Culture

Fort Worth
SPRING/09

Cliburn Competition ••• FWOpera Festival ••• Public art at D/FW Airport

prologue

A strapping artistic culture in a cash-strapped economic climate
arrant County’s Spring Gallery Night approaches — March 28 — as a showcase for practically every art-making venue within driving and/or strolling distance to display its wares in a festive and leisurely extended setting. (Q.V.: Fort Worth Art Dealers Association at www.fwada.com.) The MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival is almost as near — April 16 to 19, throughout the Downtown area — persisting as a lively combination of fresh-air activity, film-and-art-and-music activities and traffic-driving economic engine. (See www.mainstreetartsfest.org.) World-class museum exhibitions abound, as well, with such standout examples as Art & Love in Renaissance Italy at the Kimbell Art Museum; the Challenging Vision retrospective of Barbara Crane’s forward-thinking photography at the Amon Carter; a record-attendance display called Charles M. Russell & the Art of Counting Coup at the Sid Richardson; and The Collection & Then Some, a major in-house retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Meanwhile, Artes de la Rosa, at North Main Street’s historic Rose Marine Theatre, is poised for a March 27 opening of a comprehensive exhibition by comic-book artist Richard Dominguez, concentrating upon his groundbreaking heroic-adventure series El Gato Negro. The collision of pop-culture with folkloric influences with museum-grade exhibition values is significant. The Fort Worth Symphony will present prodigy pianist Conrad Tao at 7 p.m. March 31 at Bass Hall — details at www.fwso.org — and promises word in April of a playbill for its crowd-pleasing Concerts in the Garden series. A new FWOpera Festival approaches, as well, as chronicled within these pages. All such elements represent self-contained pleasures and enlightenments. But considered together, they deepen the overall texture of the city’s cultural life and economic viability. All, too, suggest an emphatic prelude to the planet’s most influential classical-music event, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which will draw international attention to Fort Worth during May and June. The arts persist despite prevailing cash-flow laments — and they often help to reverse an economic lapse: This issue of the Business Press’ Fort Worth Culture magazine draws particular attention to such persistence, emphasizing the arts-and-business connections that have assured commercial progress even in a compromised financial climate. (The operative term in the name of Museum Place, speaking of central-city commercial growth, is Museum, as in the neighboring Fort Worth Cultural District.) The present issue’s contents stress that culture-to-commerce relationship: Leadership Fort Worth, an agency responsible for a great deal of long-term community stewardship, addresses sustenance of the arts at a time when many budgetary cuts are whacking cultural commitments first. The organization known as Associated Businesses of the Cultural District considers artistic and economic well-being in a shared context. The Fort Worth School District’s renewed commitment to art and music has yielded record numbers of All-State Band and All-State Choir participants, as well as crucial student-artist involvement in the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival. Publicart projects, particularly the installations at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, become increasingly relevant as a sign of vitality. It also bears considering that — to misappropriate a famous line from the Texas-bred cartoonist Gilbert Shelton — culture will see you through times of no money better than money will see you through times of no culture. An artistic indulgence is its own reward, in other words, but sometimes the payoff translates to an economic advantage.
– Michael H. Price

T

C

Culture
Fort Worth
SPRING/09

Cover Story

4

Cliburn Competition gears up for a vibrant new tournament
6 8 10
ReelRosen
A Cliburn film festival celebrates documentary filmmaker Peter Rosen

FWOpera Festival
From bold experiment to certifiable success in three years
Mac Whitney, Chicota Arthello Beck, Cypress Trees

The ABCD’s of arts and commerce
Associated Businesses of the Cultural District

12 14 16 18 20

Leadership Fort Worth tackles a cultural agenda Arts in the public schools
Superintendent Melody A. Johnson delivers upon a promise

Texas Country Music
Casey Donahew Band ropes in business support

Daimler’s art commitment
AllianceTexas outpost develops art-loan pact with TCU and SMU

Airport as art gallery
Public art at D/FW Airport
Dennis Oppenheim, Crystal Mountain

And a quick-sketch survey of Texan artists

22

Red Holloway
Performs for Fort Worth library archive

23

Q&A: Kirk Millican
The cultural and economic impact of public art
Cover photo courtesy of the Cliburn Foundation

Publisher Banks Dishmon Editor Robert Francis Associate Editor Michael H. Price Managing Editor Crystal Forester

Reporters Elizabeth Bassett, Betty Dillard Aleshia Howe, John-Laurent Tronche Leslie Wimmer Contributor Laurie Barker James Photographers Glen E. Ellman, Jon P. Uzzel Production Brent Latimer, Clayton Gardner

Advertising Executives Mary Schlegel, Elizabeth Northern Andrea Benford, Robert Southerland Annie Warren Receptionist Maggie Franklin Business Manager/ Director of Events Shiela West

Culture
is a publication of the Fort Worth Business Press. © 2009

Fort Worth

CONTACT US 3509 Hulen St., Ste. 201 Fort Worth TX 76107 817-336-8300 • 817-332-3038 (fax) www.bizpress.net

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture

3

music Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

Competition remains in tune with founder’s vision
By Michael H. Price

he Cliburn Foundation named 30 young pianists as contenders in the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, scheduled for May 22 to June 7 at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall. The selections are a result of two months of worldwide screening recitals — 151 auditions at six locations in China, Europe, and the United States. At stake, reflecting the 1958 triumph of master pianist Van Cliburn at a Soviet competition that foreshadowed the founding of the Cliburn International, is an unparalleled opportunity to perform widely. The six finalists will share three years of concert tours, including more than 300 engagements coordinated by the Van Cliburn Foundation. The Cliburn winners will command fees from the resulting U.S. engagements in excess of $1,000,000. Van Cliburn, whom Time magazine once hailed as “The Texan Who Conquered Russia,” has remained an iconic and influential figure, both through his artistry and a missionary attitude toward music and as a noticeable presence at each Cliburn Competition since the early 1960s. “I have remained devoted to the music,” Cliburn told the Business Press upon the 50th anniversary of his triumph at the Tchaikovsky Competition.“It is neither entertainment nor business. It is a soul-searching spiritual experience.” The preeminent competitive event of the classical-music world, the 2009 Cliburn Competition will showcase some of the world’s most promising pianists. South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son, for example, has performed at a welcoming concert for the United Nations’ new secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon. Czech pianist Lukas Vondracek gave his first concert at age 4. Italy’s Alessandro Deljavan recorded his first album at age 16. And for the first time in the Cliburn’s 47year history, a blind pianist will compete — Japan’s Nobuyuki Tsujii.

T

Five newly chosen pianists were competitors in the 2005 Cliburn: American Stephen Beus, Chinese Di Wu, Korean Soyeon Lee, Canadian Ang Li and Russian Ilya Rashkovskiy. Fourteen countries will be represented: Australia, with one contender; Bulgaria, with one; Canada, one; China, seven; the Czech Republic, one; Germany, one; Greece, one; Israel, two; Italy, two; Japan, two; South Korea, four; Russia, two; Ukraine, one; and the United States, four. Almost half the competitors represent Asian countries. China, for the first time in the Cliburn’s history, will have the largest percentage of representatives. The pianists range in age from 19 to 30. The 13 women and 17 men will perform 50-minute solo recitals in the Preliminary Round, May 22 to 26, from which 12 pianists will advance to the Semifinal Round. During the Semifinals, May 28 to 31, each pianist will perform a 60minute solo recital featuring one of the winning contemporary pieces from the Cliburn Foundation’s third American Composers Invitational, along with a piano quintet with the Takács Quartet, one of the world’s premier string ensembles. Six pianists will then advance to the Final Round, June 3 to 7. This phase will see a selection of 50-minute solo recitals and two concertos with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, led by James Conlon, one of the world’s preeminent conductors and music director of the Los Angeles Opera. The winners will be announced June 7. As part of an intensified campaign to draw international attention to all participants, the 17-day event will be Webcast live and on-demand, free of charge, starting May 22. Online audiences will have an opportunity to vote for favorite pianists at each phase of the competition. An official blog will provide commentary. Registration to view the Webcasts is in progress at www.cliburn.org. Written applications were received from 225 pianists.

4

Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09

These were distilled to some 150 prospective players, representing 37 countries. The candidates participated in the worldwide screening-audition recitals early this year in Shanghai, China; Hanover, Germany; St. Petersburg, Russia; Lugano, Switzerland; New York; and Fort Worth. Each member of the five-seat audition jury also is a member of the Cliburn 2009 competition jury. And herewith, the contenders: Stephen Beus, United States, 27; Evgeni Bozhanov, Bulgaria, 25; Yue Chu, China, 25; Ran Dank, Israel, 27; Alessandro Deljavan, Italy, 22; Yoonjung Han, Korea, 24; Kyu Yeon Kim, South Korea, 23; Naomi Kudo, United States, 22; Natacha Kudritskaya, Ukraine, 25; Eduard Kunz, Russia, 28; Andrea Lam, Australia, 27; Soyeon Lee, South Korea, 29; Ang Li, Canada, 24; Michail Lifits, Germany, 26; Spencer Myer, United States, 30; Ilya Rashkovskiy, Russia, 24; Mayumi Sakamoto, Japan, 26; Yeol Eum Son, South Korea, 23; Victor Stanislavsky, Israel, 26; Chetan Tierra, United States, 25; Nobuyuki Tsujii, Japan, 20; Mariangela Vacatello, Italy, 27; Vassilis Varvaresos, Greece, 26; Lukas Vondracek, Czech Republic, 22; Di Wu, China, 24; Amy J. Yang, China, 25; Feng Zhang, China, 23; Haochen Zhang, China, 19; Ning Zhou, China, 21; and Zhang Zou, China, 20. An opening ceremony May 20 at the Renaissance Worthington Hotel will serve to establish the playing order. Symposia will take place at the Van Cliburn Recital Hall in Bass Hall’s neighboring Maddox–Muse Center. At a marathon performance in Maddox–Muse’s McDavid Studio, non-advancing competitors will perform their remaining repertoire. The Cliburn Foundation manages domestic engagements for all finalists competition on a commission-free basis. The Gold Medalist is offered additional concert engagements in Europe and Asia, in conjunction with IMG Artists, Europe. Competition subscriptions and a schedule of individual ticket fees are available online at www.cliburntickets.org, or with a telephone call to 800-462-7979. FWC

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture

5

film

‘ReelRosen’ — A guide to June’s Cliburn film festival
By Michael H. Price

Filmmaker Peter Rosen, a mainstay of the Cliburn Competition in chronicling its progress over the long term, is the subject of a week-long film festival called ReelRosen, which I have assembled as a complement to Finals Week — June 1 through 5 — of Cliburn 2009. Rosen’s presence in Fort Worth during the competition lends a particular immediacy to the motion-picture showings, which will take place at Four Day Weekend Theatre. I began producing such music-on-film exhibitions with the Cliburn Foundation in 2001, marking the occasion of the competition’s arrival in Bass Performance Hall by dedicating a neighboring movie-theater screen to a companion event. That first collaborative endeavor, Hollywood and the Piano, emphasized a connection between classical piano and commercial cinema, bringing such attractions as Gregory Ratoff ’s Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) and Edgar G. Ulmer’s Carnegie Hall (1947) to a rare big-screen prominence. The new festival’s retrospective emphasis upon Rosen will showcase not only the filmmaker’s ties to the Cliburn Competition, but also his gift at interpreting the arts as a class in an accessible and fascinating manner. In a career delineated by more than 100 motion pictures and television programs, Rosen has worked with such prominent cultural figures as Leonard Bernstein, Yo-Yo Ma, Placido Domingo and I. M. Pei. One of Rosen’s Cliburn Competition documentaries, 1989’s Here To Make Music, holds a Directors Guild Award; another, Playing on the Edge, is a Peabody Medal selection. ReelRosen is a collaborative presentation of the Fort Worth Business Press, the Cliburn Foundation and the Lone Star Film Society. A schedule and program notes follow herewith: • June 1 — 1:30 p.m.: First Person Singular: I.M. Pei (1997) takes an assertive stance in likening architecture to music, beginning with a declaration from architect I.M. Pei that he finds inspiration in the compositions of Bach — “constant variations of a simple theme.” The film surveys Pei’s life from an upbringing in China, through his formal education at M.I.T. and Harvard, to his perception of architecture in terms of music and sculpture. A companion film, The Museum on the Mountain, will show on June 5. • June 1 — 7:30 p.m.: Reflections: Leonard Bernstein (1978) and Shadows in Paradise (2008).

Bernstein surveys three decades of a great conductor’s career on the occasion of his 60th birthday, dwelling upon perceptive observations from colleagues and illustrated with performance footage, television appearances and photographs. Shadows in Paradise surveys the exile during the 1930s of some 30,000 intellectuals and radicals from Europe — fleeing the rise of Naziism — which in turn transplanted the creative intensity of 1920s Berlin into pockets of cultural brilliance in the United States and Los Angeles, in particular. The film’s coverage of upheavals in literature, music and cinema is extensive. • June 2 — 1:30 p.m.: In the Key of G: The Gilmore International Keyboard Festival (2005) and Workshop for Peace (2005). Gilmore offers an intense survey of the young artists involved in one influential event — centering upon a challenging program of compositions by Bach, Mozart, Stravinsky, and Liszt. Workshop for Peace, produced on a United Nations commission, marks the 60th anniversary of the U.N., notably emphasizing its architecture as a metaphor for a difficult goal of global harmony. • June 2 — 7:30 p.m.: Who Gets To Call It Art? (2006) is a feature-length study of the New Yorkbased curator Henry Geldzahler (1935-1994), a pivotal figure in the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. Rosen offers sharp insights into a question that looms ominously over anyone’s attempts to pin down a conceptual meaning of art. The implicit question is this:“Who gets to call it art?” The film is as much a challenge as a tribute, championing Geldzahler as an iconoclast while wondering whether any ordinary civilian might be qualified to codify and validate some new movement. The greater argument is that there is no accounting for taste — the primary rule, in any case, of any variety of appreciation. Geldzahler’s career helped in particular to solidify some generally accepted standards for American art during the closing half of the last century. Rosen’s similar accomplishment is an ability to persuade working artists to speak openly of their artistry. Particularly arresting is the depiction of a shifting paradigm from a devotion to classical European artistry to a gathering interest in American-born artists. More troubling is the film’s depiction of the blithe recklessness with which

