Research, Musing and the Collective Consciousness (Part One)

This blog post has been shared with permission of artist Margie Darrow from her blog, and was originally written on Sept. 19, 2012. Margie Darrow is a freelance visual artist based in Long Beach, CA. She works in a wide variety of art work mediums and styles. Nature, history and counter culture inspire her artwork. Her primary medium is acrylic pant utilized in an abstract style of cubism on both traditional canvases and wood cut artwork. Margie currently maintains a residency studio at the Art Exchange on 3rd Street and Elm in downtown Long beach. She is an active participant in Long Beach’s art activities with a monthly Open Studio event every 2nd Saturday and a Drawing Group every Third Thursday. 

Her work is currently exhibited alongside Kurt Simonson, Annie Stromquist, Jessica Kondrath, and Jeff Foye as part of “SHINE: Long Beach 2014 Professional Artist Fellows” at The Collaborative, located at 421 W. Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802. “SHINE” will be on display at The Collaborative thru April 5, 2014.

shipwreakLG 150x150 Research, Musing and the Collective Consciousness (Part One) Research, Musing and the Collective Consciousness
Part ONE

How do artists get their ideas, inspiration and ability?

Speaking for myself – I view the ability to make art like any other skill. Granted, that may not be a dreamy way to look at it, but I believe people are born with aptitudes.
As a result an artist has built-in natural pool of abilities to draw from that makes them well suited in problem solving in creativity.
(And believe me – making art entails LOTS of problem solving. If it doesn’t – it’s a clear indication you’re re-creating the same art over and over again and not pushing yourself)

As a kid, we didn’t have tons of toys – and my sister and I made lots of things to amuse ourselves – so I created stuff all through childhood.
Creating things just made sense to me – plus the gratification that I continued to improve – so naturally, I stuck with it (human nature). Because the next step for all skills is practice – thru school or individually – but its just practice, practice and more practice.

Research is key to my creative process. Research comes in many forms -
reading, writing, futzing around with different materials, walking, talking thinking, and sometimes “dreaming” a creative solution or idea. Some days it feels I don’t have an imagination – an empty desert. But by using research in one or two or three of these forms eventually lights that fire back in the brain to connect and idea to a completed piece of artwork.

By nature – I am not a very spontaneous. But when opportunity permits – I will fly by the seat of my pants for “LIVE ART” performances. I still maintain for me – this is due to my prior countless hours of alone painting time.
You know what else – Live painting is fun! – Exhausting…yet really fun – even for an introvert like myself – Fun is a motivator!

I haven’t created a Live Art piece in a nearly a year – and tonight off I go – to paint for the “Talk Like a Pirate Day Party”. I suspect that I will have a really good time – but as with any push outside our comfort zone – I do feel the “anticipation” in my stomach.

AHOY – Ye nervous belly – Ahrgg – you will walk the plank! And Paint like a Pirate!
*As a notation to this post – Here is the LIVE Painting that I produced from the talk like a pirate event. And yes, It was fun.

For more information about Margie Darow please visit her site and take a look at her other works and upcoming events. 

September 7th, 2013 A LOT Central!

It’s Time for A LOT!

The Arts Council for Long Beach are thrilled to announce that applications for A LOT 2014 are now available on its webpage, http://www.artslb.org/alot-initiative. This application is for art experiences to take place in vacant lots throughout Long Beach in October 2014. There are two separate applications this year, including a new Curatorial Partner application.
Artist Partner: Join the Arts Council for Long Beach as an Artist Partner for A LOT 2014! The Arts Council for Long Beach seeks qualified performers, artists, artist groups and organizations capable of and committed to creating performance-based artwork that activates vacant lots. We seek qualified community-conscious partners committed to close-to-home collaboration and artistic engagement with local residents.

Curatorial Partner: The Arts Council for Long Beach is proud to announce a new artist opportunity for A LOT 2014: Curatorial Partner. The Arts Council for Long Beach seeks qualified arts organizations to curate a selection of art experiences and performance-based artwork that activates vacant lots. Each applicant may submit one proposal that details the type of event they would produce, how this would serve local audiences, how they would engage local neighborhoods and audiences, and information on the organization’s qualifications for this project. A Curatorial Partner should be prepared to program between 2 and 5 hours of art experiences.

Application materials can be found at http://www.artslb.org/alot-initiative.

