AJCAtlantaForward1.17.2013

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  1. Filename: A18-MAIN-AJCD0117-AJCD Date/Time created: Jan 16 2013 7:42:08:843PM Username: SPEEDDRIVER06 Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 MAIN 18AAJCD18ACyan Magenta…
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  • 1. Filename: A18-MAIN-AJCD0117-AJCD Date/Time created: Jan 16 2013 7:42:08:843PM Username: SPEEDDRIVER06 Thursday, Jan 17, 2013 MAIN 18AAJCD18ACyan Magenta Yellow Black A18 CREDIBLE. COMPELLING. COMPLETE. THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION THURSDAY, JAN. 17, 2013 18ACyan Magenta Yellow Black AJCD File name: A18-MAIN-AJCD0117-AJCD Date/Time created: Jan 16 2013 7:42:08:846PM Username: 3 TOPIC SCHEDULE Monday Schools Tuesday Transportation Wednesday Regional economy Thursday Leadership Friday Qualityoflife Atlanta Forward ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| Letterstotheeditorshould be no longerthan 150words and must include a daytime phone numberforverification.Theymay be edited forlength and clarity, and maybe published in print or otherformats.Email submissions are preferred. Email: letters@ajc.com. HowtosubmitanOpinion column: Submissions should be 600words orless.Email columns to Opinion EditorTom Sabulis at tsabulis@ajc.com. Columns submitted to theAJC maybe published,republished and made available in theAJC or otherdatabases and electronic formats. THURSDAY CONVERSATION: LEADERSHIP Today’s moderator: David Ibata Ina journalismcareerspanning more than three decades, David Ibata haswritten about politics,transportation, urban planning and the environment,and has been a news editor,deputysuburban bureau chiefand Internet producer at the ChicagoTribune before joining theAJC’s breaking news team in 2007.Hewas namedAssistant Editorial Editorin 2012. What is Atlanta Forward? Ourregion is an important part ofa complexworld. On these pages,wewill bringyou awide arrayof viewpoints and insights on the issuesyou’ve told us are most important toyou.We’re committed to bringingyou smartworkbysome ofthe best thinkers in metroAtlanta and beyond.Wewant to involveyou intheconversation,too,soletusknowwhatyouthink. READERS WRITE CIVIL RIGHTS Courageous editor fought racial injustice Eugene Patterson’s career was founded on speaking up for those who had little or no public voice. His decision to take that path left a legacy reaching far beyond Atlanta and the South. His writings were a criti- cal component of the even- tual surge of opinion that be- gan the movement for racial equality. When he saw injus- tice, his voice rang out. This was a courageous position at a time when there were reper- cussions for those who would challenge the status quo. Patterson’s work was part of the start of something that, unfortunately, remains unfin- ished. But without that start, and without his efforts, we would be a weaker, poorer and less advanced nation than we are today, in the broadest sense of those words. DENNIS B. APPLETON, MADISON, WIS. MARRIAGE EQUALITY Evolving to do right isn’t act of flip-flopper Regarding “Despite re- cord, Reed marriage shift ma- jor” (Metro, Jan. 9), let’s make one thing clear: Mayor Kasim Reed’s support for marriage equality is courageous leader- ship. When millions of Ameri- cans are looking to their elect- ed officials to take a stand and do what’s right, PolitiFact and the AJC are dead wrong to call Mayor Reed a flip-flopper for being unafraid to evolve on this basic question of civ- il rights. Marriage equality has ma- jority support across this country today because the American people have been unafraid to make this same evolution. In just a decade, public opinion on this issue has turned from opposition to decisive support because At- lantans, Georgians and Amer- icans have embraced gay and lesbian couples as neighbors, co-workers and friends. If Mayor Reed is a flip-flopper, millions of Americans are flip- floppers, too. True leadership is looking at the facts and doing what’s right. Mayor Reed is a true leader. Others should be in- spired to follow his example. CHAD GRIFFIN, PRESIDENT, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN MILITARY SPENDING In budget priorities, defense comes first The comments in “Mili- tary or welfare: Do we have choice?” (Opinion, Jan. 14) are correct. The Department of Defense should get the first dollars because if this depart- ment fails, the rest of the gov- ernment’s departments will not matter. We will all suffer. Europe can reduce military spending because they know we will help them militarily. If the United States fails ec- onomically and is reduced to a second-class military pow- er, the whole world will pay the price. History has proved that the bad guys will always be waiting to exploit weakness and opportunity. History proves that the strategy of “little wars to stop big wars” works. When the lights of freedom go out in America, they will surely go out