Headline, Nexus »

Audience Engagement Is Not Community Engagement. We Need More of the Latter.

By | June 28, 2017

Engagement is an important word in the nonprofit arts industry, often paired (at a minimum) with arts, audience, and community. Over the last decade, “engagement” has very nearly become worn out. Not too long ago, when “community engagement” was the hot topic in the industry, it was used to mean almost anything anyone thought was a good idea. I once saw an arts organization donate …

Headline, Nexus »

An Arts Experimenter on Why Galleries Should Be Louder, Full of Med Students—and Open All Night

By | June 27, 2017

Experiment—constantly and fearlessly, every single day.
That’s the best advice I can offer from my own career working in museums to connect the arts to different people, communities, disciplines, and places. The art of arts engagement flows from this recognition: Because the arts connect to so many things, artists and arts organizations need to always be trying new things.
I’ve tried everything from giving museum tours in …

Headline, The Takeaway »

Changing Audiences Are Making Creators and Institutions Rethink Art Itself

By | June 26, 2017

If the essence of art is necessarily elusive and hard to define, so too is the essence of arts engagement. As audiences grow more diverse and demanding, and new digital technologies allow anyone to become a content creator with the click of a button, arts engagement now embraces a wide array of strategies, methods and goals.
On June 25 in downtown Los Angeles, more than 200 …

Headline, Poetry »

Inside, America was throbbing #poem

By | June 23, 2017

He lived in a city that doesn’t exist. Substantive trash—tractor tires, the skeleton of a yesteryear truck—was planted in the frontyards, and he liked it. The sci-fi-green plastic cups that came free with the copyrighted 1,000-calorie alcoholic drink enjoyed by visiting conference-goers and bachelor party attendees traced arcs on pavement 20 miles from place of sale. A subtle bar buzzed at the end of every …

Headline, Inquiry »

The Arts Don’t Need New Audiences, They Need Communities.

By | June 22, 2017

This is a Zócalo Inquiry on arts engagement, produced with support from The James Irvine Foundation.

Headline, Nexus »

Why Marijuana Needs Middlemen to Reach the Mainstream Market

By | June 21, 2017

California’s marijuana industry will soon begin its transition from an illicit ecosystem fraught with guns, cash, and cartels into a regulated economic juggernaut.
The stakes of getting it right are high. Not only will the industry produce an expected $1 billion in annual tax dollars for youth drug prevention, restoration of the environment, and enforcement against the black market, but legal marijuana will influence the …

Headline, Nexus »

Why We’ll Always Have (the) Paris (Accord)

By | June 20, 2017

The United States is out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Trump administration says we will burn coal and fossil fuels if we like, and no one will tell us otherwise.
The United States, we are told, will have a burst of economic growth, now that it is unshackled from an agreement that required (suggested is more accurate) our nation to do …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

Why San Diego and The Donald Are On a Collision Course

By | June 19, 2017

If you wish to inspect the frontlines of the conflict between Donald Trump and California, head for San Diego.
Yes, it’s true that the Golden State’s fight against the president has so far taken place in the courts and in cyberspace. And, sure, challenging The Donald’s legitimacy is not a mere local pastime but an all-consuming statewide prizefight. But as a matter of geography, culture and …

Headline, The Takeaway »

Yes, Classroom Tech Can Tackle Inequality—but Change Takes Politics and Patience

By | June 16, 2017

Even as digital technology has grown exponentially more sophisticated, accessible, and integral to our lives, social inequality has cast a deeper shadow across the United States in recent decades. Simultaneously, getting a quality education has become ever more essential for individual success and fulfillment.
The question of whether tech-enhanced education can help break down—or perhaps even erase—growing social divisions confronted a panel of educators brought together …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

The North Carolina Trucker Who Brought the World to America in a Box

By | June 15, 2017

On April 26, 1956, a crane lifted 58 aluminum truck bodies onto the deck of an aging tanker ship moored in Newark, New Jersey. Five days later, the Ideal-X sailed into Houston, Texas, where waiting trucks collected the containers for delivery to local factories and warehouses. From that modest beginning, the shipping container would become such a familiar part of the landscape that Americans would …