fbpx
June 6, 2020
Home Blog

A List of Arts Resources During the Coronavirus Pandemic

"Moon," Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance. Performed May 2019 at Ground Floor Theatre, Austin. Choreography: Kathy Dunn Hamrick. Production, Lighting Design, Technical, Photography: Stephen Pruitt. Dancers: Jairus Carr, Cara Cook, Veronica DeWitt, Lisa Anne Kobdish, Clay Moore, and Carissa Topham; Music: Line Upon Line Percussion.

The following is list of resources for artists, arts organizations and arts professionals of all disciplines. This list will be updated over the next few months.

Lists of resources | Emergency Funding | Surveys/Quantifying the Economic Impact | Artistic practice during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lists of resources

Emergency Funding

Surveys/Quantifying the Economic Impact

Artistic practice during the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Austin Arts and the Outbreak of COVID-19: A list of cancellations, postponements and closures

SoundSpace at the Blanton Museum of Art
The SoundSpace program at the Blanton Museum of Art

The following is a list of Austin area arts and culture organizations that have closed  as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Updates will be posted as they are received. Email us at

To stay informed and up-to-date on public health announcements and recommendations check the City of Austin COVID-19 information page, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization.

As of 11 a.m. CST March 20:

The Blanton Museum of Art will remain closed until May 5. “We miss seeing our community at the museum, and are working ​on ways to share the riches of our collection and ​exhibitions, our curatorial expertise, and the creativity of our staff with visitors digitally,” said museum director Simone Wicha in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the Blanton in the future, and gathering once again as a community around art.”

Preservation Austin‘s Homes Tour has been rescheduled for September 26.

Art Alliance Austin’s Art City Austin fair has been postponed until the fall.

As of 3 p.m. CST March 18:

All city libraries and cultural centers — including the Elisabet Ney Museum, the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center and the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural & Geneology Center — are closed through March 30.

Texas Folklife is canceling all scheduled live events, performances and gallery operations until further notice. This includes all remaining 2020 Big Squeeze live auditions and concerts. However, the Big Squeeze and other Texas Folklife programs will continue in virtual formats. The Big Squeeze youth accordion contest will accept video entries for any contestants who did not already try out at a live audition. See texasfolklife.org/article/big-squeeze-2020

LOLA (Local Opera, Local Artists) has postponed its March 26 LOLA at 4th Tap concert and its presentation of the new opera, “Good Country.”

As of 2 p.m. CST March 17:

The annual Fusebox Festival is cancelled, and organizers are looking into how the performance festival might be a virtual festival. “We’re still proposing a festival,” said Fusebox executive director Ron Berry. “It will just be a newly imagined festival that exists online in virtual form.”

As of 11:30 a.m. CST March 17:

The Austin Film Society is closing its AFS Cinema until further notice.

The Vortex theater is closed until further notice.

Music collective Density512 is postponing its premiere of the opera “Eva and the Angel of Death” until next season.

Malvern Books is closed until further notice.

As of 9 p.m. CST March 16:

All Alamo Drafthouse locations are closed.

As of 2 p.m. CST March 16:

The March meeting of the city’s Austin Arts Commission is canceled.

Big Medium has canceled all programs until April 15 and closed its gallery and offices. Staff is working from home. Visit bigmedium.org/response for updates on how programs maybe conducted by livestream.

Effective March 16, Mexic-Arte Museum will be temporarily closed to the public and will reopen as circumstances allow.

BookPeople is closed to in-person visits until at least March 29. But the independent bookstore will offer curbside pick-up for anything ordered from the online.

The Austin Dance Festival is canceled.

Theatre en Bloc has canceled its production of “The River of Haircuts” and will present it next season.

The Marfa Invitational Art Fair is postponed until Aug. 13-16.

Golden Hornet will postpone its Young Composers Concert previously scheduled for March 29. Its April 16 MXTX program is canceled.

Penfold Theatre is postponing several productions until this summer, canceling its upcoming production of “The Tempest” but will continue with its summer camps.

As of 8 a.m. CST March 15:

The city of Austin issued an order prohibiting events and other community gatherings of more than 250 people. Mayor Steve Adler made the order effective at 2 a.m. March 15. It will remain in place until May 1, unless it’s revoked earlier. Adler’s order says the city now recommends canceling, postponing or not attending events with more than 125 people.

As of 4 p.m. CST March 15:

All Texas Performing Arts performances will be suspended for the next six weeks, through April 25. Ticketholders will be contacted directly regarding details of cancellations and postponements. “Consistent with so many of our peer organizations, we recognize that it is imperative to encourage social distancing in order slow the spread of coronavirus,” said TPA Executive Director Bob Bursey.

As of 6:35 p.m. CST March 13:

The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum will close effective today and remain closed until further notice.

Zach Theatre has cancelled the remaining weeks of its production of “Every Brilliant Thing” as well as all its youth productions. All classes at its downtown and North campuses are cancelled through March 31.

