This week, NYSCA grantees transform a historic site through music and light art, collaborate on new dance residencies, share the art of double dutch, illuminate Native American culture, sing arias at Attica, and more.
Free BPO concert shines a light on the Richardson Complex
“The Richardson Complex is about to shine. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is playing a free nighttime concert on the south lawn of the recently renovated architectural masterpiece. Along with the performance, the buildings will light up with extravagant moving images by local lightmapping artists Projex, with artistic direction by Keith Harrington. The concert is called ‘Enlighten.’…Designed by world-renowned architect H.H. Richardson, the Richardson Complex has long battled a sinister, and unfair, reputation. It was home for many years to the Buffalo State Hospital For the Insane. Many people see it as a place of tragedy and abuse. The buildings’ 19th century design can also seem dark and archaic. In reality, the hospital was conceived with the best intentions. Richardson was one of the most sought-after architects of his day, known for the beauty of his creations. The hospital also engaged Frederick Law Olmsted to design the grounds…What better time to shine a light on the buildings than when the Richardson Complex, anchored by the new Hotel Henry, is seeing a rebirth? To emphasize themes of hope and healing, [Music Director JoAnn) Falletta has designed a program of music by composers who struggled with various conditions, including depression and alcoholism. Visuals of fireworks will add color to Handel’s ‘Music For the Royal Fireworks.’ Tchaikovsky’s Waltz from ‘Swan Lake’ accompanies visuals inspired by various patterns of the Richardson buildings. Rachmaninoff and Beethoven also figure in the evening. The light show’s theme will change with every selection.” NYSCA supports enLIGHTen through our Regional Economic Development Council initiative and provides general support to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra through our Music Program.
BAM and Lumberyard Create New Dance Residencies
“The Brooklyn Academy of Music, in what it says is its first formal relationship with a residency partner, will join forces with the budding Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts organization in upstate New York to commission and nurture three new dance works. David Neumann, Kimberly Bartosik and Kaneza Schaal — artists from New York’s world of downtown dance and theater — were chosen for the partnership’s first year…The three artists will receive residencies at Lumberyard (formerly known as the American Dance Institute) in Catskill, N.Y., where their new works will have premieres ahead of being included in the Brooklyn Academy’s 2018 Next Wave Festival. The residencies come with a $10,000 development fee, in addition to technical and dramaturgical support, as well as housing, meals and transportation.” NYSCA supports BAM through our Presenting and Electronic Media & Film Programs and Lumberyard through our Presenting Program.
Native American culture celebrated in Victor
“Making a connection through art: that’s the goal of the 26th Annual Native American Dance and Music Festival at the Ganondagan Historic Site in Victor…It’s an opportunity to experience both historic and contemporary Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, culture. ‘If you’ve been schooled in western knowledge, a lot of people will say we’re extinct a long time ago,’ said a member of the Akwesasne Women Singers who uses her Mohawk name, Kaiatahente. ‘And we are living proof that we still exist. And all those things that were given us, we’ve learned from the elders.’ That includes songs, instruments, dances, storytelling, and handiwork that have been passed down for generations. New this year is another way to experience living Native American culture: a juried art show that organizers say is the only one of its kind in the East…It’s even drawing people from abroad… ‘This is an opportunity to get to know the culture and kind of be ambassadors and really share what they know,’ said Joseph. ‘So Ganondagan really is a bridge between native and non-native cultures.’” Through the Regional Economic Development initiative, NYSCA provided Workforce Investment support to accommodate increased programming. NYSCA also supports Ganondagan’s festival through our Folk Arts Program.
