Yesterday I attended the “City as a Stage: Placemaking for the Performing Arts” convening presented by the Music Center/Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County. This was the second gathering in a series of three using arts and culture as a lens for re-imagining cities. A cross-disciplinary group of civic, economic, health and philanthropic leaders gather to craft a new interpretation of urban vitality for the next decade.
Two wonderful examples of the “city as stage” were given: Barnaby Evans’ Waterfire, a series of 100 bonfires that burn on the surface of three rivers in downtown Providence and are accompanied by live music and performance on a biweekly basis from April through October. On the other coast, the Los Angeles County Music Center’s Active Arts Program takes a “do-it-yourself” approach with dance, instrumental and vocal music, and storytelling programs on the plaza where participants actively engage in these art forms. Both projects move the arts out of the four walls and stages of performing arts centers and more importantly reclaim public space—in these two cases, the streets of downtown Providence and the plaza of the Los Angeles County Music Center and democratize participation in the arts. Read the rest of this entry »