Monthly Archives: April 2017

Women in NY Culture: The National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House

Courtesy of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House

This year, NYSCA honors the New York State Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Through our Regional Economic Development Council Program, we have provided FY2017 grants to organizations who are commemorating the occasion through their programs. In addition, on this blog, we will regularly pay tribute to grantees who honor the Centennial and showcase the impact of women in New York State arts and culture.

For our first Women in NY Culture feature, we spoke with Deborah L. Hughes, President & CEO of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House in Rochester. A National Historic Landmark, the Susan B. Anthony House was the home of the legendary American women’s rights leader during the most politically active period of her life. A group of Rochester women purchased the house in 1945 to be a permanent memorial to Anthony and the cause of women’s rights. NYSCA supports the Susan B. Anthony Museum through our Museum Program. This year, the organization also received funding through our REDC program for VoteTilla, a boat trip down the Erie Canal with scholars, reenactors, and arts organizations in celebration of the New York State Women’s Suffrage Centennial.

NYSCA: As a pioneering women’s rights activist, Susan B. Anthony’s national impact is well known. What can we learn about her contributions to women’s rights in New York – or her experience as a New York resident – at the Susan B. Anthony House?

DH: She’s much more significant to New York history than a lot of people know.

Susan B. Anthony was born in Massachusetts and moved to Battenville, NY, when she was 6. She lived 80 of 86 years as a New Yorker. She came to Rochester in the 1840s, and she spent 40 of her most politically active years here.

First, she was active in the temperance movement. This was critically important to women who might be trapped in a marriage with a husband who was an alcoholic. Divorce was almost never possible. You could force your children to work in order to pay your husband’s bar bill. She got radicalized through the temperance movement because she went to a convention and was told that women were to be there and listen – not to be heard.

Courtesy of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House

She famously said that every woman should have a purse of her own. That wasn’t a fashion statement. At that time in New York State, a married woman didn’t have property – couldn’t be on a jury, sign a contract, open bank account. Susan B. Anthony became an early advocate for marriage and property laws to enable married and single women to have choices and freedom.

She worked for the American Anti-Slavery Society and spoke in all of New York State’s counties – she did a lot of travel by horse-drawn sleigh. As a single woman in 1850s, to travel alone by sleigh took a tremendous amount of courage.

She always believed in universal suffrage regardless of race or creed or gender or origin. She believed everybody should be at the table. She felt to change society she had to have a voice and a vote. When interviewed about being in the women’s movement, she said that she had always been for the rights of everyone, but if she could improve the rights of half the population, why not start there?

Deborah L. Hughes, President & CEO of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, Courtesy of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House

NYSCA: What would you consider some of the most meaningful aspects of visiting the Susan B. Anthony Museum today? Do you have any personal favorite objects in terms of stories they tell and inspiration they provide?

DH: The house is our most important object. The home is in a beautiful, city neighborhood in a National Preservation District – one of the most intact you can visit. When you look out our front door and stand on the porch, you get a great sense and feel for what she saw.

It wasn’t just a home. It was also the headquarters of the National American Woman Suffrage Association when she was president. As visitors walk through the building, a guide explains how she was arrested in the parlor for having voted in 1872. When they get to the second floor, they learn how two bushels of mail would arrive at a time. As you move to her bedroom, where she died in 1906, you hear the amazing story of how she gave her final speech in Baltimore at 86 years of age.

What can you tell us about the upcoming VoteTilla event?

In 2008, a number of us across the state were discussing the 2020 [19th amendment] anniversary. We wanted to find a way to collaborate with organizations of very different scales.

VoteTilla will take place along the Erie Canal from July 17 – 22, 2017. The journey will start in Seneca Falls and conclude in Rochester. Three packet boats – the kind [of small passenger ship] Anthony traveled in – will be filled with about 30 re-enactors. There will be ceremonies and speeches.

Who will be a part of VoteTilla?

