Issues

Those Awkward Animal Moments On Stage

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“During a four-week run of “Gypsy,” a baby lamb from Living History Farms grew almost too big for the star to hold in her lap. Mice in “Cinderella” gave birth to a squirmy pink litter in the Playhouse costume shop, and a goat in “Mister Roberts” ate a hole in the dressing-room wall.”

Here’s What Happened When One Foundation Consolidated Its Giving And Focused On The Arts

DENVER, CO - JUNE 16: Gary P. Steuer, President and CEO of the Bonfils Stanton Foundation, has recently directed foundation funding to the arts, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver.  (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post)

“Long a contributor to causes across the board, from homeless shelters to opera companies, the organization began steering all of its funding toward the arts. Culture needed the money, the thinking went, and by targeting one area, the foundation could set itself apart from its peers and become a real player in the community.”

As The Recent Met Show Proves, Museums Need To Step It Up Around Native Art

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“That a show of that size and scope wouldn’t include Native American curatorial partners is indicative of a museum system that has for centuries seen Indigenous people as subjects. In the United States, where most of the large encyclopedic art museums were formed in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, legacies of putting Native cultures on display are deep-rooted and not so easily given up.”

Happy Pride, And Here’s Some History Of Censorship Of LGBTQ Art

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“The artist’s digital print was included in the 2001 show ‘CyberArte: Tradition Meets Technology’ at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, but religious activists fervently called for its removal. The print, which visually referenced queer Chicana culture, was also censored in exhibitions in Cork, Ireland, and Oakland.”

Why A Massive Trade Partnership Could Endanger Culture In Europe

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“European artists are concerned that a model like the one that exists in the US — with artists catering to the market, taking second jobs, and relying on grants from private foundations — could become the standard across all TTIP countries, while the inverse transmission of cultural funding models — with the US adopting a more European system and increasing the level of public funding to the arts — seems utterly improbable.”

Kennedy Center Gets An Artistic Planner (Its First)

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“In the newly-created role of Senior Vice President of Artistic Planning, Robert van Leer will coordinate the programming of the arts center and its resident companies, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera. The managers who previously reported to the president will now report to him.”

Taylor Swift Versus The Concert Photographers – What’s Rights For The Singer Is Right For The Photographer?

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“On the one hand, I know a band has to protect its image. The problem with that is that we are living in an age where everyone literally has a camera in their pocket at all times. You can’t control all the fans who are posting terrible photos that they took with their phones all over the Internet. So it makes no sense to me to try to control the professionals—the ones out there to do a job, who are there to make you look good, to make your concert seem like one they just can’t miss.”

Docents Gone Wild

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“More arts-loving baby boomers – educated, experienced and recently retired – are hustling to become museum tour guides. … [Yet] behind closed doors some museum staffers are growing impatient with docents flouting their supervisors, misstating facts, touching the art, and other infractions.”

What Should We Do With The US’s Many Confederate Monuments?

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“Memorials are how we recount and publicly value our history (although how we tell that history is often distorted by political correctness and who can afford to build them). Dismantling all of these Confederate monuments and simply pretending nothing ever happened – continues to happen 1 would serve no one.”

Uprooting The Confederate Flag From American Pop Culture Ain’t Gonna Be Easy

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It’s not just all the bumper stickers and belt buckles and shower curtains and other merch: it’s motorcycle clubs and Lynyrd Skynyrd albums and Dukes of Hazzard reruns. “How do you deal with a symbol that means so many different things, to so many different people? How do you ‘take down’ a flag that has ceased to be a flag at all?”

A Liberal Arts Education? Not Worth A Dime (And That’s Okay)

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“Even the shrinking pool of champions of liberal education try to argue for its workplace utility, pointing out that employers actually do want their employees to ‘write clearly,’ ‘argue persuasively,’ and ‘possess critical thinking skills,’ … It has not compelled anyone. … This tactic may win some battles, but it will ultimately lose the war.”

