in another, and that makes you wonder about the value of nonprofit status. Some parts of the arts system -- like design, architecture, and, for the most part, book publishing and fashion -- lack much of a nonprofit presence yet are vigorous parts of the cultural landscape, which they retain without getting grants. So it would be interesting to back up and look at the system without the old assumptions." Back Stage 03/31/05

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

This Blurb Brought To You By Spishak Product placement took a giant leap forward this week with McDonald's announcement that it would pay rap stars royalties in exchange for lyrical mentions of the Big Mac burger. But such guerrilla marketing tactics have been worming their way into unexpected corners of national culture for years, and the practice is likely to get bigger as traditional advertising becomes steadily less cost effective. "Last year, British 'chick lit' writer Carole Matthews [signed] a deal with Ford to mention its cars prominently in several of her works." And now, Britain's TV watchdog organization has offered a significant policy shift which could open the door for products to be inserted into the storylines of UK television programs. BBC News Magazine 03/30/05

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

In The UK: A Bold New Arts Participation Plan The UK government has promised that "within 10 years every school-leaver will have had access to live arts and culture, including taking part in public performances. But it gave no indication of how this will be paid for. The new proposal has been dubbed Creative Sparks, and Culture." The Guardian (UK) 03/30/05

Dallas's Performing Arts Center And The Starchitects Dallas's $275 million performing arts center is being designed and built by star architects Rem Koolhaas and Norman Foster. But trying to get the two to work together has been difficult. And the arts groups that will call the center home have little access to the two or their representatives. "This pattern has produced frustration among performing arts center staff and some members of the building committees, who complain privately about lack of coordination and their once-a-month access to the decision-makers." Dallas Morning News 03/27/05

How Blogging Is Changing Iran Blogging has taken off in Iran, and Persian is now the fourth most popular blog language in the world. "A major factor in the widespread adoption of blogging in Iran has been the Unicode standard, which has made it possible for people to write and publish easily in the Persian script. Nor does it hurt that it is easy to set up a blog — or to use a pseudonym. The result has been the creation of a medium that cuts across social and geographic boundaries." Inside Higher Education 03/29/05

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Big Review Review It's not enough to just have reviews of culture these days. Now we have reviews of those reviews. "The traditional objects of culture - books, movies, art - are becoming ever more distant. In their place are reviews of reviews, museums of museums and many, many lists." The New York Times 03/29/04

Ireland Talks About Taxing Artists For more than three decades, Ireland has encouraged artists by providing "tax-free status on income from original works considered to be of creative, artistic or cultural merit. To qualify, a sample or copy of work must be submitted to the Revenue Commissioners. The scheme costs an estimated €35 million a year in lost taxation revenue." Now a list of artists benefiting from the plan has been published under the Freedom of Information Act, and it includes "the names of most authors, artists and musicians who came to prominence in the late 1990s." As least one political party says high-earning artists should start paying tax. Eircom 03/28/05

Sunday, March 27, 2005

How To Give The Right Wing A Really Bad Name Kansas-based preacher Fred Phelps, an ultra-right-wing activist best known for parading with his followers at the funerals of victims of AIDS and gay bashings while shouting through a megaphone and waving signs reading "God Hates Fags," is taking on a Colorado Springs arts center that has accepted funding from a gay/lesbian action group. The reverend's merry band says that the arts center has signed on to promote "the radical homosexual agenda" by accepting the money. The reality of the situation, unsurprisingly, bears little resemblance to the Phelps interpretation, but that isn't deterring protest organizers in their crusade to wipe out the "sodomite juggernaut" that is apparently running rampant in Colorado Springs. Denver Post 03/27/05

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Edinburgh Fest Takes A £500,000 Fall The Edinburgh Festival had a rotten year at the box office last year. "The Festival’s financial statement for the year ended 31 October, 2004, which has been released to The Scotsman, shows that income from ticket sales fell from £2,237,000 in 2003 to £1,745,000 last year, a fall of almost £500,000. The Festival also faced losses at the Hub, its main centre which it owns and operates, of £120,000. The EIF had to ask for an emergency funding bail-out earlier this year and its financial position is now top of the agenda for the annual meeting to be held at the end of this month." The Scotsman 03/25/05

Ingenuity = Big Bucks In Cleveland A new arts-and-technology festival in Cleveland is attracting serious donors, despite an overall malaise in the local cultural scene. Ingenuity, as the fest will be called, has in recent weeks picked up $100,000 from the George Gund Foundation, as well as $60,000 from governmental sources (with another $150,000 in county funds still on the table) and a $20,000 challenge grant from Case Western Reserve University. The festival, which kicks off in September 2005, is expected to cost $1.4 million. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 03/24/05

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Study: The Arts' Impact Across The US "Nearly 3 million people -- representing 2.2% of all jobs in the United States -- work in the arts, according to a new survey by Americans for the Arts, released to coincide with Arts Advocacy Day on March 15 in Washington, D.C. The report states that arts companies, organizations, and related businesses now exist in all 435 Congressional districts, lending credence to the position maintained by many arts advocates that the economic power of America's "creative industries" should not be underestimated." Back Stage 03/23/05

MP's Attack Arts Funding Freeze A group of influential British members of Parliament has condemned the government's freeze in arts funding. "The government needs to re-evaluate its allocation of resources to the arts taking a long-term view, to ensure that real terms cuts are avoided where no compelling arguments or evidence are presented for their necessity. In our view no such arguments have been made. The government should reconsider and find the £34m needed to keep the Arts Council funding in line with inflation." BBC 03/23/05

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Newfoundland Adds Millions To Arts Budget The Canadian province of Newfoundland is adding eight million new dollars to its culture budget and promises millions more over the next two years. "The good news for arts and culture follows a year in which jobs were slashed and projects put on hold because of government belt-tightening." CBC 03/22/05

Monday, March 21, 2005

Rampaging Boards - Seattle's Got 'Em Seattle arts organizations are having trouble with their boards. Twice in the past year, Seattle boards have fired popular artistic directors and incurred the wrath of the community... Seattle Post-Intelligencer 03/21/05

Portland In The Passing Lane "But for a long time, Portland [Oregon] has deferred to its larger Northwest cousin Seattle in the size and repute of the city's major performing-arts institutions — its professional theaters, opera and ballet companies and venues. Could this be about to change? With recent infusions of arts talent and leadership, funding support and new construction projects, the City of Roses is indeed making a bid for the bigger time." Seattle Times 03/20/05

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Edinburgh Festivals Get Together Edinburgh's various summer festivals are finally getting together. "The plan is for the festivals to meet every two months and discuss a wide range of issues from creating a unified box office to a strategy to promote the Festivals overseas and improve the city’s infrastructure. Its development comes after years of public squabbling as competition from events in other British cities has grown." Scotland on Sunday 03/20/05

Gioia: Democratizing The NEA Dana Gioia's biggest accomplishment as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts? "I would say that the major reform I've made at the endowment can be summarized pretty easily. Historically, the National Endowment for the Arts thought of itself as a federal agency that served artists. Today, the NEA sees itself as a federal agency which serves the American public by bringing the best of the arts and arts education to all Americans."

San Diego Union-Tribune 03/19/05

Good 'n Evil Gets Back In The Arts "Good and evil are back on the table again as serious issues requiring serious contemplation by all of us -- not just theologians, philosophers, essayists, politicians and talk-show hosts. Not just "experts" such as President Bush or Bono or Elie Wiesel or Dr. Phil, to whom we outsourced some of our thorniest moral dilemmas. These people were only too happy to do a lot of the heavy moral lifting for us. (And God bless 'em for it.) But it's time to shoulder the load ourselves. This latest surge of terrible events reminds us that, in the end, we're all on the hot seat to decide: What is evil? What is good? What constitutes justice?" Chicago Tribune 03/20/05