There will be scholars on the boat participating in panels looking at important 19th century and contemporary themes, such as racism, education, health, and broader social reform that were motivators to get everyone the right to vote.

Two boats will join us with contingents from the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Friends of the National Women’s Rights Historical Park, and the Susan B. Anthony Center at the University of Rochester. Partner organizations such as GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Theatre will host events along the way, and there will be side trips available to the Seward House Museum and Ganondagan.

By the time we get to Rochester we hope to pick up lots more boats – people can join us on canoes, kayaks, or motorboats. Then we’ll have a parade from Broad to West Main Street to the Susan B. Anthony House. For that we’d love 4H groups, Girl Scouts, bands – any group that wants to be a part of it.

Why have the event take place along the Erie Canal?

We knew that, particularly in 1915 and 1917, women were drawing attention to the cause through street theatre – they would take a wagon to Long Island and girls and women would get out and make speeches. We realized there was a route that already existed and it was the canal. It was wonderful for this to coincide with the canal’s Bicentennial. Here in New York State, we’re able to celebrate two ways in which we really were changing the world.

 

NYSCA in the News

This week, read about the recipient of a new NYSCA award, new plans for a Broadway theater, and more.

Syracuse visual artist Carrie Mae Weems wins award for contributions to NY arts

Syracuse Post-Standard

“Syracuse artist Carrie Mae Weems has won an award from [NYSCA] that recognizes her artistic contributions to the state. Weems, a visual artist who splits her time between Syracuse and Brooklyn, already has a long list of accolades, including a ‘genius grant’ fellowship from the Macarther Foundation. She can now add to her list the inaugural ‘Edward Hopper Citation of Merit,’ which is an award from the [New York State Council on the Arts]. Weems’ art uses photographs, film and video to discuss themes about race, politics and social issues. She received her first camera in 1973 and made her first video in 1982. ‘To be receiving this award in recognition of the great artist Edward Hopper, whose painted world of dark nights and lonely people were so often a home to my imagination and anchor to my own practice is a tremendous honor,’ Weems said in a statement. The award gives Weems $5,000 and $2,500 apiece to two galleries that will present Weems’ work. One gallery is the Edward Hopper House Art Center in the village of Nyack, and the other hasn’t been named.”

Rebuilding a Broadway Theater With American Voices

New York Times

Second Stage Theatre announced on Thursday that it had commissioned work from nine critically acclaimed playwrights – seven of them women, three of them African-American, and one of them Asian-American – with the intention of bringing their work to Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theatre. The commissions are part of the company’s pledge to present living American writers on New York’s most prestigious stages. “ ‘No Brits. No Chekhov translations. No classics,’ vowed Carole Rothman, the artistic director of Second Stage Theater, which acquired Broadway’s smallest theater in 2015, and is now renovating the building for reuse starting next spring.…In one early indication that the nonprofit’s acquisition of a Broadway house will be attractive to a range of artists, Ms. Rothman also announced that the movie star Chris Evans…had agreed to make his Broadway debut in the first production at the reopened theater next spring. He will perform alongside Michael Cera…in a production of ‘Lobby Hero,’ written by Kenneth Lonergan (who just won an Oscar for the screenplay of ‘Manchester By the Sea’) and directed by Trip Cullman. [Next will be] ‘Straight White Men,’ written by Young Jean Lee and directed by Anna D. Shapiro. Ms. Lee would be the first Asian-American woman to have a play produced on Broadway.” NYSCA supports Second Stage through our Theatre Program and through our Facilities Program, which provided FY2017 funding to widen the doorways for the Helen Hayes Theatre to accommodate wheelchair users.

