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

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Philly's Kimmel Surprises With Surplus After struggling with its finances, Philadelphia's Kimmel Center has managed not only to balance its budget but post a surplus of $1.2 million. "While a surplus would be good news by any standard, Kimmel leaders acknowledge that this year's numbers benefited from two unusual circumstances: a long summer run of The Lion King, the industry's coveted cash cow; and income from an out-of-court settlement after the Kimmel sued its own architect, Rafael Vinoly Architects." Philadelphia Inquirer 06/29/06

Apparently, God Hates The Guitar Pope Benedict has denounced the modernization of church music, particularly that including (shudder) guitars, and has ordered Catholic churches worldwide to reacquaint themselves with Gregorian chant. "What this cultural authoritarianism completely overlooks is how radically the congregations for liturgical worship are changing. The single, central kind of music heard in church in the past has, as in so many areas of our life, been completely overtaken by a huge variety of styles and tastes: who is to say that different generations cannot worship to the music of Palestrina or pop, Josquin or flamenco?" The Telegraph (UK) 06/29/06

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ordway Chief Steps Down "David Galligan has resigned as president and CEO of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota. Galligan, former chief operating officer at the Walker Art Center, had held the Ordway position since 2002." The Star-Tribune (Mpls) 06/28/06

L.A. Hopes To Finish What It's Starting L.A.'s decision to double its arts grants for next fiscal year is being seen as an important step in bringing California arts funding up to national standard levels. But the state (and the city) still lag far behind other national arts centers in even the most basic levels of arts support. Los Angeles Times 06/28/06

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New York ATtempts To Rebuild Arts Education "Student-teacher ratios for the arts can be staggering. According to data provided by the department to the City Council this fall, there is 1 visual arts teacher for every 943 students and 1 music teacher for every 1,200. For dance and theater the numbers are even more extreme, with 1 dance teacher for every 8,088 students, and 1 theater teacher for every 8,871. Although about 40,000 teachers have been added to the New York City school system since 1975 — bringing the current total to about 84,000 — no more than 2,000 of them are arts specialists, according to the Center for Arts Education, a nonprofit group. Experts estimate it would cost $150 million to $200 million to hire arts specialists for every school, and the blueprint has no funds attached." The New York Times 06/26/06

Modernism? It Beagn In The 19th Century "The middle of the 19th century; nearly 150 years ago. Forget what you know. Forget the stale and unjustifiable notion that 19th-century art was tame and gentle, that the impressionists were 'chocolate-box artists', that modernism began in 1900. The truth is that everything great about modern art - and, perhaps more significantly, everything about it that still lives - was invented in the undervalued 19th century." The Guardian (UK) 06/27/06

Nationalist Rhetoric: Now With Counterpoint! That Iran's extremist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has nuclear ambitions for his country is no secret - indeed, it's front page news around the world nearly every day. But Ahmadinejad apparently feels the need to trumpet his plans in a more literal sense. He has commissioned a "nuclear symphony" from an Iranian composer, and the work's debut will be given next week in Tehran. adnKronos International 06/26/06

LA To Double Public Arts Funding Los Angeles County will more than double its budget for arts grants in fiscal 2007, from $2.2 million to $4.5 million. The county board also awarded 5% of a $400 million surplus in fiscal 2006 to cultural institutions. "On the state level, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a $5.1-million budget for the California Arts Council — a $1.8-million boost that relies on projected income from arts lovers' voluntary purchases of special arts license plates." California ranks last in the nation in per capita arts spending. Los Angeles Times 06/27/06

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Arts Center All Dressed Up With No Place To Go The huge Public arts center in West Bromwich, England was supposed to be a wondrous thing to revitalize a town in need. "The Public was meant to open last year, create or safeguard 400 jobs, and attract almost 500,000 visitors. It should have cost £38m. It's already cost £52m, the largest slice of it from the Arts Council. But the real problem is not so much what the building costs. It's working out what the Public is for." The Observer (UK) 06/25/06

Study: Girls-Only Schools Don't Help A new study concludes that "half a century of research 'has not shown any dramatic or consistent advantages for single-sex education' for boys or girls. 'The reason people think single-sex schools are better is because they do well in league tables. But they are generally independent, grammar or former grammar schools and they do well because of the ability and social background of the pupils'." The Observer (UK) 06/25/06

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Indiana Orchestra Rejects Donor For Board A major donor to the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Philharmonic wanted to join the board. The orchestra is having attendance and money problems. But the orchestra's board refused to have him join them. Why? "I’m very controversial to some people, because I want to make things better. Board members think it’s their orchestra." Fort Wayne News-Sentinel 06/25/06

