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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Proposed UK Visa Changes Could Hurt Arts The UK government wants to "change the system whereby arts companies can enter Britain on a joint visa. This could force every member of a visiting group to apply individually for work permits - and be charged more to do so. The proposals could be disastrous for the arts, said Tim Hawkins, producer of the Edinburgh Fringe's renowned Aurora Nova festival of foreign performance. 'We bring about 200-300 foreign performers to the UK each year. If we had to do an individual application for each, it would be a nightmare'." The Guardian (UK) 01/31/06

Welsh Arts Funding Reform Plan To Be Postponed Welsh culture minister Alun Pugh is being forced to postpone plans to directly fund his country's six large arts organizations, taking the process away from the Welsh Arts Council. "There’s a great deal of party political mischief-making going on at the moment. They (the other parties) enjoy giving the government a bloody nose when they can get the arithmetic." ICWales 01/31/06

Monday, January 30, 2006

Welsh Artists - Guaranteed Rights Of Expression? Wales' culture minister has proposed a plan to give artists a legally guaranteed right to freedom of expression. But critics say its a bizarre suggestion: "There are all sorts of practical difficulties. How do you define an artist? Many of us may lay claim to the title. How far would the right to freedom of expression extend? Could a playwright commissioned by BBC Wales to write a TV play insist it is broadcast even when the BBC doesn't want to show it?" Western mail (Wales 01/28/06

  • Welsh Proposal To Directly Fund Arts Draws Protests From Artists Welsh Culture Minister Alun Pugh's proposal to fund the country's major arts organizations directly, cutting the Welsh Arts Council out of the process has artists screaming. "The Welsh arts world is in uproar over Mr Pugh's proposals, fearing that by ending the 'arm's- length' funding principle they would politicise culture and lead to an undesirable two-tier system." Western Mail (Wales) 01/28/06

What Ails Arts Journalism? Jay Handelman notes the diminishing presence of arts coverage in American newspapers. Why isn't it obvious the arts deserve coverage? "Maybe critics and reporters aren't doing enough to make editors and readers realize the importance of such stories and the many areas they touch." The Herald-Tribune (Florida) 01/29/06

Religious Hate Bill Worries Artists Britain is considering a bill that would make it illegal to insult religions. "I am deeply concerned for all performers and entertainers, because the climate in which we work will be very different if the government gets its way. If the wording of the revised bill is read carefully, it can be seen that the new freedoms the government provides with one hand it deftly removes with the other." The Guardian (UK) 01/29/06

Sticking Up For Modernism We've done post-modernism. So does that mean modernism is dead? Well, critics have been trying to club modernism to death for decades. That doesn't mean it doesn't still wreak enormous influence... The Observer (UK) 01/29/06

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Where Will The Conservatives Take Canadian Culture? 'Trepidation' is probably the best word to describe the feelings of Canada's arts leaders as they await the ascension of the country's new Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. "Yet the last time Conservatives did take the reins, under Brian Mulroney, cultural nationalists recall it as a golden age... This time, the cultural industries are watching to see how the Conservatives face three tests. The first involves honouring Canada Council funding promises. The second involves federal-provincial turf issues. The third concerns whether they'll top up the huge arts and heritage building projects now under way in Toronto and other cities." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/28/06

Anybody Want Their Name On A Bathroom? As backers of Miami's new $450 million performing arts center make their final funding push, the time has come to decide on a name for the place, and as has become commonplace, the naming rights are being offered to anyone willing to pony up a cool $30 million. "If [that] seems a little steep, the PAC Foundation is offering more modest sponsorship opportunities, including the Ballet Opera House stage. A glossy brochure labeled 'Legacy: Yours & Ours' lists dozens of building parts that could be yours for the branding, ranging from the powder room and lavatory in the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House ($100,000) to the projection booth in the Carnival Symphony Hall ($250,000)." Miami Herald 01/29/06

