WBEZ | Nick Rabkin http://www.wbez.org/tags/nick-rabkin Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Examining the future of arts in Mayor-elect Emanuel's administration http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-12/examining-future-arts-mayor-elect-emanuels-administration-86447 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-12/Emanuel Getty Jonathan Daniel.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel released <a href="http://www.chicago2011.org/transition-report.pdf" target="_blank">his transition plan</a> on Tuesday. In the report Emanuel lays out a vision for the future of Chicago under his administration. The arts and cultural sector are also in the mix.<br> <br> In broad strokes Emanuel laid out what he thinks is needed to make Chicago the world-class arts city he promised while campaigning.<br> <br> To learn more about what might actually happen to the arts in an Emanuel administration, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke to two people that live and breathe the arts.<a href="http://culturalpolicy.uchicago.edu/people/#Rabkin" target="_blank"><br> <br> Nick Rabkin</a> researches the effects of arts education at NORC at the University of Chicago.<a href="http://www.chicagoartistsresource.org/interdisciplinaryperformance-art/node/19154" target="_blank"> Ra Joy</a> is Executive Director of the <a href="http://www.artsalliance.org/" target="_blank">Arts Alliance Illinois</a>. He was a member of Emanuel’s Arts and Culture transition team.</p><p><em>Music Button: Robert Miles, "Deep End", from the CD Thirteen, (Salt records)</em></p></p> Thu, 12 May 2011 13:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-12/examining-future-arts-mayor-elect-emanuels-administration-86447 Child ticket: Approximately $5. Seeing live theater? Priceless http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-06/child-ticket-approximately-5-seeing-live-theater-priceless-84822 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-06/wilbur1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-06/wilbur1.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 404px;" title=""></p><p>One audience member threw up. Others made purely recreational trips to the bathroom. Eager-beaver volunteers sometimes had to be physically returned to their seats—or retrieved from the stage.</p><p>Controversy over the arts, how to pay for them and whether they’re worth the price, may be rampant. But the children at two <a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/fieldtrips/">Old Town School of Folk Music Field Trip shows</a> this week—<a href="http://www.kidworkstheatre.org/">Kidswork Touring Theatre</a> on Monday (repeats April 26) and <a href="http://www.cptt.org/">Child’s Play Touring Theatre</a> yesterday—only knew they were having a great time. Go ahead and laugh at the over-the-topness of children’s theater, but at its best, everyone gets caught up in the frenzy.</p><p>And kids learn at these shows—important in our bean-counting times. Kidswork accentuated the positive in “Peace Tales From Around the World,” which had about 400 schoolchildren from 5 to 13 (most from LaSalle Language Academy) giggling, pointing, and squealing, oblivious to the fact they were learning about the continent that gave birth to the human race, cruel dictators, respectful treatment of women, and the importance of self-sacrifice for the greater good. Hey, when the Comanche rain dance finally succeeded, all they knew was that they were being showered with real water from a giant spray bottle. Of the two groups, Kidswork was the more participatory and physical, giving the entire audience lots to do: everyone bowed respectfully or supplicated the gods, while a chosen few got to be camels, parts of a dragon, or an oppressed peasantry.</p><p>Child’s Play, performing for an audience ranging from pre- to slightly post-kindergarten, was more word-oriented in “Animal Tales and Dinosaur Scales.” This troupe specializes in bringing children’s writing to the stage in sketches and songs; “Animal Tales” accentuates the negative—fears of monsters, the dentist, sharks—to make it go away. When one actor announced she was going into the deep, dark woods and proceeded up an aisle to a blank rear wall, dozens of heads turned to see the scary forest.</p><p>There’s a lot of talk about arts education, about the usually unspecified value of nurturing creativity in children and the opposing need to tighten our belts. Nick Rabkin, a researcher for the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, recently <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-24/report-connects-dots-between-arts-education-and-future-arts-attendance-8">coauthored a report on the role arts education plays in arts participation</a>—and no surprise, it’s a big one. (Also not surprising: an overall decline in arts education in schools <a href="http://www.artsjournal.com/dewey21c/2011/03/arts-particpation-draft.html">hits African-American and Hispanic children hardest.</a>)</p><p>Just a few months ago, in January, <a href="http://www.arts.gov/artworks/?p=5402">National Endowment for the Arts chair Rocco Landesman made a plea for enhanced arts education</a> (and concomitant cuts in the “oversupply” of arts organizations). But given his history as a Broadway producer, his emphasis on the usefulness of technology, however trendy, is surprising. And suspect. Though he cites an NEA report showing that arts consumers via the Internet and electronic media are nearly three times as likely to attend live arts events, my guess is that the correlation in consumption is more about income and education than about being drawn to the arts through a screen.</p><p>Two things about the OTSFM kids’ shows: Audiences had immediate, virtually unanimous responses to what they were watching. More important, their responses were validated by everyone in the theater: other children, their teachers, the actors onstage—the community at this show. It may be hard to quantify the gains from seeing live theater. But if we choose to ignore them, everyone will lose.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/7wZorJMPyRE" title="YouTube video player" width="480" frameborder="0" height="390"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 06 Apr 2011 16:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-06/child-ticket-approximately-5-seeing-live-theater-priceless-84822 Report connects dots between arts education and future arts attendance http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-24/report-connects-dots-between-arts-education-and-future-arts-attendance-8 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-March/2011-03-24/Theater Our Hero.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Playwrights and directors generally hope they&rsquo;ll have a sold-out show. Turns out that long before any hype or promotion for a given production there are some consistent trends that lead to a full or empty house.<br /><br />The <a href="http://www.nea.gov/" target="_blank">National Endowment of the Arts</a> (NEA) regularly works with the Census Bureau to survey what&rsquo;s happening with arts attendance. The numbers from 2008 made them want to do a bit more number crunching. That&rsquo;s where NORC at the University of Chicago came into play.<br /><br /><a target="_blank" href="http://culturalpolicy.uchicago.edu/people/#Rabkin">Nick Rabkin</a> is a research affiliate at NORC and co-author of the report <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nea.gov/research/2008-SPPA-ArtsLearning.pdf">&quot;Arts Education in America: What the Declines Mean for Arts Participation</a>&quot;. Rabkin joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to explain some of his findings.</p></p> Thu, 24 Mar 2011 14:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-03-24/report-connects-dots-between-arts-education-and-future-arts-attendance-8