The application deadline is April 21, 2014 at 5pm. There will be a technical workshop at The Collaborative (421 W. Broadway) at 6pm on April 1, 2014. Please RSVP to Shay.Kulha@ArtsLB.Org.

A LOT 2014 will be presented in two distinct locations throughout October 2014. The initiative consists of performance-based artwork designed to activate vacant lots in various Long Beach neighborhoods and engage residents in the arts. The program will offer free performances in dance, music, theatre and spoken word by Long Beach-based artists and organizations in non-traditional venues in neighborhoods that traditionally have been underserved by arts organizations. The project is intended to increase access to the arts and broaden the audience to include both the intentional viewer and the casual passer-by. The goal is to expand who engages in the arts and where they engage. At the end of the day, this work is all about artists who want to work to improve their communities.

Background

The A LOT initiative’s primary goal is to provide an opportunity for residents of Long Beach to enjoy & engage in the arts.

A LOT is a community-wide initiative presented by the Arts Council for Long Beach in collaboration with partners throughout the City of Long Beach, California. A LOT seeks to broaden audience and artist engagement, linking arts and culture with local neighborhoods. Through music, dance, theatre and numerous other art forms, A LOT presents free arts experiences on vacant lots in traditionally underserved areas of the city through the end of August 2014. Our hope is that Long Beach will become just a bit smaller and more intimate, drawing residents together to celebrate the City’s rich culture. Mark your calendars, grab your friends and family, and get ready for a good time!

The A LOT experience in Long Beach will add to the national conversation about creative placemaking. As the City’s arts agency whose mission is to foster creativity and culture, enlivening communities and enabling a thriving economy, the Arts Council is honored to be leading this initiative. Founded in 1976 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization and governed by a local board of directors, the Arts Council believes the vibrant art scene makes Long Beach a premiere destination for residents, businesses, students and visitors.

A LOT was made possible by a grant from the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) received by the Arts Council. Long Beach was the only city in Southern California selected to receive an Our Town grant and only one of six to receive the largest grant of $150,000 over two years. As a matching grant, the Arts Council must rely on the generosity of local individuals, businesses, organizations, government and private foundations to raise the additional $150,000 needed to fully implement A LOT.

Virginia Broersma

Meet Virginia

This week’s blog post is a guest article written by local artist and blogger, Virginia Broersma. She writes about what attracted her to Long Beach, her choice to maintain a studio in Inglewood, and offers her perspective on the arts in Long Beach.

I am a Southern California native, but have been moving around the country trying out different places and time zones for the past several years. After three years in Chicago where 75% of that time I was trying to find methods of thawing out my soul (the cold goes deep there!) I finally moved back to California. As an artist, Los Angeles seemed like the obvious choice as it offers so many opportunities and I wanted to be a part of it. Living in LA, however, was not so appealing. I decided to move to Long Beach for its less congested streets, its proximity to the ocean, its low cost of living – all while being in close proximity to LA.

It was still important to me to have a studio closer to LA though and I ended up at the Beacon Arts Building, which is in Inglewood and is a great community of working artists. I need to be accessible to people in LA – curators, collectors and other artists that visit my studio.  I also want to be central to everything LA has to offer with gallery receptions, artist talks, screenings, performances, etc., so that I never had to think twice about the drive if there was an event I want to attend.

Even though I spend a great deal of time north of the 105, Long Beach plays an important role in my life: it gives me a quality of life that helps support my work as an artist. It gives me the escape that I need after working a long six-day work week between my studio and various other jobs. It’s relaxed and while it continues to get cleaned up, it  is still colorful and rough around the edges. My neighborhood feels “right” to me – I am not surrounded by highly priced designer boutiques that I will never be able to afford  or cookie cutter strip malls that deny any uniqueness or creativity to their surroundings. Instead there are coffee houses, excellent small businesses, plenty of open parks, free yoga classes on the bluff everyday, and (at least on my routes) no traffic! It definitely supports my well-being.

I would love to see more opportunities for artists in Long Beach though. There are very few exhibition spaces and what seems to me to be limited interest in art in general from the community. I think eyes are focused on LA when it comes to art, so Long Beach’s challenge is to figure out how it can hold a place for itself next to such a giant art center. I think that developing a community that is attractive for artists is the starting point; when artists have the opportunity to exercise their ideas and be productive, I think they start to draw attention and interest. Finding ways to support and bring visibility to artists’ studios and encouraging pop-up exhibitions and alternative spaces would be a great place to start.

