The Art Association has named a new Executive Director: Jennifer Crawford. Karen Stewart, outgoing director, says Crawford has strong arts credentials, “infectious energy and ideas.” Crawford takes over in January, 2010. She replaces Stewart, who led the Art Association through 16 years of growth. She guided the Association’s transition to its current home at the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts. Stewart will retire at the end of January.
Congratulations to Jennifer Crawford, and KUDOS, KUDOS, KUDOS to Karen as she begins the next phase of her life with family, friends and great projects.
Jackson artist Jenny Dowd is being honored at her alma mater, the University of Missouri. The university’s first Alumni Exhibition features Dowd’s sculptural aged forms…forms that look like teeth and books. We wrote about that, and we are proud to have collaborated with Dowd on her Blurb Book, “Collection.” Dowd and her husband Sam work for Jackson’s Art Association, and are noted for their sculptural works; Jenny is inspired by history, data and nature, while Sam creates fanciful, orbital and aerial inspired-forms, forms that would transfer very well to claymation. Jenny’s work was also featured in the Premio Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro International Competition for Young Sculptors in Milan, Italy.
Item #2: Charlotte’s Arts – Why Not Here? Connect the Dots!
Charlotte, South Carolina’s arts, that is. Charlotte’s Mayor Joseph Riley is solidly behind public arts initiatives in his city—and he’s been re-elected for NINE terms! I’m excerpting some highlights from an article on the subject, compiled by various Gazette-Virginian staff, here:
“The arts, public grounds/parks and historic preservation are “the three basic reasons, the initiators” of Charleston, S.C.’s phenomenal change, keynote speaker Mayor Joseph Riley told Art & Creative Economy Conference guests, town and county officials Wednesday.”
Oh heck. I’m crunched for time. Here’s the rest of the article, and it’s a good one. I’ve italicized major points.
“Riley described downtown Charleston as almost dead in 1977, the year the Spoleto Festival USA debuted there. “But the arts, all those people coming, and all the flowerings started” igniting the rebirth of the downtown district.
However, the seminal course change almost floundered.
Initially composer Gian Carlos Menotti started an arts festival in Spoleto, Italy in 1958, and a North American “sister city” was sought.
Charleston went courting, but some on the committee were not delighted with all aspects of the Italian festival – finances were described as a mess – and worried a similar event in Charleston might have a negative impact on the community and the existing arts.
Riley – backed by the committee’s 6-5 vote tabling the disbandment motion – fought for Spoletto Festival USA, “to make ourselves a stage for the arts.”
The city began raising money and cleaning up for the event.
Today, the 17-day Spoletto’s phenomenal impact on the arts and economy continues. “Spoletto began the artistic renaissance of Charleston. It’s never been so robust, but it goes so far beyond that,” he added, naming development of magnet schools for the arts at the high and middle school level.
The arts also are being used as a unifying theme to reach kids in an inner-city school.
“We are teaching everybody,” added Riley, describing the wonderful spectrum of the city.
The quality of life in Charleston also makes recruiting easier for businesses, Riley noted, with one businessman naming that asset as making it easier for him to recruit the employees he needs.
In the early 20th century, some wanted to tear down Rainbow Row, recalled Riley. “The ladies rose up, taking a stand for preservation,” he recalled.
Today, Charleston boasts the first Preservation Ordinance in America.
When the historic buildings are preserved for adaptive reuse, the structure takes on a forever aspect, according to the mayor. “You can’t create this from scratch,” he added, emphasizing the city’s historic preservation as one of the three basic reasons for its great revival and success.
“It is very important that there be public places,” emphasized Riley. “The more the better. The public realm is so important,” he repeated.
Vision, a hefty $750,000 private donation and creative negotiations with a property owner ultimately resulted in the city’s Waterfront Park.
“No one can imagine Charleston without Waterfront Park,” added Riley. “The community adores it. The moral imperative is that we make sure the city is an inspirational place for everyone,” he said.
The park also elevated the notion of the public realm, going to the extra effort to create beautiful places for the public, according to the mayor.
Charleston also fought for a bridge with bike and pedestrian paths, opening yet another avenue to the public, recalled the mayor.
“Great towns or cities, the size doesn’t matter, these principles are universal,” said the mayor, who speaks with almost 34 years experience as a master of transition in Charleston.
Prior to Mayor Riley’s introduction, one county businessman and civic leader observed: “I hope people can connect the dots linking the arts and the economy and ask, ‘Why not here?’”