The Austin Chronicle

Culture Flash!

By Robert Faires, December 18, 2009, Arts

• If you're picking this up the day it hits the streets, know that you can catch former Austin artist Julie Speed in one of her rare appearances in town tonight, Dec. 17. The award-winning painter, who now calls Marfa home, will take part in a conversation about her work with Austin Museum of Art Executive Director Dana Friis-Hansen at the museum's Downtown galleries, 823 Congress. A wine reception starts at 6:30pm, with the conversation at 7pm, to be followed by a booksigning of the new University of Texas Press release, Speed Art 2003-2009. For more information, visit

• The Austin Symphony Orchestra has a new permanent executive director, and it's the same person as the interim executive director: Anthony Corroa. The veteran arts administrator and musician, who has served as ASO's operations manager for nine years, stepped into the executive director breach after the curiously abrupt departure of Galen Wixson in late August. Wixson had been hired following a national search and brought into ASO with much fanfare just six months earlier, but then with no notice from the organization, his name was removed from ASO's website, and it was two weeks before a release announcing his resignation due to "creative differences" was forthcoming. No elaboration has ever been made.

Ballet East Dance Company will hold its annual toy drive this Saturday, Dec. 19. The company collects and distributes toys for kids under 12 who live on the Eastside. Bring your gift or a financial donation to 3111 Garwood from 2 to 5pm and enjoy a Mexican merienda, a traditional gathering with hot chocolate, pastries, conversation, and good cheer. Note: If your gift is wrapped, attach a note indicating what it is and whether it's for a boy or girl (or either). For more information, call Ballet East Artistic Director Rodolfo Mendez at 385-2838 or e-mail [email protected].

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