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NEWS FROM UNITED ARTS OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

Democratizing the Arts United Arts’ artist Development Grants Help Make the Arts AVAILABLE TO All. C o mp iled by Ma ry Pa t rick Giraulo

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ne of the difficulties faced by any playwright is finding venues willing to present new work,” says Joseph Reed Hayes, a local playwright and one of this year’s Artist Development Grantees through United Arts of Central Florida (UA) (see inset). “Getting past the personal preferences, taste and budget of a single artistic director to get a new play produced is difficult at the best of times.” But Hayes has an idea to help playwrights get their work in front of wider audiences. It also provides inexpensive and convenient arts experiences for all.

Diane Ragsdale, a blogger on Arts Journal.com, may have had artists such as Hayes in mind when she wrote, “In ten or twenty more years, does the nonprofit arts and culture sector want to be like the U.S. education system: excellent art for rich people and mediocrity, lack of resources and lack of opportunity for everyone else? Like most universities, do we want to limit our reach to those that have the time, money, privilege, proximity and courage/comfort … to access us at our venues? Or do we want to collaborate as a sector with the goal of making it possible for anyone to have affordable (online,

2012 grantee Tracy Burke will take her paintings in new directions: “The potential breakthroughs a new series offers are incredibly rewarding ... not affected by marketability, but born out of true creative process.”

Both education and the arts are on the cusp of change: amateur enthusiasts for just about any subject can find free lectures on iTunes U from major colleges and other providers. Podcasts, similarly, are free or low-cost. ... More and more, quality experiences are available online for anyone who’s interested. big-screen, small-screen, gaming system, etc.) access to high-quality arts education and performances?” Both education and the arts are on the cusp of change: amateur enthusiasts for just about any subject can find free

lectures on iTunes U from major colleges and other providers. Podcasts, similarly, are free or low-cost. The Metropolitan Opera has an Opera on Demand app for the iPad with a monthly subscription or per-opera rental, and groups such as the Orlando ARts MAGAZINE May/June 2012

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National Theatre of Scotland and productions like NYC’s Better Left Unsaid use online streaming. More and more, quality experiences are available online for anyone who’s interested. Hayes isn’t new to the online-arts scene. In 2010 he leveraged his decades of experience in audio/video engineering and website design to craft a new opportunity for the Jazz on Edge concert series, in which musicians play original compositions. Instead of sinking resources into


Orlando Arts Magazine - May/June 2012