The Texas Commission for the Arts gets a new executive director, the Blanton Museum of Art gets a new curator for its collection of Latin American art, and Toronto's Harbourfront Festival gets an Austin dance company.
Hernandez Heads TCA
The Texas Commission on the Arts has a new executive director, but he's an old hand at the state agency. Ric Hernandez steps into the TCA top spot -- succeeding John Paul Batiste, who took his leave July 31 after two decades at the agency -- with 25 years of experience with the Commission, first as a TCA artist in residence in the late 1970s, then as a staff member starting in 1980. For 14 years of that time, he has served as TCA's deputy director, supervising operations of the programs division on a regular basis but also spearheading several special projects, one of the most significant being the development of TCAnet (short for Texas Cultural and Art Network), an Internet system designed to help Texas artists do business electronically. This Web-based network showcased not only Hernandez's interest and expertise in the fields of Web graphics, page design, and page construction, but also his expansive view of the arts, how they can incorporate technology, how they need to respond to societal change, how they fit into the life of the entire state. Here's hoping those qualities serve him well in his new post as TCA executive director.
Blanton Names Curator for Latin-American Collection
Speaking of staff changes, UT-Austin's Blanton Museum of Art has just hired Dr. Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro as curator of its collection of 20th-century Latin American art. The Spanish-born, London-educated curator seems a strong match for the Blanton's highly prized collection, which boasts more than 1,600 modern and contemporary works from 18 countries in Latin America. He was the founding curator of the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art, which he built into the largest public collection of such a kind in Europe; he spent two years leading an exhibition program of Latin American artists at the Casa de América in Madrid; and for two years has been director of Visual Arts at the Americas Society in New York, where he championed a more contemporary focus and greater public programming for the Visual Arts program. He joins the Blanton staff in Austin in October of 2002.
The Arts Seen
Toronto is the place to be to catch Diverse Space Dance Theatre this weekend. The multiethnic, multiform company was invited to that city for its Harbourfront Festival this year, and it plans to show Toronto its stuff, with an interactive lecture-demonstration on the creation of its recent work Project VrukshA at the National Ballet of Canada Studios on Thursday, a gala preview of their program at the Yoga Sanctuary on Friday, and a performance on the Harbourfront Mainstage on Queen's Quay Saturday. In addition to choreography from Project VrukshA, company members Kermit Allen, Toni Bravo, Tony Cusimano, Bao Khang Luu, Anuradha Naimpally, and MeriJayd O'Connor will perform Swayed, a piece choreographed for DSDT by Ballet Austin's Gina Patterson, and new works created for the event by Bravo and Naimpally.