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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Do Casting Calls Violate Anti-Discrimination Law? "A new report from UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center suggests struggling women and minority actors might want to bring something extra to their next audition besides a head shot: a civil rights lawyer. Some casting calls that specify gender and ethnicity could violate federal anti-discrimination laws, according to the report by Russell Robinson of the UCLA School of Law, who examined Breakdown Services' listings of national movie casting calls from June 1 to Aug. 31 and analyzed roles compiled by online movie sites. Robinson's report concludes that 69% of available acting roles are designed for white males...." Los Angeles Times 11/30/06

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wales PAC Hurting Other Cardiff Venues "Cardiff's St. David's Hall and New Theatre have reported huge financial losses following the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre, a £106 million performing arts venue on Cardiff Bay that opened in November 2004... The two halls, which are managed together by the Welsh capital's municipal government, ran up losses totaling £5.2 million in the 2005-06 fiscal year, up almost £900,000 from the previous year. Both venues are expected to lose an extra £283,000 in 2006-07." PlaybillArts 11/29/06

Colleagues Defending Curator Accused Of Displaying Kiddie Porn "Sir Nicholas Serota heads a list of eminent museum directors, curators and historians who have signed a petition against the prosecution of Henry-Claude Cousseau, a French colleague who has been accused of exhibiting child pornography as art... His alleged crime is staging an exhibition of provocative and explicit images, including a painting by Gary Gross of a young girl in a bath, heavily made-up and looking seductive, a video piece by Elke Krystufek, in which a girl performed a graphic masturbation scene, and photographs by Annette Messager of young children with their eyes scratched out." The Times (UK) 11/30/06

Wales Review Proposes New Arts Board The debate over how major arts groups should be funded in Wales is continuing, as a review rejecting the notion of "direct funding" by the government is published. "Instead, the review recommends a new arts board with representatives from the arts council, assembly government and other public bodies. The board, chaired by the culture minister, would oversee arts strategy... Much of the practical element seems to amount to the creation of the new arts board - yet another committee, something we are all too familiar with." BBC 11/29/06

Monday, November 27, 2006

GSA Reverses Course "In a move likely to upset traditionalists, cheer modernists and widen the gulf between them, the U.S. General Services Administration has bypassed classicist Thomas Gordon Smith for its influential chief architect post and instead has chosen Les Shepherd, a veteran architect at the agency... Controversy erupted in September after The Wall Street Journal reported that Smith [was] set to become the agency's chief architect. Some modernists charged that Smith's devotion to traditionalism would set back the GSA's progress in improving federal design. Some traditionalists cheered the prospect of a return to the nation's classical design past." Chicago Tribune 11/27/06

Art Or Exploitation? The always-charged debate over child nudity in art is flaring again in Canada, thanks to an editorial decision by a photography magazine to remove several potentially controversial images from its latest issue focusing on what constitutes exploitative child porn. "The decision came after a time-consuming search failed to turn up a printer willing to risk a test of the Child Pornography Act passed in July, 2005. The debate over the images also resulted in the resignations of four members of BlackFlash's volunteer board of directors." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 11/27/06

Seeing Ancient Athens In A New Light "An ambitious international project to decipher 1,000-year-old moldy pages is yielding new clues about ancient Greece as seen through the eyes of Hyperides, an important Athenian orator and politician from the fourth century B.C. What is slowly coming to light, scholars say, represents the most significant discovery of Hyperides text since 1891, illuminating some fascinating, time-shrouded insights into Athenian law and social history." The New York Times 11/27/06

Celebrating Liverpool, Or Just Arguing About It "The aim is certainly ambitious: to create a museum, unlike any other in the world, to celebrate the rich heritage of Liverpool. From prehistory to its days as a hub of the British empire, to the Beatles and Alan Bleasdale. But the £65m project to capture the city's 'creativity, its wit, its imagination, its sheer contrariness' is already dividing opinion in Merseyside." The Guardian (UK) 11/27/06

