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Friday, September 29, 2006

Bush To Renominate Gioia To Run NEA George Bush intends to nominate Dana Gioia for another four-year term as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. All Headline News 09/29/06

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Even In A Good Cause, People Hate Taxes An anti-tax group in Cleveland is mobilizing to oppose a ballot measure that would increase a countywide cigarette tax and dedicate the proceeds to the arts. If passed, the measure would generate $20 million a year for cultural groups. Supporters are mounting a vigorous campaign to get voters to support the plan, but organized opposition could derail the effort at the polls. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 09/28/06

Are Non-Profits Experiencing A Management Crisis? Arts managers tend to burn out quickly, frequently as a direct result of the stress of constant fundraising and the unwieldy nature of many non-profit boards. But does the burnout problem amount to a leadership crisis? A new study in Chicago aims to find out. Chicago Tribune 09/28/06

New Arts Fest In Baltimore "Nearly 75 arts organizations in Baltimore have banded together to present the first free citywide arts festival this fall... Free Fall Baltimore, which runs through November, will showcase the well-known Baltimore institutions, as well as some smaller ones." Among other goals, the festival is designed to take advantage of the influx of thousands of Washington, D.C. residents who travel to Baltimore every year. Washington Post 09/28/06

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

U.S. Reconfigures Its Cultural Diplomacy "The State Department has enlisted four national cultural organizations to broaden exchanges between American artists and foreign audiences and share the country's arts management expertise. ... This umbrella effort," known as the Global Cultural Initiative, "is taking a number of programs that federal cultural agencies and national organizations have underway that are more on-the-ground than marquee. The primary partners in the new program are the Kennedy Center, American Film Institute, National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities." Washington Post 09/26/06

Lincoln Center Accomplishes Its First Dismantling A plaza lid that had covered 65th Street at Lincoln Center has been removed. "Now, with the plaza finally removed, it is a pleasure to see daylight returning to this forlorn street. Suddenly the visions of the architects, which had a pie-in-the-sky quality until a few weeks ago, seem within reach." New York Sun 09/26/06

Monday, September 25, 2006

Why Is Most Art For The Blind About Touching? "This is not how people see a work of art; they can take in the whole of it at a glance. I feel I want the same. Perhaps this is a failing in me. Many totally blind people assure me that they can get an enormous amount from this kind of experience, both examining and creating it." The Times (UK) 09/25/06

What Top Arts CEOs Earn The heads of medical foundations top executive compensation. In the arts in America in 2005, "highest pay went to Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., who brought home $1,029,691. The survey put Munitz just behind Kaiser with $962,526 in compensation." Los Angeles Times 09/25/06

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Want Money? Think Young! (And Quirky) "From all-nighters at the High Museum to martini mixers at the Fernbank Museum and video game-inspired music at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, many arts groups are aggressively courting a younger demographic with hopes they will become not only patrons, but donors." Atlanta Journal-Constitution 09/24/06

Miami - Not Just Another Performing Arts Center "Perhaps the most significant aspect of the 570,000-square-foot center's design is not the details behind the dramatic interiors a red-and-gold specially commissioned curtain in the opera house, the prominent use of wood throughout the concert hall. It's the fact that the center, which occupies two square city blocks, doesn't have a true front or back." Palm Beach Post 09/24/06

Friday, September 22, 2006

NEA Classical Music Critics Institute Fellows Chosen There are 25 journalists in this year's program. The Institute is housed at Columbia University in New York City from October 15-25 and is part of a $1 million NEA initiative to "offer intensive training for arts journalists and editors who work outside the country's major media markets." Columbia University Press Release 09/22/06

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mpls Libraries On The Brink Minneapolis recently spent millions to build a new central library, designed by architect Cesar Pelli. But the city's library system as a whole is woefully underfunded, and the board that governs it has presented a stark choice between closing 2/3 of the libraries in the system and drastically reducing open hours. "Those choices ought to make the stewards of Minneapolis blush. A solution that better befits a city reputed to be the most literate in America must be found." Star Tribune (Minneapolis/St. Paul) 09/21/06

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

On The Hunt For Talent "Where does talent come from? Talent is kissed by God, who remains perversely democratic about it. He bestows talent without moral judgment on both the good and the bad. Poor old Salieri! That upright patron saint of the mediocre could never accept the capricious injustice of it all. Why not him? Why did God choose an idiot savant named Mozart? On the other hand, talent needs luck, the helping hand of Fate." New York Observer 09/20/06

