The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
The CentrePointe lawn downtown will become a big art exhibit next weekend with the installation of Craig Colorusso’s Sun Boxes, a solar-powered sound display.
The exhibit is made up of 20 wood “sun boxes” that are equipped with solar panels, speakers, amplifiers and electronic sound modules. Each is loaded with recorded guitar notes that join to create unique melodies that change throughout the day, depending on clouds, sun and even the shadows of spectators. A statement from LexArts, which is presenting Sun Boxes, calls the piece “a sculptural experimentation with sound and solar energy.”
In that statement, Colorusso said, “Sun Boxes is really my way of improvising with Mother Nature. The sounds are both soothing and energizing, not unlike the sounds that might accompany yoga and meditation.”
LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark likens Sun Boxes to Bill Fontana’s Surface Reflections, a sound installation at the Lexington Financial Center, aka the Fifth Third Bank building, that brings the sounds of Town Branch to the surface in the space between the building and its parking garage.
“This installation is the latest in a program that provides a platform for non-traditional and/or alternative forms of public art,” Clark wrote. “Like Fontana, Colorusso began his artistic career as a musician and has evolved to join a growing number of artists that borrow ambient sounds and real-world noise as an integral part of their work.”
Sun Boxes will be open to the public in CentrePointe from May 3 to 5.
Colorusso’s work, including Sun Boxes, was the subject of the documentary short film Install: Sound, Light and Craig Colorusso.
Aug12Filed under: Balagula Theatre, Central Kentucky Arts News, Classical Music, dance, Downtown Arts Center, fundraising, Kentucky Theatre, LexArts, Lexington Art League, Lexington Children's Theatre, Lexington Philharmonic, Lexington Singers, Music, Theater, UBS Chamber Music Festival of Lexington; Tagged as: 2012 Campaign for the Arts, Community Arts Grants, General Operating Funds, LexArts
LexArts set a new record in its 2012 Campaign for the Arts, raising $1.05 million to be distributed among area cultural groups for general operating support and Community Arts Grants. But LexArts President and CEO Jim Clark said he plans to nearly double that take within the next five years.
Clark said a significantly larger haul of $2 million will be necessary to support the work of a number of groups that are pursuing ambitious goals such as the Living Arts and Science Center, which is undergoing a renovation that will double its space. Clark said campaign goals will likely increase incrementally over the next few years as LexArts works to bolster the donor base with organizations both in and out of Lexington.
“We’re doing national-level work and it deserves national funding,” Clark said.
He said the quality of work by local arts groups has been a big reason why the campaign raised more than $1 million for the seventh consecutive year, despite the recession.
“The product is strong, and it’s attracted strong supporters,” Clark said.
Along with the campaign haul, LexArts announced recipients of general operating support and community arts grants.
General operating support went to:
- Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, $22,500
- Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, $165,000
- Lexington Children’s Theatre, $120,000
- Lexington Art League, $60,000
- Lexington Singers, $9,000
- Living Arts & Science Center, $102,000
Recipients of Community Arts Grants, given for specific projects, were:
- Balagula Theatre Company, $9,000 to support its upcoming season of five full length plays, including a world premier
- Kentucky Ballet Theatre, $9,000 to support its 2012-2013 Season
- Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, $8,000 to support its Kentucky Great Writers Series
- Chamber Music Festival Festival of Lexington, $8,000 to support its weekend festival and the “July Series,” informal pop-up concerts around town performed by young artists
- KY Women Writers Conference, Inc., $8,000 to support the annual conference
- Central Music Academy, $5,000 to support free music lessons for financially disadvantaged youth ages 8 to 18 years old
- LexingtonChamber Chorale, $5,000 to support its 2012-2013 Season
- Headley-WhitneyMuseum, $5,000 to support its Improbable Baubles art program for middle school students
- Common Good, $2,500 to support a youth arts initiative blending traditional storytelling with digital multimedia design
- KentuckyMighty Wurlitzer Project, $2,500 to support the 90th Anniversary Celebration at the Kentucky Theatre
- Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova, $2,000 to support the creation of abbreviated love letters to the city of Lexington, installed as temporary works of street art along Limestone.
