Art


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Ali Stroker Talks About Doing Broadway Musicals In A Wheelchair

In the 2015 Deaf West revival of Spring Awakening, Stroker became the first wheelchair-user Broadway actor, and she’s now playing Ado Annie (the girl who can’t say “no”) in the revisionist Daniel Fish staging of Oklahoma!. In a Q&A, she talks about what she sees her job as being (and not being) as a “mainstreamed” disabled performer, how she deals with a given theater’s accessibility issues, and showing the public a wheelchair-using character who’s also a sexual being. – Vulture
Tags: Art, Theatre, Broadway, Annie, Oklahoma, SJ, Ali Stroker, Daniel Fish, 03.19.19


Instead Of Trashing Or Replacing Its Old-Style, Stereotyped Colonists-Meet-Indians Diorama, This Museum Is Interrogating It

The American Museum of Natural History in New York has a 1939 diorama purporting to show a diplomatic meeting between governor Peter Stuyvesant of New Amsterdam (today’s Manhattan) and some Lenape Indians, and — not everything in it is wrong (Stuyvesant really did have a pegleg), but in 2019, you can’t call it accurate. So the Museum decided to make the diorama an exhibit on old stereotypes, with labeling explaining the differences between what’s shown and what’s known of the site’s actual hist...
Tags: Art, New York, Manhattan, American Museum of Natural History, Stuyvesant, Issues, SJ, New Amsterdam, Peter Stuyvesant, 03.20.19, Ana Fota


Keeping Professional Theatre Going For 30 Years In A Far-Flung Pacific Archipelago

Wan Smolbag Theatre in the 70-island nation of Vanuatu is the only professional stage company in the entire South Pacific made up entirely of Pacific Islanders. Three decades after its founding, it’s now the largest locally-based NGO of any kind in Vanuatu: with over 100 employees, Wan Smolbag has expanded into film and into providing social services. – The Stage
Tags: Art, Theatre, South Pacific, NGO, Vanuatu, SJ, 03.20.19, Wan Smolbag


Socially Conscious: New Broadway Oklahoma! Production Will Donate Money For Every Gun It Uses On Stage

For each gun prop used on stage and in decorations, the production will donate money to help destroy illegal guns circulating on the streets.In all, the show will donate $10,000 for the more than 100 gun props used, said “OKLAHOMA!” producer Eva Price. – CNN
Tags: Art, Theatre, SJ, 03.19.19, New Broadway Oklahoma


Developing New And Diverse Theatre Critics In A Town Without A Culture Of Criticism

The English city of Hull has a lively theatre scene for a town its size, but the local newspaper published only two theatre reviews in the whole of 2018, and the national critics rarely make it to Hull. Jamie Potter of the city’s Middle Child Theatre writes about how his company developed and launched a New Critics Programme to recruit and establish at least eight new critics over four years. (And they made a point of seeing that the writers they chose weren’t all, as Potter puts it, “male, pal...
Tags: Art, Theatre, Hull, Potter, SJ, Jamie Potter, 03.19.19, Middle Child Theatre


What Exactly Constitutes ‘Cultural Democracy’? And Should State Arts Funding Be Paying For It?

Nan van Houte: “This is not an attempt to discredit cultural democracy; I am convinced that access to the arts and the stimulus towards personal creativity are basic human rights and needs. This is, instead, an attempt to analyze my growing uneasiness when I read yet another arts fund, council, or ministry in Western Europe is opening a strand for ‘everyday creativity.’ … Why? I am afraid that soon we will no longer have to fear for the instrumentalization of the arts, because the artists thems...
Tags: Art, Issues, Audience, Western Europe, SJ, 03.17.19, Nan van Houte


Leadership At Top US Nonprofit Theatres Is Finally Becoming More Diverse

“Across the country, scores of artistic directors, most of them white men who have served as community tastemakers for years, are leaving their jobs via retirements, ousters, and an industrywide round of musical chairs. As their successors are appointed, a shift is underway: according to a national survey conducted by two Bay Area directors, women have been named to 41 percent of the 85 jobs filled since 2015, and people of color have been named to 26 percent.” – The New York Times
Tags: Art, Theatre, US, Bay Area, SJ, 03.19.19