New-York Historical Society to help green-card holders become U.S. citizens

AMNY

“[The] New-York Historical Society and museum is launching a new initiative to help green-card holders become American citizens. The program will include free workshops and classes, paired with displays and a scavenger hunt at the Upper West Side museum, all linked to questions on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test — the final hurdle to citizenship…The society’s initiative will include a new gallery with interactive displays designed around the 100 questions. It is a model that other historical societies and museums could follow to help green-card holders and educate Americans. ‘In an environment in which many legal immigrants are feeling concerned, we want to help them,’ [Louise Mirrer, the society’s president and chief executive] said. ‘We deeply believe that immigration has been the bedrock of this country from the start.’” NYSCA supports the New-York Historical Society through our Museum and Regional Economic Development Council Programs.

Audra McDonald Will Help Celebrate Ella Fitzgerald for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Playbill

“Having won a 2014 Tony Award for her performance as singer Billie Holiday in the Broadway show Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Audra McDonald is preparing to honor another great jazz performer, Ella Fitzgerald, in an April 26 concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. Ella at 100: Forever The First Lady of Song will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performing with McDonald and a roster of guests including Wynton Marsalis, Renée Fleming, Sullivan Fortner, Roberta Gambarini, Diana Krall, Alison Krauss, Marilyn Maye, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Camille Thurman, and Kenny Washington. Harry Connick Jr. will host. The 7PM [gala] concert will be held at Frederick P. Rose Hall, located at Broadway at 60th Street in Manhattan.” NYSCA supports Jazz at Lincoln Center through our Music Program.

Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale Will Headline Brigadoon at City Center

Playbill

“Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale, who starred opposite each other in 2014’s The Bridges of Madison County, will lead a concert staging of Brigadoon at New York City Center. The production will begin with a November 15 gala honoring producer Stacey Mindich and run through November 19. Also appearing in the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical will be An American in Paris Tony nominee Robert Fairchild. Christopher Wheeldon, who won a Tony for choreographing that musical, will direct and choreograph the concert staging.” NYSCA supports City Center through our Presenting, Theatre, and Dance Programs.

Ghetto Film School nurtures young filmmakers in Bronx

Fox5 NY

“The next generation of Hollywood filmmakers just may come from the Bronx. Some local students are already making movies, thanks to a special course designed to nurture their talents. When the credits roll at the New York screening of ‘Genesis,’ Kyra Peters, 18, will see ‘Director’ next to her name. Kyra is part of what is known as the Ghetto Film School, an award-winning independent film organization in the South Bronx. Part of what makes the program special is the diversity and life experience. Each cohort group shoots a project in another country. They spend 5 days on location, choosing local actors and working with pros. Some cities filmed in include Johannesburg, Shanghai, and London. Along the way, they learn roles like the director of photography, camera operator, gaffer, production designer, and more.” NYSCA supports Ghetto Film School through our Electronic Media & Film Program.

NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees are in the news with a wide range of noteworthy projects, from an arts partnership to serve diverse communities to the debut of youth filmmakers at the Tribeca Film Festival to a celebration of the Erie Canal Bicentennial.

Arts Partnership Launched for Diverse New York City Communities

Philanthropy News Digest

“The North Carolina-based William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University have announced a $6 million initiative to explore how arts organizations can better serve diverse communities in New York City. Under the initiative, the Met and NYU will work with nineteen other arts and cultural institutions in the city to build on existing relationships within local communities, create new connections, and act as instruments of positive change. The two organizations will also document their practices and discussions as part of an effort to more broadly share lessons, outcomes, and tools with the field.” Organizations participating in the initiative include NYSCA grantees Met Museum, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Brooklyn Museum, Harlem School of the Arts, Lincoln Center, National Dance Institute, NYC SALT, Urban Word NYC, Studio Museum in Harlem, Guggenheim Museum, BAM, and Urban Arts Partnership.