Art vs. Family Can an artist be dedicated to his craft and still maintain a healthy home life? Does parenting necessarily have to take precedence over art, and does the art have to suffer if it does? The answers all depend on whom you ask... The Guardian (UK) 11/27/06

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Florida's Arts City? Fort Lauderdale may have lost its resident orchestra several years back, but the city is fast becoming a cultural hub in South Florida, where the arts have traditionally been a very tough sell. Chief among Fort Lauderdale's assets is a top quality concert hall in a prime location. Miami Herald 11/25/06

Friday, November 24, 2006

Report: Canadians Giving More To Support Arts "The report, Individual Donors to Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada in 2004, examined Statistic Canada data and found that 732,000 Canadians 15 years of age or older gave a total of $188-million to arts and culture organizations in 2004. This represents, on average, a donation of $257 per donor and is a record high." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 11/24/06

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How The Arts Aid Rehabilitation "Despite plenty of anecdotal evidence that arts projects can help prevent reoffending, the government has been reluctant to put money into investigating their long-term benefits. The response to any rise in violent youth crime has been to call for tougher sentences and more punitive regimes. But that is changing." New Statesman 11/27/06

Arts Journalists Are A Dying Breed Arts jounalism as a profession is being dismantled in the daily newspaper, writes film critic Roger Moore. "Reviewers, in general, are canaries in the print journalism coal mine, the first to go. Classical music, books, visual arts and dance are dispensed with, or free-lanced off the bottom-line. That's happened everywhere I've ever worked." Orlando Sentinel 11/22/06

UK Arts Funding Squeezed To Pay For Olympic Park "Arts organisations had their worst fears confirmed this week after they were warned they face further 'significant cuts' in lottery funding as a result of a 40 percent hike in the cost of the 2012 London Olympic park." The park will cost £900 million more than originally estimated. TheStage 11/22/06

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Elite Colleges Failing With Minorities "Public flagship universities do a generally poor job of enrolling and educating underrepresented minority students and those from low-income families, and actually regressed rather than made progress on those fronts from 1995 to 2004, the Education Trust argues in a report released Monday." InsideHigherEd 11/21/06

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Call For Higher Standards For Arts Boards The state of arts institutions in Australia is generally good. But "there are still a number of prominent arts boards plagued by management weaknesses, staff discontent and external criticism, particularly from funding bodies such as federal and state governments. Ultimately, those boards must take responsibility and yet some continue to whitewash or ignore scrutiny." The Australian 11/21/06

Americans Voted For The Arts Arts measures did well in the recent American elections. "Ten arts-related ballot measures that went before voters in Northern California, Louisiana, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Utah were passed – some overwhelmingly. There were no other such ballot propositions elsewhere." San Diego Union-Tribune 11/19/06

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Non-Profits Taking Advantage Of Hot Real Estate To Cash In (Or Out) "Investors and developers, even those who were historically not sellers, have taken advantage of the market to sell their assets rather than refinance or allow cash flow to accumulate. Nonprofits have followed suit, many feeling that the value of some longstanding locations are replaceable by other locations combined with consolidation of services and residences is a positive arbitrage that results in a stronger balance sheet." New York Sun 11/17/06

LA Arts Funding Not Growing With Activity A new study reports that funding for the arts in Los Angeles has stayed flat in recent years, even though arts activity has grown by 20 percent. "The levels of funding from some public and private sources for 2004 were close to or even below 1998 levels, when the nonprofit arts sector was significantly smaller, according to the groups." ABC7.com 11/17/06

Friday, November 17, 2006

On Museums And Antiquities, Two Opposing Agendas "In two different parts of town last night, two very different voices in the debate over museums and antiquities made their arguments heard. Uptown at the Metropolitan Museum, the Met's director, Philippe de Montebello, delivered to a rapt audience an impassioned defense of museums continuing to collect antiquities –– while, downtown, Peter Watson, the author of 'The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities — From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums,' spoke to a group at the Chelsea Art Museum about the responsibility of museums not to contribute to the illegal trade in antiquities." New York Sun 11/17/06