Indigenous Australian Artists: It’s Time We Stop Being Reviewed By White Culture

“It feels like a moment where we are angry and ready enough to address how white Australian review culture maligns Indigenous work by only superficially engaging with it. It feels like a moment where we are ready to sustain our own review culture. We have centuries of white engagement with Indigenous story as evidence for the need to change; we also have our own critics, who show us what’s possible when whiteness loses its frame of evaluative authority over a work.” – The Guardian
Tags: Art, Issues, SJ, 03.13.19


Nonwhite And Female TV Writers Take An Awful Lot Of Crap In The Workplace: Study

“[They] faced discrimination and harassment from their fellow staff members. They remained in the same lowly jobs as their counterparts were promoted. They watched their pitches get ignored or rejected, only to see the same ideas warmly embraced when another writer pitched them. … Now a new survey, ‘Behind the Scenes: The State of Inclusion and Equity in TV Writers Rooms,’ of nearly 300 women, people of color, members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, and people with disabilities writing for televis...
Tags: Art, Media, SJ, 03.14.19


Working To Diversify The Buncha-White-Guys World Of Improv

“Improv may still skew white, but things are changing. … The following folks are currently working to alter perceptions and expectations about improv. Some are longtime warriors, others are new to the scene. But all point toward a future in which the stage presents a more diverse mix of ages, nationalities, body types, skin tones, gender identities, sexual orientations, and, yes, even political affiliations.” – American Theatre
Tags: Art, Theatre, SJ, 03.13.19


The First Women-Only Club For Arts Workers Is Key For Overcoming Inequality In Industry, Says Founder

Joanna Payne, founder and director of the London club called Marguerite: “In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need all-female spaces of any kind … But [for] all the time that the ‘ideal world’ is still very much just that, I think that we do.” – London Evening Standard
Tags: Art, London, Issues, Marguerite, SJ, 03.10.19, First Women Only Club For Arts Workers, Joanna Payne


Sexing Up Female-Female Relationships For Biopics Isn’t Enough? Now They’re Adding Fake Lesbian Lovers To Movies About Real People

“The latest sapphic storyline to get tongues a-wagging” is Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet as paleontologist Mary Anning and Saoirse Ronan as her entirely fictional lover. Laments Guardian writer (and lesbian) Hannah Jane Parkinson, “It is immensely damaging that LGBTQ relationships are being fetishised for entertainment – and depressing to think that the mass audiences may not be interested in women unless they’re in bed together.” – The Guardian
Tags: Art, Media, Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Hannah Jane Parkinson, SJ, Mary Anning, 03.13.19


What Brings Wounded Cities Back To Life? Culture, Says World Bank Report

“Investing in cultural institutions, spaces, and heritage can help build bridges between sparring communities in post-conflict urban areas and make disaster recovery quick, sustainable, and more effective. The authors argue that major cultural investments early in the reconstruction process will eventually pay off by making the city more attractive to investment and tourism, fueling economic growth.” Exhibit A: Medellín, once the most violent city in the world. – CityLab
Tags: Art, Issues, SJ, 03.12.19


Why The Cis Director Of The Trans-Themed Film ‘Girl’ Says He Has The Right To Tell This Story

Last year, Lukas Dhont’s debut feature won four prizes at Cannes and a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign film; Netflix bought the US rights. Then came the backlash — not only were a cis director and actor appropriating the story, but the film focused too much on the character’s body — and the US release was postponed. And then the woman on whose story the film is based spoke up — for Dhont. – The Guardian
Tags: Art, Media, US, Netflix, Cannes, Golden Globe, SJ, Lukas Dhont, 03.12.19


