New Year’s Resolution: See More Art (Part 2)

I haven’t forgotten about my New Year’s Resolution to see more art. I was planning on doing quarterly recaps but, alas, life. I’ll try to move them quickly. Getting my notes together to start writing this post I realized a couple of things:

  • I have managed to worked my family plans into my “see more arts” mission
  • I’ve kept my eyes open more to look for opportunities to go see somethingIMG_20170321_103440

In March, I ended up with a sick child the day I was supposed to go to see Cincinnati Ballet so I didn’t make it, and I haven’t made it to a performance yet. I did, however, have a great time in Washington DC for National Arts Advocacy Day. The first day was one of those days were you feel your brain pulsing in your skull and you are hoping that it can absorb as much of the information being thrown at it as possible. That evening there were speakers and a performance at The Kennedy Center – the view from the rooftop is gorgeous. The second day I visited the offices of a few representatives after a morning pep rally with some legislators and celebrities. I was too shy to ask for photos but I did get to shake hands with and briefly chat with Rep. John Lewis.

In April we decided to check out West Carrollton High School’s production of The Little Mermaid. I found out about through the choreographer for the show and, I have to say, I was rather impressed by the quality of the production. This was a test run of seeing if the girls could sit through a musical. They started getting a little fidgety towards the end but they hung in there and we got to see the whole show plus meet some of the cast after.

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Since then, we’ve been to Town Hall Theatre’s Disney’s The Lion King, Jr and Children’s Performing Arts of Miamisburg’s Disney’s Peter Pan, both in September. I’ve been picking shows that they basically know the story line of to hopefully help keep them interested. The kids do a great job and I know there are whole teams of parents behind the scenes making it the best it can be. These have been good opportunities to start getting the girls used to attending live performances.

I’ve put putting some miles on the car these past few months with trips out to Columbus, just over an hour away. In April I went out to the OhioDance Spring Festival Performance and got to see a few Ohio dance companies and college programs. I met with state representatives on Ohio’s Arts Day in May. I served as an Ohio Arts Council grant panelist for the first time in May, as well – “yay” for getting to help give away money to arts organizations around the state. Every time I go to the Riffe Center I try to pop in to the art gallery on the first floor – it’s free and changes often enough that it’s a different show every time I go.

I also attended the annual Arts Midwest Conference in August being held in Columbus this year. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a David J. Fraher Future Leader and got to meet lots of great people in the industry plus see a good amount of dance companies from all over.

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In June I attended the Dance/USA annual conference in Kansas City, MO. I really enjoyed that they worked in some “pop up” performances from local companies and it also coincided with a performances Kansas City New Dance Partners at the Kaufman Center for the Performing Arts. I also slipped away to visit a few sights, including The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the 18-foot Shuttlecocks sculptures on the lawn.

Around Dayton, I’ve popped into the Sinclair Community College Art Gallery a few times, helped paint one of the many murals going up around the city, attended a Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus performance in June for the first time. Attended Art in the City (mark your calendars for the first Friday in August 2018!) where we got to paint, yarn bomb, play instruments, and catch lots of performances and art works around downtown. We stopped by the grand opening of the new Dayton Metro Library Main Branch to scope out the ReImaging Works collection, including the huge but delicate piece that takes up the whole center of the library, FRACTAL RAIN by Terry Welker. In September we headed towards the Dayton Art Institute for Oktoberfest and to visit the Alphonse Mucha exhibit and for the girls to check out the Performing Art exhibit in the kid friendly Experiencenter. Wright State University’s CELIA program brought Complexions Contemporary Ballet to Dayton for one night in September and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company started its home season with three new premieres all set to music by Wynton Marsalis with live music for portions of it.

I took the girls to the dress rehearsal so they could watch without having to worry about them upsetting paying customers while I was working during the performances. I think they might have enjoyed it a bit too much.

During our vacation in Nashville, TN in July, we got out to see as many of the murals as we could and caught plenty of live music, including a show at the famous Bluebird Cafe.

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Inside Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe

At the top of the summer I was officially sworn in as a member of the City of Centerville’s Centerville Art Commission and have been having fun getting acquainted with all arts programming it offers including the Summer Concert Series and a new artist featured in the gallery at the police station each month. I’m lucky to live in a city with a good appreciate for the arts between middle and high school musicals, student art shows, and free community programming.

 

Did you know that the arts and culture industry produces $166.3 billion in economic activity? A few years ago we at Dayton Contemporary Dance Company helped gather survey responses for our local arts advocacy organization, CultureWorks. This summer the results from that survey that fed into a US wide look at the economic impact of the arts and culture industry. Randy Cohen from Americans for the Arts came to talk in Dayton about the national and local findings (#AEP5). In Dayton, the average arts and culture patron spends $19.71 per person. Doesn’t seem like a lot until you realize how many arts and culture patrons there are in a given weekend. Find out what it’s like near you here.

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Blue Star Museums – Kicking off summer!

Memorial Day is upon us so that means it’s time for Blue Star Museums to kick off for the summer! What is Blue Star Museums?

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and museums across America.  Each summer since 2010, Blue Star Museums have offered free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Every summer we are happy to get to explore some of the areas institutions a little more. In Florida we visited the Ringling Museum and MOSI. In Ohio we’ve visited Brukner Nature Center, Dayton Art Institute, Springfield Museum of Art, and Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm with this program. Follow this link to see which museums are participating in your state.

This program is for military and their family but all of these museums sound like great places to visit.