As of 6 p.m. CST March 13:

From Austin Opera: “Due to the national efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, it seems unlikely that our upcoming productions of Winterreise and Turandot can proceed as planned. We are currently investigating alternative ways to share these productions with you and will announce our plans next week, as well as any accompanying modifications to our ticketing policies.”

Penfold Theater Company cancels its production of “Vincent” at Ground Floor Theatre.

Lora Reynolds Gallery is closed until further notice.

As of 5 p.m. CST March 13:

At Austin Film Society, beginning March 16, AFS Cinema will “limit capacity in its theaters to 50%, to encourage audience members to maintain distance while in the cinema and the lobby,” a statement said. “Several times a day we are cleaning/disinfecting all hand-contact surfaces in guest-accessible areas (armrests, doors handles, counters, railings, faucets). Staff and guests have access to hand sanitizer at all times.”

As of 4 p.m. CST March 13:

The Contemporary Austin will close both of its museum sites for two weeks. All spring break classes scheduled for March 16-20 at the museum’s Art School at Laguna Gloria are canceled. “This is a decision that we take very seriously,” said Margie Rine, Interim Director of The Contemporary Austin. “Experiences with works of art can provide solace and comfort during times of public stress, but the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, and visitors is our highest priority.”

As of 2 p.m. CST March 13:

The Blanton Museum of Art is closed to the public until March 31

As of 10 a.m. CST March 13:

The University of Texas, St. Edward’s University and Austin Community College have closed operations for March 13.

The Harry Ransom Center is closed “to the public for the next two weeks, and will reopen, if the situation allows, on Monday, March 30,” center officials said. The closure includes the center’s galleries and reading room.

Landmarks, UT’s public art program, has suspended all programs through March 30.

As of 8 p.m. CST March 12:

Line Upon Line Percussion has cancelled its March 22 concert featuring the TAK Ensemble.

Density512 will limit its March 15 concert “30 audience members to ensure distance between individuals and will have hand sanitizer for your use,” a statement from the new music ensemble said. Its March 28 concert featuring the Texas tour of Unheard-of//Ensemble has been cancelled.

Mark Smith Gallery in Johnson City is moving its March 14 opening for a solo exhibition by musician Darden Smith online. You can stream the event from 2 to 5 p.m. at facebook.com/dardensmith The gallery will be open at the same time but will be “a virus-avoidant space.”

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum is “still open for normal public hours and we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely,” officials said in a statement. “We are also following CDC-recommended practices of sanitizing frequently touched surfaces multiple times a day.” Updates will be posted at umlaufsculpture.org

As of 3 p.m. CST March 12:

Bass Concert Hall
The University of Texas is postponing all events at Bass Concert Hall through March 30 including the current Broadway in Austin run of Disney’s “Aladdin.” Ticket holders for that show contacted individually as new dates for “Aladdin” are figured out. Updates: texasperformingarts.org

As of 12 noon CST March 12:

Cultural events consideration by city officials:
HonkATX: April 3
Art City Austin: April 17-19
Eyeore’s Birthday: April 25

Blanton Museum of Art
The Blanton has cancelled all programs, tours, performances and talks through April 19 including the March 28 Blanton Block Party. The museum remains open during its regular hours, with CDC-recommended protocols in place. And on March 28 the museum will offer free admission to all visitors, thanks to support from its 2020 Blanton Block Party sponsors. Updates on the the museum’s website.

Vortex Theatre
The Vortex Theatre remains open but issued a statement that is following CDC-recommended protocols and will fully refund or credit any tickets already purchased. vortexrep.org

The Contemporary Austin
As of March 12, the museum has cancelled its March 14 Art-for-All program and issued this statement “While all other museum programs, including school tours and classes at The Art School, are still scheduled to occur as planned, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as other state and federal health agencies, and make necessary adjustments based on changing conditions. Currently, both museum sites remain open during normal hours, which can be found at thecontemporaryaustin.org/visit.”

 

The Arts — and Arts Journalism — in the Time of Coronavirus

As author James Baldwin wrote: “Art would not be important if life were not important, and life is important.”

In difficult times we turn to culture. But what happens when a huge segment of culture is suddenly cut-off from our in-person participation?

It’s a question all artists, arts support staff and arts journalists are now asking.

At Sightlines, our coverage will shift in response to our cultural community with the spread of the coronavirus. We’ll keep you up-to-date on the closures and postponements. And we’ll follow the fallout too.

We’ve got stories in the pipeline, and our writers are brainstorming. We’ll dive into our archive for articles you may have missed — like our artist profiles.

On Facebook and Twitter we’ll be sharing quick things we spot from all over and keep you culturally fed during your social distancing. On Instagram we’ll share images of the work of Austin area artists. Let’s #ArtWhereYouAre — it’s the #BestSeatInTheHouse

Thank you for reading Sightlines.

