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February 21, 2007

Arts News from the Outback

John Stoehr

Utilizing an already artful community
The University of Kentucky is using its outreach infrastructure to create centers throughout the state that focus on the arts. It's the first program of its kind in the U.S. The reasoning behind the initiative, headed by Stephanie Richards, who receives Governor's Award in the Arts today, is the that arts are good for the economy and good for a community's quality of life. Moreover, the program aims to identify and bring forth artistic endeavors already happening in communities. "Art, for generations, has been in the mechanics of the culture and day-to-day life, so the quilting was just part of the mechanics to survive when they needed heat," Richards says. "They didn't consider it art. Painting, oral historians and storytellers. ... When we first started doing our story gatherings, people said to be careful because people will be afraid to tell their stories.
(Thanks to Rich Copley, culture writer for the Lexington Herald-Leader)

Gordon Wright (1934-2007), maestro, antiquarian and mountainman, took classical music to corners of the earth
"The body of Gordon Wright was found by friends Wednesday night on the front porch of his cabin in Rainbow Valley near Indian south of Anchorage. The longtime conductor of the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra appeared to have died from natural causes, state troopers said. He was 72. Wright lived alone in a one-room cabin off the power grid that was inaccessible by road. Friends, including this writer, brought the body out to the community parking area by sled, a quirky and utterly Alaska exit for a quirky Alaska character, a musician and a wit who, friends say, would surely have smiled at the antics and affection that accompanied his grand finale."
(Thanks to Mike Dunham, arts editor of the Anchorage Daily News)

Can public art really reflect a city's identity?
"One danger in pursuing public art that authentically reflects who we are, even assuming we can figure that out, is that it can easily become a public art by which we inauthentically imitate ourselves -- or a stereotype of ourselves."
(Thanks to Mike Greenburg, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News)

Composers live outside New York?
"Composer-critic Virgil Thomson once wrote that to be an 'American composer,' one simply had to be an American and write any kind of music you like. By that standard, at least, Atlanta is a hotbed of contemporary classical sounds. While there's no reliable estimate of how many composers operate in the metro area, at least 120 people have added their names to lists kept by the two most prominent Web sites for local composers. It's a scene that seems perpetually ready to blast off."
(Thanks to Pierre Ruhe, staff writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Posted by John Stoehr at February 21, 2007 1:01 AM

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