The Great Big Art FAQ There's no need to be intimidated by the arts, no matter how off-putting some of the self-importance that surrounds them might be. But just in case you're still a bit uncertain about how to act, dress, applaud, or appreciate the art event of your choice, the populist critics of the Chicago Tribune are here to help... Chicago Tribune 03/20/05

Imax Operators Defer To Religious Zealots "Several Imax theaters, including some in science museums, are refusing to show movies that mention [evolution] - or the Big Bang or the geology of the earth - fearing protests from people who object to films that contradict biblical descriptions of the origin of Earth and its creatures. The number of theaters rejecting such films is small, people in the industry say - perhaps a dozen or fewer, most in the South. But because only a few dozen Imax theaters routinely show science documentaries, the decisions of a few can have a big impact on a film's bottom line - or a producer's decision to make a documentary in the first place. People who follow trends at commercial and institutional Imax theaters say that in recent years, religious controversy has adversely affected the distribution of a number of films." The New York Times 03/19/05

Um, What Kind Of Penalties, Exactly? One of Scotland's leading political parties is "calling for the effective abolition of the Scottish Arts Council and the creation of a Scottish Academy instead... They argue that companies such as Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, should be funded directly by the Scottish Executive... The direct funding method, as used for the National Galleries, National Museum and National Library of Scotland, would be contract-based. The bodies would agree on a programme, modes of delivery, and would incur 'penalties for not delivering'." Sunday Herald (UK) 03/20/05

Friday, March 18, 2005

Denver Quits Summer Festival Denver has decided to cancel its 13-year0-old annual summer performing arts festival"The free festival attracted more than 100 performers and thousands of visitors to the Denver Performing Arts Complex over two days each September. But the festival, which costs a minimum of $125,000 to stage, drew fewer than 30,000 last year, said cultural affairs director Denise Montgomery. That figure is down more than 50 percent from the 60,000 who attended in 2002." Denver Post 03/18/05

SXSW Just Keeps Getting Bigger "In its 19th year, SXSW, which started on Wednesday, has broken attendance records. Four days and nights of panel discussions at the Austin Convention Center and showcase gigs at 60 venues around the city have drawn more than 1,300 bands, 8,000 paid registrants and 1,600 journalists from around the world. That isn't counting the thousands of people who come just for the parties and the unofficial shows..." Chicago Sun-Times 03/18/05

Creative Strategies - UK Arts Funding Cuts Little Guy The UK Arts Council strategy of taking care of major arts groups while cutting smaller ones "made the best of a bad job. But they have cut the people who can't shout. They have cut community arts and young artists who might turn out to be tomorrow's major artists. And it is really tragic to have cut back on Creative Partnerships, which is targeted at the most deprived young people." The Independent (UK) 03/18/05

Thursday, March 17, 2005

UK Arts Funding: Little Guys Suffer, Big Guys Get More Government arts funding in the Uk is supposed to be flat over the next few years. But "companies including the Royal Opera, English National Opera, the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company will get a 2.75% increase - the estimated inflation rate - in 2007-08 even though the council estimates that its own standstill funding means a real loss of £34m. The council said it rejected 'equal misery for all', and the consequence is double misery for some, particularly the 121 groups which lose all their money, and a further 54 which will face drastic cuts." The Guardian (UK) 03/17/05

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

UK To Invest In Arts Leadership Arts Council England intends to allocate £12 million extra for training for arts leaders. "Our artists and arts institutions have an international reputation for excellence. But we need to make sure the management and leadership of the companies matches it. That's why we're investing in skills to help correct this." The Guardian (UK) 03/17/05

Aussie Arts Leaders Blame The Government If Australia's museums, galleries, and theatre groups are thinking that the crisis currently threatening to envelop the nation's symphony orchestras could never happen to them, they'd better think again, according to some arts leaders. The orchestral crisis came about because of "a lack of urgent government action in updating the way major arts companies are funded," an issue which could potentially affect the entire arts industry. Sydney Morning Herald 03/17/05

