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 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
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
“[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
“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
“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
“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.