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July 20, 2007

Art in the American Outback: News Roundup

Bridgette Redman

THE MIDWEST

Celebrating Art and Ingenuity

Like many industrial cities in the Heartland, Cleveland wants art to remake its image. The words "arts", "culture" and "technology" could surpass "the Browns,'' "industrial wasteland,'' "burning river'' and "LeBron,'' if the creators and staff of the Ingenuity Festival have their way, that trio of nouns will easily roll off the tongues of locals and visitors."

The festival spent its first two years establishing its concept of presenting a mix of traditional artistic disciplines, such as visual arts, music and various dance forms, with performances in which tradition, innovation and technology intersect.

James Levin, co-founder and executive director of the festival, said organizers attempted to make 2007's event the most diverse yet. However, he said, he believes that there is still a public misconception about the purpose and contents of the Ingenuity Festival that he hopes to lay to rest this year.

"I think for people who have never been to an Ingenuity Fest before, I'm trying to make it more clear that it is really dense with performance,'' he said. "If (people) want to forget about the technology, it's a huge block party, a four-day block party in downtown Cleveland."

(Thanks to Malcolm X Abram of the Akron Beacon Journal)

New York Can't Dim the Magic of Flint Theatre

As the Flint Youth Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary, professional alumni sing its praises, some going so far as to say that there is nothing in New York that compares to the sense of community provided to young people by the Flint theater..

When New York opera/cabaret singer Suzanne Carrico reminisces about her early experiences at Flint Youth Theatre, you can hear the sense of awe in her voice and imagine the stars in her eyes.

Performing in FYT's production of "The Masque of Beauty and the Beast" as a teenager was "like being in a fairy tale," she said.

"FYT was about community awareness," she said. "Here, it's more of a show-business attitude, making kids into stars. I wish there was something that held up to (FYT's) standards here."

(Thanks to Carol Azizian of The Flint Journal)

THE NORTHEAST

Betting on the arts to revitalize the city

"Lori Bradley recognizes the impact the creative economy is making in New Bedford. As a ceramics/mixed-media artist and as part owner of a six-artist cooperative gallery downtown...Bradley is also part of the creative economy that has spurred mill renovations, mixed-use developments and a host of new businesses to emerge in New Bedford."

(Thanks to Natalie Myers of the Providence Business News [Rhode Island])

Somerville schools singing to the tune of $100K

"A shipment of shiny brass horns and everything needed to make a string quartet many times over is expected to reach the Somerville public schools before the end of the summer... [T]he city plans to buy $100,000 worth of new instruments to be played by elementary school students citywide. The hefty investment in the music programs follows years of cutbacks to arts and music programs nationwide."

(Thanks to Andrea Gregory of The Somerville News [Mass.])

Exquisite corpses: The year's most controversial art show--for the artists who made it

"When local mixed-media artists Martha Miller and Alex Rheault hatched an idea six months ago to collaborate with multiple artists in a serious game of Exquisite Corpse-meets-chain letters, they had no idea the effort would lead to the overwhelming amount of material displayed at "Metamorphosis: A Journey of Dolls"... They also didn't know that personal beliefs and interpersonal dynamics would produce both deep conflict and intense conversation as the project progressed."

(Thanks to Ian Paige of The Phoenix [Portland, Maine])

Posted by Bridgette Redman at July 20, 2007 6:00 AM