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Editor

Becoming Freddie Mercury: Home alone during the pandemic, artist Michael Anthony García lets his imagination go to new places

    Michael Anthony García
    Artist Michael Anthony García in his home studio. “People are still trying to process their own emotional states. I've really backed off the production of objects in my space, as I am reevaluating,” he says.

    I caught up with artist Michael Anthony García by phone recently, from his Northeast Austin home and studio about his artistic practice in quarantine, and his thoughts on cultural institutions reopening.

    Beyond being a practicing artist, García is a literacy specialist at Winn Elementary School, a position he’s had since 2001. Right before COVID-19 hit, he celebrated being admitted to the Art Institute of Chicago’s Low-Res MFA program, designed for mid-career artists. However now, he will conduct the first of three summer residences here in Austin instead traveling to Chicago.

    Last fall I spoke with García about  his photographic works that were on exhibit at the Elisabet Ney Museum. He is also known for his sculptural and performative works, often involving fabric.

    Related: “With Layered Photographs, Michael Anthony García Builds Community”

    García has been using the extra time at home to focus less on object-making and more on playing guitar, cleaning out his overflowing studio space and, more recently, resuming production of the podcast he co-hosts, El Puente, one the efforts of PocaMadre Media, a collective that amplifies the artistic out put of people of color LGBTQ community.

    The most recent El Puente episode discusses the Black Lives Matter movement and contains audio from recent protests in downtown Austin.

    “People are still trying to process their own emotional states. I’ve really backed off the production of objects in my space, as I am reevaluating,” García says. “You get to this point where one of the thoughts floating in your head is ‘well, what’s the point of making another object? How is that going to affect any kind of change?’ Especially now with this new extra layer of the Black Lives Matter movement, trying to bring attention to their cause, so it’s a lot to think about.”

    ;

    Reorganizing his home studio forced him to let go of ideas that never materialized, and allowed him the free space to set up a green screen which he will use to produce video performance work. Participating in some online programming during the pandemic also gave him the push to explore video work, he says.

    “I’ve seen a couple exhibitions that people did online and it just has such a cold feel to it and that interface between you and the work is so cold,” García says. “That is one of the reasons I’m also interested in getting more into video because — at least that can be a little more dynamic.”

    At home during the pandemic, García had a chance to revisit making music, something he did more often before diving fully into his other love, visual art. To stave off the boredom early on García made a couple of music videos for songs he had written.

    “For some reason, I’ve just fallen back into music as a comfort. I think part of it is there’s no expectations that I have for myself with it, like I have for my visual art practice,” García says. “I’ve started playing the piano again, guitar, I hadn’t picked up a guitar in years, trying to relearn old songs that I’d written and I wrote some new ones.”

    García lives alone and says one of the hardest parts about quarantine for him has been missing the interactions with his artistic community. He hopes arts audiences will have a newfound appreciation for the intimacy that comes from physically being in an art space when museums reopen.

    “I went for a huge stretch of time where I had not interacted with another human being in person. I was craving that intimate connection,” García says.

    “When I’d go to an art opening, that was my social network. I would have these great conversations with my friends about artwork, have drinks. And that just vanished suddenly.”

    He hasn’t been taking in much online programming though he did attend a couple of artists talks and some Fusebox Festival virtual programming.

    “In some ways, it was a little bit easier because you didn’t have to get up off your couch,” he says.

    As a public school educator, García experienced firsthand how the coronavirus shutdown heightened deeply rooted problems in the educational system.

    “[COVID-19 school closures] really brought to light the inequality,” García says. “We were expecting kids to do things digitally, but a lot of them don’t have computers or WiFi at home, and the school district had to figure out a way to get that to them. Then other kids may have had the technology, but their higher priority was ‘we don’t have food, our parents have lost their jobs’.”

    García found that working from home turned his personal sanctuary into a new existential work space suddenly filled with coworkers.

    It helped to use a Zoom background that allowed García to appear in place of Freddie Mercury on the album cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But still.

    “I’ve always kept my life as a teacher separate from my artistic and personal life. And then all of a sudden, it’s in my home and all the meetings — all the teachers and the principals, everybody, their voices are in my house.”

    He laughs: “It’s very invasive.”

    Michael Anthony Garcia

     

    Yuliya Lanina: Motherhood, mask-wearing and making paintings for frontline healthcare workers

    Yuliya Lanina with her daughters Anya (left) and Katya (right), along with the girls' kitten Coco, a new addition to the family.
    Yuliya Lanina in her studio with her daughters Anya (left) and Katya (center), along with the girls' kitten Coco, a new addition since the family has been staying at home.

    Yuliya Lanina knew something was wrong when all the N95 masks were suddenly out of stock. She needed one badly to touch up one of her sculptures with spray paint in Bee Cave Sculpture Park.

    “That was my first introduction to the pandemic, the hoarding,” she recalls.

