It Has to Be Bigger Than You

Posted by Jesus A. Reyes, May 07, 2018 0 comments

When my mother died I felt a shift. When my first nephew was born, I felt another shift. Both events happened in the span of six months. Suddenly, theatre as I knew it didn’t matter in the same way anymore. At the exact same time my journey with mentor Diane Rodriguez of Center Theatre Group, with the support of a TCG Future Leaders Grant, allowed me to make a living working in theatre. The grant, and Diane’s network, unlocked new opportunities that I had long dreamed about. One day I realized that for me theatre was bigger than me, that my family was bigger than me, that the remaining three years that I would share with my elderly aunt and the unknown years I would spend with my nephew (plus two additional nephews later) was bigger than me. I was no longer moved solely by trying to be a powerful director and a mover and shaker of the theatre sector; there were many things bigger than me that I had responsibility for.

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Joyful Work: Music in the Community

Posted by Vijay Gupta, May 07, 2018 0 comments

As artists, it’s our job to tell stories and to ask questions. The great “masterpieces” I play as a symphonic musician were written to tell the stories of communities, as much as they were written for what we might perceive as some grandiose idea of individual expression. I have dedicated my life to studying and performing the works of these great masters, largely in part because I will always be humbled by their craft and their music. We will always be humbled by the opportunity to hear—and play—something new in the music we love. But we have to ask the question—do we truly reflect the vibrancy and power of our communities just by playing the music of old, dead, white men? What’s our modern day “Messiah”? What is the sound of America, today, now?

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Welcome to the Emerging Leaders Blog Salon

Posted by Brea Heidelberg, May 07, 2018 0 comments

The arts field has begun to open its minds and hearts to the chorus of voices that have been on the outside for far too long. Many organizations are (finally) taking a critical look internally to investigate and interrogate the many ways in which the field has been built upon, and continues to perpetuate, problematic practices that demonstrate bias against under-represented groups. A lot of the changes have been procedural, to date. There are many of us waiting with bated breath to see if practical change occurs and is maintained. Despite the psychological and emotional hurdles many artists and arts administrators of color experience during their respective journeys in the field, we have hope. This year, Americans for the Arts’ Emerging Leaders Council wanted to show gratitude for that hope by offering a substantive means of acknowledgement through this week’s blog salon.

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Mothers and Arts make a Symphony of Family Life

Posted by Dorothy McSweeny, May 04, 2018 0 comments

How lucky I was to grow up in San Antonio, Texas, surrounded by its wonderful mixed culture, Texan and Mexican. My dear mother, Mary Dorothy, a war widow in 1942, brought my brother George and me back to her home and made certain that the arts and culture of our Texas and Mexican heritage was an integral part of our lives, education, and development. It didn’t hurt that she was part of the Maverick clan, one of the founding families of the city and also one of the most liberal. Their love of the arts also was shared with their love of politics, and I learned at an early age how to blend the two into resources for museums, educational arts projects, theaters, and, of course, our great annual Fiesta San Jacinto. Mother sparked my curiosity, drove me everywhere, dear thing, and even put up with one period where I added the viola to my repertoire. My poor mother!

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Great Art Knows No Boundaries

Posted by Dr. Fred Bronstein, May 03, 2018 0 comments

It is exciting and remarkable news that the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in music went to rapper Kendrick Lamar for his album DAMN. Lamar is the first composer outside of the classical or jazz arenas to be awarded a Pulitzer. And one of the critical subtexts of his win is the message that it sends about how musical boundaries are uncontained—they are breaking down. For too long we have seen art and music as a function of silos—pop here, classical over there, jazz somewhere else, you get the idea. It doesn’t work anymore. It is artificial. In fact, I would argue that the worst thing that ever happened to classical music was when it became walled off from the broader culture early in the 20th century.

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Arts Integrated AND Bilingual

Posted by Ms. Danel Malan, May 02, 2018 0 comments

So many teachers and other artists have asked, “Why bilingual?”, because it was how I wanted to share Latino culture through language, my personal mission as an Artistic Director. Then the old lightbulb exploded and for two years of graduate school I started (and continue) to work on my case study. Working in two counties and several schools, I have set out to quantitatively measure the percentage of higher comprehensive learning from students who have participated in one of our bilingual arts-integrated residencies. It has been exciting research for a data nerd because it is a unique study. I had to piecemeal it together: studies in arts integration, studies in bilingual integration, and all the other forms of both in between—for example, arts-learning does not necessarily imply arts-integrated.

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