The Great Plains, for many an undefinable space, is “….a place that you can feel deep in your bones, a place where you cross into this space where the land is mostly just an anchor for the sky–it’s a place where you can’t open your arms wide enough to take it all in.”
Michael Forsberg’s photographic embrace of America’s great, sweeping prairies Great Plains – America’s Lingering Wild, on display at the National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA), reveals that region’s ecosystem’s tender underbelly. The great magic of the plains is mystery—its ability to “camouflage” its own natural wonders.
Nature’s camouflage, though, is natural wonder. In this enchanting exhibition Forsberg wakes us up to the fact that what many people might dismiss as dull, in-the-way detrius is critical foundation for this embattled grassland ecosystem. Like many wildlife photographers, Forsberg stuffs himself into a bivy and otherwise does what he needs to do to capture his images of wild lands and wild species. But Forsberg’s photography is friendly–not freaky. A wide angle view provides hemispherical landscapes; viewers swim through these prairies, spotting primrose, cougars, bird species, butterflies, tiger salamanders—and of course the great Bison—from behind diving goggles.
You can stand out in the tall grass prairie and not move all day, says Forsberg, and see all sorts of creatures that will come your way. But, he clarifies, you can also just look at your feet and see hundreds of species….(the prairie) is just teeming with life.
Childhood innocence, that scampering into twilight when fireflies commence their blinking. That’s what Forsberg accesses. We’re playing hide-and-seek in these waving, flowered, delicately populated fields. This is a treasure hunt. Forsberg handles his subjects with utmost delicacy, lest they break.
Great Plains – America’s Lingering Wild, remains on display at NMWA through January 30, 2011. www.wildlifeart.org
The (pie chart rich) 107-page report “measures the changes in the economic health of an area by integrating economic data streams from both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Through per capita measurements of revenue data from both for-profit and nonprofit entities as well as employment data from a selection of highly creative occupations, the system aggregates the data streams into a single index value that reflects the relative economic health of a geography’s creative economy. The CVI provides an easily understandable measure of economic health to help communicate information from a broad arts coalition to policy makers and stakeholders.” *
Where did this report come from?
“The CVI grew out of a conversation about whether to undertake an economic impact study of the arts. The staff leadership of the Washington State Arts Commission and the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with others, explored ways to expand and enrich the economic argument for support of the arts and especially public funding of the arts. In doing so, the group was influenced by two national conversations concerning economic development: the defining of a creative economy and the outlining of the concept of economic development clusters. Those conversations did something the nonprofit arts community was very late in doing–they included the related for-profit creative sector in a universe normally reserved for nonprofits.
The public value work articulated by Mark Moore also played a role in the development of the CVI. That work helped the public sector component of the nonprofit arts funding community move away from a perspective oriented toward saving the arts to considering ways to be responsive to what citizens wanted in the arts. The approach also worked to shape agency deliverables to reflect their actual value to the public rather than the value arts aficionados considered them to have for the public.
One result of this influence was that the CVI was developed in a context of thinking in which individuals are assumed to have choices and that, to remain viable, public sector arts funders need to offer choices the public will value and thus select. In this concept of selection is the understanding that choice in the arts ranges outside the nonprofit arts and that the public sector arts agency needs to ensure that such choice is available.” *
You can download the entire report by visiting www.wyomingartscouncil.org. * excerpt from Wy. CVI