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

India's Cultural Elite Protest Anti-Gay Law "More than 100 leading figures of literature, film and academia in India rallied this weekend against a 'colonial-era' law making homosexuality a criminal offence." The Guardian (UK) 09/18/06

The Image Of (Mis)Interpretation With all the digital manipulation of photos now possible, it's a wonder anyone trusts what they see. But viewers also can distort the meaning of a photo. Take the misinterpretation of a photo taken on 9/11 and how what seems to be happening in the imag isn't the real story... OpinionJournal.com 09/19/06

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Detroit Presenter Comes Out Swinging Detroit's Music Hall Theatre has been in a defensive position, running large deficits in the past few years. But the institution is abandoning its conservative ways this year, expanding to offer its most ambitious season ever. "In the upcoming season, 135 nights are already booked and officials say they expect the total to reach at least 170. Seventy percent of the nights now represent Music Hall's own bookings. Last season's operating budget of $6 million will swell to between $8 and $10 million this season." Detroit Free Press 09/18/06

Awards To Encourage Prison Art (And Creativity) "This week, the 45th exhibition of prison art opens in west London. There will be nearly 1,000 exhibits and prize money of 32,500, parcelled in small amounts to encourage the maximum number of artists. For many, a Koestler award is their first pat on the back; for a few, Koestler recognition is the gateway to a fresh start." The Guardian (UK) 09/17/06

Dreaming European The European Dream Festival offers off-the-radar work by artists from 24 countries in 22 venues. It's a real hodgepodge of art and artforms, designed to showcase the diversity of creativity in Europe. Newsday 09/17/06

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cincy In Search Of Identity "Cincinnati has the nation's fifth oldest symphony orchestra, the second oldest opera company, a Tony Award-winning Playhouse in the Park, the Aronoff Center for Broadway shows, a Shakespeare company, ballet, galleries, museums, a Contemporary Arts Center designed by signature architect Zaha Hadid, two impressive sports stadiums, the Freedom Center and the Banks on the way. Last year, arts, culture and entertainment activities brought more than 10 million people to the city center, according to a study by Downtown Cincinnati Inc. Yet, Cincinnati is struggling to determine what its identity should be." Cincinnati Enquirer 09/17/06

  • How Do You Get People To Come Back To Downtown Cincy? Cincinnati is losing population at an alarming rate. What to do to counter it? "Most importantly, participants said, the city needs a connector - a way to connect the dots, so Cincinnati is no longer a one-stop city, where people go to the ballgame or a show - then go straight home." Cincinnati Enquirer 09/17/06

Spain Bans Skinny Models From Fashion Runways "Madrid's fashion week has turned away underweight models after protests that girls and young women were trying to copy their rail-thin looks and developing eating disorders. Organisers say they want to project an image of beauty and health, rather than a waif-like, or heroin chic look." The Age (Meloburne) (AP) 09/13/06

  • British Ban On Skinny Models To Follow? British culture minister Tessa Jowell weighs in on Spain's skinny model ban. "The other concern must be for the harm it has done to the starving girls who believe emaciation is their route to fame and fortune. Let's see healthy girls of sizes 8, 10 and 12 with the confidence that comes with really believing you look great. We shouldn't for one moment underestimate the power of fashion in shaping the attitude of young girls and their feelings about themselves." The Guardian (UK) 09/17/06

Friday, September 15, 2006

Embracing The Suburbs A new Denver-area arts center aims to demystify a topic that many in the urban-centered cultural world would rather ignore: namely, "what is the relationship between culture and the suburbanization of America?" Denver Post 09/15/06

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Richmond Mayor Wants Stake In Performing Arts Center Richmond(Virginia) mayor Douglas Wilder says he isn't prepared to give $25 million towards renovation of the city's performing arts center unless the city gets some ownership stake in the project. Richmond Times-Dispatch 09/13/06

Denver Center Gets A New Chairman (And Some Attitude) "Daniel L. Ritchie was unanimously approved Tuesday as the Denver Center for the Performing Arts' new chairman and chief executive. And he wasted no time announcing an agenda that includes seeking relief from the city's 10 percent seat tax." Denver Post 09/13/06

