ARTS WATCH UPDATE
*This section of Arts Watch updates readers on specific news items that have appeared in recent editions.
Kentucky: Court Orders Orchestra to Pay Musicians
The Courier-Journal, 1/3/11
"The Louisville Orchestra paid its musicians a partial salary [December 31], after a federal bankruptcy court ruled that the orchestra must abide by its contract with the musicians union. Orchestra CEO Robert Birman wouldn't specify what percentage of the musicians' salary was paid. Kim Tichenor, the chairwoman of the players' negotiating committee, could not be reached for comment. Birman also said that it is not yet clear whether the orchestra will be able to perform concerts scheduled for this week and next week, given that it also must be able to cover the costs of hall rental, music rental, and guest artists."
Minnesota: Lawmakers May Reassess Sales Tax Fund Distribution
Minnesota Public Radio, 12/30/10
"One of the big developments for Minnesota arts [in 2010] was the availability of Legacy Amendment funding. Voters approved a sales tax for arts and environmental projects in 2008, and the money actually started flowing in 2010. It provided millions for the arts, and was a welcome development during the economic downturn. However not everyone is happy, and the Legacy Fund distribution process is up for review in the 2011 Legislature. The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund gets nearly 20 percent of the proceeds from the 3/8ths of one percent sales tax approved by the amendment, which amounted to just over $43 million [in 2010]."
New York: Broadway Breaks Box Office Records
The Wall Street Journal, 1/4/11
"Broadway enjoyed what was likely the highest-grossing week in its history this holiday season, with at least three shows—Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and The Lion King—reporting the highest one-week dollar figures in their respective runs on the Great White Way. For the wee
k ending January 2, the industry's total gross—$34.99 million—was up 24 percent from the same week last season. The one-week figure is almost certainly the largest in history, though the Broadway League, which compiles the data each week, declined to call it the highest because of a 2009 change in its methodology."
Book Publisher to Release 'Huck Finn' Without Offensive Language
Publishers Weekly, 1/3/11
"Rather than see Twain's most important work succumb to that fate, Twain scholar Alan Gribben and NewSouth Books plan to release a version of Huckleberry Finn, in a single volume with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, that does away with the 'n' word (as well as the word, 'Injun') by replacing it with the word 'slave.' 'This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind,' said Gribben, speaking from his office at Auburn University at Montgomery, where he's spent most of the past 20 years heading the English department. 'Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century'…Including the table of contents, the slur appears 219 times in Finn."
El Sistema USA Seeks New Home
The Boston Globe, 1/3/11
"When it launched in 2009, El Sistema USA was hailed as a major coup for New England Conservatory, a chance for the school to become the national leader in spreading the revolutionary Venezuelan music education program that has changed the lives of children around the world. Just more than a year later, El Sistema USA is looking for a new home. NEC says that it will honor its commitment to El Sistema USA’s central program—the training of 50 graduate students through the 2013–2014 academic year—but cannot support the program’s plan to expand at a cost of $125,000–$400,000 a year."
Pennsylvania: Band Booster Starts Recycling Program for the Cause
The Daily Review, 1/3/11
"Various townships in Bradford County have sites where residents can drop off their recyclables once per month. Recently, Athens resident Lisa Walsh started a monthly drop-off site in Athens Township for recyclables, such as newspapers, magazines, junk mail, and cans, but hers is to raise money for the music departments at Athens Area High School and Rowe Junior High in Athens…Walsh said she started the collection of recyclables after seeing how the Athens High School Band, which her four children participated in between 1997–2010, was affected by the school district's budget cuts…'It takes this kind of effort' these days to raise the money needed to send the band on trips, she said. 'You can't just ask the school board, because they don't have the money.'"
Massachusetts: Creativity Index May Lead to Changes in Education, Business
San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/1/11
"If we are enter
ing an age when creativity and innovation are the hallmarks of the most successful companies, why then are we not doing more to find out what makes people creative? One state is clearly taking the lead: Massachusetts…Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick called last summer for the formation of a creativity index to measure creativity in public schools statewide…But clearly more needs to be done, and the Massachusetts legislation is an important first step for that state and the rest of our nation…The timetable for producing the index is not clear. A staff would need to be put in place first, but a first report is called for by the end of 2011. Their task would not be easy. Defining creativity and measuring it has been the work of scholars for decades."
Nebraska: Theaters Receive Community Development Funds
McCook Daily Gazette, 1/4/11
"Gov. Dave Heineman announced that [the cities of] McCook and Ord will receive $360,550 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for two theater projects. The City of McCook and the Alliance for the Encouragement of the Visual and Performing Arts will use a $254,300 CDBG award to remove material and architectural barriers within the historic Fox Theatre in downtown McCook…The City of Ord will use a $106,250 CDBG award to rehabilitate and convert the existing historic Valley Cinema into a theater that also accommodates theatrical and cultural presentations, plays, music events, comedy shows, speakers, charity auctions, and other events."
Mississippi: State Arts Commission Faces Cuts
The Hattiesburg American, 1/3/11
"It may seem like an odd reaction, but Mississippi Arts Commission Director Malcolm White said that he's grateful to Gov. Haley Barbour for his Fiscal Year 2012 budget recommendations that would severely hurt the agency's funding. 'We're just happy to be part of the discussion,' he said. 'It gives us a chance to talk about what we do.' In November, Barbour proposed a 20 percent in state funding to the Mississippi Arts Commission, one of the largest cuts percentage-wise recommended to state agencies…More realistic, White said, is the Legislative Budget Office's recommended 3.9 percent funding decrease to the arts commission."
Washington: Governor Proposes Elimination of State Arts, Tourism Agencies
The Wenatchie World, 12/29/10
"State support for arts and tourism would virtually disappear in North Central Washington (NCW) if budget cuts proposed December 15 by Gov. Chris Gregoire take root. More than $100,000 in local arts grants and participation in national and international tourism campaigns could be gone July 1 if both the State Arts Commission and State Tourism Office are eliminated as part of $4.6 billion in cuts statewide. Axing arts and tourism from the state budget would save about $6.5 million over the next two years, but the actual impact on small communities in rural NCW would be harder to measure."
New Jersey: County Cultural Office Awards $82,000 in Local Grants
"The Atlantic County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs has awarded $82,362 in grants to support art and history programs throughout the county. Numerous local nonprofit organizations will benefit from $74,104 in funding from the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. 'These grants could not come at a better time to help enrich the lives of our residents and help arts and history to continue to thrive throughout Atlantic County,' said County Executive Dennis Levinson. Organizations receiving general operating support funding include the Hammonton Art Center, the Atlantic City Ballet, Somers Point Jazz Society, and the South Jersey Area Wind Ensemble."
North Carolina: New Artist Resource Center Launched in Asheville
Mountain Xpress, 1/3/11
"Arts 2 People, an Asheville-based nonprofit devoted to promoting the role of the arts as an integral part of our culture, announces the institution of an Artist Resource Center (ARC). The ARC will provide programmatic assistance to art-centric entrepreneurs invested in diversifying their business management skills and enhance their ability to benefit from the current revitalization and economic development in downtown Asheville. The Artist Resource Center will teach artists the business skills necessary to make their creative endeavors economically viable and sustainable. Essentially a career center where artist entrepreneurs can hone business management and other practical skills, the ARC will feature workshops and classes specifically geared toward fostering the growth of local creative professionals."
Florida: Despite Economy, Artists Ban Together to Open Co-Op
St. Petersburg Times, 1/1/11
"Really, who in their right mind would open an art gallery in this sluggish economy in, of all places, Hudson, FL? Those not looking for it are likely to pass by the Art Asylum without even noticing the little shop wedged between an insurance agency and a title company on the west side of U.S. 19 just north of State Road 52. But this is a starting place for four local artists who decided the time was right to pool their talents and their resources. A couple of months after checking out commercial rentals and finding the right spot at the right price, they're keeping busy, churning out work, and filling the walls and shelves with a modest offering of paintings and drawings, jewelry, baskets, pottery, and ceramics…A little cramped, perhaps, but right now it's a dream come true."
New York: Foundation Provides $100,000 Grant to New Arts Center
The Telegram, 1/4/11
"The Old Forge Arts Center has received a grant of $100,000 from The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties…'The foundation is truly honored to be a partner with the good people behind this important community treasure,' said Community Foundation President Peggy O’Shea. The grant will support the hiring of performing arts and special events managers and will facilitate the development of those areas for the new center. Individuals, businesses, and organizations will be welcome to use the new arts center for conferences and special events…The new Old Forge Arts Center is scheduled for official dedication and a gala opening on July 8, 9, and 10, 2011."
On a snowy evening last December, more than 200 people gathered at the Wallraff Richartz Museum in Cologne, Germany for a discussion titled “The Role of Culture in Transatlantic Relations—Views from Both Sides of the Atlantic.”
Nearly seven years in the making, the panel was organized by the German Commission for UNESCO and AmerikaHaus NRW, Cologne. The goal was to learn about the U.S. administration’s objectives for its participation in UNESCO after a 19-year absence, and to start a dialogue on what the prospects might be to increase international cooperation.
I was privileged to serve as one of the panelists, along with Ambassador David Killion, permanent representative to UNESCO from the United States, and Tanja Dorn, vice president and artist manager with IMG Artists, who recently returned to her native Germany from New York City.
Tanja and I swapped stories about life in the “Big Apple”—though nothing compared with her tales of dealing with U.S. Visa issues. She passionately hammered home the chilling effects the costs have, especially on younger artists entering the United States.
This issue has long been one of the legislative positions on the agenda of national Arts Advocacy Day. What was new for me was hearing the issue raised nearly 3,800 miles away…
To read the rest of Marete's blog post, comment, and to browse other entries, visit Americans for the Arts' ARTSblog.
Free Arts Education Webinar for Americans for the Arts Members
On January 11, join our Education Reform in the New Congress: What Could It Mean for Arts Education webinar to view a presentation by Americans for the Arts Director of Federal Affairs Narric Rome as he demystifies the issues and impact of federal K–12 arts education policy, identifies the federal movers and shakers in education reform for 2011, and speculates what federal action could mean for arts education at the state and district levels. This webinar is free for members of Americans for the Arts. If you are not a member, but would like to view this presentation, visit our Membership page for more information in joining our organization.
The Big Read Seeks Applicants for 2011–2012
The Big Read is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations seeking funding to conduct month-long, communitywide reads between September 2011–June 2012. The national program is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture. Organizations selected to participate in The Big Read will receive a grant ranging from $2,500–$20,000, access to online training resources, educational and promotional materials, inclusion of your organization and activities on The Big Read website, and the prestige of participating in a highly visible national program. Approximately 75 organizations from across the country will be selected by a panel of experts. To review the guidelines and application Instructions visit The Big Read website. Questions? Call Arts Midwest at 612.238.8010 or e-mail TheBigRead@artsmidwest.org.
An Arts Watch Partnership
For an analysis and further discussion regarding the issues raised recent editions of Arts Watch, visit The Clyde Fitch Report's Arts Advocacy Update. The Clyde Fitch Report (CFR) is a website exploring the nexus of arts and politics—including news and features, interviews, guest columns, bipartisan opinions, and public comments. You can also visit website by clicking on the CFR button on the left side of the page.