Trouble In Paradise? Great Britain's arts scene should truly be the envy of the world, and increasingly, the UK's successes are making their way to other nations as well. "We export £6 billion of cultural products each year, mostly thanks to music and theatre. That’s more than the United States manages, for all of Hollywood’s huffing and puffing. Why, then, is there disquiet in the arts world? Is global success masking an intractable problem at home? Or is there a perception of black clouds massing on the horizon? The answer is both." The Times (UK) 06/24/06

Thursday, June 22, 2006

French Politicians Back Off On New Copyright Law "The future of iTunes in France looks more secure after MPs watered down a draft of its new copyright law. The bill had aimed to ensure digital music could be played on any player, regardless of its format or source. But the MPs have amended the draft, to allow copyright holders to set compatibility restrictions." BBC 06/23/06

Where's The Outrage? Lately, a few prominent pop musicians have begun speaking out, both musically and verbally, against the war in Iraq and the Bush Administration's policies in general, but with the notable exception of the Dixie Chicks (who paid dearly for their opinions a few years back,) nearly all the dissenting voices belong to older rockers from the Vietnam generation. So why aren't today's musicians speaking up? The Guardian (UK) 06/23/06

A Plan To Help Diversify Chicago Arts Leadership The Chicago Community Trust is investing $1 million in a program to try to diversify management of the city's cultural institutions. "The trust cited data showing that non-Hispanic whites fill 88 percent of the management positions of arts and cultural institutions nationwide. Among the six participant institutions, whites compose 82 percent of management posts, African-Americans 9 percent, Latinos 5 percent and Asians 4 percent." Chicago Tribune 06/22/06

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sex Sells. But What's The Point? "When you talk to people about raunch culture in terms of a specific company or corporation they just say: 'Oh, well, sex sells.' That's our justification for everything. And Barbie-doll images of women - long legs, fake breasts, blonde hair - are a glossy advertising shorthand that simultaneously appeals to everyone and no one, shifting units in a way that more complex, varied and substantive sexual images never could. 'My book is not an attack on the sex industry,' says Ariel Levy. 'It's about how the sex industry has become every industry." The Guardian (UK) 06/21/06

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

UK Chancellor Speaks Up For Arts UK Chancellor Gordon Brown says the arts sector is "not a sideshow but right at the centre" of the economy." BBC 06/20/06

LA Culture Chief Steps Down Margie Reese "tried to hold the grant program steady as dollars dwindled from $13.3 million during her first full year running the department to the current $9.6 million — a 28% decrease. She also tried to maintain after-school arts classes in city-run neighborhood arts centers, feeling they were especially important for kids in poorer neighborhoods who could latch onto the arts to develop their talents and stay out of trouble. A defining moment for Reese came in 2004, when the budget office of then Mayor James K. Hahn proposed disbanding the Cultural Affairs Department as a cost-saving measure. Using her megaphone quietly, she rallied enough support to persuade City Hall to reconsider." Los Angeles Times 06/20/06

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Blurbing-The-Critics Game "The art of selective quoting is one of the oldest games in the hype business, and readers are generally wise to it. Ellipses are not a good sign, and if an advertisement features quotes from critics pruned to just one word ("Brilliant!" — Joe Schmo; "Powerful!" — Betty Burns), chances are good the foliage surrounding them is less fragrant with affection." The New York Times 06/18/06

Teaching In A Plagiaristic Culture Student plagiarism has become a huge problem for teachers. "Teachers who still assign long papers — 10 pages or more with footnotes and bibliographies — often require students to attach companion essays that describe every step of their research and writing. Even then, teachers scour the Internet for suspicious turns of phrase. And some schools are paying thousands of dollars a year for software that scans work for plagiarism. Those programs reveal that about 30% of papers are plagiarized, either totally or in part." Los Angeles Times 06/17/06

Hecht On Trial: A Victim of Changing Interpretations? For a man accused of stealing millions of dollars worth of Italian antiquities, 88-year-old Robert Hecht doesn't cut a very imposing figure. In fact, many in the art world say that the collector is being unfairly made an example of. "Hecht is a man who has seen the world pass him by. In the 1950s, shortly after his arrival in Italy, he bought antiquities on the streets of Rome. No one had a problem with it. The shops, Hecht said, would happily ship the ancient cups, coins and statues out of the country if you couldn't take them home yourself. Now, Hecht finds himself on trial for allegedly doing the very things that were accepted practice half a century ago." Baltimore Sun 06/18/06