Spark Media Project’s ‘Santa Woman’ to premiere at Tribeca Film Festival

Poughkeepsie Journal

“A film created by Poughkeepsie youth is making its way from the Queen City to the Big Apple. Spark Media Project’s ‘Santa Woman’ was selected from hundreds of submissions from across the country as one of the top five finalists in the Tribeca Film Institute’s ‘The America I Am’ Competition, which is presented by the Tribeca Film Institute, the National Park Service and The Statue of Liberty National Monument. It recognizes young filmmakers ‘that express unique perspectives on the American experience.’The film will be featured at the Tribeca Film Festival and receive a red carpet premiere at Ellis Island April 19…[and] was created by Poughkeepsie youth producers Anissa ‘Tori’ Isaacs and Nyah Sharrock, with mentorship from Forge Producer Ari Williams, a former student…’Santa Woman,’ which was produced in a two-week film intensive in the winter of 2016 at Spark Media, tells the story of Christine Kringel, a young black woman entering a Santa competition, and addresses issues ‘regarding stereotypes and discrimination, while also challenging the representation of young black women in film’…The Tribeca Film Institute provided youth producers a $1,000 production budget to re-shoot the film for the festival. The Spark Media youth producers worked with Stephanie Ching, their Tribeca filmmaking mentor, over the last two months ‘to increase the production value and enhance the artistry of the story.’ NYSCA supports Spark Media Project through our Electronic Media & Film, Arts Education, and Regional Economic Development Council Programs and the Tribeca Film Institute through our Arts Education and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

Astoria museum raises $40K in 30 hours to create a permanent ‘Muppets’ exhibit

Qns.com

“The Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI) in Astoria asked for help from the community to make an upcoming exhibit on ‘The Muppets’ creator Jim Henson a permanent part of the museum — and 30 hours, later the museum met its goal. Organizers asked for $40,000 to help restore the approximately 175 puppets that will be on display at 36-01 35th Ave. and construct the cases that will hold the puppets…The Kickstarter campaign was supposed to run through May 11 and the museum created a video with the help of Neil Patrick Harris, designer of Miss Piggy, Bonnie Erickson and museum staff that describes how Henson personally influenced them. Now, the museum has set a new goal of $100,000…[to] restore more puppets in the Museum’s Jim Henson collection. ‘The Jim Henson Exhibition’ will feature more than 40 original puppets including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo, Cookie Monster, the Fraggles, and a Skeksis from ‘The Dark Crystal,’ as well as puppet prototypes, original character sketches, behind-the-scenes footage and photographs and interactive puppetry design and performance experiences. The Jim Henson Company will also loan artifacts for the exhibition.” NYSCA supports MoMI through our Museum and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

A New Exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum Explores Feminism Through The Lens of Women of Color

The Creators Project

“A new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum is challenging the traditional feminist narrative by giving voice to women of color that were largely left out of the mainstream dialogue…We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women , 1965-85 is a group show that focuses on women of color as artists and activists during a period of social upheaval that afforded drastic changes in the art world. A time that saw many artists shift from an activist approach to social issues in the 60s and 70s to a more theoretical approach in the 80s…We Wanted a Revolution coheres around significant historical events rather than a standard artist-centric group show design, meaning that the same artist [such as Faith Ringgold] is often represented in different areas throughout the show, dependent on which movements and moments they participated in…The exhibition incorporates a variety of disciplines, from the artworks themselves to photographs, ephemera, audio, interviews, and a selection of publications from the period republished in the form of a sourcebook.” NYSCA supports the Brooklyn Museum through our Museum and Arts Education Programs.

Albany Institute marks Erie Canal’s 200th birthday

The Daily Gazette

A new exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art, “Spotlight: The Erie Canal,” will celebrate the canal’s history through Aug. 20. “Among the many items making up the canal exhibit is an 1850 painting by folk artist John Wilson showing the New York State Agricultural Fair from that time period located somewhere just north of Albany on land adjacent to the canal. Another painting from 1852 by William Rickerby Miller shows the Erie Canal out in Little Falls. ‘The Wilson painting was recently donated to us, and there’s only one other work known by him,’ said [art director Tammis K.] Groft. ‘We have original drawings done in 1853 as well as some wonderful images on ceramic bowls and plates…We also have a book celebrating the opening of the Erie Canal and a portrait of DeWitt Clinton.’ Groft also has a small commemorative medal celebrating the opening, as well as a larger cast stone version that may have had some practical use on the canal.” NYSCA supports the Albany Institute through our Museum and Arts Education Programs.