If The Internet Was Once An Egalitarian Utopia, Have Corporations Paved Paradise?

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“In the early days of the web, much more of what we encountered was home-made by people who shared those values and that vision. … But then Facebook happened. … Blogs were ours. Facebook is not ours.” Nevertheless, argues David Weinberger, if they’ve turned paradise into a parking lot, there’s still a lot of grass growing through the pavement.

The UK Is About To Commit To Protecting Cultural Artefacts During Wars

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“The 1954 Hague Convention was set up after World War Two but has never been adopted into law by the government. Culture Secretary John Whittingdale says destruction and looting in Syria and Iraq by Islamic State militants shows it is now essential. The UK is the only major nation not to have endorsed the convention.”

The Harsh Reality Of America’s Higher Education System

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“In our current system the relation between vulnerability and support is an inverse one. One result is that graduation rates are the same for low-income students with high test scores as for high-income students with low scores.7 In the United States today, three of every five children from families in the top income quartile earn a bachelor’s degree by age twenty-four, while for those in the bottom quartile the rate is one in four.”

What It Takes To Get An Arts Grant

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“At this point I’d like to sincerely apologise for where this article has gone. I lured you in with some clickbait promising the dirt on arts bludgers and here we are talking about accounting. It’s boring, I know. But that’s the nasty truth about the arts. It’s a job. A valid job that contributes to the community and the economy.”

U.S. Giving To Arts And Culture Up 9.2 Percent

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“Americans’ donations to arts and culture rose 9.2% in 2014, the highest increase in nine categories tracked by Giving USA, an annual report on charitable contributions. Overall, however, arts and culture commanded a modest share of the philanthropic pie.”

L.A. Music Center Finds Its New Boss – At ABT

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“Rachel Moore, a former dancer and the longtime top business executive of New York’s American Ballet Theatre, will be the next president and CEO of the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles.” The complex, the West Coast’s equivalent of Lincoln Center, is the home of Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theater, Mark Taper Forum and Walt Disney Concert Hall.

California Arts Council Gets A Funding Bump

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“The arts council will remain a speck in an overall general fund budget of about $115.3 billion. Factoring in additional revenue — a $1.1-million federal grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and $2.5 million in projected donations from Californians who pay extra for special arts-supporter license plates or give via their state income tax returns — the arts council’s budget will reach $11.9 million, its biggest budget since 2004.”

Disney Theme Parks Have Priced Themselves Out Of The Middle Class

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“For America’s middle-income vacationers, the Mickey Mouse club, long promoted as “made for you and me,” seems increasingly made for someone else. But far from easing back, the theme-park giant’s prices are expected to climb even more through a surge-pricing system that could value a summer’s day of rides and lines at $125.”

Culture’s Dying, Or It’s Already Dead (And It Always Has Been)

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“This sentiment has a name: declinism. And it has a history, a scholarly one that amounts to much more than the perennial grousing of adults about kids these days. The notion of studying how things go to hell is almost exactly as old as the modern practice of historiography.” Laura Miller casts a gimlet eye on declinism from Gibbon to Spengler to Vargas Llosa – and points out the one way in which “culture” may indeed be dead (for now).

A Museum Of Death (Two Of Them, Actually)

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“Imagine cases of letters from Jeffrey Dahmer, funerary garments that clothe a corpse for casket viewing, ornate Tibetan kapala skulls, crime scene photographs, an autopsy video, and oddball items like underwear Aileen Wuornos wore on death row.” (Not to mention Dr. Kevorkian’s Thanatron.)

Combat Gender And Racial Bias In Publishing By Reorganizing The Bookstop

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“Since reading McDougall’s article, I have changed the way I approach my job, as have several of my colleagues at Foyles. I am reading more books in translation, more books by writers from different racial or cultural backgrounds to my own and vastly more books by women. As a result I have included more books in these categories as my staff picks, not to achieve quotas, but because they are bloody good books.”