Archive for the ‘roundup’ Category

Spring Open Studios Gallery

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Among the life forms springing forth this time of year: an abundance of Massachusetts open studios.

For artists participating in one of the numerous open studios in April, May, and June, it’s a time to welcome friends, fans, and strangers into your work space to see your art (for some advice when doing so, read a past ArtSake post). For others, artists and art-lovers alike, it’s a chance to support your local creative community and get a glimpse into the fertile landscape of Massachusetts art-making.

See a Gallery of Open Studios Artists

Click the diagonal arrows to view in full screen.

And check out the list of upcoming events, below (if your open studios is missing, let us know).

Brookline Open Studios, April 26-27, 2014
Cambridge Open Studios, April 26-27, 2014
Lexington Open Studios, April 26-27, 2014
Mudflat Open Studio & Sale, May 2-4, 2014
Needham Open Studios, May 3-4, 2014
Somerville Open Studios, May 3-4, 2014
Western Avenue Studios (Lowell) Open Studios, May 3, 2014
SoWa Artist Guild Art Walk & Open Studios, May 4, 2014
Fort Point Open Studios/Art Walk, May 9-11, 2014
West Medford Open Studios, May 10-11, 2014
South Boston Spring Open Studios, June 1, 2014
East Boston Open Studios, May 2014, date TBA June 7-8, 2014
Chelsea Art Walk, June 14-15, 2014
Cottage Street Open Studios, June 14-15, 2014
Cape Ann Artisans Tour, June 21-22, 2014

Also of note:
Boston College Arts Festival, April 24-26, 2014
ArtWeek Boston, April 25-May 4, 2014
Harvard Arts First Festival, May 1-4, 2014

Images: Amy Ross, WHEN THE FOREST IS LEFT TO HER OWN (2013); Katrina Majkut, A GIRL’S GOTTA SEE THE WORLD (2013); Alexandra Photopoulos, CHAISE (installation view); Adrienne Sloane, SPLASH II; ceramics by Kyla Toomey; Anne Nydam, ASPIDOCHELONE; Bruce Myren, THE WASHINGTON ELM FROM GARDEN AND MASON STREET, CAMBRIDGE, MA, JANUARY 2014; Amy Ross, DAY TRIPPER (2011); Maureen O’Connor, TWO DUCKS ON FLORAL 1 (2004); Kate Childs, SUNRISE LAKE (2014).

Stormy Skies: a Round-Up

Friday, October 26th, 2012

As New England braces for Frankenstorm Sandy, we thought we’d round up some of the other things we’re bracing for in the upcoming days and weeks (but in a good way).

Big Red Forum
The recently reinvigorated Big Red & Shiny is hosting a spirited conversation on art & community moderated by Katherine French, Director of the Danforth Museum, with panelists Louisa McCall (Artists in Context), Richard Graf (Fort Point Consulting), and Jenny Gibbs (Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, MassArt), at the MIT List Center on Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 5 PM.

Boston Book Festival
Also on Saturday, don’t miss the Boston Book Festival, an all-day literature-athon in Copley Square, Boston, bringing together dozens of writers, publishers, books, and just generally literary coolness. Past MCC awardees Kathryn Burak, Regie Gibson, Henriette Lazaridis Power, Daniel Tobin, and Joan Wickersham are all taking part.

The Best American Short Stories Story
In December, watch for an intriguing discussion with Heidi Pitlor, series editor of the Best American Short Stories books, and two authors included in the most recent edition, Edith Pearlman and Jennifer Haigh. The event, Tea & Literature: The Story Behind BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, is on Sunday Dec. 2, 2 PM, at Fairmont Copley Plaza, sponsored by the Women’s National Book Association.

YesOuiSi Hack
Oh NoNonNo, YesOuiSi, the intriguing alternative art space, has been hacked! Actually, don’t worry – they’ve been hacked by Brand Hack, not hacked as in cyber or ax or something bad like that. Check out the results.

