Blog Posts for connect

Spotlight on 2020 Johnson Fellowship Nominees: Music as the Heart of Equitable Neighborhood Development

Posted by Ms. Pam Korza, Jul 20, 2020 0 comments

This last post in our ARTSblog series featuring nominees for the 2020 Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities celebrates Eddy Kwon—musician, educator, program designer, and facilitator of equitable community development. Integrating music as a fundamental component of Price Hill Will, a community development organization in Cincinnati, Kwon’s impacts are many and draw upon their own unique artistry and artistic vision, sustained work in creative youth development, and innovative initiatives in creative citizenship. First, Eddy Kwon is a composer, violinist, jazz musician, and improviser, performing as a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and with musicians from the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Kwon is equally a community leader who works daily at the intersection of creative youth development, creative citizenship, and equitable community development. 

Read More

Spotlight on 2020 Johnson Fellowship Nominees: The Power of Cultural Roots to Ground & Enlighten

Posted by Ms. Pam Korza, Jul 14, 2020 0 comments

Musical traditions hold a unique power in cultural belonging and identity for the communities and cultures from which they grow. Preservation and performance can be a political act of cultural self-determination, expression, and continuity. The stories, meaning, and sounds embodied by traditional music can gain new power for new audiences and broader communities, when linked to contemporary issues and concerns. The four extraordinary musicians featured in this installment of our blog series celebrating nominees for the 2020 Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities draw upon cultural traditions and sometimes stretch and merge them with other forms to embrace a broader holistic view of culture and humanity. These musicians are: Dom Flemons, American roots ambassador; the Reverend John Wilkins, a bearer of blues-influenced gospel of Mississippi hill country; Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, a Black Indian and jazz-rooted genre-blind innovator; and Tiokasin Ghosthorse, master player of the ancient red cedar Lakota flute. 

Read More

Imagining a post-pandemic art world

Posted by Mr. John R. Killacky, Jul 10, 2020 0 comments

Today, the convergence of COVID-19 closing down public events, along with the explosive outrage with continued police carnage in communities of color, brings us to a similar inflection point as the late 1960s. Once again, a fundamental shift wherein art is stripped of any pretense is emerging. As well, the enormous chasm between aesthetics and inequity must be addressed as systemic racism is dismantled. Perhaps it is a gift that we are currently forced to live in a continuous present, with no past, and no future, just now. Artists and organizations are re-examining their practices. Art can no longer be treated solely as a transactional product, with audience as consumers. What is important now is how culture can be essential in our communities. We are in this liminal moment imagining a post-pandemic art world. The opportunity in this crisis will be lost, if in hindsight we simply rush to put everything back together the way it was.

Read More

How 2020 is Changing Your Audience and What to do About It

Posted by Mrs. Sara R. Leonard, Jul 09, 2020 0 comments

If, as arts administrators, we cover our eyes and believe that we just need to hold fast to all that we’ve known about our organizations, our communities, and our audiences until the fog lifts, we risk missing opportunities to engage audiences old and new even as our communities are changed in this period of pandemic and civic unrest.

Read More

Spotlight on 2020 Johnson Fellowship Nominees: Creating Space(s) to Activate Artistic and Cultural Movements

Posted by Ms. Pam Korza, Jun 30, 2020 0 comments

Venus De Mars and Luke Stewart are among the 11 exemplary music artist nominees for Americans for the Arts’ 2020 Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities featured in our ongoing ARTSblog series. At different career stages, these artist-activists may be considered by some on the musical fringes. What they hold in common is a steady and deliberate dedication to bringing their communities out of the margins and advancing and improving conditions for them to thrive. As a punk rock singer-songwriter and transgender woman, Venus’ performances, speaking, and compassionate presence have created spaces of affirmation and communion for transgender people and fostered openness and understanding among audiences across the gender spectrum. Luke moves effortlessly between artist communities in jazz, DIY punk rock, and, most of all, improvised music. He uses his improvisation skills to be alert to and advance conditions that will allow musicians across these genres to create, perform, and learn from one another, while expanding appreciation and audiences for their work.

Read More

Spotlight on 2020 Johnson Fellowship Nominees: Women Musicians Elevating Black Culture, History, & Contemporary Music for Change

Posted by Ms. Pam Korza, Jun 16, 2020 0 comments

In this blog, we feature Courtney Bryan and Ashleigh Gordon, two of the 11 music artists who were the exemplary nominees for the 2020 Johnson Fellowship. As consummate musicians in contemporary genres, each thrives on the stimulation of artistic collaboration with fellow musicians, poets, writers, and dancers, but also drives the collective work that builds strength as socially engaged artists. These artists advance self-representation and advocate for cultural equity in the music field, creating music and curating programs that showcase and elevate Black culture and excellence. Importantly, themes of racial justice serve as sources of inspiration and a reservoir of strength in their ongoing support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Committed to spirit and always to beauty, Bryan’s music responds to the present, confronting contemporary social injustices in her home city of New Orleans and across the globe. In her home community of Boston, Gordon is a musical force whose goal is to foster cultural curiosity about, and celebrate the music of, Black composers.

Read More