Back up at my studio, I am currently working on  a group of paintings that are headed in a slightly new direction from my previous work. I have been making paintings for quite a while now that have been focused on the portrait. They have gone from highly realistic to a more abstract visual vocabulary, and I am now expanding my paintings in both scale and subject matter to include more of the body. These new paintings continue to move forward with the abstraction and are at a point now where I am inventing form that references the human body and seems familiar, but you can’t quite identify it. They have some new challenges and new potential so I’m pretty excited about them;  I am always interested in heading into unfamiliar territory in the studio – it’s a good place to be.

You can view my work at www.virginiabroersma.com and if you are interested in reading conversations I’ve had with other artists in their studios, you can check out my blog: A Studio Affair at http://studioaffair.wordpress.com/

Arts Council for Long Beach Announces Artist Fellows and Exhibition of Their Work

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: John Glaza, Executive Director

Arts Council for Long Beach

350 Elm Avenue

Long Beach, CA 90802

(562) 435-ARTS (2787), Ext. 107 
john.glaza@artslb.org

Image

Photo Credits: Jessica Kondrath, Jeff Foye, Margie Darrow, Kurt Simonson, and Annie Stromquist.

 

Arts Council for Long Beach Announces Artist Fellows and Exhibition of Their Work

The Arts Council for Long Beach announced today that they have selected five local artists to receive a 2013-14 Long Beach Professional Artist Fellowship.  These five artists were selected following the ACLB’s independent review of annual grant applications for an artist fellowship.  Each artist will receive a cash stipend and an opportunity to share their work with the community at a public exhibition at The Collaborative. 

The Artist Fellowship honors a selection of Long Beach’s living artists. These awards recognize exemplary artists for their recent work. Eligible artists must reside in Long Beach and demonstrate an active exhibition and/or production record of at least three years. Awards are granted based on artistic merit and professional achievement.

The exhibition at The Collaborative entitled SHINE will present the work of this year’s artist fellows – Margie Darrow, Jeff Foye, Jessica Kondrath, Annie Stromquist and Kurt Simonson.  These local artists represent a unique cross-section of the Long Beach artist community.  Together their work spans a broad variety of media, including video, photography, painting, mixed media, dance and wood cutting.  The variety in background and artistic practice emphasizes the diversity for which Long Beach is known.

Nature, history and counter culture inspire Darrow’s artwork. In the breadth and scope of her art remains a common thread – the underlying desire to tell a factual story of the earth’s inhabitants and their transitory etching upon it.

Jeff Foye

For the past six years Jeff Foye has been making video and performance work in collaboration with Gordon Winiemko under the name JEFF&GORDON. Foye’s artwork engages with the social customs and cultural idioms that underlie both how we distinguish ourselves as individuals and how we relate to each other in the social sphere.

Jessica Kondrath

Kondrath’s choreography is primarily derived from the musical score. Her works craft a visual representation of the music so that the work may be experienced both visually and aurally.  She creates movement that is both beautiful and awkward at once, utilizing counterpoint to illuminate the visual presence of elasticity within the body.  Kondrath’s work also investigates and seeks to bring awareness to the relationship between audience and performer.

Annie Stromquist

Stromquist’s mixed media on paper explores the human condition through a poetic lens. Her images are abstract and minimalist with empty space used as an active presence. The scale, typically small, reflects a desire to create images whose evocative power unfolds within an intimate viewing context.

Kurt Simonson

Simonson’s photography is a lyrical and strange family album, a collection of photographs that speak to his search for home, a journey to find a sense of belonging, a sense of place and ultimately a deep desire to find a connection to family and community. His body of work revolves around the tensions and questions that surround this search.

The opening for this exhibition is scheduled for Saturday, February 1, 2014 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.  The exhibition runs through March 22, 2014. 

The Collaborative, a public art project of the Arts Council for Long Beach and the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA), presents exhibitions that raise awareness of both emerging artists and innovative approaches to art. This unique partnership is made possible with the support of Lyon Communities, Gallery 421 and the City of Long Beach. 

