Radical proposals which would include closing every public park, art gallery and museum, as well as shutting seven primary and secondary schools, have been put forward as part of a series of potential options to save more than £127 million over the next five years at one of Scotland's city councils. The 750 potential budget savings options, due to be debated by Aberdeen City councilors next month, also include controversial plans to scrap free personal care for the elderly, ending nursery education for the those under four and delaying financial backing for Aberdeen’s bypass. The document suggests the possibility of turning the delivery of council services into an "EasyJet" model where there would be a differential pricing policy for providing various services. A number of the options have already been labeled as "undesirable" by senior council officers, who also acknowledge that some of the proposed savings would require changes in national policy. Aberdeen City Council is the first local authority in Scotland to produce a five-year business plan. Sue Bruce, the chief executive, said: "We are being open and honest with the people of Aberdeen as we plan to change the way services are delivered in the future." The public is being asked to comment online. The various options, and any amendments, will go forward to a meeting of the finance and resources committee on December 2 and to a full council meeting on December 15.
- 27 The Bronx Museum of the Arts is going global with a $1 million grant from the feds. Over the next two years, the museum on the Grand Concourse will send fifteen American painters and sculptors abroad to create public art and address social issues reports Daniel Beekman for the NY Daily News. The State Department announced it has selected the Bronx Museum to oversee smARTpower, a new exchange program for visual artists. Holly Block, the museum's executive director, called the program a "fantastic opportunity, not only for the museum, but also for the Bronx." The $1 million program will ship artists from across America to fifteen countries, including China, Ecuador, Kenya, and Nepal. While abroad, the artists will serve as cultural ambassadors, working on art projects with local students, teachers, and athletes. The museum will post video of the projects on its website and will welcome the artists to the Bronx when they return. "We want to showcase all the diversity of America's art and culture," said Maura Pally, the State Department official responsible for smARTpower. The Bronx Museum beat out half dozen institutions for the chance to execute smARTpower. Pally said the museum's commitment to arts education and global exchange made the difference. Despite budget cuts, the museum has brought foreign artists to the Grand Concourse and engaged its Bronx neighbors through art, said Block. This summer, the museum hosted artists from the West African country of Senegal.
- 26 First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a ceremony at the White House honoring youth-oriented arts programs around the country reports David Ng for the Los Angeles Times Scripps College in Claremont was a recipient of the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award for its work on the Scripps College Academy, a free, year-round initiative intended to prepare young women for higher education. The program is geared toward disadvantaged students from around the Los Angeles area. As part of the award, the college is receiving $10,000 to support Scripps College Academy programming and to engage more young women from the community. In all, fifteen organizations were honored at the White House. The first lady presided over the ceremony along with Margo Lion, both of whom serve on the president's committee on the Arts and Humanities. "You're showing our students that each of them has something valuable to contribute to this life," said the first lady in her speech. "And you're opening their eyes to a world of possibility that awaits them––one work of art, one relationship, one lifetime at a time."
- 25 Students rallied on the steps of the Canadian legislature for more post-secondary education funding for aboriginal students. The event was organized by the University of Manitoba Aboriginal Students’ Association (UMASA) to raise awareness about issues with the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP). The PSSSP, run under Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), provides funding for first nations students pursuing a post-secondary education. According to a 2008 report from the University of Regina, the evaluation also found the PSSSP guidelines for student living allowances were fourteen years out of date, providing funding that ranged from $500 to $4,000 per academic year less than students’ costs. In the five years after 1996 the number of First Nations post-secondary students had actually fallen by five per cent while the First Nations student-aged population had risen by seven percent. Only nine percent of aboriginal people fifteen years of age or older have obtained a university-granted credential (degree, diploma, or certificate) while twenty-three percent of their non-aboriginal counterparts have done so. This is a substantial gap which appears to have widened since the last census.
