Affordable Opera for the Masses

Image source: http://www.mazzagallerie.com

By Febbie P. Moore

November 10, 2012 over 100, 000 people watched a live production of The Tempest at the Metropolitan Opera (Met). A small percentage of those viewers were from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Local DC area theaters, such as the Mazza Gallerie 7 in Chevy has been offering live high definition broadcasts of operas from the Met since 2006. The November 10th showing of the Tempest at the Mazza theatre sold out. Ticket prices for the broadcast ranged from $18 for children, $22 for seniors and $24 for adults. To see this performance in person at the Met in New York would cost from $65 to $525 per ticket.

Under the Artistic and sometime controversial direction of General Manager Peter Gelb ticket sales for the Metropolitan Opera greatly improved. A major reason for the increase in ticket sales is the live broadcast of its operas in movie theaters. The less expensive ticket prices at the theater make the Opera accessible to a larger group of people instead of just to the individuals who could afford one of the 3800 seats at the Met Opera House in New York.

The Met, like other art institutions in the country, has seen shrinking audiences and a decline in revenue. The opera has long been viewed as an art form enjoyed by the elite and the privileged. In 2006 Gelb pushed the radical idea of live opera performances in movie theaters. Gelb wanted to target opera lovers and to create future opera lovers. Gelb also hoped to attract a younger audience to augment a shrinking older audience. Take a bow Mr. Gelb; your idea has been wildly successful.

Disclosure: Febbie Moore is a photojournalism major at the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

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The Flea Market at Eastern Market: Love it or Hate it?

Eastern Market located within the remote neighborhood of Capitol Hill Washington, DC is open 7 days a week since 1873. Those of you who have yet to visit the market can begin to imagine a sweet sensation of fine foods, drinks, and deserts to come. The building itself is home to the public farmer’s market each day it holds new fresh grown foods from within a 30-mile radius. Although the big wow factor to the market itself is the 38,000-foot square lot located outside of the building, which has been called home to the Flea Market at Eastern Market for the last 30 years.

The building has more to offer than what we see, jam packed with individuals from all over fighting for a spot in line either for the fresh grown foods, homemade foods, fresh picked flowers, and plants there is no shortage of freshness within here. Outside of the building is where you can really start to move around, walking from vendor to vendor you will always see something new. From fine art to vintage antiques there is always something to bargain or deal for. If you’re looking for something new and hip the flea market is where to be, or if you’re looking to bring back a flash from the past a nice antique could revive that jive memory. If you walk further along outside of the building you will see not only the fine art and antique vendors, but also many thriving food vendors with foods you couldn’t even imagine to taste on your tongue.  A food vendor to try is the empanada vendor; a homemade Portuguese and Spanish treat of stuffed bread consisting of a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables or fruits.

Along with the empanada vendor there are several homemade doughnut vendors, along with homemade lemonade stands making you feel as though your 9-year-old lemonade stand has truly come to life. The Flea Market at Eastern Market is an area full of enjoyment, and tastes to fill your stomach for the day or more. If you have yet to visit be sure to get there bright and early Saturday morning before the afternoon rush pops in.

Visit there website online here:

http://www.easternmarket-dc.org/

Eastern Market to stay or go?

Eastern Market a public farmer’s market located on 7th street SE in Washington, DC. The market first opened its doors in 1873 and is today considered an historical landmark. In 2007 the building suffered a terrible fire, thus closing it’s doors for sometime, but no one forgot about the market. In June of 2009 when the market reopened its doors they received double the numbers of people than their previous years outcomes.

The building it’s self is open 7 days a week 7am-5pm. However there is more to the market than just this historical building, for 30 years now the market has been home to flea market vendors, and food vendors to supply us all.

Every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm artists from all around the area gather on this 38,000-foot square lot to share their work with the Capitol Hill residents. Are flea markets a dying way? Some say yes, others at the market say no as said by Tammi Price, “people come here every weekend just to shop and view the art work, our sons and daughters have been coming here since they were born”. Although most of the DC residents wish for the flea market to stay alive, others see the market differently. In an article posted September 1, 2012 on the Flea Market at Eastern Market’s website it was stated that a development proposal has been released for a Junior High School to be built titled Hine Junior High School. This development proposal for Hine Junior High School will go before the DC Zoning Board on June 14, 2013. If this proposal is approved by the DC Zoning Board this will eliminate the 38,000-foot square lot leaving all these vendors homeless. Not only will it leave many vendors with no where to go, but many will no longer be able to create income off of their art work or vendor. As stated by fellow vendor Doug Cochrane, “I’m a vendor who depends on this market for a significant part of my income that helps me support my family, that includes two school age children”.

