Previews of Next Week and a Mideast Trip
We continue to receive many wonderful comments and responses to specific stories and to the entire Art Beat effort. But the news is not always good. This week the Seattle Times’ Sheila Farr sent me a link to her final story as art critic for the newspaper. After eight years of covering the arts, “a period of amazing growth” for the city’s cultural scene, she’s lost her job amid cutbacks at the paper. Unfortunately, this is now a familiar story in the newspaper business, to the detriment of local arts institutions and their audiences.
Indeed, the news for many cultural organizations is not good these days as the economic downturn deepens. We’ll have a discussion on that subject on the NewsHour tonight and more on our site. On a more positive note, we had a recent feature on the Harlem Quartet and its effort to reach new audiences with classical music. And our conversation with Peter Matthiessen — novelist, journalist, naturalist, adventurer — drew a great response, as well he deserves.
Next week we’ll have a poem from Elizabeth Alexander, the poet chosen to read at the inauguration. A conversation I recorded with her recently will be on the NewsHour and online in the coming days. Art Beat will also have stories next week on painter Elizabeth Peyton, an exhibition of contemporary art in Iran and my conversation with sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.
A program note: A number of people have written in support of a ‘book club’ or ‘author of the month’ feature — something I raised on the NewsHour on Art Beat’s opening day. We like the idea ourselves and are working on the logistics and timing. We should have more to say later this month.
And a personal note: At the end of next week I begin a trip to three countries in the Mideast: Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait. I’ll be talking to artists, musicians, actors and writers for a series of stories set to air during the Arabesque Arts Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington in late February and early March. We’re visiting some of the artists ahead of time, to profile them in their home countries. Of course, with the news out of Gaza, the trip has suddenly taken on a different cast, and we’re working on news updates from the region while we’re there. I’ll be posting here in Art Beat as often as I can during the trip. Please follow along.
As always, thanks for watching the NewsHour and joining us at Art Beat.