A major redesign is in the works for Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, which is gearing up for what its president says will be the largest fundraising campaign in its history to pay for an expansion of its south campus and renovations to its distinctive, elongated main campus set into a hillside about five miles to the north.
Art Center, often ranked among the nation’s top design schools, announced Tuesday that it has spent $7 million to buy a former U.S. Postal Service mail distribution center next to its existing satellite campus in south Pasadena, and has hired the Los Angeles firm Michael Maltzan Architecture to do master planning and design work.
Plácido Domingo is in New York this week to perform in the Metropolitan Opera's production of "The Enchanted Island." On Wednesday, the Spanish tenor took time out of his schedule to travel 40 blocks south where he conducted a youth concert of students who are participating in a music program inspired by Venezuela's El Sistema.
The Harmony Program offers free after-school music education to disadvantaged children throughout New York. The program is modeled after El Sistema, the Venezuelan music-education initiative whose most famous alumnus is conductor Gustavo Dudamel.
On Wednesday, Domingo conducted a concert of 35 students from Public School 129 in Harlem and P.S. 152 in Flatbush. The concert, which took place at Gotham Hall in midtown New York, was part of the Harmony Program's annual gala to raise money. Domingo received the inaugural Harmony Program Award in recognition of his career.
Programs similar in nature to El Sistema can be found in growing numbers around the country. In L.A., the Harmony Project, founded in 2001, provides classical music education for low-income children. The organization is one of the partners involved in the Los Angeles Philharmonic's YOLA Expo Center Youth Orchestra.
Domingo will return to L.A. to perform the title role in Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra," which begins performances Feb. 11.
-- David Ng
Photo: Placido Domingo, with young musicians from New York's Harmony Program. Credit: Kathy Willens / Associated Press
Corporate philanthropy meets mid-season ratings grab in a new musical-theater initiative from NBC that will target 20 underserved schools around the country. The program, which was announced Friday, coincides with the Feb. 6 debut of NBC's series "Smash," about the making of a Broadway musical.
NBC said it will work with 20 schools across the country to stage their own musical productions and implement self-sustaining theater programs. The initiative, which is being branded as "Smash: Make a Musical," is a partnership with iTheatrics, a New York organization that promotes musical theater for students of all ages.
The network said the 20 programs launching this month will be in cities including Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Ore., Seattle and St. Louis. (The names of the schools will be announced later this month.) Schools can apply to be part of the initiative's second round, which is scheduled for the fall. Applications are due by March 2.
"Smash" takes place in the competitive world of Broadway and follows the making of a new musical on the life of Marilyn Monroe. The series stars Debra Messing, Anjelica Huston and "American Idol" alumna Katharine McPhee. Playwright Theresa Rebeck serves as creator, writer and executive producer for the show, and Broadway veteran Marc Shaiman has written the original music.
NBC's initiative is similar in spirit to the education program already launched by Fox that is tied to its hit series "Glee." Fox's program, which is called "Glee: Give a Note," raises money to be donated to music programs in underserved schools throughout the country. The "Glee" initiative is a partnership with the National Assn. for Music Education.
-- David Ng
Photo: A scene from the upcoming NBC series "Smash," with Christian Borle, Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston. Credit: Will Hart / NBC Universal
Chouinard Art Institute has come to life for the third time in 90 years -- this time on the Web, where the high overhead costs that eventually sank the original, highly influential school in 1972 and blunted an attempted revival during the 2000s no longer will be a factor.
The Chouinard Foundation website is devoted to telling the story and documenting the influence of the art college (pictured) that a war widow named Nelbert Murphy Chouinard (pronounced shuh-nard) launched near downtown L.A. in 1921, continuing for more than 50 years until it was contentiously consumed in the creation of CalArts.
The Chouinard alumni roster includes Robert Irwin, Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, Allen Ruppersberg, Hollywood costume designer Edith Head, graphic artist John Van Hamersveld (designer of “The Endless Summer” film poster and the Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” and the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” album covers) and the "Nine Old Men," the crew of animators who played vital roles in the triumph of Walt Disney.
The site offers videos, news articles and historical background on Chouinard’s initial run and the activities of the Chouinard Foundation, which began improbably in 1999 after Dave Tourje, an artist, guitarist and construction company owner, bought Nelbert Chouinard’s 1907 home in South Pasadena as a fixer-upper without knowing much about her, then became enthralled with the notion of restoring her legacy along with her former domicile.
Having been given a prized collection of contemporary American art earlier this year, Stanford University on Wednesday announced plans for a new $30.5-million museum to house it.
New York-based Ennead Architects will design a 30,000-square-foot building devoted to the Anderson Collection –- 121 works by 86 artists collected by a Bay Area family (pictured), including Jackson Pollock’s 1947 “Lucifer,” Willem de Kooning’s mid-1950s “Woman Standing – Pink,” and pieces by Ellsworth Kelly, Mark Rothko and Franz Kline, among others. Plans call for a late 2014 opening.
Harry and Mary Margaret Anderson began collecting art in the mid-1960s, fueled by earnings from Saga Foods, which ran university cafeteria operations across North America until Marriott bought the company for $700 million in 1986.
Ennead (which changed its name from Polshek Partnership in 2010) also is the architect for Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall, an 844-seat, $112-million venue with acoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota (Walt Disney Concert Hall, Soka Performing Arts Center), that’s under construction and scheduled to open in 2013; the firm's past projects include the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and Bill Clinton’s presidential library in Little Rock, Ark.
Stanford’s arts-building boom also includes the $85-million Burton and Deedee McMurtry Building, being designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro as the new home of the university’s art and art history department. Plans call for a late-2015 completion. The namesakes donated $30 million toward construction.
Designs for the museum and the art department building are expected to be reviewed in April by university trustees.
The Anderson Collection will augment the existing university art museum, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, whose checkered history dates back to 1894, and includes massive damage from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the 1989 Loma Prieta quake. It was closed 10 years for rebuilding, reopening in 1999.
-- Mike Boehm
Photo: Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson and their daughter Mary Patricia Anderson Pence, standing in front of Franz Kline's "Figure 8" (1952) and Mark Rothko's "Pink and White over Red" (1957). Both works are part of the family's gift to Stanford. Credit: Linda Cicero / Stanford University
On hold: Trey Parker, one of the creators of "The Book of Mormon," said there were no immediate plans to turn the hit Broadway musical into a movie. (Hollywood Reporter)
Canceled: A Pennsylvania school district has decided not to stage the 1953 musical "Kismet" about a Muslim street poet after community complaints. (Associated Press)
New leader: The downtown L.A. arts high school has found a new principal. (Los Angeles Times)
Saved, for now: The financially imperiled American Folk Art Museum in New York has decided to continue operating at its current location at Lincoln Square with help from trustees and the Ford Foundation. (New York Times)
Missing masterpiece: Police in Houston are looking for a Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting believed stolen from a local home. (Houston Chronicle)
Scholarly trove: Photographer Elliott Erwitt's archive is being housed at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin for the next five years. (Associated Press)
Commission: Architect Zaha Hadid's firm has won a bid to design a new $12.5-million Miami Beach municipal parking garage. (Miami Herald)
Apply within: The Grand Rapids ArtPrize is expanding its competitive field to include composers. (Detroit Free Press)
Decline: Cultural participation by Californians continues to drop, though less so than at the national level. (Los Angeles Times)
Remembrance: A memorial service for the late artist Cy Twombly was held this week at New York's Museum of Modern Art. (Art Info)
Step right up: The National Pinball Museum is scheduled to open this fall in Baltimore. (Reuters)
Vanished: A popular rooster sculpture has been stolen from Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. (Miami Herald)
Also in the L.A. Times: Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne on the cityscapes in the new movie "Drive."
-- David Ng
Photo: Audiences outside New York's Eugene O'Neill Theatre, home to "The Book of Mormon." Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times
Shifra Goldman, an art historian who from the 1960s forward was an outspoken advocate of Latino art and artists, has died. The daughter of Russian-Jewish immigrants had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease leading up to her death on Sunday at 85.