over the whole world. STUART MCCANLESS, OXFORD How arts impact local economies Bloomberg News It is easy to think of art as a luxury. It enriches our minds and lives, and it al- lows us to express ourselves to the fullest, yet it is not es- sential to brute survival. We value it, but beyond all mea- sure. Art is priceless. Perhaps these are reasons that assessments of eco- nomic activity often simply overlook the art world. Consider, though, a few cold calculations: Ameri- cans spend about $14.5 bil- lion a year on the perform- ing arts alone — from op- era, dance and symphony concerts to circuses, mag- ic acts and Las Vegas shows — a 2011 study by the Nation- al Endowment for the Arts found. And according to data from the Bureau of Econom- ic Analysis, a branch of the Commerce Department, in 2009, the performing arts, together with museums and sports activities (the bureau has traditionally grouped these into one sector), con- tributed $70.9 billion to the U.S. gross domestic prod- uct. In that same year, the motion-picture and sound- recording industries added $59.8 billion, and publish- ing contributed $147.7 bil- lion. In other words, art does have a dollar value. It’s just one that analysts haven’t fully added up. So it is wel- come news that the bureau will now measure the cre- ative sector’s specific ef- fects on the macroecono- my. Thanks to a new part- nership with the Nation- al Endowment, bureau re- searchers using govern- ment and private data will research how each part of the art world contributes to the economies of individu- al states. For instance, a prelimi- nary study has found that performing arts contribute more value to states with large and diverse economies than to smaller states. In California, Colorado, Geor- gia, Texas and New Jersey, every additional dollar gen- erated by the performing- arts industry adds $1.25 or more to gross state product. In Wyoming and South Da- kota, in contrast, each dol- lar contributes only about 86 cents. That’s because in the less-populated states, many things need to be im- ported from elsewhere — lighting, for example — for the show to go on. Even if the effect is great- er in more populous plac- es, artistic efforts consis- tently stimulate the local economy. This lends some evidence to the discussion about whether innovation and new ideas can contrib- ute to economic growth at least as much as the invest- ment does. Such debates will be enriched by the new better data to come. No doubt economists and scholars of all kinds will find many other ways to puzzle over the numbers as they come in. It’s safe to assume that, in general, the hard da- ta will demonstrate that art is a bigger economic player than we thought. Art does have a dollar value. It’s just one that analysts haven’t fully added up. The Metro Atlanta Arts & Culture Coalition estimates the region’s 1,740 cultural nonprofit organizations generate more than $502 million a year in revenues; 15,000 related businesses employ 62,000 people. Yet many local arts organizations struggle. Ben Cameron urges art lovers to be activists. And cultural leaders address the strengths and weaknesses of the arts here. The following are excerpts from a December keynote address to the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund Luncheon. ByBenCameron In 2006, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation con- vened more than 700 artists, managers and administrators in 22 meetings in 14 cities to ask: What are the most press- ing issues you face? Two years before the eco- nomic downturn, we heard about audience erosion in ev- ery field – decline of subscrip- tion and single-ticket sales, rising churn and audience turnover, with as much as 75 percent of an audience being there for one event of the year and not coming back. We heard audiences were overscheduled and exhausted. Forty-two percent of men and 55 percent of women said: “I am too tired to do the things I want to do.” The No. 1 answer to how do you look forward to a free evening was not going to the museum, a play, movie or dinner with friends. The No. 1 answer was: “I want a good night’s sleep.” Three years ago, I was at a conference in New York. Somebody said: What would we do differently if we thought the moment we are in is equiv- alent to the religious refor- mation of the 15th century? What if we are in the arts ref- ormation? The religious ref- ormation was made possible by technological reinvention. The printing press meant sud- denly everyone could have a Bible. If you nailed something on a door in Germany, it could be produced en masse and be all over the continent in days. The religious reformation questioned the necessity of in- termediation in a divine expe- rience. Why do I need a priest to intercede for me with God? It’s a question that’s finding direct parallel in what we hear in many places: Why do I need a professional artist to have a creative experience? This moment of reforma- tion