The Financial Aid Shuffle Even for relatively well-to-do families, the cost of higher education in America has become prohibitive, and while there exists a plethora of grants, scholarships, and other financial aid options, seeking access to that assistance can quickly become a full-time job. "The level of detail is excruciating, the exposure humiliating, the work exhausting," and at the end of all the work, many scholarships may not be the financial solution they first appear. San Francisco Chronicle 01/29/06

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Plea - Make Nigeria The Next Capital Of The Entertainment World No, really. It's time, writes Larry Williams. "Give us a ministry for arts! When the machinery of entertainment industry is set in motion the income that it will generate will drop oil 'to a mere second place.' Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby can earn 200 million Dollars in 24 months, can you imagine what a ministry of art can rake in from the different forms of art, sports, tourism. Vanguard (Nigeria) 01/26/06

More Women On Chicago Non-Profit Boards In contrast to the for-profit world, non-profits in the Chicago are including more women on their boards of directors. A new survey "found that 94 percent of them had at least one woman director and 89 percent had at least one woman executive. Women accounted for 36 percent of all executive officers and 26 percent of all top earners at the 35 non-profits." Chicago Tribune 01/26/06

Opposition Mounts Against Scottish Culture Plan Is a backlash growing against the Scottish Executive's plan for cultural reform in Scotland? "Any government, no matter its hue, should show a caring and supportive attitude towards cultural activity and be prepared to put its money where its mouth is. The fact that our present one is not, but instead still believes it can fool the people with false figures, hyped claims and meaningless gobbledegook is very regrettable." Glasgow Herald 01/23/06

Getty Trustee Resigns "Barbara Fleischman, the New York art collector who with her husband donated and sold more than 300 prized antiquities to the Getty Museum in 1996 and then quietly made a personal loan to the curator who arranged the deal, resigned from the Getty board Wednesday."
Los Angeles Times 01/26/06

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Orlando: A Performing Arts Center To Blend In Architect Barton Myers has been chosen to design a new performing arts center for the city of Orlando, Florida. "Myers -- a Los Angeles-based architect who has designed performing-arts centers in Newark, N.J.; Portland, Ore.; and Cerritos, Calif. -- is known as an architect who avoids designing flashy structures that stand out from the landscape, such as Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Instead, Myers wants his work to fit in with -- and add to -- the cityscape around it." Orlando Sentinel 01/25/06

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Why Turkey Dropped Charges Against Its Most Famous Writer Charges of "anti-Turkishness" had proven an embarrasment to the government. "There is surely some irony in that fact that you can now be prosecuted in Europe for denying a genocide and prosecuted in Turkey for asserting that a genocide took place. For a country that has long created fictions out of its own past, it is all the more fitting then, that it is a novelist who starts the dialogue about what really happened." Slate 01/24/06

Canada's Culture Minister Voted Out Canada's culture minister Liza Frulla was defeated in Monday's national election. "During Frulla's tenure as culture minister, major issues on her plate included the introduction of satellite radio to Canada and the continued call for increased, stable funding for institutions like the Canada Council, the Canadian Television Fund and the CBC." CBC 01/24/06

The Porn Factor "Not too long ago, pornography was a furtive profession, its products created and consumed in the shadows. But it has steadily elbowed its way into the limelight, with an impact that can be measured not just by the Internet-fed ubiquity of pornography itself but by the way aspects of the porn sensibility now inform movies, music videos, fashion, magazines, and celebrity culture." Boston Globe 01/24/06

Monday, January 23, 2006

Miami PAC And Major Presenter Stop Merger Talks Miami's Concert Association of Florida and the under-construction Miami Performing Arts Center have postponed discussions of a merger of the two organizations. "It would have been a 50-50 financial split, and frankly, we both have too much to do at the time. It was the better part of wisdom for both of us to postpone it for a year or so." Miami Herald 01/23/06

Rebuilding Gulf Coast Arts, An Update "A poll taken by the National Endowment for the Arts in September estimated damage to art institutions and performing-arts organizations to total at least $82 million -- not including losses by individual artists." Four months later, the arts are trying to rebuild... Houston Chronicle 01/20/06

What Defines A Citizen? "Perhaps never before in human history has so much energy been devoted to trying to establish citizenship tests to define national identity. Judging from the debates raging and the confused choices made, there is as little agreement within each country as there is between them." The New York Times 01/23/06