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Betting On Your Own Philanthropy For-profit companies have long known the power of the investor to infuse them with cash just when they need it most. But non-profits are saddled with a fundraising model that requires them to beg for money while promising no fiscal return. Why does it have to be this way? Why not create a fluctuating market for non-profits, just as publicly traded companies have now? Slate 11/13/06

Democratic Congress May Give Non-Profits Longer Leash Will last week's election results make life easier for cultural groups and other non-profit corporations? "Many eyes will be on the Senate Finance Committee, where Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is to succeed Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) as chairman. Indignant over financial scandals at some non-profits, Grassley had made reform of tax-exempt groups a cause. But Baucus doesn't seem to share that same ardor." Chicago Tribune 11/16/06

YouTube As Culture's Next Great Sales Technique The YouTube phenomenon may be old news in some circles, but for fans of low-tech forms like classical music, opera, and dance, the video site is still being discovered as a valuable resource. "Thanks to its ease of operation, YouTube allows pretty much anyone with a mild curiosity about opera or musical theater to expand his frame of reference without spending a dime, thanks to the compulsive generosity of members with a desire to exhibit their curatorial prowess." The New York Times 11/16/06

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

GenX After The Fact "Generation X has come to mean more than just a specific group of post-boomers, more even than a marketing demographic—people who will go see Last Days one evening and drop $5 on a pumpkin-spice latte the next morning. It has also come to serve as a marketing model, in this post–Reality Bites world, for how all young Americans should live out their 20’s. Now we are all Generation X." New York Observer 11/15/06

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Denver's Arts Building Boom Works On A Next Phase Denver has a new opera house and a new museum. Now the city is trying to raise $100 million to overhaul its concert hall. "The Boettcher overhaul would include an addition of a wrap-around, multistory glass lobby on its Speer Boulevard side and a reconfiguration of the 2,634-seat facility, reducing its seating to about 2,100 and enhancing its acoustics." Denver Post 11/12/06

Why The Arts Need Public-Sector Investment "Our founding fathers understood the value of the arts. In the Massachusetts Constitution, John Adams called upon legislators to 'cherish the interests of literature . . . to encourage private societies and public institutions . . . for the promotion of . . . arts, sciences, commerce, trades.' ... Art and business. Art and government. These pairings are not as awkward as they're made out to be." Boston Globe 11/14/06

That Smog? Blame It On Hollywood. "Special effects explosions, idling vehicles, teams of workers building monumental sets — all of it contributes to Hollywood's newly discovered role as an air polluter, a university study has found. ... Although Hollywood seems environmentally conscious thanks to celebrities who lend their names to various causes, the industry created more pollution than individually produced by aerospace manufacturing, apparel, hotels and semiconductor manufacturing, the study found." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (AP) 11/14/06

Corporate Support Gets An Infusion Of Ingenuity Partnerships between cultural institutions and corporate entities have gone creative. Take the Brooklyn Academy of Music. "To capitalize on Brooklyn’s building boom, BAM reached out to real estate developers, encouraging them to use BAM as a selling point with potential buyers. Through the developers, BAM is tapping into a new pool of potential patrons. ... For example, memberships to the BAM Cinema Club are given as gifts to apartment buyers. This gives developers a perk to welcome prospective buyers, while BAM gets a direct connection to future audiences." The New York Times 11/13/06

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Tax On Bad Taste A proposed tax in the UK would be based on the aesthetic quality of buildings. "They will be attempting to put a tax value on improvements you might have made to your home, on the quality of its design and even on its views. If your home is well designed and beautifully located, you will be liable to pay more tax than if you live in a grungy house with rotten views and have made no attempt whatsoever to improve it." The Guardian (UK) 11/14/06

Study: Tech Toys Don't Help Build Kids' Skills "A government-funded study examining the role of technology in the lives of three- and four-year-old children and their families found that the hi-tech devices - one of the fastest growing sectors of the toy market, aimed at infants as young as nine months - are no more effective than traditional ways of introducing basic literacy and number skills." The Guardian (UK) 11/13/06