    The 46-year-old artist and academic is no stranger to masks. They are an omnipresent theme in her paintings and performances, ranging from playful to macabre to somewhat prescient. Her 2018 multimedia performance piece, “This is a Test of the Internal Emergency Broadcast System,” featured a birdlike costume complete with a 17th-century plague mask.

    “There is a distinct difference between choosing to wear a mask and having to wear a mask,” Lanina tells me.

    She and I are discussing the political implications of covering one’s face, the necessity versus hesitancy in an era that has devolved from pandemic to pandemonium.

    “It hasn’t hit Texas that hard so far, but in a place like New York City, everybody knows somebody who’s gotten really sick or died,” she says. “There, you have no choice but to wear one.”

    Lanina considers herself lucky to be at home in Austin with her family right now. She enjoys going to the park for fresh air when no one else is around, though she has also bought cute cat masks for her twin daughters who also recently got a kitten. The reality, she says, is that no one wants to wear a mask — even if we already have one on.

    Lanina moved to the United States from Russia when she was 16. In the beginning, she very much felt that Americans wore a sort of mask. “Everybody smiles when they don’t need to, they feel forced to not show how they really feel,” she observes.

    Her family settled in Westchester, just north of New York City. Though classically trained in music, Yuliya had no access to instruments, or even other musicians. So she began drawing.

    “Painting and drawing are my foundation, and everything I do starts from there,” she says. “I’m always trying to bring this traditional medium into nontraditional areas, pushing it into other realms such as animation or performance.”

    Related: Studio visit — Yuliya Lanina

    After graduating from SUNY-Purchase, where she studied at the School of Art and Design, Yuliya made her way into New York City, first spending time in the Bronx before moving through Manhattan (she received her MFA at Hunter College) and eventually landing in Brooklyn. For over 15 years, her life as an artist stretched across the city like the subway system itself.

    Now, she’s been in the states exactly three decades, her American experience wrapped wholly around a Russian core. I ask her to describe the culture she came from, what sort of mask might they might wear.

    “Russians are more honest about what’s going on, sometimes too much. If you ask somebody how they’re doing, they’ll tell you everything. Even things you don’t want to know.”

    Lanina's sculpture "Humpty Dumpty" is in the collection of Houston's Redbud Gallery — and now sports a mask.
    Lanina’s sculpture “Humpty Dumpty” is in the collection of Houston’s Redbud Gallery — and now sports a mask.

    Yuliya and her husband, the Moscow-born composer Yevgeniy Sharlat, moved to Austin in 2012 when she was seven months pregnant with their twins. They met, not in Russia, but while attending the artists’ colony Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York, an upstate college town closer to Montreal than Manhattan.

    Both of them teach at the University of Texas (Lanina is an Assistant Professor of Practice at the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies) while maintaining their separate artistic practices and raising their now eight-year-old daughters.

    In fact, Lanina was scheduled to return to Yaddo this summer for another residency, an opportunity now lost. (In a piece of good news for the artistic couple, Sharlat recently won a Guggenheim Fellowship.)

    Since mid-March they have all been isolating at home — a “great problem to have,” according to Lanina. “I get to complain about being with my kids all the time, but there are frontline healthcare workers who are quarantining from their kids right now.”

    Podcasts have become a steady auditory backdrop while staying in place, many of them spotlighting the harsh realities of being on the front line. Lanina started a series of paintings in response to such stories. “The Gift of Life” is made up of 24 paintings featuring masquerading characters that are half human and half colorful beast.

    Each 9” x 12” work is framed and ready to be sent to a frontline healthcare worker —Lanina’s way of expressing gratitude from her safe space to “a place that’s the opposite of safe.”

    “Their stress is unfathomable. So I thought to have some kind of bridge between what I’m doing here and what they’re doing there.”

    Yuliya Lanina
    Yuliya Lanina, “Fox,” 2020

    Lanina posted “The Gift of Life” paintings on her website, and the ones which have already been given to front liners include a small description from the recipient. A nurse and LGBTQ+ clinical coordinator at New York’s NYU Langone Health offered this:

    “My experience being at the bedside for some of these final moments, is that people contemplate and review almost identical reflections on their life. Did I love? Was I loved back the way I was loved? What do I wish I would have done? No one, not one person has ever commented about their bank account, their home, their car, their job.”

    A week before COVID-19 hit, Yuliya’s father was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. There was a small window to visit him before his treatment started, but she knew traveling posed many risks. Forced to make an impossible decision, she decided to stay in Austin: “If you bring the virus to somebody doing chemo, it’s a death sentence.”

    She’s learning to be OK with the unknowable, taking it day by day. Painting has a calming effect, she says, and doing smaller projects prevents her from feeling overwhelmed.

    Yet she feels the pressure of staying strong for everybody: “As a mother, if I’m not OK, no one is OK.”

    As for her father’s declining health, it is a poignant reminder of one’s vulnerability, be it COVID-19 or cancer. “I am watching someone from afar, and I am powerless.”