Howlround Boston
Have you been to HowlRound lately? If no, Go Now. If yes, Go Now, Again. The new play journal/blog has, of late, been focusing on Boston, such as a great 30,000 ft. view piece by local dramaturg Ilana Brownstein and an interview with Kate Snodgrass, Melinda Lopez, and Lydia Diamond of Boston Playwrights Theatre.

Seriously, all: stay safe in the storm.

Image: Andrew Mowbray, WIND DRIVEN DRAWING MACHINE #2 (2009), steel, polyethylene, polycarbonate, mylar, pens.

Of Slams, Fruitlands, and Shiny Things

Friday, September 7th, 2012

A quick round-up of some of the interesting things happening in the Massachusetts art-o-sphere…

Big Red & Shiny
Big Red & Shiny is back! This region’s art scene is shiny indeed, and it deserves the thorough – and idiosyncratic (see video art, above) – exploration this online journal/blog is known for.

A little background: until 2010, Big Red & Shiny was a key force in the New England art scene. The online journal and blog delved into this region’s art from the POV of its artists. It explored news, offered reviews, discussed issues, and wittily observed the local scene, all with a unique and at times fiery collection of sensibilities. But by 2010, after more than six years of publication, BRS’s founders announced they were discontinuing the journal.

Now it’s back. Its founders are now board members, and the editorial staff is new. They’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to support the relaunch, and there will be events at Boston Center for the Arts (Mills Gallery, 9/29, 6 PM) and MIT (Bartos Theater, 10/27, 4 PM).

Schooled by massmouth
In this land of hallowed academic institutions, we appreciate a good schooling. Massmouth wants storytellers to consider the theme “schooled” for its next story slam. Similar to poetry slams, massmouth holds story slams that encourage storytellers of all experience levels to lay it all out, in narrative fashion, before a live audience. Their fourth story slam season begins Sept. 9, 2012, 6:30 PM, at Doyle’s Café in Jamaica Plain.

Ten audience members will be selected at random to tell a real-life story. Future story slams will take place at Club Passim in Cambridge, Rosebud in Somerville, and Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline.

Congratulations, Creative Activists
Congratulations to Clara Wainwright, textile artist and founder of First Night, and Eryn Johnson, director of Cambridge’s Community Art Center. Both were honored with Creative Activist Awards by ArtCorps. From ArtCorps: “These two outstanding leaders are being recognized for using the arts to engage, educate, empower, connect and inspire.” ArtCorps will honor Clara Wainwright and Eryn Johnson on September 20, 2012 at the Raising Spirits gala at the Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA. The event will also mark the launch of Clara Wainwright’s Welcoming Quilt.

Transcendent Landscapes
Meanwhile, art is transforming the landscape of the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts. Artist-in-residence Andy Moerlein has created large-scale sculptures inspired by the natural world, installed throughout the premises of Fruitlands, the former utopian community founded by Amos Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May!). This month, a panel discussion of “Art and the Transcendental Landscape” will feature a host of prominent curators and New England artists (including Moerlein, his partner Donna Dodson, and others). The discussion is on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, 1 PM.

Help Assets for Artists help artists
Assets for Artists is a great program to help artists grow their careers, with grantees participating in an innovative matched savings grant program, financial/business training, and home ownership assistance. Now you can help the program (which is administered by MASS MoCA) help artists. To continue and expand their funding and service, they’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign.

Media: Kickstarter video for Big Red & Shiny.

Mass. Crowdfunding Roundup

Friday, April 20th, 2012

A few months back, there were a spate of headlines suggesting that the website Kickstarter had exceeded the National Endowment of the Arts in dollars supporting the arts.

Presented this way, the two models – crowdfunding and grants-based funding – might seem to be in opposition (the blog Createquity recently had a thoughtful exploration of why they’re not). Many individual artists seek support through both models, fitting the given project with the funding model that best suits it.

We thought it might be useful to round up some of the current, locally-based crowdfunding projects to see how Massachusetts artists are using Kickstarter, USA Projects, and IndieGoGo to raise money for their projects.

