Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, said in a letter in which he told the company about firing Jonathan Friedland, “I realize that my privilege has made me intellectualize or otherwise minimize race issues like this. I need to set a better example by learning and listening more so I can be the leader we need.”
Culture Track: Canada imports a long-standing U.S. survey of cultural consumption to this country and reveals some surprising results. Allophones – that is Canadians for whom neither English nor French is a first language – are more culturally engaged than anglophones or francophones. Millennials, defined as Canadians age 20 to 35, are more eager participants than other age groups but, like older people, can be skeptical about using digital technology to get their fix.
“With more funders looking for metrics — and effective altruists asking ‘how many lives does the opera save?’ — how can arts nonprofits best make their case, especially right now, with so many urgent causes vying for donors’ attention?” Mike Scutari looks at a couple of organizations who have answers to that question.
“Tuesday, the foundation announced it will invest $500,000 in Knight New Work Miami, an open call for ‘ground-breaking, innovative works of dance, theater and music.’ Choreographers, playwrights and composers based in Miami and those with with strong Miami connections are eligible to apply. The caveat: The works must premiere in Miami.”
Festivals are an ideal setting for experiential marketing campaigns as brands try to blend in seamlessly with the mood-altering atmosphere of a communal celebration. “The trend is no longer just marketing,” said Joe Lucchese, founder and owner of Pro-Ject, a 5-year-old, Chicago-based experiential marketing agency that manages sponsorships for Spring Awakening. “Their goal is to sell as much product, in a thoughtful and unique way, as possible at each festival.”
As New York enters the third decade of the twenty-first century, it is in imminent danger of becoming something it has never been before: unremarkable. It is approaching a state where it is no longer a significant cultural entity but the world’s largest gated community, with a few cupcake shops here and there. For the first time in its history, New York is, well, boring.
“[The city has] endure[d] crisis and chaos and economic collapse, and yet emerge[d] from the wreckage as one of the continent’s most vibrant and significant cultural capitals, more popular than ever as a tourist destination. (Last year Athens welcomed a record 5 million visitors, double the 2012 figure.) … In so many ways, Athens feels more alive, more culturally prolific, than ever, and it’s hard to understand how this could have happened in the midst of the worst economic catastrophe in the history of the European Union.”
He’s concerned, Ken Jennings is, about how something he loves — comedy — has transformed the way we live now. These days, he says, we collectively react to every stimulus through a lens of humor. In his view, the comedic “take” has become reflexive, unthinking and often, especially when abetted by social media, glib.
It will be used by Arts Council England (ACE) to guide investment via is Creative People and Places programme, which supports arts activity in areas with historically low levels of cultural engagement. ACE Chair Sir Nicholas Serota today announced £37m will be invested in a new round of the scheme between 2018-2022. Of this, £24m will be invested in projects in new areas for the first time since 2014.
Justification is always a mug’s game, for it involves a surrender to some measure or criterion external to the humanities. The person or persons who ask us as academic humanists to justify what we do is asking us to justify what we do in his terms, not ours. Once we pick up that challenge, we have lost the game, because we are playing on the other guy’s court, where all the advantage and all of the relevant arguments and standards of evidence are his. The justification of the humanities is not only an impossible task but an unworthy one, because to engage in it is to acknowledge, if only implicitly, that the humanities cannot stand on their own and do not on their own have an independent value.
“Medicine is often about hierarchy, where a first-year [resident] might feel intimidated by a second- or third-year resident, and attending physicians might not talk on a personal level to interns or residents. Suddenly, when you’re side by side, appreciating someone’s art skills, you’re appreciating a different dimension of them.”
Has the corporation turned into Dementors? Or something: “‘They are acting like the Dursleys,’ said [Sarah McIntyre,] a 34-year-old yoga teacher and bookkeeper. She said the company should be encouraging communities to bring Harry Potter to life. ‘Creating interest in the franchise would increase revenue.'”
Ian Pai “was closely associated with members of Blue Man Group in its early days. He said that he helped compose many of the show’s wordless songs and came to view the original members as friends, joining them on vacations and attending one of their weddings.” But he figured out in 2014 that he wasn’t being paid industry standard for royalties – and he sued.
All of the strategizing and positioning that goes on behind the scenes to create an authentic image makes many companies come off as, well, inauthentic. Working hard to find a niche or an angle that makes a specific company appear both appealing and honest simply makes the company look like it’s trying too hard — and that’s a big turnoff for consumers. In fact, a lack of authenticity has been deemed the “fastest way to kill your brand.”