- 20 Rahul Mehrotra, an architect from Mumbai, has been recruited by Harvard University as professor of Urban Design and Planning. Mehrotra, who has been actively involved in civic and urban affairs in Mumbai and served on historic conservation and environmental commissions, will also take on the role of chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the university reports Narayan Lakshman for The Hindu Announcing the appointment Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of the Graduate School of Design (GSD), said, “I am especially pleased to have Rahul join our school's leadership at a time when the GSD and Harvard as a whole are strengthening their global engagement.” He added that Mehrotra's work as a teacher, practitioner, researcher, and, community advocate made him exceptionally qualified to contribute to the Department's involvement with the challenges of urbanism world over. Mehrotra, who studied at the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad, and also graduated with a master's degree in Urban Design from the GSD, was the executive director of the Urban Design Research Institute from 1994 to 2004. Bringing an India focus to students at Harvard, the university confirmed that Mehrotra would teach studios and seminars on architecture and urbanization in India, and work with students on research projects related to infrastructure, historic preservation, and, questions of rapid growth and extreme urban conditions in South Asia.
- 19 Pratt Institute has expanded outside the gates of its 200 Willoughby Avenue campus by leasing a 10,460 square-foot space at 248 Flushing Avenue between Hall and Ryerson Streets. Pratt's Department of Fine Arts is using one floor of the five floor industrial building for thirty-six semi-private studios for some of its first-year MFA candidates and a seminar room where classes will be held. Currently twenty-seven of the thirty-six studio spaces are occupied by first-year painting students. The Institute entered a five-year lease in August 2010 due to an increase in the number of undergraduate freshmen students and an increase of the number of incoming MFA candidates to campus. One campus building, Canoneer, was formerly both residential and studio space and due to the increased number of first-year undergraduate students living on campus, was converted into an entirely residential space in summer 2010. "The studios at Flushing Avenue afford our students a professional working environment in close proximity to the flourishing artist's community that is part of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and its surrounding environs," said Donna Moran, chair of the Fine Arts Department. "The spaces are geared towards the individual while still promoting a healthy atmosphere for peer dialogue," she added.The survival of the Chelsea Art Museum is in doubt amid a battle over control of its home, with a lender and the owner each claiming the right to sell the property. The lender, New York fund manager Hudson Realty Capital, took over the deed to the West 22nd Street building last week after the owner failed to meet a bankruptcy-court deadline, public property records show. Lawyers for Dorothea Keeser, the museum's director and founder, whose company purchased the 30,000-square-foot building in the late 1990s, are challenging the lender's ability to take title or sell the property. They argue Hudson cannot do so without first going through foreclosure proceedings, and warned in a letter to Hudson's lawyer against taking "any action that would purport to transfer ownership to any third party." Keeser's attorneys also say they have a buyer who has agreed to pay $19.35 million for the property and would allow the museum to continue to operate, rent-free, until the end of 2011, according to documents submitted to the Manhattan bankruptcy court. The dispute marks a surprising twist in a long-running art-world saga that is determining the fate of the eight-year old museum, which has a permanent collection featuring paintings and prints by abstract artists such as Jean Arp, Sam Francis, and Joan Mitchell. Its outcome appears likely to be determined in bankruptcy court. Keeser's company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August. Under an agreement between Keeser and Hudson made in a Manhattan bankruptcy court, her company had until October 7 to secure a buyer for the building or find financing to pay off the loan. Her company owed about $13 million, including interest payments that spiked to twenty percent after a July default, court documents show. The company missed the deadline and requested another few days, according to a person familiar with the matter. An October 12 deadline passed without Keeser securing a buyer or financing. Hudson took control of the property on Wednesday, according to public property records. On Friday, her lawyers filed in bankruptcy court documents including a purchase contract with Albanese Development Corp., a New York-based real-estate development company. Under the contract, Albanese agrees to purchase the building for $19.35 million in cash in a transaction to close by November 15, subject to court approval, these documents show. The contract stipulates that the seller can remain in the building until December 31, 2011, and "shall only be permitted to use the property as a museum." After that date, the museum would not have the right to stay in the building, court documents say, and would likely have to find a new home to continue operating. Albanese officials could not be reached for comment. Hudson says it has title to the property, which includes the right to sell it. "We disagree with their legal position," said Renee Lewis, a managing director of Hudson. She says her firm has the right to find a buyer that would allow the museum to stay or one that would not. "We are assessing all our options," Lewis said. Also unclear is the status of the museum's permanent collection, worth about $2.5 million, according to Keeser. In August, she said she had pledged the museum's entire collection as collateral for a separate, $350,000 loan to make an interest payment on the mortgage. That move appears to violate regulations of the state Department of Education's board of regents, which supervises and grants charters to museums. The department has been gathering information about the museum's actions for review.
- 18 A major private collection of twentieth-century sculpture will be made accessible to the public in its new home at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The museum announced the gift of the renowned Terese and Alvin S. Lane Collection, comprising more than seventy sculptures and 250 preparatory drawings by artists including Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, Pablo Picasso, and David Smith, among others. The works will be installed in the museum’s expanded facility, which opens October 2011 and is designed by the team of Machado and Silvetti Associates and Continuum Architects + Planners.
- 14 At a time when the digital revolution has thrown the mission of libraries into question, the New York Public Library is planning to name Anthony W. Marx, the current president of Amherst College, a native New Yorker and a passionate advocate of public education, as its new president, according to the New York Times. He replaces Paul LeClerc, who announced his plan to step down in November 2009. The choice suggests that the search committee sees the library’s future as rooted in the life of its eighty-six neighborhood branches, where poor families and immigrants go not only to check out books and DVDs, but also to use computers, do job searches, take English classes, and seek guidance on how to search the Internet and write a résumé. “New York is a city that has always taken immigrants and populations of great talent and given them opportunities, and the library has always been in the forefront of that,” Marx said in a phone interview. “And the need for that is even greater today, even as the technology forces us to rethink how we deliver that opportunity.”
- 13 Laura M. Giles, an internationally recognized scholar of Italian Renaissance and Baroque drawings, has been appointed as the first Heather and Paul G. Haaga Jr., Class of 1970, curator of Prints and Drawings at the Princeton University Art Museum (PUAM). Giles has held the position of curator of prints and drawings at the museum since December 2000 reports Art Daily. "Heather and Paul Haaga's generosity will advance and support important new scholarship and increased public access surrounding one of the Princeton University Art Museum's richest and most historic holdings," said James Steward, museum director. The prints and drawings holdings, established in the 1930s and 1940s largely by grants and bequests from Princeton alumni, represent one of the most utilized collections, particularly by Princeton undergraduates. "We are deeply grateful for this endowed curatorship, which will greater facilitate the museum's ability to present, both in the galleries and in our study rooms, works of art of an exceptional historical range, technique, and quality," he added. "Paul and I are delighted to support the Princeton University Art Museum by endowing this vital curatorial position," said Heather Haaga. "As an artist, nothing is more exciting to me than looking at works of art in the original. Visiting the prints and drawings study room at Princeton for a close encounter with a watercolor by Paul Cézanne or watching a conservator work on an Old Master drawing is the kind of direct and intimate experience with great works of art that we wanted to help make possible for students and other visitors for years to come."
- 12 According to ArtDaily, a major private collection of twentieth-century sculpture will be made accessible to the public in its new home at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The museum announced the gift of the renowned Terese and Alvin S. Lane Collection, comprising more than seventy sculptures and 250 preparatory drawings by artists including Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, Pablo Picasso, and David Smith, among other modern masters. The works will be installed in the museum’s expanded facility, which opens October 2011 and is designed by the team of Machado and Silvetti Associates and Continuum Architects + Planners.
- 08 An East Carolina University art professor known internationally for his designs with found objects was honored Thursday for his contributions in the arts field, notes Jeannine Manning Hutson in the East Carolina University news. Artist Robert “Bob” Ebendorf is among six North Carolina residents to receive the state's highest civilian honor, the North Carolina Award. Governor Beverly Perdue and North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle presented the awards at the North Carolina Museum of History. “The North Carolina Award celebrates creativity and innovation, two values which sustain our economy, our culture and our people,” Perdue said. For Ebendorf the honor is a complete surprise. “I had no idea. This came totally out of the blue. I don't even know anyone on the committee,” he said recently in his home studio. “I didn't even know much about the award and what an honor it is until you look at the past recipients, the leaders in their fields, the scholars and their contributions to the state of North Carolina,” he said. Previous honorees in fine arts included painter Francis Speight, musician James Taylor, jazz great Billy Taylor, actor Andy Griffith, painter Bob Timberlake and folk and bluegrass music legend “Doc” Watson. Ebendorf's work is found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Smithsonian Institution, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, and the Victoria Albert Museum in London. He holds a master's degree in fine arts from the University of Kansas and was one of the founding members of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.
- 07 This year the first NordArt prize was awarded to the Chinese sculptor and professor Zeng Chenggang by Hans Julius and Johanna Ahlmann, who endowed the prize with 10,000 euros ($13,800 dollars). The prize will be officially handed to Zeng at the opening of NorthArt 2011 on June 4, 2011. Professor Zeng teaches at the Academy for Art and Design at the Tsinghua University in Beijing. In addition Zeng also was instrumental in involving Chinese artists in the Kunst in der Carlshütte, in Büdelsdorf. The first NordArt prize is expressly also intended to engage with a country that is increasingly affecting international culture. The NordArt’s two founders have stipulated that they will accordingly redefine the criteria of the prize each year according to circumstances. For more, in German, click here.
- 06 According to the Indianapolis Business Journal the Indianapolis Museum of Art's plan to employ one hundred students through a federally funded work-study program is on hold, pending a compliance review by IUPUI, the Indiana University Purdue University system. The IMA announced that it would institute a new security program that includes the use of IUPUI students filling the role of "visitor assistants." The museum fired thirty-three full-time and twenty-three part-time security guards. The changes are part of a revamped security program that includes enhanced electronic surveillance and adding fourteen reserve police officers who will patrol the museum complex. Education Department rules say students in the work-study program can work at businesses, government agencies, and not-for-profits, but they can't be used to displace existing employees. IUPUI spokesman Rich Schneider said the university is responsible for compliance. "The museum's position is that this program it announced doesn't displace," he said. "That's what the review is about." According to the IMA's press release, the visitor assistants will "provide increased security and enhanced customer service, while reducing costs associated with security." The museum said on Monday that its new security model would save $600,000 a year. The visitor assistants would earn ten dollars per hour, but the museum would pay only twenty-five percent of that amount. The security guards who were eliminated earned on average $11.50 per hour. In a letter to museum staff, CEO Maxwell Anderson explained how the role of "visitor assistants" differs from that of security guards who were let go. "The role of visitor assistants is primarily to focus on customer service," Anderson said. "The visitor assistants are trained ambassadors of the museum experience; they are posted throughout museum galleries and the rest of the campus. They receive training about the museum's permanent collection and its special exhibitions in order to better answer visitor questions." Anderson said in his e-mail that the IMA had recruited students with various language skills, and that many are pursuing careers in art history or museum studies. "Their involvement with public safety is the same as that for any staff member, volunteer, or visitor: if you see a problem, alert someone of authority."
- 05 The Chicago Tribune reports that Kohl's Department Stores is donating another $2.7 million to the Milwaukee Art Museum to continue the Kohl's Art Generation program and create new programs for kids and families. It's the largest gift to an education initiative in the museum's history. The Menomonee Falls-based company had contributed $1 million for the program in 2008. The Art Generation program is geared toward kids and families and allows kids to create work that is featured at the museum.The board of trustees of Maryhill Museum of Art announced plans for a $10 million expansion project to be completed by March 2012. The expansion will be a 25,500 square foot Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing, designed by GBD Architects of Portland. “Maryhill Museum of Art’s rich history and extraordinary setting make it one of the region’s leading museums and a true gem of the Pacific Northwest. A new wing will allow the museum to thrive now and well into the future,” says Jim Foster, president of the museum’s board of trustees. Key features of the new wing include: a dedicated art education center to accommodate Maryhill’s wide range of public programming; a centralized collections suite for storage and to give curators and researchers more efficient access to the museum’s collections; an outdoor plaza; and, a new café with terrace seating and stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge.