Merce Cunningham, the renown and prolific dancer, has died. He died in his sleep last night. He was 90.
“The only way to do it is to do it.” - Merce Cunningham
Tomorrow my eight-year old daughter will play Gretel in her summer camp production of “Fairy Tale Courtroom.” She took an entire backpack of potential costume choices with her on the bus this morning. She figured out, additionally, that the bandana she was taking for her costume could serve double duty to keep her hair out of her face during her photography elective, in which she is—honest to God—using chemicals in a darkroom and developing actual black and white photographs.
Jon Hawkes, the writer, thinker, artist, and agitator from Melbourne, Australia attended the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention as the economic development innovator. Although he protested the categorization, I asked him to come under that mantle based on his great book of a few years ago called The Four Pillars of Sustainability, in which, trying to influence urban planners, he makes the case that cultural development is as important in a healthy community as social, economic and environmental factors.
How are these two paragraphs tied together? As part of Jon’s path, he discovered that part of supporting a vibrant culture in any community is ensuring the ability for people to make art. To participate. That participation is not attending a concert or a museum, but making art. After writing the book, he spent ten years at the helm of a group called Community Music Victoria, an outfit dedicated to creating simple structures to bring people together to sing. Jon’s leap from the conceptual to creating ways to support people making art was an inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »
Take a listen to an adapted version of Lex Leifheit’s recent speech from the Newcomers’ Orientation at the 2009 Seattle Convention. She gives networking tips that relate to emerging, mid-level, and seasoned leaders.
In the run up to the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama’s messages of “hope” and “change” inspired millions. Among those inspired were a number of artists who created lasting images and artwork that translated his message and, in turn, inspired the movement that led to his victory. Shepard Fairey, most notable for his “HOPE” portrait of Barack Obama, has released ART FOR OBAMA, a book comprised of 150 images from the campaign. Profits from the book will be donated to Americans for the Arts. To read more about the book and Shepard Fairey, click here.
Share with us how you were inspired by the Obama campaign and its associated art to either get behind the campaign or create something yourself.
Chorus America, the nation’s chorus association, has released research that details how chorus participation is good for kids, adults and communities. I’ll let you click through to see the details, but here a brief list of the benefits that their research asserts.
And did you know…?
And fueling our community’s (perhaps misguided?) discussion about intrinsic versus instrumental… Read the rest of this entry »
A recent article in the New York Times spoke about artists who were able to spend their time on creating art that they enjoyed rather than art that sold (Tight Times Loosen Creativity, 5/20/2009). A singer who didn’t have to perform the songs that others wanted to hear at their weddings, a painter who didn’t have to paint what was commissioned, a composer who had more time to be inspired, “It’s not paying the bills the way it did in the past, but there is more joy in it.”
It seems that the artists were suffering from a little bit of “mission creep” (to borrow a phrase from the non-profit sector). Yes, times are tougher – it is always better to earn a living and pay the rent. But, it seems that a few people are taking it as an opportunity to get back to what they enjoyed and what inspired them. Read the rest of this entry »
The White House has included a number of arts-related events on the recent calendar. Yesterday First Lady Michelle Obama attended two events in New York City, a ribbon cutting at the new Metropolitan Museum of Art American Wing and the opening of the American Ballet Theater season. At the MET event she included Americans for the Arts research in her remarks, “Our future as an innovative country depends on ensuring that everyone has access to the arts and to cultural opportunity. Nearly 6 million people make their living in the non-profit arts industry, and arts and cultural activities contribute more than $160 billion to our economy every year. And trust me, I tried to do my part to add to that number.” (Read more about the economic impact of the arts here).
Last week, about 60 arts advocates and social justice activists received a briefing by White House staff on the National Endowment for the Arts, the upcoming “Summer of Service” initiative and other arts-related activities. Coordinated by the Office of Public Engagement, representatives from the First Lady’s office and the Social Secretary’s office also spoke to the attendees at the two hour event. Further details were shared in a Washington Post article.
To add to that, last week the White House also held its first ever poetry slam, attended by President and Mrs. Obama. Read more about this event in the Washington Post.
With the seeming increase in arts activity around the Obama administration, what do you think of President Obama’s arts policy so far? What other events would you like to see the White House get involved in?
I am pleased to introduce myself as a guest blogger for Americans for the Arts. I’m Merryl Goldberg, and I am a professor of Visual and Performing Arts at California State University San Marcos (near San Diego). I run a Center dedicated to restoring arts back to education, Center ARTES, which in cooperation with the San Diego County Office of Education, is the recipient of a current Department of Education Arts in Education grant for DREAM (Developing Reading Education through Arts Methods). I’m a professional musician having been on the road for 13 years with the Klezmer Conservatory band and still perform regularly. My performance focus these days is on contemporary music, a little bit of klezmer and folk music.
I’ll be focusing on arts education in my blogs, and emphasizing my belief that it’s time to change our conversations about education as a whole. I’ll be introducing a top ten list of challenges including reinvigorating the discussion of education with the notions of wonder, complexity, passion, risk, desire, application, confidence, and democracy, all of which I believe at the core of good art-making. Read the rest of this entry »
I found this article this week while compiling my Arts Education Weekly News email. Each Monday I slog through hundreds of Google News alerts, electronic newsletters, new research and other data. I’m lucky to have a job where knowing who is doing what when and how is part of the responsibility.
Art Education: It may take years to realize its value (by Louis Hoglund from Perham Enterprise Bulletin)
Our art room teacher wasn’t far from retirement. Lord knows, she deserved a permanent break from us–7th and 8th graders, especially us boys.
