This week, NYSCA grantees celebrate new and renovated buildings, and museums host unusual projects.
Renovating a Saratoga landmark: Lena’s gets $2M makeover
“Bob Dylan would surely still recognize the low-ceilinged room in Caffe Lena where he played a couple of gigs almost 60 years ago. But just about everything else about a venue that bills itself as the nation’s oldest continuously operating coffeehouse has undergone some major upgrades as part of a $2 million renovation project bankrolled in part by folk music performers themselves… Bonacio Construction has put $500,000 into the renovation project, including installing an elevator that will make Caffe Lena fully accessible to the disabled. A campaign has raised another $1 million. Caffe Lena is still raising the final $500,000 for the upgrades, scheduled to be completed this spring.” Caffe Lena first opened in May 1960, and its roster has included Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez, Don McClean and Arlo Guthrie, who is honorary chairman of the coffeehouse’s fundraising campaign. NYSCA supports Caffe Lena through our Presenting and Facilities Programs.
A.R.T./New York Theatres Celebrate Opening Jan. 18
“The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York is celebrating the official opening of the new A.R.T./New York Theatres: two state-of-the-art performances spaces located at 502 West 53rd Street. Tony winner Billy Porter and Daphne Rubin-Vega [hosted] the ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 18…The theatres, designed by Toshiko Mori, have been built to provide affordable performance space to New York City’s smaller-budget nonprofit theatres. Seating capacity is up to 87 seats in the Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre, and up to 149 seats in the Mezzanine Theatre. Following a 2012 study that showed theatre companies spend over 50 percent of their budgets on performance space and labor alone, A.R.T./New York has committed to subsidizing the rental rates for the selected companies to allow for more money to go towards creative development.” NYSCA supports A.R.T./New York through our Theatre and Regional Economic Development Council Programs.
Burning Calories at the Met
Jogging through the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the sounds of the Bee Gees and squatting in front of a sculpture by John Singer Sargent are part of “The Museum Workout,” created by choreographer Monica Bill Barnes. “[The] workout, which premières this week for a monthlong run, constitutes an approximately two-mile path around the museum, sporadically narrated in recorded voice-overs by the author, illustrator, and museum enthusiast Maira Kalman…In her voice-overs, Kalman describes her long love affair with the Met and her relationship with the works of art there… and casually contemplates mortality, lending the experience a surprising poignancy…Dance has become a popular acquisition of museums in recent years. Immersive, participatory, and often silly, ‘The Museum Workout’ could be seen as a cheeky response to this trend. But the work also tackles serious questions that dance artists have long been asking about the relationship between artists and audiences and about what constitutes dance.” NYSCA supports the Met through our Museum and Presenting Programs and Monica Bill Barnes & Company through our Dance Program.
Vineyard Announces Recipient of Paula Vogel Playwriting Award
“The Vineyard Theatre has announced Kate Tarker as the ninth recipient of the Off-Broadway company’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, named in honor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, and given annually to an emerging writer of ‘exceptional promise.’ Tarker will receive a cash prize and artistic development support throughout her residency. Tarker’s play Laura and the Sea was featured on the 2016 Kilroys List, was an L. Arnold Weissberger Award finalist, and Princess Grace Award finalist. The new work was also featured as part of the Vineyard’s fall reading series last year. Her work has been developed by The Lark, Ars Nova, NYTW, and The O’Neill. Previous recipients of the award include Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Rajiv Joseph, Tarell Alvin McCraney. Boo Killebrew, Clare Barron, Christopher Chen, Erika Sheffer, and Kara Lee Corthron.” NYSCA supports the Vineyard Theatre through our Theatre Program.
BPO visits black churches to grow diverse audience
“It’s not unusual to hear gospel music in East Side Baptist churches…But hearing that same music coming from a Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra string quartet is a little more out of the ordinary. The BPO Diversity Council wants to change that perception. To that end, the string quartet performed three gospel songs during services Sunday at two predominantly African-American churches, Friendship Baptist and First Shiloh Baptist, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday…At Friendship Baptist, the choir and every member of the congregation joined in, said Otis N. Glover, co-chair of the Diversity Council. The Rev. Melody Rutherford, a Diversity Council co-chair, said it was a natural fit to reach out to gospel churches, where oftentimes worship music fills the air before the pastor speaks…This is not the first time that the BPO visited area churches. It brought in opera singer Kathleen Battle to perform spirituals from the Underground Railroad two years ago and brought in a string quartet to six churches last year.” NYSCA supports the BPO through our Music Program.
This Interactive Exhibit is Encouraging People to Crochet … to Save Coral Reefs
“In 2005, twins Margaret and Christine Wertheim started Crochet Coral Reef project in California. The sisters combined their great love of the Great Barrier Reef and their passion for crocheting to create striking images that would start conversations about saving the planet’s coral reefs. The sisters have partnered with The Institute for Figuring, a group dedicated to the poetic aesthetic of science, and their artwork has been traveling the globe for over a decade. The exhibit currently resides in the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. This exhibit is not only for your viewing pleasure, patrons are invited to contribute their own handiwork to the growing ‘reef.’ Artists use hyperbolic geometry that occurs naturally in coral reefs to make their crochet-masterpieces. More than 8,000 people have participated in their crafting workshops so far.” NYSCA supports the Museum of Arts and Design through our Museum and Visual Arts Programs.