Art Works Blog

Summer Fun---National Council on the Arts Edition

Waterlilies by Barbara Ernst Prey. Watercolor,  28" x 40". Getty Museum. Photo courtesy of the artist.

It's summertime, which means more sunshine, more beach time, and more time to enjoy the arts. In anticipation of today's convening of the National Council on the Arts (which we hope you'll join us for via webcast), we asked our Council members about their "artful" summer plans. Whether experiencing music and theater in France, or preparing for exhibitions of their own work, our Council members have quite a summer ahead!

Ben Donenberg, Founder and Producing Artistic Director, The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

This summer, the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles is returning to the VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center Campus grounds, this time at their Japanese Garden, one of the loveliest outdoor venues on the West Side, with a production of As You Like It complete with live music (which is an important part of our productions). This production allows us to continue working with veterans, who will serve as valued members of our backstage and front of house team. Two veterans will also be part of the performing company, and we are making complimentary tickets available to active military personnel and veterans.

We have a great company of wonderful Los Angeles Shakespearean actors, which includes Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars, Grey’s Anatomy, Heroes), Peter Cambor (NCIS: Los Angeles), Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Diane Venora (Hamlet for the New York Shakespeare Festival), John Lavelle (The Graduate on Broadway), and veteran L.A. stage actor Tony Abatemarco.

Director Kenn Sabberton (an alumnus of the Royal Shakespeare Company) has set the play in present day Los Angeles, where Shakespeare’s court is likened to the corridors of governmental and corporate power and financial influence, and where the events of the day have brought about a sorry and sour state of affairs, stemming from family strife and political maneuverings among the characters. The Forest of Arden has become the local rural orange groves, adjacent farmland, and campgrounds where the characters gather to sing, dance, fall in love, and discuss what is truly important for their own health and the health of mankind!

Aaron P. Dworkin, Founder and President, Sphinx Organization

This summer, my wife Afa and I are embarking on a journey to several countries in Europe, where we we are looking to build partnerships for the Sphinx Organization. In Berlin, Bobby McFerrin will appear in a concert with [NEA Jazz Master] Chick Corea on June 26th. This will be an incredible event during a year when Corea is celebrating his 70th birthday! In Avignon, France, we are looking forward to the Avignon Off Festival in July, featuring a number of exciting theatrical productions and concerts off stage (including Theatre du Chien). Finally, on August 18th, we will hear chamber music performances by the young artists and faculty from the Sphinx Performance Academy at Chicago's Northwestern University, Bienen School of Music.

JoAnn Faletta, Musical Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Virginia Symphony Orchestra

I am looking forward to a summer filled with music! We begin with our fifth JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition in Buffalo, which brings extraordinary classical guitarists from all over the world to Buffalo to play with the Philharmonic and to compete for the top prize. (This year our contestants are from Turkey, Crotia, Thailand, Hungary, Canada, the U.S., Bosnia, and many other countries.) From Buffalo I have the opportunity to visit many summer festivals---Brevard Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Interlochen Institute---where I have the delight of conducting incredibly talented young orchestral players in beautiful settings. The summer will culminate in a high point for me---my first performance at the "Proms" in London. The Ulster Orchestra and I will present a concert on this legendary summer series in August.

Deepa Gupta, Program Officer in Media, Culture, and Special Initiatives, MacArthur Foundation

Our daughter turns one this summer and loves music and dance, just like her three-and-a-half-year-old brother. We plan to take the kids to Millennium Park to splash in the fountains, take in some music in the park, and also participate in SummerDance---one of my favorite things about summer in Chicago. The city offers free dance lessons for an hour and then two hours of dancing to live music in that style. We'll likely take the kids on a night with reggae, fusion, or African music because they like the beats. We'll also likely take the kids to one of the Chicago area's great children's museums, like the DuPage Children's Museum in Naperville (near my parents' house), where kids can encapsulate themselves in a human-sized bubble and play in the wonderful water area. This is also the year we hope to take our  three-and-a-half year old to his first play. Lucky for us the Chicago Children's Theatre is doing Harold and the Purple Crayon early in the fall.

Joan Israelite, Board Member, Missouri Arts Council

I'm looking forward to The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts launching the GRAMMY National Academy of Music in Kansas City, Missouri.  The academy will catalyze future American artistic achievement through a unique program for the nation’s most creative and gifted young musicians who are at a critical juncture in their artistic lives. This new program in its pilot year wills work with 25 young artists during a four-week intensive experience this summer.

The GRAMMY National Academy of Music will connect extraordinary young rising artists with  master artists at the level of [NEA Jazz Master] Herbie Hancock, Lang Lang, and Dave Mathews from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). It will develop creative conversations and collaborations that energize the younger artists to continue to grow, learn, and achieve their potential.

The newly opened Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City has joined forces with the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles to catalyze future American artistic achievement through a unique program for the nation’s most creative and gifted musicians who are at a critical juncture in their artistic lives. Additional partnerships with NARAS and AEG---one of the leading sports and entertainment companies in the world---further enrich this program.

Charlotte Kessler, Arts Patron

This summer, I have resolved to finally make it to the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art. They have something like 5,000 pieces of glass that span from antiquity to today. The building itself is amazing: it is almost all glass and was designed by Sanaa (the Tokyo-based architects who also did the New Museum in New York City). I am dying to see how the new Barnes Collection looks now that they have moved into Philadelphia---not only am I curious to see how the collection works in this new building, but Laurie Olin did the landscaping, and I am a huge fan of his work. Then in September, the Wexner Center, here in Columbus, is going to have an exhibition of 200 photographs by Annie Leibovitz. That’s pretty much my visual art “to do” list.

I am also hoping to squeeze in a trip to New York City to see some theater. However, the Tonys reminded me that Clybourne Park and Venus in Fur both had DC productions at Woolly Mammoth and Studio Theatre before moving to Broadway; and that Michael Kahn and the Shakespeare Theatre won the regional Tony. Rather than going up to New York, I might just extend my next visit to DC to catch up on my theater!

Irvin Mayfield, Jr., Founding Artistic Director, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

On Monday I met with one of my heroes, the author Ernest Gaines. Our lunch marked the beginning of a commission that I am creating for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra in his honor, which will premiere in New Orleans this November. We will meet regularly this summer and through the fall to discuss his life, his books, and his thoughts, which will guide the development of the music.

Barbara Ernst Prey, Visual Artist

For the past 30 years I have had an annual exhibition in Maine. I am currently preparing for this year’s exhibit Barbara Ernst Prey: Forty Years of Painting at Blue Water Fine Arts Gallery in Port Clyde, Maine. There will be 40 paintings---very large watercolors as I like to stretch both the size and the medium. My invitation image is a painting inspired by the Getty Museum waterlilies, a nice juxtaposition of museum and art. I have an annual exhibit of limited edition prints at Blue Water Fine Arts, this year opening July 3-15. I'm showing a series of 20 large-scale prints of my paintings and NASA commissions. Every July before the summer exhibits I host an Open Studio in New York to share with collectors and followers my new work before they go to the Maine exhibit. Although the preparation takes so much work it is always exciting to see the exhibit hung.

Over the years I have supported many organizations through my artwork and this year’s Open Studio will partner with a local conservation group as a benefit to help raise funds for the organization. As a landscape painter the environment plays an important role in my artwork.

Last summer I was part of the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum. CBS Evening News came to my studio to film a segment about this time last year. I have learned to be flexible with exhibit timelines as one never knows what happens in-between.

I am often invited to lecture and will give a talk in August on 40 years of  painting.

While in Maine, after the show is hung, I grab my paints and head out to paint. I’ll fly by mail plane, use my kayak, or hitch a ride with a lobsterman to an outlying island. I like to get as close to the authentic nature of the area as possible. To be honest, I sometimes forget to eat because I am so engrossed in my work.

I paint out east on Long Island as well as in the Berkshires. Both places also provide summer inspiration and wonderful culture. As I live in New York, I am fortunate to have so many choices of cultural offerings. As an art blogger for the Huffington Post I try and keep tabs on exhibits and always stop by if I am in the area. I am looking forward to revisiting Durer and Beyond at the Metropolitan Museum, seeing the summer museum exhibits on my way from New York to Maine, and returning to Tanglewood.

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