A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, opera a cappella now available at Albany Records

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rocco Landesman

Rocco Landesman has been confirmed as the new Chair of the NEA. For the past several years, the NEA has tried to quietly build and generally avoid controversy. A brash and confident New York producer, that doesn't seem to be Landesman's style. Of particular concern is a recent statement that implies he is going to value artistic excellence way, way more than geographic distribution:

"I don't know if there's a theater in Peoria," he says, "but I would bet that it's not as good as Steppenwolf or the Goodman," he said, referring to two of Chicago's most prominent theater companies. "There is going to be some push-back from me about democratizing arts grants to the point where you really have to answer some questions about artistic merit."

I am all for artistic merit. But if that is taken too far, all the funding is going to end up going to 5% of the arts organizations, groups that already get probably 75% of the funding. You can read a comment I made about it on Lee Rosenbaum's blog, Culturegrrl.

1 comment:

  1. In response to Mr. Landesman’s NY Times interview, Suzette Boulais, executive director of ArtsPartners, and I extended invitations to the new NEA chairman to visit Peoria to attend a production at Eastlight Theatre (one of Peoria's theatres). He immediately responded by email his gratitude for the invitation and that he will come. Tuesday afternoon on his first day in office, I received a call from Mr. Landesman confirming that he is excited about visiting our community to experience our arts scene. Our goal is for Peoria to represent all of the smaller communities in the nation that are doing worthy and worthwhile work in the arts. In homage to the ‘The Beer Summit’, we are lovingly calling this visit, ‘The Lemonade Stand’…not because that is what we drink, but because that is what we do in Peoria – we take lemons and turn them into lemonade.