Of Art And Nation When a major cultural site is looted, as happened with Iraq's National Museum in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion in 2003, a curious mix of artistic concern and nationalist passion dictates what happens next. And whether the backdrop is the wartorn Middle East, tribal Africa, or the supposedly "civilized" West, "the elegant lingo of art curators [falls] by the wayside in a high-stakes tit-for-tat." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (AP) 06/17/06

When Diversity Becomes Divisive Issues of diversity and assimilation are nothing new in France, but religious and ethnic tensions have been running particularly high of late, and a new museum celebrating "tribal arts and culture" is sparking new battles in an old debate. "Some critics say the decision to show indigenous art in isolation could create or reinforce a 'them and us' mentality." Los Angeles Times (Reuters) 06/17/06

Grave Robber Uncovers Archaeological Stunner "Hoping for leniency in a coming trial, an accused tomb robber led Italian officials two weeks ago to a startling discovery on a sun-scorched hilltop here: the oldest Etruscan burial chamber ever found. The tomb, dating from at least the seventh century B.C., was shown on Friday to reporters who were taken by bus to the site, less than 13 miles north of Rome. For now, archaeologists have named it the Tomb of the Roaring Lions." The New York Times 06/17/06

Friday, June 16, 2006

Kimmel's $100 Million/Year Impact Philadelphia's Kimmel center has had an economic impact of $321 million in three years, the center says. "About $177 million of that was attributed to direct-and-induced expenditures, $127 million to salaries and wages and almost $17 million to state and local tax revenue. The analysis showed that the Kimmel Center generated $3 for every $1 that it spent." Philadelphia Business Journal 06/16/06

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Jowell Defends Arts Council England UK Culture Minister Tess Jowell is defending the independence of Arts Council England. "The freedom to make decisions freely - without interference from the state or the market - has never been more important. The arts and culture are the means through which some of the most pressing issues confronting us can be - and in some instances only be - explored." The Guardian (UK) 06/15/06

Lincoln Center Pulls Out Of Armory Project Plans to convert New York's Seventh Regiment Armory into an upscale performance venue hit a snag this week, when Lincoln Center canceled its plans for a production of Tristan und Isolde because of the high cost of preparing the space. "The armory and Drill Hall, its 55,000-square-foot, column-free space, has long been eyed hungrily by performing arts presenters," and the overall plan to renovate the armory shouldn't be derailed by the cancellation. The New York Times 06/15/06

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Bolshoi's Precarious Condition The Bolshoi has been threatening to disintegrate for years. The original theatre was built between 1821 and 1825, then destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1853. In 1920, the building started to shake during a performance. They fixed that with a concrete base beneath the floor - which affected the acoustics. In 2002 a second world war bomb was discovered beneath one of the theatre's entrances. But it wasn't until last year's closure that anyone realised exactly how serious the situation was. The foundations had sunk by 20cm. There were areas of brickwork that, when the restorers tried to take them apart, crumbled to the touch." The Guardian (UK) 06/14/06

Milwaukee Fund Flush With Cash Milwaukee's United Performing Arts Fund, which raises money for 17 area arts groups, set an in-house record with its annual campaign, collecting $10.26 million for the year. "More than 6,000 people donated to UPAF for the first time during the campaign, which ran from March 2 to Tuesday, and one in four existing donors increased his or her support." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 06/14/06

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Getty's Munitz Made Deal For $300,000 Book Deal With Former Board Chair Former Getty president "Barry Munitz agreed to pay retired Getty board Chairman David Gardner nearly $300,000 to write a coffee-table book after Gardner left the foundation's board in 2004. Plans for the book, which was to commemorate the Getty's 25th anniversary, were canceled in March, a month after Munitz resigned amid turmoil at the nonprofit foundation — but not before Gardner had collected $178,000 over 19 months for little work." Los Angeles Times 06/13/06

In Iran - Scholar Arrested For "Relations With Foreigners" In Iran, Ramin Jahanbegloo turned "a small office in an arts and culture NGO into something of an international salon. Through force of will and a gregarious personality, he persuaded some of the world's most famous intellectuals to travel to Tehran, where they were treated like rock stars." Now Jahanbegloo is in jail. "He was arrested at Tehran airport on April 27, between a sojourn in India and a trip to a conference in Brussels, and locked up in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, where detainees are routinely subject to torture and abuse. Formal charges have not been laid, but Iran's minister of intelligence said Jahanbegloo was picked up because of 'relations with foreigners'." Maclean's 06/12/06

Monday, June 12, 2006

Toronto Gets A New Opera House The $120-million building will be home to the Canadian Opera Company and the national Ballet. "Opening day was full of oohs and aahs from more than 600 politicians and dignitaries who floated up and down the facility's illuminated glass staircase and lingered in the five-storey transparent atrium that puts the city — and opera-goers — on display." Toronto Star (CP) 06/12/06

Lincoln Center To Get A New Entrance Lincoln Center's plaza is to get a makeover, even if the changes seem more like tweaks than a redo. "In addition to a slightly modified fountain, the designs call for a new grand staircase stretching over an underground drop-off point for cars. Currently people heading to a Lincoln Center performance from the east side of Broadway must cross 11 lanes of traffic just to reach the sidewalk, then ascend a short staircase and traverse two lanes of cars dropping people off. Taxis must stop for crossing pedestrians, creating a line of cars and congestion at curtain time." The New York Times 06/12/06

Sunday, June 11, 2006

What Is It About Cuba? "Just what is it about this small island that has bitten us? Why we should identify Cuba as such an exotic paradise or centre of cultural attraction is hard to define. The quality that seems to be driving interest isn’t its literature, its politics or its food: it’s the music. And that is much more deeply rooted in British culture than you might at first think." Financial Times 06/09/06

The Ongoing Minnesota Miracle Minnesota's Twin Cities have seemingly always enjoyed a thriving cultural scene far larger than a medium-sized metropolitan area could reasonably be expected to support. The quiet secret to the region's artistic success has been a long history of private stewardship, spearheaded by a succession of ultra-rich benefactors who have poured a sizable chunk of their net worth into orchestras, museums, and theaters. There have always been doomsayers who warn that once the existing generation of philanthropists dies off, the Twin Cities arts scene will wither on the vine. But recent evidence suggests that a new generation of supporters is ready and able to take the reins. Star Tribune (Minneapolis/St. Paul) 06/11/06

Senator vs. Smithsonian's Small "A key Senate Republican has asked the Bush administration whether Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small should continue to head the national museum complex... The letter is the latest in a series of clashes between Congress and the Smithsonian. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa cited 'Small's involvement in the extensive financial fraud' reported by federal regulators at Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association), where Small worked before moving to the Smithsonian in 2000. Grassley also noted that the museum's finances and executive compensation packages are being scrutinized by the Smithsonian's Office of the Inspector General." Washington Post 06/10/06

Thursday, June 8, 2006

UK Arts Managers Make Funding Plea "The heads of the Royal Opera House, National Theatre and the Tate are among those who have joined forces to urge the government not to cut investment. They want the current level of funding to stay, despite fears the Treasury may have other spending priorities." BBC 06/08/06

Minnesota's Culture Makeover "A series of major arts and cultural building projects in Minnesota's Twin Cities, designed by a half dozen architects with international reputations and costing half a billion dollars, hits its zenith this month with two grand openings." Christian Science Monitor 06/09/06

UK Arts Leaders Praise Government Arts Leadership "A decade of strong funding under Labour has transformed society, says their manifesto, Values and Vision: the Contribution of Culture. There has been an "explosion of creativity" said Hytner, artistic director of the National Theatre. Britons now engage with culture "to a degree undreamed of a decade ago", according to Sir Nicholas, director of the Tate. Seven of Britain's top 10 attractions are museums or galleries; 85% of foreign tourists visit for our museums; 66% of the population attended at least one cultural event in the past 12 months." The Guardian (UK) 06/08/06

Toronto's Opera, Ballet Companies - Good Neighbors? The National Ballet of Canada and the Canadian Opera Company will soon be sharing a new home. "Based on the experience of the almost three decades it has taken to move two national companies from the 3,200-seat Hummingbird (formerly O'Keefe) Centre to a new home, the two companies' relationship will continue to be as fraught as you'd expect between a robust, dynamic, operatic sort of character, flushed with pride because it has been the new building's prime mover, and a cautious, delicate, balletic character, toeing its way onto someone else's territory." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/08/06

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Tijuana As Cultural Mecca? "From painting, conceptual art and photography to video and music, the city's artists now seem riveted not so much on border conflicts or a dream destination as on Tijuana itself: an experimental laboratory for people with hybrid identities and a growing global awareness." The New York Times 06/08/06

For-Profit Arts Center Dumps Theatre Seattle's Capitol Hill Arts Center has sidestepped the traditional non-profit model to be a for-profit operation. But audiences haven't shown up for the center's theatre offerings, so CHAC is shutting them down. "Everything [we do] is really successful, except the theater season. If what we do is so important to the community, they have to come out. If the Seattle audience doesn't recognize Seattle value, the value will have to migrate elsewhere." Seattle Weekly 06/07/06

