connecting with art

Mayor Mallory Loves Our Dance, Music, Festivals, Etc.

Earlier this year, we watched as Mayor Mallory in Cincinnati talked about the State of the City. We told you then about the marvelous things he said about our arts -- all the music, dance, museums, theaters, festivals and so on in our region. Now the talented Lisa Maly has obtained a video clip of the Mayor talking about the importance of the arts to making Cincinnati a great place to live, work, play, and stay. Take a look!

Cincy Cinco Makes Our Public Square Sparkle

Guest blogger Marcelina Robledo, Manager of Multicultural Arts Initiative, shares her experience from Cincy Cinco 2010.

There are many signs showing spring's arrival and you see these signs all across the region. If you are downtown, you'll see outdoor seating emerging on sidewalks of local restaurants, the Flying Pig Marathon, and Cincy Cinco.

Cincy Cinco started in 2004 and the festivities took place at Coney Island. Last year, the festival moved to its new home on Fountain Square, one of Cincinnati's most popular meeting spaces --- where people come together, day and night all year around. Cincy Cinco celebrates Mexican culture, and all cultures from Latin America.

I always look forward to Cincy Cinco as it reminds me of the vibrancy of my family's roots. The weekend is full of delicious food, toe-tapping music, and lots of dancing. The festival is also a great opportunity to reconnect, share, and enjoy activities with family, friends, and neighbors.

This year, the Fine Arts Fund participated in Cincy Cinco by sponsoring booths. We invited both small and large art organizations from all over our community to participate in the festivities. 

At the booths, people participated by personalizing paper sombreros, breaking the Piñata, and making maracas. The participants were also able to appreciate a Community Canvas, a piece of artwork created by weaving long paper strips into an empty chain-link fence. (The one on display during Cincy Cinco was Diego River's The Tortilla Maker.)

While at the booths, festival-goers had a chance to learn about many different art organizations, what they offer our community, and how they contribute in making our community vibrant.

Despite the threat of rain over the weekend, we all stayed at the festival to enjoy each other's company, fun crafts, live music, and tasty food! I'm already looking forward to Cincy Cinco 2011!


Reading Lessons: The Art Thief

In the evening, I like to escape into a novel and I'm almost always reading one. (Hardly a weekend goes by without a visit to my neighborhood library -- luckily mine is open on Saturdays and Sundays.)

Last night, I came across this paragraph in my current novel, The Art Thief, by Noah Charney. It's entirely consistent with everything we've learned in our recent research on how people think about "the arts" -- through the lens of the contemporary protagonist who is tracking a series of thefts of paintings.


"[Art crime] was considered high class. At the top level of the caste system, art crime was socially acceptable, even thought of as prestigious and intriguing. It was the only serious crime for which the public tended to root for the criminals....The average citizen felt somewhat detached, and sometimes threatened, by fine art. It was considered elite and elusive...and therefore frightening to many. It was with some satisfaction that the public read about gracefully orchestrated art thefts. It was a combination of voyeurism into a glamorous world apart, and a satisfying jab at an institution that felt exclusive."



Singing in Haiti





Things We Liked in Our Sunday Reading

On the last day before back-to-work in twenty-ten (yep, that's what I've settled on)
was nice to stay inside and warm and read the Sunday papers.

In the New York Times, we liked seeing this report from Damien Cave on people connecting at museums and sharing art a lot these days:


...compared with 2005, Americans spent less time in 2008 buying goods and services and more time cooking or taking part in “organizational, civic and religious activities.”

Just as tellingly, evidence can also be found in culture. While one new study shows that attendance at museums and cultural events dropped from 2002 to 2008, it has climbed in 2009 at many major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. Movie attendance was also up 5 percent in 2009, and in the world of the Walt Disney Company, product sales have declined as the company’s theme parks enjoyed a 3 percent increase in visitors last quarter.

Even here in Miami, a city famous for its materialism, retailers are hurting while audiences continue to grow at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, at parks and for cheap activities like yoga by the beach.

“It’s a different kind of recession,” said Richard Florida, the author of several best-selling books about the economics of cities. “It’s not like in the ’30s when people stopped going to concerts. Now people seem to be keeping up with experience consumption and cutting back on other necessities.”

In the same paper, we noticed a call for a creative jobs initiative - the kind of thing that means more paintings and storytelling for all of us. We still enjoy art created with a similar effort in the thirties -- like this mural in Cincinnati-- today.

And in our local paper, we read an optimistic commentary written by Tom Callinan, on the role of local media and plans for more connections between the Enquirer and our local arts. Great way to start our year!