Not only thinking about the families of the vendors, now there will be less outcome to the market thus pushing the building into isolation. It is estimated that around 15,000 civilians visit the market on a daily, or weekend basis. Without that 15,000 attendance on a weekend basis there will be less income for the Market. If you’re one of the many people who support the market, visit www.change.org to sign the Save the Flea Market at Eastern Market petition.

A Peacock, Lionfish, Horse, and an Orchid: Jason Edward Tucker and THEARC

By Jordana Hall

Participating in the aforementioned program, Corcoran’s THEARCJason Edward Tucker is a Fine Art Photography major (though he dabbles in many other mediums) at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. He also is a Co-Founder of the District’s well-loved Boys Be Good.

Image(Photo source: Facebook)
Take a looksie into the workings of J.E.T.’s brains, as I ask him more about the process of working for THEARC with DC youth!

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JH: What has been the hardest part of working with the youth at TheArc?

JET: The hardest part thus far in working with the youth at THEARC has easily been the limited time we have to complete our projects. The project spans two months, but within that period we only have about 8 meetings with our mentees.

JH: Ouch, that’s a squeeze! What about the most rewarding aspect?

JET: The most rewarding piece of this experience has been watching the mentees engage and get just as excited as we are to create these costumes. Though I rarely collaborate in my creation process, having these kids (who have little or no costume design experience) has been fantastic. Seeing these kids use their imaginations to sketch out ideas and then have the ability to manifest them in a piece of wearable art is actually pretty inspiring.

JH: That’s incredibly inspiring. Can you give us a sneak peek into the concept of the costume that you and your partner are working on?

JET: Courtney [my partner] and I are working on a hybrid creature that is based in 4 unique species. We chose the peacock, the lionfish, the horse, and the orchid. The most I can tell you without giving too much away is that the costume will be large, spiky, and flourescent red.

JH: I can’t wait to see the final product! You spoke earlier about not having much collaboration in your creative past. This must be really different for you. So, how much of the work would you say is guided by you, and how much does your partner bring creatively to the table?

JET: The process of sketching and designing the costume was split as we decided over which animals we wanted the suit to embody. As for the actual craft of the piece, I am doing much of the behind the scenes work as we are only able to meet once a week and the deadline is rapidly approaching. That being said however, the days that Courtney and I do get together have been incredibly productive. I generally teach her a certain craft (such as hand stitching or pattern making) throughout the beginning of the class period and by the end she’s flying through it, almost entirely independent. My hope is that she’ll be able to take these skills and apply them elsewhere, artistic or otherwise.

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For more information regarding Corcoran’s THEARC, click here!

Disclosure: Jordana Hall is a student at the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

What war in Afghanistan?

Between March and June this year the Meridian International Center curated an exhibition titled “In Small Things Remembered: The Early Years of U.S.-Afghan Relations”. The exhibition contains hundreds of replica photographs from the early twentieth century till the late 1970s. The viewers will learn about Afghanistan and it’s relationship with the United States through those dates. While this is all well and good, how much do we know about Afghanistan today? Isn’t that equally as important?
One of my roommates, Louie Palu (pictured Left), is an international photographer that has spent quite a few years recently in Afghanistan as a combat photographer. In the video below, Louie speaks about his experience as a photographer in Afghanistan.

Today the war is still going on in Afghanistan. It is America’s longest war to date. It’s hard to think that America could just “forget” about the war… but haven’t they? If you truly ask yourself what wars are going on, does Afghanistan come to mind? The unfortunate truth for most of us, including myself, is that we’ve forgotten. We’ve forgotten about the war, but more importantly, we’ve forgotten about our soldiers. Our soldiers are on the frontlines of our relations with Afghanistan. They are they impression that Afghanistan has of us. Thanks to people like Louie, we are reminded that the war is still going on. We are reminded that Afghanistan is still on the maps. And, we are reminded that our actions effect Afghanistan. Perhaps, in a few years, Louie’s work will be featured in a Meridian “Us-Afghan Relations” Exhibition.

The meeting.

(Nikki Kahn/ THE WASHINGTON POST ) – Fred Bollerer, president and director at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Harry Hopper III, chairman of the board of trustees, pose for a portrait at the Corcoran.

The meeting with Harry Hopper, on October, 26, 2012, started 10 minutes early. It was scheduled for only 30 minutes, but lasted closer to 80mins. Harry was ready to talk to us (myself, Katie Macyshyn, and Ella Quimby), but before we dove into the meat of our discussion, Harry asked if he could show us a part of the school that we may not have seen and in turn we show him a part that he may not have seen.  It was a bit of a surprise, but the gesture was simply Harry offering an olive branch of sorts before we started talking. Doing this offered a shared experience for all of us to form a basis of a working relationship off of.

