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Why the arts matter
On May 19, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto signed a letter urging the U.S. House and Senate to provide support for the arts in future COVID-19 relief funding. He pointed to the economic impact of the local arts sector, which, according to a study by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, accounts for 32,000 jobs and $641 million in household income, as well as $115 million in tax revenue. “The impact of arts and culture also transcends economics; it brings people from diverse communities together, provides beauty in our neighborhoods and public spaces, and engages our young residents and helps to hone new skills,” the mayor wrote. “In order for neighborhoods in cities like Pittsburgh to fully heal from this global pandemic, we must ensure that the arts and culture sector can thrive again.”
Tom Sokolowski, remembered
On May 6, the art world lost a giant voice and bold advocate with the passing of former director of The Andy Warhol Museum Tom Sokolowski. He joined the museum in 1996, and under his spirited leadership The Warhol became known for its fearlessness, creativity, and outreach, as well as for taking Warhol on the road through the museum’s world-renowned traveling exhibitions. At the time of his death, Sokolowski was serving as director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Jersey. “Thanks for blasting open those gateways to the art world and inviting us freaks inside,” said performance artist Phat Man Dee on Twitter. In his tribute to Sokolowski, Holland Cotter, co-chief art critic at the New York Times, recalled his part in rallying the art world’s response to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s while director of New York University’s Grey Art Gallery and Study Center. “He used his position as a museum professional to connect the art world and the gay community, and to put art in the service of activism,” Cotter noted. Said Tom Sokolowski at The Warhol’s 10th anniversary: “Although we are a one-artist institution, our programming will transcend that. Our museum is not just going to be a mausoleum.” Thank you, Tom.
A new dreamy online exhibition
Carnegie Museum of Art launched its online exhibition series on May 20 with the inaugural artwork Lake Valley by artist Rachel Rose, a featured artist in the 57th Carnegie International. Rotating on a three-month cycle, each new exhibition in the series will be accompanied by all-ages art activities, virtual family programming, and an online talk with the artist. You can check out the dream-like Lake Valley—a visually rich eight minutes—by visiting cmoa.org.
“I’m still telling people some facts I learned from this event–such as we don’t know that dinosaurs roared, Dilophosaurus was probably not a “spitting dinosaur,” as he is called in our household, and that T. rex probably would have evolved to not have arms, had they not gone extinct.” – A review of the May 16 virtual members event Everything Wrong with Jurassic Park, led by Carnegie Museum paleontologist Matt Lamanna.
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