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Ticket Fee Rip-Off Game These days it's impossible to avoid service charges for buying tickets. "Confused? No wonder. And leaving aside the chaos of all this, in what parallel universe is it remotely justifiable to charge audiences an extra 2.50 per ticket?" The Guardian (UK) 09/12/06

Monday, September 11, 2006

Italian Fashion, Chinese Labor "When the first Chinese, their suitcases filled with cash, arrived in the early 1990s and leased their factories, the Italians laughed at them. But now that their numbers have quadrupled and they own a quarter of the city's textile businesses, where they make 'Made in Italy' fashion at 'Made in China' prices - often illegally - the newspapers are full of op-ed pieces about the "yellow invasion," low-wage competition and the Chinese mafia." Der Spiegel 09/11/06

Chronicle Of Current College Controversies Over the past several weeks controversies have erupted on American college campuses. Scholars who endorse dissenting views about 9/11 have been challenged, a decision to invite former Iranian president Khatami to speak at Harvard has been opposed, and an art show by a convicted muderer has been shut down in Maine... InsideHigherEd 09/11/06

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Why Do Wagner's "Ring" In LA? The case most important to its major donor Eli Broad is economic. "We must show cultural tourists on the East Coast, in Europe and Asia that they could have a similar or better cultural experience here in Los Angeles." Broad suggested that a $10 million annual advertising budget would have a payoff "of probably 5-10 times that much." Gramophone 09/08/06

The Memorials Of 9/11 "Almost from the minute the black smoke and human dust cleared, people began to talk about how to commemorate the event, how to impose a sense of meaning and logic on a moment of blood, fire, chaos and death. Abraham Lincoln had done it in 1863 with just 272 words at Gettysburg, another scene of American destruction, memorializing the dead and challenging the living in a speech that has outlived memories of the battle itself. In this postindustrial and postmodern age, we are using granite, steel, glass, cyberspace, music, film and, sometimes, our own bodies to remember September 11." Washington Post 09/10/06

How Do You Plan For The New Cities? "This is the first year in history when more than half of the world's population is resident in cities. A century ago that figure was 10 per cent and in 20 years it will be 75 per cent. This escalation is almost entirely attributable to the rapidly developing economies of Asia, Africa and South America, where a vast exodus from the countryside is underway." The Telegraph (UK) 09/10/06

Assessing Scotland's New Funding Scheme It's been several months since control of Scotland's national cultural organizations passed from the national arts council to the Scottish Executive. This made many in the arts quite uneasy: "No government is immune from politics, and politics and the arts make uneasy bedfellows." Still, the new arrangement seems to be working well so far. The Scotsman 09/10/06

Is Orange County Overreaching? Orange County, California's recently expanded performing arts center has made the region a major player in the West Coast cultural scene, where once it was thought merely as an appendage of Los Angeles. But "a closer look at the [center's] 2005-06 fiscal year, which ended June 30, reveals that it wasn't spectacular. In fact, all key measurements attendance, ticket sales, income, expenses and number of events were down from previous years." Orange County Register 09/10/06

Remembrance? No Thanks, We'd Rather Argue. In the five years since the 9/11 attacks, there has been no shortage of ideas for a memorial honoring the victims. But a deadly combination of shrieking bloggers, opportunistic politicians, and shortsighted bureaucrats have thus far managed to shoot down, water down, and wrap in red tape every serious proposal. "Future memorial juries would be wise to think about how and why these designs have been so easily pushed off track." Los Angeles Times 09/09/06

Will Carry-On Ban Jeopardize London's Cultural Reputation? When British airline authorities imposed harsh new restrictions on carry-on baggage in response to a terrorist threat, few complained. But when officials began murmuring that the near-ban on hand baggage could become permanent, musicians cried foul. "The impact if these policies continue will, over time, be inconceivable. London, along with New York, is one of the musical capitals of the world but these restrictions could lead to the erosion of that status and of the reputation of Britain as a whole as musicians are forced to alter their plans." The Times (UK) 09/09/06

  • And This Makes Us Safer How, Exactly? One soloist who has been feeling the effects of the UK baggage restrictions is London-based violinist Viktoria Mullova, who went so far as to smuggle her unprotected Stradivarius onto a Helsinki-bound flight in a shopping bag last month. This week, she's due to play concerts in the US, and there's a very real possibility that she will have to make the trip without her instrument. Comparing Notes (MPR) 09/08/06

Friday, September 8, 2006

The 9/11 Conspiracy Industry It's thriving, with thousands who have decided that official explanations of the events of 9/11 don't add up. "Distrust percolates more strongly near Ground Zero. A Zogby International poll of New York City residents two years ago found 49.3 percent believed the government consciously failed to act." Washington Post 09/08/06

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Has Art Helped Make Sense Of 9/11? Slate asks a group of writers and critics about what art has helpd them sort out the attacks of 9/11... Slate 09/07/06

Fantasy Trumps Responsibility In Myanmar The famously brutal military government of Myanmar (aka Burma) is rebuilding ancient temples in an effort to draw tourists, but archaeologists are concerned that the bricklayers doing the work "have no training in repairing aged monuments, and their work has nothing to do with actually restoring one of the world's most important Buddhist sites. Instead, using modern red bricks and mortar, they are building a new temple on top of the old." Los Angeles Times 09/07/06

Losing The Copyright Wars "There was a time when the entertainment industry believed it could stop digital thieves like the Coles with copy-protection software that prevented duplication and dissemination. Commercially released movies have contained copy-encryption software since the fledgling days of VHS. Modern DVDs feature a patented Content-Scrambling System (CSS) that prevents them from being copied using standard burner software. But for all it does to stop piracy, CSS may as well not exist." City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul) 09/07/06

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Is Culture Still A Part Of WTC Building Plans? "Five years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the planned performing arts center at ground zero is without either institutional leadership or a fund-raising campaign. While the city has indicated that it will play a role in overseeing construction of the center, it hasn't specified what that role will be. This leaves the arts groups chosen to occupy the center the Joyce and the Signature Theatre Company in the dark about when it will actually be built." New York Sun 09/06/06

The Celebrity Gene Are celebrities narcissistic because they're celebrities or were they born that way? A new study reaches conclusions: "Our research also shows that many celebrities exhibit narcissistic behaviour prior to becoming famous, which could indicate a self-selection bias for the entertainment industry by certain personality types," CBC 09/06/06

This Year's Kennedy Center Honorees "The annual awards, announced today, will go to country music legend Dolly Parton, rhythm and blues balladeer William "Smokey" Robinson, musical theater innovator Andrew Lloyd Webber and classical conductor Zubin Mehta. In addition, the center is saluting Steven Spielberg, perhaps the most influential commercial filmmaker of his generation." Washington Post 09/06/06

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

60s Satire Changed Us American satire of the 1950s and 60s spawned a social movement. "The two decades following World War II spawned satiric forms and techniques that have permanently altered the direction of modern American comic expression." Los Angeles Times 09/03/06

New Organization To Give $50,000 Grants To Individual Artists "A new charity, United States Artists, will announce today an ambitious plan to provide support to working artists, starting with a grant program that will be one of the most generous in existence. Fifty artists working in a wide variety of disciplines and at various career stages will receive $50,000 each, no strings attached. The first recipients will be announced on Dec. 4." The New York Times 09/05/06

Monday, September 4, 2006

Where's Our War Art? "War has generated some of the strangest, as well as some of the greatest and oldest, images in art. Neolithic cave paintings show swarming battles of stick figures armed with bows and arrows. Assyrian palaces were decorated with epic scenes of siege warfare. And so it goes, through the conquests represented on Trajan's Column in Rome to the Battle of Hastings on the Bayeux Tapestry to ... well, as it happens, not quite through to today. We have been at war for most of this century, but this global and unprecedented conflict has not yet inspired much art." The Guardian (UK) 09/03/06

Investigation: How Getty Exec Was Purged The Getty board secretly copied deposed president Barry Munitz's computer files in its investigations last December. "Confidential Getty documents reviewed by The Times and interviews with former senior officials provide a road map of the firm's internal investigation, which led to Munitz's ouster and ongoing negotiations with foreign governments over the return of contested artwork." Los Angeles Times 09/02/06

Friday, September 1, 2006

Village Voice Kills Its Arts Staff Included in the firing are pop music critic icon Robert Christgau, dance editor Elizabeth Zimmer, book editor Ed Park, theatre editor Jorge Morales. "Since New Times Media took over the paper, Voice staff members have feared that the new management intended to centralize arts coverage and use writers and editors from various Voice Media papers to fill the local pages." The New York Times 09/01/06

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