Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘arts’

Photo: @elliott.jerome, via Instagram
Installation view of Theresa Chromati’s
Tea Time, with audio accompaniment by Pangelica, at Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts in Brooklyn.

For ten years, I was the editor of a magazine focused lower-income communities, and like this blog, it reflected a lot of my interests. One of the topics I was always on the hunt for was the role of the arts in community development. This study would have fit perfectly.

Isaac Kaplan writes at Artsy, “Arts advocates have long extolled the benefits of culture to personal and neighborhood welfare. While the contention is broadly accepted within the field, the existence of the link has largely been argued without an abundance of data and taken a backseat to economic justifications for arts funding.

“But a two-year study released this month by researchers from the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania has revealed a quantitative relationship between the presence of cultural resources in a neighborhood and key aspects of social well-being, particularly in less advantaged neighborhoods. The research was part of the school’s ongoing Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP).

“Professor Mark J. Stern and SIAP director Susan C. Seifert found that low- and middle-income residents across New York City with more access to cultural resources experience better education, security, and health outcomes compared to residents of neighborhoods with similar economic profiles but with fewer cultural resources. …

“The relative higher presence of cultural resources in lower-income neighborhoods is linked with several health, safety, and education benefits. These include a 14% decrease in indicted investigations of child abuse and neglect, an 18% decrease in felony crime rate and also a 17–18% increase in the number of students scoring at the highest level on standardized Math and English tests. …

“While the report is careful to note that such findings do not mean the arts are causing these outcomes, the link is nonetheless significant within a broader picture. …

“To reach their conclusions, the researchers compiled a ‘cultural asset index’ — an accounting of thousands of nonprofits, for-profits, employed artists, and cultural participants across New York City, drawing on numerous sources, including tax, grant, and administrative data.

“The study complements this data with interviews and discussions with individuals engaged with cultural enterprises across the entire city. …

“The study says that economically disadvantaged areas generally have fewer cultural resources than wealthier parts of the city. But less advantaged communities also had a stronger correlation between the prevalence of cultural resources and social well-being.”

Read more at Artsy, here.

Read Full Post »

Photo: Prezi
Something Shakespeare didn’t have to worry about: expensive energy for productions and emissions that increase global warming.

Christy Romer over at the UK website Arts Professional recently posted on the money British arts groups are saving by cutting their energy emissions — a win for them and a win for the environment.

“Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) have saved £8.7m by cutting greenhouse gas emissions since 2012/13, according to a major new report by environmental charity Julie’s Bicycle. …

“The report draws on data submitted via an online reporting tool, an evaluation survey and case studies, ultimately concluding environmental action is making the sector more financially resilient.

“Compared to doing nothing, the reduction in energy emissions has saved £8.7m since 2012/13. The report predicts that if the 4.5% annual decrease continues until 2019/20, emissions will be 46% lower than in 2012/13 and £54m will have been saved in energy costs.

“Alongside a fall in the overall emissions output, and a fall in the amount of electricity and gas used, there has been a 210% growth in the generation of on-site renewable energy since the project started in 2012/13. …

“Julie’s Bicycle pledges to develop Arts Council England’s (ACE) approach to environmental sustainability at the operational, planning and policy development levels. …

“Darren Henley, Chief Executive of ACE, added: ‘Our collaboration with Julie’s Bicycle is introducing us all to new ways of working. … We all believe that art and culture can make the world a better place; this programme shows how our actions can make a real difference.’ ”

More at Arts Professional, here.

Read Full Post »

Research highlighted at Pacific Standard sometimes strikes me as a little lightweight, but I am happy to endorse a study that Tom Jacobs covered recently, because I have some personal experience. It’s about the benefits of both cultural activities and Internet usage for older people.

Jacobs writes, “A new British study of people age 50 and older finds a link between health literacy — defined as ‘the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information’ — and two specific behaviors: Regular use of the Internet, and participation in cultural activities.

“ ‘Loss of health literacy skills during aging is not inevitable, a research team led by Lindsay Kobayashi of University College London writes in the Journal of Epidemiology and Health. ‘Internet use and engagement in various social activities, in particular cultural activities, appear to help older adults maintain the literary skills required to self-manage health.’

“The study used data on 4,368 men and women age 50 or older who participated in the English Longitudinal Study on Aging. Their health literacy was measured two years after they joined the project, and again five years later, by having them read a fictitious medicine-bottle label and then answer four reading-comprehension questions.”

I am over 50, enjoy cultural events and the Internet, and understand most medicine bottle labels. So there you go. It’s all true.

Get the key details at Pacific Standard.

Photo: Popova Valeriya/Shutterstock 

Read Full Post »

You never know what will turn up at Studio 360, a radio show on the arts. A feature on November 21 explained how one of the legendary jazz greats toilet-trained his cat.