    Her father’s diagnosis has brought up feelings about her mother as well, who passed away from cancer when Lanina was 20 years old. Her mother was a physician and Lanina still has vivid memories of going to work with her at the hospital when she was a little girl.

    “I have a warm place in my heart for doctors,” she tells me. “It must be why I wanted to do this project for healthcare workers.”

    Lanina was scheduled to participate in this year’s SXSW, a disaster which was thankfully averted due to its last-minute cancellation.

    “I would have gone, and I probably would have gotten sick,” she says before adding, “Austin could have been another New Orleans.”

    A still from the Lanina's "One Sunday Afternoon," a 360-degree VR animation.
    A still from Lanina’s “One Sunday Afternoon,” a 360-degree VR animation at http://astiregames.com/YuliyaLanina/

    UT’s classes moved online around that time as well — another decision she applauds. Lanina taught the Senior Design Project this past semester, the final hoorah for art majors. Despite the obvious constraints, most of her students continued to remain engaged; they all gave their final presentations online.

    Her two daughters also had to shift their schooling online, a transition which proved slightly trickier. One of her twins, for instance, was upset about the academics not being as rigorous. And both girls missed seeing their friends. But the hardest part was having to cancel certain events — including two scheduled performances with their mother.

    “It’s the same for me. I was also really looking forward to certain things,” sighs Lanina.

    But who knows, as N95 masks become available again, perhaps she will finally get to touch up her sculpture in Bee Cave Park.

    Commissioned in 2015, the public installation features a large female head covered in a sort of swim cap of flowers. The sculpture’s name, incidentally, is “Earth Mother.” According to Lanina’s online description, it serves as a reminder that Mother Earth cares for us, as we also care for her.

    “The piece is dedicated to all mothers,” it states.

    Film review: ‘Fourteen’ focuses on a friendship that starts to fade

    Mara (Tallie Medel, left) and Jo (Norma Kuhling) play best friends in
    Mara (Tallie Medel, left) and Jo (Norma Kuhling) play best friends in "Fourteen." Credit: Christopher Messina

    Director Dan Sallitt is known for his micro-budget independent films, and his fourth is being streamed this summer after making the festival circuit in 2019. It’s titled “Fourteen,” and it made its debut at the Berlin Film Festival.

    “Fourteen” tracks the friendship of two 20-something New Yorkers over a decade, as each has her ups and downs in relationships with men.

    Mara (Tallie Medel, who also starred in Sallitt’s “The Unspeakable Act” in 2012) is the most stable of the two. She’s short, has sensible dark brown bangs and is a kindergarten teacher. Her best friend, Jo (Norma Kuhling), is tall and beautiful and capricious, and she has trouble holding a job.

    Jo calls Mara at inopportune times, with pleas for help as the years go by. As it turns out Jo has mental health problems. Jo reveals much about the professionals that she has seen over the years: “You say something and their eyes glaze over and they’ve made up their mind — I’ve been watching them glaze over since I was 14” Hence the title of the movie.

    Fourteen is also the point in middle school when Mara and Jo become friends. Mara, who was new to the school, says later in the film, that when she faced bullying from other girls, Jo was the only one who stood up for her. So the bond began back in middle school, and Mara has been trying to repay the favor ever since.

    But at some point, you have to wonder when the favor has been paid. And that starts to become clear as Jo sinks more and more into mental illness and eventually, drugs.

    Neither woman seems to be able to find lasting love with a man, although we see various relationships play out over the decade when the film takes place. At one point, Mara seems to have found a guy, but when she becomes pregnant, she decides to be a single mother.

    Writer/director Sallitt never tries to explain these situations, but we see them through Mara’s eyes, not Jo’s. Jo is sort of like a friend who’s always a phone call away.

    Throughout, their relationship, Mara and Jo remains platonic. And it’s unusual for a movie to focus so clearly on a friendship rather than love. But in an odd way, that’s what makes it interesting during a pandemic, when small-scale movies about friendship seem more important — and certainly more suitable for streaming than a big-budget action flick.

    “Fourteen” is streaming at the Austin Film Society’s website, austinfilm.org, starting June 5. A portion of the streaming proceeds will help the society, which has shut down its theater on Middle Fiskville Road during the coronavirus pandemic.

    “Fourteen”
    Starring Tallie Medel and Norma Kuhling
    Running time: 94 minutes

    Mexic-Arte Museum re-opens

    Mexic-Arte Museum
    Installation view of "Bruno Andrade Retrospective: A Native of South Texas" at Mexic-Arte Museum. Image courtesy the museum.

    Mexic-Arte Museum announced today that it has re-opened.

    The museum in downtown Austin said in an emailed announcement that it will operate with 25% visitor occupancy and that all visitors would be required to wear masks. Disposable masks are available for $1 donation. No cash will be accepted for admission or museum shop sales.

