My First Global Art Fair

"Support" by Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn
"Giardini Colourfull" by UK artist Ian Davenport
"Faust" by German artist Anne Imhof

Next week, I will be in Italy visiting the 57th Venice Biennale, entitled "Viva Arte Viva." This fair has been top of my art list ever since I was a child, as it is one of the world's most renowned and visited fairs bringing in around 500,000 each year during its 6 month run. 

This year there are 86 national pavilions to explore throughout the Giardini, the Arsenale and in the historic city centre. The curators are chosen by their country, and craft a unique experience with their selected artist(s) within their designated space. I was glad to hear that of the 120 total artists this year, 103 of them are first time participants in the Biennale. Nothing like scoping out the up and coming visual art talent of the world!

I am also thrilled to be visiting the year that Christine Macel, chief curator of the Pompidou Center in Paris, is the fourth female curator in the Biennale’s 122-year history. Because I am always interested in the business side of art, I found that the budget for her international exhibition is 13 million euros (about $14.2 million), of which Macel had to help raise 10 percent. 

My only hope is that I make it through all 86 "mini museums" of the 57th Venice Biennale...

Stay tuned for a personal account! 

arts + politics

What Does The Future Hold For Arts In America?

It’s been 100 days since Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America. Since his term began, he has threatened to cut an array of domestic programs -  among them arts, humanities and public media. As an arts advocate and employee of a non-profit media source, I am weary of what the future may bring.

In 1965 Lyndon B Johnson signed into effect the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities ensuring that "arts and humanities belong to all people of the United States" and recognizing the need to "achieve a better understanding of the past, a better analysis of the present, and a better view of the future." Since his time, a number of former presidents have threatened to cut the endowments, but none have succeeded.....until potentially now. It is the president's job to propose the budget, contingent on the approval of Congress.

So how much are we talking? The combined total of both endowments is about $300 million - that is under 1% of the 1.1 trillion dollar total annual discretionary spending. Individually, each endowment makes up approximately .004% of the total federal budget.

What does defunding the NEA, NEH and Corporation for Public Broadcasting signal to our communities? It would represent closing the door on celebrating human expression, and halt potential progress. Art is what makes us human after all. Federal funding does not typically cover the cost of a project, but it is important seed money that legitimizes fundraising initiatives and works as a call to action for the local public and private sector to join in. Thus, federal funding for arts, culture and media is critical for the health of an organization. NEA grants improve access to the arts and humanities in low-income and rural communities, thus playing a significant role in small, culturally specific organizations, often the most in need.