Turtle Gets a New Shell
Whither Cultural Affairs?
Curiously enough, just as the voters of the city are expressing support for cultural affairs, the caretakers of the city are expressing, um ... indifference to same? So it appears. According to a rather feisty e-mail this week from Ann Ciccolella, executive director of the Austin Circle of Theatres (who can do feisty very well), the city is currently without a Director of Cultural Affairs and is taking no immediate action to fill the position. Previous director Jack Anderson gave several weeks' notice before leaving the job on October 23, but in the month or more since the notification of his departure, not only has no search for a successor been conducted, no job opening has been posted. Ciccolella has been unable to obtain info from City Manager Jesus Garza but has learned from other sources that a hold has been placed on the position. This has fired her up to start an e-mail campaign to city councilmembers, asking not only for answers as to what's happening with the job but making a case for conducting a national search for the new director. "Austin audiences are growing. Austin arts groups are working extremely hard," she writes. "With $4 million of city funding, we need strong, fair leadership in the Director of Cultural Affairs." It will be interesting to see whether the passage of Props 11 and 12 do anything to inspire more arts advocacy on the part of the council. To talk to Ciccolella about the issue, call 499-8388.
A Blessing for You
Playwright Lee Blessing will be in Austin next week to perform one of his own works, the solo piece Chesapeake. The author of A Walk in the Woods, Eleemosynary, and Two Rooms, among others, will perform in the fourth floor auditorium of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center on Thursday, November 12, 7:30pm. The event is sponsored by the Michener Center for Writers. Admission is free. For info, call 471-1601.