The Art and Artistry of Double Dutch
“Double Dutch may sound like child’s play, but it’s more than just skipping rope…While just about anyone can do it, the best practitioners use athleticism, finesse and musicality to transform it from a game into a choreographic feat. Yes, double Dutch is very much an art form. And who knew? It even has roots at Lincoln Center. Jill Sternheimer, the director of public programming at Lincoln Center, had no idea herself until she stumbled upon a video circulating on Facebook. The footage, from Skip Blumberg’s 1981 documentary ‘Pick Up Your Feet: The Double Dutch Show,’ chronicled a competition held on the plaza…For ’Til the Street Lights Come On: Celebrating Double Dutch in New York City, which is part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors on Saturday and Sunday, Ms. Sternheimer reached out to Kaisha S. Johnson, a founder of Women of Color in the Arts, who has produced events at Lincoln Center for the past 11 years…’I saw all of the black and brown faces on the plaza of Lincoln Center,’ she said. ‘In my lifetime, I haven’t seen that happen ever again. I thought, we have to revitalize this competition, but it has to be more than just a competition.’ Along with the return of the tournament, which was held on the plaza from 1974 to 1984, ’Til the Street Lights Come On will have jumping stations for all levels, demonstrations, panel discussions and a screening of Mr. Blumberg’s film to place the artistry and impact of double Dutch in a greater context.” NYSCA supports Lincoln Center through our Presenting and Music Programs.
Riverdale gets culture injection through summer concert series
“Under the comfort of a big tree and a summer breeze, jazz group Ginetta’s Vendetta perform for an intimate crowd at the Amalgamated Train Park seeking only one thing: audience enjoyment…The July 18 concert was the first of seven free summer concerts in the northwest Bronx this summer arranged by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and the Bronx Council on the Arts. And with six more concerts to go, this collaboration is far from over. Planning the event is a team effort. Early on in the year, Dinowitz’s office reaches out to the council to start work on the concert series by first figuring out how to reconnect with groups they’ve worked with in the past, creating new relationships with artists they pick, and figuring out what kinds of music will be a good fit for each venue secured. ‘Music is so segmented,’ Dinowitz said, ‘but I think it’s important for people to be exposed to a variety of music.’ The arts council is based in Morris Park, but the concert series lets the organization reach out to neighboring communities like the northwest Bronx, said Charlie Vazquez, the new deputy director of the Bronx Council on the Arts. ‘This is the perfect way for us to meet people during the better weather months of the year in a live family-friendly setting,’ Vazquez said.” NYSCA supports the Bronx Council on the Arts through our State & Local Partnerships Program.
Opera in Attica: Bringing Arias to a Maximum-Security Prison
“For the third summer in a row, artists from the Glimmerglass Festival had left their bucolic home in Cooperstown, N.Y., on Tuesday morning, driving three and a half hours across the state [to Attica] to perform for inmates and guards in an auditorium that doubles as a chapel and a steel-tabled mess hall.” Classical music organizations such as Carnegie Hall and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have also been presenting their programs in prison settings in recent years. “Even the fictional classical scene has taken note: The Amazon series ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ filmed an episode about a concert on Rikers Island…This year Glimmerglass performed its first English-language opera in Attica, singing highlights from Gershwin’s ‘Porgy and Bess’…Ms. Zambello described to the audience the opera’s story, recounting the twists and turns of a work about love, loss, race, murder, drug use, imprisonment, perseverance and hope. When she set the scene for one aria by saying that ‘a crap game starts,’ a murmur of recognition rippled through the audience. When she said that Crown, the opera’s villain, ‘murders someone impulsively,’ an inmate exclaimed: ‘Oh, man!’…Inmates and guards gave a standing ovation when the performance ended, and one inmate cried out: ‘Bravo! Encore!’ NYSCA supports the Glimmerglass Festival through our Music Program.
It’s a G Thing: Harlem’s National Dance Institute gives kids access to the arts
“The magic is in the movement for the tappers here at the National Dance Institute…the nonprofit’s summer program [expands] on the range of styles [students learn] during the school year. ‘The national dance institute works with over 6,500 children during the school year here in NYC in 41 schools,’ Ellen Weinstein, artistic director, explained…The majority of these young performers are from low-income communities and come far and wide for the chance to dance…NDI was founded in 1976 by the legendary New York City Ballet dancer, Jacques d’Amboise. He believed all kids have the right to the arts. ‘I just felt that a learned person should be able to sing or play a musical instrument, should know poetry and drama, and should be able to dance,’ d’Amboise said. So he surrounds students with greatness: great paintings, great teachers and great musicians to help them evolve all-around. ‘Dancing gives me confidence and so I can do other things,’ Madeleine Ford described. ‘NDI is also about being kind to each other and making friends and stuff and that’s just like a really good life skill.’” NYSCA supports NDI through our Dance and Arts Education Programs.