Blog Posts for connect

Member Spotlight: Lawren Desai

Posted by Abigail Alpern Fisch, Dec 14, 2020 0 comments

Lawren Desai is the executive director and curator of a/perture cinema in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In January 2020, a/perture cinema celebrated its 10th anniversary of serving the Winston-Salem community the art of film and providing a communal cinematic experience. As an art house cinema, a/perture’s mission is to entertain and engage the community through the art of film by showcasing informative, educational, thought-provoking, and inspiring films—the films that enrich our lives, engage our minds, promote diversity, and build community. Desai spoke with us about the inception of a/perture cinema, the organization’s adaption to COVID-19, as well as the organization’s plans going forward. 

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Pop-up Art Inspires Hope in Downtown Salina, Kansas

Posted by Anna V. Pauscher Morawitz, Dec 08, 2020 0 comments

While we long for the time when we can gather to experience the arts together, at Salina Arts & Humanities we found a solution for the month of October while celebrating National Arts & Humanities Month: pop-up art installations. As we returned to work from stay-at-home orders and furlough, we discussed new ways of changing lives and building community. We asked: How can we follow public health guidelines, encourage engagement in the arts, hire local visual artists and writers, and inspire creativity in our newly reconstructed downtown? The staff at Salina Arts & Humanities (who wrapped trees and poles in cotton fabric to kick off the downtown project) in collaboration with three poets, three yarn artists, and three chalk artists pulled off an active recognition of National Arts & Humanities month in Salina, Kansas, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Member Spotlight: Andressa Furletti

Posted by Abigail Alpern Fisch, Dec 07, 2020 0 comments

Originally from Brazil, Andressa Furletti is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York. She is the co-founder and artistic director of Group Dot BR, New York’s only Brazilian theater company. Group Dot BR's mission is to present Brazilian culture through the performing arts. It serves enthusiasts of multicultural arts, contemporary, physical, and avant-garde theater. Group Dot BR's productions always incorporate the Portuguese language (with English subtitles when present), offering audiences the opportunity to connect with the sound and musicality of the Brazilian language. In the wake of COVID-19, Group Dot BR initiated the NY Brazilian Artists Fund to support immigrant artists from the Brazilian community in New York facing financial hardship because of the pandemic. 

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Art and Social Justice: A Digital Archive of Street Art & Protest

Posted by Dr. Heather Shirey, Dec 03, 2020 0 comments

Artworks created in the streets are by nature ephemeral and have the ability to capture raw and immediate individual and community responses; the meaning of these pieces is negotiated and shifts over time. The Urban Art Mapping research team, an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students based at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, began working in early June to collect digital documentation of street art that emerged in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, ranging from monumental murals to small stickers and including commissioned art as well as unsanctioned pieces. We have seen that the art made in response to this act of injustice is an expression of the anger, frustration, and pain felt in communities across this country and around the world that needs to be preserved. Beyond serving as a repository for this art, the database was created as a resource for students, activists, scholars, and artists by way of metadata, including a description of key themes, geolocations, and dates of documentation. We are actively seeking contributions to the database through crowdsourcing in order to capture the global scale of this powerful call for change. 

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You Can Survive Unemployment in the Arts

Posted by Ms. Patricia Walsh, Nov 30, 2020 0 comments

The 2020 economic collapse has been compared to the Great Depression by economists—and the arts and culture sector is not immune to the financial devastation impacting many sectors across the U.S.  Since March, Americans for the Arts has continually tracked the financial impact across the arts sector. As of Nov. 16, 35% of nonprofit arts organizations have had to lay off or furlough staff, and 10% are not confident they will survive the pandemic. The Great Recession of the late 2000s had a direct impact on my employment as the public art coordinator for the City of San Jose, California. The public art funding was tied up with other municipal funds, including bond projects and general funding. By the 2011 budget cycle the city realized that to cover its financial needs, hundreds of their employees were going to have to be let go, and yours truly was swept up in that massive layoff. It took me over a year and a half to find full time work again. During that time, I learned some things that I hope can help some of you out there who may be facing the prospect of unemployment or have already lost a job.

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Toolkit Developed by Artists Keeps Creatives Working During COVID-19

Posted by Ms. Jen Krava, Nov 20, 2020 0 comments

“This toolkit was born out of a desire to fight despair,” shares Candida Gonzalez, artist and consultant to Forecast, a nonprofit for artists working in the public space. “I watched in disbelief as many friends all over the country lost their projects and gigs. Rather than pausing to think on alternatives, many funders’ knee-jerk response to the pandemic was to pull funding and cancel projects.” This despair birthed an idea from the team at Forecast for a toolkit created and launched in April 2020 with artists, arts organizations, presenting organizations, and others collaborating with artists in mind. “Innovation in the Time of COVID” is designed to be an ever-evolving platform that contains strategies for adapting in-person arts-based activities during the COVID-19 pandemic for everyone to share, use, and contribute to. Forecast continues to develop the toolkit based on open-source input from artists and arts organizations and examples of how they are adapting in-person arts-based projects. 

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