What individual or organization do you believe has made “outstanding contributions to the excellence, support, growth and availability of the arts in the United States?” Think about it. Before March 31st. And then submit your nomination. Here: http://www.nea.gov/honors/medals/nomination/instructions.html
‘Tis the season for naming names. To the selection committee for the National Medal of Art, that is.
The National Medal of Arts is our nation’s highest honor in the field of arts and culture.
I chose to nominate New Haven’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas! Why?
Because since 1996 the Festival has made creative intelligence a civic virtue. Its organizers blend forward thinking with respect for the many flavors of hybridized cultures that comprise our city, fulfilling a cultural thirst and curiosity shared by residents and visitors alike.
Each June, New Haven revels in its embrace of the world through some of the most vivid thought-forms imaginable expressed in music, in colorful artworks, in dialogue and in purposeful movements of bodies in dance. The fact that this volume of contemporary cultural activity takes place on the country’s oldest planned central Green makes me feel – though it sounds corny to say – proud and hopeful about civilization. The fact that the Festival was in full swing when I was first visiting from the South at age 31 and exploring real estate options is no coincidence.
I appreciate the fact that Bill T. Jones has been my neighbor, for a time, thanks to the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. Same with Yo-Yo Ma, Liz Lerman, Slavic Soul Party, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and a dazzling array of minds from around the globe. We have held each other in thrall as evenings fade to twilight and crowds of very different people make room for one another, sway in common rhythms, eat together, pass a ball in long arcs, share space, and belong. My enjoyment of a sense of “home” and “summer” as an adult has been inextricably linked to experiences at the Festival. It has become a very rich occasion and tradition for the thousands who attend.
There are hundreds of ticketed events offered as well in venues across New Haven during the 15 days of the Festival, and these are also profoundly worthwhile. And judging from the illustrious history outlined on its website – http://www.artidea.org – The International Festival of Arts and Ideas is more than deserving of national recognition.
Who will you nominate for the National Medal of Arts? Share your enthusiasm…