A wake-up call: Show uses 1,500 coffee cups to fight waste

Brooklyn Daily

“A dance performance [by the Vangeline Theater] featuring 1,500 coffee cups littered across its set will spill onto the stage of Greenpoint’s Triskelion Arts on April 20–22. The director of ‘Wake Up and Smell the Coffee’ says that it aims to confront people with the amount of waste they produce by drinking out of disposable drink vessels…The Vangeline Theater company specializes in a type of Japanese theater called butoh, an avant-garde dance form meant to startle the audience and bring them face-to-face with issues they would otherwise ignore, according to the group’s founder. [First performed in 2015, the show] features a topic that many have closed their eyes to — global climate change. Dancers will wade through a sea of coffee cups as they act out a story set a few years in the future, when global warming has become so serious that mankind is on the verge of extinction. Vangeline and her dancers collected the coffee cups from trash cans around the city, washing them in the sink before they became a part of the set.” NYSCA supports Triskelion Arts through our Dance Program and Vangeline Theater through our Special Arts Services Program.

NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees are in the news with an impressive organizational turnaround, exhibitions exploring history and religion, and an opportunity for museum visitors to help break a world record.

After digging out of a financial hole, Everson Museum is charting a new course

Syracuse Post-Standard

“Until about 15 years ago, the Everson museum was the authority on ceramic art, nationally and internationally. But the museum lost its focus. The ceramics exhibition sat, nearly untouched, for about 30 years. The other exhibits rarely changed.” Following the appointment of CEO and Director Elizabeth Dunbar in 2014, changes have been made. Whereas in 2012 and 2013, the museum had deficits of $500,000, and in 2014 exhibitions had to be canceled in the face of an $800,000 loss, the museum is now in the black. A new curator has been hired. The museum began charging visitors a flat fee, instead of free admission with additional charges for special exhibitions. The I.M. Pei building is undergoing renovations to the auditorium and converting space for gallery and classroom use. “Dunbar has also worked to get more fun into the building, on its grounds and out into the community. Last year, the museum had more than 6,000 people attend programs and about 1,400 people reached through community events. Before Dunbar arrived, the outreach was nearly nonexistent and the numbers of people who attended programs was a third of what was done last year.” NYSCA supports the Everson Museum through our Museum, Electronic Media & Film, and Regional Economic Development Council Programs.

Speak, poet: Buffalo poetry scene is diverse, vibrant and fresh

The Buffalo News

“Buffalo’s poetry culture – like the city itself – is clawing its way from shadowy bars and coffeehouses into the streets, stages and public consciousness. Poetry in Buffalo is not new but a slew of players are keeping it as fresh as the Main Street medical campus, and growing just as fast.” Singled out is NYSCA Literature and Arts Education grantee Just Buffalo. “The JBWC reaches out for young poets to nurture and create Buffalo’s next generation of literary voices by providing a free after-school program for writers ages 12 to 18. ‘While the traditional reading is and will always be prevalent, I’ve been so excited to see more and more events that celebrate and present poetry in innovative ways,’ said Robin Jordan of the center. ‘It’s really important that young people realize language has tremendous power and it can be used to empower you as well as to enslave you,’ added Buffalo News Poetry Editor Bob Pohl. ‘Drawing young people into poetry is a vital force for this country because all art is transformative.’

