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

Monday, July 31, 2006

Operate Like Which Business, Exactly? Arts managers and board members are fond of explaining to anyone who will listen that, in order to survive in today's world, arts groups "need to learn to operate more like a business." Andrew Taylor says it's a profoundly unhelpful bit of advice. "Most businesses are poorly run, and many business practices correlate with mediocrity, not greatness... Business tools are merely ways to see the world, and ways to structure our interaction with it. Let's be like the artists around us and explore those tools with creative abandon." The Artful Manager (AJ Blogs) 07/31/06

Beirut Arts Scene A Casualty Of Israeli Offensive Lost in the controversy over the latest flare-up in the Middle East is the destruction that is being rained down on Lebanon's burgeoning cultural scene. "What was supposed to be Beirut’s first break after last year’s traumas — including the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister — has been shattered... Beyond the ruins and the rowdy image, Lebanon’s artistic expression, after years of neglect, was also blooming." The New York Times 07/31/06

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Public Funding For Evangelical Rappers Draws Ire In London "Speakers boom out a bass line that reverberates through the heart and throat and tickles the eardrums. Former gang members from New York's hardest ghettoes rap 'we wanna rock wit' you, that's all we wanna do'. But listen closely and the lyrics are far from a stereotypical rap homage to all things bling. The rappers are missionaries aiming to draw in the gangs of east London's deprived estates." The use of public funds to support them has attracted controversy, as have homophobic postings on the website of the group's leader. The Guardian (UK) 07/29/06

People Flock To Edinburgh's Festivals. Is That Bad? Is Edinburgh too established, perhaps even too successful, a festival city for its own good? "From Cape Town to Adelaide, from Dubai to Montreal, cities are turning to arts festivals to boost tourist numbers and civic prestige. (Indeed, Montreal boasts more 'festival days' each year than there are days in the year.) Edinburgh faces increased competition in the UK too. Liverpool will be the 2008 European City of Culture. The Manchester International Festival, under the directorship of innovative programmer Alex Poots, plans to concentrate on new and original work when it makes its debut next year. London, of course, will host the 2012 Olympics. Never mind the next few weeks: it's the next 12 months that may be among the most decisive in Edinburgh's cultural history." Financial Times (UK) 07/29/06

Should CBC Stop Trying To Compete? The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation provoked a storm of protest this summer when it attempted to boost ratings by bumping its flagship national newscast two nights a week in favor of an American reality program. The reality show flopped, CBC's ratings remain in the tank, and now a chorus of critics, politicians, and members of the public are calling for the broadcaster to reinvent itself as a true public service entity. "This CBC would stop trying to draw mass audiences to single events such as big-budget dramas, American movies or Saturday-night hockey games, but instead would offer a lineup of specialized Canadian programming that reached millions over the course of a week." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/26/06

Plenty of New Faces In Maine The city of Portland, Maine, has been experiencing an unusual leadership vacuum in the cultural realm, with executives of seemingly every arts institution in town departing almost simultaneously. But the gaps are starting to fill, and Portland's arts scene seems no worse for the wear. Maine Sunday Telegram 07/30/06

This Summer Sucks (Culturally Speaking) "So far, this has turned out to be the long soggy summer, not only in the backyard and the basement, but also around the watercooler, at the pool, beside the surf. The only things buzzing are the bugs... It's the pictures, television, books and music that got very, very small. There's little to rave about or worth running to consume... You know something is awry when Al Gore is the summer's breakout movie star." Philadelphia Inquirer 07/29/06

Disney Hall Suit Settled "A complex lawsuit over who should bear unexpectedly high construction costs for Walt Disney Concert Hall has been settled, with builders to receive $13.3 million from the hall's parent corporation and an additional $4.5 million under architect Frank Gehry's professional liability insurance policy." Los Angeles Times 07/29/06

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tickets Going Fast In Edinburgh Edinburgh's famed summer festivals are having a great year at the box office. "Some venues are reporting ticket sales up by as much as 100 per cent on this time last year, as Festival-goers vie to book shows before they are sold out." The Edinburgh Fringe, the world's largest Fringe Festival, reports a huge increase in online sales over last summer. Edinburgh Evening News 07/28/06

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Make Or Break Time For Toronto Arts Center Toronto's Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts, reeling from the recent departures of its two resident companies, is moving to rebrand itself as "a multipurpose, multicultural facility." But more than a repurposing will be necessary to keep the center humming: a new business plan recently approved by Toronto's city council compels Hummingbird to raise $60 million in the next year, or face becoming a tenant of the real estate company that's spearheading the center's ongoing expansion project. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/27/06