is an invitation for us to think more expansively be- yond where art sessions have been. Progressive organiza- tions are asking new ques- tions: How do we engage audi- ences? Forward-thinking organiza- tions are surrendering space to flash mobs and raves and turning it over for festival for- mats to vibrant communities of participants, knowing that a lightly facilitated touch pro- duces the best allegiances and most remarkable results of all. This is the time to stop be- ing an arts supporter and start being an arts activist. The voice of the arts profession- al is perceived as too self-in- terested to be heard. It is the bank president, it is the real estate agent, the stay-at-home mom whose voices can be heard when the artist’s voice cannot be. Arts activists lob- by. They go to city hall. They write letters to the editor. Arts activists give their time. They serve on boards. They offer their best counsel. They give generously and increase their gifts every year, and they urge people to do the same. The arts invite us to come together with people unlike ourselves and look at our fel- low human beings with gener- osity and curiosity. God knows we need it now. Video of Ben Cameron’s speech can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/ ZECGJx A full transcript is at: http: //bit.ly/ZULNXO Modern culture needs arts activists GUEST COLUMN Ben Cameron is program direc- tor for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Excerpts follow from an Atlan- ta Press Club Dec. 13 panel dis- cussion, “Arts in Atlanta: Medi- ocre or World Class?” Panelists included Greg Burbidge, arts and culture program coodina- tor, Atlanta Regional Commis- sion; Tom Key, executive artistic director, Theatrical Outfit; and Stanley Romanstein, president, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Q: How would you grade media, business and com- munity organizations for support of arts in Atlanta? Burbidge: (Atlantans are) pretty generous: $7.4 billion a year in philanthropic giv- ing, which puts us third on the list right behind Los Angeles and San Francisco. But if you ask, how much do we give to the arts, the answer is 1.9 per- cent ... fully 50 percent below Charlotte, Nashville and Or- lando. ... Less than 2 percent goes to the arts. The rest goes to churches, health care and education – private schools, colleges and universities. ... (Per capita) that’s 8 cents per person. Minnesota is at the top of the list, at $5.86 per person. Romanstein: Most cities have a triangle of support: Public support, tax dollars; corporate support, whether it’s foundations or just corpo- rate giving, and private sup- port – individuals. We have virtually no public support. We have limited, very thin cor- porate support; of the top 25 publicly traded companies in Atlanta, 10 of them don’t give anything to support the arts at all. So the three-legged stool only has one leg. Despite that, we have an amazing arts com- munity in Atlanta. Key: There is a spirit of newness and freshness that I find in Atlanta – that we can do it this way, not because it’s been done this way before, but there’s room for innova- tive thinking. Q: How well do Atlanta-ar- ea audiences support the arts? Romanstein: Our audienc- es have grown each year over the last three years at a rate of about 3 percent. ... Quite often when somebody says to me, “When I go to the symphony, it’s a lot of old people.” My re- turn question: “Did you go on a Thursday night?” If you go on Thursday night, it’s our oldest and most traditional au- dience. If you go on Saturday night, it’s a lot of college kids in sweatshirts and jeans. It’s a very different atmosphere. We have actually seen the audi- ences of the Atlanta Sympho- ny grow in numbers but trend downward in age. So the num- bers are there, and enthusi- astic support is there. I don’t think there’s a question, at least from my standpoint mu- sically, that there’s an audi- ence. Q: How do you feel about the dwindling of local arts criticism? Key: I need to have that di- alectic with theater critics in my work and in my thinking. It’s an important relationship. And I think what’s very harm- ful is not good work getting bad reviews, because the good work will endure. What I do think has been very harmful in Atlanta is bad work getting good reviews, so that audienc- es feel really confused. Romanstein: We are liv- ing in an age in which every- body is an authority on every- thing. You go to a concert, and people now trust more what somebody says on their Face- book site about what they saw at your theater than they will listen to a theater critic. ... Particularly the 20-some- thing crowd is not interest- ed in what any authority has to say. They are interested in things that have been invent- ed by their peers. If it appears on Facebook, Foursquare or any of those (sites), then it has validity. Public, corporate support is lagging
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