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Wanted: A Better Case For the Arts England's arts advocates need to do a better job of selling themselves to the government. "Politicians seem embarrassed to be associated with the arts. The 'arm's-length' separating grants from government control has become very short indeed - 'almost Venus de Milo length', according to the new chairman of Arts Council England, Sir Christopher Frayling." Sydney Morning Herald 03/16/05

Words In The Service Of Art (We Think) Filmmaker Ken Burns gives the annual Nancy Hanks speech at the Kennedy Center. It was a fine speech, writes Phil Kennicott, but rather empty. He gave "what may be studied in years to come as an almost faultless rhetorical exercise in the dying language of Art, Greatness and Inspiration. Burns, the avatar of PBS, speaks beautifully about nothing, using a set of tropes and gentle fictions that, when placed together in almost any order (like refrigerator magnet poetry), seem to take you to Parnassus." Washington Post 03/15/05

Culture - Looking For Ground Zero What's happened to plans for cultural institutions to take up residence at the site of the World Trade Center? "In the nine months since, those arts institutions have been under pressure to prove themselves all over again. And even as the development corporation in charge of rebuilding ground zero prepares to unveil a design in the next few weeks for a museum complex at the site, it is by no means certain who will occupy it." The New York Times 03/15/05

Art (And Artists) Versus Infrastructure Singapore is building an arts infrastructure. That's good, writes Audrey Wong. But what about art? What about the artists? She worries that more attention is going into building up a commercial structure for art than is being spent on developing artists and their work. TodayOnline 03/15/05

Monday, March 14, 2005

Runaway Boards? As the actions of the boards of several arts organizations in the Pacific Northwest have shown in recent months, arts boards have a lot of responsibility (and headaches). "I think there’s a belief that to be on a nonprofit arts board, you maybe just show up at some meetings a few times a year. The truth is, the “hand-to-mouth business” of nonprofit art is scary and dangerous, and takes a lot of care and coddling and attention." Tacoma News-Tribune 03/13/05

That Complicated France/America Thing "While American Francophobia can seem transient, news oriented, associated with the political right and theatrical in character, French anti-Americanism - like a venerable Old World tradition - reaches far and deep. It is championed by both the left and right. And over its long evolutionary course, various scientific, philosophical, political, social and racial justifications have been offered. Its convictions are so fundamental that they are barely recognized, and they are spreading." The New York Times 03/14/05

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Three Theatres Reach Finals Of Business Competition "Three not-for-profit theatres have arrived at the final round of the third National Business Plan Competition for Nonprofit Organizations, a project of the Yale School of Management-The Goldman Sachs Foundation Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures." Back Stage 03/13/05

Berlin's Cultural Comeback "The toppling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 recast daily life, as the two halves of the country awkwardly reunited. A capitalist gentility took hold in the historic Scheunenviertel, a district of the old East Berlin, as courtyards along Sophienstrasse and elsewhere were tidied up and residential buildings converted into showcases for art. Today, what Prague and London were in the 90's, Berlin has now become: a magnet for anyone who wants to live and work in a city that is humming with cultural energy and, by contrast with the rest of northern Europe, an insane bargain." The New York Times 03/13/05

Humanities Meet Human Nature Eileen Mackevich forced departure from the helm of the Chicago Humanities Festival has left the event at a crossroads. Mackevich, who co-founded the festival, was known for crafting a high-minded series that somehow never smacked of elitism, and her ouster was widely portrayed as a purely political move by her enemies on the board. Regardless of the circumstances, the festival will have its hands full as it tries to regroup under new leadership. Chicago Tribune 03/13/05

Friday, March 11, 2005

Cleveland Goes Looking For Big Money Cleveland arts organizations are looking for big money. Can they find it? "Three of Cleveland's nonprofit institutions have campaigns that together hope to raise more than $700 million. The Cleveland Museum of Art's $300 million effort is the newest, seeking money to expand and renovate the University Circle museum." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 03/11/05

The New 24/7 Lincoln Center Lincoln Center is growing. "With jazz after midnight and late-morning, breakfast concerts of classical music, Lincoln Center is evolving into an almost "24-7" performing arts hub. As it adds edgy creativity to its mainstream fare, the centre is expanding culturally and physically. It also has enlarged its board of directors to include leaders in non-artistic fields raising money from donors who might never before have given to the arts." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 03/11/05

What'll It Take For Women To Get Ahead In The Arts? "On the occasion of Women's History Month, Back Stage talked with the heads of several women's organizations for their spin on the challenges facing women in the arts and media today and to learn what they're doing about them. A repeated refrain is that while the status of women has improved enormously, there is still a lack of equality in terms of clout and pay. Men continue to outnumber women in positions of power behind the scenes, get better roles on stage and screen, and generally earn more money than their female counterparts of equal competence and experience (at any level above scale)." Back Stage 03/11/05

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Building A Better Case... Arts advocates have been touting the arts' economic benefits in making their case for the arts. But a new RAND study wonders if arguments for the arts shouldn't bebroadened... Morning Edition (NPR) 03/10/05

Dallas Expands Arts District After months of wrangling over zoning codes and property rights, the Dallas city council has voted to expand the city's downtown arts district. The move is largely an effort to bring several "weed-choked lots and run-down gas stations" into line with what has become one of Dallas's most elegant and well-designed neighborhoods. Dallas Morning News 03/10/05

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

A Foundation That's Quick On Its Feet Getting money from foundations and government is usually a log complicated process. by contrast, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, a charitable trust established by the banking family that owned M&G takes a simple approach. "The foundation spends more than £5.5 million a year on the arts and heritage. It shows how money can be delivered quickly and productively to places where it can stimulate and support good art without socio-political agendas getting in the way." The Telegraph (UK) 03/10/05

Where UK Arts Funding Goes The UK government spends 412 million on arts and culture this year. Here's how it's spent... The Guardian (UK) 03/10/05

Arts Funding? Why Not An Endowment? Philadelphia is in need of some major new arts funding. But where to get it? Tom Ferrick Jr. has an idea: how about a three-year increase of one percent in the sales tax? It would generate about $600 million, which could be invested in an endowment for arts and culture over the next 20 years... Philadelphia Inquirer 03/09/05

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Hall: Arts Funding Crucial To A Healthy Country Tony Hall, chief executive of London's Royal Opera House, says increasing funding for the arts is a "no-brainer" for government. "If you put the arts in the bigger picture, and talk about them as part of the framework of the creative and cultural industries, the argument that asks 'can the arts really make a splash, do they really matter?' becomes very clea. "They are part of something fundamental and big, which is the creative economy, which is now what we live off. And when you look at it like that then arts funding becomes a no-brainer ... our future depends on creativity." The Guardian (UK) 03/09/05

Sharpton Calls For Ban Of Artists Connected To Violence The Rev. Al Sharpton says that there is a need for a new law that would ban "artists who are connected to any violent acts, denying them airplay on radio and television for 90 days. 'There's a difference in the having the right to express yourself and in engaging in violence and using the violence to hype record sales, and then polluting young Americans that this is the key to success, by gunslinging and shooting'." ABCNews.com 03/08/05

Dubai Launches Anti-Crude Art Campaign The United Arab Emirates is launching an expensive "Say No To Crude Art campaign. "We will launch a campaign to fight this phenomenon, especially indecent video clips and messages telecast on TV. The campaign will be funded by several groups which have shown interest in fighting this phenomenon. Khaleej Times (UAE) 03/08/05

Monday, March 7, 2005

An Irish Town Rises To A Capital Challenge "Cork has always had its home-grown art, theatre, and, especially, music. When it was designated European Capital of Culture 2005, the smallest city ever to win the title – and, with a measly 15 million euros, given the smallest ever budget – it ingeniously issued a "public call" for ideas. The result, a wide-ranging programme of 236 creative projects, takes in football, rowing and hurling, as well as the Knitting Map, an attempt at the world knitting record using satellite images of Cork as a pattern." The Telegraph (UK) 03/08/05