LexArts kicked off its 2012 Fund for the Arts Campaign Wednesday morning with a breakfast and champagne toast at ArtsPlace attended by around 150 arts, business and civic leaders.
The campaign aims to raise $1.1 million, equal to last-year’s goal when LexArts had to scramble to make up a 22 percent cut in the Lexington Fayette Urban-County Government’s contribution to the cause.
Unlike past years when campaign kickoffs heavily addressed economic travails, Wednesday’s event struck an aspirational tone with speakers including Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Susanne Halmi of Tiffany & Co. touting the arts as a driver of economic growth and community pride.
“We saw a community that invests in itself,” Halmi said of Tiffany’s decision last year to open a manufacturing plant in Lexington that employs 125 people. “We were thrilled to find people talented and creative to support our business.”
Since arriving in Lexington, Tiffany has provided financial and other support to LexArts and the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra.
Gray cited the arts as a key factor in driving people to relocate to Lexington and touted the campaign saying, “We cannot shrink ourselves to greatness.”
LexArts President and CEO Jim Clark said after the breakfast that he has seen an increased interest in arts support recently and cited projects such as the expansion of the Living Arts and Science Center, the Lexington Philharmonic’s new commissioning program and the growth of the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington as recent achievements in arts funding.
“They give us something to talk about, and to show where the support is really working,” Clark said. “The important thing is to keep growing, because as these organizations grow, they will need increased operating support.”
The breakfast highlighted the accomplishments of young artists with a string quartet from the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras performing an original composition by quartet member Dylan Rowe and 16-year-old School for the Creative and Performing Arts student Virginia Newsome discussing HeARTS, an not-for-profit group she founded to support arts education in schools. Since forming last fall, Newsome said her group had given $12,000 to support arts in schools in the United States, Haiti and Kenya.
When composer Dan Kellogg graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, he assumed that he needed to move to New York City, the center of the musical universe.
There were challenges, particularly in finding a place to live. Both he and his wife, concert pianist Hsing-ay Hsu, have grand pianos.
“Try telling that to a Realtor,” Kellogg said Thursday morning during a panel discussion on building creative communities at ArtsPlace.
Eventually, he and Hsu found a home — 1,600 miles west of New York, in Boulder, Colo., where he is an assistant professor of music at the University of Colorado and, most important, where he has found a creative community.
“It’s important to find people you want to live among,” said Kellogg, right. “I love having that local, small community, and I actually prefer this to what I could have in Manhattan.”
The Thursday morning panel, presented by LexArts in conjunction with the Lexington Philharmonic and the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, which concludes Sunday, focused on how to make Lexington closer to what Kellogg has found in Boulder, where the real estate is affordable and the indigenous arts scene is thriving. And thriving doesn’t mean an orchestra that presents the standard repertoire, museums that display the established masters, dance and theater troupes presenting the classics and main stages populated with artists on the way from point A to point B.
The discussion centered on fostering a community that creates new work and encourages risk-taking.
“Lexington is in a position to shape its own creative future,” said Scott Terrell, Lexington Philharmonic’s music director.
Despite several hurdles, LexArts’ 2011 Campaign for the Arts topped last year’s total, though it did not meet its goal.
The goal was $1.1 million, set after LexArts raised $1.003 million last year. This year’s campaign was just ahead of that pace, at $1,012,056, which LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark said was gratifying, all things considered.
As the follow-up campaign to Horse Mania 2010, the 2011 campaign had history working against it. The 2001 arts campaign, on the heels of Horse Mania in 2000, also fell short of its goal because the public art project drained available funds and energy, officials said at the time.
This spring, LexArts lost $100,000 in annual allocations from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Clark credited a successful $50,000 challenge grant from Mayor Jim Gray and Gray’s donation of $39,368 from his salary for meeting the goal.
