The Austin Chronicle

Cultural Arts Division

Talking art, in public and on the economic ropes

By Robert Faires, September 11, 2009, Arts

The city's Cultural Arts Division is delivering a double-barreled blast of informative programming this weekend.

First up, hear how Austin's creative sector is coping with the latest downturn in the free panel discussion Weathering the Economic Storm. Is this slump worse for local arts nonprofits and creative industries than the last few? What kind of hits are individual artists taking? Are funders still handing out cash? What strategies might improve one's chances for survival? The responses to a survey that the CAD circulated earlier this summer will inform the conversation among the four panelists: Victoria Corcoran of the Corcoran & Co. consulting firm; LBJ School of Public Affairs professor Peter Frumkin, director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service; Bijoy Goswami of the entrepreneurial Bootstrap Network and Bootstrap Austin; and Austin Lyric Opera General Director Kevin Patterson, who's leading the Shared Services collaboration among several arts organizations. Yours truly will moderate.

Weathering the Economic Storm will take place Thursday, Sept. 10, 6-8pm, in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 301 W. Second. For more information, call 974-7860 or visit

Second, learn how Austin's Art in Public Places program operates and how you can be involved in it in the symposium Discovery and Dialogue: Public Art on Its Head. Six hourlong sessions will cover how to create art proposals, community critique in public art, materials and maintenance, art advocacy, and local involvement in programs and possibilities. A special lunch session will feature internationally renowned artist Ned Kahn, who has been commissioned by AIPP to create a work in conjunction with Austin Energy's System Control Center. One-on-one and small group consultations with industry experts, city staff, policymakers, and peers will also be available. The $10 registration covers parking, lunch, snacks, take-home materials (including the Public Art Resource Guide), and a tour of the University of Texas Landmarks Collection.

Discovery and Dialogue: Public Art on Its Head will take place Saturday, Sept. 12, 9am-5pm, at the Thompson Conference Center, 2405 Robert Dedman Dr., on the UT campus. For more information, visit

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