Scottish Politicians Plan To Direct Their Own Arts Policy Scottish cultural policy is undergoing a major change in direction. The Scottish executive plans to abolish the national arts council and direct arts policy itself. Glasgow Herald 11/12/06

Sunday, November 12, 2006

S. Cal Indian Tribes Become Big-Time Arts Funders "California has 108 Indian tribes, of which 56 operate casinos that rake in hundreds of millions of dollars annually. With eight tribal casinos, San Diego County is regarded as the gaming casino capital of California. Among county arts groups, San Diego Opera and San Diego Symphony currently receive the most Indian gaming casino support." San Diego Union-Tribune 11/12/06

UK To Confiscate Criminals' Book, Movie Profits The UK has proposed that "money made by criminals who sell the stories of their crimes to newspapers or have them turned into books or films will be confiscated through the courts." The Guardian (UK) 11/11/06

Dikes To Protect Venice Approved Italy has approved a $5.9 billion project to build dikes to protect the city from flooding. "The project, slated for completion in 2011, includes the construction of 78 floodgates that can be raised by 110 centimeters (43 inches) to keep water from entering Venice's lagoon. High tides now flood the city several times a year, damaging historic buildings and disrupting transport." Bloomberg 11/10/06

Friday, November 10, 2006

Pooling Generosity For a long time, arts benefactors in the U.S. tended to be ultra-rich businesspeople wanting to create a cultural legacy for themselves. But today, the giving pool is much wider, and is made up of donors from many income levels. In fact, many lower-level donors have begun pooling their resources to form "giving circles," which can have a major impact. Wisconsin State Journal (AP) 11/10/06

Thursday, November 9, 2006

You Stay Classy, Art World "In many discussions about art, class is often the elephant in the room... There seems to be a lot of hand-wringing about access to the arts. [But] who are these schemes trying to attract?" More importantly, once the supposedly disenfranchised are attracted, what makes anyone think they would have any interest, having been denied any real sort of art education previously? The Times (UK) 11/08/06

Cleveland Arts Tax Passes A cotroversial ballot measure dedicating money raised by a new cigarette tax to arts and culture in the Cleveland area passed comfortably in Tuesday's election. "The measure will raise the county cigarette tax by 1.5 cents per cigarette starting in January, generating about $20 million per year for 10 years for arts and cultural organizations and individual artists." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 11/09/06

Trumping Good Taste The battle between a Chicago architecture critic and developer Donald Trump over a giant advertising kiosk promoting Trump's ostentatious new high rise is continuing, even after Trump supposedly agreed to make changes. "With help from the ever-compliant City Council, the New York developer was able to plant his kiosk a block east of his Wabash Avenue property and on Chicago's prime shopping boulevard. He then turned the kiosk from a sign that was supposed to point to the riverwalk along his tower into an advertisement masquerading as a public service." Chicago Tribune 11/09/06

And It's Not Like "Wang" Was Such A Great Name, Anyway "Looking to become a major player in the Boston market quickly, New York-based Citigroup has purchased the naming rights to the Wang Center for the Performing Arts for about $34 million... Citigroup will pay the Wang over 15 years, a dramatic infusion of money for the once-booming nonprofit arts presenter, which has struggled to balance its budget -- and fill seats -- in recent years." Boston Globe 11/09/06

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Indian State To Pay Homeless To Perform Officials in the Indian state of Bihar " want to train many of the estimated 100,000 homeless in the state to put on street plays about AIDS and to sing songs about it in trains and buses and on the sides of busy roads." All Headline News 11/09/06

Portrait Of A Chicago Arts Exec (Female And White) "The Illinois Arts Alliance estimates that nearly 70 percent of Chicago-area arts organizations have female administrators (executive director or equivalent positions), based on an admittedly unscientific 2003 survey. 'It's a field that is predominantly female and predominantly white'." Chicago Tribune 11/08/06