Clark also pointed to other positive trends in the campaign, including an increase in corporate giving, bucking a national trend. Ultimately, he said, the challenges buoyed the campaign.
In a news release, he said, “It goes to show you that people in this community have a philanthropic spirit and value the arts on a deep and meaningful level.”
Money from the campaign is used for LexArts’ allocations and grants for area artists, arts organizations and other projects.
Jul21Filed under: Balagula Theatre, ballet, Central Kentucky Arts News, Classical Music, dance, Film, LexArts, Lexington Art League, Lexington Children's Theatre, Lexington Philharmonic, Lexington Singers, Music, Opera, Photography, Theater, UK, Visual arts; Tagged as: allocations, Balagula Theatre, Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, Central Kentucky Concert Band, Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, grants, Kentucky Ballet Theatre, Kentucky Craft History and Education Association, Kentucky Women Writers Conference, Kremena Todorova, Kurt Gohde, LexArts, Lexington Art League, Lexington Bach Choir, Lexington Children's Theatre, Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, Lexington Singers, Living Arts and Science Center, The African American Forum, University of Kentucky Opera Theatre
LexArts has announced its recipients of general operating support and community arts grants.
The general operating support funds are unrestricted grants, generally to larger organizations in Lexington.
This year’s recipients are:
■ Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras, $20,000
■ Lexington Art League, $62,000
■ Lexington Children’s Theatre, $120,000
■ Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, $165,000
■ Lexington Singers, $9,000
■ Living Arts and Science Center, $102,000
Community Arts Grants are given at two levels: Program grants to groups for operating support and specific endeavors and project grants to groups or individuals for specific projects.
Program grants go to:
■ Balagula Theatre Company, $8,600 – for its 2011-12 theater season
■ Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, $8,600 – for the Kentucky Great Writers Series, which brings 12 Kentucky authors to the center to work with writers
■ Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, $4,000 – for the 2011 festival
■ Kentucky Ballet Theatre, $8,400 – for the 2011-2012 season of performances
■ Kentucky Craft History and Education Association, $3,000 – for Stringed Instruments, The Art of the Luthier, a documentary film about stringed instrument-making in Kentucky
■ Kentucky Women Writers Conference, Inc., $7,500 – for the 2011 event
■ University of Kentucky Opera Theatre, $5,000 -for the Academy for Creative Excellence, which provides theater and music training for first through eight graders
Project grants go to:
■ The African American Forum, $1,500 – for The Smooth Jazz Fest
■ Artists Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova, $2,500 – for 1000 Dolls, a project to create and install 1000 local-designed dolls along Limestone
■ Central Kentucky Concert Band, $1,750 – for the closing concert of the 2011-2012 season
■ Lexington Bach Choir, $1,000 – for the 2nd Annual Lexington Bach Choir Vocal Competition in which students age 30 or younger compete for cash and a solo opportunity with the Bach Choir
The Lexington Children’s Theatre has won a $2.5 million endowment from the W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Foundation to fund its Shooting Stars Youtheatre program in Elliott and Rowan Counties.
Lucille Caudill Little grew up in the Eastern Kentucky counties around Morehead and was an active artist and arts philanthropist in Lexington for most of her life. The Little Foundation has continued to be a significant supporter of the arts in Central and Eastern Kentucky since her death in 2002.
The Children’s Theatre gift, along with a $2.5 million endowment to fund arts scholarships at Morehead State University, which was announced Tuesday, constitute the largest gift ever granted by the foundation.
In a news release, LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark said the Children’s Theatre gift, “sets the bar for philanthropic support of the arts in Kentucky. This investment in the Children’s Theatre affirms its importance in the cultural life of Fayette, Rowan, and Elliott Counties.”
Shooting Stars, which has been funded by a $100,000 annual grant from the Little Foundation, presents workshops, theater schools, in-school residencies and performances and summer programs that LCT says have reached more than 35,000 children in Eastern Kentucky. The endowment will replace that grant, which the theater had to apply for annually, with approximately $125,000 a year in perpetuity.