Harry showed us a gallery space that has been turned into a storage room with an amazing stained glass window and we showed him the hallway mural that is up the staircase to the right of the library doors and also a few items in White Halls/Walls as part of the Senior Thesis Preview Show.

After this, we headed back to the meeting room we started in. Harry proceeded to give us some background about him and how he ended up as Chairman. He acknowledged the past mistakes that the board has made. He was very very candid and frank and up front. I didn’t feel that he wasn’t paying us lip service. He came across as someone who very much knows that the situation is dire and things need to be fixed. He recognizes that moving the school is an option that is at the very bottom of the list as a last resort. He is very dedicated to keeping the institution where it is.

Harry was very open and receptive to the idea of student representation on the board or in conjunction with the board. He’s not sure what that process would look like but he is open to it and even seemed excited at the prospect of the board interacting more with the students. He did acknowledge the need for more transparency at all levels as it relates to the students. Harry was also excited at the idea of a student made video that showcases the students and why they choose the Corcoran and to stay here. He also loved the idea of a student driven phone bank. These are all things that he and board members (the active ones) can leverage in getting donors to donate money and also in attracting board members. I also suggested to Harry that the board members all come for a student led tour in the middle of the week and let them familiarize themselves with the students, the classrooms, and other areas that they may not even know about.

Harry agreed to meet with us again before the Thanksgiving break and in that meeting, I expect that we’ll find out more regarding board representation and what that process can and will be.

 

Disclosure – this blogger is a student at The Corcoran College of Art+Design and a member of the Students Stay Sane group.

Where do we go from here?

500 17th St. NW Washington, DC. The historic building was established as a private art gallery to house the extensive collection of Washington banker and philanthropist, William Wilson Corcoran (partner of the bank Corcoran & Riggs). Today, the Corcoran is a College of Art and Design and a gallery displaying one of the most comprehensive collections of American art in the world.

The Corcoran College of Art + Design is currently involved in a lengthy process of finding it’s new identity after an announcement of a possible sale was made on June 4, 2012. The board of trustees, who all donate a total of 25K to be a part of the board, have a long history of poor decisions and bad management choices dating back to 2007 which include millions of dollars spent on a Frank Ghery design that never came to fruition. In 2009, there was a possibility of the College side being shut down until the board realized that the College was providing a large part of the overall operating budget for the institution.

The announcement of possible sale, made after the student body left for the summer, is seen by some as a strategic move, and by others a “cowardly back room deal” that was made and decided upon without any consultation or engagement of the student body. Many students are outraged at the potential sale and some have gone so far as protesting via art within the institution.

A separate organization has formed, www.savethecorcoran.org, and is headed up by Jayme McClellon, who is currently an adjunct professor at The Cororan and also the owner/operator of Civillian Art Projects, a museum space in Washington, D.C. This new and separate organization has been  instrumental in furthering the conversation and goal of NOT selling the flagship building. Her group has garnered large donor support and participants numbering over 3000 people. All of which do not want to donate funds until the current board members and leadership of the entire institution have changed. Many of these donors do not want to “throw good money after bad” given the track record that the board; most don’t see it as a sound investment.

Within the past few weeks, there has been a mobilization of the student body under a closed FaceBook group (open only to students to engender open and honest dialogue). The group is called Students Stay Sane and has come together to work towards a better future for The Corcoran; one that doesn’t include selling the building. This new movement has hopes that they can work in conjunction with the board as well as drive the overall perception of the institution from negative to positive.  This group is starting to work on a video that showcases why all the students love The Corcoran and want to attract others to seek a degree here. Additionally, some students will be manning a phone bank in cooperation with the Admissions department at The Corcoran where they will be calling recent applicants and prospective students to tout all the great things about the school.

The SaveTheCorcoran group has been working for over 5 months and  has sent numerous requests for information to the board who has yet to reply. On October 16, 2012, a letter from the Students Stay Sane Group was hand delivered to Harry Hopper, Chairman of the board of trustees, requesting a meeting between him and representatives from the Students Stay Sane Group. Mr. Hopper agreed and a meeting was schedule for October 26, 2012 (updates from that meeting to follow in another blog post).

Recently, The Corcoran has entered into conversation and negotiations with George Washington University and The National Gallery of Art. The intent is to partner with these organizations in a way that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved aside from any monetary connections. Catherine Armour, Provost at The Corcoran, has stated that these talks are just that, talks. She has had only 1 meeting with George Washington University thus far and the overall goal from these talks is a better partnership between these two institutions where they both benefit yet each still retains it’s own independence.

Disclosure – this blogger is a student at The Corcoran College of Art+Design and a member of the Students Stay Sane group.