“Blue Wheel”

Hallie Ford Fellowships continue, ‘Blue Wheel’ rolls, so does March Music Moderne

The crucial Ford Family Foundation Visual Arts Program is renewed, Susan Banyas's "Blue Wheel" rolls, so does modern music

Hallie Ford Fellow Stephen Hayes' "Mezzanine"

Hallie Ford Fellow Stephen Hayes’ “Mezzanine”

Last week the Ford Family Foundation made an important announcement: The foundation decided to extend its Visual Arts Program through 2019. Established in 2010 to honor the late Hallie Ford’s intense interest in the visual arts, the foundation has quickly become an important arts funder in Oregon, most visibly through its Hallie Ford Fellows program, which has given $25,000 to three mid-career Oregon artists. The list of previous fellows is impressive: The first “class” included  Daniel Duford, David Eckard, and Heidi Schwegler, and subsequent years numbered Stephen Hayes, Bruce Conkle, Michelle Ross, and Cynthia Lahti among the fellows just to pick a few (you can see the whole list on the website). The foundation is increasing the number of fellows from three to five.

The other increase comes in the foundation’s artist-in-residency program, two-year grant awards of $40,000 each, which grows from five artists to eight, “to provide opportunities for artists to explore and conceptualize new work. Fifty percent of the funding helps underwrite the residency program; the balance provides stipends to the selected artists to help offset life and work expenses.” Although the fellowship and residency tracks are the best-known, the Visual Arts Program also helps Oregon arts institutions acquire  important work by Oregon artists; curates, prepares and travels of exhibitions of works by Oregon visual artists and the production of catalogues and other appropriate materials; supports facility improvement at arts institutions; supports visits by national critics and curators to Oregon for consultations with Oregon artists and public lectures; and offers career opportunity grants for artists.

That’s a commendably comprehensive approach to the visual arts (I’d love to similar programs established for theater, dance, music and other art forms), and its extension is important. The foundation board, chaired by Karla Chambers, and staff (Carol Dalu is responsible for the Visual Arts Program) deserve our thanks, even though in this case it’s a little belated!

March Music Moderne is bubbling along, filling the city with classically based music of a distinctly contemporary cast. Friday is loaded with interesting choices:

  • Judith Cohen plays piano music by Louis Andriessen, Béla Bartók, Ken Benshoof, Peter Maxwell Davies, Alan Hovhaness, Erik Satie, Erwin Schulhoff and Patrick Stoyanovich, 3 pm, Portland Piano Company, 711 SW 14th Ave, Portland, free.
  • James Harley lectures on the music of Iannis Xenakis (Mathematics in Music: Xenakis & beyond), 5 pm, Lewis & Clark College, Evans Auditorium, free.
  • Lewis & Clark College,  Evans Auditorium, free.
  • The Arnica Quartet plays three Benjamin Britten String Quartets, 7:30 pm, Community Music Center, 3350 SE Francis St, Portland, $10.
  • Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island (2010) with a score assembled by Robbie Robertson from works by Krzysztof Penderecki, Giacinto Scelsi, Ingram Marshall, György Ligeti, John Cage, Lou Harrison & Dinah Washington, 11:00 pm, Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave., free.  (Part of the Sounding Cinema series)

Naturally, I want to push our own contribution to March Music Moderne, Oregon ComposersWatch, which both links to a resource page here at ArtsWatch and a live performance of new music by three Oregon composers. That’s at noon on Saturday, at TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont St., Portland,and it’s only possible because of the Cascadia Composers and Classical Revolution PDX. It’s free, and it also involves some talk about the music with the composers, Bonnie Miksch, Jedadiah Bernards, and Christopher Corbell, led by our own Brett Campbell. Please join us!

For a much fuller rendition of the weekend at March Music Moderne, please tune in to Brett’s Weekend MusicWatch, which is a wonderful weekly resource that music fans should look for every single week!

ArtsWatch’s Bob Hicks wrote glowingly about defunct theatre’s Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, and the company has added performances March 28 and 29. May a hundred (or two) theater fans fill the friendly confines!

If I myself were in town this weekend, I’d try very hard to see Susan Banyas’s latest performance piece, Blue Wheel, a performance collage of dance, visual art, projections, text, and music that Banyas developed partly during a stint in the Robert Rauschenberg Residency Program in Florida. Banyas’s collaborators are practically a who’s who of local artists. The movement and monologues are by Gregg Bielemeier, Dorinda Holler, Stephanie Schaaf and Celine Bouly; music is by David Ornette Cherry; painting stories written and performed by Lucinda Parker; props, projections, and performance are by Bill Will, and lighting design is by Peter West and Bill Boese. It’s all on March 14-15 in the Headwaters Theater, 55 NE Farragut St. #9, Portland. Suggested donation is $10.

Blue Wheel (TITLED final) HDmaster VIMEO.mp4 from susan banyas on Vimeo.

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