Despite our every effort to make her life miserable, Miss Rollefson continued to teach with an almost defiant passion.
For the first half of our eighth grade year, Miss Rollefson taught what was sort of an “art literature lite” class. We were taught a very general art history timeline, that progressed roughly from DiVinci’s “Mona Lisa” to Rembrandt to the French impressionists to Picasso.
She taught with all her heart, even as the inane, smart alec boys were snickering at the masterpieces portraying partially nude women.
Read the rest of the editorial here.
Personally speaking, since beginning my work with Americans for the Arts in 2003 as a then-project-associate-now-project-manager for Animating Democracy, I have maintained that the internet, for all its power and glory, is largely an untapped resource for non-profit organizations. It cannot be denied that organizations everywhere have stepped up to host websites, start blogs, launch listservs and more (in fact, having recently signed on to Twitter myself, I’ve been thrilled to see that the names of some of my colleagues have their own accounts they post to on behalf of their organizations). Still, there is endless untapped potential for engaging communities and getting the message out. So, when a colleague passed on the Museums and the Web 2009 “Best of the Web” awards, I was tickled pink. The awarded sites represent organizations trying new and different programs and partnerships which explore the (known) boundaries of the web, and offer great perspective for anyone looking to ‘boldly go where no site has gone before’.
First, a bit of background, Museums and the Web 2009 “Best of the Web” Awards are hosted by Archives and Museum Informatics, a Canada-based partnership of David Bearman and Jennifer Trant, “respected researchers and theorists in museum informatics specifically, and cultural informatics more broadly”. In addition to the “Best of the Web” awards, Archives and Museum Informatics hosts conferences, consulting, publishing, and training for cultural heritage professionals. The 2009 awards were recently presented at their conference in Indianapolis, April 15-18, and they are designed to ‘recognize achievement in heritage website design’, and selected by a distinguished committee of museum professionals. Read the rest of this entry »
I recently received my latest issue of US News & World Report. The focus of the May issue is “Jobs for the Future” and in the article “Choosing the Career Path Less Traveled: Many jobs look great on the big screen. Here are some that pay off in real life” one of the top “Overrated Careers” is “nonprofit manager”. Ouch.
Here’s what it says:
Many people want a career in which they can “make a difference.” For many, that means a career helping manage a nonprofit organization that works, for example, on environmental issues, children’s rights, or antipoverty campaigns. But many of your supervisees end up being volunteers, who, on average, tend to be less competent and reliable than paid employees. Also, much of the job often involves fundraising, which many people dislike. Plus, you’re usually expected to be so dedicated to the cause that you’re willing to work long hours for little pay. Despite all that, nonprofit management jobs that pay a good salary are difficult to find, especially now in our low economy – people donate less in tough times.
Other careers listed include: architect, professor, farmer, and police officer. For the complete list, click here. A slight irony – fundraiser was listed as one of the 30 best careers for 2009! Read the rest of this entry »
Dear Keep the Arts In Public Schools members,
I’m asking those of you who can to assist me in the following way:
Thank you for leaving your comments below. Your passion is appreciated.
On March 31, 2009, Arts Advocacy Day, Americans for the Arts gathered a panel of acclaimed artists and experts to call on Congress for continuing and additional support and funding for the arts and arts education in America. This hearing, entitled “The Arts = Jobs,” focused on congressional support of strong public policies for the arts, appropriating increased public funding for the arts and supporting arts workers. Josh Groban and Wynton Marsalis were among the artists who testified before a Congressional Committee to champion the benefits of arts and arts education.
Josh Groban – GRAMMY ® nominated singer-songwriter
Wynton Marsalis, World-renowned trumpeter,
composer and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center
Play Your Part!
Add your voice to the growing list of arts advocates across the country by joining the Arts Action Fund.
I’ve heard that your average museum patron looks at each painting for less than 2 seconds, a fact I cannot verify but which has held up anectdotally in nearly every gallery I’ve frequented…until recently. I found the Arts Experience Initiative.
The research brief is actually quite entertaining as it weaves through history, painting a picture of engaged patrons that looks more like a sports bar than an arts event: “People came to the…gallery, and they talked to each other–before the show began, while the show was on and after the show ended. This was because the function of interpretation was understood as a cultural duty and a cultural right.” Every person on a Pittsburgh City bus feels entitled to an opinion about the Steelers; when did the everyman lose interpretive authority w/ art?
As with all things theoretical, this whole idea didn’t sink in until I found myself smack in the middle of a practical application: an exhibit of egg pictures, to be precise. For six weeks, I slipped down to a Southside gallery every Saturday morning for two hours w/ 8 other people, charged with the task of writing fiction in response the photographs. The idea was, if you’re comfortable in one artistic genre (writing), then you’ll feel authorized to interpret another (photography) using the first. Read the rest of this entry »
An ode to an avoidable (but oddly frequent) future for many arts organizations…
You and your friends are going to start an arts organization.
You will probably do it in response to something, like that crappy big arts organization down the street. Their works sucks. Yours will be so much better.
Together you will form a company. You’ll put together a mission statement. It will include words like “enlighten, challenge and inspire.” The mission statement is a lie. The real mission statement of the company is: To showcase us.
This is your fatal flaw. It will be the thing that causes much pain later if you don’t realize this.
You’ll start to produce art. This will be an incredibly good experience. All the positive emotion will lead to some strange reactions within the group.
Company members will begin to date, sleep together and even make marriage plans with eachother.
This will be highly relevant later on. Read the rest of this entry »
|ARTSblog holds week-long Blog Salons, a series of posts by guest bloggers, that focus on an overarching theme within a core area of Americans for the Arts' work. Here are links to the most recent Salons:
Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.