Miami’s New Performing Arts Center – Will People Be Able To Afford To Go?

Managers of Miami’s new Performing Arts Center say they hope to make “the $446 million center accessible to all, both through programming and ticket prices. But in a community as diverse as Miami, the task of serving everyone is akin to building a bridge across the Atlantic. Nearly 60 percent of the city’s population was born in another country, according to 2004 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. And about 91,000 people – 28 percent of the population – earn less than the federal poverty level of $9,570 a year for an individual, making Miami the third poorest big city in the nation.”

Do We Fetishize Endings?

“The ending of a film, or any narrative, bears a disproportionate amount of the artistic weight. Endings are the last thing we see, and the thing most likely to stay in the memory. And there’s a natural inclination, in any long and complex work, to focus on the ending: Art, like life, often passes by in a state of semi-confusion, but a solid ending proves to the audience that the director had control all along. And the power of a good ending has particular resonance in a ‘closure’ society, a society that strives for finality in things of the heart (closure after grief) and clairvoyance in most everything else (how’s this going to turn out?).”

Music Downloads Continue To Soar

Music downloading hit new highs in the first half of 2006, with more than 14 million full albums downloaded (legally) by consumers, a 77% increase over the same period last year. Sales of traditional albums fell by 4.2%. “Although digital sales are growing, music fans are eschewing the more profitable full-album downloads in favour of cherry-picking a few songs.”

Will Islamic Law Trump Artistic Quality?

The UAE Guggenheim “could present a headache for curators – how to balance artistic expression and Islamic cultural sensitivities?” For instance, nudes would likely be forbidden, as would any other depictions that might offend ultra-conservative Islamic sensibilities. And with that kind of self-censorship a necessity, the new Guggenheim might be dooming itself to irrelevance before it even opens.

Oregon Arts In Dire Straits

“A torrent of red ink is flowing through some of Oregon’s best-known arts and cultural organizations. The Oregon Historical Society and the Oregon Symphony each posted a six- or seven-figure deficit in its two most recent fiscal years. Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Opera and the Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene also booked large losses last year. Arts officials checked off a laundry list of problems causing the disappointing financial results: high costs, executive changes, miserly state support and fierce competition for audiences and donor dollars.”

Whose PAC Is It, Anyway?

St. Paul’s Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is hunting for a new chief executive, and Dominic Papatola says that the center would do well to spend some time reexamining its mission before it settles on a new leader. “The Ordway is the crown jewel of St. Paul’s cultural destinations, but it is a flawed gem. Economically and organizationally, the place was built broken… No one has ever been able to successfully juggle the building’s multiple roles as landlord, presenter and producer.”