Kicking it off in New York City
January 8, 2010
New York, NY
In his remarks opening the plenary session of the 2010 Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference, Chairman Rocco Landesman focused on conference theme of "Risk. Opportunity. Now." Afterwards, he was joined by MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Award-winner Elizabeth Streb, conductor Alondra de la Parra, and DJ Spooky, among others, in a wide-ranging discussion. The speech and discussion drew heavy traffic on Twitter at #APAP2010.
Here's a part of what he had to say:
"...our present circumstances in the arts are probably riskier than
they have ever been ? traditional audiences for traditional art forms
are shrinking, financial support from every quarter is contracting,
and as organizations and institutions are forced to layoff staff, the
already thin ecology that supports the arts in this country is
stretched even closer to the breaking point.
"The rational and perfectly appropriate response to bad news is discouragement.
"But I, for one, have never been accused of being either rational or
perfectly appropriate?and very few of you have been, either.
"What is our response to the present risks and opportunities? It is
the irrational and inappropriate one: optimism.
"Optimism is what caused Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and Lillie Bliss to
found The Museum of Modern Art in 1929 at the depth of the great
depression. It is what caused Alanna Heiss to found the PS 1 Center
for Contemporary Art in Long Island City in 1976, as New York City
teetered literally on the brink of bankruptcy. And it is why all of
you are here, looking for new work to present, despite everything you
"Although January 20, 2009 now seems like a very long time ago, it was
the hope and optimism of our president that made me so excited to sign
on as a part of this administration.
"It may be unrealistic, misguided, maybe even irrational, but it is
vital. It is hardwired into our DNA. Every day we make decisions
because we assume ? often foolishly and mistakenly ? a positive
So that we can highlight the fruits of this optimism, please share your stories on the arts and revitalization here on the Art Works blog. Comment or send an email so we can share how *art works* in your community.