One Of The Most Famous Prison Museums Addresses The Mass Incarceration Crisis

The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, built in 1829, gets hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. “Talking about the site’s history didn’t seem like enough for Sean Kelley, senior vice president and director of interpretation. Two years ago, … [he] helped rewrite the museum’s mission statement, declaring that Eastern State would no longer be neutral in recognizing mass incarceration as a crisis.” Shannon Eblen has a look at the new exhibits that have gone up in response to that c...
Tags: Art, Philadelphia, Issues, SJ, Eastern State, Sean Kelley, 03.12.19, Shannon Eblen


Framing A Debate On The Purpose Of Museums In Contemporary Culture

In recent years, we have witnessed public calls to decolonize the museum space: the return of objects taken from other cultures, fierce debates about who has the right to tell whose story, exhibitions of alleged #MeToo offenders deferred or canceled, and artworks memorializing nations’ racist pasts taken down and/or recontextualized. Artists and activists, including hundreds of museum staff, have urged organizational leaders to disavow patrons involved in socially irresponsible investments that...
Tags: Art, Visual, SJ, 03.01.19


Louisville Ballet Did A Piece With A Same-Sex Relationship — And Got Even More And Nastier Mail Than They’d Expected

“We knew by promoting a love story between two men we would make some people uncomfortable,” said company officials of Human Abstract, “but we were not prepared for this grotesque display of hate.” (They say that positive response outweighed the negative.) got its author, a research cardiologist, fired from editorship of a science journal. – The Courier-Journal (Louisville)
Tags: Art, Dance, SJ, Louisville Ballet, 03.07.19


Museum Staffers Ask, If You Can Spend Millions On Expansions, Why Are You Underpaying Us?

“The most noteworthy example may be the New Museum, which is in the midst of an $85m expansion. Despite the institution’s progressive founding values, its staff have never been unionised — until now.” But there are others: MoMA (Manhattan and PS1), Vancouver Art Gallery, SFMoMA, etc. Jillian Steinhauer surveys the current lay of the land. – The Art Newspaper
Tags: Art, Visual, New Museum, SJ, MoMa Manhattan, Jillian Steinhauer, 03.08.19, PS1 Vancouver Art Gallery SFMoMA


In Gaza, A Theatre Revives Itself Amidst The Wreckage

ASHTAR Theatre had made its home in a Gaza City cultural center that was destroyed last August in an Israeli airstrike (launched to retaliate for rockets from Gaza fired at Beersheva). Nevertheless, they persist: ASHTAR members have been continuing the theatre’s work, throughout the territory and literally on the ruins of its old home. – American Theatre
Tags: Art, Theatre, Gaza, Gaza City, Beersheva, SJ, 03.11.19, ASHTAR Theatre, ASHTAR


Report: Despite Efforts, London’s Creative Workforce Has Failed To Diversify

Covering the breadth of the creative industries – from design, fashion and crafts to performing arts and TV – it notes there has been a 24% growth in creative jobs in London since 2012, but says 95% of workers still come from advantaged backgrounds. – Arts Professional
Tags: Art, London, Issues, SJ, 03.08.19


New Orleans Mardi Gras Blackface Tradition Under Fire

Modern-day Zulu Club members defend their practice by saying they are honoring the original group who were poking fun at the white actors. And there is a lot to like with this defense if you are a member of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, or a preservationist-hawk for all New Orleans culture. However, if you are neither of those things and you happen to be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, then Zulu blackface may not be for you. But you will be subjected to it anyway, even if it offends you....
Tags: Art, New Orleans, Issues, SJ, Zulu Social Aid Pleasure Club, Zulu Club


London’s National Theatre Created A Community Theatre Experience For 200 People.

