Siegel Tapped for Kennedy Center Post

The woman who has been pioneering local efforts to make Austin arts accessible to all the city's culture lovers has been wooed away to do the same in our nation's capital. Betty Siegel, administrator for the local service organization Austin Access Arts, has accepted the post of Director of Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Siegel departs Austin this Sunday to start her new job. She's still a little stunned to have been chosen for this position from a field of exceptional candidates in a nationwide search, but no doubt she'll get her bearings back soon enough. One thing you never had to worry about with Betty Siegel: getting a fix on where she stood.

Exciting as the prospect of a high-profile job in an East Coast metropolis may have been, Siegel reports that "the decision to leave Austin was tough." And leaving AAA was still tougher, she says. She believes the organization has significantly improved accessibility for people with disabilities to the cultural arts in town, from development of more sign-interpreted and audio-described performances at the UT Performing Arts Center, the Paramount Theatre, and the Zachary Scott Theatre Center, to making sure new structures, such as the new Texas History Museum,incorporate accessiblity into their design process. "You should make note," she instructs me, "that because of Access Austin Arts and a really unique team of people with disabilties, the renovated State Theater will be one of the most accessible facilities in the city. This is a unique group and the Austin arts community is lucky to have its resources available." We hear you, Betty, loud and clear. (See what we mean?) Best wishes in D.C.!

Westward Walch

Local playwright and sometime arts writer John Walch sends us notice of a new feather in his dramaturgical cap. The A.S.K. Theatre Projects in Los Angeles is bringing him out to participate in its National Playwright Retreat this coming April. He will be working on Part II of his play The Dinosaur Within, which recently won the Larry L. King Award and was read as a part of the Harvest Festival of New American Plays, sponsored by the State Theater Company. He adds that his parody of The Elements of Style was recently named a finalist at the Indiana University and Indiana Repertory Theatre's Bonderman Playwriting Competition for theatre for youth. "Unfortunately," Walch notes, "I won't be able to attend that because I will be in L.A." Ah, the hard-luck life of a playwright in demand ... Just kidding, John.

Get Diverse for Valentine's

DiverseArts Production Group celebrates its new season with an open house at its new location at the ArtPlex, 1705 Guadalupe, #234. On Sunday, February 14, 3-6pm, the group hosts an afternoon of artistic delights, featuring live poetry from some of Austin's most inspired poets, with Stazja McFadyenof the Austin International Poetry Festival hosting, and photography by Diane Watts, original photographer of The Blues Family Tree archive, Austin's most extensive collection of local black music photography, video, and digital audio recordings. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, call DiverseArts Production Group at 477-9438.

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More Articulations
The Harry Ransom Center has acquired all the professional and personal materials of profoundly influential acting teacher Stella Adler

Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

It's the end of an era for the city of Austin's Art in Public Places Program as Martha Peters, administrator of the program for 11 of its 18 years, departs to direct a public art program in Fort Worth.

Robert Faires, July 18, 2003


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