Modern Spirit opens at Plains Art Museum
On June 16, Arts Midwest, in partnership with the Minnesota Museum of American Art, launched Modern Spirit: The Art of George Morrison at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota. Modern Spirit surveys the prolific career of George Morrison (1919–2000), a distinctive and well-loved artist whose work brings together concepts of abstraction, landscape, and spiritual reflection and draw from his physical and spiritual homelands—speaking to both American urban settings and to the solitude of Northern Minnesota. The exhibition consists of about 80 drawings, paintings, prints, and sculptures from this important Native American modernist.
Arts Midwest was fortunate enough to hold our June Board of Directors meeting at the Plains Art Museum to coincide with the opening of Modern Spirit. Board member Emily Maltz noted:
I was moved by the partnerships that made this exhibit possible; George’s family and friends who made it personal; the communities from Minnesota and North Dakota that actively participated.
The exhibition and its national tour are supported by corporate sponsor Ameriprise Financial and foundation sponsor Henry Luce Foundation. Major support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the generous contributions of individuals across the Midwest.
Wing Young Huie exhibition finishes China tour
Identity and the American Landscape: The Photography of Wing Young Huie recently closed at the American Culture Center at the University of Shanghai for Science & Technology. The exhibition showcased the work of Minnesota photographer Wing Young Huie, who, for the past 35 years, has been using photography to document the American immigrant experience, and to encourage viewers to ask questions about home, community, and identity. The goals of this 60-image exhibition are to present the changing cultural landscape of Minnesota and the United States, and the possibilities and positive everyday realities of American diversity.
Identity and the American Landscape, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy-Beijing, has toured to more than ten Chinese cities since 2010. While final attendance numbers are still pending, we know that the exhibit has reached more than 340,000 Chinese citizens. Due to the popularity of the exhibition, Arts Midwest is working with the embassy to extend the tour to several more venues.
Consul General Brian Goldbeck, of the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou (center), with Li Ming, President of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (right), view Identity and the American Landscape at the Academy of Fine Arts in Guangzhou. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou
Arts Midwest Conference in Austin, Texas this September
Arts Midwest is busily preparing for the 26th annual Arts Midwest Conference, held this year in Austin, Texas, September 9–12. We are excited to be bringing the Conference back to Texas for the first time since 2000, and plan to take full advantage of everything Austin has to offer—the vibrant music and film scenes, strong theater culture, and much more. Conference registration opened on May 1, and we are already receiving an enthusiastic response.
Ray Benson, leader of the legendary Texas swing band Asleep at the Wheel, will deliver the keynote address, titled How to Travel Safely While Asleep at the Wheel. The talk will discuss Benson’s personal history in the music industry, and how he kept his band on the road and successful for more than four decades.
We are working with a committee of arts educators and consultants to offer more than 30 workshops and discussions to Conference attendees. There will also be opportunities for in-depth seminars on the first day of the Conference, covering social media and analytics, fundraising, presenting, and more. We are also thrilled that this year’s program will include more than 12 hours of dedicated time in the Marketplace, where presenters, artists, managers, and agents meet and explore booking options together.
Check out the Arts Midwest Conference page on our website for more information.
National Endowment for the Arts initiatives
The Big Read
On May 29, the National Endowment for the Arts announced the 77 nonprofit organizations around the country that will receive Big Read grants totaling $1 million in the 2013–2014 programming year. Among the organizations receiving Big Read grants are arts and humanities councils, libraries, museums, theater companies, and universities, including 24 first-time grantees. Grants range from $3,000 to $17,300 to promote and carry out community-based programs focusing on one of 30 selections from American and world literature. In the 2013–2014 season, the program has added three new selections to the list: The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri; True Grit, by Charles Portis; and Into the Beautiful North, by Luis Alberto Urrea.
Staten Island residents gather to celebrate Staten Island OutLOUD’s selection for The Big Read (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) in a park overlooking New York Harbor, near the historic Alice Austen House Museum, as part of the 2012–2013 cycle of The Big Read. Photo by Beth Gorrie, courtesy of Staten Island OutLOUD
To learn more about The Big Read, visit www.neabigread.org.
Shakespeare in American Communities
In the 2013–2014 season, 40 nonprofit professional theater companies in 21 states and the District of Columbia are receiving $1 million in grants through Shakespeare for a New Generation. Now in its 11th year, the program introduces middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare. Each of the 40 participating theater companies will present productions of Shakespeare plays to students from at least ten schools. Accompanying educational activities include in-school residencies, workshops, and post-performance discussions.
Since the program’s inception in 2003, Shakespeare for a New Generation has provided more than 2.25 million individuals, including 1.9 million students, with live performances and educational activities. One hundred and one theater companies across the United States have taken part in the program, presenting 66 of Shakespeare’s works through 7,600 performances and more than 19,000 educational activities at more than 6,400 schools in 3,100 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of The Winter’s Tale as part of the 2012–2013 season of Shakespeare in American Communities. Photo by Joan Marcus, courtesy of Yale Repertory Theatre
For more information, visit www.shakespeareinamericancommunities.org.
In each of Arts Midwest’s quarterly newsletters, we’ll be providing you with a new featured resource for arts organizations and other nonprofits, covering topics such as marketing, technology, evaluation, and more.
Recently, M+R Strategic Services and the Nonprofit Technology Network released the 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study. The report complies essential data about online fundraising, advocacy, and social media for nonprofits. To access the report, visit www.e-benchmarksstudy.com.