The Arts Council for Long Beach was established in 1976 by the City of Long Beach to respond to the needs of the growing local arts community and to develop cultural resources. As the city’s arts agency, it functions as a private 501(c)(3) organization. The Arts Council’s mission is to foster creativity and culture, enlivening communities and enabling a thriving economy.  ACLB’s vision is the vibrant arts scene makes Long Beach the premiere destination for residents, businesses, students and visitors.  The Council receives annual city support, as well as support from individuals, corporations, foundations and other governmental entities.  For more information including dates and locations of future board meetings, visit their website at: www.artslb.org.

# # #

Our Town Grant Round 3- An Inside the NEA Look

We are so pleased to be a part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town grant! Creative placemaking is an exciting, challenging, and IMPORTANT part of what  A LOT is aimed to achieve in the fall. It is hard to believe that there are other, equally as awesome, projects all over working on creative placemaking. Here is a blog post from NEA’s Art Works.

NEA’s Our Town at 3, Or Happily Entering the Unknown

July 17, 2013

by Jason Schupbach, NEA Director of Design

Jason Schupbach. Photo courtesy of Mr. Schupbach

 

Today we announced the third round of Our Town grants. These will bring us up to 190(!) grants in all 50 states plus DC, with all shapes and sizes of communities doing creative placemaking.

 

Some very cool new types of projects popped up this year. For the first time ever we’re funding an opera company as the lead grantee: the Nashville Opera will hold a competition to write short operas which will be performed in unique places in Nashville, including some famous country music honkytonks. Those performances will be “can’t miss” moments, I’m sure, and are part of the city’s ambitions to be known as THE music city. Also for the first time this year, two rural projects, a theater-based one in the mountains of Virginia, and another on the Canadian border of Maine focusing on Acadian culture, feature multiple small towns and arts organizations collaborating to work on creative placemaking projects together.

 

What’s been really special for me this past year, however, has been the explosion of interest in the topic of creative placemaking itself. I’ve been working for 10 years in the space where the arts meet community development trying to figure out exactly what it means to weave the arts into urban and rural planning practices. The same hard questions keep coming up, many of which need much more attention than they’ve gotten over the years. Don’t get me wrong—there have been great thinkers on these topics for a long time, but it’s been a limited room.

 

So it was a joy to see so many of the nation’s art thinkers, policymakers, and artists engage in some good ol’ policy wrangling around this movement in a serious way. Whether it’s the rich conversation around “belonging” (which I interpret as a call for understanding on how to do this work in a way that is authentic to a place’s culture and assets) or the age old questions of artists and their supposed role in gentrification or—everyone’s favorite topic!—just how we are all going to go about measuring the impact of these projects, everywhere I go people are talking about how to do creative placemaking. Many of these conversations are also long-standing policy struggles in the community planning world, and it’s been awesome to see so many arts folks grapple with these difficult issues from their perspective.

 

However, something unique is also happening—call it silo busting or cross-disciplinary work—but folks are talking to each other in new ways that are exciting and challenging for all. It’s amazing to see at the local level that all kinds of government offices are seriously engaged in conversation around how to insert the arts into their development plans. But I think the uniqueness of this moment goes beyond that, as so many atypical folks are dedicated to the success of arts projects in these communities. This year’s 59 Our Town grant projects include more than 437 partners, everything from community development organizations to hospitals to banks to shopping malls to Univision.

 

What’s clear is that starting all of this cross-disciplinary work is enormously challenging for many communities who don’t have the tools at hand to implement projects. For example, a local transit office just might not have the capacity on staff to work with artists, and vice versa—local arts organizations may not have the capacity to work with a local transit agency, etc.

 

While we absolutely want to help steward these processes, I think it’s all part of the growing pains in many places as the arts finally have their proper place at the table in community development conversations. And, actually, not knowing all the facts heading into a project together as partners can be a good thing.

 

I was really struck by this concept when reading Malcom Gladwell’s recent review of Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman by the Princeton historian Jeremy Adelman. In it Gladwell talks about Hirschmann’s somewhat radical theories of how to achieve success.

 

Hirschman wrote: “Creativity always comes as a surprise to us; therefore we can never count on it and we dare not believe in it until it has happened. In other words, we would not consciously engage upon tasks whose success clearly requires that creativity be forthcoming. Hence, the only way in which we can bring our creative resources fully into play is by misjudging the nature of the task, by presenting it to ourselves as more routine, simple, undemanding of genuine creativity than it will turn out to be.”

 

Basically he says that if we all knew how hard these projects were going to be from the beginning, we wouldn’t do it in the first place. But it’s that notion of risk-taking that can produce massive creativity and achieve the best results.

 

While it’s important to take every philosopher with a grain of salt, I think this line of thinking is especially true for creative placemaking projects. Not only are you entering into the unknown in many cases, but purposefully inserting creative people into the process. That’s the beauty of working with creative people, right? That there will be unforeseen consequences and experiences.

 

Many grantees (and applicants) have contacted us and said just how many unexpected and beneficial things have happened by entering into these new conversations in their communities. Of course, how we value and measure the unforeseen is a whole other can of worms I’d love to see folks grapple with.

 

In conclusion, a national conversation is taking place around how to do creative placemaking in a way that is authentic, respectful to artists, and builds on assets existing in communities. The Arts Endowment continues to lead on the issue with a number of initiatives to assist the field in developing this practice locally. These include a multitude of webinars, blog posts, and other media, and also an online e-storybook featuring case studies and lessons learned from 75 of our initial 152 investments in creative placemaking that will be launched next year (we announced the awesome team working on this in this year’s Our Town press release). With these resources and others being developed by long-time partners like Americans for the Arts, creative placemakers will continue to mature, refine, and amaze with their work to make the U.S. a better place.

 

Want to learn more about how we support creative placemaking at the NEA? Visit the Our Town page on arts.gov.

- See more at: http://artworks.arts.gov/?p=17335#sthash.lRwGa4Mp.dpuf

NEA’s Our Town at 3, Or Happily Entering the Unknown

July 17, 2013

by Jason Schupbach, NEA Director of Design

Jason Schupbach. Photo courtesy of Mr. Schupbach

Today we announced the third round of Our Town grants. These will bring us up to 190(!) grants in all 50 states plus DC, with all shapes and sizes of communities doing creative placemaking.

Some very cool new types of projects popped up this year. For the first time ever we’re funding an opera company as the lead grantee: the Nashville Opera will hold a competition to write short operas which will be performed in unique places in Nashville, including some famous country music honkytonks. Those performances will be “can’t miss” moments, I’m sure, and are part of the city’s ambitions to be known as THE music city. Also for the first time this year, two rural projects, a theater-based one in the mountains of Virginia, and another on the Canadian border of Maine focusing on Acadian culture, feature multiple small towns and arts organizations collaborating to work on creative placemaking projects together.

What’s been really special for me this past year, however, has been the explosion of interest in the topic of creative placemaking itself. I’ve been working for 10 years in the space where the arts meet community development trying to figure out exactly what it means to weave the arts into urban and rural planning practices. The same hard questions keep coming up, many of which need much more attention than they’ve gotten over the years. Don’t get me wrong—there have been great thinkers on these topics for a long time, but it’s been a limited room.

So it was a joy to see so many of the nation’s art thinkers, policymakers, and artists engage in some good ol’ policy wrangling around this movement in a serious way. Whether it’s the rich conversation around “belonging” (which I interpret as a call for understanding on how to do this work in a way that is authentic to a place’s culture and assets) or the age old questions of artists and their supposed role in gentrification or—everyone’s favorite topic!—just how we are all going to go about measuring the impact of these projects, everywhere I go people are talking about how to do creative placemaking. Many of these conversations are also long-standing policy struggles in the community planning world, and it’s been awesome to see so many arts folks grapple with these difficult issues from their perspective.

However, something unique is also happening—call it silo busting or cross-disciplinary work—but folks are talking to each other in new ways that are exciting and challenging for all. It’s amazing to see at the local level that all kinds of government offices are seriously engaged in conversation around how to insert the arts into their development plans. But I think the uniqueness of this moment goes beyond that, as so many atypical folks are dedicated to the success of arts projects in these communities. This year’s 59 Our Town grant projects include more than 437 partners, everything from community development organizations to hospitals to banks to shopping malls to Univision.

What’s clear is that starting all of this cross-disciplinary work is enormously challenging for many communities who don’t have the tools at hand to implement projects. For example, a local transit office just might not have the capacity on staff to work with artists, and vice versa—local arts organizations may not have the capacity to work with a local transit agency, etc.

While we absolutely want to help steward these processes, I think it’s all part of the growing pains in many places as the arts finally have their proper place at the table in community development conversations. And, actually, not knowing all the facts heading into a project together as partners can be a good thing.

