Walters Cultural Arts Center Speaker Series: “The Jazz Scene as an Ecology” – June 18th

I will be a guest speaker at the Walters Cultural Arts Center Speaker Series in Hillsboro on Tuesday, June 18th at 7:00 PM.Oregon Album cover

My topic is  “The Jazz Scene as an Ecology”.  This is a culmination of a line of inquiry I embarked on  in 2009 on music and sustainability.

Here’s a short teaser for those who might be interested.  I’ll post the whole lecture here after I present it.

A little fable about Jazz and Academia

Think of Jazz as a wild plant, a native species that grew in America.  Took root, found good soil.  But its environment grew crowded w/competitors.  It’s niche was overrun by rock & roll.  As jazz matured and spread, it was less connected to its initial purpose, the nourishment of communities.  It became famous, the property of everyone and no one. So it sought refuge in the academy

Introducing a new breed- The Jazz Educator

I’d say Dr. Billy Taylor was the proto-species of the Jazz educator.   He was the first of the evolutionary line. He possessed the ideal combination of traits that enabled him to thrive in academia.  A virtuoso with a Ph.D. degree, he was articulate and well-spoken. The “fruit” he produced-television shows, the non-profit Jazzmobile,  paved the way for other musicians like Max Roach, Archie Shepp, Willie Ruff, and eventually, me.

There were others –John Mehegan, Jerry Coker, Gunther Schuller @ NEC, who were also pioneers, They created the first jazz curricula & schools: The Schillinger School,  Berklee College of Music,  North Texas State,  These  environments and infrastructurebig bands, textbooks, play-along records  provided fertile soil for jazz to grow in academia.

Below are a couple great blog posts that get to this topic.  Two are from Dr. Jeff Todd Titon, ethnomusicologist at Brown University.  His writing has been groundbreaking in this area. He has also been an encouraging mentor to those of us interested in thinking freshly about the place of music in our culture.  His blog “Sustainable Music” is a fantastic resource for provocative and inspiring new ways to think about what we do.
http://sustainablemusic.blogspot.com/2011/07/resilience.html

Titon blog on Sustainbility & Ecology

http://sustainablemusic.blogspot.com/2009/10/ecological-approach-to-cultural.html

Theses on Sustainabilit- A Primer

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/5502/

There are also a number of earlier posts on this blog that explore this same topic.

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Think Differently.

Anita Tieleman

My friend Binnie Brennan sent me this link about a new way of bringing art to the people.

Lars Kaiser is a 35-year-old artist from Potsdam, Germany, near Berlin. He came up with the unique idea to put small art samples into vending machines so anyone can buy a piece of art any time of the day or night. Even Kaiser’s vending machines have been uniquely decorated to attract attention to the artsy wares inside. There are now about 100 of these machines found in bars, public buildings and on outside walls across Germany. Back in the 1960’s and ’70’s these vending machines sold condoms, gum or cigarettes, but have been refurbished to sell the artwork of around 140 professional artists now.

The Big Picture-Cultural Policy

tinou bao

Say we wanted to start from scratch.

How would we build a neighborhood, city, metropolitan area, state, country, world where the arts permeated the place?

Can we think bigger than a non-profit organization, or even an arts council?

How do we work on the cultural policy and urban planning level?

Can we sit the artists side by side with the policy makers and the planners from the first meeting?

What might things look like then?

Some links to peruse:

The Motherlode – Compendium, a country by country look at cultural policy in Europe.  You could write a dissertatation on the stuff in this site.

Look just a little bit under the surface there and you can check out:

National Cultural Canons as a Cultural Policy Response to Globalisation? (Does Portland have a cultural canon?  That would sure be  one way to establish a “Portland Sound”)

Interested in decentralization as a theme in Governmental policy?  See Norway ” During the 1970s major efforts were made to decentralise the cultural policy and administration system in Norway. Cultural affairs committees were established in most municipalities, and the municipal authorities gradually appointed directors and secretaries of cultural affairs. A similar system was developed at the county level and new grant schemes were introduced. In this way, substantial responsibilities were decentralized in order to bring decision-making closer to the general population.”

Could that work in the states?

Or how about the way France went about it.

I like the term “devolution” to describe making smaller, more purpose-driven agencies out of big conglomerated ones.

There’s more here I’m sure, but this seems like a good place to start digging.

Julie’s Bicycle-Serious about greening the arts

Nishanth Jois

My friend Binnie Brennan, a classical musician and children’s book author from Halifax sent me this link.

Julie’s Bicycle is a broad coalition of music, theatre and scientific experts committed to making our industry green. Our ambition is global, our main operations UK. Almost everything we do is relevant to other creative industries and other global territories.

Great place to see what is already happening at the confluence of sustainability, policy and (not just) music. The site has resource tools, essays,  and data.

Here’s a link to their Green Music blog.  Just one example of the wealth of info here.

Why business leaders should act more like artists

Photo by Terry Ballard

So you’ve got Seth Godin in his bestselling business book “Linchpin” preaching that to succeed in the world today, everyone must be an artist.

“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.

What makes someone an artist? I don’t think it has anything to do with a paintbrush. There are painters who follow the numbers, or paint billboards, or work in a small village in China, painting reproductions. These folks, while swell people, aren’t artists. On the other hand, Charlie Chaplin was an artist, beyond a doubt. So is Jonathan Ive, who designed the iPod. You can be an artist who works with oil paint or marble, sure. But there are artists who worked with numbers, business models, and customer conversations. Art is about intent and communication, not substances.”

And here’s is a post from the Harvard Business Review

http://blogs.hbr.org/maeda/2009/12/why-business-leaders-should-ac.html

So the gauntlet has been thrown.

What do you think, you business majors out there?