On the Map
Austin's art scene kept catching the eye of the nation in 2005
Of course, the year had its losses, starting with a fire at the Guadalupe Arts Center that displaced dozens of visual artists, artisans, arts organizations, and galleries, many of whom lost irreplaceable works and projects. And some of our most valuable creators left us, most notably Boyd Vance, co-founder, director, and heart of ProArts Collective, the city's leading cultural organization for African-Americans a tragedy amplified by the death of another member of ProArts' artistic family, choreographer-actor Jason Ansara Brooks, during its annual production of Black Nativity, which he had directed and was performing in.
Still, the year offered more hope for the future, particularly in regard to homes for the arts. Construction of UT's Blanton Museum of Art on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard charged ahead and is on line for an April 2006 opening. The Long Center for the Performing Arts that most watched and worried-over of local cultural facilities kicked its fundraising back into high gear, reaching $67 million of its $77 million goal, and actually started physical construction. Even the Mexican American Cultural Center at long last broke ground last year. Perhaps the give-and-take of 2005 is best summed up by the debut of the renovated Carver Museum and Library, which now has a theatre named after the late Boyd Vance. That memorial honor still stings, because the loss of Boyd is still so fresh, but the fact that his contributions and vision will be remembered and stand over such a valuable new cultural facility will serve to inspire and challenge us in 2006 and the years to come.