Ottawa Arts Center Posts First Deficit... Ottawa's National Arts center posts its first deficit in six years. "The year's planned deficit of $891,720 was funded by surpluses accumulated during the past six consecutive years," the statement says, adding that the NAC still retains an accumulated surplus of almost $355,000." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 06/06/06

Outlook For Culture... We hear all the time about the arts being endangered. But maybe that's not the reality... "Pop culture remains mass culture, of course, and people who consume entertainment with the help of electronics continue to outnumber those who prefer the real thing. But the doomsayers who expected the arts to be swept away in the "digital tsunami" of the past decade, as it's been called, turn out to have been gratifyingly off the mark." Chicago Sun-Times 06/07/06

A Scary Summer For Canadian Arts Groups? Will American tourists refrain from going to Canada because of terrorism fears? Will Canadian arts ventures that depend on American tourists suffer this summer? "And thanks to the shrinking U.S. dollar, Canada is no longer the bargain it used to be. The result could be a summer of discontent for arts groups that flourish only when they draw large numbers of Americans, such as the Stratford and Shaw festivals." Toronto Star 06/07/06

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Smithsonian Inspector Quits The Smithsonian Institution's inspector general has resigned. "In the last 10 years, the number of positions in this office went down 30 percent while the federal appropriation has grown 70 percent," Washington Post 06/06/06

Monday, June 5, 2006

A New Push For British Culture The British government has invested heavily in the arts in recent years. Now it's time to go to the next level, writes Nicholas Serota. "We are confident we are attracting a growing audience, and can make a significant contribution to the success of the 2012 Olympics, when the eyes of the world will be on us. We want to show what the cultural sector has achieved in the past 10 years - and what it could achieve if the sort of investment it has received under this government is sustained. We want to get across our values, and our vision - and make sure they really are part of the government's, and the country's, core script." The Guardian (UK) 06/05/06

The Author And The Heine Prize "Austrian author Peter Handke was informed last week that he would receive the Heinrich Heine Prize of the City of Düsseldorf. After an outburst of public indignation and counter-indignation, the decision was blocked this week by the Düsseldorf City Council." SightandSound (Germany) 06/05/06

Sunday, June 4, 2006

The Concert Ticket, R.I.P. "The days of the rock concert ticket are numbered. Guns N' Roses' show at the Hammersmith Apollo on June 7 is being touted as the world's first ticketless gig. Unless they specifically ask for a small piece of card, fans will be expected to arrive bearing barcodes sent to their mobile phones as text messages." The Guardian (UK) 06/02/06

Setting The Record Straight On Labour's Arts Record A week ago Polly Toynbee lauded the British Labour Party's record on the arts. MP Hugo Swire begs to differ: "She cites Labour's brief increase in central arts funding, but fails to mention the massive cut in lottery funding for the arts - a fifth of funding destined for the arts has been used to fund the government's pet projects. The result was an unprecedented cut in arts funding, far outweighing any rise in the Arts Council's grant-in-aid budget. The Guardian 06/02/06

  • Previously: Labour's Arts Support Legacy Britain's Labour Party has one unequivocal success - its support of the arts. "Labour has a good enough story to tell on the arts - up 64% in cash and more in impact. Chris Smith is one of the few politicians to retire knowing he has done something brilliant - restoring free entry to museums and galleries, swelling attendances by 50%. But politics and art rub along like a fingernail on a blackboard: ministers too rarely sing its praises." The Guardian (UK) 05/31/06

Major Zankel Gift To Carnegie Hall Philanthropist Arthur Zankel gave Carnegie Hall $10 million to build a theatre. Now, in his death he has given Carnegie an even bigger gift. "According to the terms of the bequest, Carnegie Hall will end up receiving at least $22 million, the second-largest gift in its history, for its endowment. Proceeds estimated at about $1 million a year will go toward paying for performances and educational projects at Zankel Hall." The New York Times 06/03/06

Getty Decides On A Transparent Future The Getty will make public much of its finances. "We have some reputation rebuilding to do, and one way to do it is to be open and transparent. This grew out of the reforms that were passed by the board of trustees at the April meeting." Los Angeles Times 06/04/06

Friday, June 2, 2006

Be The Neighborhood Making art accessible to poor and minority audiences is like the weather: everyone in the arts talks about it, but almost no one really does much about it. Part of the problem is the lack of proven methods of engaging low-income communities. The answer, as demonstrated by a successful project in theatre-rich Minneapolis, may be that arts groups will only become palatable to underserved communities when they make a concerted effort to embed themselves in those communities, rather than condescendingly offering an "escape" from the outside. Minnesota Public Radio 06/01/06

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