Thursday, October 18, 2018

Michael Bloomberg thinks midsize arts nonprofits can change American cities, and he's spending over $100 million to prove It

By Tim Schneider

Practically everyone in the art world understands the importance of small and midsize galleries to the arts ecosystem. This broad recognition explains why we’re now seeing more and more actions being taken to shore up these key players. Less discussed is the importance of small and midsize arts nonprofits to the same ecosystem—and beyond. But at least one particular patron has taken a keen interest in the health of this cohort. Administrated as a branch of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities initiative, AIM grew from Bloomberg’s belief that small and midsize cultural organizations have been vastly under-appreciated in terms of their impact on metropolitan communities and economies. [More]

A painter examines the aftermath of a murder motived by hate, 20 years later

By Katherine E. Standefer
“The Ascension of Matthew Shepard” by Carl Grauer challenges traditionally exclusive religious imagery by placing Shepard, the victim of a hate crime, in a place of reverence.
In the painting, Matthew Shepard’s hands are finally free. He rises into the air surrounded by angels, each bearing the face of Saint Sebastian — patron saint of those who conceal their identities to avoid persecution. The angels’ wings stand tall and arched, like the wire and cloth wings Shepard’s friends wore at his funeral in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming, to block out anti-gay protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church. Titled “The Ascension of Matthew Shepard,” the portrait is part of a series by painter Carl Grauer that seeks to honor pivotal leaders from the LGBTQ movement through religious iconography. (The full series will be unveiled in June to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, demonstrations in New York City.) [More]

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Their land defiled, forest people swap flower worship for Quran and concrete

By Hannah Beech
Since leaving the forest eight years ago, Mr. Tarip, left, has converted to Islam, the dominant religion of Indonesia. Credit: Kemal Jufri for The New York Times
JAMBI, Indonesia — When the flowers could no longer summon the gods, the healer knew it was time to leave the forest. As a traditional healer of the Orang Rimba, or forest people, here on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, Temenggung Tarip had long depended on jungle blooms to conjure the divine for his seminomadic indigenous community. Mr. Tarip said. Mr. Tarip’s conversion was facilitated by his son-in-law, Rahmat, who is from the outside. The child of a family of transmigrasi — settlers from crowded parts of Indonesia who were given government incentives to work the land in remote places like Sarolangun — Mr. Rahmat said he grew up not certain whether the Orang Rimba were human or not. “They stole fruit from us,” he said. “So we taught them the Quran and they learned how to be better.”[More]