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Boxing And Phil And Klimt, Oh My What will Liverpool's European Capital of Culture year look like? It will be culture in broad strokes. "Last night the Liverpool Culture Company honoured that broad definition when it unveiled its long-awaited programme, a £95m mixed bag of 70 events ranging from the Berlin Philharmonic and a Gustav Klimt exhibition to the European senior boxing championships and a footballers' wives fashion show." The Guardian (UK) 11/07/06

Monday, November 6, 2006

Heritage This The whole "world heritage site" designation has become meaningless, writes Germaine Greer. "If 'world heritage' means anything, it should mean that the recovery of human history is not a matter for nation states, but for the international community. Rather than leaving it to the individual governments to struggle to produce the right kind of application couched in the current UN twaddle, together with the detailed maps and inventories demanded by Unesco, and then find funding to keep the sites intact, the survival of human heritage should be a global project." The Guardian (UK) 11/06/06

The New Improved Hybrid Artist A new study suggests that artists are increasingly creating hybrid careers. "Her findings indicate artists are increasingly dividing their time between their art--painting, sculpture, writing--and contributing their artistic talents to for-profit projects, such as advertising and graphic design." Minnesota Public Radio 11/05/06

Designing The Post-Apocalytic New York "Whatever kind of place New Yorkers will inhabit a century from now, it will probably not look much like the hallucinations that went on display briefly in Grand Central Station on Thursday and will reappear on the History Channel's Web site (history.com) sometime next month. Since incremental change is too difficult to conceive, most designers imagined a post-apocalyptic Manhattan half-drowned by rising oceans." Newsday 11/06/06

Europe's New Three-Year College Standard (And The US?) Forty-five European nations have "pledged to make three years the standard time for their undergraduate degrees by 2010. Under 'the Bologna Process,' named for the Italian city where the agreement for “harmonizing” European higher education was signed in 1999, degrees are supposed to be sufficiently similar that they will be recognized from one country to the next, encouraging student mobility. What happens when some of that mobility involves graduate study in the United States?" InsideHigherEd 11/06/06

Israel A Player On World Arts Scene Israeli artists have been grabbing headlines... Israel21c 11/06/06

Sunday, November 5, 2006

The Case For Public Arts Funding What should the future role of public funding be in the UK arts scene as more of the world transitions to an American-style system of private philanthropy? "Should the state help pay for the arts? Of course it should; it always has. State support for the arts is a great European tradition. The great patrons of the performing arts and the visual arts have always been rulers or monarchs. Now they are governments... Whether you are talking about 18th-century Vienna or the UK today, the wealth that was and is handed out to the arts is the people's wealth. And it is absolutely right that it should be spent on the arts." The Observer (UK) 11/05/06

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Arts Losing 18-to-34 Crowd "A new report by the National Endowment for the Arts on arts attendance and how it relates to volunteerism shows Americans 18 to 34 increasingly tuned out from the arts and the broader community." Participation in the arts was down across the board, whether the subject was music, dance, opera, or even reading. On the plus side, those who did engage with the arts were 50% more likely to spend time volunteering. Los Angeles Times 11/02/06

Harper Cuts Run Afoul Of Arts Leaders Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been making good on his campaign pledge to slash government spending, and in the process, he's been eliminating funding from cultural diplomacy projects. That's got famed director David Cronenberg, among others, up in arms. "There is always this idea that the arts are superficial, kind of frivolous. The notion that they are fat to be trimmed from the body politic makes me nuts." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 11/02/06

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Apparently, You Can Be Arrested For Anything In Turkey "A [Turkish] court today acquitted a 92-year-old retired archaeologist who was put on trial for writing in a book that Islamic-style head scarves date back more than 5,000 years — several millennia before the birth of Islam — and were worn by priestesses who initiated young men into sex." Star Tribune (AP) 11/01/06

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation... Cultivating new generations of donors is an important part of any cultural organization's mission, and if the cultivation comes with free drinks, so much the better. "As Baby Boomer contributors grow into white-haired audiences, more arts and philanthropic organizations... are establishing young professionals groups to cultivate new patrons and volunteers. They offer the opportunity to mingle with others and party with people 25 to 40 who share the same interests." South Florida Sun-Sentinel 11/01/06

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