    A full list of the museum’s health safety protocols is at mexic-artemuseumevents.org/new-health-protocols-at-mexicarte-museum

    Mexic-Arte iis opening new exhibition, “Bruno Andrade Retrospective: A Native of South Texas,” the first retrospective exhibit from the distinguished American artist, Bruno Andrade (born 1947 in San Antonio; died 2013 in Corpus Christ).

    Andrade studied art at Texas A&M University in Kingsville majoring in art, then received his MFA from the University of Michigan in 1977.

     In the 1980s, Andrade returned to Texas to teach art at Texas A&M University for almost three decades, serving as a role model and mentor for many aspiring young artists. He was An admirer of Rufino Tamayo and Henri Matisse, Andrade identified heavily with South Texas, rendering landscapes in brilliant color.

    “The coastal light of Corpus Christi creates colors that excite my emotions,” he once said. “The one thing that has always grabbed me here is the nature. The power of the soil. I love to have water around, but I think it is the energy of the soil… that really sparks my excitement.”

    Austin’s Juneteenth festival goes virtual this year

    Juneteenth

    Juneteenth, which commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, is typically celebrated in Austin with a parade through the eastside that ends in Rosewood Park — established in 1929 by the city’s segregationist policies as a public park for African Americans.

    However this year, with the coronavirus pandemic still spreading, organizers have planned a virtual Juneteenth festival.

    “Juneteenth 2020: Stay Black and Live” will stream live from 6 to 10:30 p.m. June 19 on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitch.

    Find more information about the live stream and the festival at juneteenthatx.com

    “Juneteenth 2020” is a collaboration between several Black organizations in Austin’s historic eastside: Greater East Austin Youth Association, Six Square, the Carver Museum, the Carver Library, and Jump On It.

    “This year’s Juneteenth celebration emphasizes not only the timeless themes of freedom and perseverance, but also recognizes the unprecedented times we are currently living in,” said festival organizers in a statement.

     

    "Rosewood Park for Negroes, photograph, September 8, 1938." Rosewood Park was established in 1929 as Austin’s first public open space set aside for African Americans, a result of the 1928 Koch & Fowler plan that institutionalized racial segregation in Austin. Photo credit: Ellison Photo Service, Austin. Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.
    “Rosewood Park for Negroes, photograph, September 8, 1938.” Rosewood Park was established in 1929 as Austin’s first public open space set aside for African Americans, a result of the 1928 Koch & Fowler plan that institutionalized racial segregation in Austin. Photo credit: Ellison Photo Service, Austin. Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.

     

    District 1 City Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison will start things off with welcoming remarks.

    Musician/DJ Nook Turner will then introduce Freedom Desk, a music and spoken word performance series that will feature artists from the Austin/Travis County area. The musical lineup includes Riders Against the Storm, Ebony Stewart, Anatasia and KB, with more to be announced.

    Spoken word artists include Joe Brundidge, Amanda Johnston, Sequoia Maner and Faylita Hicks.

    And there’s a community raffle with prizes from local businesses. Raffle proceeds will benefit the Greater East Austin Youth Association and Six Square.

    Tickets can be purchased at go.rallyup.com/juneteenthatx

    One in-person event will take place, however. With the support of the volunteer humanitarian organization 10,000 Fearless First Responders, some 600 BBQ plates will be distributed free to Eastside communities most-impacted by COVID-19. Food distribution will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Carver Museum parking lot behind Kealing Middle School.

    Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1 1863. It was until June 19, 1865, that Union General Gordon Granger read General Orders No. 3 to the people of Galveston.

    Resources to support social justice, freedom of the press — and ways to learn about racism and its history

    [Willie Mae Kirk at NAACP Protest], ca. 1990s. AR-2001-002-2014-206, The Villager Newspaper Collection.
    Austin civil rights leader and teacher Willie Mae Kirk, holding the yellow sign, at a NAACP protest against police violence, ca. 1990s. From the online exhibition "Our Community, Our Voice: Photographs from The Villager Newspaper," Austin History Center, AR-2001-002-2014-206, The Villager Newspaper Collection.

    Nationwide protests against racism and police brutality have raged for more than a week now, sparked by the May 25 murder of George Floyd while in police custody.

    In Austin, we’re entering our sixth day of protests, with people seeking justice not only for Floyd and others, but also for 42-year-old Michael Ramos who was fatally shot by Austin police in April.

    Amid the protests, there have been more than 150 assaults on journalists nationwide by the police and others, documented by U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

    With many wondering what we can do to support the anti-racist initiatives and organizations, support freedom of the press, and learn more about racism and its history, we’ve compiled a starter list of resources.

    You can donate to Austin area organizations working for social justice including Austin Justice Coalition, and the Austin chapters of the NAACP, the Urban League and Black Lives Matter.

    We are horrified by the violent actions of police against journalists doing their jobs during the recent protests and demonstrations. Sightlines was founded on the professional ethics and principles of the Society of Professional Journalists and is dedicated to freedom of the press. We give you links below to support our fellow journalists during this important time.

