(May 17, 2009) - At least 35 state parks could be shut down as Pennsylvania enters the height of the summer tourist season if a Senate Republican budget plan gains traction in the state House. The measure will be the subject of a two-day public hearing in Harrisburg this week.
(May 17, 2009) - It's everybody's job in these recession-rocked times to get by with less, so we are constantly told. For U.S. symphony orchestras, that should mean a good deal more than making a few nips and tucks, which generally has been their response to the economic crisis thus far.
It will require a very different, much smarter business plan, beginning with a re-examination of the single largest line item in any orchestra's budget: the expense side. That means looking hard at what everybody is paid, from top to bottom of the organization.
(May 17, 2009) - Advanta Corp. and its chief executive officer, Dennis Alter, have long been major Philadelphia philanthropists, recently sponsoring "Cezanne and Beyond" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and donating $15 million for the new Alter Hall at Temple University.
But that deep well appears to be threatened by financial woes at the Montgomery County credit card firm, which last week took the unprecedented step of closing all customers' accounts to new charges as of June 10.
(May 15, 2009) - It was against a backdrop of threatened government arts funding cuts that the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia held its annual awards luncheon Friday, honoring Mayor Michael Nutter and encouraging participants to contact their state legislators.
Arts and Business Council President and CEO Karen Davis called on business leaders to lobby Pennsylvania legislators in the wake of a Pennsylvania Senate budget vote that backed eliminating arts funding.
Nutter, who received an award for his support of arts and culture, echoed the call for contacting state lawmakers, calling it an investment that pays a return in economic impact.
(May 15, 2009) - The state’s film industry is unleashing Rocky Balboa, the Transformers and Citizen Cohn in a promotional film championing Pennsylvania’s film tax credit program.
Regional arts groups are clogging radio station phone lines to defeat polls about eliminating state arts funding and jump-starting a campaign on Facebook whose membership grew to more than 1,900 people in a week.
As a rite of spring, organizations involved with arts and culture flock to Harrisburg each year to battle for the modest line items that help keep them going. But this year, they’re facing not cuts but a total elimination of funding.
(May 14, 2009) - On Wednesday in New York, Christie's auctioned $93.7 million worth of post-war and contemporary art, a total that fell near the high end of its $71.5 million to $104.5 million estimate. The sale also eclipsed Sotheby's $47 million sale on Tuesday.
That hardly means the art market has healed overnight: A similar sale at Christie's last spring made $348 million by offering roughly the same number of artworks, indicating how far prices had to fall before collectors ventured back into the marketplace. more...
(May 13, 2009) - Ever since the November death of Gerald Schoenfeld, the theater owner and the longtime public face of Broadway to New Yorkers and their mayors, governors and lawmakers, many people in the theater world thought one of his peers, Rocco Landesman, would succeed him as the next ambassador for Broadway.
Yet with the disclosure on Tuesday that Mr. Landesman, a producer and the owner of five Broadway theaters, is President Obama’s pick to be the next chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Broadway has been pondering not only the theater landscape without Mr. Landesman’s distinctive jib, but also the double loss of Mr. Schoenfeld and Mr. Landesman as spokesmen for its needs and priorities. more...
(May 14, 2009) - When Ann Northrup won the commission to paint a mural on 1312 Spruce St., which has been home to some of the city's most celebrated restaurants, naturally she pictured food. What she didn't picture was a food fight.
The classically trained artist finds herself in the middle of a nasty dispute over her larger-than-life image of chef Marc Vetri, which has come to be known as the Polenta Man.
The problem, says Northrup, is that when she added him to her Tuscan landscape, she didn't realize there was "some tension," as she puts it, between the chef and his landlord, Michael Yelson.
This leaves an unwelcome problem for the Mural Arts Program, which raised $30,000 for the piece. More...
(May 15, 2009) - Living Beyond Breast Cancer has won supporters for one of its biggest fund-raisers with e-mail blasts, brochures, and personal calls to big donors. But that's so yesterday.
For the first time, the nonprofit based in Haverford is posting to its new Facebook page information on this year's Yoga Unites event, which takes place Sunday. It also is tweeting on Twitter and uploading video to YouTube. Of course, Living Beyond also blogs, and it shares photos on Flickr, including one of women saluting the sun on the steps of the Art Museum, where the annual Yoga Unites takes place.
As a result, the number of teams signed up for the event has nearly tripled, the group reports. more...
(May 14, 2009) - The Pew Exhibitions Initiative will dole out about $1 million this year to support eight exhibitions, including a major retrospective by the Philadelphia Museum of Art that will explore the career of modernist painter Arshile Gorky.
Paula Marincola, director of the exhibitions initiative, noted that two grants this year would go to first-time recipients, which she said reflected the "growing scope of our program and the emerging talents in our community."