Connecting California, Headline »

The Next Great California Bridge Should Span the High Desert

By | July 10, 2017

What’s the fastest way to change California?
Assuming you don’t have the power to set off a major earthquake, your best bet would be to connect the two small desert cities of Palmdale and Victorville.
These two working-class places aren’t often associated with political power; but building world-class infrastructure to bridge the 50 miles between the two cities might be the most powerful current idea in …

Headline, Poetry »

the meadow (that swallowed feet/ & hands) has stilled itself #poem

By | July 7, 2017

Ahwahnee means deep grassy valley & I’d heard
that, just over one hundred years before this one,
miners had pushed the Miwok down into the tall
reeds. Today, the meadow (that swallowed feet
& hands) has stilled itself near a row of dry riparian
arrows aimed up
from that once green bed that eroded the edge
of the baseball diamond & rusted legs of monkey bars.
I drive past what …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

Was Wounded Knee a Battle for Religious Freedom?

By | July 6, 2017

The Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 appears in many history textbooks as the “end of the Indian Wars” and a signal moment in the closing of the Western frontier. The atrocity had many causes, but its immediate one was the U.S. government’s effort to ban a religion: the Ghost Dance, a new Indian faith that had swept Western reservations over the previous year.
The history …

Headline, Nexus »

Why Arts Organizations Need to Teach Their Audiences Self-Defense

By | July 5, 2017

The engagement that arts institutions need most right now is about their own survival.
I’m glad to see that the many worthy examples of how arts organizations engage the public are receiving attention. But at this very difficult moment, we need to pay even more attention to a straightforward assault on the arts at the federal level, which is in turn an attack on the arts …

Connecting California, Headline »

California, Let’s Celebrate July 4 by Declaring Independence

By | July 3, 2017

Dear America,
I suppose I should wish you happy birthday. But I’m just not feeling it.
You and I, the United States and California, used to be pretty darn close—“indivisible” was your word and “inseparable” was mine. Sure, we had our differences—I’ve always been a little out there—but the differences were what made us a successful partnership.
America wouldn’t be America without California, and California was proudly …

Headline, Poetry »

sip water and listen #poem

By | June 30, 2017

Amy Katherine Cannon is a writer and writing teacher living in Los Angeles. She is the author of the mini-chapbook to make a desert (Platypus Press, 2016) and her work can be found in Juked, BOAAT, and LIT, among other places.

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

How Charleston Celebrated Its Last July 4 Before the Civil War

By | June 29, 2017

In the cooling evening air, Charleston, South Carolina’s notable citizens filed into Hibernian Hall on Meeting Street for the traditional banquet to close their July 4th festivities. The year was 1860, and the host, as always, was the ’76 Association, a society formed by elite Charlestonians in 1810 to pay homage to the Declaration of Independence.
The guest of honor was one of the city’s …

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 …