6

Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09

Geldzahler helped to transform such talents as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein — permanent-collection mainstays of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, of course — into commodities brokers more so than artists. As an accomplishment of filmmaking, Who Gets To Call It Art? is an artistic statement in itself, drawing the absorbed viewer into almost a participatory sense of communion with a persistent issue. • June 3 — 1:30 p.m.: Toscanini: The Maestro (1985) offers a vigorous depiction of Arturo Toscanini as one of a handful of great conductors of the last century. The film excels in its depiction of Toscanini’s self-sacrificing opposition to the Third Reich, and it contains vivid reminiscences from family members and colleagues. Toscanini’s intense presence at the podium is well represented, and archival footage includes a generous selection of performances. • June 3 — 4:30 p.m.: The Golden Age of the Piano (1993) and Great Conversations in Music: The Pianists (2004) add up to a compelling portrait of the piano as an overriding force in classical music. The Golden Age of the Piano is an Emmy-anointed survey of the instrument’s pivotal role. And The Pianists derives from a lengthier series of programs commissioned by the Library of Congress, capturing the impressions of a variety of great performers. • June 4 — 1:30 p.m.: A Place of Dreams: Carnegie Hall at 100 (1991) and The Hollywood Bowl: Music under the Stars (2001). A Place of Dreams traces the centuried history of Carnegie Hall through an array of performances and memories. The array of personalities includes the likes of Julie Andrews, Leonard Bernstein, Ray Charles, Van Cliburn, Pete Seeger, Vladimir Horowitz, Yo-Yo Ma, Liza Minnelli, Leontyne Price, Artur Rubinstein and Frank Sinatra. The Hollywood Bowl, as captured by Rosen on the occasion of its 80th anniversary, is seen as a festive cauldron of creative frenzy. Archival footage covers such artists as Leopold Stokowski, Jascha Heifetz, Mischa Elman, Eugene Ormandy, Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, Jose Iturbi and Fritz Reiner. • June 4 — 4:30 p.m.: Khachaturian (2003), an award-winner at the Hollywood Film Festival, offers an insightful biography of composer Aram Khachaturian, best known for “Sabre Dance.” The film contains a wealth of historic performances in addition to its central portrait of artistry caught up in a perpetual struggle against totalitarian political authority. Khachaturian comes across as a vivid personality. • June 5 — 1:30 p.m.: Enrico Caruso: Voice of the Century (1998) and The Museum on the Mountain (1998). Caruso considers its subject, a proto-celebrity of

the early 20th century, as a colorful figure of massive contradictions, embodying operatic artistry on the one hand and an almost clownish, occasionally scandalous, public image on the other. Caruso appealed to both sophisticates and commoners with a powerful presence that persists — shining through even the primitive voice-recording technology of his day. The film contains a wealth of historic photographs and footage, in addition to primary-source recollections. Interviews with such artistic heirs as Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo provide additional insight. The Museum on the Mountain, concerning I. M. Pei’s Miho Museum in Kyoto, Japan, tells of a family’s art collection and a campaign to house it in an appropriately unobtrusive setting. The program follows the project with fascinating dedication to detail. • June 5 — 4:30 p.m.: Van Cliburn: Concert Pianist (1995) and RubinsteinRemembered (1988). Two great pianists of distinct generations provide the focus of this closing program. RubinsteinRemembered, a centennial tribute to Artur Rubinstein, draws upon such sources as lively interview footage, home movies and concert appearances and emphasizes the artist’s gifts as a storyteller — a man so consumed with the joy of living that neither advanced age nor near-blindness could dim his passionate generosity. Here, Rosen combines an original interpretive view of Rubinstein’s devotion to the music (the compositions of Chopin, in particular) with the brilliant vision of another filmmaker, Francois Reichenbach. The most outstanding performances come from Reichenbach’s 1969 film, L’Amour de la Vie: Artur Rubinstein. With Van Cliburn: Concert Pianist, Peter Rosen concentrates upon the mesmeric power of Cliburn’s hands, which seem to take on an independent life as they coax the piano to an astonishing level of melodic power. The centerpiece is a bracing interpretation of Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz, framed in a context of historic performance footage; interview segments (emphasizing, among other points of fascination, Cliburn’s piano-borne influence upon a generation of classical vocalists); and playful moments including a guest-appearance as a conductor. The film also crystallizes Cliburn’s diplomatic influence, from his breakthrough competitive triumph in Moscow in 1958 to his persistence in maintaining an artistic communion between the United States and Soviet Russia over the duration of the Cold War. This documentary plays especially well upon the big screen in terms of both technical artistry and emotional depth. FWC

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture

7

music

FWOpera

Festival continues to hit high notes
By Michael H. Price

“I feel like I am really lucky to be alive and producing opera at this time when there are so many amazing composers writing incredible pieces.”
– Darren Woods, Fort Worth Opera

carcely two years ago, Fort Worth’s six-decade operatic heritage broke ranks with tradition to develop an annual festival — a drastic detour from conventional opera-season programming. The alteration carried a risk that has paid off with conspicuous success for the FWOpera Festival, which enters a third season April 25. The distinct difference between the former, conventionally staged operatic season and the revamped FWOpera Festival schedule is that the festival stages all its productions during a compact series of weekends. The local audience has remained loyal, including habitual opera-goers who have followed the Fort Worth Opera since childhood. The festival format also has given the city a new destination event for tourism — benefiting the city’s overall economy beyond the local box office. Of the tens of thousands of tickets that will be sold, several thousand will represent out-of-town purchasers. The established audience, as General Director Darren K. Woods tells it, is likelier to prefer the acknowledged great classical operas. The newer, perhaps more adventurous, audience will be drawn by innovative works. The result of such thinking is a blend of traditional attractions and groundbreaking works. “Our desire is to be an international destination,” Woods says.“This could get us there. “I feel like I am really lucky to be alive and producing opera at this time when there are so many amazing composers writing incredible pieces,” Woods adds.“Our output lately has been great — first, Frau Margot [two years ago] by Thomas Pasatieri, then Peter Eotvos’ powerful Angels in America [2008] and this season’s Dead Man Walking … Being in a position to help create and bring to the stage these great new works is a lifelong dream of mine.” Season tickets and weekend packages range from $31 to $394. Individual tickets range from $21 to $159 for Bizet’s Carmen (beginning April 25) and $19 to $154 for Rossini’s Cinderella (beginning April 26) and the Jake Heggie–Terrence McNally operatic adaptation of Dead Man Walking (beginning May 2). The venue is Bass Performance Hall. FWC
mprice@bizpress.net

S

Warming up to FWOpera Fest with a pertinent series of films
As a prelude to the FWOpera Festival, the Fort Worth Opera and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will devote a lateMarch series of film screenings to moving pictures pertaining to the forthcoming operatic productions. Herewith, the schedule:

✶ 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. March 21, in the Modern’s auditorium: Mark Dornford–May’s U–Carmen (2005)
– Set in the sprawling shantytown of Kayelitsha and sung entirely in the Xhosa Language, U-Carmen is a rousing and imaginative contemporary adaptation of George Bizet’s 19th-century opera Carmen. Director May’s début feature is impressively sung and performed by the Dimpho De Kopane Theater Co. Pauline Malefane stars as Carmen, who seduces a devout policeman (Andile Tshoni) – with fateful consequences. No prior knowledge of the original opera is required to enjoy U-Carmen – a dynamically cinematic work.

✶ 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. March 22 at the Modern: Tim Robbins’ Dead Man Walking (1995) – The tale of a Death Row inmate and the nun who befriends him addresses a controversial issue with an intensely personal viewpoint. Director Tim Robbins and lead actors Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon were nominated for Oscars; Sarandon won the Best Actress nod. ✶ 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. March 28 at the Modern: Brian Large and Bruno Campanella’s La Cenerentola (a.k.a. Cinderella; 1995) – Cecilia Bartoli portrays a feisty Cinderella, combining rebellions with pathos and vocal
beauty with virtuosity. The exuberant Bologna production was captured in a real-time performance at Houston.

8

Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09

culture

Associated Businesses of the Cultural District

The ABCD’s of culture-and-commerce
By Michael H. Price

“The objective is to give a voice to the small-business owners within the area.”
– Marshall Tillman, ABCD board member

N

owhere is the arts-and-commerce basis of the Fort Worth Cultural District more emphatically pronounced than in a quietly influential organization known as Associated Businesses of the Cultural District. Having endured through a long stretch of virtual separatism between the district’s art-museum and Western Heritage components and its commercial sector, the ABCD has met the new century with a strengthened commitment to reciprocity: Culturally attuned visitors are by nature customers, and customers in turn represent museum and event traffic. Phillip Poole, a board member with ABCD and lead development executive with TownSite Co., likens the organization to a chamber of commerce – dealing from a basis of concern for its membercompanies’ economic and aesthetic health, with such strategic measures as taking a hand in the formation of Neighborhood Empowerment Zones and urban-village developments. A consistent ABCD presence at City Council meetings is part of the strategy, and Poole has become a key advocate of streetcar development as crucial linkage within the Cultural District and into such other local-signature areas as the Stockyards District and Sundance Square. “The objective is to give a voice to the small-business owners within the area,” adds board member Marshall Tillman, of the Kornye–Tillman Co. “The arts – the museums and the performing arts – have long had their advocates,” explains Poole,“and the Will Rogers [Memorial Center] and the Stock Show component has its advocates. For a long time, there, everybody had just tolerated the businesses within range of the Cultural District … hardly a great deal of collaborative effort, there. But circumstances are changing, and for the better.” Poole’s reference is to a period almost 20 years ago – although the tendency has persisted into times more recent – when a ragged fringe of spontaneous, largely unplanned, commercial development had lined the streets immediately bordering the museum district. Only lately has the immediate University-to-Montgomery stretch, south of West Seventh Street/Camp Bowie Boulevard and north of the West Freeway, begun to develop an aesthetic consistency to match the institutional components of the Cultural District. The major museums – significant works of architecture beyond their shared function of exhibition – had been designed to look inward upon themselves, rather than outward to embrace the landscape. Such as the landscape was, in any event: A deteriorated Seventh Street Theatre, though historic in its own right and once a prospect for restoration, met the wrecking-ball not long before the rise of a new Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2002. A prominent-but-nondescript Chevron gasoline station dominated the Seventh-at-University Roundabout; today the site is a scenic green space, consistent with the grounds of the Modern Art Museum. “We are the living-room for the city,” Poole explains.“This is the place where we display our fine art and much of our heritage for all to see … and as such the Cultural District attracts between 7 1/2 and 8 million visitors annually.” Such numbers stand to increase exponentially as new commercial development mounts to a nearbillion-dollar mark via such ventures as So7 and Museum Place. Tillman’s stated objective of the

10

Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09

mprice@bizpress.net

Aaron Chase is the newly installed chairman of ABCD.
Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture

11

PHOTO BY GLEN E. ELLMAN

ABCD’s role in “promoting and protecting” the immediate commercial sector is consistent with Poole’s observation that Cultural District redevelopment must anticipate the approach of the Trinity River Vision project. The tightening of consumer-traffic and residential connections between the Downtown area and the Cultural District, too, promises to stabilize the area’s infrastructure as foreshadowing of the Trinity venture. Organized in 1991, the ABCD has asserted a broadening role within the district, whose sphere – for neighborhood-membership purposes, in any event – stretches from the Trinity River to Interstate Highway 30 and from White Settlement Road to the juncture of Camp Bowie Boulevard with I-30. The 117 membercompanies range from mom-and-pop establishments to such corporate entities as the Montgomery Plaza Super Target and Acme Brick. Acme’s historic location along West Seventh Street had placed the company among the founding membership, and since its resettlement along Bryant Irvin Road, Acme has remained a sponsoring cornerstone of the ABCD. “Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the Cultural District,” says ABCD chairman Aaron Chase, a financial adviser with Edward Jones.“The viability of the organization and its members ties directly to the viability of the district.” “The small businesses are a primary concern,” says board member Warren Wolf, publisher of Guide to the Fort Worth Cultural District. “In the present treacherous economy, we’ve provided the independent businesspeople with a common ground and, I believe, given them a stronger link to the [district’s] major attractions. The sense of identification between the businesses and the institutions is stronger, as a result.” The ABCD also overlaps significantly with Historic Camp Bowie, a public-improvement district that covers much the same patch of geography. ABCD board membership includes representatives of not only the commercial sector but also of such landmark institutions as the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History and the Modern Art Museum. “The more members we attract,” adds Wolf, “the better off we all become.” The organization’s persistent development has affirmed not merely the self-evident truth of safety-in-numbers – but also a sense of progress beyond simple economic survival. The ABCD meets on a third-Tuesdays schedule. Annual membership is $100. The Web address is www.abcd.org. FWC

Financing the arts

New ground

Groups seek support and new audiences during recession
By Michael H. Price

“There comes a time when [a cultural organization] must venture out beyond just ‘preaching to the choir,’ as the saying goes, and begin seeking to broaden its appeal. Collaboration is essential. Strategy is essential. And the marketing techniques that will attract one generation may be irrelevant to another.”
– Darren Woods, Fort Worth Opera

B

en Hecht, the great journalist and playwright of the last century, once paid poetic homage to the arts “that dance and sing… and keep this troubled planet green with spring.”

Blind Alfred Reed, an influential folk musician from rural Virginia, addressed a depressed economy in 1929 with a popular lament called “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?” – hoping that a recording of his complaint would sell well enough to buoy his artistry. Another rustic entertainer of the period, Uncle Dave Macon, joined the chorus with a lyric maintaining: “The only thing that we can do, is to do the best we can…” Troubled times exert the backhanded advantage of bringing out resilience and gumption in their artists: During the turbulent 1960s, the civil-rights balladeer Len Chandler took a cue from Dave Macon to offer a song called “Keep on Keepin’ On” – a slogan so purposeful that it has become a watchword for persistence in any endeavor. Such lyrical manifestos, in turn, provided the springboard this year for a symposium staged by Leadership Fort Worth, a community-stewardship agency that has nurtured next-generation civic duty since the 1970s. The occasion, Leadership Fort Worth Arts & Culture Day, packed a gallery at the Community Arts Center on Feb. 26 with a participatory crowd, intent upon discussing the challenges of financing the arts during a state of general economic lapse. Key participants included Jody Ulich, president of the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County; Cathy Hernandez, executive director of Artes de la Rosa; and Darren Woods, general director of Fort Worth Opera. Woods explained that the approaching FWOpera Festival – itself the subject of an accompanying story, on page 8 – has gained momentum since 2007 through a strategic combination of long-term operatic patronage and newly discovered audiences. “The younger audiences prize passion and drama in their entertainment,” said Woods, drawing parallels of interest between the emotional appeal of much popular music and its rock-video offshoots, and the intrinsic emotive qualities of opera.“The opera, in turn, invites a natural progression of interest.” The company also has taken strategic pains to combine old-school classical favorites with newly developed operatic works in programming a season. A Carmen, for example, has built-in appeal to the established audience, while a newer opera, such as the 2009 festival’s Dead Man Walking, addresses not only a next-generation interest in opera but also packs an immediate social relevance. “There comes a time,” Woods added,“when [a cultural organization] must venture out beyond just ‘preaching to the choir,’ as the saying goes, and begin seeking to broaden its appeal. Collaboration is essential. Strategy is essential. And the marketing techniques that will attract one generation may be irrelevant to another.” Much as the Van Cliburn Foundation has tapped unprecedented levels of popular interest in the social-networking strata of the Internet, the Fort Worth Opera has found new viability in the Web site known as Twitter (www.twitter.com), both in terms of general attention-getting devices and short-notice ticketing for individual events. The Fort Worth Opera has a six-decade head-start, more or less, on Artes de la Rosa in terms of

12

Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09

Jody Ulich, Darren Woods and Cathy Hernandez
longevity. Artes de la Rosa, based at a municipally restored neighborhood theater along North Main Street, dates from 2003 in its mission to champion the Latinate arts as an essential component of the local cultural scene. The aim, as Hernandez has said, is not so much to showcase Hispanic artistry for a self-contained audience, as it is to make the indigenous culture both accessible and fascinating to an integrated patronage. Hernandez said she often finds it daunting to compete with longer-established arts organizations for the ever-more-elusive underwriting dollar. But competition also breeds collaboration – such as a recent shared venture between the Fort Worth Opera and Artes de la Rosa at the Rose Marine Theatre. “To generate revenue with a ticket-selling attraction is a desirable accomplishment,” Woods said.“But often, it is just as desirable to fulfill the imperative of bringing the arts to the community-at-large in a spirit of altruism.” The payoff, all agreed, is a heightened state of cultural enlightenment – which in its turn can inspire productive citizenship. Ulich echoed Hernandez’ sentiment with the frank assertion that the Arts Council itself functions in competition with the numerous artistic agencies it serves – seeking corporate – and community-based funding for its own operations, including the Community Arts Center, also while serving as a flow-through channel to dispense much of its monetary wherewithal to individual nonprofit troupes. The recent annual granting of a total of $1.5 million from the Arts Council to numerous arts groups, ranging in scope from mass-appeal dominant-culture production companies to niche-market organizations of specialized interest, finds the Arts Council sustaining the record level of grants achieved in 2008. Prevailing economic conditions tend to discourage attempts to break any record-setting levels of underwriting. The upholding of a prior record is an accomplishment in itself. Arts Council grants, too, keep revenues inside the local community, enabling the production of additional ticket-selling events. Such events, in turn, can attract out-of-town destination traffic, which utilizes hotels and restaurants with demonstrable economic impact. Bed-tax revenues, in addition, lend support to the Arts Council. “The economic payback of the arts, as a class, is tremendous,” said Ulich,“but then, during difficult economic times, the arts are often the first to be dismissed as a frivolous expense … And yet, a company that considers locating its offices and its jobs in Fort Worth will seek assurances that there is a vigorous and productive arts community. “We, as arts organizations, know our worth – and the challenge is to sustain a viable culture of philanthropy, in addition to inspiring our arts groups to be ever more creative and adventurous in finding ways to reach beyond their ready-made audiences.” One certain tactic, Ulich added, might be “to place a musical instrument into every child’s hands at the kindergarten level – and keep it there through graduation.” The reference might translate from music to painting to writing, as far as the early nurturing of creative expression is concerned. Woods noted an increasing impersonality in corporate philanthropy – “a tendency among companies to relegate applications for underwriting to online forms,” as opposed to the face-toface communion between artists and patrons that has historically characterized such relationships. “Ticket sales alone will not cover the costs of a production,” Woods added.“Hence our reliance upon sponsorships and sustaining donations for the sake of encouraging the arts, in reciprocity for the arts’ traditional role in sustaining the spirit of a community and inspiring new generations of civic leadership. “So here comes your next season of production,” Woods said,“and just on the eve of an event some key sponsor backs out. Such things happen, especially during economically difficult times. And this is where any arts group can prove its resilience by seeking new audiences, by developing strategic collaborations among the communities of the arts and civic involvement, and by persisting in the belief that an audience can always be broadened and strengthened. “So what’s to do but ‘keep on keepin’ on’?” FWC
mprice@bizpress.net

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture

13

PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

education

Arts in the public schools

A superintendent’s super-intentions
By Michael H. Price

“We have accomplished a restoration here, and I would resign before I would ever see the arts cut from our schools on my watch.”
– Melody A. Johnson, superintendent of Fort Worth ISD

T

he fewer legislative mandates, the better. But even so, an official view of the arts as an essential component of a public-school education might make sense – or at least, hold the line against chronic budgetary cuts that always seem to land first on the arts as a function of classroom and extracurricular activity. In the absence of any arts-study mandates, a newfound commitment to the arts within the Fort Worth Independent School District may make the most practical sense. As an upshot of a vow made 3 1/2 years ago by Melody A. Johnson, superintendent of schools, 100 percent of elementary-grade students are now enrolled in fine-arts classes – some 45,000 youngsters, overall — and nearly half the district’s secondary-level students are involved likewise. The proportion of arts involvement among an 80,000-student population suggests a promise largely fulfilled. The commitment hardly guarantees anyone of a career in the arts, but it promises its participating students “a greater sense of belonging,” as Johnson puts it. And such a sense of belonging, in turn, has long since proved to correspond to more consistent classroom attendance and a reduced tendency to quit school for whatever reasons. The traditional readin’–writin’–’rithmetic components of a tax-dollar schooling seem to come more easily to students who learn the role of counting as a function of making music; who learn to string together thoughts and words in the process of relating an entertaining story; and who learn that the visual arts manifest themselves not by happy accident — but rather as a combination of compositional knowledge and instinctive trust, qualities that also foster productive habits of general-purpose studying. “The arts are typically considered expendable,” Johnson explains, speaking of public education as a class. A prior local administration had responded to financial challenges by pronouncing its arts programs expendable. Johnson’s arrival in 2005 from Providence, R.I. — where as superintendent she had implemented both systemic reforms and innovative instructional programs — found her intent upon restoring the arts as a prominent element of the learning environment. “The arts, there in Rhode Island, had been cut — under my watch, of course, but against my preferences,” Johnson explains.“I vowed, then, that I would never, ever, see the arts cut from another school district where I am involved. We have accomplished a restoration here, and I would resign before I would ever see the arts cut from our schools on my watch.” Even in cost-containment mode, trustees of the Fort Worth system have proved willing to rededicate millions of dollars to such programs, improving the district’s inventories of musical instruments and artmaking supplies and making certain that every child finds a participatory welcome. The situation proves more a matter of “no child left out” than of “no child left behind.” Johnson has found the students responsive, she says,“especially, the children from poverty-level backgrounds … the arts encourage a belief in oneself, a feeling of accomplishment that carries over into a general enthusiasm for learning.” Johnson’s administration has heightened the real-life relevance of the general curriculum while introducing measures of accountability and sound business practices. A voter-approved $594 million Capital Improvement Program (November 2007) has remained on schedule and on budget. Johnson’s approach to the arts, consistent with a curriculum-wide policy of innovation and practicality,

14

Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09

Melody A. Johnson (photo courtesy of FWISD)
has been to grant such culturally creative endeavors “a place of greater prominence,” as she puts it, and to situate such supervisory figures as Michael D. Ryan, as executive director of fine arts; and Christine Walk, as supervisor of school bands. (Band and orchestra membership has doubled in five years. And this year, a record number of 13 Fort Worth School District musicians and seven choristers have secured positions in the All-State Band and the All-State Choir.) Such accomplishments, as Johnson tells it, have been a matter of “finding strong leaders, empowering them — and supporting them … and developing interdisciplinary collaborative relationships across the various divisions of the district.” Meanwhile, Ryan’s office has compiled such statistical benchmarks as these: • A year ago, the school system began entering students in a statewide art competition — starting with 175 entries and five qualifying results, and escalating to 501 entries and the selection of 22 students to attend the state’s Visual Arts Scholastic Event. • A $939,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education for professional development in the fine arts, in the company of such grant partners as the Fort Worth Symphony, the Fort Worth Opera, Bass Hall’s affiliated Performing Arts Fort Worth, the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County, Casa Mañana and Texas Christian University. (The grant carries sponsorship by Performing Arts Fort Worth of a Kodály Institute regimen, which will equip 30 teachers with certification in musical development.) • A 3 percent increase in fine-arts enrollment. • An invitation to the theater department of Paschal High School to attend the Fringe International Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. • Recognition for Southwest High School Band as one of the state’s top three University Interscholastic League Class 4A wind ensembles. • And participation by art students as selling exhibitors in the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival — coming right up, April 16–19, as an annual downtown attraction. FWC
mprice@bizpress.net

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture

15

music

Texas Country

Newcomer Donahew ropes in business support, award nominations
By Laurie Barker James
Special to Fort Worth Culture

A

Band members Jon Magil, Tony Pierce with seminal Texas band Asleep At the Wheel frontman Ray Benson, Steve Stone and Casey Donahew at the Black Tie and Boots Ball in Washington D.C.

lthough he’s nominated for a 2009 Gruene with Envy Texas music award as New Artist of the Year, Burleson’s Casey Donahew actually has six years, three albums and a large group of fans behind him. After returning from Texas A&M University in 2003, Donahew made the rounds as an acoustic act in Fort Worth’s smaller clubs. Barely old enough to drink legally, with a voice that’s more high lonesome Hank Williams than black hat baritone, Donahew gained supporters and enough momentum to need a band. The band generated enough fans to move him up to places like Fort Worth’s Horseman Club, which holds about 1,000 people before the fire marshal complains. There’s do-it-yourself, and then there’s Donahew-it-yourself. Donahew’s success – including performing for 4,800 people at Billy Bob’s in January – has come with limited mass marketing. He funds and promotes his own recordings, and received relatively little radio airplay until 2008 with the release of “Crazy,” which was popular both locally and statewide. His music is available online and through a few local stores. People hear about the band, Donahew says, from fans who’ve downloaded music and shared it with friends. Some of Donahew’s fans actually have become business partners. Donahew’s sponsors include Fort Worth institutions Justin Boots and the Frank Kent Motor Co. Frank Kent co-owner Corrie Churchill credits her brother Will’s respect for Donahew as an artist as the catalyst for their affiliation with Donahew. “Frank Kent Motors is big on family,” she said.“And Casey is very much about family, very professional. He puts on a show that’s entertaining for people of all ages. We’re proud to be associated with such a talented artist and businessman.” For almost four years, Donahew and Frank Kent have partnered through the dealership’s “Music and Motors” program. Donahew even sings the tag line in some of the Frank Kent radio commercials. Donahew also garnered the attention of Billy and Pam Minick during one of the “local talent” group shows that fill the bill when Billy Bob’s Texas doesn’t have a national act. Pam Minick says Donahew’s fan support comes from mostly college-age people who flocked to hear him. She credits him for being smart about the business of his business, and she wasn’t surprised when his fifth show headlining at the World’s Largest Honky Tonk filled more than two-thirds of the 6,000 seat venue. The Jan. 31 show attracted representatives from Apex Nashville, which markets and distributes music through Thirty Tigers, a management, publicity and marketing firm. Donahew’s mulling a deal with Apex, but also is meeting with independent Kerrville-based Sustain Records. A wider distribution deal would take him closer to getting onto the national Billboard music charts. However, distribution deals cost money and potentially, artistic freedom. Donahew’s already successfully and independently created a market for his music, without a major label backing him. “We played for 3,000 people at Billy Bob’s Texas and had never had a song in the Texas top 50 until last year,” he said.

16

Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09

The Casey Donahew Band: Tony Pierce, Jon Magil, Casey Donahew, Steve Stone, Donte Gates (photo by Tessa Blackwell)
Another reason for Donahew’s success: The plain-spoken Johnson County native walks his talk.“White Trash Story,” recorded on his second, eponymously-titled CD, sums up who he thinks he is. “Only my real friends can call me white trash,” he said. But for a “white trash” guy from Johnson County, Donahew is surprisingly deep.“Twelve Gauge” has roots in a female friend’s experience with domestic violence. The song chronicles what might happen when a man hits a woman who knows how to use a shotgun. Hearing “He’s never gonna hit her again” is chilling, especially on a live record, with women in the audience singing the chorus back to him. Last year’s “Crazy” is a co-write with wife Melinda, who says the two wrote the song after she watched too much “entertainment television” about crazy things that young women do.“Crazy” came in at No. 17 in the top most-played songs of 2008, according to the Best in Texas music calculator, and generated a lot of statewide radio airplay. The Gruene with Envy best new artist nomination came from a group of Texas music industry insiders. GWE founder and event producer Dave Lytle says Donahew’s nomination is a nod to his gradual momentum. “Casey is so well-known in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” Lytle said.“But this past year he had breakout success statewide.” Donahew’s status as an up-and-comer was cemented with his invitation to the Texas State Society’s Jan. 19 Inaugural Black Tie and Boots Ball in Washington, D.C. Donahew performed with arena-fillers and fellow Gruene with Envy nominees Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jack Ingram and the Randy Rogers Band, as well as alt favorites Joe Ely and Kelly and Bruce Robison. Donahew wore his Justin boots to the celebrity-studded event at the Washington Gaylord Hotel. He played one of the coveted top of the bill slots, after the legendary Texas Playboys, Dale Watson, and Bruce and Kelly Willis. Donahew marvels at sharing a green room with the Texas Playboys, who invented the western swing musical genre. He calls his once-in-a-lifetime experience humbling. “I can’t believe that that many people from Texas fly out for one day,” he said. “You could definitely sense the magnitude of what was happening.” FWC

Donahew status as a headliner gets “cemented” for the wall at Billy Bob’s Texas. Donahew is pictured with the club’s Robert Gallagher.

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture

17

art

Daimler Financial Services

Innovation, creativity aim of office art
By Leslie Wimmer

M

ud, hay, metal, wire, glass, cement, wood blocks, yarn and strips of pink paper. These are some of the media used in the more than 80 art pieces hanging around, sitting in and framing employee workspaces at Daimler Financial Services’ AllianceTexas office building. Corporate art often is made up of flat, obscure landscapes or photographs with captions meant to inspire teamwork and motivation, but Daimler’s contemporary art effort, titled “Experiencing Perspectives,” is meant to provoke thought and start conversations among employees. “Daimler has been supporting innovation from the time Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz got together, and we’re trying to create an environment for our employees that will inspire innovation,” says Jack Ferry, spokesman for Daimler Financial Services. Daimler was looking for pieces that may challenge ideas employees have of what art is, that would expose them to more complicated

Pace It, 2007, Stephen Battle, TCU

pieces and require them to ask questions, says Leila Matta, brand identity and design manager for Daimler Financial Services. “We want to bring in abstract, contemporary art, works that are more provocative and maybe have a longer-lasting effect on employees,” Matta says. The art pieces Daimler chose came from both art students and faculty members at the art schools at Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University. The Experiencing Perspectives project plays up employees’ creativity at Daimler’s facility, Matta says, and simultaneously helps art students learn how to exhibit work and build relationships outside of traditional settings, such as galleries. “Students often work with just what we call the ‘white cube’ of the gallery, where all of the focus is on the art work, but when you put a piece in an area that’s already got a social discourse, like an office, that isn’t a neutral space, that’s a challenge,” says Jay Sullivan, chair of the division of art at SMU. Ron Watson, chair of the department of art and art history at TCU, agreed. “This is a terrific step forward for our students,” Watson says in a statement,“because their work will be exhibited in a public environment. It’s a perfect union for us.” Amy Revier, a student at SMU, has two pieces on display at Daimler Financial, both a mix of words and textiles. In meeting with Daimler’s employees at a reception and launch of the project, Revier says she was surprised to discover the different reactions people had to not just her work, but all of the pieces in the building. “When you’re a student and you’re constantly surrounded by people who are artists and art students, and then being around people who aren’t, having that dialogue was really interesting and exciting,” Revier says. One of Revier’s pieces, titled Textures, is made up of several strips of pink paper with words typed along them. The words create different shapes on the paper, but are not meant to be a flowing thought or dialogue. “This came from a performance I did where I sat on a stage and wrapped scarves around my head, the scarves were made of angora and baby camel hair, and I had a typewriter, my mom’s old typewriter,

18

Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09

Essentials of Equivalent Worlds, 2006, Winter Rusiloski, TCU

and a scroll of pink paper in front of me,” Revier says. Revier, while blindfolded with the scarves, then typed out words and thoughts, she says, and the end product was a look at the way language can be both open and structured at the same time. Revier’s second piece is titled Shells. In putting the piece together, Revier dipped adult cloth diapers in porcelain slip and fired them in a kiln. The firing process burned away the cloth from the diapers and left thin porcelain sheets in place. In a statement on the work, Revier says the piece “comments on exchange and the things that can occur during transitioning: changes in efficiency, protection, malleability and intimacy.” Employees have had a variety of reactions to the art since Daimler’s offices opened at Alliance in September 2008. Daimler will host quarterly art lectures and discussions by bringing in artists who have displayed work in the building to talk about their pieces and answer questions. “Some people are really excited about certain pieces and then some people ask ‘What is that supposed to mean? How is that art?’” Matta says.“Whether people are excited or confused, people are curious and there are a lot of questions, which is what we were hoping for.” FWC

Spring 9 / Fort Worth Culture

19

art and commerce

Arts and culture on the go

D/FW Airport’s art collection helps the spirit take flight
By Betty Dillard

A

hurried passenger pauses at a flight board to check her departure time, glances at her watch, then turns to scurry away until the geometric medallion where she stands beckons her to linger. A couple of teenagers, a maze of colored terrazzo and curved glass walls before them, try to decipher the grand sculptural puzzle. And under the graceful arch of a giant bronze wishbone, newlyweds embrace and kiss before departing for an overseas honeymoon. From large-scale sculptures and paintings to mosaic floor medallions and terrazzo floor designs, the 37-piece collection of museumcaliber artwork incorporated into Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is a constant head-turner at the world’s third-busiest airport. Open daily and free to the public, the collection is one of the best public art exhibits focusing on regional talent. Launched in 2005 and designed to enhance International Terminal D, the airport’s $6 million commissioned art program greets visitors at gateways, ticket halls and entrances throughout the departures level and the Skylink train stations. Thirty-three artists were selected for the permanent collection. The rich showcase includes such well-known regional artists as Anitra Blayton, Dennis and Dan Blagg, Richard Zapata, Linda Guy, Benito Huerta, Linda and Ed Blackburn. The late Arthello Beck’s East Texas mosaic, Cypress Trees, is a favorite. Fort Worth artist Billy Hassell, who is represented in the collection with a mosaic of Texas’ State Bird titled Early Morning Flight, sums up why he wanted to be part of the collection. “The public art program at Terminal D is a unique opportunity to visually enhance a utilitarian space,” says Hassell,“but more than that, it is a chance to celebrate an aesthetic regional identity and to engage air travelers in a rich and stimulating visual experience.” In addition to the indoor art collection, four pieces — by Mark di Suvero, Anthony Caro, John Newman and Mac Whitney — on loan from the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas are displayed in a garden outside the Terminal D parking garage, on the arrivals level and opposite the Grand Hyatt DFW hotel. D/FW’s art venue is part of a hot trend in the aviation industry. Flourishing airport art programs worldwide are entertaining and educating travelers and non-ticketed patrons alike. Looking to distinguish themselves, airports also are providing art as a good customer service tool in the long wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist siege.

“Art enhances the customer experience,” says Sharon McCloskey, vice president of marketing at D/FW. She mentions surveys showing that ambience is the No. 1 consideration with international and connecting passengers. “Art enhancement is more important than restaurants, shopping or flight boards,” McCloskey says.“People are definitely aware of their surroundings.” People seem to be taking notice of D/FW’s free walking tour of the art program, too. Increased interest from college art departments, as well as from schoolchildren and even horticulturists, is on the rise, according to Brian Murnahan, the airport’s media relations specialist. Last year, 174 tours were given. Also taking off is a downloadable video podcast of the art program from the airport’s Web site. The tours are a great way for layover passengers to use their time. “Monotony and boredom are what airports used to be known for,” Murnahan says.“The airport art program gets people to enjoy their time here, instead of just spending time here. The artwork gets people to be social and to talk and interact with each other. It takes your mind off things: waiting, flying, your problems. It helps relieves stress, too.” Some pieces are located outside security, but part of the tour takes place inside security so it’s best to plan for a guided tour. A government-issued identification card is required to participate in the tour as a non-passenger. The up-close, guided tours last between 60 and 90 minutes. A registration form is available on the airport’s Web site. Trained guides include art program specialist Guy Bruggeman and about a dozen docents from D/FW’s Volunteer Ambassador Program. Bruggeman has been leading tours and training other volunteers for the past two years. “Some of the art collection is interactive,” Bruggeman says.“All of it engages passengers to stop and look and think. It’s always fun to see people’s reactions when they realize they’re walking across a piece of art.” FWC For information on the art program at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport or to schedule a tour or download a video podcast, visit www.dfwairport.com/art/index.php
bdillard@bizpress.net

20

Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09

The Art of International Terminal D
Medallions (inside security)
• Richard Zapata, Dallas The Highest Power Gates D6-7 “I would like to leave a reminder … that transportation started with harnessing nature. The wind, the environment and the animal.” • Viola Delgado, Dallas Untitled Gates D8-10
Viola Delgado, Untitled • Linda Guy, Fort Worth Dance! Don’t Walk Gates D11-12 “As weary travelers walk across the medallion they might momentarily join the two businesspeople dancing, throwing their briefcases away, enjoying the sense of freedom that air travel can bring.”

Paintings/Sculptures (outside security)
• Anitra Blayton, Fort Worth Standing Ovation South Ticket Entrance Hall “Applause is both an uplifting greeting and farewell in all languages.” • Peter Halley, New York Untitled Southeast Ticket Hall Wall • David Driskell, Hyattsville, Md. Jerome Meadows, Savannah, Ga. On the Wings of a Dragon Hotel Atrium

• Philip Lamb and Susan Magilow, Dallas Flower Power I and Flower Power II Terminal C North, Terminal C South

Anita Blayton, Standing Ovation

• Benito Huerta, Arlington Wings Terminal D (North and South) “My interest is to expand the boundaries of art and how it reaches and interacts with the community on a daily basis.” • Brad Goldberg, Dallas Over the High Plains of Texas Terminal E (North and South)

Customs and Border Patrol Hall (inside security)
PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

• Dennis Blagg, Fort Worth Cosmic Big Bend Landscape Northeast Ticket Hall Wall • Terry Allen, Santa Fe, N.M. Wish North Ticket Entrance Hall “Just meet me at the Wishbone.”

• Lane Banks, Dallas Untitled Gates D14-17 • Pamela Nelson, Dallas Destination Game Gates D18-20

Sculptures (inside security)
Lane Banks, Untitled

• Sol Lewitt (1928-2007) Untitled CBP Hall Side Walls • Beat Streuli, Dusseldorf, Germany Untitled CBP Hall West Wall • Tom Orr, Dallas Untitled West Glazed Walls to Apron • John Holt Smith, Fort Worth Untitled Meeter/Greeter Hall Wall

• Beatrice Lebreton, Dallas Celebration Gates D21-22 “The world to me is like a patchwork: It needs different shapes, colors, sizes and interaction among the people to exist. If one piece is missing, the unity is broken.” • Ted Kincaid, Dallas Untitled Gates D23-24 • Billy Hassell, Fort Worth Early Morning Flight Gates D25-27

• Dennis Oppenheim, New York Crystal Mountain North Concessions Area

Terry Allen, Wish

Nasher Sculpture, Parking L1
Ted Kincaid, Untitled

• Linda Blackburn and Ed Blackburn, Fort Worth Louise Gates D28-31 • Arthello Beck (1941-2004), Dallas Cypress Trees Gates D33-34 “I believe my art provides a soothing and relaxing environment … As depicted in my paintings, all humans have grace, beauty and culture that are to be shared, treasured and appreciated.” • Jane Helslander, Fort Worth Floating in Space, a Waltz Gates D36-37

• Christopher Janney, Lexington, Mass. Circling South Concessions Area “As an artist, it is my concern that public spaces not only have a unique sense of place, but also are places of creative rest – not only visually interesting but physically engaging…”

• Mac Whitney Chicota

Tom Orr, Untitled

Terrazzo Floors – Skylink Stations (inside security)
• Nancy Lamb, Fort Worth Get There on Time Terminal A North • Nancy Lamb Stamps Terminal A South • Dan Blagg, Fort Worth Spirit Walk Terminal B North • Dan Blagg Jewel of the Day Terminal B South • John Newman Torus Orbicularis • Issac Witkin Hawthorne Tree, Variation III • Mark di Suvero For W.B. Yeats

• Judy Smith Hearst, Dallas Jane Helslander, Untitled Floating in Space, a Waltz Gates D38-40 “In an airport, the adventure and fun of travel should be celebrated as much as where one is traveling to or from.”

Dan Blagg, Spirit Walk
Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture

21

music

Red Holloway

Jazz legend to perform on behalf of FW Library archive

T

Red Holloway

he Fort Worth Public Library will advance its Jazz Preservation Project this spring with a performance by legendary tenor saxophonist Red Holloway. The admission-free concert will open at 6:30 p.m. May 7 in the Central Library Gallery at 500 West Third St. Holloway will be accompanied by such North Texas musicians as pianist Arlington Jones, bassist James Gilyard and drummer Duane Durrett. The program will range from modern-jazz standards to original compositions. Holloway has worked over the long term with such mainstays of jazz and blues as Billie Holiday, Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Lester Young, Lionel Hampton, Sonny Sitt, George Benson, Bobby “Blue” Bland and B.B. King. The Fort Worth Jazz Preservation Project was created to ensure that the work and histories of jazz musicians continue to be known, heard and appreciated. The project includes such signature elements as the Jazz Perspectives series, a collection of video interviews with influential musicians; the steady acquisition of historically significant personal collections; and performances and educational programs. “We believe that jazz and its essence are deeply rooted in the city’s collective consciousness,” says Gleniece Robinson, library director,“and that the music, its composers, and performers have contributed significantly to the diverse and thriving communities and cultural institutions that exist throughout Fort Worth today.” Parking for the May 7 program will be available at the Third Street Parking Garage, at Third at Taylor steets. The first two-and-a-half hours of parking are free with library validation. FWC

22

Fort Worth Culture / Spring 09

art Fort Worth Art Commission

Landmark policies for landmark artistry
By Betty Dillard

Q&A with Kirk Millican Chair, Fort Worth Art Commission

In 2001, the city of Fort Worth took landmark action to set aside 2 percent of capital construction costs for the creation of public art. The ordinance also established the Fort Worth Art Commission Program, which is governed by nine community members appointed by the mayor. In August 2002, the city selected the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County to manage the program. Award-winning architect Kirk Millican chairs the program. As senior vice president and principal of HOK Architects, Millican oversees commercial, transportation, urban design and public and institutional projects. He served as the local coordinator for “Save Outdoor Sculpture!” a program funded by the National Museum of American Art and the Smithsonian Institution, which surveyed all publicly accessible outdoor sculpture in Tarrant County. And here and now, Millican, who has collaborated with artists on numerous projects incorporating art into the architecture, shares his thoughts on public art with the Business Press’ Betty Dillard. What is public art? Public art is work sited in a publicly accessible or visible location. Public art is usually the result of a process that involves some measure of community involvement and often is developed in collaboration with other design professionals. It may take many forms: outdoor sculpture and murals, artist design functional pieces (street furniture, light poles, etc.), works that are integrated into architecture (art glass windows) as well as earthworks, water features, etc. The City of Fort Worth defines public art as having been designed or produced by a professional artist, and the art resides in the city’s public art collection. How does public art serve Fort Worth and what is its impact on the local economy? • Public art enhances our visual environment. • Public art celebrates the history and diversity of our community. • Public art involves artists in the development of our infrastructure. • Public art promotes tourism and economic vitality. There has not been an economic impact study conducted on the Fort Worth Public Art program; however, artists commissioned to create public art for Fort Worth

may employ local structural engineers, lighting consultants, fabricators, installers and assistants, which creates jobs. Recently, during the installation of two sculptures on Lancaster Avenue, the public art director counted no less than 12 workers on site. They also purchase materials. Beyond the direct economic impact, it is safe to say that cities with public art attract corporations seeking to relocate to cities that offer a quality of life that cultural amenities bring. Many visitors to Fort Worth come specifically to visit the museums and other cultural events, and our growing public art collection is sure to bring visitors to our city. The installation of Cliff Garten’s “Avenue of Light” along Lancaster Avenue is in progress — and it is stunning. What are some other current public art projects and conservation projects around the city? Parking in Color by Christopher Janney (PhenomenArts Inc.) is currently being installed at the new Fort Worth Convention Center Parking Garage, which includes the Sound Environments of Fort Worth — an interactive soundscape in the elevators and elevator towers, as well as the Fin Sculpture, which consists of five colored-glass banners hung perpendicularly from the Throckmorton Street façade, which will cast color shadows on the façade. Earth Fountain by Philippe Klinefelter will be installed on Camp Bowie Boulevard (between Eldridge Street and Byers Avenue) in April. This nine-foot-diameter Texas red granite sphere will include a water feature and a carved topographic map of Fort Worth. Most recently, Fort Worth artist Alice Bateman completed her installation at the Chuck Silcox Animal Center. Other projects are under way at newly planned fire stations and branch libraries. What does the future hold for public art in Fort Worth? The recently approved 2008 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) was the second bond package to include 2 percent for public art. It will generate many more public art projects on streets and bridges over the next few years. City Council is encouraging our program to seek out partnerships with the private sector to augment public art budgets.

Spring 09 / Fort Worth Culture

23

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.