Can Philly Find A Stable Arts Funding Source? Philadelphia's Kimmel Center budget woes points up the need for some sort of stable public funding, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial page. "Mayor Street hopes to revive that important conversation with his proposal to raise a sizeable endowment to supplement ticket sales and other grants. No single funding source has been identified. The mayor proposed at least one idea - selling off the naming rights to the Pennsylvania Convention Center - that, while well-intentioned, had the drawback of commercializing the center's identity." Philadelphia Inquirer 03/07/05

Arts Bundling - Charlotte Tries For More Charlotte (NC) arts leaders are struggling to keep $147 million worth of arts projects bundled in a request to the state for funding. "The wish list encompasses a 1,200-seat performance hall, a museum for an art collection owned by Andreas Bechtler, a relocated Mint Museum of Art, a new home for the Afro-American Cultural Center, rehearsal space for the N.C. Dance Theatre and renovations at Discovery Place." Charlotte Business Journal (MSNBC) 03/07/05

Theatre Naming Rights Fail To Translate Into $$$ Winnipeg's historic (but ailing) "Walker Theatre was in rough shape at the turn of the century. The 95-year-old building was saddled in debt and close to being shut down. It was renamed the Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts in August 2002, in exchange for an agreement that Cummings would perform five free concerts to raise funds for the theatre. At the time, newspaper reports heralded the yearly concerts as having the potential to bring in over $1 million. So far, however, only one of those concerts has happened, back in April 2003. That concert brought in a profit of $55,000." CBC 03/07/05

Is There A Link Between Art And Violence? "There is, like it or not, a deeply held suspicion that fictional representations of violence steadily rub away at our sensibilities, so that when the real thing comes along we're too numb and jaded to react as human beings. The issue is as ancient as creativity itself, but it has lost none of its urgency over the centuries: Just what is the impact of art? Does watching stories about terrible acts desensitize us to the horror of those acts when they actually occur?" Chicago Tribune 03/06/05

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Australia's Artist Support Legacy Ten years ago, then-Prime Minister Paul Keating of Australia instigated a support scheme for artists, chossing and paying some of them decent wages to live on. The program eventually shrank and died after Keating left office, but it helped create a legacy for the country worth celebrating... Sydney Morning Herald 03/06/05

Arts And Business In Europe: A Merger Of Interests? "Arts and business, once parallel worlds in Europe, are merging as never before. More companies than ever back the visual arts: Patronage has more than doubled in the past 15 years in the U.K. and more than tripled in France. The difference is that, where once companies funded the arts selflessly and on a whim -- the chairman's, or his wife's -- they now seek bang for their buck: their name in the show's title, free museum access for staff and client parties, the right to advertise their sponsorship, and the right to run spinoff educational and social programs. And when all is said and done, they conduct studies to make sure it was worth it." Bloomberg 03/04/05

Small Groups At Risk In Buffalo Buffalo's arts scene took a big hit last week when the state legislature scrapped $1 million in county-based arts funding. The city's largest arts groups will still get their money, but 42 smaller organizations are scrambling to find alternate funds, having already absorbed several rounds of cuts. "The county rollback will disproportionately affect grass-roots organizations whose educational programs serve primarily urban families... By halving the $5.5 million originally budgeted for the arts and radically altering distribution of the remaining $2.7 million, lawmakers called into question the future of the volunteer Erie County Cultural Resources Advisory Board, which was formed 20 years ago to correct inequities in cultural aid." Buffalo News 03/05/05

IS KC Getting Ready To Scrap The PAC? Kansas City's plans for a massive downtown performing arts center are in danger of being scrapped or severely scaled back if new funding cannot be found. Organizers announced last week that they are suspending the PAC's official capital campaign, and business leaders in the city say that the center cut off all contact with potential donors last fall after a proposed bi-state tax failed at the polls. Kansas City Star 03/06/05

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Rise And Fall Of The Dutch Artist State "The Netherlands is an intriguing case study in the debate over how much public funding should go to the arts. Though the infusion of government spending on the arts in the 1970s and '80s created an arts mecca hailed around the world, it also attracted hangers-on and yielded warehouses full of artworks of dubious merit and zero value on the commercial art market. Ultimately, the Netherlands found there can, in fact, be too much of a good thing. The government-backed support structure for artists created a talent glut, and it collapsed under its own weight." Christian Science Monitor 03/04/05

Namibia Debates Culture Bill Is Namibia's fractured culture the product of a lack of national debate about culture? The country is currently debating a bill to support national culture. "The absence of a cultural discourse may be symptomatic of the multitudes of problems that we are facing as a country. The area of culture and values is dominated by various sub-groups that sometimes transmit contradictory values. Art plays an important role in transmitting values and helping individuals to eternalise them." New Era (iAfrica) 03/03/05

How The Arts Could Learn From WalMart It may not be the most socially responsible company on the planet, but WalMart has a profound understanding of the science of pricing and how it affects consumers. AJ Blogger Andrew Taylor suggests that arts organizations, which are forever being blasted for high ticket prices, could learn a thing or two from the world's largest retailer: "It is interesting to consider what elements of price are in the minds of our audiences, and how we can scale our pricing (both up and down) to shape their on-going dance of cost and value." The Artful Manager (AJ Blogs) 03/02/05

Making A Case For Arts Funding In Mass. Arts advocates in Massachusetts have staged a rally at the state capitol to demand that the state's arts council be restored to full funding after two years of draconian cuts. Massachusetts's annual spending on the arts has dropped 56% since 2001, as lawmakers struggled to balance the budget. Meanwhile, demand for state grants is way up, with local arts councils receiving proposals totalling four times the amount of money available. The Republican (Springfield, MA) 03/03/05

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Edinburgh Gets Out Of The Cheap Ticket Business The Edinburgh Festival is abandoning its late night cheap performances. Why? Because they're too cheap. The £5 ticket price for the series known as Royal Bank Lates, which last year featured such artists as singers Ian Bostridge and Simon Keenlyside, "undermines the value of the events", according to a spokeswoman. "They are too cheap. There is a reasonable price for these things and it's more than £5." The Guardian (UK) 03/03/05

Reason To Believe "The long awaited opening of the Detroit School of Arts could not have happened at a better time. Financial troubles have so dominated the news coming out of the [Detroit school] district that it's a welcome change to have a development truly worth cheering. The DSA is a big, shiny six-story reminder of the sort of modern-thinking focus the district needs to embrace if it's going to compete and survive... The [school] comes complete with talking elevators, an 800-seat auditorium, acoustically efficient vocal and band rooms, a similarly designed recital hall, radio and TV studios, not to mention tons of security and surveillance systems." Detroit Free Press 03/02/05

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Study: Canadian Artists Earn Less Minority artists earn less than other artists in Canada, says a new study. "The October study revealed a huge growth in the number of artists in the country; in fact, the growth rate for the profession expanded at almost three times the rate of the overall labour force since the early 1990s. Despite the popularity of the career choice, the pay was significantly lower for artists than for the average Canadian worker." CBC 03/01/05

Bournemouth Works On A New Arts Complex Arts supporters have a plan to rescue an underused concert hall in Bournemouth, England. "Ambitiously billed as ‘Bournemouth’s Guggenheim’ after the famous art gallery with sites in New York and Bilbao, the centre will provide a home for Dance South West, the Big Little Theatre Company, the education and contemporary music arms of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and the town’s music competitions festival among other creative activities." The Stage 03/01/05

Philly Concert Hall Struggles With Budget Only three years after it opened, Philadelphia's Kimmel Center is struggling to make ends meet. "Hobbled by a paltry endowment, the Kimmel still is not operating with a balanced budget. The last fiscal year ended with a $2.5 million deficit on a $32 million budget, and Kimmel leaders, after predicting that the current season would be their first in the black, now say their hopes of that happening are dimming." Philadelphia Inquirer 03/01/05

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