I was really struck by this concept when reading Malcom Gladwell’s recent review of Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman by the Princeton historian Jeremy Adelman. In it Gladwell talks about Hirschmann’s somewhat radical theories of how to achieve success.

Hirschman wrote: “Creativity always comes as a surprise to us; therefore we can never count on it and we dare not believe in it until it has happened. In other words, we would not consciously engage upon tasks whose success clearly requires that creativity be forthcoming. Hence, the only way in which we can bring our creative resources fully into play is by misjudging the nature of the task, by presenting it to ourselves as more routine, simple, undemanding of genuine creativity than it will turn out to be.”

Basically he says that if we all knew how hard these projects were going to be from the beginning, we wouldn’t do it in the first place. But it’s that notion of risk-taking that can produce massive creativity and achieve the best results.

While it’s important to take every philosopher with a grain of salt, I think this line of thinking is especially true for creative placemaking projects. Not only are you entering into the unknown in many cases, but purposefully inserting creative people into the process. That’s the beauty of working with creative people, right? That there will be unforeseen consequences and experiences.

Many grantees (and applicants) have contacted us and said just how many unexpected and beneficial things have happened by entering into these new conversations in their communities. Of course, how we value and measure the unforeseen is a whole other can of worms I’d love to see folks grapple with.

In conclusion, a national conversation is taking place around how to do creative placemaking in a way that is authentic, respectful to artists, and builds on assets existing in communities. The Arts Endowment continues to lead on the issue with a number of initiatives to assist the field in developing this practice locally. These include a multitude of webinars, blog posts, and other media, and also an online e-storybook featuring case studies and lessons learned from 75 of our initial 152 investments in creative placemaking that will be launched next year (we announced the awesome team working on this in this year’s Our Town press release). With these resources and others being developed by long-time partners like Americans for the Arts, creative placemakers will continue to mature, refine, and amaze with their work to make the U.S. a better place.

Want to learn more about how we support creative placemaking at the NEA? Visit the Our Town page on arts.gov.

- See more at: http://artworks.arts.gov/?p=17335#sthash.lRwGa4Mp.dpuf

Intern Jameel’s look at public art in Long Beach!

Hey Everybody!

I Hope your week has been going well! Things have been heating up down here at the Arts Council for Long Beach and I don’t just mean the weather! Everyone down at the Art’s Council has been working really hard to provide the city with stellar programming for the A LOT initiative and top notch educational programs like the Eye on Design Course. Both of these amazing programs are coming along wonderfully and I am super excited for everybody to see them and to participate in them.

This post is going to focus on some of my ideas about Public Art. For those of you that don’t know, the term  “public art” refers to works of art in any media that have been planned and executed with the specific intention of being sited or staged in the physical public domain. This an extremely broad term that I personally feel doesn’t get the appreciation that it deserves. Even in a city filled with creative people like Long Beach, I believe that the public art that is chosen for commissioned display around the city, although making a valiant attempt to change, is still vastly Eurocentric. This shouldn’t be the case in a city where minorities make up 54% of the population and which was once called “the most ethnically diverse large city in America” by USA today in 2000.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t any diversity in the public art throughout Long Beach. Just not enough. In fact, the Arts Council for Long Beach has been working on this issue extensively, creating initiatives, programs, and murals that place diverse public art into a variety of different diverse communities. One of the most immediate examples that comes to my mind is a mosaic I recently saw at Garfield Elementary. The piece depicted the story of the Runaway Tortilla, a Hispanic version of the gingerbread man story, and the story of the Three Little Tamales, a Hispanic version of the Three Little bears. Art like this is important because it is culture specific and tells the citizens of a particular community that their traditions and stories are valuable and not second rate to Eurocentric ideas of beauty and aesthetics.

tortilla

SO, to conclude this blog post, I issue you all a challenge. I dare you all to change the way you think about art and beauty. I urge you all to look deep within yourself and identify the reasons why you consider some things “beautiful” and others “ugly.” Then, once you have successfully done that try looking at that particular thing from a different perspective. I’m sure you will learn something from it.

P.S. If you enjoyed this post or have any great ideas about culturally diverse art that you want to see in the Long Beach community, then I want to hear from you! Comment below and tell us what you think we, at the Arts Council, can do better to serve our own community!