Curator, Know Thy Collection! Canada's national archives recently came tantalizingly close to acquiring a $200,000 map of the country dating from the mid-17th century. What stopped the sale? Turns out the archive already had one. How could such an embarrassing slip-up have occurred? Well, it's complicated, but part of the problem may be that the archive "has shifted cultures, from one based on specialized curators who knew their collections in depth, to a more open, democratized strategy." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/27/06

Spending Money To Raise Money "Seven Chicago grantmakers have teamed up to help small arts groups develop the business side of their operations. The group has pooled more than $600,000 to create the Arts Work Fund for Organization Development. It is aimed at area arts and cultural non-profits that have been around at least three years and have operating revenues of less than $1 million." Chicago Tribune 07/27/06

Ideas, Ownership, And Endless, Endless Lawsuits Issues of intellectual property in the film business are always tricky, particularly when one writer accuses another of stealing an idea or a movie plot, an accusation that can be difficult to prove legally. But claims of idea theft are way up in Hollywood these days, and a lot of the blame (or credit) for the uptick can be laid at the feet of a single lawyer, who has "spent the last two years capitalizing on having won a federal appeals court decision that makes it easier for writers who pitch an idea or circulate a script to make a claim of theft stick." The New York Times 07/27/06

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Study: Arts Ed Helps Students Learn A study released by the Guggenheim Museum suggests that arts education helps students learn in other subjects. "The study found that students in the program performed better in six categories of literacy and critical thinking skills — including thorough description, hypothesizing and reasoning — than did students who were not in the program." The New York Times 07/27/06

Canadian Performing Arts Audiences Increase And what are they going to? "Theatre, the predominant industry, accounted for 28 per cent of total revenue, followed by musical groups (everything from orchestras to rock bands), which accounted for 25 per cent. The remaining 47 per cent was split among opera, dance and a miscellaneous category including circuses and skating shows." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/26/06

Lincoln Center's New Face Despite considerable skepticism, redevelopment of Lincoln Center is underway. But that's not the only thing happening. Lincoln Center is loosening up, becoming more populist. "We’re all very focused on exploiting the potential of 21st-century technology to extend what happens in our halls outside of our halls." The New York Times 07/26/06

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why The Long Tail Doesn't Explain Everything "The Long Tail isn't useful as a theory of everything. It is best and strongest when it helps us understand what's happening to our culture. It shows, graphically, the difference between the mass culture we've had, and the folk culture we're bringing back. That's an achievement worth celebrating, and it's why the Long Tail can leave us feeling like cavemen looking at a map of the world for the first time. But the book should come with a warning: There's more to this economy than chasing tail." Slate 07/25/06

In Canada: Performing Arts See Surge In Audience Canada's audience for performing arts has increased strongly, says the government's statistics service. In 2004 "the performing arts industries reported before-tax profit of $49.2 million for the year, almost double the income reported three years earlier in 2001, the report said. Revenue in the sector hit $1.2 billion, up 4.2 per cent from the previous year, reflecting strong public support for the performing arts, the report said." CBC 07/25/06

Monday, July 24, 2006

Cork After Culture Cork, Ireland, was the European Capital of Culture in 2005. So what was the lasting impact? "As you travel through the city barely six months after the cultural year ended, there is little sign that Cork is the new Milan, or even Cologne, for that matter. Two of the main arts venues are promoting reruns; the only cinema in the city centre has been sold for apartments; and an independent art gallery on the city's north side has been forced to close its doors due to lack of business. It seems Cork is suffering from something of a cultural hangover." New Statesman 07/24/06

The Bolshoi's Long Road Trip The Bolshoi is in the midst of a three-year £400 million renovation which has closed the theatre. "The Bolshoi maintains two and a half orchestras and a corps de ballet twice the size of the Royal Ballet's, allowing the company to perform in two places at once." Thus, the Bolshoi's constituencies are almost continuously touring... The Telegraph (UK) 07/23/06

The Latest Insult To Turkey Bestselling Turkish novelist Elif Shafak is the latest to be charged by the Turkish government for "insulting Turkishness." "Shafak joins a roster of more than 60 writers and journalists to be charged under Article 301 of the Turkish criminal code since its introduction last year. University professors, journalists and novelists such as Perihan Magden, Orhan Pamuk and now Shafak have been charged under legislation drawn so broadly as to criminalise a wide range of critical opinions. Writers not only face the prospect of a three-year jail term, but the prosecutions also lay them open to a campaign of intimidation and harassment waged by rightwing agitators." The Guardian (UK) 07/23/06

