FROM TC: I'm taking Friday off. You've Cott Mail will return next week.


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At Yale, $18 million for play development believed to be largest US gift of its kind

Frank Rizzo, The Hartford Courant, 4/25/12

Yale Repertory Theatre/Yale School of Drama will receive the largest gift in its history -- $18 million from the Robina Foundation -- to permanently endow and continue the Yale Center for New Theatre in New Haven, which supports the commissioning, development and production of new plays and musicals. It is believed to be the largest single gift ever in the U.S. to nurture new plays and musicals. Robina, a Minnesota-based private grant-making foundation, gave a $2.85 million grant in 2008 to establish Yale's center for new works and launch its activities. It also gave $950,000 in 2010 to further support the center through June 2012. The center has been renamed the Binger Center for New Theatre in honor of James H. Binger, who died in 2004, a noted businessman, Jujamcyn theater impresario, and philanthropist and creator of the Robina Foundation. Robina board member Peter Karoff says the foundation had an association with Yale and was seeking "innovative and transformative projects." The center, which is overseen by the Rep's artistic director, James Bundy, and associate artistic director, Jennifer Kiger, also supports Yale-commissioned works at theaters other than the Rep. The grant and its endowment will support the program in perpetuity, says Bundy, dean of the Yale School of Drama. It has already made 35 commissions over the past three years. Bundy says the center does not ask for traditional royalty participation for future life of the works when they go to other not-for-profit theaters. "We don't want to encumber the plays for future productions. We want them to have a full life in the not-for-profit world."


Commentary: Pros & cons for choreographers working in university environments

Nancy Wozny, Dance/USA's e-journal "From The Green Room", 4/24/12

It's been said that the university ranks as one of the chief supporters of the arts in the United States. With the migration of more and more working choreographers into university environments, it's clear that artists are able to continue to create both inside and outside of these institutions. While the halls of academia offer some distinct advantages, most particularly to oft-itinerant and nearly always-struggling dance artists, other challenges and demands can sap their time and energy in their new environment. For this special Dance/USA report, I spoke with six choreographers navigating the academic terrain about both the rewards and sacrifices they face in giving up some independence for the Ivy Tower.

            [FROM TC: Here's an excerpt from the first interview in Wozny's report:]

Joe Goode joined the academic life in 2001 at 50, well after his company, Joe Goode Performance Group, established itself as a leading force in West Coast dance. He came on board as a full professor [at UC Berkeley] with tenure and a one semester teaching commitment. University culture does take time [with a] multitude of administrative activities and meetings that come with academic life. "There was definitely a learning curve. How do I do this and not be drained?" Goode wondered. "I may have turned that corner but it was a slow learning curve and I am still learning. I find that I have to allocate time in the day where I do nothing but clean up administrative tasks," says Goode. "That means setting aside all personal or company business and just concentrating on UC items. If I do this religiously then I can stay ahead." Seems like a simple thing, but for an artist who works in a free flowing organic environment, this was a new way of thinking. The fall-only teaching schedule allows him to tour with his company in the spring and summer. [In] the spring his company is in residence at the University, which allows him the luxury to develop work in a well-equipped theater [and] students get real dance world experience. Over time, more connections between university and company life have emerged, often forged during this residency period. Students have understudied and apprenticed, and his lighting designer is a UC Berkeley grad. The faculty post has also offered some financial security. Goode owns a home, has a 401k and health insurance. He adds, "I've been able to do things I would not be able to do without it." Goode credits the college dance program's progressive approach to his double life success. "It's a young program and not entrenched in the past."


In Cincinnati, opera pros and students combine forces to develop new work, 4/3/12

Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) Opera program are [now accepting] applications for two "Opera Fusion: New Works" workshops to be held October 18-28 and November 5-15, 2012. The program, designed to foster the development of new American operas, is made possible by a three-year, $300,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Now in its second year, Opera Fusion: New Works offers composers or composer/librettist teams the opportunity to workshop an opera during a 10-day residency. The program is hosted jointly by Cincinnati Opera and CCM Opera, making use of both organizations' talent, personnel, and facilities. The chosen composer or composer/librettist team, who will be selected through a national application process, will receive an honorarium, round-trip transportation, and accommodations for the duration of the workshop. In 2011, Opera Fusion: New Works awarded its first workshop to composer Douglas J. Cuomo and librettist John Patrick Shanley [for] their new opera, Doubt, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Shanley. Applications for the 2012 workshops are due May 18.


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Two of 3 winners in national Arts Journalism Challenge have university affiliations

Knight Foundation's KnightArts website, 4/19/12

New models designed to strengthen local arts coverage will soon launch with funding through the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge, which sought innovative ideas for informing and engaging people in the arts. The  winners will each receive up to $80,000 to launch their ideas.

[FROM TC: Two of the three winning projects are built on collaborations between professional journalism outlets and local universities:]

Art Attack, Philadelphia, PA, will increase arts coverage in the Philadelphia Daily News by publishing coverage produced by staff, students, faculty, and journalists affiliated with Drexel University. The university already publishes high-quality reports through two websites: Cultural Passport and The Smart Set. Art Attack will emphasize quality, critical writing, and "think pieces," giving readers a better understanding of the arts in the city. In addition, courses in arts journalism will be offered at Drexel University by critics-in-residence throughout the academic year.

Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance, Charlotte, NC, is a collaboration with the University of North Carolina and five major media players: the daily newspaper The Charlotte Observer; commercial station WCNC-TV; public radio station WFAE; African-American interest website QcityMetro; and online civic and cultural magazine Charlotte Viewpoint. Within its first year, CAJA will provide specialized training for aspiring citizen journalists under the guidance of the university, and develop an app that will highlight CAJA's work and solicit reader interaction.

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