    Now is the time for white people to listen and learn. Towards that we offer some resources to begin learning about African American history and culture in Austin, and the systematic racism that is a part of the city’s legacy.

    Though it is currently closed to the public, the Austin History Center has many online resources, projects and exhibitions about the city’s African American history. And you can support organizations such as Six Square and the Carver Museum that are actively preserving Austin’s Black culture.

    Finally, we offer some reading lists to get you started on understanding the racism faced by Black communities in the United States, and on bettering your practice as an ally.

    Social and Racial Justice

    • Austin Justice Coalition
      The coalition seeks to educate and build community power for people of color who live in Austin that need support, community, and liberation during a time of systemic injustice in America.
      austinjustice.org/donate/
    • Austin Area Urban League
      The Austin chapter of the National Urban League enables African Americans and other underserved urban residents to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights, and to provide tools for them to build a foundation for social and economic equality.
      aaul.org/donate-austin
    • Black Lives Matter Austin
      Donate directly to fund the Black Lives Matter movement here or reach out to Black Lives Matter Austin to contribute to local initiatives. 
    • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Austin
      The Austin chapter of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.  the political,
      naacpaustin.com/membership-and-donations.html

    Journalism & Press Freedom

    • Committee to Protect Journalists
      The Committee to Protect Journalists is a global nonprofit committed to protecting the freedom of the press. Currently, CPJ is helping journalists who are being targeted while covering protests across the nation.
      cpj.org
    • National Association of Black Journalists
      The nation’s largest group for journalists of color, the National Association of Black Journalists supports diversity in newsrooms and media publications.
      nabj.org

    Black Culture & History

    • Six Square
      Preserves the legacy of African Americans in Central East Austin and in the overall quality of life for Black residents in Austin. Six Square is named for the six square miles originally created in 1928 as the “Negro District” by the Austin City Council in a master plan designed to enforce segregation by forcing resettlement of the African American population into a designated district to the east of the city’s center.
      sixsquare.org
    • Austin History Center’s African American Community Archivist
      The center’s African American Community Archivist actively seeks out archival materials from the African American community in Austin and Travis County. Online resources about African Americans in Austin include online exhibitions and the 127-page African American Resource Guide. Take the African American History in Austin Quiz to start learning.
      library.austintexas.gov/ahc/african-american-community-archivist
    • Austin’s History: Gentrification A list put together by the Austin History Center of its holdings of city reports, ordinances, research studies and archival collections that provide a historic perspective on gentrification.
      austin.bibliocommons.com/list/share/603054998/1227213127

    Reading lists

    Film review: Dafoe takes us inside the private life of director Ferrara in ‘Tommaso’

    Willem Dafoe and Cristina Chiriac star in
    Willem Dafoe and Cristina Chiriac star in "Tommaso." Credit: Kino Lorber

    Bad-boy director and noted addict Abel Ferrara has tried to stay sober for the past few years, puttering around in his apartment in Rome while making a few documentaries. His last narrative feature was 2014’s “Pasolini,” focusing on the murdered Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, with Willem Dafoe in the title role.

    So when Ferrara finally made another narrative feature, “Tommaso,” it was considered to be an event for world cinema, and the Cannes Film Festival made it a part of its 2019 official selection. It, too, stars Dafoe in the title role. And it’s a must-see for anyone who’s interested in Ferrara, who is probably best known for the highly controversial 1992 noir “Bad Lieutenant.”

    Why a must-see, you might ask? Mainly because it’s the most autobiographical film Ferrara has ever made. And if you’re wondering why that can be stated as fact, consider this: The movie takes place in Ferrara’s apartment. Besides Dafoe, the movie has two other main characters: Tommaso’s wife Nikki, played by Cristina Chiriac, and the child Deedee, played by Anna Ferrara. Chiriac is Ferrara’s much-younger wife, and Anna Ferrara is the daughter of Chiriac and Ferrara.

    The character of Tommaso is a drug addict who has been sober for the past few years, just as Ferrara has been. Tommaso is also a screenwriter and director, who is working on a film set in the frozen north. Ferrara’s next film is set for release later this year, if all goes as planned. Its title? “Siberia.”

    Tommaso is struggling to stay sober, and he tries hard. Besides working on his movies, he takes his daughter for walks in the park, takes Italian-language lessons, attends AA meetings, runs an acting workshop, goes on shopping errands, washes dishes and tries to be the model of domesticity for a wife who is increasingly wrapped up in taking care of the child. When Tommaso and Nikki finally start having an intimate moment, the child cries from the bedroom, and the intimacy is cut short. And when Tommaso makes other advances toward Nikki, she tends to back away.

    Tommaso, meanwhile, may or may not be having relationships with other women. It’s hard to tell in some instances, such as when Tommaso stops in a deserted cafe for a coffee and his order is delivered by a woman in the nude. Is it real, or are we getting a glimpse into an active imagination?