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Now that the girls are a little older, we’ll try exploring a little further this summer as time permits in addition to the Dayton area organizations, Dayton Art Institute (the Experiecenter theme is “performing arts” right now), Sunwatch Indian VillageAullwood Audubon Center and Farm, and Brukner Nature Center. Some of the stops on our summer bucket list this year include:

Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati

Ohio History Center, Columbus

Armstrong Air & Space Museum, Wapakoneta

Take a minute to follow your favorites or get a calendar of events so you can plan a return visit during the year. If you are heading out for a summer trip, add one to your vacation itinerary. If you are new to taking children to museums, Blue Star Museums has some tips here.

 

Did you know that this is a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) program? The NEA is currently looking at funding being eliminated but arts advocates would like to see an increase in funding from its FY17 $148 million to $155 million. That sounds like a big number doesn’t it? However, it actually only makes up 0.004 percent of the federal budget. Did you know that the nonprofit arts industry supports 4.13 million jobs and contributes $729 billion, or 4.2% of the gross domestic product? That sounds like a pretty good return on investment.

In case you were wondering, if the increases to the NEA had grown in relation to inflation it would be over $300 million at this point. Given that 40% of its money goes out to the 50 states to be redistributed, imagine how many more afterschool arts programs, theatre camps, and writing workshops there could be in all congressional districts. NEA also funds Art Works, Our Town, Rig Read, and Creativity Connects programs.

If you would like to let your representatives know that you support funding for the arts that reaches all Americans, take a moment to let them know by clicking here and help #SavetheNEA.

 

I have not been paid by any organizations mentioned in this post I just enjoy them and want other people to enjoy them, too!

New Year’s Resolution: See More Art (Part 1)

I can’t keep a New Year’s Resolution to save my life. The only time in the past few years I did was one I decided to make something new each month. Although I failed to blog about the different projects, I actually did try a new craft or recipe each month. I ended the year with a bang by sewing my first pillowcase dress for Kelsey.

As New Year’s 2017 was approaching, I thought about what I should and could make my resolution. I’ve been trying to make a bigger effort to get more involved in the local arts community. It’s funny because my job is in the arts but between the nights and weekends that I’m out for work related events, my husbands schedule, the girls activities, and the cost of babysitters, I don’t get out to much else.

I decided that I would get out to something arts related at least once a month for 2017. So far it’s going well.

First up I made it out to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH to catch a performance in an art gallery by Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s Associate Artistic Director and my x2 New York City roommate, Crystal Michelle. I have enjoyed getting to know her and her thought process from late night chats and watching her work. The art exhibition and performance were part of a series “Living in Divided States.” Crystal’s performance explored the black female body and both the imagined and real experiences of being in one.

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I won tickets to Pinkalicious the Musical at the Victoria Theater, Dayton, OH from Dayton Parent Magazine. The whole family made the trip into downtown to catch the show. The girls loved looking around the interior of the theater and watching the show while wearing pink.

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I had some time to kill before Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s performance downtown the first weekend of March so I stopped it to check out Dayton Visual Arts Center for the first time. They have a new show every couple of months and have been a good support for local artists and is the home to an Art-o-mat, a converted cigarette vending machine that now sells small pieces of local art. I happened to pop in during the annual college exhibition. It was an interesting mix and representing a variety of disciplines.

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Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s show, Vantage Points, was absolutely amazing. I’ve been waiting for this performance since it was announced at our staff meeting last January. I’ve watched pieces of it come together in the studio all year and it did not disappoint. Wawa Aba by Stafford Berry, Rainbow Round My Shoulder by Donald McKayle (which DCDC won a 2016 Bessie Award for), and a new work, This I Know For Sure, by Ray Mercer. It was a program of outstanding, emotional, and riveting works. Ray’s piece being new was the one I was anticipating the most – pretty much a tie with getting to see the famous Rainbow Round My Shoulder live.

This I Know For Sure was just a stand out. Dancers fly through the air, climb all over each in new ways, continually introducing new groupings and partnering between a variety of dancers. Two favorite moments for me were the ladies trio (a statement of the strength and beauty of women) and a portion of the men’s piece were one female dancer seems to entice each of them, standing and expecting to be carried by each of them in turn while giving up nothing of herself. It was a wonderful experience to hear the audience explode with applause after oohing and awing through the piece.

 

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Photo by Scott Robbins, Geek with a Lens

Next up, I’ll be heading down to Cincinnati March 18 to watch Cincinnati Ballet’s Bold Moves. An evening of two contemporary dance pieces. They seem to be having a stellar year with Coppelia and Camelot ballets earlier this season – if you don’t yet, you should follow them on Instagram and Facebook for behind the scenes photos and fun videos like this one from Camelot when they took the puppet horse out for a stroll.

The first piece is going to be Minus 16 by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, creator of the Gaga method of dance which explores new ways to use the body (no relation to Lady). A quick search of Minus 16 on YouTube will give you a sampling of this work with seems to have become a modern day contemporary dance classic. The second work is a world premier by Cincinnati Ballet Resident Choreographer Adam Hougland. His brand new work is set to Beethoven’s String Quartet “Op. 18, No. 1 in F Major”, performed live on stage by the award-winning Israeli ensemble, Ariel Quartet.

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Photo by Aaron M Conway

 

Unfortunately, I’ll be heading to Washington DC for National Arts Advocacy Day (check it out at #ArtsAdvocacy) so I won’t be able to take the girls to their second company’s Ballet Toybox performance of Swan Lake, Jr on March 19. It’s an hour long performance for children 10 and younger. Check it out if you’re nearby.

This is just Part 1 of this series so I’ll update you in a few months on my next few art adventures. If you would like to take a moment to show your support of the arts, sign Americans for the Arts Action Fund’s petition for support of the arts.