Monthly Archives: September 2014

Building Arts Audiences – Round 8,529,252

Art mirrors society to the extent that a small group of artists do very well and leave the rest to fight for scraps. But, the art wonkery industry is doing all right for itself. Foundations love funding meta discussions and conferences and now the Wallace Foundation is is having a go at it (via The sneaky sponsored post somehow made it past Adblock.
Building Audiences to Help Great Arts Organizations Thrive

There’s a panel distinguished panel talking about engagement, partnerships, and why building new audience matters.  I suppose it isn’t obvious that lack of audience, let alone a paying one, would make life for the 99.9% of painters, musicians, sculptors, and playwrights even that much worse. The Foundation, naturally, has a Knowledge Center with a death-grip on the obvious.

Delving deeper, we find:

Our searchable database contains the names and locations of grantees going back some 20 years, and the size and purpose of their grants. You may search by organization name, topic, state or a combination of all three. We suggest filling out at least one field to narrow down your search, because the database is large and can yield thousands of results.

The Foundation may want to drop a few cents into its own web development. Its grantee search engine needs work – Select a state, search, and then try to see pages beyond the first – the settings change and irrelevant results pop up. Judging from the Annual Reports, the real mission is to use disadvantaged children as test subjects and take the data forward to justify more grants managers. They also don’t seem to have gotten the message about Big Data. Their database, whatever its size, is small compared to storage and processing power available these days.

I can’t stand musicals but this tolerable clip from The Music Man is appropriate.

LATC’s ‘Encuentro’ – FITLA resurrected?


Encuentro 2014: A National Latina/o Theatre Festival:
Image courtesy the Los Angeles Theatre Center

What: Encuentro 2014 – A National Latina/o Theatre Festival
When: 12 October to 10 November 2014
Where: Los Angeles Theatre Center – Downtown L.A.

In the mid-2000s, the International Latino Theatre Festival (FITLA) gave Los Angeles a glimpse into the superb stagework from Spanish-speaking countries all over the world. I have vivid memories of Antigona (Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani – Peru), Aiguardent (Marta Carrasco – Spain), The Man with the Wind in his Soles (Jorge Folgueira/Tony Duran), and others. I don’t speak Spanish and it didn’t matter – these were heart-in-mouth, did-that-just-happen evenings. FITLA was a gem, poorly covered even by LA standards, and petered out around 2006 for various reasons of funding and organizer fatigue. The Getty brought back Antigona a few years later and Teresa Ralli lost none of her virtuosity or soul in the revisit.

The Los Angeles Theatre Center and the Latina/o Theatre Commons have picked up the baton and will be presenting a month long festival of works in a similar vein. Encuentro 2014 brings together 150 artists from the U.S. and Puerto Rico in performances spanning family dynamics to border violence and immigration. There are also a number of parallel residencies, workshops, and discussions to go with the performances. At first glance it doesn’t appear to have the international reach of FITLAs past but it is great to see sustained attention being paid to this community.  A community that could use a better collective term than the unwieldy Latina/o.

The Encuentro 2014 website could use a simple PDF schedule to go with the blinking graphics. To find a list of performances, go to the ticketing pages at (October Events)
and (November Events)

24th Street Theatre‘s shattering La Razon Blindada would have been a natural match for this festival but isn’t part of it. Many of the other shows do look promising. It isn’t clear whether Encuentro is a one-off or will recur. I hope it is the latter. LA needs to see more work from areas where theatre still matters.