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Following Outcry, Washington Arts Council Reverses Course on Amendment

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Following Outcry, Washington Arts Council Reverses Course on Amendment

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Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington. Pressure mounted this week over a D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities form that grantees had been asked to sign.CreditCreditBrian Snyder/Reuters

A Washington arts council reversed a decision on Thursday to make all of its grantees sign new contracts that several arts groups said would leave recipients open to censorship.

The arts groups who were greenlighted for grants from the council, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which is partially backed by the National Endowment for the Arts, received a letter on Monday. There was an amendment to the original grant contracts that they were instructed to sign to receive the money, for which they had already signed paperwork for.

It stipulated that the work of recipients was susceptible to losing funding if it was “lewd, lascivious, vulgar, overtly political, excessively violent, constitutes sexual harassment, or is, in any other way, illegal.” It did not specify how “overtly political” would be defined, or who would be making those judgments. The decision also came as a surprise to commissioners of the council, volunteers throughout Washington who are supposed to represent the public.

“I first heard about this amendment from a grantee who received the notice,” Kay Kendall, the chairwoman for the commissioners, said in an email. “And then a tsunami of emails followed, from grantees and fellow commissioners.”

Another commissioner, Josef Palermo, criticized the agency for not consulting commissioners. It is unclear who made the decision to add the amendment. Inquiries to top officials at the council went unreturned.

“I wish that the commissioners had been consulted on this amendment before it went out,” Mr. Palermo said in an interview. “The fact that we were not is very problematic.”

After the amendment began circulating, arts groups mobilized. The National Coalition Against Censorship circulated a letter that said, “As supporters of an open cultural sphere, we strongly oppose this blatant — and likely unconstitutional — attempt to censor artists and cultural institutions.” Groups like PEN America and Transformer, a Washington-based arts nonprofit and also a grant recipient, co-signed the letter. The Warhol Foundation released a statement that said, “The amendment is a blatant attack on free speech and a direct threat to all artists and nonprofit organizations that produce challenging work.”

As the week progressed, pressure increased on Muriel Bowser, the city’s mayor. Jack Evans, a councilman, called on Ms. Bowser to rescind the amendment. By Thursday evening, grantees received word that, indeed, it was no more. It remains unclear how or why the decision was made.

“The Bowser administration stands firmly behind our shared D.C. values and will always strive to uphold our mission of service to the District and its residents,” the council said in a statement. “The D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities believes deeply in the right to freedom of expression and would never seek to violate that right by censoring the work of any grantee.”

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ARTS AROUND: Enjoy magic and comedy at the Capitol Theatre

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MELISSA MARTIN

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

Join the Rollin Art Centre in January for a family friendly fundraiser, featuring Canada’s Master Illusionists Murray Hatfield and Teresa.

They don’t just do magic, they are magic! Combining breathtaking magic, interactive comedy and some of the newest, most exciting and most up-to-date stage illusions, this will be an evening of exceptional entertainment that is completely unique and world-class.

The show takes place Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 at 7 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre. All tickets are $30.00 and are available at the Rollin Art Centre or online (https://rollin2019.brownpapertickets.com). What a GREAT Christmas gift!

ROLLIN ART CENTRE FEATURES

WATERCOLOUR ARTIST

“Preserving Memories, one jar at a time” is the title of the whimsical and heartwarming exhibit currently showing at the Rollin Art Centre.

Featured artist Joanne Thomson displays her collection of mason jars painted in watercolors. This exhibit is beautiful and takes you back to a time of simplicity. It runs until Nov. 23.

2018 MCLEAN MILL

CHRISTMAS MARKET

Transport yourself back in time. McLean Mill will be all decked for the holidays at this year’s McLean Mill Christmas Market from Nov. 30 – Dec. 2.

Every year, the Community Arts Council brings a variety of artisans and crafters to the mill to ring in the Christmas Season. This year, we are partnering with McLean Mill Historic Park to be bigger and better, with the mill light-up, trains, bon-fires, a s’mores bar, carollers and even breakfast with Santa.

The market will be open in the evenings to bring a bit of magic while you stroll the historic Mill site and shop for all those extra special holiday gifts. Trains will run each night and one Sunday morning.

FELTING WORKSHOP

For the first time, artist Gittan Klemetsrud is offering three felting workshops to teach the traditional and the contemporary techniques of felting.