~Jameel

Congrats to all the NEW Our Town Grantees, from ACLB!

National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2013 Our Town Grant Recipients

59 projects to receive $4.725 million to support creative placemaking

As a current Our Town grantee, we are SO excited for the NEA’s next batch of Our Townees! Reblog from NEA!

July 17, 2013

Washington, DC — The National Endowment for the Arts marks another investment in creative placemaking with a third year of funding through the Our Town program. Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced that the NEA plans to award 59 grants in 36 states totaling $4.725 million to fund projects that engage the arts to help shape the social, physical, and economic character of communities. Since the Our Town program’s inception in 2011, the NEA has supported 190 projects totaling more than $16 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. Projects encourage creative activity, develop community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies. All Our Town grant awards are made to partnerships that consist of at least one nonprofit organization and a local government entity.

“This is an exciting time to announce the Our Town grants as a national conversation around creative placemaking advances and deepens,” said NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. “The NEA leads on this topic not only through our funding but through webinars, publications, and research. With these resources, we will help to ensure that the field of creative placemaking continues to mature, enhancing the quality of life for communities across the country.”

“This pool of Our Town investments exemplifies the dedication of the creative people of America to partnering in the development of their communities,” said NEA Director of Design Programs Jason Schupbach. “Through a diverse array of projects, artists and designers will not only create great art, but will also work across silos in making lively, beautiful, and sustainable places.”

KEY FACTS

Project Types: This year’s recommended Our Town grants represent a spectrum of types that fall into two broad areas: arts engagement, and design and cultural planning.

Arts engagement projects are centered on artistic production or programming, such as public art and festivals, that foster interaction among community members or are designed to activate existing cultural assets.

Design and cultural planning projects can help develop local support systems necessary for creative placemaking to succeed. Planning projects include master planning for cultural districts, asset mapping, and creative entrepreneurship. Design projects include the design of artist spaces, cultural facilities, and public spaces.

Bar graph of grants by project type

Our Town FY 2013 grants by project type.


Population
: Creative placemaking continues to be an effective development tool for communities of all sizes with 35 of the 59 projects sited in communities of less than 100,000 people. Among the many rural projects are seven first-time grantees all of which have populations under 5,000. Those are:

  • City of Lanesboro (MN): population, 754
  • Town of Columbus (NC): 999
  • City of Tieton (WA): 1,211
  • Town of Ashfield (MA): 1,800
  • City of Jenkins (KY): 2,401
  • Town of Madawaska (ME): 4,534
  • City of Leland (MS): 4,500

For the first time this year, two rural projects–one in the mountains of Virginia (Barter Theatre) and another on the Canadian border of Maine (Musée Culturel du Mont-Carmel)–feature several small towns collaborating to work on creative placemaking projects together.

Discipline: Project diversity extends across artistic disciplines from opera to digital media to folk art, with all 14 of the NEA’s arts disciplines and fields represented in the grants. Not including the lead partners, 147 arts partners are involved in these Our Town projects including 33 local arts agencies and six state arts agencies.

Bar chart of the discipline distribution

Artistic disciplines represented by organizations included as partners on 2013 Our Town projects. The numbers along the bottom indicate the number of partner organizations in the total pool of 59 awards.


Partnerships
: Bringing together diverse partners that are deeply engaged in their community allows project participants to leverage the size, scope, and sustainability of their work. Not including the required two partners per project, 439 additional partners are participating in the 59 recommended grants. These partners include shopping malls, banks, boys and girls clubs, cable and electrical companies, and government departments in agriculture, housing, transportation, environment, among others.

Ethnic diversity: Noteworthy this year are the number of grants designed to engage diverse ethnic groups including Hispanic, African-American, Native-American, and Asian populations. Examples are:

  • The City of San Jose (CA), in partnership with Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americano, is recommended for a $200,000 grant to create an illuminated public art wayfinding system, a Pop-up Tienda, and an event series.
  • The Arlington County’s Cultural Affairs Division (VA), in partnership with the Arlington Community Foundation, is recommended for a $75,000 grant to revitalize Nauck Town Square as part of an effort to preserve the historic African-American character of the surrounding neighborhood.

