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Arts and Humanities Local News WFPL News Department Podcast

Groups offer $10 Tickets for Performances

With the economy in recession, local performing arts groups have decided to offer a discounted tickets for the remainder of the arts season. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Last month, many of the city’s largest performing arts organizations began discussing how to fill more seats when the economy means many people have less disposable income. Today, seven arts groups announced they will make a limited number of $10 tickets available on the day of 70 performances scheduled for this season.

The Kentucky Center is offering $10 tickets for 10 of its performances. Stephen Klein is Center’s president.

“If it actually gets people in to see the shows, if it can create more of an audience for them, that could mean future ticket sales, future contributed dollars, more of a bonding with the arts institutions,” Klein says.

The Louisville Ballet, Stage One and PNC Broadway Across America are participating, but more than 40 performances are from the schedules of Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Louisville Orchestra.

Jennifer Bielstein is the managing director at Actors Theatre.

“Even if people cannot afford to pay right now what it really costs us to produce a piece of performing art, we still want them to be able to come to the theater and be here long term when things look better for everybody,” Bielstein says.

Brad Broeker is the orchestra’s CEO. He says the program will make the orchestra affordable to anyone new to classical music or other art forms. He says it could even continue into next year.

“If the public reacts to it in a very positive way and lots of folks come out, it ought to be something we would consider for next year in some form or fashion,” Broeker says.

Since the economy sank into recession, arts groups across the country have faced ticket sales and are looking to retain their audiences.

LIST OF PERFORMANCES

JANUARY 8
The Louisville Orchestra, A Tribute to Oscar
6:30 p.m.,Brown Theatre

JANUARY 9
Actors Theatre of Louisville, Match Games
8 p.m., Bingham Theatre

The Louisville Orchestra, Chase Pops Series
ABBAmania
8 p.m.,Louisville Palace

JANUARY 10
The Louisville Orchestra, A Tribute to Oscar
7:30 p.m., Ogle Center, IUS

JANUARY 16
The Louisville Orchestra, Hilliard Lyons Classics Series
Mozart Symphony No. 35
8 p.m., Brown Theatre

JANUARY 17
The Louisville Orchestra, Hilliard Lyons Classics Series
Mozart Symphony No. 35
8 p.m., Brown Theatre

JANUARY 24
The Louisville Orchestra, Yum! orKIDStra Series
Be Spotted
11 a.m., Brown Theatre

JANUARY 31
Stage One,Brothers of a Common Country: A Story of Abraham Lincoln
5 p.m., Bomhard Theater

Kentucky Center Presents, Tango Fire
8 p.m., Brown Theatre

The Louisville Orchestra, Chase Pops Series
Air Supply
8 p.m., Louisville Palace

FEBRUARY 7
Stage One, Brothers of a Common Country: A Story of Abraham Lincoln
5 p.m., Bomhard Theater

The Louisville Orchestra, Hilliard Lyons Classics Series
Neruda Songs
8 p.m., Whitney Hall

FEBRUARY 13
Louisville Ballet, Hilliard Lyons Cinderella
8 p.m., Whitney Hall

FEBRUARY 14
Louisville Ballet, Hilliard Lyons Cinderella
8 p.m., Whitney Hall

The Louisville Orchestra, Chase Pops Series
Jack Jones
8 p.m., Louisville Palace

FEBRUARY 19
The Louisville Orchestra, Violins and Voodoo
Hardscuffle, Inc., Coffee Classics Series
10:30 a.m., Whitney Hall

FEBRUARY 20
The Louisville Orchestra, Violins and Voodoo
Hilliard Lyons Classics Series
8 p.m., Whitney Hall

Kentucky Center Presents, Annual Mardi Gras Party with Feufollet and Lil’ Nathan
8 p.m., Bomhard Theater

FEBRUARY 25
Kentucky Center Presents, The Pink Floyd Experience
7:30 p.m., Whitney Hall

FEBRUARY 28
The Louisville Orchestra, Yum! orKIDStra Series
The Listener with Magic Circle Mime
11 a.m., Brown Theatre

MARCH 1
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Ameriville (preview)
7 p.m., Bingham Theatre

MARCH 3
PNC Broadway Across America, Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy
7:30 p.m., Whitney Hall

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Ameriville (preview)
7:30 p.m., Bingham Theatre

MARCH 4
PNC Broadway Across America, Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy
7:30 p.m., Whitney Hall

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Ameriville (opening)
7:30 p.m., Bingham Theatre

MARCH 5
The Louisville Orchestra, A Bernstein Salute
6:30 p.m., Brown Theatre

PNC Broadway Across America, Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy
7:30 p.m., Whitney Hall

MARCH 6
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Slasher (preview)
7:30 p.m., Bingham Theatre

Kentucky Center Presents, Joe Bonamassa
8 p.m., Bomhard Theater

MARCH 7
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Slasher (preview)
5 p.m., Bingham Theatre

The Louisville Orchestra, A Bernstein Salute
7:30 p.m., Ogle Center, IUS

Alltech Festival presents Mark Morris Dance Group with the MMDG Music Ensemble
8 p.m., Brown Theatre

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Ameriville
9 p.m., Bingham Theatre

MARCH 8
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Slasher (opening)
2:30 p.m., Bingham Theatre

PNC Broadway Across America, Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy
6:30 p.m., Whitney Hall

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Ameriville
7 p.m., Bingham Theatre

LEO Presents A Little Off Center, Reduced Shakespeare Company: Completely Hollywood (abridged)
7 p.m., Bomhard Theater

MARCH 10
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Absalom (preview)
7:30 p.m., Pamela Brown Auditorium

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Ameriville
7 p.m., Bingham Theatre

MARCH 11
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Absalom (preview)
7:30 p.m., Pamela Brown Auditorium

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Slasher
7:30 p.m., Bingham Theatre

MARCH 12
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Absalom (opening)
7:30 p.m., Pamela Brown Auditorium

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Ameriville
7:30 p.m., Bingham Theatre

MARCH 13
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Absalom
8 p.m., Pamela Brown Auditorium

LEO Presents A Little Off Center The Very Worst of Varla Jean Merman
8 p.m., Bomhard Theater

MARCH 14
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Absalom
2:30 p.m., Pamela Brown Auditorium

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, The Hard Weather Boating Party (preview)
5 p.m., Bingham Theatre

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Absalom
8 p.m., Pamela Brown Auditorium

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Slasher
9 p.m., Bingham Theatre

MARCH 15
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Absalom
2:30 p.m., Pamela Brown Auditorium

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, The Hard Weather Boating Party (preview)
7 p.m., Bingham Theatre

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays, Absalom
7:30 p.m., Pamela Brown Auditorium

MARCH 21
Kentucky Opera and The Louisville Orchestra, Iolanta
8 p.m., Whitney Hall

MARCH 26
The Louisville Orchestra, Enchantment with Orchestra Hardscuffle, Inc., Coffee Classics Series
10:30 a.m., Whitney Hall

MARCH 27
The Louisville Orchestra, Enchantment with Orchestra, Hilliard Lyons Classics Series
8 p.m., Whitney Hall

MARCH 28
Stage One, Go, Dog, Go!
2 p.m., Bomhard Theater

Stage One, Go, Dog, Go!
5 p.m., Bomhard Theater

MARCH 31
LEO Presents A Little Off Center, One Night of Queen performed by Garry Mullen and The Works
7:30 p.m., Brown Theatre

APRIL 3
Stage One, Go, Dog, Go!
2 p.m., Bomhard Theater

Louisville Ballet, ReVive’s Rite of Spring
8 p.m., Whitney Hall

APRIL 4
Louisville Ballet, ReVive’s Rite of Spring
2 p.m., Whitney Hall

Stage One, Go, Dog, Go!
2 p.m., Bomhard Theater

Stage One, Go, Dog, Go!
5 p.m., Bomhard Theater

Louisville Ballet, ReVive’s Rite of Spring
8 p.m., Whitney Hall

APRIL 9
The Louisville Orchestra, Shostakovich 6, Hardscuffle, Inc., Coffee Classics Series
10:30 a.m., Whitney Hall

The Louisville Orchestra, Shostakovich 6, Hilliard Lyons Classics Series
8 p.m., Whitney Hall

APRIL 23
The Louisville Orchestra, Symphonie Fantastique, Hardscuffle, Inc., Coffee Classics Series
10:30 a.m., Whitney Hall

APRIL 25
The Louisville Orchestra, Symphonie Fantastique, Hilliard Lyons Classics Series
8 p.m., Whitney Hall

MAY 19
Brown-Forman Midnite Ramble, Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theatre
7:30 p.m., Whitney Hall

MAY 20
Brown-Forman Midnite Ramble, Alvin Ailey® American Dance Theatre
7:30 p.m., Whitney Hall

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Arts Funding in Indiana Undgergoes Changes

Funding for the arts throughout Indiana is undergoing some changes. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

New priorities and the economy are shaping state funding of the arts in Indiana according to the Arts Council of Southern Indiana

Andrea Grossman heads the organization. She says the changes have come since 2006, when arts leaders began doing more to inform legislators about the arts in their districts.

Grossman says the efforts translated into dollars.

“We were able to get a one-time 14 percent increase the last biennial, and that was very exciting for all of us,” Grossman says. “Now, this year, we’re not counting on that.”

Grossman says that all state agencies in Indiana have cut their budgets by 7 percent this fiscal year. On Friday, Gov. Mitch Daniels called for an additional 3 percent cut in all agencies’ budgets.

The Arts Council of Southern Indiana directs state funding for the arts in six Southern Indiana counties.

Grossman also says the the state is focusing more on arts education. The move coincides with more funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the state’s use of proceeds from its arts-themed license plates to cultivate long-term support for the arts.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

City Cuts Funding for Arts Groups

Many arts organizations are among those affected by the budget cuts announced today by Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has details.

To help close a $20 million shortfall in the city budget, Mayor Abramson is cutting city contributions to 26 arts groups. The groups will receive 50 percent of the funding that the city had planned to give for the current fiscal year.

The Fund for the Arts received the largest hit, with a funding cut of $112,500.

The Kentucky Opera will receive half of the $55,000 it was promised, says the organization’s general director David Roth.

“Any further changes are going to require structural changes to programming on our subscription series as well as our educational outreach,” Roth says.

Many local arts groups have faced sizable declines in support from the city since Louisville merged with Jefferson County in 2003.

Also on this list are Stage One and Broadway at Iroquois, which recently changed its name from Music Theatre Louisville. Together, the two will get $12,500 less than promised.

Peter Holloway is the producing artistic director for both organizations.

“In tough economic times, every little bit hurts so, you don’t want to take a $10 or $15,000 hit on your fundraising,” Halloway says.

Holloway says Broadway at Iroquois decided last week to move from its home at Iroquois Theater to the Kentucky Center to reduce expenses.

Actors Theatre of Louisville had budgeted much of the $70,000 it was to receive for educational programs. The theater is looking to reduce costs now that it will receive only half of that.

Jennifer Bielstein is Actors Theatre’s managing director.

“I think all of the arts organizations will have to look at reduced programming, with doing fewer productions or fewer services than they typically offer,” Bielstein says.

Here is a complete list of the cuts.
Actors Theatre of Louisville, Inc. — $70,000 reduced to $35,000
Arts Council of Louisville, Inc. — $22,500 reduced to $11,250
Bunbury Reperetory Theatre Company — $18,000 reduced to $9,000
Creative Diversity Studio, Inc. — $5,000 reduced to $2,500
Fund for the Arts, Inc. — $225,000 reduced to $112,500
Historic Homes Foundation, Inc. — $3,000 reduced to $1,500
J.B. Speed Art Museum — $10,000 reduced to $5,000
Kentucky Center for the Arts Endowment Fund, Inc. — $15,000 reduced to $7,500
Kentucky Dance Council, Inc. — $48,750 reduced to $24,375
Kentucky Opera Association, Inc. — $55,000 reduced to $27,500
Kentucky Public Radio, Inc. — $37,500 reduced to $18,750
Kentucky Shakespears Festival, Inc. — $40,000 reduced to $20,000
Kentucky Theater Project, Inc. — $13,000 reduced to $6,500
The Louisville Orchestra, Inc., — $220,000 reduced to $110,000
Louisville Youth Choir, Inc. — $5,000 reduced to $2,500
Louisville Youth Orchestra — $2,000 reduced to $1,000
Music Theatre of Louisville, Inc. — $10,000 reduced to $5,000
Owsley Brown Frazier Historical Arms Museum Foundation, Inc. — $25,000 reduced to $12,500
Partnership for Creative Economies, Inc. — $120,000 reduced to $60,000
Portland Museum, Inc. — $20,000 reduced to $10,000
Stage One: The Louisville Children’s Theatre, Inc. — $15,000 reduced to $7,500
Walden Theatre Corporation — $10,000 reduced to $5,000
West Louisville Talent Education Center, Inc. — $6,000 reduced to $3,000
Neighborhood House — $10,000 reduced to $5,000
International Order of E.A.R.S — $3,000 reduced to $1,500
River City Drum Corps. — $15,000 reduced to $7,500

Total: $1,023,750 was originally pledged. It has been reduced to $511,875.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Actors Theatre Announces Humana Festival Plays

Actors Theatre of Louisville has announced the lineup for next year’s Humana Festival of New American Plays. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

The 2009 festival has plays that have local appeal, including works based on Louisville’s Rubbertown and the writing of Kentucky author Wendell Berry.

But Actors Theatre artistic director Marc Masterson says the festival includes plays with a range of topics and theatrical styles. For example, poetry is woven into the structures of two different plays: “Wild Blessings,” the play showcasing Berry’s writing, and “Ameriville.”

“It’s poetry-based performance,” Masterson says of “Ameriville.” “It comes from an African-American esthetic, but Wendell Berry’s going to be a poetry-based performance including music based on the words and the voice of a particular writer. And you wouldn’t call Wendell Berry hip hop.”

The 2009 festival also features vetran playwrights Naomi Wallace, whose commissioned work is based on Rubbertown, and Charles Mee, whose “Under Construction” will be directed by Anne Bogart. Masterson says these artists are ones who “consider [Actors Theatre] to be their artistic home.”

“And at the same time,” he says, “it’s very important that we continue to introduce new voices into the canon and new works from artists who don’t have relationships with us.”

One newcomer is Zoe Kazan, who has earned her reputation as an actress on Broadway and is also the granddaughter of film and theater director Elia Kazan. Masterson says her play, “Absalom,” draws on some of Zoe Kazan’s own experiences.

“I think one of the subjects of this particular play is the dangers of growing up in a family of writers and what happens when you see your laundry aired for the public,” he says.

The festival opens March 1.

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Arts and Humanities Blog Blog Archive

Louisville Ballet’s Executive Director Resigns

The Louisville Ballet just put out this press release:

David P. Calzi, President of the Board of Directors for the Louisville Ballet announced today that Jack R. Lemmon, the executive director of the Company since 2003, has made a decision to leave the Louisville Ballet effective December 31, 2008.  Mr. Lemmon has accepted the same position at the Colorado Ballet in Denver, Colorado.

In announcing his departure, Lemmon stated, “It has been a rare privilege to be able to work with Artistic Director Bruce Simpson, the Staff and Board of the Louisville Ballet.  In the five years I have been in Louisville, I have been able to build great friendships and have developed great respect for this community which cares so deeply for its cultural treasures.  The Louisville Ballet is nationally renowned for the extraordinary quality of the work it stages.  I am proud to have been able to contribute to that reputation and to help sustain the artists in our singular focus on serving the community with great dance.”

During Mr. Lemmon’s tenure at the Louisville Ballet, he has worked in tandem with Artistic Director Bruce Simpson.  The Company has also been able to raise dancer salaries to the national average and add 33 new works to the Company repertory (including 10 commissioned works).  Mr. Lemmon oversaw a five year period in which the brand of the Louisville Ballet sustained a period of strengthening.  The Louisville Ballet School has grown during this time along with ticket sales and contributed revenue.   A testament to the faith in the Company was the August 2007 announcement by Brown-Forman of a $1 million grant to the Company to build a new production of The Brown-Forman Nutcracker that will premiere in December 2009.

Board President David P. Calzi stated, “Jack has been tireless in his dedication to build and sustain this Company.  His partnership with Artistic Director Bruce Simpson has enabled all of us associated with the Louisville Ballet to focus on sustaining this great asset to Louisville. But I am happy that he is able to continue contributing to the art form of ballet in Colorado”

Artistic Director Bruce Simpson commented, “Jack has brought to the Louisville Ballet not only a highly developed sense of professional integrity and ethics but three decades of experience in the highly complex world of dance.  His unfailing example as a passionate advocate for dance in general and the Louisville Ballet in particular has provided a platform for the Company to attain new levels of excellence. By challenging all who work with him to have the highest standards, he has created a work environment conducive to artistic creativity and fiscal responsibility.  His acute sense of fair play and ironic sense of humor has made him a generous colleague, an inspiring partner and true friend.  I wish him every possible success in his new venture.”

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Arts and Humanities Blog Blog Archive

Obama’s Victory Means High Expectations for Arts

During the primary campaign, some journalists reported on what the candidates were proposing for the arts. Early on, arts leaders and enthusiasts buzzed about how Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Republican candidate. (During his tenure, Huckabee supported arts education, including music and art instruction by certified teachers in elementary school.) Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton posted fairly detailed policies on their Web sites.

Between the two presidential candidates, Sen. John McCain offered a vague policy statement consisting of 110 words, while Sen. Obama proposed a platform that included investing in arts education, increasing funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and promoting cultural diplomacy.

Now, artists and art leaders will eventually be looking for the spoils with President-elect Obama taking office.

Yesterday, Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization that lobbies for the arts, sent out a letter saying the election results will have “tremendous impact on the nation’s arts community, public schools and creative workforce.” It also credited the Congressional elections with having “expanded the base of support for the arts in Congress.”

What the letter neglected to mention was the loss of U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, the last New England Republican in the House who will leave his position after serving 10 terms. Rep. Shays also will leave his position as the Republican co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus. The caucus is a bipartisan organization for Congressional members who support the arts through federal initiatives, including preserving NEA funding. That body has 178 members with 23 Republicans. (Thhe caucus includes Ben Chandler and John Yarmuth, who were reelected to represent Kentucky, and Peter J. Visclosky, who won to continue representing Northwest Indiana).

The caucus has helped boost appropriations for the NEA, which fell sharply from $176 million in 1992 to $97.6 million in 2000. Funding has increased in recent years, with $144.7 million appropriated in 2008. The reductions meant less money for the NEA to allocate to states. The NEA and the Kentucky State Legislature provide all funding for the Kentucky Arts Council programs, grants and services. From 1996-2004, the money the Kentucky Arts Council received from the NEA fell from 18.6 percent to 13.5 percent.

There is no word on which Republican will replace Shays, who received an A+ from the Americans for the Arts for his support of arts-oriented legislation. The remaining Republicans with the next highest scores are Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, who was just elected to his sixth term; Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, who was elected to Congress in 2002; and Rep. Todd Platts of Pennsylvania, who just won a fifth term in Congress.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

Arts Kentucky Holds Workshop on Arts Advocacy

An arts advocacy group is having a workshop tomorrow at The Speed Art Museum to show people working in and interested in the arts how to work with civic leaders. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Arts Kentucky is a statewide coalition of arts groups and artists that is holding these workshops throughout the state.

Cecelia Wooden of Arts Kentucky has been leading similar workshops throughout the state and will help lead tomorrow’s event.

“The purpose is really to help board members, volunteers or professional members of arts organizations and arts advocates in general literally learn how to talk to legislators and local leaders,” Wooden says.

Woodens says people who want leaders to support the arts through policies and funding need to do more than present legislators with quantitative data and heartfelt stories that illustrate the value of arts in communities and schools.

“Legislators are concerned about their political health,” Wooden says. “They want to understand is there a powerful constituency that backs the issues related to the arts.”

Wooden says participants in recent workshops have voiced concerns about the Kentucky Arts Council’s budget, which has decreased in recent years, and the role of arts education throughout the state.

Wooden says the arts are an economic driver in many communities and provide over 22,000 jobs throughout the commonwealth.