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Google Declines To Turn Over User Info "Google is rebuffing the Bush administration's demand for a peek at what millions of people have been looking up on the internet's leading search engine — a request that underscores the potential for online databases to become tools for government surveillance... The government wants a list of all requests entered into Google's search engine during an unspecified single week — a breakdown that could conceivably span tens of millions of queries... Yahoo, which runs the internet's second-most used search engine, confirmed Thursday that it had complied with a similar government subpoena." Wired 01/20/06

Arts Leaders Warn Scotland Arts leaders across the UK are lining up to slam the Scottish government for its decision to fund several of Scotland's largest arts groups directly, rather than going through an independent arts council, as has been the norm. One observer called the move an "erosion of the 'arm's length' principle," and the head of the Arts Council of Wales described himself as "gravely concerned" by the development. There is no sign, however, that the Scottish Executive is reconsidering the plan. Scotland on Sunday (UK) 01/22/06

Garden State Growing Grass Roots Everyone knows how big symphony orchestras and prestigious theatres get funded. But how do smaller arts groups, whether professional or amateur, come up with the cash and venue space to do what they do? The answers can be as varied as the groups themselves, and many organizations are constantly scrambling to make use of available resources, and generate new ones. In New Jersey, a new plan from the state arts council aims to channel money and resources to local, grass-roots arts groups more efficiently, and to assist the recipients in how to best direct their efforts. Newark Star-Ledger 01/22/06

Princeton Gets $101 Million Arts Gift "Peter B. Lewis, the Cleveland philanthropist known for his tough standards, is giving his alma mater, Princeton University, $101 million to expand its creative and performing arts activities, including the creation of an artists-in-residence program... Mr. Lewis, who said he chose the figure of $101 million to top the last large donation to the university ($100 million), called the arts 'an important part of life I didn't know when I was at Princeton and didn't know when I was a kid.'" The New York Times 01/21/06

Friday, January 20, 2006

An Overhaul Of Scottish Arts Policy The Scottish government abolishes the Scottish Arts Council, and creates "Creative Scotland, to develop an 'escalator' for talent in the arts." The arts are to get £20 million in extra funding a year, and the Scottish Executive will fund Scottish Opera and other projects directly. The Scotsman 01/20/06

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What Good Is A Plan If There's No Cash To Back It Up? The Scottish government is coming under increased pressure not to approve a proposed overhaul of the region's arts funding system without also significantly increasing what it spends on the arts. "Unless the Executive can show a substantial injection of new cash, it will be 'moving the deckchairs around on the Titanic', said one pessimistic observer of the arts scene." The Scotsman (UK) 01/19/06

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lincoln Center Redevelopment Gets New Blood Is Lincoln Center's big redevelopment back on track again? The controversial project has a new leader... The New York Times 01/18/06

Looking East "Conventional wisdom used to say that emerging economies would make the 'cheap' stuff, while advanced nations would do the complicated creative work. But that notion has never really been true," and as East Asian countries continue to advance their global business reputation, even the so-called creative industries are in danger of seeing their Western dominance fade. BBC 01/16/06

New UK Touring Rules Will Bite Large Groups Hard Major changes are being proposed to the rules governing international touring groups who want to perform in Great Britain. "At present, non-EU touring stars can 'sign in' an army of musicians, bodyguards and manicurists on one temporary work permit... Under changes proposed by the Home Office any person wishing to travel to Britain as part of a touring group will have to make an individual application at a British consulate in their home country." The new permit applications will cost £100 per person, where the group permits now cost only £153. Critics fear that large groups such as orchestras may cross Britain off their schedules rather than jump through the new hoops. The Times (UK) 01/18/06

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Barbican's Excellent Year London's Barbican Center has had its best year at the box office in a decade. "'Turnover for 2005 was up 10.25% on the previous year, with box office takings nearly hitting £11 million by the end of December. The centre also enjoyed its most successful Christmas period since 1995." The Stage (UK) 01/17/06

