Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: NEA's Survey on Arts Participation

Today, the National Endowment for the Arts provided an overview of the findings in a research study it was releasing.

The good: more artists are finding ways to use social media as a delivery mechanism for their creativity and more audiences are accessing the arts that way.

The bad: attendance is still eroding from live arts events.

The ugly: past loyal audience demographics are now also showing signs of declining attendance.

'Tis the season

Give an arts license plate this holiday season!
It's a tax deductible, charitable contribution now.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Open Season

We're now at that time of year when many of our galleries and art centers are featuring or gearing up for non-curated shows featuring a grab-bag of artists. It would be snobby to put down these efforts just because of the inevitable inclusion of works by artists of little talent. Indeed, even within these oleos one can find the occasional gem or the pocket of work by a seasoned craftsman unafraid of being included in such a show. Saturday's opening at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art was a case in point--very high highs and very low lows. OCCCA's entrance gallery hit you right away with a superb, large wooden abstract sculpture plus a couple of conceptual art pieces that elicited amusement (even if they might have had more serious pretensions). But exploring the main gallery space was a bit jarring as you turn a corner from an intriguing, thoughtful piece to something the cat dragged in. It's certainly a democratic way to program an exhibition, and I suppose it's entirely appropriate to do this sort of thing once a year for all sorts of good reasons, but I much prefer the professionally curated shows.

I Won't Grow Up

All the skeptics in the world can't deny that Friday's opening of "Peter Pan" by OC's newest professional theater company, 3 D Theatricals, was an artistic success. So now they'll have to content themselves with wondering whether the moxie of the young people who founded this troupe extends to their ability to attract an audience in these challenging times. I certainly hope that it does and that they find a way to produce all 8 of their (mostly) announced 2010 season of (mostly) musical revivals. Their venue, the OC Pavilion, is certainly a class act--a lavishly renovated bank building in downtown Santa Ana spanning 8th Street between Broadway and Bush (across from the exquisite little all-redwood-interior Episcopal Church). The auditorium is intimate enough at 400+ seats, though the front row of banquettes suggests Vegas showroom more than regional theatre company. But the stage is filled with talent, Equity actors known to OC audiences, like Greg North and Tracy Lore, and tons of younger performers with bios already jam-packed with professional credits. The eye-popping dance numbers alone are worth the price of admission. So, a toast to 3 D and here's hoping for more to come!