Alberto Ibarguen: “Over the course of three years — from 2009 to ’11 — Knight and Gallup spoke with 43,000 people in 26 communities around the country. Our question was simple: What attaches people to the place where they live? The study was called “Soul of the Community” and we found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, social offerings and aesthetics bind people to place and to each other even more than what we had expected: education or jobs.”
Louis Menand: “‘Privacy’ is an odd name for the good that is being threatened by commercial exploitation and state surveillance. Privacy implies ‘It’s nobody’s business,’ and that is not really what Roe v. Wade is about, or what the E.U. regulations are about … The real issue is … liberty. This means the freedom to choose what to do with your body, or who can see your personal information, or who can monitor your movements and record your calls — who gets to surveil your life and on what grounds.”
“The Daniel Island Performing Arts Center … was to be a multipurpose new venue that featured a 400-seat proscenium theater, with balconies and an orchestra pit, available to various local and touring theater companies, plus dance programming, classes and more.” In early June, the board abruptly decided to end the project; said one director, “After a year of the board studying the launch of full campaign, it became evident that the building couldn’t be built on donations alone.”
Arts Everywhere, which kicked off its second year in April, has drawn the ire of students with public programs and artworks (including painted pianos) spread across campus. Students believe the campus-wide arts celebration disregards the seriousness of research by artists and art historians on campus, obscures systemic bias in Art Department hiring and retention practices, and ignores the pressing need to fix Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations in campus art facilities.
The appointment marks the first time in the NAC history that they have promoted as president and CEO from within, and the move is telling. Starting as a Tour Manager in 1987, Christopher Deacon worked his way up through the National Arts Centre Orchestra, eventually becoming Orchestra Manager in 1989, then becoming Managing Director in 1996.
Maura Hogan, in a Spoleto Festival USA post-mortem: “Perhaps some among us view our annual arts dive as simply transactional. The customer is always right, so we can bolt from or belittle performances as we see fit. I would argue that we are missing the point. Ditching a performance mid-show is at best disruptive, and potentially far more insidious. … What’s more, if you truly have pride in place regarding our singular city, I can promise you that the provincial attitudes regarding its relationship with world-class performance telegraph that if you scratch the surface — if you go beyond the high-end Boho apparel and performance belt-notching — the walk-outs and sneers render us collectively a bunch of yahoos.”
“Research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies has found that … people who study degrees in the creative arts – subjects such as drama, dance, music and design – were found to make about £20,000 annually five years after graduation. This is 15% lower than the average and 35 percentage points below those who studied the highest earning degrees.”
Both the utilitarian and the intrinsic arguments ignore the growing evidence that logic arguments, of which both utilitarian and intrinsic – though a little less for the intrinsic camp – use, aren’t the kinds of arguments that are the most persuasive. Emotional appeals work best, in part, because the content of the argument is often secondary to the emotion it elicits, and often that depends on how the argument is delivered. Click here for some quotes on why emotion works better than logic in certain kinds of arguments.
Since 2009, Legacy funding has provided more than $440 million to historical, artistic and cultural projects and events, with about $200 million going specifically to artists and arts organizations across the state. In 2009, before that funding began, Minnesota ranked ninth in the nation for per capita public funding for the arts. Today, it ranks first. The state spends about $6 per person on the arts, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, pulling well ahead of states such as Hawaii and New York.
“A new paper takes a deep dive into the connection between culture and economic development in New York and London. The paper … looks at the ways in which culture and cultural capital interact with economic factors (such as changes in median income and house prices) to shape urban economic development. And because urban economic development and culture are increasingly seen to be associated with rising gentrification and deepening inequality, it also looks at the effects of cultural capital on housing prices and housing affordability in these cities.”
“Less formal than restaurants but with more full meals than a café, these bistros are indeed a classic component of the archetypal Parisian scene. … Now, bistro defenders say, this institution is under threat, pressed under the boot of high rents and changing social habits. It’s easy to understand the concern, but will acknowledging bistros’ special place in Parisian culture actually do much to save them when the culture itself is changing?” Feargus O’Sullivan explains the changes and how they’re affecting the bistros of Paris.
Whatever it recommends, the government will probably wind up horse-trading production and promotion commitments in exchange for no direct regulation: think the Netflix deal Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly announced last fall but (here’s hoping!) more detailed and more enforceable. Cunningly