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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: tenth anniversary issue

[Unfulfilled opportunities in the arts: a symposium],   pp. [7]-24 PDF (17.0 MB)

Page 19

entirely. Arts organizations should work
closely with educational television stations
to provide material for programs and to
coordinate the schedules of local arts
institutions for a series of productions.
They may also raise special funds to hire
an arts consultant in television programming
to aid the local educational station.
Urban Design
Modern technology has made it
theoretically possible to recreate our
cities as art forms in themselves. This
cannot be done successfully, however,
without the humanistic values and
aesthetic insights of the artist. Arts
Councils or other arts organizations may
make a significant contribution to the
urban planning process by bringing
together in various combinations city
planners, architects, painters, museum
directors, urban designers, theater
professionals, university professors,
sculptors, public officials, musicians, and
craftsmen to cope with the challenges
inherent in urban life. They could also
encourage the formation of private citizens'
organizations or public art commissions to
assume specific responsibilities in this area.
The Community Arts Council of Vancouver,
British Columbia, has without question
made the most significant contributions in
this field. Over the years, this council has
campaigned vigorously for civic
improvements and in many cases has been
successful in its efforts. Acting as a united
public voice, it dissuaded the city from
turning a defunct golf course located
within the city limits into a mediocre
residential subdivision. It was also
instrumental in persuading authorities to
construct the Queen Elizabeth Theater, one
of the finest public auditoriums in Canada.
The council's Civic Arts Committee often
initiates these excursions into public affairs.
An example of the committee's method,
is worth noting. They obtained a copy of
a film called Magdalen Street - Norwich
that graphically portrayed the efforts of
city planners and architects to rehabilitate
a deteriorating street of small shops in an
English town. The resultant face-lifting
materially increased business in the
street and restored much community
pride. The Vancouver arts council
committee invited members of the city
council to a cocktail party and private
showing of the film. Only one member of
the council appeared, but he was so
impressed by the film and beguiled by the
hospitality that the next day he persuaded
his fellow members in the council to
see a repeat showing of the film.
Authoritative observers in Vancouver
credit this film with providing the
inspiration for some of the major revisions
in the building codes that were later
enacted. The same committee commissioned
the design for a better-looking trash
receptacle in the downtown area and
presented the design to city officials. It
was promptly laid to one side, but at a later
date the officials approved another design.
Much to the delight of the citizens of
Vancouver, the new receptacle was soon
standing on every downtown street corner.
Communication between Universities and
Local Arts Institutions
At present there is little communication
between universities and colleges and
local arts institutions. Yet the growing
involvement of institutions of higher
learning in the arts makes it essential that
a close liaison be established for the
benefit of both sides. A community arts
council is a natural candidate for the role
of establishing such a liaison. Leaders of
the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Fine Arts
Foundation, for example, are working with
arts department chairmen of the University
of Indiana and of Purdue University, both
having branch campuses in Fort Wayne, to
develop a plan whereby faculty members
and professional artists in the community
are used interchangeably to serve both
students and townspeople. Both the
universities and the community will
enjoy higher standards of programs in the
arts than would be possible if each
pursued a separate course. The foundation's
new arts center, designed by Louis Kahn,
will also serve the universities as well as the
Title I of the Higher Education Act
provides funds for universities and colleges
to strengthen their "community service
programs." Using a Title I grant, four
colleges in Maine, working with the Portland
Symphony orchestra, were able to sponsor
regular appearances on their campuses
of the Southwestern Main String Quartet,
organized specifically for this project.

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