Cristi Rinklin is fundraising on USA Projects (thru April 27) to support Diluvial, a translucent wall-sized frieze to be installed at the Currier Museum of Art (learn more). Like other strong crowdfunding campaigns, this one makes its case by joining something dazzling (the art) with a concrete, substantial, and time-grounded goal (the June ’12 show at the Currier).

Author Scott Heim is using Kickstarter to support The First Time I Heard (thru Apr 29) an e-book series collecting essays by writers and musicians about the experience of first hearing the music of an iconic band. It has another key element of successful crowdfunding projects: it’s just plain cool.

Rick and Laura Brown, aka Handshouse Studios, are raising funds (thru May 4) for a film documenting the replication of a 17th-century wooden synogogue destroyed in Poland during WWII. The social relevance of this project makes it stand out, as does its scale.

Anyone interested in helping support “the kind of independent, uncompromising art and criticism that’s often muffled by velvet glove of cultural bureaucracy?” The Baffler, a journal of political and cultural satire, has been reborn here in MA (published by MIT Press), and its editor John Summers is using Kickstarter (thru May 11) to support it. Irreverence never goes out of style, whether in periodicals or in crowdfunding campaigns.

Caleb Cole is using USA Projects to support (thru May 18) the publishing of a monograph of his Other People’s Clothes series of photographs. This project illuminates one of the benefits of the platform: you can offer really cool rewards to donors, such as a signed copy of the book Caleb is offering at some donation levels.

Eric Hofbauer is using the site IndieGoGo (thru May 19) to support the recording/production of American Grace, the third CD in his trilogy of solo guitar projects. On IndieGoGo, an artist can accept the pledged donations even if the total goal isn’t met (whereas on Kickstarter and USA Projects, it’s all or nothing).

Julie Akeret is well on her way to meeting her funding goal for the short, narrative film The Haircut using USA Projects (thru May 30). On ArtSake, Julie recently discussed how she took the leap into a new funding model while taking a creative leap on this project.

Candice Smith Corby and Leslie Schomp are curating Self/Fabricated, an intriguing exhibition of work by artists (including the curators, Jan Johnson, and others) who explore autobiography through cloth and stitching. Self/Fabricated, on USA Projects thru June 1, opens at the Art Complex in Duxbury Sept. ’12. Crowdfunding works best when projects have a strong connection to their intended communities, and this one benefits from a very well-defined regional and discipline-specific identity.

Learn more in Crowdfunding: A Primer.

Images: Cristi Rinklin, painting from DILUVIAL; still image from Kickstarter video by Handshouse Studio; Caleb Cole, THE LAST PAGE (2008), Archival Inkjet Print, 20×30 in; still image from IndieGoGo video by Eric Hofbauer.


Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Bring on the tryptophan (or, if you prefer, an equally drowse-inducing vegan counterpart). Amidst the travels/tables/tackles/toils, here are a handful of links to keep you arts-clicking from here to Black Friday.

Creative Capital has launched a blog to build the national artists community from scrappy underdog to fierce contender. Getting strong now! Read this post on must-haves for your artist website.

Meanwhile, the fine, artists-supporting folks at Pew Center for Arts and Heritage have posted some practical financial advice for artists, care of choreographer and past Pew Fellow Amy Smith.

If you’re an admirer of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival but, in your heart of hearts, harbor the feeling that the 2011 festival was missing one very specific event – yours – now’s your chance. Submit a proposal by Dec. 1 to participate in the 2012 Massachusetts Poetry Festival, which will be in Salem, April 20-22, 2012.

Former literary agent and current author/literary blogger Nathan Bransford diagnoses some common writing maladies, such as catching the Catcher in the Rye voice or being plagued by adverbs-itis. Funny stuff.

Congratulations to Jennifer Haigh (Hull), Suzanne Matson (Newton), and Sabina Murray (Amherst) for winning 2012 NEA Literature Fellowships! We humbly note that MCC has funded both Suzanne (1998) and Sabina (2002) in the past, and numerous other current NEA grantees (Amber Dermont, Tayari Jones, and Benjamin Percy) have been past reviewers in our Artist Fellowships Program.

Boston’s Grub Street, Inc. writers’ service organization is moving its HQ. Currently on 160 Boylston, they’re moving down (or is it up?) the block to the Steinway Building, adjacent to the newly christened Edgar Allan Poe Square. The move means more floor space, accommodating a “quadrupling of our programmatic offerings, and the implementation of many exciting new initiatives.”

Umbrage has shared a clip from Yabat Ida Le Lij, a film by Eric Gottesman and members of Sudden Flowers (an Ethiopian film collective started by Gottesman, comprised of children affected by AIDS/HIV). Umbrage Editions is publishing Sudden Flowers, a compendium of Eric’s work with the project, in Fall 2012.

Meanwhile, jazz composer/guitarist Eric Hofbauer shares his recent experience participating in the Penn Ar Jazz Festival in France, an experience that has “awoken a fierce confidence along with a new urgency to play and share my music with as many people as I can.” See some of that musical urgency in the clip at the top of the page, from Eric’s recent performance at Johnny D’s in Somerville.

Quip lit wit and win. Concoct a clever tagline for Carolina Quarterly and get a year’s subscription to the literary journal!

Finally, for a unique arts experience this Thanksgiving weekend, attend the Short Story Film Festival at Gallery X in New Bedford. Forty live action and animated films from 23 countries will screen on Saturday, November 26. If sweet potato overload has got you too groggy to follow long plots, don’t despair: each film is five minutes or under.

Miniature Travel Guide to the Republic of Art Awesomeness in MA (This Weekend Edition)

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

So, you want art this weekend. You’ve come to the right place. Here’s a handy dandy guide to your art-seeking travels.

Your starting point is Taunton, Massachusetts, on Sat., June 4, 2011, for the Dighton Cow Chip Festival. There, you’ll behold chainsaw sculptor “The Machine” Jesse Green as he lives out his slogan – “Carving Dreams into Reality” – by sculpting (live, in real-time, and using the previously mentioned chainsaw) a cow sculpture that’s to become Taunton’s newest fixture.

Then, make your way due north until you reach the cool waters of the Charles River, where the Cambridge River Festival (Sat, June 4) can offer you music, puppetry, dance, theatre, improv, a parade, children’s programming, and all manners of interactive and creative fun.

Cross the Charles River to Boston – specifically, to the Rose Kennedy Greenway. There, FIGMENT Boston (June 4-5) awaits you. FIGMENT Boston is a part of the national FIGMENT project, a “forum for the creation and display of participatory and interactive art by emerging artists across disciplines.” Over 80 artists are participating in FIGMENT Boston this year, including live video installation, interactive music performance, architectural dance installation, and many, many other interesting projects that are too hard to compact into a reasonable sentence. May we humbly suggest this event is likely to be far out.

Next, head north to Salem, MA. You’ll find the Salem Arts Festival, a weekend-long (June 3-5) celebration of visual, performing, and literary art. You can take a magic carpet ride, learn bellydance, do improv, and see tons of art.

Now, I understand that, with four festivals already under your belt, you’re weary, hungry, possibly a touch over-festive. But you must persevere. For a little over 30 miles from Salem is the formidable city of Lowell, where you’ll breathlessly rush through the doors of the Merrimack Repertory Theatre. There, the Lowell National Historical Park hosts an evening of Irish dance and fiddle music Saturday night, featuring master artists and their apprentices, from the MCC’s Traditional Apprenticeship Program. Read more at our sibling blog, Keepers of Tradition, on this fascinating evening of solo, duet, and group performances.

You may rest now.

It’s Sunday morning (almost noon – you slept late). Rise, and see art.

First, head to South Boston, where there’s a Spring Open Studio at the Distillery & King Terminal (Sun., June 5, 2011). See the current participating artists and check out some previous work by some of those same artists in an older post we did about their Fall open studios.

Finally, make your way, by roller skate, rickshaw, unicycle, or – if need be – an easier mode of transport, to the Tufts University Art Gallery in Medford. A show of MCC Fellows just opened (see pictures of the opening on our Facebook page). If you want a sense of the range and vision of work being produced by visual artists in Massachusetts, you have arrived at your destination. While you’re there, use your cell to call a special number for audio commentary by the artists.

There. You’ve reached the end of our guide. But feel free to expand the map.

Image: Gallery view of paintings by Monica Nydam, from a show of MCC Fellows at Tufts University Art Gallery.

Art + Sustenance

Friday, May 13th, 2011

It’s been a while since we’ve rounded up some links of interest to the Massachusetts arts community. Friends, there is much to share, so click to your hearts content on the following stuff.

I love the premise behind the California-based Sustainable Arts Foundation: help artists and writers who also happen to be parents to create their work. “Too often,” says the org, “creative impulses are set aside to meet the wonderful, but pressing, demands of raising a family. The foundation’s goal is to encourage parents to continue pursuing their creative passion, and to rekindle it in those who may have let it slide.” Until May 20, they’re accepting applications for $6000 grants to support artists/parents!

Closer to home, Playwrights’ Commons, an organization formed by dramaturg Ilana Brownstein, has developed a number of programs to serve the unmet needs of local playwrights. Commons is currently accepting applications for its Freedom Art Theatre Retreat, which will give emerging Boston-area playwrights the chance to be matched with designers and dramaturgs for an intensive, play-blossoming retreat in a remote, New England setting, this August. The organization also has intriguing plans for its Donut Hole Lab, which will aim to support playwrights “who are no longer young or new enough to be considered by producing theatres as emerging, and yet who are also not yet considered established…” More details to come.

On May 21 and 22, a conference in Cambridge called Play-jurisms will explore the complex thicket of copyright, appropriation, ethics, and creativity. All events are free, including discussions with intellectual property lawyers and artists, performances, and a film screening. The conference, organized by David Taber and Tim Devin, and will be held at the Democracy Center near Harvard Sq.

The Emerging America Festival, a partnership between The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.), Huntington Theatre Company, and the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston to present “groundbreaking performance by American artists,” starts tonight and continues this weekend. Along with new theatre by local dramatists like Jay Scheib (recent Guggenheim awardee) and Ryan Landry, the festival has commissioned a fascinating library of podcast plays by artists like Kirsten Greenidge, John Kuntz, and recent MCC Fellow Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro.

Congratulations to Boston-area playwright Lydia Diamond for winning the Wimberly Award from the Huntington Theatre Company for her play Stick Fly! She also recently received an IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) Award for “Best New Play from a Large Theatre Company” Watch the YouTube clip at the top of the post to see her gracious response.

Boston-area novelist Jane Roper frequently gets asked, “Is your novel fictional?” So, like, is it?

Still kneeling on a bed of uncooked macaroni to punish yourself for not making Salamander literary magazine’s Fiction Contest submission deadline? Well, kneel no more! The deadline has been extended until May 31. Jim Shepard is judging. Contest guidelines.

But George, the Man with the Yellow Hat told you not to get into any trouble! And yet Harvard Square’s iconic Curious George children’s bookstore is in trouble. Actually, it’s no laughing matter; without help, they may have to shut their doors. The store was launched with the help of the late Curious George co-creator (and Cambridge resident) Margaret Rey.

Recently, we discussed the many artist open studios taking place around Massachusetts this Spring. This weekend, there are open studios events in Newton, Dedham, Boston (the SoWa Art Walk), and central Cambridge.

And finally, a few updates on some past MCC Fellows: while Jamie Cat Callan (Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Fellow ’10) is entertainingly interviewed over at Grub Daily, Joan Wickersham (Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Fellow ’08) prepares to join authors Elizabeth Searle, Andre Dubus III, and Elyssa East for a live, power-packed Four Stories reading on May 23, in Cambridge (all proceeds will be donated to children orphaned in the recent earthquake disaster in Japan). Meanwhile, Jeff Zimbalist‘s (Film & Video Fellow ’05) latest film Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told (a documentary co-directed with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra), is about to premiere at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival! Watch a trailer.

Mass. Abundance

Friday, April 15th, 2011

In our modern world, mysteries abound! On the other hand, so do plastic water bottles. And twist ties (see above). In fact, lots of things abound. Information. Celebrities. Blog posts and websites. Haters and their hatin’. Makers and their makin’. All abound.

It’s been suggested that curation will be increasingly key to our navigation, as a culture, of the overly abundant information-scape in our lives. In that spirit, we thought we’d round up some of the abundantly intriguing, or mysterious, or just plain keen stuff going on.

On The Public Humanist, blog of Mass Humanities, Natasha Haverty and Adam Bright share the backstory of their radio documentary-in-progress about a debate society formed in the 1930s by inmates in a Norfolk, MA prison – and how the team defeated debate squads from more hallowed MA institutions like MIT and Harvard.

Why should James Franco work at Grub Street, the Boston-based writers service organization? Answer this question by 5 PM today (Friday, April 15), and you may win a pair of tickets to Cocktail Hour with the Francos, an unscripted conversation with writer/actor/conceptual artist James Franco and his mother, writer Betsy Franco, at Grub Street’s great Muse and the Marketplace Conference. Just tweet “James Franco should work at Grub Street because…” and your answer, and include @GrubWriters and #musefranco in your tweet.

How big a wave could one week’s worth of plastic bottles create? The good folks of Citizens for Salem/Beverly Water Resources suspect it will yield A Mighty Wave. They’re encouraging artists to converge at Salem Common in Salem on the morning of May 7 to create a one-day public art display, creating a wave of plastic from bottles collected in just one week in Salem. All will be broken down in time for a recycling truck to break (and recycle) the wave by afternoon. Find out more.

Not since the Mayors’ Arts Challenge have two MA cities had so vigorous a rivalry! Responding to a remark by a Cambridge city councilor that Somerville doesn’t have many interesting places, Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone has challenged Cambridge to an “Interesting City Challenge.” He even invokes the arts:

It’s called authenticity, and we’ve got it in the arts too. The City and local businesses weave art into everything we do. Public art absolutely needs to be part of this Challenge, though it’s not fair because most of the artists Cambridge had long ago moved to Somerville. And we’re talking everything from painters to sculptors to comic book artists. Oh, if you happen to catch a band in Cambridge anytime soon, make sure to ask them where in Somerville they live.

(As a state agency, we are not taking sides.)

Speaking of rivalries: watch Governor Deval Patrick go head to head with The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart! Actually, it’s a really friendly conversation. They talk about Gov. Patrick’s new book, former MA governor Mitt Romney, and why The Daily Show should move production to Massachusetts.

New England Film has a terrific article on five films from New England talent screening this month at the International Film Festival of Boston (April 27-May 4, 2011).

GO SEE ART. Where? Find out at GO SEE ART. It’s a compendium of New England art exhibitions. So go there. And then go. You know. To see art.

Will it surprise you that the Boston chapter of the Awesome Foundation, which funds projects it considers awesome (that’s really the only criteria), funded a group that describes itself as “Boston’s mysterious playmate?” Banditos Misteriosos won a $1000 “Awesome” grant for its plan to create a giant puzzle to be put together by the Boston community sometime this summer. Past efforts by the Misteriosos, who aim to answer the questions “Who are these people we pass in the street?” and “How could we use those big open public spaces?” by staging whimsical public events, include massive pillow and water gun fights and a live, “Choose Your Own Adventure” game.

At the recent TransCultural Exchange Conference, attendee Ilana Manolson (Painting Fellow ’08) shared her experiences exhibiting her paintings through the ART in Embassies Program, which places American art in U.S. diplomatic residencies worldwide. Through that program, Ilana’s paintings have been on exhibit at American embassies in The Hague and Sarajevo.

I really like this post by the Our Stories literary journal that lists short stories that employ a very specific device, then carry it off with skill. Massachusetts literary rawk star Steve Almond (Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Fellow ’08) is on the list twice!

Finally: arts funding is one thing mentioned in this post that’s not nearly abundant enough. On a federal level, the NEA’s budget is under threat, and here in MA, we have our own issues. Read this testimony by Tim Robbins about how a small investment in the arts can yield a bounty – not just in terms of the tax revenues, but culturally and personally.

Image: Rachel Perry Welty, LOST IN MY LIFE (TWIST TIES) (2009), Pigmented ink print, edition of 3, 90×60 in, Courtesy of the Artist, Barbara Krakow Gallery (Boston), Gallery Joe (Philadelphia), and Yancey Richardson Gallery (New York). Rachel’s solo show RACHEL PERRY WELTY 24/7 is on exhibit at the deCordova Sculpture Park + Museum in Lincoln through April 24, 2011. Currently, Rachel’s video work KARAOKE WRONG NUMBER 2004-2009 is featured in Videonale 13 at Kunstmuseum Bonn, through May 29, 2011.

Links Letter

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

It’s a busy time here at the state arts agency – but interesting arts links wait for no one. So we thought it might be a good opportunity to round up some links of interest to Massachusetts artists and art-fans.

The Emerging Filmmakers Series at the Boston Center for the Arts launches tomorrow (Thursday, April 7), with two film screenings, including the premiere of Sospia by Lana Z. Caplan (featured here on ArtSake). Sospira (watch the trailer) is a 50-minute experimental documentary about nine international women and their travels along the Amalfi Coast of Italy. The Emerging Filmmaker Series is curated by Jeff Daniel Silva (Film & Video Finalist ’09).

Need some talking points as you advocate for support of the arts? You could do worse than to borrow from Kevin Spacey (or Abe Lincoln). In this clip from “Hardball” on MSNBC, Kevin Spacey speaks eloquently about why arts funding is important, citing how Lincoln continued attending theatre and reading voraciously during the Civil War: “Lincoln understood that he needed the arts to replenish his soul.”

Cool: the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre is doing yeoman’s work exploring the world of new plays on the Playwrights Perspective blog. I love this post by BPT alum Anne Pattison about good omens she found during her world travels that gave her hope for the plight of the modern playwright.

Are you a writer? Do you like awesome, really super useful things? Okay, then you’ll like this. The Beyond the Margins blog checks in with a bunch of great writers to see what advice they might have for their earlier, not-yet-published selves. The advice ranges from the pragmatic (Ericka Robuck: “Keep it simple.”) to the gallows-ly humorous (Amy MacKinnon: “Become an accountant instead.”) to the poetic (Jackie Mitchard: “This rollercoaster ride will take you higher than swallows fly and lower than worms burrow…”).

Speaking of poetic: you’re planning on attending, taking part in, and/or heartily singing the praises of this May’s Massachusetts Poetry Festival – right? Prime the pump this month by taking part in (or organizing your own) Common Threads’ event to celebrate seven poems by poets with strong ties to Massachusetts.

And finally: the TransCultural Exchange Conference of international opportunities for artists of all disciplines starts tomorrow, April 7 and runs through April 10. Some of the terrific events are free, such as several at the Boston Public Library, including a panel on “First Books” by ArtSake faves Mira Bartok and Jedediah Berry, 1:30-3:30 PM, in the Boston Room, and a Grant Writing Workshop with David Adams of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars and Deb Todd Wheeler, 1:30-3:30 PM in Room C05/C06.

Image: still from SOSPIRA by Lana Z. Caplan.

Hammock art: a round-up

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

It’s a sleepy August morning, and you are, hopefully, supine in a hammock or in crystalline sand on some manner of cape (Cod, Ann, Canaveral, etc.). In case you brought your laptop, here’s a round-up of useful, edifying, interesting, or otherwise nifty art-related web destinations.

I brake for blogs that find unique uses for the format. Like Good Ear Review, which publishes dramatic monologues by varied writers, including some Mass. playwrights. Though its editor-in-chief is listed as Tristram Stjohn Bexindale-Webb (editor for the past 147 years), one suspects Northampton playwright KD Halpin may be more than the “Adjuncty Staff” the site claims her to be. Find out how to submit your own monologues.

Another fun one is the His Room as He Left It project blog by Ariel Kotker, where she posts additions to her ongoing, handmade installation, as she makes them. Recently, this meant sharing the Mosspocket Spittle Tabs.

The Technology in the Arts blog covers different methods to crowdfund your art. You’ve probably heard of the site Kickstarter, in which creative rewards are used as incentives to donate to projects, such as the successfully-funded Big Hammock (pictured above), a public art project in Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway. The post also delves into IndieGoGo and RocketHub.

A U-Mass Amherst theatre student shares the rules of comedy directing he gleaned from participating in rehearsals for The Hound of the Baskervilles at the Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, such as “If You Can’t Hide It, Feature It” and “Simplify (Unless You Shouldn’t).”

Comic virtuosity, rock star-ness, and individualized pencil sharpening convene in a bookstore you can’t find. On August 20, Brookline’s native son John Hodgman (of The Daily Show and The Areas of My Expertise), David Rees (of Get Your War On), and musical performer John Roderick are joining for an event at the Montague Bookmill in Western Mass. Among the evening’s offerings are this curiosity: Rees will present a rare, live artisanal pencil sharpening demonstration. What is artisanal pencil sharpening, you ask? My guess is it resides somewhere between satire, conceptual art, and hand-sanding, but seek out the bookshop (whose slogan is “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find”) and find out for yourself. (The Bookmill can’t be too hard to find; according to this Globe article, Hodgman wrote most of his first book there.)

Apply to our Artist Fellowships Program, and you, too, might someday model for Vogue and Time Magazine! Further reading to support the previous sentence: 1. A profile of Jonathan Franzen in Time, which includes his visage on the cover (incidentally, the last time an author graced the Time cover was Stephen King, in March 2000). 2. A story about Franzen in Vogue, which includes a Vogue-ish photo portrait. 3. Our list of notable past Massachusetts state fellows, which includes Mr. Franzen (he received the award in 1986, two years before his first novel The Twenty Seventh City was published.)

When selecting honorary chairs for your theater company, it never hurts to aim high.

Stuck in traffic on the Mass Pike? Stay alert for talking felt, in case some Massachusetts artists decide to emulate Superclogger, a puppet show for gridlocked L.A. drivers.

When writing, do you suffer from the Yoda Effect? Chatty Cathy-ness? The Old Spice Guy Effect? A San Fran literary agent breaks down common writing maladies.

A painter accepts commissions to paint people’s ideal bookshelf, a row of their most treasured or meaningful books.

Provocative filmmaker John Waters is interviewed in the Paris Review, where he talks about his longtime tradition of summering in Provincetown. In particular, his happy days working for local booksellers:

It was a magical time in my life. I worked in the bookshop. First I worked in the East End Bookshop that was run by Molly Malone Cook and her girlfriend, Mary Oliver, the poet, who was not famous yet. And then I worked at the Provincetown Bookshop for many, many years. And it’s still there. Elloyd Hansen, one of the owners, was the guy who really gave me my complete education about books. I didn’t go to school, so he’s the one who told me about Ronald Firbank, Jane Bowles; I learned everything working there.

Image: Digital prototype of THE BIG HAMMOCK, a public art project by Hansy Better. Image courtesy of The Big Hammock Project. The Big Hammock has its grand opening party on August 20th, 1:30 PM, in the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston.