Spin the Wheel and Land on Community

As a Performer and Arts Consultant, I Learned That Arts Should Serve People—Not the Other Way Around

Recently, as I was walking home and mulling over what to write for this essay on arts engagement, I saw a multi-colored pinwheel stuck to a signpost on a street corner, titled “Hidden Fortune Wheel.” Underneath, a sign gave the following instructions:

Spin the wheel until it stops. For the next ten minutes try to feel what it would be like to be in someone else’s shoes. In case you land on your own identity, spin again.

Notice your reaction to the result. Do whatever you were about to do in …

Bringing Shakespeare and Shaw Live from the Stage to the Screen

The National Theatre's Cinema Simulcasts Have Used Tech to Build Global Audiences

Since its founding in 1963—with Laurence Olivier as artistic director and Kenneth Tynan as dramaturg (plus a rep company that included new faces Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, and …

In Spain, a Path to Artistic Discovery (on Foot)

A "Grand Tour" Through the Pyrenees Connects Artists and Audiences on a Cultural Pilgrimage

It must not be imagined that a walking tour, as some would have us fancy, is merely a better or worse way of seeing the country. There are many ways …

The Arts Can Do for California What Politics and Big Business Can’t

The Cultural Sector Retains Its Credibility, Imagination—and Ability to Bring People Together

Can the arts save California?

On every public policy challenge other than climate change regulations, the state seems stuck. We can’t transform our underfunded and underperforming education system to meet the …

Want to Find New Audiences? Keep Trying New Things

A Risk-Taking Arts Administrator Came to Texas, and Soon the Galleries Were Louder, Full of Med Students—and Open All Night

Experiment—constantly and fearlessly, every single day.

That’s the best advice I can offer from my own career working in museums to connect the arts to different people, communities, disciplines, and places. …

Singing Complaints Aloud, and Other Tips for a Harmonious Society

Finland's Tellervo Kalleinen Tells How Participatory Art Can Be Both Serious and Playful

A little more than 10 years ago, someone emailed me a video of the Helsinki Complaints Choir, a group of people very seriously singing about complaints that were both mundane …