Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A bump in the week & Dana Gioia's NEA

While my week has not exactly been zipping by, I always view Wednesdays are a sort of speed bump in the week. Maybe on weeks like this one, it is more like reaching the crest of a giant hill and knowing the rest is all down hill. Anyway, Wednesday constitutes that great divide between the start of the work week and the end of same. It's not quite Hazzah... but perhaps acceptable to exert a small sigh.

Thanks to Jilly the source for Free dreams, fond bores or why you should always read poetry twice (I say three times).

After Senate all-nighter, war vote at hand today, but it is expected fall short of the 60 votes that are needed. It's anticipated that only three Republicans, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon are likely to vote with Democrats calling for this change in war policy. Even Republican Sen. Richard Luger and Republican Sen. Pete Domenici, who have indicated to the press in recent times they are breaking with the President on the war, are not likely to to exhibit the courage to abandon the Republican party line on this vote.

A literary forum run by poet Lu Yang has been blocked by the Chinese government - See Reporters Without Boarders.

Last night I attended a reception at the new Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City for NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. The invitation only event was nicely attended. The intent I suppose was two-fold. To get local art enthusiasts inside the newly opened building and showcase it, as well as to partner withe the NEA and it's mission to encourage and broaden support for the arts.

Couple of personal observations...
  • The building which as been criticized by some in the neighboring community needs to be seen in the context of what the architecture offers on the inside. The external structure has a functional purpose that needs to be considered.
  • Although the NEA is funded by the government - putting Laura Bush on the cover of the NEA Vol 3 - 2007 publication is not in my mind a good marketing strategy.
  • Dana Gioia is an interesting individual. I have often been captivated by the unusual nature of his assent in the arts as it is definitely unorthodox. I've not always been convinced that his approach is the best, but I was impressed in his brief remarks that the NEA's mission was a valuable one and that it needed to reflect the pluralism of American culture today. While this is an expansive mission statement, and intelligent people may disagree on how you achieve such a mission, it is in the end, the right mission for the arts community to embrace.
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