Category Archives: Art Agenda

A Midwesterner Returns to Her (Disappearing) Roots

Due to a link on the UnConvention homepage, this blog had a 300% increase in visitors yesterday. Thanks, UnConvention! While I have your attention, let me ask for your help:

From September 24 through October 8, I will be visiting cities in the Midwest (Wichita, Kansas City, Des Moines, Rochester, Twin Cities, St. Croix Falls, Sioux Falls, Omaha) in search of visual artists and writers who live and work there. I’ll be bringing my podcast gear and scouting for interviews to post on this blog.

The goal is to highlight the work of some talented artists, and to collect stories about the opportunities and challenges of working artists in “little cities” (outside the top 20 metropolitan areas). Yes, I realize the Twin Cities are #16. I am also traveling to places I lived and reconnecting with my artistic roots—the Pillsbury House, Masque Youth Theatre, the …

…well. As I am writing this, I thought I would link to the Sioux Falls Community Playhouse, but I see it closed in 2002. And the Jeune Lune, where I had my first professional audition, closed this summer.

Philanthropy is changing, demographics are changing, economics are changing. What does this mean for artists in little cities? If you know a working artist who lives in one of these cities, send me their name, contact info, a link to their website or images of their work … or have them contact me directly at lex@lexleifheit.com.

And please, pass this on!

Art Agenda: Gary Panter

Interview with musician and visual artist Gary Panter about “Gary Panter: Daydream Trap,” his solo museum exhibition at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

In this interview, Panter talks a little about a lot of things: drawing, painting, working with curators, creating a monograph, making music, making light shows, the meditative feel of drawing, making noises while drawing, drawing inspiration from a particular place, how to jump-start a small town art space, and more.

Interview excerpted from The Art Agenda. Broadcast on 88.1fm, WESU, Middletown on August 15, 2008.

Art Agenda: Design for Democracy

Interview with Jane Rainwater of Andover, CT about her winning designs in “My Yard Our Message.” Check out the top 50 (according to a general election) and choose one for your own yard.

Interview excerpted from The Art Agenda. Broadcast on 88.1fm, WESU, Middletown on August 7, 2008.

Art Agenda: Open Source Theater?

T. Paul Lowry, Creative Director of New Haven Theater Company , is trying a bold new experiment with a tried-and-true Shakespearean drama: open-source theater. UBRSTAR (you-be-our-star), the latest NHTC program, is billed as an theater experience that "utilizes a troupe of stage and online actors to transform the stage to an interactive landscape."

Designed by Carrot Creative , the website includes video instructions on how to create and upload your own video "role," and offers several scripts to choose from.

Since the site’s launch in May, it has been a challenge to get non-company members to post their videos online. But another feature of UBRSTAR, the "sound-offs," is brilliant. One of the joys of live theater is the chance to see how people around you respond to the play in front of them. In today’s on-demand culture, the opportunity to get a taste of what that post-show conversation might be like, through a sound-off video, is far more authentic than a review or e-group hyperbole.

NHTC are not the only theatermakers exploring what open source means for the performing arts. http://www.opensourcetheater.org is linked to Richard Foreman’s Bridge Project, but upon a cursory review of the project it seems that videotaped performances are only being shared "openly" with people who attended a series of workshops.

Charles Mee’s (re)making project is a form of open source theater, but it has no social networking or video capability … which would allow for the participants to easily connect with one another.

Last but not least, if you don’t want to make open source theater, but you are an arts advocate, you can participate in Andrew Taylor’s open source PSA project .

More information about the creation of UBRSTAR is included in this week’s Art Agenda, originally broadcast on 88.1fm, WESU, Middletown on July 10, 2008.

Art Agenda: Twelfth Night

Interview with the theater company Art Farm about their upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Featuring director Marcella Trowbridge and actor Jackie Coleman (who is also the Director of Education at Hartford Stage).

Interview excerpted from The Art Agenda. Broadcast on 88.1fm, WESU, Middletown on July 3, 2008.

Art Agenda: The Who’s Tommy

It has been a busy week for arts news and activities: Philly, followed by the Jeune Lune news, CTartscene‘s curiosity-piquing blog about Citywide Open Studios, then a literary reading for the new book Dirty Words at Green Street. Kicking off the Arts in the Garden workshop with artist David Brown of the Hay House, and the discovery of Big Picture on Boston.com.

Faced with so many choices, I ended up interviewing Mike Donahue about his production of The Who’s Tommy at Yale’s Summer Cabaret. Donahue, a fellow Volksbuehne fan, is heading to Berlin this fall on a Fulbright.

Interview excerpted from The Art Agenda. Broadcast on 88.1fm, WESU, Middletown on June 26, 2008.

Art Agenda: Rebecca Borden

Since I am heading to Philadelphia on Thursday for the 2008 Annual Convention of Americans for the Arts, I sat down (via phone) and pre-recorded the Art Agenda. Rebecca Borden, Manager of Professional Development for Americans for the Arts, shed some light on convention highlights, work-life balance, and “Career 360.”

As an added bonus, Rebecca is a trained life and leadership coach. This means that I also got to pester her with my friends’ (ahem) career conundrums, all in the name of journalism.

Seriously though, Rebecca gives some good advice, comments on Richard Florida, shares her must-read list, AND points out the bright lights of the leadership track at Convention.

Interview excerpted from The Art Agenda. Broadcast on 88.1fm, WESU, Middletown on June 12 2008.

Art Agenda: Ravi Shankar

Interview with Ravi Shankar, Poet-in-Residence at Central Connecticut State University. Ravi recently co-edited a new book, Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond, and contributed to Ellen Sussman’s Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex. He is also a faculty member of this week’s Wesleyan Writers Conference.

He will be participating in a Dirty Words literary reading at Real Art Ways in Hartford on June 23 at 7:45pm, and at the Green Street Arts Center in Middletown on June 24 at 7:30pm.

Interview excerpted from The Art Agenda. Originally broadcast on 88.1fm, WESU, Middletown on June 12 2008.