Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Suburban Museum: BlackRock Center for the Arts

I was visiting my family in suburban Maryland when I came across the BlackRock Center for the Arts. Fascinating...well, for me.

I guess there've been spaces like these for a long time, but there's something about moving a "Center for the Arts" into a commercial center like this that stuck with me. Why? Because "art centers" are often focused on alterity and suburban commercial centers are generally focused on homogeneity.

The Suburban Museum. "In the early 1990s, a group of Germantown, Maryland residents began to promote the concept of an arts center that would be located within their own community. Their idea became a rallying point for Germantown's active civic leadership. Within a year, the Germantown Cultural Arts Center, Inc. (d/b/a BlackRock Center for the Arts) was founded as a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization to develop, own and manage BlackRock." (For more read here.)

Out here you got your Blackhawk Museum. It's cars. And there are all kinds of aviation museums -- here, here and here (Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum: Home to the Spruce Goose!), because they're near the airports mainly, I guess.

Much to consider here...really, it's just the town square...and no one is calling it a "museum." Not sure where I am going with this. I'm just interested that's all.

Site Visit: Tenderloin National Forest

Went to day to check out the possible new site to do the Bowls project with Charming Hostess. This was fantastic! It means I finally got to the source of The Luggage Store...brilliant corners.

The trippy thing is it ends up the alley is named after Alfred Andrew Cohen, a Jewish figure in Bay Area history with a lot of ties to the East Bay, especially Alameda. It's a funny way this all ties back in around to Magnes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New NEA Chairman in NYTimes

New Endowment Chairman Sees Arts as Economic Engine
By Robin Pogrebin
August 7, 2009

...He was particularly angered, he said, by parts of the debate over whether to include $50 million for the agency in the federal stimulus bill, citing the comment by Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in February, that arts money did not belong in the bill. That kind of thinking suggests that “artists don’t have kids to send to college,” Mr. Landesman said, “or food to put on the table, or medical bills to pay.”...

...“I don’t know if there’s a theater in Peoria, but I would bet that it’s not as good as Steppenwolf or the Goodman,” he said, referring to two of Chicago’s most prominent theater companies. “There is going to be some push-back from me about democratizing arts grants to the point where you really have to answer some questions about artistic merit.”

“And frankly,” he added, “there are some institutions on the precipice that should go over it. We might be overbuilt in some cases.”...

...As for grants to individual artists — which were eliminated in 1996 after years of complaints from conservative legislators about the financing of controversial art — Mr. Landesman said he would reinstate them “tomorrow” if it were up to him. (It’s up to Congress.)...

...he talked about starting a program that he called “Our Town,” which would provide home equity loans and rent subsidies for living and working spaces to encourage artists to move to downtown areas.

“When you bring artists into a town, it changes the character, attracts economic development, makes it more attractive to live in and renews the economics of that town,” he said. “There are ways to draw artists into the center of things that will attract other people.”

The program would also help finance public art projects and performances and promote architectural preservation in downtown areas, Mr. Landesman added. “Every town has a public square or landmark buildings or places that have a special emotional significance,” he said. “The extent that art can address that pride will be great.”

Given the agency’s “almost invisible” budget, he said, goals like these would require public-private partnerships that enlist developers, corporations and individual investors — largely by getting them “to understand the critical role of art in urban revitalization.”

Such arrangements — which he said will be a “signature part” of his chairmanship — will play “right into the president’s wheelhouse,” Mr. Landesman added, speaking of Mr. Obama’s concerns about cities and economic development...

...The new chairman said he already has a new slogan for his agency: “Art Works.” It’s “something muscular that says, ‘We matter.’ ” The words are meant to highlight both art’s role as an economic driver and the fact that people who work in the arts are themselves a critical part of the economy.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Mentoring Wellesley Women

I have been a part of Wellesley College's American Cities Internship Program for the last four years at Magnes. It happens that we are now one of the longest running sites, saying goodbye to my fourth intern this summer.

I went to my first dinner this week for the Program. I had always forgone the dinners and events, thinking it better that some woman I work with go, even though I was always the one supervising and mentoring the interns. In fact, I have stayed in-touch with all of them and have done all I can to help them professionally.

Rachel did a lot this summer. She was guest tweeter for Magnes, for one thing. She and I read about Michael Jackson's death at the same moment together in the office on twitter.

Rachel really added a lot and she's got skillz, especially as a photographer. You gotta give it to folks, if you want 'em to give back, so Rachel's photographic work graces the cover of the latest edition of the Magnes newsletter opensource and we helped get her published in SF's hip rag 7x7 for Magnes/Oliver Ranch event photos.

Rock on, Rachel!

On her next to last day Yuki Mosher and I went around with Rachel and visited the three main Diego Rivera murals in SF -- City Club, Art Institute and City College -- because Mexican Art's a thing for her, and she had not seen them.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Answer: Tony Rosenthal

Question: Who made the cube at Astor?

Tony Rosenthal, who created “Alamo,” the eternally popular revolving black cube in Astor Place in the East Village, and many other public sculptures, died on Tuesday in Southampton, N.Y. He was 94.

The New York Times
Published: July 31, 2009

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

What Does It Mean?

I do blog maintenance for a blog I love and helped to make for the Western Museums Association called westmuse.

I am sure many, many more of us are cleaning out blog comments from spam folders these days. It's the new chore. And blog comments in spam recently are often like this, right?:

What’s up, is there anybody else here?
If there are any real people here looking to network, leave me a post.
Oh and yes I am a real person LOL.


Diet pills
planet cazmo how to

sometimes I like them. They seem like kind messages, even if I'm sharing that one. Thanks for the kind greetings, Diet pills.


Joseph and Michael

Joseph John Barretto and Michael David Marton are to affirm their partnership on Sunday in a rooftop ceremony at their home in New York. The Rev. Jude Geiger, a Unitarian Universalist minister, is to lead the commitment ceremony.

Mr. Barretto (left), 34, is the director of fund-raising and communications at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, an organization that provides services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, H.I.V.-positive and transgender people who have been victims of violence.

He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and is a candidate for a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Columbia. He is the son of Josefina DueƱas Barretto and the late Rodolfo M. Barretto Jr. His mother is a registered nurse at West Valley Hospital in Goodyear, Ariz.

Mr. Marton, 36, is the vice president of two businesses owned by his mother, Agnes Marton: Dentorium Products, a distributor of dental laboratory supplies, and Gam Real Estate, which manages commercial properties. Both are in New York.

Mr. Marton graduated from Franklin & Marshall College. He is also the son of the late George Marton, who founded the businesses and was their co-president at the time of his death.