[JOURNAL] America: Now and Here

On Thursday October 21, upon receiving an invitation from Student Advocates for the Arts’ President Priya Sircar, I attended a presentation about a new program called America: Now and Here. Director Dorothy Dunn made an incredibly exciting presentation about this program that aims to take a traveling multi-disciplinary exhibition across the nation that will “launch a national dialogue about America through art, to spark local activities and fuel imaginations, and generate innovation from coast to coast.”

Founder, President and Lead Curator Eric Fischl collected 150 of the country’s most celebrated artists and peers (visual artists, poets, filmmakers, playwrights and musicians) to submit a work of art reflecting their points of view and hopes for America. You can view a lot of the submissions on the project’s website.

WHERE IS DANCE? Ok, so clearly this was my biggest question and it really made me think about our field as a whole and our relationship to other disciplines. I thought it was tragic that we had been left out of this incredible project and it really drove home the fact that dance is getting left out on the largest scale possible. As I spoke with Dorothy about this concern, she gave me an honest reply saying that there was no good explanation and that they were indeed trying to remedy this before the project launched.  She said that Eric Fischl (Founder and Lead Curator) didn’t have dance artists within his peer group and that is why dance was left out. I was thinking ok, so Eric didn’t have any close dance peers, but how could dance be overlooked completely!

So, how do we fix this? Is this an indication the wider problems within our field — that we lack collaboration with other mediums? Are we insular? Does it have to do with reduced funding for our medium? That our work cannot be shared with enough people? Do we produce intangible works of art that are not available to purchase as a commodity? Share your thoughts!

Other interesting questions that people brought up…

Looking at the list of artists involved and the work that was produced for the exhibition – is this project alienating to immigrant communities?

How does a younger generation of artists get involved? http://americanowandhere.org/participate#artistcorps_about

Are there opportunities for local artists to contribute their work when the exhibition is traveling within their region?

Thank you to SAA, Joan Jeffri of Columbia University’s Arts Administration Program, ELNYA and the Arts & Business Council of New York for inviting Ms. Dunn to speak.

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