Muslim Culture Show a Hit at Children’s Museum of Manhattan

NBC

“An exhibition about Muslim cultures around the world is proving popular at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. The museum has seen an increase in visitors since the show opened, with a third of those visitors from outside the New York area. The show, called ‘America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far,’ runs through December and will open in February 2018 at the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, followed by a run in 2019 at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia…The exhibition includes interactive features like a global marketplace where children can pretend to buy spices from Egypt, ceramics from Turkey and rugs from Morocco. They can also weigh their catch at the Zanzibar fish market, smell Indonesian fruits, serve Tajik tea and design outfits inspired by West African tailors who work in New York. And they can explore ancient trade routes on a camel or an Indian Ocean boat called a dhow. The exhibit is decorated with geometric tile designs, patterned rugs, ceramics and other works of art. A 3-D installation shows mosque architecture from the Maldives to China.” NYSCA supports the Children’s Museum through our Museum Program.

Everything is awesome for Lego fans at ‘Brick Fest Live’ this weekend at the Hall of Science

Queens Courier

“This is the chance to build bridges with friends and family — and some walls, skyscrapers and garages, too. Brick Fest Live, a two-day Lego fan jubilee, will take place at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park this weekend. Hands-on attractions and activities will rule both days. In the Collaborative Building section, enthusiasts will work together with colorful 1-inch by 1-inch Lego bricks to create a floor mosaic that will be submitted for consideration by Guinness World Records.” Also included: Nerdy Derby, in which visitors can design, build and race cars on special tracks in the museum’s Viscusi Auditorium; a 7-foot-tall model of Woody from the movie “Toy Story” made entirely of Lego bricks; and a Big Brick Pit with 100,000 2×4 inch red bricks for visitors to work with. NYSCA supports the Hall of Science through our Museum and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

New exhibit marks 100th anniversary of U.S. entering World War I

WBFO

“The Buffalo History Museum is marking the [World War I] centennial by opening a new exhibit that explores what was supposed to be ‘the war to end all wars.’ That exhibit includes tributes to Western New Yorkers who served and sacrificed for the war effort. The exhibit known as ‘For Home and Country’ features numerous mementos from a war that had begun in 1914. The U.S. committed to the war in 1917 but American soldiers didn’t see combat until the following year…The newly-opened exhibit in the Buffalo History Museum remembers the buildup with a series of posters in its main hall, including the iconic Uncle Sam ‘I Want You’ Army recruitment advertisement. Hanging on a wall as part of the exhibit space on the ground level is a large banner which reads, ‘Buffalo Will See It Through.’… The museum’s exhibit also includes displays of authentic uniforms and equipment that American fighters used in the field. A mock-up of a machine gun position is featured.” NYSCA supports the Buffalo History Museum through our Museum Program.

From Albany Pro Musica: a month of events addressing peace

Albany Times-Union

“Panels, performances, services and lectures on peace and reconciliation are among the packed slate of events supplementing Albany Pro Musica’s …May 6, rendering of “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace,” an anti-war choral work by Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins. Upcoming peace-related programming includes…presentations on the piece with APM singers and artistic director Jose Daniel Flores-Caraballo; a…panel on “Reconciliation as a Key to Societal Healing”; a…seminar and reading by author and Iraq War interrogator Eric Fair…[a] Rockefeller Institute event on global peace and reconciliation; a series of interfaith performances and services…; and “Facing the Truth: Lessons from Post-Apartheid South Africa,”…at the Albany Institute of History & Art…The ambitious and wide-ranging lineup follows last year’s “City of Immigrants,” Albany Pro Musica’s month-long series of multidisciplinary events that anticipated its April concert.” NYSCA supports Albany Pro Musica through our Regional Economic Development Council Program.

 

NYSCA in the News

This week, NYSCA grantees look toward the future, with a new museum, culture plan, virtual reality exhibit, and more.

Ground broken for children’s museum on Buffalo’s waterfront

Lake Placid News

“A new children’s museum is one step closer to opening on Buffalo’s waterfront. A groundbreaking ceremony for the $27 million Explore & More Children’s Museum was held on Wednesday. The 43,000-square-foot museum is expected to open in the area known as Canalside late next year. Planners project it will attract 250,000 visitors each year. The new four-story Children’s Museum will feature seven Buffalo-themed educational play zones. Plans call for retail space on the first level, a two-story atrium space with a water exhibit on the second floor, other exhibits on the third floor and a rooftop terrace with a view of the city and the Buffalo River. The museum is currently located in East Aurora.” NYSCA supports Explore & More through our Museum, Regional Economic Development Council, and Folk Arts Programs.