“The jazz musician Charles Mingus was a celebrated band leader and one of the most important composers of his generation. But at the same time he was recording The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, he was working on another masterpiece of sorts. He figured out how to get his cat, Nightlife, to poop in a toilet — and he decided he’d share his method with the world.

The Charles Mingus CAT-alog for Toilet Training Your Cat was a step-by-step guide available for purchase by mail. It’s full of charming advice and meticulous pedagogical detail:

“Here’s an excerpt from Step 1:

Once your cat is trained to use a cardboard box, start moving the box around the room, towards the bathroom. If the box is in a corner, move it a few feet from the corner, but not very noticeably. If you move it too far, he may go to the bathroom in the original corner. Do it gradually. You’ve got to get him thinking. Then he will gradually follow the box as you move it to the bathroom. (Important: if you already have it there, move it out of the bathroom, around, and then back. He has to learn to follow it. If it is too close to the toilet, to begin with, he will not follow it up onto the toilet seat when you move it there.) A cat will look for his box. …

“Reporter Jody Avirgan put the method to the test on four-month-old kitten Dizzy. His owners, Kevin and Nicole, even played Mingus throughout the process.”

More at Studio 360, here, including a recording of the show.

Photo: Jody Avirgan
Dizzy the cat is interviewed for Studio 360.

Read Full Post »

No matter how much you like your routine or how pleasant your surroundings, sometimes you just have to get up and go out. Today I needed a change of scene so, in spite of the freezing temperatures and high wind, I went to look at some art.

The Design Museum is not far from my office, and the folks there come up with lots of good projects. I blogged here about their Street Seats, an array of public benches designed by creative people from around the world.

This being Design Week in Boston, I decided to check out the exhibit space they are using in a new apartment building called 315 on A, a lovely renovation of an 18th century warehouse for coffee.

The new exhibit is called Green Patriot Posters and features handsome posters from professionals as well as the pretty impressive results of a school poster contest on the conservation theme.

Many of the posters explicitly reference WW II posters. You know: “Loose lips sink ships” and all that. Here, the posters urge viewers to pursue a more sustainable way of life and fight global warming. More.

Be sure to check the poster over the left shoulder of the woman speaker in this video. That was my favorite in the show because it made me laugh out loud. I think you can see a Paul Bunyan figure with an ax. He is looking at the tree he was going to cut with an uncertain expression as the tree is growing out of his foot.

 

 

Read Full Post »

The Blackstone Parks Conservancy sent out this invitation, and we went.

“We invite you to attend the family event: Build your own Fairy House! This event was originally part of the summer series of family programs given by the Blackstone Parks Conservancy. Due to its rousing success, we are offering it again as part of Playful Providence, a citywide event organized by the Partnership for Providence Parks and the Providence Parks Department. Join us at the Field on River Road, across from the Narragansett Boat Club.”

Cardboard forms that you could fold into houses were on hand. On top you could apply a layer of something like sand-colored Play-Doh, with actual sand in it. Next you could choose from a gorgeous array of seedpods, acorns, leaves, twigs, and other fruits of nature — and stick them into the “mortar” — the way a fairy would like them — before the clay dried.

Our middle grandchild was a little young for it, but he liked running around in the park and watching the rowing lessons on the Seekonk nearby.

I would like to try fairy houses again someday soon. Just collecting the pieces of nature to be used would be fun for a child.

Read about the conservancy and future events here.

blackstone-valley-fun

to-make-fairy-castles

Read Full Post »

Matadero was an old abandoned slaughterhouse in Madrid. Lately it has been “evolving into a cultural laboratory, where a new arts financing strategy is being tested.” So says Doreen Carvajal in the NY Times.

“Companies and institutions are providing financial support to supplement dwindling government arts subsidies, but with a twist: they don’t just send checks, they move in.

“Within the walled 59,000-square-foot center, there are public theaters and exhibition spaces that last year drew more than 500,000 visitors for music and art events and avant-garde plays. But five new residents are private institutions, including a designers’ association, a publishing house’s foundation and offices of Red Bull, the Austrian energy drink maker.

“They are in the compound rent-free for now, but have invested millions in the remodeling of pavilions there, as well as in programming, from art exhibitions to music festivals.

“These new partnerships are forged, out of necessity, here in Spain, where government support for culture has plunged by almost 50 percent over the last four years, a result of a lingering economic crisis that hit late in 2008.”

Some observers worry about the downsides of corporations having a big influence on what art gets shown, but haven’t the arts always had to have some help from patrons or companies?

Probably it pays just to be wary, to recognize when there is undue influence, and to push back. Certainly smaller, more experimental projects are unlikely to find a home under a Red Bull banner.

Read more at the Times, here.

Photo: Carlos Luján for The International Herald Tribune
Inside Matadero Madrid: A closer look at the arts complex.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »