Member Spotlight: Mehmet Dede

Posted by Mehmet Dede, Linda Lombardi, Mar 22, 2022

The Hartt School at the University of Hartford offers conservatory-based training in music, dance, and theater that moves beyond conservative traditions. Assistant Professor of Music and Performing Arts Management Mehmet Dede is an internationally recognized award-winning music curator and festival producer with 20 years of experience in the culture space. In addition to his work at The Hartt School, he is also the Programming Director of downtown New York City music venue Drom. “My two decades of work as curator and entrepreneur have taught me a powerful life lesson that I apply to my practice as an educator: To stay curious myself and to teach curiosity to my students. I love sharing what I know with others who are equally curious about music, the arts, culture, business, and how they all intersect. Whether college age students or lifelong learners like myself, I believe we have much to learn from each other.”

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Think!Chinatown Uses Public Art to Help Local Restaurants

Posted by Yin Kong, Jul 13, 2021

ASSEMBLY for CHINATOWN was launched in collaboration with A+A+A Studio to build outdoor dining spaces at no cost to Chinatown businesses. We design, source materials from Chinatown vendors, and construct Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant dining barriers for restaurants. Artists beautify and personalize the space for the restaurants with the help of volunteers who come (socially distanced) together in a help-a-thon to sand and paint the wood barriers. The mural project came into play with our first artist, Kat Lam, who reached out to ask if we wanted her to paint one of the barriers. Her style matched with the business owners, so we moved forward. She contributed her vision as a muralist and we decided to do that for all the barricades to enliven the space and the neighborhood. People want to be part of this community project. Painting is such a gratifying way to work together. Whenever the volunteers walk by, they feel ownership and want to patronize the business. 

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Alan Michelson’s Public Art: History and Place Matter a Lot

Posted by Mr. John W. Haworth, Mar 19, 2021

According to the artist Alan Michelson—a Mohawk member of the Six Nations of the Grand River who is currently based in New York—history is unfinished business demanding our attention. He believes that American history needs to address some hard truths if we are ever to progress beyond this tragic juncture. Alan also believes that the arts generally, and public art in particular, play significant roles both in addressing complex issues and making important social change. From his Indigenous world view, the violent and fraudulent dispossession of Native people is a significant issue that must be front and center in the national discourse. He has contributed considerably to this discourse, especially in the last couple of years. The Whitney Museum presented his solo exhibition Wolf Nation (Oct. 25, 2019 through Jan. 12, 2020) and College Art Association named him one of their two Distinguished Artists for their 2021 conference. He has made substantive contributions to the national cultural conversation for years. As Alan conveys, “My work is very much grounded in the local, in place, and place can be fraught when you’re Indigenous.” From his perspective, understanding the historical and cultural dynamics of place is at the heart of his work. 

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Member Spotlight: Andressa Furletti

Posted by Abigail Alpern Fisch, Dec 07, 2020

Originally from Brazil, Andressa Furletti is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York. She is the co-founder and artistic director of Group Dot BR, New York’s only Brazilian theater company. Group Dot BR's mission is to present Brazilian culture through the performing arts. It serves enthusiasts of multicultural arts, contemporary, physical, and avant-garde theater. Group Dot BR's productions always incorporate the Portuguese language (with English subtitles when present), offering audiences the opportunity to connect with the sound and musicality of the Brazilian language. In the wake of COVID-19, Group Dot BR initiated the NY Brazilian Artists Fund to support immigrant artists from the Brazilian community in New York facing financial hardship because of the pandemic. 

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Making art in person with community: Is it worth the risk in a pandemic?

Posted by Julia Vogl, Sep 23, 2020

Whenever you make public art, there are risks—usually financial. But today with monuments being challenged, politics, history, and community emotions are often also at play. Oh, and we are in a pandemic. When everything was halted in March, I fell into a depression. The prospect of making art with community, if we could do it safely, felt like a mental health salvation. Our Neighborhood Rolls became a beautification project to cover the cinder block wall at the side of a building, but primarily it was envisioned as a point of pride that, in the making, would build community-a meaningful, fun, educational, and engaging project for local kids and residents in Kingston, NY. At a time when everyone is evaluating what risks are worth taking for the greater good, maybe making art with people in public sounds like an unnecessary hazard. However, after my experience in Kingston, I would argue it was an essential action. It greatly impacted my mental health, and visibly demonstrated the importance of placemaking and tangible engagement for community in these apocalyptic times.

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How to Secure a Local Proclamation for National Arts & Humanities Month

Posted by Mr. Jay H. Dick, Sep 08, 2020

Proclamations are a wonderful way that your mayor, city council, or your city (or county) in general can easily show its support for the arts and culture. Each year, Americans for the Arts encourages advocates to work with their local and state elected officials to issue a proclamation declaring October National Arts & Humanities Month in their city, county, or state. They allow elected officials to easily demonstrate their support for the arts, offer a written document for advocates to use year-round to demonstrate the value of the arts and culture, and serve as a tool to engage other arts advocates in their local communities. For those who have never done this before, I thought that I would offer a how-to guide help you understand the process of obtaining a proclamation.

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