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A Hot Thursday Roundup

by Jerome Weeks 8 Aug 2013 5:23 AM

A Grammy-nominated opera singer going the Kickstarter route, a young local artist getting a boost from a hotel and the NEA looking around for somebody to lead the charge: Yep, sounds like a roundup.


2TonyBennett-450x620HIS FIRST SOLO AND IT’S AT THE FAIRMONT. Riley Holloway, 24, was the latest (the 12th) local artist to spend three months working and living in a modicum of luxury at the Fairmont Hotel, thanks to the downtown joint’s nifty residency program. Holloway started back in May, “painting the help,” as he said, meaning portraits of hotel employees, like Tony Bennett, the doorman (left, in a detail from Tony Bennett: Guest Service Champion). The residency done, Holloway, a dropout from the Art Institute, has his first solo exhibition at the Fairmont gallery. And the show, Shook!, even got reviewed in Glasstire (“Although the show is promising, the work is sometimes crammed into the space …  and sometimes his words fall flat. But when the marks are interesting, they sing”). See our video portrait of Holloway here.

SINGING FOR MORE THAN SUPPER. North Texas soprano Ava Pine earned a Grammy nom for best opera recording two years ago with Marc’ Antonio e Cleopatra. And just as she’s pushing for some national recognition on the opera stage, she’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to record her next album, with pianist Kate Stevens.

MISSING IN ACTION. Republicans in the House are looking to gut the National Endowment for the Arts this fall when their latest big budget showdown with President Obama returns, and at this crucial time, the agency doesn’t have a leader — ever since former Broadway impresario Rocco Landesman stepped down. But that was nearly eight months ago, one of the longest periods the NEA has been without a head honcho. The NEA and the NEH, writes the NYTimes, “have always represented a minuscule portion of federal spending. Nonetheless, in some smaller states, endowment money can account for a third to a half of the arts funds, and nationally the chairman is a cheerleader for the cultural and economic benefits of the arts.”