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Art By Committee? It Happens More Often Than You Think "In the romance of the Western imagination, art is proverbially fashioned in solitude, the writer scribbling away, forlorn in his garret, the painter at work in his atelier. But the exceptions touch some of our most beloved arts: movies, TV, rock music and theater. They're all concocted by that notoriously ill-fated process: the committee." Chicago Tribune 07/23/06

Privatization May Help PA's Floundering PAC Pennsylvania's Mountain Laurel Performing Arts Center was supposed to become the state's next big cultural destination, nestled in the beautiful Pocono mountains and featuring a full slate of summer concerts by the Pittsburgh Symphony. But the center ran out of money almost before it opened, and was a colossal bust in its first season. Still, there are signs that things could be turning around for the center. "In its third season this year, Mountain Laurel, which started with millions in public money, finally opened without debt because the foundering center was bought by a well-heeled residential developer." Pocono Record (PA) 07/23/06

New Arts Fund Debuts In Texas San Antonio's new arts fund mailed out its first checks this week, providing 24 cultural organizations with a new source of public funding that civic leaders hope will stabilize what has sometimes been a precarious arts scene. "Applications for additional funding recipients are not being accepted. Whether the application process opens up again will depend on how theFund grows." San Antonio Express-News 07/23/06

Payola Spells Relief For NY Arts Groups New York state's two-year-old probe into illegal payola practices by record companies has yielded over $13 million in legal settlements thus far, and the money has become an unexpected windfall for the state's arts organizations. "In all, 153 nonprofit groups statewide were chosen to receive from $15,000 to $750,000 in last week's first round of payouts from the New York State Music Fund, established as a repository for the payola settlement money." Rochester Democrat & Chronicle 07/23/06

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Getty To Publish Internal Governance Info The Getty Trust, which has been embroiled in staffing and governance issues in the past year, says it will publish detailed finance and governance information online. “Part of our intent is to increase the transparency of the Getty, to make sure people understand that the Getty is committed to being a leader among non-profit [organisations] in terms of governance,” The Art Newspaper 07/20/06

KC PAC Selects "Fundraising Powerhouse" As Its CEO "The Metropolitan Kansas City Performing Arts Center has made its most important personnel decision since selecting architect Moshe Safdie to design the facility in 2000. On Tuesday the center’s board announced the appointment of Jane Chu, 48, as president and chief executive officer of the facility... Locally Chu is known as a fund-raising powerhouse with research-based knowledge of performing-arts facilities. Toward her doctoral dissertation she is examining the finances and staffing of nearly 100 centers around the United States." Kansas City Star 07/18/06

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mission Critical - What For The Public University? America's public universities are in a bind. What is their greatest calling? "Public purpose is the defining characteristic of all public universities, but what does it entail? A review of the external demands on state universities reveals a long and daunting list. They must become more..." InsideHigherEd 07/19/06

Alternative Reading - A City Makes itself Over As Arts Hub Reading, Pennsylvania is getting a makeover. "This once-gritty city is morphing into an arts hub, where a Keith Haring exhibit is drawing thousands at the local museum, blues and jazz acts tour through and a downtown coffeehouse features poetry readings and acoustic music. Not bad for a city better known for factories than high art." Washington Post 07/19/06

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Out Of The Mediocre Mass "It may feel as you walk past the multiplex and into the chain bookshop where Katie Price's bestseller is stacked up, and then home to pick up the television schedules dominated by reality shows, that we live in an age when there is little room for anything but the blockbuster, the bestseller, the audience-chaser, the top celebrity. But if you listen to some of the voices out there, it turns out that this isn't what is going on at all..." The Guardian (UK) 07/17/06

Australian Arts' Funding Crisis Across Australia small and medium-sized theatre and dance companies are struggling to attract sufficient funding to produce new work. This lack of resources will be "felt by generations to come..." The Age (Melbourne) 07/17/06

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Grand Plan To Reconsider Shostakovich "Valery Gergiev, the director of the Mariinsky (formerly Kirov) Theatre, has come up with a grand plan to rebut these fatuities, commanding, on the centenary of the composer's birth, a fabulous spread of Shostakovich's work to be set before the world's cities. All 15 Shostakovich symphonies are being performed, under Gergiev's own baton (at the Barbican), along with all his less well known operas and ballets, in a celebration that the conductor hopes will convince the world to see the composer differently." The Telegraph (UK) 07/16/06

Some Claim The Love's Out Of Berlin's Loveparade The history of Berlin's "Loveparade is the stuff of myth, as documented in countless guidebooks and Web sites. The first Loveparade, in July 1989, was actually staged as a political demonstration, and it attracted a crowd of about 150. Over time the parade grew and grew, the number of attendees skyrocketing for more than a decade. According to the Loveparade Web site (loveparade.net), the event has had more than 8.8 million visitors since its creation and has attracted some of the world’s most famous D.J.’s." But changes this year have some of the original organizers protesting. The New York Times 07/16/06

Massachusetts Overrides Governor, Approves Arts Infrastructure Aid Last week the Massachusetts legislature approved millions in funding for improving and repairing arts infrastructure. "The groups surveyed said they needed about $1.1 billion to repair, expand, or construct buildings in the next five years. Governor Romney vetoed the $13 million for the fund this summer, but this week the House and Senate decisively overrode his veto. 'This is not the Legislature saying, 'Hey, we want better ballet on stage. It's saying, 'We want these cultural resources improved as the infrastructure for tourism.' " Boston Globe 07/16/06

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dallas Morning News To Cut Critics? Is the Dallas Morning News about to offload its movie and TV critics? Managers met with staff and "a large part of that meeting dealt with how to make the section more local in coverage–which suggests that those writers who handle movies and TV shows could go, because the paper could simply pick up reviews from wire services." Dallas Observer 07/13/06

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

NAC Gets New Board Chair Canada's National Arts Centre has named prominent Ontario arts supporter Julia Foster as its new chair. Foster is credited with being a key presence in the turnaround of the Stratford Festival a decade ago, and has served on the boards of the Toronto International Film Festival and the Art Gallery of Ontario. CBC 07/12/06

Arts Slashed In Wake Of NJ Budget Impasse "In the late-night frenzy to craft a budget deal this week, lawmakers cut the budget of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts an additional 5 percent, to $19.1 million, while adding money to pet projects in Montclair, Camden and Newark... Organizations currently receiving state aid should expect cuts of more than 15 percent as less money will be shared by more groups." Newark Star-Ledger 07/12/06

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Liverpool Rethinks Culture Year Robyn Archer's resignation as director of Liverpool's Capital of Culture programs has made organizers rethink. "We have to beware of the kneejerk reaction that [Archer's ideas] were too intelligent for this city. We need a variety that includes all sorts of weird and wonderful cultural adventures. There also has to be a lot that local people can engage with but it mustn't be a parochial, inward-looking event celebrating scouse culture. Why would the rest of Europe take notice of us if we are too insular?" The Guardian (UK) 07/12/06

UNESCO Delists Four Four sites have been taken off UNESCO's endangered list. "UNESCO's World Heritage List, created in 1972, includes some 812 sites around the world, from the Giza pyramids in Egypt to the Great Wall of China to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta." CBC 07/11/06

Monday, July 10, 2006

So Shut Up Already (And We'll All Enjoy It) "As common sense and good manners become lost in this era of cell phones, iPods and high-tech everything, loud talking at concerts and nightclub performances has reached almost epidemic levels." So what's to be done? San Diego Union-Tribune 07/09/06

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Miami's New Performing Arts Center - Will People Be Able To Afford To Go? Managers of Miami's new Performing Arts Center say they hope to make "the $446 million center accessible to all, both through programming and ticket prices. But in a community as diverse as Miami, the task of serving everyone is akin to building a bridge across the Atlantic. Nearly 60 percent of the city's population was born in another country, according to 2004 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. And about 91,000 people - 28 percent of the population - earn less than the federal poverty level of $9,570 a year for an individual, making Miami the third poorest big city in the nation." Miami Herald 07/09/06

Oregon Arts In Dire Straits "A torrent of red ink is flowing through some of Oregon's best-known arts and cultural organizations. The Oregon Historical Society and the Oregon Symphony each posted a six- or seven-figure deficit in its two most recent fiscal years. Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Opera and the Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene also booked large losses last year. Arts officials checked off a laundry list of problems causing the disappointing financial results: high costs, executive changes, miserly state support and fierce competition for audiences and donor dollars." The Oregonian (Portland) 07/09/06

Whose PAC Is It, Anyway? St. Paul's Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is hunting for a new chief executive, and Dominic Papatola says that the center would do well to spend some time reexamining its mission before it settles on a new leader. "The Ordway is the crown jewel of St. Paul's cultural destinations, but it is a flawed gem. Economically and organizationally, the place was built broken... No one has ever been able to successfully juggle the building's multiple roles as landlord, presenter and producer." St. Paul Pioneer Press 07/09/06

It Must Be Nice To Have Your Very Own Senator Politicians are known for using their influence to do favors for friends in trouble. But when is the last time you heard of a conservative Republican senator pulling strings to get a pal released from an Arab prison after a drug conviction? Senator Orrin Hatch, the floor is yours... The New York Times 07/08/06

Friday, July 7, 2006

England's Civil Servant Eggheads Where will you find many of Britain's intellectuals? In the civil service. "The first consideration is money. Civil servants get paid significantly more than academics, and only the most successful writers are likely to earn more. Those joining the fast stream—many of whom have postgraduate degrees and so have had academia or teaching open to them—earn about the same as junior lecturers or teachers. But on promotion out of the fast stream—which is expected within four to five years, and many do it faster—the starting salary for the next grade ranges from £35-40,000, a figure that academics are only likely to achieve after twice that length of service." Prospect 06/06

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Abrupt Departure Roils Liverpool's Culture Plans Liverpool's plans for being the European capital of culture in 2008 were thrown into chaos yesterday when Robyn Archer, the director of the city's 2008 culture efforts, suddenly quit. "Last night officials denied rumours that she had been sacked as a result of growing dissatisfaction among leaders of some of Liverpool's big cultural institutions. Some complained that it had not been clear whether she was organising an international arts festival or a year-long community celebration." The Guardian (UK) 07/06/06

  • Running A Festival? It's All About The Local Context "Who is best equipped to run a city's cultural jamboree? Without being unduly parochial, I'd suggest it is someone with an understanding of local needs. Robyn Archer made a big success of Adelaide in 1992, as Jim Sharman had in 1982, because she was clued in on Australian tastes. But, intriguingly, the American director, Peter Sellars, was invited to succeed Robyn in Adelaide and was eventually forced to quit. In short, it's a matter of horses for courses: festivals, in my experience, are best created by people who possess not just taste and vision but an awareness of the cultural context." The Guardian (UK) 07/06/06

Of Art Reviews And Politics (No Mixing?) Should critics keep their political opinions out of their reviews? Some readers of the Orlando Sentinel think so... Orlando Sentinel 07/05/06

Copyright Killing Artistic Freedom? Canadian artists are protesting plans to revise their country's copyright laws. "Canadian artists find existing laws restrictive, and most assume that new legislation will only increase constraints -- especially if, as expected, it leads to Canada's ratification of 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization treaties protecting works in the digital environment. Canada took part in those WIPO talks, but unlike the U.S., never ratified. This annoys the entertainment industry, whose executives describe Canada as 'a piracy haven'." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/05/06

Monday, July 3, 2006

Longtail - No More Hits? We're moving from a mass culture to one that's dominated by niches. So does this mean the end of the blockbuster? The New Yorker 07/03/06

Salt Lake City Ponders Arts District Some in Salt Lake City want to built and new arts and cultural district, with new theatres. But the city's non-profit theatres have had declining attendance, and critics worry whether the city can support the new activity. Salt Lake City Tribune 07/03/06

Sunday, July 2, 2006

UK Poll: Survey Says More People Interested In History Than Football "The Mori poll showed that 73% were interested in history, compared with 59% in sport in general and 48% in football." The Guardian (UK) 07/03/06

Have Our Star-Makers Disappeared? Many fans have put up $750 for tickets to Barbra Streisand's upcoming concerts. But such super-stardom doesn't seem to be passing down to younger stars. "In a world that's about rebelling against your parents, no star draws like those rock-and-roll granddaddies. New ones seem not to be on the horizon. Young talent is out there, but the old vehicles to fame have left the station. Beyond absorbing the latest news from Iraq, the collective consciousness spawned by a once-mass media has dwindled." Philadelphia Inquirer 07/02/06

Measuring The Money You Donate And (As Important) The Results Throwing money at a problem is one way to help fix it. But how do you tell if a foundation is making an impact with its giving? It's a bigger problem than you might tink... Boston Globe 07/02/06

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