OUR TOWN PROJECT EXAMPLES

The NEA received 254 eligible Our Town applications which were reviewed in one of five panels featuring a total of 25 outside experts and lay people as panelists. Two panels reviewed applications from non-metro and tribal communities, and three panels reviewed projects from metropolitan communities to ensure that small towns were competing against each other, not with larger and often better-resourced cities. (The NEA’s Office of Research and Analysis determined non-metropolitan status by both population size and proximity to a metropolitan area.) Applications and panels were further organized by project type. See complete descriptions for the following and all projects.

Non-metropolitan and Tribal Projects

North Dakota Museum of Art
Lead partner: Cankdeska Cikana Community College 

Grand Forks, ND
A $150,000 grant will support planning for a new community arts center on the Spirit Lake Sioux Reservation, including the commission and exhibition of 20th- and 21st-century American-Indian art. The North Dakota Museum of Art and Cankdeska Cikana Community College will work with consultant Artspace Projects to identify space on the campus in Fort Totten, North Dakota, to include a gallery, design studio, artist workshops, live/work studio apartments, and sales opportunities for Native artists.

Tieton Arts & Humanities
Lead partner: City of Tieton

Tieton, WA
A $50,000 grant will support the Tieton Mosaic Project, including mosaic installations, an artisan apprenticeship program, and student workshops. Local residents will be selected and trained as apprentices to produce and install mosaic signs and designs on public buildings and civic spaces. The project will establish a bold visual identity for the city and an artisan training program for residents to acquire skills in mosaic making.

Metropolitan: Design and Cultural Planning Projects

City of Fresno, California
Lead partner: Fresno Art Museum

A $150,000 grant will support the Mariposa Plaza Activation Project. Project activities include a historically sensitive redesign of Mariposa Plaza to accommodate performance art, cultural gatherings, and a new interactive sculpture commissioned via a national call for artists. The project is expected to better integrate the plaza into the robust collection of public art works along Fulton Mall as well as new high-speed rail and bus rapid transit stations being built less than two blocks away.

Bloomington Theatre and Art Center
Lead partner: City of Bloomington

Bloomington, MN
A $100,000 grant will support Terra Nova: Artful Development of Bloomington’s South Loop. The project will comprise the development of a public art plan and the commission, promotion, and evaluation of temporary public art projects and installations by artists of regional and national significance. The South Loop is a 2,300-acre district adjacent to the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and is home to the Mall of America, the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, a residential neighborhood, and nearly 900 developable acres.

Metropolitan: Arts Engagement Projects

Hawaii Alliance for Arts in Education
Lead partner: City and County of Honolulu

Honolulu, HI
A $100,000 grant will support Pow Wow Hawai’i, a mural festival and associated arts education activities throughout Honolulu’s industrial Kaka’ako district. The festival will bring more than 40 international and mainland artists to Hawai’i to collaborate with local artists on large-scale murals in vacant and underutilized spaces throughout the district. Local students and indigenous and immigrant youth will be invited to participate in the mural creation process. Related tours and panel discussions will feature the visiting artists and introduce Hawai’i visitors, residents, and students to diverse global artistic processes.

Nashville Opera Association
Lead Partner: Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County

Nashville, TN
A $100,000 grant will support the Music City Opera Project, a series of public opera programs performed in non-traditional settings throughout Nashville. The project will engage, via an open competition, songwriters, composers, arrangers, and lyricists/librettists to create new opera works. Finalists will be commissioned to produce or perform their work in unexpected venues such as The Woods Amphitheatre at Fontanel and well-known honky-tonk and country music destinations in downtown Nashville and throughout the city.

E-STORYBOOK

The nonprofit arts community has regularly asked the NEA for more information on how to do creative placemaking successfully and for ready access to an easy-to-search resource on best practices. In response to these requests, the NEA is creating an e-storybook featuring case studies and lessons learned from 75 of the agency’s initial 152 investments in creative placemaking.

The e-storybook will be an online resource, launching in 2014. It is being produced by a multidisciplinary team of researchers (Go Collaborative), a writer (Alec Applebaum), a videographer (Deborah Lewis of Legge Lewis Legge), interactive designers (Electric Fun Stuff), and a graphic design and infographics studio (Hyperakt).

2014 GUIDELINES

Applications and guidelines for Our Town 2014 will be available at arts.gov in September 2013 with a deadline of early January 2014.

The Twitter hashtag for the program is #NEAOurTown13.

All information in this release is current as of July 17, 2013.