Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"Art Works"

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman hit the ground running this fall with what he has named “Art Works,” a 6-month tour on which he will learn and blog about different places where art works. Landesman defines “art works” in the following ways:

1. “Art works” is a noun. They are the books, crafts, dances, designs, drawings, films, installations, music, musicals, paintings, plays, performances, poetry, textiles, and sculptures that are the creation of artists.

2. “Art works” is a verb. Art works on and within people to change and inspire them; it addresses the need people have to create, to imagine, to aspire to something more.

3. “Art works” is a declarative sentence: arts jobs are real jobs that are part of the real economy. Art workers pay taxes, and art contributes to economic growth, neighborhood revitalization, and the livability of American towns and cities.

Landesman’s first trip was to Peoria, Ill., in November with a tour of the Warehouse District, a roundtable discussion with artists and various community leaders and a performance of the Eastlight Theatre’s production of the musical “Rent.” Since his trip to Peoria, Landesman has been to St. Louis, Memphis, Miami and Washington, D.C. He plans to visit California, Idaho and Kentucky in the next few months. During and after each trip, he blogs about how art works in each place.

Despite some negative reactions to the tour and its name, the concept of NEA blogging seems like a good move overall. The blog brings art into people’s lives in an interesting way and highlights the importance of active arts communities.

The NEA has also announced a request for proposals for an “Art Works” logo. Click here for more information.

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