“To say that Tamayo is not as good as Picasso, that’s Eurocentrism,” the longtime Santa Ana College professor told The Times in 1994, when she curated a survey show on 20th Century Mexican art at the Bowers Museum. “We have to combat the stereotypical notions that all art south of the Rio Grande is somehow exotic or folkloric, colorful and strident.”
In 1995, the University of Chicago Press published a collection of 20 years of Goldman’s essays, “Dimensions of the Americas: Art and Social Change in Latin America and the United States.”
A full obituary will appear soon.
-- Mike Boehm
Photo: Shifra Goldman in 1995. Credit: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times
The California Institute of the Arts has been named the best school for arts-minded students in a new national ranking from Newsweek.
The recently released ranking, one of 25 that Newsweek has published covering various areas, puts CalArts on the top of the pile for creative students, beating out a number of other presitigious institutions. The ranking isn't for the country's best art schools, but rather for "campuses that offer an exceptional artistic atmosphere" -- a rather vague and subjective standard that the publication said it measured using data from different sources.
Located in Valencia, about 30 miles north of Los Angeles, CalArts offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in various artistic fields. Prominent former students include Tim Burton, Don Cheadle, Sam Durant, Ed Harris, Catherine Opie and Julie Taymor.
CalArts was followed in the ranking by Emerson College, Berklee College of Music, New York University and Mannes College in New York.
-- David Ng
Photo: CalArts in Valencia. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times
The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced $40 million in grants, including $3.2 million for scholars, museums and documentary filmmakers in California.
Like its sister agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, the NEH saw its current-year budget slashed 7.5% in April, down to $155 million, and its future prospects are iffy given the deficit-cutting mood in Washington. For now, there’s still money to go around.
L.A.’s Grammy Museum will get $550,000 to help produce “Rockin’ the Kremlin,” a film by director Jim Brown about the role American rock music played in weakening the Soviet empire. A UPI.com report last year on plans for the film said it includes an account of a 1977 Soviet tour by the Southern California-based Nitty Gritty Dirt Band that was said to play a part in capturing young Slavic imaginations, presumably helping to awaken them to the drawbacks of totalitarian rule. Brown’s past films include documentaries about Woody Guthrie, the Weavers, Peter Paul and Mary and a PBS series, “American Roots Music.”
Another $550,000 goes to the L.A.- and Berkeley-based documentary producer the Katahdin Foundation for “Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning.” A description on the Katahdin website says the biography of the photographer (pictured above), who is famed for documenting the Great Depression and the forced internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, is being directed by Lange’s granddaughter, Dyanna Taylor. Katahdin won a second grant, $75,000, for “Geographies of Kinship: The Korean Adoption Story.”
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will receive $300,000 for its 2012 exhibition “Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico,” scheduled to open April 1 at the Resnick Pavilion. The grant will help fund the exhibition catalog, preparations for a subsequent tour, and public programs connected with the show.
UCLA landed three grants totaling $435,000, including $137,000 for a five-week seminar for college teachers on “the life, work and cultural milieu of Oscar Wilde” and $248,000 for a digital project that will investigate how recent mapping technologies such as GIS can be deployed in humanities research and teaching.
As the governor of Kansas eliminates his state's government arts agency, America’s top arts-support organization has tapped a government arts initiative by Los Angeles County for its annual award for excellence in arts education.
Arts for All, a project of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, is due to receive a plaque Thursday from Americans for the Arts at the national group's annual convention in San Diego. Launched in 2002, Arts for All has served as a kind of think tank and limited grant maker, whose mission is to help the county’s school districts devise and implement coherent plans for teaching the arts to public school students.
“Particularly at a time when school districts face dire fiscal circumstances, Arts for All’s steady commitment has kept arts education at the forefront of school and community leaders’ consciousness,” said Robert Lynch, president of Americans for the Arts.