    The AA meetings make up a lot of the movie, and that’s where Tommaso, and perhaps Ferrara, are trying to deal with making his family relationship work. One of the fellow AA members wryly notes that addicts don’t have relationships, they take hostages.

    Ferrara seems to be not only working on his current life in “Tommaso,” but also dealing with his past. That’s probably necessary to stay sober, but it doesn’t necessarily make for compelling cinema. But if anybody can make “Tommaso” compelling, it’s Dafoe, who dives into the role with abandon.

    He’s one of the world’s great actors, and he’s a wonder to watch.

    “Tommaso” is streaming online, starting June 5, at the Violet Crown website, with part of the proceeds going to support the theater that’s closed because of the pandemic: austin.violetcrown.com. On June 12, it will also begin streaming at the Austin Film Society website, austinfilm.org.

    Big Medium launches $30,000 artist relief fund

    Betelhem Makonnen
    Betelhem Makonnen, "Untitled (anti-productivity oexercises or moving time and space), 25:40 minutes, 2020. Installation of video with sound, monitor, rocks, gold shadow. From the exhibition "Rock Standard Time (RST)" at Big Medium. Courtesy Big Medium and the artist.

    Big Medium has announced a $30,000 temporary relief fund to support the needs of Austin artists who have been affected by the economic fallout due to postponed or cancelled arts-related events, loss of arts-related work, or loss of supplemental income.

    One-time unrestricted grants of $500, $1,000, and $1,500 will be distributed to artists based on self-identified financial need, with multiple rounds of applications contingent upon available funds.

    Applications for the first round of funding will be accepted from June 1 through 15 and are subject to approval and availability of funds. Applications can be found here:

    bigmedium.submittable.com/submit

    Big Medium secured funding through Austin Community Foundation’s Stand With Austin effort and The MAW Gallery and is currently seeking additional support. Individuals and organizations are invited to donate so that grants can be provided to a greater number of artists in need. Gifts made to the fund are fully tax‑deductible.

    Austin Symphony fires principal trombonist over racist comments

    Brenda Sansig-Salas
    Brenda Sansig-Salas

    The Austin Symphony Orchestra terminated principal trombonist Brenda Sansig-Salas today following an outburst of racist comments on social media she made over the weekend.

    Sansig-Salas, who had been with the orchestra since 2005, made the comments May 30 in relation to protests being seen across the nation following the death of George Floyd and protests in Austin over the death of Mike Ramos, who was killed in a police shooting in April.

    “Once alerted, we were appalled by the comments as they are clearly not reflective of who we are as an organization,” Austin Symphony Executive Director Anthony Corroa said in a statement. “At this time we can state that the musician is no longer employed by the ASO for there is no place for hate within our organization.”

    Austin Opera, whose orchestra is essentially the same as ASO’s, also terminated Sansig-Salas position.

    Sansig-Salas posted the comments on Facebook May 30 as a comment to a now-deleted post by Orion D. Wilson, Director of Bands for the Pflugerville Independent School District. Wilson is black.

    Sansig-Salas wrote: “Trump isn’t rioting. The blacks are. … the blacks are looting and destroying their environment — they deserve what they get.”

    On repeat: “Night Shift” captures a liminal state between sleep and wakefulness

      Teresa Hubbard/ Alexander Birchler,
      Teresa Hubbard/ Alexander Birchler, "Night Shift," 2006, high definition video with sound, duration: 8 min 24 second loop installation

      With its sequestering at home and routines of social distancing, the coronavirus pandemic has given time a strange elastic quality. Fatigued from the stress of the situation, many of us feel as if we are in some liminal state between sleep and wakefulness.

      Though of a much less fearful origin, that liminal state is at the core of “Night Shift,” an eight-minute video artwork by Austin-based artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler.

      In four short scenes we see a police car at night. Each scene begins when a younger officer brings a cup of coffee to an older officer who is fighting sleep, the younger one offering some brief chatter that touches on dreams or the slippage between sleep and sleeplessness. After a fade-out, the scene begins again with a different younger officer. “Night Shift” is intended to be screened in a loop.

      Shot on location in Austin, “Night Shift” was commissioned by Art 21 and premiered on PBS television in 2005. (Its age shows when someone in the background actually uses a telephone booth.)

      In 2017 “Night Shift” was exhibited in Austin at Lora Reynolds Gallery. Hubbard and Birchler are both on the faculty of the University of Texas. In 2017, they represented Switzerland at the 57th Venice Biennial with “Flora,” a work about the unknown American artist Flora Mayo, with whom the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti had a love affair in Paris in the 1920s.

      Through June 10, “Night Shift” is being screened online, courtesy London’s David Roberts Art Foundation collection at davidrobertsartfoundation.com/broadcasts/

      “Night Shift” sets up a Groundhog Day-like repetition of the same small exchange between two people. It’s a clever play on the way our minds churn over the same psychic material. Repeated real life moments, recurring dreams. Or perhaps it happens the other way around.

       

      From The Editor

      Arts community resources