Canada's Culture Debate (Where Is It?) Why aren't Canadian politicians talking about culture in the current federal election? "Compared to other countries, Canada has failed miserably at supporting its artists. “England’s national arts council funds in the amount of $24.36 per capita. Ireland is at $17.91 and Norway is at $10.97. Currently, the Canada Council receives $4.73 per Canadian." CBC 01/17/06

British Lottery Fund To Take Dip The UK's Heritage Lottery Fund, the cash spigot that has financed many cultural projects, is going to see a big drop in its funding ability. The HLF "will award £330 million in the current financial year, but this will fall to £200 million in 2008, down nearly 40%. There are three reasons for the anticipated drop", including funding for Olympics projects and an accounting change. The Art Newspaper 01/16/06

Monday, January 16, 2006

Welsh Arts Support Reorganization Defended Welsh arts minister Alun Pugh defends his decision to take the country’s six major cultural organisations under government control and not to reappoint Arts Council Wales' chairman. "The reality is I want to see public money invested in the arts reaching all communities. There is a need to reform for the future in order to ensure that we continue as a nation to develop excellent arts, with access for all." The Stage 01/16/06

Scots To Redo Arts Support New plans for a major overhaul of Scottish arts support is expected to be announced this week. "The minister is expected to announce her intention to impose a statutory duty on local authorities to provide arts and culture. This would take the form of a "cultural right" for every individual in the country to have arts provided in their area. It is not clear how this would work but it does raise the interesting possibility of a council being taken to court by an individual who felt the local authority was not providing enough culture. One way in which the scheme could work practically would be with the use of "culture vouchers" for schoolchildren." The Scotsman 01/16/06

12 Things To Anticipate This Year "Among those making the 2006 list are the first building that will rise at the site of the former World Trade Center complex, a musical stage version of 'The Lord of the Rings' and a skywalk that will allow tourists to walk out over the Grand Canyon. SixNewThings.com 01/16/06

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Rebuilding New Orleans - Start With Culture A New Orleans commission says that rebuilding the city ought to start with rebuilding its culture. "After the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina in late August, "no one doubts that the first order of business for New Orleans is to rebuild the levees and address the enormous need for shelter," the report says. "But it is New Orleans culture, our musical, visual, culinary, architectural, literary and graphic arts, that has always drawn people to visit, to live in, and to invest in our city. And it is our culture that will bring back the city that we love." The New York Times 01/16/06

More Cash, Less Control For Scottish Arts Council "Government funding for the arts in Scotland will be increased, it will be announced this week, although the figure looks set to fall significantly short of the extra £100m recommended by the Cultural Commission... Although negotiations are continuing this weekend, it now seems certain that the Scottish Arts Council will be stripped of responsibility for the national companies - Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, the National Theatre of Scotland, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra - and merged with Scottish Screen... In future, the five national companies will be funded directly from the Scottish Executive, although sources say they will be protected from any direct influence from civil servants." The Observer (UK) 01/15/06

Bringing Art To America's Beach Party Capital Not so very long ago, Miami was a cultural wasteland, a city of beach bums and water skiiers with little to no artistic presence. Today, Miami and its sprawling South Florida surroundings are fast becoming one of America's most intriguing arts centers. Why the change? One organization that had a lot to do with it is the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. Miami Herald 01/14/06

Merger In Pittsburgh Two struggling Pittsburgh film organizations are merging operations in order to streamline operations and retire debt. "In August 2004, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts had a debt of more than $1 million, and the center's board closed the facility and laid off 13 staff members. A month later, Pittsburgh Filmmakers agreed to lend its executive director, Charlie Humphrey, to the center, and he has divided his time between the organizations since then... The two organizations will merge their budgets as of July 1, with a combined preliminary budget of $3.4 million." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 01/14/06

Friday, January 13, 2006

California May Boost Arts Funding... A Bit California, which perenially ranks last in the nation in per capita arts funding, is proposing to add $2 million per year to the state arts budget by promoting the sale of a new arts-themed license plate. Several other states offer such plates, which can be purchased for an additional fee by any driver, with all profits going to the state arts board. The influx of funds would raise California's arts budget by more than 50%, but in a sign of just how meager that budget is, it would remain firmly in last place in per capita funding among the fifty states. Los Angeles Times 01/13/06

KC PAC A Long Way From Fundraising Goal Backers of Kansas City's proposed $346 million performing arts center have managed to raise only $11 million of the $45 million they'd hoped to raise by February 1 in order to keep the controversial project on track. Without a successful campaign, it is unlikely that construction could begin on the center this year. As an incentive to potential donors, PAC backers are offering to sell the naming rights for one of the venues within the center for $5 million. Kansas City Star 01/13/06

Is It A Hijacking If No One Notices They're Being Hijacked? A group of Danish artists last month attempted to "culturally hijack" the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which has been the subject of much controversy as a holding site for suspected terrorists who, under Bush administration policy, are frequently denied the right to a court hearing or access to legal representation. "The artists hoped a blast of Beethoven’s Eroica [Symphony] from a boat moored offshore would send the American forces fleeing in terror and that they and their crew could occupy the military base and 'have a great party'." Shockingly enough, soldiers armed with automatic weapons operating a prison camp behind fortified walls and rows of razor wire turn out not to be frightened of classical music. The Art Newspaper 01/13/06

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Canadian Actors To Pols: What About Culture? Where do Canada's leaders stand on culture? The country's artists want to know: "With less than two weeks left in the election campaign, we know very little about the parties' plans on cultural issues. Canadians deserve to see the parties' cultural planks before we let them lead us down a path of no return. We're asking Canadians to vote for the candidates most committed to taking action to give our country a strong, vibrant and independent culture." Toronto Star 01/12/06

Wanted: Better Canadian Cultural Support Canadian actors are lobbying for a more aggressive support of culture from federal politicians who are about to face the electorate. "We are facing cultural integration with the U.S. and our next government needs to take immediate action. Our own broadcasters are more interested in simulcasting U.S. programming than they are showing Canadian programs."
Canoe.com 01/12/06

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Who Will Save British Arts? Where is the private donor who will step up and save an institution such as the English National Opera? Norman Lebrecht says that person doesn't exist: "The crises in British arts are not coincidental nor, as is often alleged, a consequence of underfunding. As predictable as daisies on a lawn, they are seeded in a formula that dates back to 1945 when Maynard Keynes secured public cash for the arts in exchange for a supervisory mechanism administered by the great and the good." La Scena Musicale 01/11/06

A Hard Look - Can We Really Afford A Concert Hall? The city of Elgin, Illinois has hired consultants to take a hard look at whether the city actually needs and can support a new concert hall. "What it boils down to is this: What does a concert hall really mean to the city and at what cost, and can the money be raised? A task force of Elgin officials has explored the possibility of building a performing-arts center with a potential price tag of $60 million." Chicago Tribune 01/10/06

Canada's Arts Scene May Take An Election-Year Hit Canada is in the final stages of a tough national election campaign, and arts leaders are not pleased with what they're hearing, or rather, what they're not hearing. "Extra cultural funding through the Canada Council that was announced in November by Liza Frulla, the heritage minister in the Paul Martin government, could vanish if politicians refuse to provide campaign assurances they're committed to it." So far, none of the leaders of the four major political parties have offered such assurances - in fact, as nearly as anyone can tell, they haven't uttered the word "arts" at all. Toronto Star 01/11/06

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Locking Down Our Culture "New ideas about the bounds of 'fair use' are slowly shifting the blame to antiquated notions of intellectual property, for making copies a crime. Contrary to popular logic, there's an argument to be made that access to our common culture has never been as restricted as today, when the simple act of circulating a song comes with the threat of a lawsuit." Village Voice 01/10/06

Using Warhol In An Artistic Way Artists build on other artists' work. So the Warhol Foundation has a double standard when it comes to the use of Warhol's work. The Warhol Foundation is "vigorous in enforcing our rights when it comes to people wanting to use Warhol's art for commercial purposes," Wachs said. But when it comes to artists and scholars, the rules are very different. "We permit artists to use and reference Warhol work without charge and without challenge." And "we let scholars use Warhol imagery for just a nominal fee to cover the cost of administering the rights." Wired 01/06

