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Posts Tagged ‘melena ryzik’

Sometimes it just takes one person to be a catalyst. Internationally known jazz musician Danilo Pérez is a catalyst for a growing jazz scene in his native Panama. He has a special focus on getting young people excited about jazz and giving them a chance to become musicians.

At the NY Times, Melena Ryzik writes, “Even in jazz, which has a long tradition of mentorship, Mr. Pérez, 49, has emerged as a singular figure. Nearly 30 years after he left his native Panama to study jazz composition at Berklee [College of Music in Boston], he has made promoting musicianship in Panama — using music as a springboard, cultural unifier and teaching tool — his life’s work.

“In 2005, a year after he started [a] jazz festival with his family, he created the Danilo Pérez Foundation, a nonprofit center for music education and outreach; the festival, which draws as many as 30,000 people over its six-day run each January, provides money for the foundation. The club, which opened last February at the new American Trade Hotel, a luxe outpost of the Ace Hotel chain, is, in his view, the last piece of the puzzle.”

Read more.

Photo: Jennifer Shanley
Danilo Pérez (right) directs the Berklee Global Jazz Institute inaugural class.

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I’m always interested in new stories about street art and street artists. This one from the NY Times tells how street artist Swoon (otherwise known as Caledonia Curry) has been picked up by art museums.

Melena Ryzik writes, “With a glowing paper cutout pinned over her heart, the artist known as Swoon led a procession through the Brooklyn Museum early one summer night to her installation ‘Submerged Motherlands,’ a site-specific jumble that includes two cantilevered rafts, seemingly cobbled out of junk; a tree, of fabric and wire, that reaches to the rotunda; and nooks of stenciled portraits.

“A sellout crowd was there for a film premiere and multimedia concert, documenting and inspired by Swoon’s travel on the rafts. As the audience sat spellbound, Swoon, her red curls bobbing, flitted around, snapping photos, taking it all in.

“ ‘There’s that feeling that you get when you see something that you don’t understand the origin of: wonderment,’ she said. ‘It brings about a kind of innocence, and I love that. I love to witness it. I love to be a part of making those moments happen.’

“Since she began illegally pasting images around the city 15 years ago, Swoon has inspired a lot of wonderment. Born Caledonia Curry, she started her career as a street artist, but quickly leapfrogged to the attention of gallerists and museum curators, which let her expand to installation and performance art, often with an activist, progressive bent. Her intricate paper-cut portraits and cityscapes, often affixed to walls in hardscrabble places, are meant to disintegrate in place, a refrain to the life around them. Meanwhile, her socially minded work has focused on building cultural hubs for far-flung artistically welcoming communities. …

“ ‘When you look at the work of a lot of her peers, hers stands apart,’ said Sarah Suzuki, an associate curator at the Museum of Modern Art, which bought several Swoon pieces for its permanent collection in 2005. …

“In New Orleans, Swoon helped create a shantytown where each house is a musical instrument. In Braddock, Pa., a dwindling postindustrial landscape, she worked on an arts center in an abandoned church.”

The rest of the NY Times story is here. And you can read more about Caledonia Curry at her website and at wikipedia.

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