Wednesday’s Art Notes

BY Arts Desk  January 20, 2010 at 12:18 AM EST

Workers pour molten bronze into an 'Actor' statuette mold at the American Fine Arts Foundry in Burbank, California. Photo by Robyn Beck/ AFP/ Getty Images

Workers pour molten bronze into an ‘Actor’ statuette mold at the American Fine Arts Foundry in Burbank, California. The statuettes will be presented to winners at the 16th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 23. Photo by Robyn Beck/ AFP/ Getty Images

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Americans for the Arts released a major new study today on the vitality of, well, the arts in America. Using a new index to measure the health of the industry, the organization found that despite growth in the number of arts organizations and businesses over 10 years, the funding for those projects have not kept pace.

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Writer Robert B. Parker has died at age 77. Author of more than 60 books, his most popular work was a series of detective novels that centered around a Korean War vet named Spenser.

And Erich Segal, a classics scholar and writer whose credits included The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” movie and both the novel and screenplay for “Love Story,” died at age 72 in London.

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Researchers in Britain say, contrary to expectations, that children who text may actually have strong literacy skills, and that “text speak” is a productive form of creative word play.

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After the nation celebrated the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, Dreamworks announced it has hired a screenwriter to write a film based on his life. Ronald Harwood, who adapted “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” for the screen and won an Oscar for penning “The Pianist,” will work on the first feature narrative film to ever be made about the civil rights leader.