Italian Filmmakers Protest Berlusconi There is "a growing movement in Italy's left-leaning artistic community that has galvanized against the center-right Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi ahead of a general election due in spring. The uprising in the arts includes a string of movies explicitly targeting Berlusconi, whose tight grip on the country's media through his Mediaset empire provides plenty of ammunition to opponents with concerns about free speech." Yahoo! (AP) 01/10/06

Dallas To Do Arts Ed Study Dallas has beat out 20 other cities for a $1 million grant to study which children in the city's public schools have access to arts education and find ways to get it to those that don't. MSNBC (Dallas Business Journal) 01/10/06

An African Tribe Markets Culture The African country of Mali is very poor, and the Tuareg area of Essouk is among the poorest regions. The Tuareg have a festival, "which has evolved from an annual 'Takoubelt', or Tuareg gathering, that they're marketing to attract tourists. "With almost no natural resources, its culture and especially its music are among the few things it can export." BBC 01/10/06

Monday, January 9, 2006

Cal State Fullerton Gets A PAC California State University at Fullerton has opened a new $48 million performing arts center. "Instead of the originally proposed single hall that would serve multiple purposes, Fullerton ended up with three theaters of different sizes specifically designed for dramatic, instrumental and choral performances. Overall, the new venues are much better suited to the college's needs." Orange County Register 01/08/06

A New generation Of British Arts Leaders "In the summer of 2004, 27 curators, theatre managers and other administrators were named as the inaugural fellows of the new £1m Clore Leadership Programme, designed to tackle a perceived deficit in training for leaders in the arts. It was hoped they would provide an answer to repeated problems of poor management in major national institutions and offer an alternative to the trail of Americans, Australians and Europeans who have arrived to head everything from the South Bank Centre to Tate Modern. And, it seems, they have." The Independent (UK) 01/09/06

Hong Kong Legislature Criticizes Gov On Cultural District A Hong Kong legislative committee is criticizing the government for proceeding with a single developer for the city's massive new cultural district. The Standard (Hong Kong) 01/08/06

Time To Restore California Arts Funding? "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed education budget includes $100 million for art and music in the classrooms. This is a laudable step in the right direction, but it doesn't address the critical need to restore the state's arts infrastructure. The miserly million allocated to the California Arts Council was required to match a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funds from the arts license-plate program and other sources make up a total agency budget of $3.2 million. At its peak in 2001, the Arts Council had a budget of $32 million." San Francisco Chronicle 01/08/06

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Education Workforce Up 4.4 Percent The higher education workforce in the US grew by 4.4 percent to just under 3.3 million between 2003 and 2004. "Most of the growth occurred at public universities and at for-profit colleges, and much of it came among employees who provide instruction rather than among administrators." InsideHigherEd 01/09/06

Orange Pulls Out, Scots Are Blue "Telecommunications giant Orange is to reduce financial support for arts north of the Border, which is likely to leave Edinburgh's renowned film and book festivals with huge holes in their budgets. Other national companies are also expected to reduce sponsorship in Scotland because of sporting events such as the World Cup, which will soak up spare cash." Scotland on Sunday 01/08/06

Welsh Assembly Looking To Abolish Arts Council A row has broken out between the Arts Council of England and the Assembly Government of Wales over what the English see as an attempt to impose political controls on the Welsh Arts Council. The Welsh Assembly wants to begin funding the largest arts groups in Wales directly, rather than allowing the Arts Council to divide up grants, and assembly members recently forced out the chairman of the Arts Council, who was speaking out against the plan. The Assembly would reportedly like to abolish the Arts Council altogether, but lacks the legal authority to do so. Instead, the planned funding transition would effectively strip the council of nearly all of its functions, while leaving it technically intact. Western Mail (Wales) 01/07/06

Missouri Cancels Arts Funding "The Missouri Arts Council has canceled a program worth millions of dollars once promised to local arts groups. In the fiscal year beginning July 1, the Kansas City Symphony, the Kansas City Ballet, the Lyric Opera, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and 21 other arts organizations across Missouri will no longer receive annual payments from the council that would have reached tens of millions of dollars over time. The arts council gave no notice to any of the affected arts groups in October when it voted to end contracts with organizations participating in the Capital Incentive Program. The program allowed them to collect interest from the council’s endowment. Now, because of budget cuts and erratic state funding of the arts council, there is too little money to pay them." Kansas City Star 01/08/06

SPAC, On The Road To Recovery, Discovers It's A Long Trek Upstate New York's Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) has had a productive year, and if reports from within are to be believed, the organization is well on its way to healing the divisive splits that left it on the edge of insolvency a year ago. But time doesn't stand still for rebuilding purposes, and SPAC is facing a daunting array of challenges in the year ahead, from expanding its audience base to expanding its board. A major marketing push is on tap, and audience services such as online ticketing are a priority as well. Still, SPAC needs millions of dollars to stabilize its depleted endowment, and is still trying to worm money out of the New York State Assembly for physical improvements. The Saratogian (NY) 01/08/06

Pittsburgh Museum Employee Claims Discrimination "A former employee of the Pittsburgh Children's Museum is suing the museum and its executive director, claiming she was harassed and faced racial and disability discrimination before being unlawfully dismissed. Yvonne Wilson, 56, was the executive assistant to museum head Jane Werner... Ms. Wilson claims she was fired Jan. 18, after her superior said she was insubordinate and hostile in the workplace." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 01/07/06

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Is There A Silver Lining In Detroit's Abysmal Arts Year? 2005 was a tough year for the arts in Detroit, with funding cuts and red ink dominating the cultural landscape. But if there's a bright side to be found in the latest round of government funding pullbacks, it may be that arts advocates have been prodded to begin looking seriously at a diverse array of funding mechanisms that may provide more long-term stability than the whims of finicky politicians would ever allow. Detroit Free Press 01/05/06

Better Late Than Never The Electronic Records Archive, being undertaken by the U.S. National Archives at a cost of more than $300 million, is supposed to finally find a way to catalog all of the significant material that doesn't fit on a piece of paper. As you might imagine, this is a monumentally complex project, and even the chief archivist doesn't seem entirely certain where to begin. "The National Archives has been receiving electronic materials since 1970, but plans for long-term preservation of it all didn't begin until 1998. And the government has only started to take it seriously in the past three years.The National Archives has been receiving electronic materials since 1970, but plans for long-term preservation of it all didn't begin until 1998. And the government has only started to take it seriously in the past three years." Wired 01/05/06

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

The Art Of Celebrity Self-Interest "Art magazines are indulging in the celebritization of artists, but they're bringing something stinky to the mix. Take ArtReview's annual "Power 100 List" and Art + Auction's "Power Issue," both considered art world jokes since they first appeared in 2001 and 1996, respectively. Recently each came out with a list; both were based on money and as self-interested as ever. In addition to museum directors, mega- collectors, auction house bigwigs, art fair pashas, art advisers, and the below-average overhyped painter Marlene Dumas, both lists are stocked with the magazine's advertisers and the artists they represent. It would be a hoot if it weren't so craven." Village Voice 12/29/05

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Center For Arts And Culture Closes The center had an 11-year run. "The continuously declining availability of general operating support in the current funding climate is a common plight and growing threat to the long-term sustainability of the arts and the nonprofit sector at large. Unfortunately, the Center has proven not to be immune to it this year." Backstage 01/03/06

Monday, January 2, 2006

Cultural Rehab Newcastle and Gateshead are the poster cities for cultural renewal. "Gone is almost all the industry - steel, coal, warehouses, shipyards, docks - that made this one of the world's great manufacturing centres. Instead of a culture based on the dignity of labour and trade is a theme park of heritage sites and palaces of art, liberally sprinkled with restaurants and cafés. Nineteenth-century industry has been transformed into 21st-century leisure. They call it urban regeneration, and here they've invented a new civic identity to characterise it - NewcastleGateshead." The Telegraph (UK) 01/02/06

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