“We have heard stories about people finding the confidence to get their first ever job or making new friendships with people from a different generation, area or culture who they didn’t think they’d ever otherwise have met. And even, in one case, suddenly finding their chronic pain causing them much less of an issue. Most common of all, perhaps, was a shared sense – that audience members also spoke about night after night – of feeling more connected to their home and their city than they had ev...
Tags: Art, London, Theatre, Audience, SJ, 03.06.19, National Theatre Created A Community


The Future Of Crowdfunding For Theatre Artists Of Color: An Online Conference

Inspired from a conversation with The Movement Theatre Company after their historic #25kin25days campaign for Aleshea Harris’ What To Send Up When It Goes Down, Advancing Arts Forward teamed up with HowlRound Theatre Commons for a panel on the future crowdfunding in the theatre. The panel included a staff member who works with arts projects at Kickstarter and theatre artists/producers who crowdfund using other platforms such Drip and Patreon. With a panel of theatremakers of color, we also held...
Tags: Art, Uncategorized, SJ, Aleshea Harris, 03.01.19, Movement Theatre Company


New York City’s Hospitals Launch New Arts In Medicine Program

“NYC Health + Hospitals leadership will be expanding its use of the arts in clinical and staff care thanks to a $1.5 million grant. The grant, from philanthropist Laurie M. Tisch via the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, will launch the system’s own Arts in Medicine program, which will implement new initiatives benefiting staff and patients at hospitals, community health centers, and long-term care facilities, as well as expand initiatives already working at a single site.” – Healthcare F...
Tags: Art, New York City, Uncategorized, SJ, NYC Health Hospitals, Laurie M Tisch, 03.05.19, Hospitals Launch New Arts In Medicine Program


‘How Dance Helped Me Work Through My Autism And Open Up To Others’

Isaac Iskra, a person with high-functioning autism, writes about his difficult adjustment to his college’s dance department (he had a panic attack the first day), his subsequent breakthroughs, and how serious study of dance helped him with all areas of communications. – Dance Magazine
Tags: Art, Dance, SJ, 03.05.19, Isaac Iskra


UK Panel Rules National Gallery’s Laid-Off Educators Should Have Rights As Workers, Not Freelancers

Mind you, the tribunal didn’t find that the 27 plaintiffs were unfairly sacked; neither did it say they should have all the rights of Gallery employees (not the same thing as “workers” under English employment law). But the ruling did say that the group, mostly lecturers and docents, must “enjoy benefits such as minimum wage, holiday pay, and protection from dismissal, which self-employed contractors do not” — a finding with major implications for how freelancers are treated in Britain. – Hyper...
Tags: Art, UK, Visual, SJ, 03.01.19


Museum Of Contemporary Art Cleveland Makes Itself More Inclusive Very Simply: Free Admission

The move is part of the museum’s 50th anniversary “Open House” inclusivity initiative, which also includes “the creation of a diversity-focused curatorial fellowship (the first recipient is LaTanya Autry, who has held curatorial positions at the Yale University Art Gallery and the Mississippi Museum of Art), an engagement-guide apprenticeship program, enhanced onsite programming for families and teens, and the addition of an education specialist.” – ARTnews
Tags: Art, Audience, Visual, SJ, Mississippi Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, 03.03.19, Contemporary Art Cleveland, LaTanya Autry


Report: London’s Vibrant Creative Sector Has Failed To Diversify

Despite “significant job growth” since 2012, the creative sector has “failed to diversify its work force” and it is still “who you know, not what you know, that counts”, the report states. – The Stage
Tags: Art, London, Issues, SJ, 02.28.19


UK’s National Theatre Will Hold Special Casting Day For Trans Actors

“The event, the first of its kind held by the NT, will take place on April 15 in London, and is aimed at ‘professional actors who identify as transgender, trans*, genderqueer, non-binary, gender fluid and intersex’. … The Old Vic’s casting team will be attending alongside the casting department from the NT, and other industry creatives.” – The Stage
Tags: Art, UK, London, Theatre, Vic, SJ, 02.27.19


Theatre Communications Group Announces Recipients of Audience (R)Evolution Exploration Grants

“This first cycle of funding, totaling $15,000, will go to Lexington Children’s Theatre, Target Margin Theater, and The TEAM (Theatre of the Emerging American Moment). The grants, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), will focus on peer-to-peer and fieldwide learning as they relate to theatre for youth and multigenerational audiences.” – American Theatre
Tags: Art, Uncategorized, SJ, 02.06.19, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation DDCF



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