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Arts News You Can Use


by Hady Mawajdeh 5 Feb 2018

In this week’s roundup of arts news engagement at museums is up and attendance is down, a North Texas theater company examines war and it’s affects on life and a book publisher creates a political anthology from authors who originate from Muslim-majority nations.

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Happy Monday! Thanks for checking out Art&Seek’s weekly look at the biggest and most important stories in the North Texas arts scene.

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Museum Attendance Is Down, But Engagement Is On The Rise (Maybe?)

In 2015, the National Endowment for the Arts reported that attendance at arts museums had dropped 17 percent, despite reducing or eliminating admission fees.

shutterstock_555226579But a new report by the National Center for Arts Research (NCAR), argues that audience engagement  – online and in real life – is on the rise. NCAR, which is based at SMU, found total engagement increased substantially due to big growth in virtual participation in digital programs. The report also shows that subscription and membership fees are still a viable revenue stream for some organizations.

The report finds events and programming are being added faster  than audience/visitor growth. And the online arts publication Hyperallergic points out that this data does not indicate the duration, depth or quality of engagement. For insights into the those measurements, check out organizations like the Visitor Studies Group and Visitor Studies Association.

A Play That’s Woven Three Wars Together Through The Experiences Of One Family

The Company of ELLIOT, A SOLDIER'S FUGUE at WaterTower Theatre. Photo: Jason Anderson

The Company of ELLIOT, A SOLDIER’S FUGUE at WaterTower Theatre.
Photo: Jason Anderson

Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue’ is the latest production at WaterTower Theater in Addison. The show by Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Quiara Alegría Hudes weaves together the experiences of three generations of one Puerto Rican family – each with members who served in the US military.

From grandpa to grandson, each character carries emotional turmoil from the things they lived through during wartime.  Grandpop fought in the Korean War and used music to get through the toughest times. His son, Pop, met his wife, Ginny, during the Vietnam War. Ginny was a nurse and she inspired Pop’s recovery. But the play’s main character is Elliot, who wins a Purple Heart for an injury sustained in Iraq. He’s in the military because it’s a family tradition. But Elliot’s elders don’t talk about their time in war, so he still feels isolated.

The Dallas Morning News praises the North Texas production for layering the stories in a harmonious way and Theater Jones applauds it for making audiences “feel and see the results of wars at a most intimate level.” Learn more about the show’s star by reading this Q&A from Culture Map Dallas.

You Can’t Ban These Stories

North Texas Resistance movement organizing to send post cards to congress at DFW Airport. Photo: Linah Mohammad/ KERA News

North Texas Resistance movement organizing to send post cards to congress at DFW Airport.
Photo: Linah Mohammad/ KERA News

President Donald Trump’s travel ban prompted protests when it was first announced a year ago. Now, the Dallas Observer reports that Deep Vellum Publishing is continuing the protest by releasing an anthology of fiction from the countries that were on the original ban list.

Deep Vellum’s director Will Evans says they’re publishing the stories to give voice to people that were affected by this ban, “The moment is very sensitive, and because the original bans the president has put in place have changed and morphed, the original hateful intent is all still there.”

“Banthology: Stories from Unwanted Nations” features commissioned writings from authors in Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Sudan.

Other Stuff You Ought To Know

Artist Otis Jones Photo: www.marcstraus.com

Artist Otis Jones
Photo: www.marcstraus.com

Other Stuff You Ought To Read

Vista Ridge Mall

Vista Ridge Mall

Other Stuff You Ought To Listen To

Other Things You Ought To Look At

Left: Kean, Subway Sandwich Artist by Shauna Frischkorn. Right: Pat Lyon at the Forge by John Neagle. Shauna Frischkorn; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia/Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

Left: Kean, Subway Sandwich Artist by Shauna Frischkorn. Right: Pat Lyon at the Forge by John Neagle. Shauna Frischkorn; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia/Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

"Benedicte and Laeticia, Cambridge, Massachusetts", by Rania Matar

“Benedicte and Laeticia, Cambridge, Massachusetts”, by Rania Matar

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