Staten Island ‘culture plan’ outlines ways to improve the borough’s North Shore

Curbed

“In a recent community forum, Staten Island Arts along with the Design Trust for Public Space outlined strategies for ways in which to revitalize, improve sustainability, and boost economic development within the rapidly changing North Shore (Staten Island’s waterfront). The meeting kicked off the first of a series of feedback sessions as part of the Future Culture: Connecting Staten Island’s Waterfront project. Residents already have many ideas on how to improve their community, but ultimately, the agenda for Future Culture is to foster local culture by cultivating quality public spaces that will promote creativity, diversity, enhance along the waterfront area as well as nearby neighborhoods.” Initial ideas include “Form a North Shore Cultural Station, a cultural committee, an investment fund, and a fellowship program; Determine sites, resources, and sponsors for large festivals, events, performances, ongoing programming series, and educational programming that prioritize collaboration with immigrant- and heritage-based organizations and groups; Create a map of local cultural assets and wayfinding strategies to encourage local exploration beyond the ferry terminal and connecting public- and privately-owned sites to routes of discovery; Create enhanced, connected, high-performance green spaces that promote urban ecological diversity, foster resiliency, and safeguard direct access to the water’s edge; among many others.” NYSCA supports Staten Island Arts through our State & Local Partnership, Regional Economic Development Council, Folk Arts, and Arts Education Programs.

David Byrne to feature at BRIC’s inaugural Free Arts Festival

Brooklyn Eagle

“Keeping its promise to present innovative content to Brooklynites, the company recently announced that it would be hosting its inaugural BRIC OPEN Festival, a weekend-long series of events featuring dance classes, groundbreaking community discussions and interactive performances. The festival will take place from April 27 to April 30 in BRIC’s Fort Greene headquarters at 647 Fulton St. next to the BAM Harvey Theater. The festival will ‘illuminate the power of inclusive, participatory arts and media,’ while also ‘testing ideas about the creation and consumption of culture,’ according to the BRIC website. The opening event will feature a talk from co-founder of the Talking Heads David Byrne called ‘Reasons to be Cheerful.’” Additional events include a #BHeard Town Hall called ‘The People, The Press and The President’ presented in partnership with Columbia Journalism Review; a ‘Dance = Freedom’ series, offering free dance classes for all ages and abilities in collaboration with Ronald K. Brown/Evidence with Annique Roberts, Ballez with Katy Pyle and Jules Skloot, Urban Bush Women and Arielle Rosales; and ‘Beyond Sacred,’ an interview-based theatre production exploring the diverse experiences of Muslim Americans. NYSCA supports BRIC through our State & Local Partnership, Regional Economic Development Council, Presenting, Individual Artists, and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

Ai Weiwei’s provocative ‘Fences’ artwork coming to Downtown Brooklyn

Brooklyn Eagle

“Artwork on the theme of fences, by renowned Chinese artist/political activist Ai Weiwei, will be installed at numerous sites across three boroughs this coming fall — including atop bus shelters in Downtown Brooklyn. On Oct. 12, Weiwei’s exhibition ‘Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,’ commissioned by the Public Art Fund to celebrate its 40th anniversary, will capture the world’s attention with roughly ten major large, stand-alone installations and dozens of smaller “interventions.” The exhibition, running four months, will contain about 100 pieces, according to a Public Art Fund spokesperson. Weiwei’s site-specific work, in the form of metal wire security fences, is inspired by the international migration crisis and rise in nationalism, and is particularly significant considering the Trump administration’s plan to build a $22 billion fence at the Mexican border…Other sites for the artwork across the city include the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side, Cooper Union on Astor Place, Doris C. Freedman Plaza at Central Park and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. The exhibition runs Oct. 12, 2017 through Feb. 11, 2018.” NYSCA supports the Public Art Fund through our Visual Arts Program.

Off-Broadway theaters stay afloat as they test the waters with shows bound for the Great White Way

New York Daily News

“How do you get to the Great White Way? Well, for most performers, the road starts Off-Broadway. Roughly 100 shows open every year in the commercial and nonprofit theaters that make up the Off-Broadway League — a talent incubator that’s fueled some of the industry’s biggest hits…In the past 25 years, 17 Pulitzer Prize-winning plays began Off-Broadway, including [‘Hamilton’]. Other well-known Broadway hits with indie roots include ‘Avenue Q,’ ‘Driving Miss Daisy,’ ‘Rent’ and ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’…Half of the 2016 Best Actor Emmy nominees have worked Off-Broadway, including Claire Danes, Viola Davis, Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell, Liev Schreiber and Kevin Spacey. Over the past two decades, 303 of all Tony nominations and 106 of the wins were for productions started Off-Broadway.” NYSCA Theatre Program grantees mentioned Second Stage Theatre, the Public Theater, and Playwrights Horizons.

BAM Goes Heavy On Virtual Reality With Teknopolis Exhibit For Kids

Technical.ly Brooklyn

“The Brooklyn Academy of Music has long been at the forefront of promoting the avant garde [including]…Teknopolis, an interactive, multi-space exhibit for kids that ran from Feb. 25 to March 12. The exhibit was inspired by…installations as the Toronto International Film Festival’s fest for kids, which incorporated a large digiPlaySpace gallery with indie games, robots and other tech experiences. The BAM exhibit was designed to present works that would ‘inspire the creative impulses of visitors, encouraging them to create their own music or animation, or at least elicit strong responses from them about the exhibit’s experiences’… One of the key benefits of the exhibit is that it allowed visitors to sample virtual reality and experience adventures using the technology. Most visitors had their first VR experience at the exhibit. Among the highlights: the installation ‘Shifting Clouds’ by artists Adrien M and Claire B, which featured clouds in the shape of the visitor’s silhouette; ‘The Turning Forest,’ a VR fantasy tale with 3D sound created by BBC Research & Development and VRTOV; ‘Pop n’ Lock Dance Machine’ by Catshrine, which allowed visitors to create their own animated dance videos; and ‘Lumarca,’ a volumetric display by Matt Parker and Josh Holtsford presenting a digital avatar of the visitor that mimicked his or her movements… According to BAM, 2,700 members of the public attended the exhibit.” BAM intends to make Teknopolis an annual experience. NYSCA supports BAM through our Presenting and Electronic Media & Film Programs.

Buffalo Arts Studio celebrates 25 years in downtown Buffalo

WIVB

“The Buffalo Arts Studio started 25 years ago with the idea to bring an affordable studio space to Buffalo. With the rising cost of living in the city, leaders in Buffalo’s art world created a space where artists could afford to develop. The Buffalo Art Studio is one of the original tenants at the budding Tri-Main Building. Curator Shirley Verrico said, ‘When it started there were hardly any businesses in the Tri-Main building and the neighborhood around the building was suffering…[Now] There are hundreds of businesses within the Tri-Main building, it’s some of the best of what happens in Buffalo.’ The Buffalo Arts Studio is spreading across Western New York, especially on the city’s east side. Verrico said, ‘We really have faith in our neighborhood. We’re watching it develop in such a positive and wonderful way and we believe the arts are a huge part of that. We see how it changes people’s lives, how it changes neighborhoods.’ Now 90 artists who are all connected through Buffalo Art Studios will celebrate that this weekend through an auction: A fundraiser to keep the Buffalo Art Studio dream alive.” At the 22,000 square-foot studio, original art prices will begin at $50. NYSCA supports Buffalo Arts Studio through our Visual Arts, Special Arts Services, and Facilities programs.