1.) Scarf Workshop – Feb. 16 and 17, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., $330 + materials.

2.) Bowl/Lantern Workshop – Feb. 19 and 20, 5 – 9 p.m., $150 + materials.

3.) Handbag Workshop – Feb. 23 and 24, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., $270 + materials.

Register for all 3 workshops and receive a 30 percent discount. Call Rollin Arts Centre to register today. Space is limited to ONLY seven spots per workshop.

MAGIC COTTAGE CRAFT & GIFT SALE

The Magic Cottage will be brimming with an amazing assortment of affordable, one-of-a-kind items for the 11th annual craft and gift sale. This unique shopping experience is sure to please, with artwork, original fashions, fine jewellery, home and garden décor, natural body care products, delicious gourmet treats, vintage collectables and much more.

Open Nov 16 (6-9 p.m.), Nov 17 (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Nov 18 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.), Nov 23 (6-9 p.m.), Nov 24 (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.), Nov 25 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) at 3945 Fourth Ave, between Morton and Maitland.

ENJOY THE BARKLEY SOUNDS

COMMUNITY CHOIR

Come and enjoy the Barkley Sounds Community Choir’s concert, “WELCOME YULE” on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m. at the ADSS Theatre. Tickets are on sale now at Rollin Art Centre, Echo Centre, from choir members and at the door. Tickets are $15 (under 12 free).

CHRISTMAS TRADITION

Timbre! Choir has been entertaining this community for 46 years!

Our Christmas concert this year is entitled “HEARTH & FIRE” and is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit. There will be familiar and some not-so-familiar carols with music by Bob Chilcott and John Rutter. Get your tickets early for Sun., Dec. 9 at 2:30 p.m. at ADSS Theatre.

The choir is joined by Danielle Marcinek on piano and several members of Chor Leoni’s Men’s Chorus from Vancouver. There will also be entertainment in the lobby provided by the AV Community Band, directed by Cory Miller.

Tickets are on sale at Rollin Art Centre, Echo Centre, Finishing Touches, Salmonberry’s and from choir members. Tickets for Adults/Seniors are $20 and $5 for students and children under 18. Check out our new website at www.timbrechoir.ca and complete the contact form if you any questions.

CHAR’S LANDING CONCERTS

Advanced tickets available at Char’s Landing or the Rollin Art Centre

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m., James Gordon of “Frobisher Bay”

Friday, Nov. 23, 8 p.m., Friday Night Dance Party with David Gogo Band

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m., Maddie Storvold – “Open Book” Western Canada Tour

Melissa Martin is the Arts Administrator for the Community Arts Council, at the Rollin Art Centre and writes for the Alberni Valley News. Call 250-724-3412.

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Giving thanks for our arts opportunities

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  1. Giving thanks for our arts opportunities  Black Hills Pioneer
  2. Full coverage



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Arts tip sheet: Eastside Culture Crawl

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Are you a regular at the Eastside Culture Crawl? Here are a few new faces on the massive open-studio tour that you may want to check out Thursday to Sunday (November 15 to 18):

Jake Bull

MakerLabs

Kool-Aid colours and a pop-art vibe bring to life portraits of everyone from Mexican wrestlers to merry-go-round horses and creepy clowns. It’s eye candy with an edge—no surprise, as Bull’s an alumnus of London’s advertising industry.

Mo Sherwood

1641 East Georgia Street

The art director of the cult Canadian animated series Yvon of the Yukon brings the same quirky sensibility to everything from funky wooden sharks to stylized portraits of Motown singers.

Laurie M. Landry

BC Artscape Sun Wah

We love the way Landry’s oil paintings reflect her experience of deafness, especially the portraits of gesturing hands—sometimes beautifully wrinkled or pudgy—captured as her subjects talk about themselves through American Sign Language.

Jason York

The Arc

With raw, brushy expression and bold hues—a favourite is pure, screaming orange—York’s abstracted works definitely speak with their own voice. But don’t be surprised if you see a bit of Jean-Michel Basquiat or a hint of Andy Warhol in his imagery.

Claudine Gévry

Parker Street Studios

The Montreal-bred artist’s sculptures and paintings fall clearly into the abstract category, but the forms feel so organic that you’ll swear they came from nature. Seek out her unique mobiles, with their ethereal, textured metal discs that bob and float.

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