“We are honored that the Little Foundation is entrusting Lexington Children’s Theatre with Mrs. Little’s legacy of providing arts education to young people,” Children’s Theatre executive director Larry Snipes said in the release. “The Shooting Stars Youtheatre in Rowan and Elliott counties will live on as a lasting tribute to her lifelong dedication to the arts.”
Mar3Filed under: ballet, Central Kentucky Arts News, dance, LexArts, Lexington Ballet, Theater; Tagged as: Actors Guild of Lexington, Andy Haymaker, Beaumont Center, Joe Artz, LexArts, Lexington Ballet, Lexington Chinese-American Association, Moondance at Midnight Pass amphitheater, Scott Sherman, Tim Haymaker
It’s almost time for the first full season of performances at the Moondance at Midnight Pass amphitheater behind Beaumont Center. Since it is still such an unknown quantity to many presenters in Lexington, LexArts is holding an open house at the theater from 2 to 5 p.m. March 19.
The $2 million theater was built by developer Andy Haymaker and his father Tim Haymaker as a community gathering place in the Beaumont Center area. It opened last fall and had a few performances by groups such as Actors Guild of Lexington, the Lexington Ballet and the Lexington Chinese-American Association before it had to close for winter.
But spring is getting ready to … well, it’s just around the corner, and LexArts, which manages the facility, is working to get it booked up for the warm months.
Manager Joe Artz and technical director Scott Sherman will be at the open house to give tours, answer questions and field ideas for the facility, which seats around 1,000 people. For more information, visit moondancelex.com or call (859) 225-0370.
The National Symphony Orchestra has made a lot of music in Kentucky since landing in Louisville Thursday. But Wednesday morning, executive director Rita Shapiro and Kentucky Residency conductor Hugh Wolff sat down behind microphones to discuss presenting orchestral music to changing audiences in economically challenging times.
“There aren’t any fat years,” Wolff said of arts funding, to knowing laughter from the audience, which included Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra music director Scott Terrell and LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark. “These are very lean years.”
Though the very real probability of deep cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts in the next federal budget was never directly addressed in their chat, the conversation was colored by the presumption that arts finances will not be improving anytime soon.
“Everybody is having a hard time, even big behemoths like the Kennedy Center,” Shapiro said, referring to the home base of the National Symphony.
That, she said, should prompt arts groups to get more aggressive, viewing advocacy as marketing, and trying to build partnerships both with influential donors, officials and celebrities and social services that benefit from outreach by the orchestra and its musicians.
“We feel as good community partners we need to get into neighborhoods where they do not have exposure to classical music and work with those communities,” Shapiro said, citing instances where donors to social service groups have seen the value of music programs in the programs they support and become orchestra donors as well.
Programming, Wolf and Shapiro acknowledged, has to reorient itself from being a top-down idea to a bottom-up approach, addressing community and educator needs.
Nov19Filed under: Arts administration, Central Kentucky Arts News, Downtown Arts Center, LexArts; Tagged as: Downtown Arts Center, Joe Cannon Artz, Kentucky Classical Theatre Conservatory, Leslie Beatty, LexArts, Lexington Art League, Moondance at Midnight Pass amphitheater, SummerFest, University of Kentucky
Joe Cannon Artz has been named the new general manager of the Downtown Arts Center.
Artz, 40, was the executive director of the Kentucky Classical Theatre Conservatory/SummerFest for the past two years after a two-year stint as president of its board. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theater and communications from the University of Kentucky and has worked extensively in theater and non-profit management, including more than 35 touring Broadway productions. When he returned to Lexington, he worked as the director of marketing and development for the Lexington Art League before working with KCTC.
In his new role, Artz will manage the Downtown Arts Center, including its black box theater, and other venues under LexArts’ management including the Moondance at Midnight Pass amphitheater in Beaumont.
Artz starts work at the DAC Monday.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich