Friday, August 20, 2010

Arts news: It's Friday in Beaverton, Berlin, Toronto

By Barry Johnson

Beaverton needs help. Specifically, the Beaverton School District, which is attempting to raise $800,000 in the next three weeks to qualify for a $4 million federal arts education grant in its elementary schools.  Christina Lent's story in the Beaverton Valley Times has the details.  The grant is intended to “help students engage more fully by using arts integration strategies to improve their reading and writing skills,” according to Superintendent Jerry Colonna. It's aimed primarily at grades 3-5.

That's a lot of money to raise, but a recent survey conducted by the Creative Advocacy Network showed that there's a larger reservoir for arts support than maybe we imagine, especially if it's connected to arts education. Beaverton will test that proposition in the next few weeks.  Step One might be to make the campaign readily apparent on the school district's web site: Make donations easy!

Stuff like this: As the Metropolitan Opera does, so will the Berlin Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra. They are going to stream live performances to willing theaters -- British ones in the Berlin Philharmonic's case, American for the Philadelphia Orchestra. "There is a market out there for this. The Met proved this," said Mark Rupp. "There are audiences willing to view stuff like this." Rupp is the president of SpectiCast, which will do the simulcasting in Philadelphia.

So, I'm wondering. Would Portlanders get up and out of the house and head for their neighborhood theater to watch Simon Rattle's Berliners play Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1 (which will be their program for the first concert)? Is a symphony concert really like an opera? The sound system would have to be really good...

An army of one: After Toronto's summer experimental/fringe dance/performance festival expired, dance entrepreneur Sion Irwin-Childs leapt into the breach, cranking up the Dance 2 Danse Festival, which starts this weekend in Toronto. He didn't get a lot of help. Local arts councils turned down his grant applications, and even the dance community has been a bit standoff-ish, according to the Toronto Star, though advance ticket sales have been brisk. Most performances take place in a 130-seat theater with tickets priced at $15. “I’m an army of one,” Irwin-Childs says. “It’s the way I like it.”

So,  is there room in Portland's festival calendar for a little dance festival? And who'd be the general of this army of one?


MightyToyCannon said...

It would be a shame if the Beaverton School District can't come up with the match to get that grant. What's not clear is how they ended up with only a three week window to reach the $800,000 goal. Securing a $50,000 grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust had to have taken at least a few months if the proposal went through the foundation's standard review process. Let's hope they have a deeply pocketed donor or two in the wings already.

Barry Johnson said...

I'm hoping to give them a call Monday to clarify some things, including their fundraising strategy... $800k in 3 weeks is a tough deal in the world WE know about.