Although I think the issue we were talking about yesterday, transparency at the Oregon Symphony, is important, it kept me from other big arts news.
I’m referring to the firing of the executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission, Christine D’Arcy, on Monday. Maybe you already saw the story in the Salem Statesman Journal. Here’s the top of Hannah Hoffman’s story:
The longtime head of the Oregon Arts Commission said she was fired abruptly this week when state officials told her they had a “different vision” for the agency.
“I didn’t resign,” Christine D’Arcy told the Statesman Journal. “I was basically told on Monday that I wasn’t going to be the executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust any longer.”
D’Arcy has presided over the arts commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust, which she helped create, for the past 19 years, and whatever the circumstances and reasons for the firing, she can be proud of her accomplishments. I haven’t followed the arts commission closely enough to know the backstory from anyone’s point of view, though maybe I can catch up (and if not me, then someone else at ArtsWatch!). And by backstory, I don’t necessarily mean the narrative specific to D’Arcy’s dismissal, I mean the context of it: how the arts commission sees its role, how it goes about accomplishing it, how it negotiates the collision of the arts with government.
Back to Carlos! In yesterday’s post, I said I’d left a message on Kalmar’s office phone after co-president Janet Plummer gave me the number and suggested I call him and ask him directly what his new three-year extension involved. I haven’t received a call back, I’m sorry to say, but it’s only been a day, so I’m still hopeful! I have to say that Plummer’s suggestion sounded a little like a set-up, but hey, I’m just skeptical by nature and training.
Why is the symphony so adamant about keeping Kalmar’s salary secret? It could simply be a principle, of course, a bedrock privacy issue. Or perhaps there are other reasons, practical reasons. What purpose does keeping that number a secret serve? Because even principles serve practical purposes, right?
As long as we’re asking “why”…why am I interested in this? Because the symphony is important, and I want it to succeed. I think success for a symphony means having a substantial effect on the community in general and the classical music community specifically. I think the best way to have an effect is to engage your community directly, to be open about both your financial information and your artistic direction, to give your community something it needs. And then receive support in turn. In other orchestras under stress the past few years—Detroit, Philadelphia, now Minnesota—the fight was staff and board against the musicians, by and large. The community was left out of the deliberations. That fracturing is terrible for everyone, and we don’t want it to happen in Portland. I’m also hoping that my fears are overblown, and that this truly is a tempest in a teapot.
****Good grief! Let’s move on to some happier news, yes?
For example, the Washington Post, now in the hands of Amazon’s super rich Jeff Bezos, gave Cappella Romana a happy review of its National Gallery of Art performance!
“The ensemble of seven men and five women was, at its best, singing traditional Byzantine chant. The sound was robust, especially from the men; a full-throated tone that has buzz and resonance, ornamented with the cantillation-like scoops and trills typical of this music.”
Disjecta announced the 15 artists and artist collaboratives selected by LA-based curator Amanda Hunt for its Portland2014: A Biennial of Contemporary Art next year. Here are the artist involved: (if not otherwise noted, all artists are Portland based): Zachary Davis, Modou Dieng & Devon A. VanHouten-Maldonado, Alex Mackin Dolan, Travis Fitzgerald, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Evan La Londe, Ellen Lesperance, D.E. May (Salem), Christopher Michlig & John Zerzan (Eugene), Personal Libraries Library, Publication Studio, Ralph Pugay, Kelly Rauer, Blair Saxon-Hill, Richard Thompson (Dayton). We’ll be talking about this later!
The official opening night for Artists Repertory Theatre’s “Foxfinder” is Saturday night. Director Damaso Rodriguez takes to Vimeo to give you a quick description of what’s in store!