This week, NYSCA grantees celebrate their histories with anniversary celebrations and the release of archival materials and look toward bright futures with a new design and a major restoration.
Freihofer’s Jazz Fest celebrates 40 years at SPAC
“The grounds of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center are hallowed for jazz lovers, who flock year after year to the annual jazz festival, created in 1978 by legendary promoter George Wein on what is described as a ‘handshake deal’ with then-SPAC director Herb Chesbrough…This weekend is the 40th edition. According to Danny Melnick, who produces it in partnership with SPAC, it is the fifth-longest consecutive running jazz festival in North America. This will also be the 20th year of major sponsorship from Freihofer’s Baking Co. for the event, officially known as the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival…In its first year, a Wein-organized jam session with jazz icons ended day one, but not exactly as planned. The hour grew late. Past midnight. Wein, in the wings, made motions to cut off the music. Dizzy Gillespie, the ringleader, lived up to his mischievous nickname; he chuckled, waved his hand dismissively and counted off another tune. Meanwhile, the crowd wildly cheered solos from such heroes as Dexter Gordon, Roy Haynes and Sonny Rollins. It is the site where, on day two of 1978, every famous big band in the country played through the day and night… ‘It’s very exciting on so many different levels,’ [Melnick] said of the 40th… ‘I think we’re pushing the music forward by the artists that we book and trying to book a well-rounded festival. That’s what I try to do every year.’ Performers include Chaka Khan, the Gipsy Kings and Jacob Collier. NYSCA supports SPAC through our Presenting Program.
Brooklyn Academy of Music Puts 70,000 Archive Materials Online
“More than 70,000 playbills, posters and ephemera from the history of the Brooklyn Academy of Music — from as far back as the Civil War era — are now available through the Leon Levy BAM Digital Archive, which opened to the public on Tuesday. The archive has been in development for several years, paid for by a $1 million grant from the Leon Levy Foundation, the same organization that funded the New York Philharmonic’s digital collection. Materials from the archive include press clippings and posters from the Brooklyn Academy’s opening days in the 1860s, when Mary Todd Lincoln was in attendance, as well as items from the institution’s often-adventurous performances by artists including the tenor Enrico Caruso, the choreographer Pina Bausch and the ‘Einstein on the Beach’ collaborators Philip Glass and Robert Wilson. Roughly 40,000 artists are represented in the archive. And the collection has been organized so that the 70,000 items are all linked to the names of the people involved. Researchers — or anyone interested — can create personalized collections based on specific artists, companies or eras…The collection is available at levyarchive.bam.org.” NYSCA supports BAM through our Presenting and Electronic Media & Film Programs.
Albright-Knox design features infusion of public green space
“Architect Shohei Shigematsu walked Buffalonians through dozens of ideas for his firm’s new design for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery expansion Wednesday night in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center…In the plan, conceived by Shigematsu and his New York-based team at the architecture firm OMA, the gallery’s existing parking lot will disappear. The result, he said, during a 30-minute presentation, would be the addition of 14 percent more green space to the gallery’s campus, which if all goes to plan will contain 80 percent green space.” NYSCA supports the Albright-Knox through our Museum Program and Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
MWPAI exhibition explores how Empire State modernized America
“A new exhibition opening today at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art features about 100 pieces that show how New York State formed what is considered modern America. Anna D’Ambrosio, director of the MWPAI Museum of Art, said ‘Roaring Into the Future: New York 1925-35’ has pieces showcasing fashion arts, paintings, decorative arts, video and music; including masterpieces from the MWPAI collection by Reginald Marsh, John Storrs and Stuart Davis. ‘It’s the first comprehensive look at the contributions New York state artists, designers and manufacturers between the decade of 1925-1935,’ she said. ‘We’re really going from the jazz age to the cusp of World War II. So that time between the wars, including The Depression, were a time that New York state played a really pivotal role in forming what would become modern American style.’ Works from museums across the state are features in the exhibition, including famous photographs from the George Eastman Museum and from The Whitney Museum; dazzling jewelry from Tiffany & Co. Archives; decorative arts from Yale University Art Gallery, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum; and a Franklin Automobile from the Northeast Classic Car Museum. Rarely exhibited works from galleries and private collections also are featured, D’Ambrosio said. There also are pieces from Revere Copper and Brass in Rome and some from General Electric.” NYSCA supports the MWPAI through our Museum and Presenting Programs.
New York museums: architecture and design exhibits to see this summer
“This summer, architecture and design fiends are in luck: there are quite a few museum exhibits happening throughout the city, with something for every taste. Are you more into Art Deco? The Cooper Hewitt has you covered. Is ’80s style—as in the 1980s—more your thing? Head to the Met Breuer.” Featured in Curbed’s roundup are NYSCA grantees Cooper Hewitt, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Socrates Sculpture Park, and the AIA New York Center for Architecture.
Unknown Stories of WNY: Darwin Martin House Fireplace
“The Darwin Martin House is a piece of Buffalo’s history and its future. Martin House Restoration Committee Executive Director Mary Roberts says it is ‘More than just a house, this one and a half acre estate is a grouping of buildings designed over 100 years ago by America’s greatest architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.’…It has also been an endless supply of hidden masterpieces that continue to be discovered and brought back to life, as is the case with the home’s spectacular leaded and stained glass mosaic fireplace…Last month, it was unveiled more than a century after it was originally designed and installed. The original fireplace was lost when the house was abandoned…However, work crews…were cleaning out the ash bin in the basement when they found pieces of the fireplace…There are about 50 original pieces in this spectacular recreation, done the old-fashioned way, by Bodies Studio of Architectural Art in Chicago. They hand-cut, hand-patterned, fired, hand ground homemade glass. Painted each piece of glass with some amount of liquid gold, laid it up in patterns, grouted it, and set them on 28 large glass patterns which were then shipped to Buffalo and affixed to the foundation…Empire State Development C.E.O. Howard Zemsky says Wright himself considered this his best work. ‘This is a man who had a prolific career over many, many decades and at the end of it assessed his own career and said in [Buffalo,] New York I created my Opus, it’s the Martin House.’” NYSCA supports the Martin House Restoration Corp through our Architecture + Design Program.
Yiddish Theater Plans an Immigration Arts Summit
“The National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, a downtown cultural mainstay for 100 years, has recently placed an emphasis on cross-cultural pollination: its annual KulturfestNYC festival started in 2015 and has brought together performers from Argentina to Russia to Japan. Now, the Folksbiene will host the Immigration Arts Summit on July 17-18, featuring a diverse array of cultural arts groups. The summit will feature panels, discussions and performances at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and culminate in a free concert in Robert Wagner Park. The event will start with a keynote speech by John Leguizamo, an actor whose latest one-man show, ‘Latin History for Morons,’ ran at the Public Theater this year. Panels and workshops will bring together representatives from city arts groups including the Irish Repertory Theater, the Pan Asian Repertory Theater, El Museo del Barrio and the Tenement Museum…the arts groups [will] hold a planning session on July 18 to discuss future collaborations. Tickets will be $10 for each day, or $15 for both. The concert in Wagner Park, however, is free, and will feature individual and collaborative performances — including excerpts from Folksbiene’s production of the musical ‘Amerike — The Golden Land,’ which opens July 4 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.” NYSCA supports the Folksbiene through our Theatre Program.