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Business Ideas For Artist

If you intend to integrate your imaginative skills with your entrepreneurial savviness and also begin an organization to take advantage of your creative abilities, after that you’re in good luck. In this overview, we have actually rounded up 12 of the most effective art service ideas for you to think about.

What is an imaginative art service?
An imaginative art service can take lots of forms, but typically when one thinks of an innovative business, they consider production. Creating, songs, food, fashion, and layout are simply the beginning of the numerous creative business choices around. Artists, however, will likely wish to focus on tiny art company concepts that utilize their abilities in tools such as digital photography, visuals design, calligraphy, and fabric production.

What makes an excellent art service concept
There are plenty of creative art organization concepts available, however, some have a lot more possibility to be more financially rewarding than others. As an example, while there is a target market for custom-made mailboxes that resemble your pet, opportunities are they do not hold sufficient global interest make for a thriving company. To locate good imaginative art business suggestions, you’ll require to be able to use your imaginative skills for a company that has some legs. You should ask on your own the following questions when considering on the internet or in-person art organization ideas

Business Ideas For Artist

Exactly how saturated is the chosen market?

Who are my competitors?

Suggested 12

art business ideas.

Prior to you release your innovative business, consider these suggestions. For some artists, picking a business idea will be a piece of cake, however, others might require to take a while to find out just how their skills can equate to a successful company model. Either way, this checklist should provide you some entrepreneurial ideas.

1. Painting and sculpture
Allow’s begin with an imaginative business practically as old as time. Paint and sculptures are 2 really standard art kinds for which there will certainly constantly be a market. Besides, we all have blank walls and also empty mantels that require a bit of design. In today’s day as well as age, it is less complicated than ever before to offer your art to the masses. Costly gallery and studio rooms can be swapped for a smart social media site’s visibility or on the internet portfolio, for instance. Thanks to the internet and international delivery choices, you can conveniently sell your art online to anyone– which implies your prospective customer base is truly limitless.

2. Digital photographer
Digital photography has long been taken into consideration as an art kind and also it’s one that is increasingly appreciated in our social-media-obsessed age. You have an array of choices if you’re interested in starting a photography organization. You can offer nature or travel digital photography to media electrical outlets or tourism boards; picture occasions, such as wedding events, birth statements, events, and also extra; or you can benefit a product-based business to photo their items to use on their website or advertising product. Your choices are varied, so this innovative service can be a great fit for many kinds of artists.

3. Art educator
If you have any of the innovative abilities stated previously in this list, after that you can additionally take into consideration spreading your understanding by instructing them to others. Whether that be hosting a study in still life painting class with 30 pupils or coaching trainees one-on-one in the art of calligraphy. You could supply digital art courses or develop educational social networks material. You may additionally develop courses that teachers can use in their courses. Discover the training method that benefits you as well as get the word out about your new business.

4. Welcoming cards
With the appropriate layout as well as duplicate, greeting cards can be a masterpiece. As well as, the typical individual buys numerous cards throughout the year for a myriad of occasions. Take your panache for design as well as your sharp wit and create a line of unique as well as unique welcoming cards. In addition, beginning a welcoming card service can be very cost-efficient as well, as your materials will certainly be on the less expensive side contrasted to other art types. Depending upon your organization’s design, you may not require to develop them until the order is available, so you don’t run the risk of unsold inventory. You’ll have them shouting even more if you can make your customers really feel something when they look at your cards.

5. Candles
A true musician can value the beauty in all of our 5 detects. The scent is simply one that means you can contribute artistically. Take into consideration starting a candle business that incorporates lovely glasses with irresistible aromas. A great candle light adeptly blends style, design, and also aroma in a way that can deliver a customer. Be advised, this is a saturated market, so you’ll actually need to tap into your innovative side if you intend to attract attention among the crowd.

6. Art consultant
Comparable to curating vintages, you can utilize your preference to construct a business while seeking your enthusiasms. Art specialists assist clients to discover the appropriate art items for their individual collections. They have to be art specialists (we’re taking a look at all you art background majors) and also have a pulse on what’s taking place in the art market. Word-of-mouth advertising will be an important aspect of promoting this sort of business, once you have a couple of pleased consumers, you can look forward to your company obtaining momentum from there.

7. Calligraphy
Beautiful penmanship is one thing, but calligraphy is a next-level skill that few people have boasting civil liberties to. Calligraphy is used in lots of art kinds, in addition to products such as wedding celebration invitations as well as area cards. Both customers and companies alike need beautiful calligraphy solutions, so think about beginning an independent calligraphy organization to serve these different demands.

8. Tattoo musician
Did you understand that the tattoo market brings in $3 billion dollars a year? Tattoos remain to obtain popularity and people agree to spend a good piece of change for a top-quality tattoo. Certainly, being a tattoo musician requires some major abilities and also a very steady hand– it’s an art type through and through. So, if you have the skills and want to develop artwork that will remain with a person for their entire lives, this might simply be the art business suggestion for you.

9. Antique curation
Technical ability is not the only means to make use of your imaginative side. If you do not want to produce art yourself, why not utilize your taste to your benefit? There are constantly customers searching for special vintage styles and also art pieces, however not every person has the time or sources to uncover antiques. By starting an organization that curates vintages, whether in a shop or online, you can do the enjoyable, however sometimes unclean, the job of digging through thrift shops as well as estate sales to locate the most effective pieces. Your customers will want to pay for the ease of you using your good eye to locate the best designs.

10. Art supervisor
The title art director can include a range of work. Some art supervisors help create films, others develop publication layouts, some strategy massive advertising projects, and others manage the whole branding for a firm. These are just a few of several instances of tasks that art supervisors do, but what most share is they plan the overall layout for a task, whatever that may appear like. If you want styling, photography, graphic style, as well as typography, that being an art supervisor might just aid you to incorporate all of your creative passions.

11. Branding expert
If they want to send out an unforgettable as well as clear message to their clients, every business requires solid branding. While many larger organizations have branding specialists at home, smaller-sized companies may need a little assistance in the branding department. Like several imaginative service ideas, branding consulting can incorporate layout, photography, and also copy skills– so this is the ideal profession for someone that likes to service the complete picture of an innovative job. By helping organizations go far on their own, you can make a rewarding occupation in the arts.

12. Graphic layout
We reside in a digital world, which implies electronic art is equally essential. Starting a graphic design business is a wonderful way to flex your creative muscular tissues while additionally providing a valuable solution to businesses. You can work with branding projects by creating logo designs or social media graphics for businesses, help style items, rejuvenate sites, or offer layout templates you develop. From extremely fun and also imaginative jobs to B2B focused sales materials, there is no lack of help graphic developers to use their imagination too.


Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago Names New Artistic Directors


Steppenwolf Theater Company, an ensemble in Chicago with a track record of premiering critically acclaimed works that land on Broadway, announced its new artistic leadership on Thursday, and for the first time in the company’s decades-long history, that means two people, not one.

The ensemble members Glenn Davis, who is best known in New York for starring in “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” alongside Robin Williams on Broadway, and Audrey Francis, who co-founded a Chicago acting conservatory, will both serve as artistic directors, the company said. Davis, who is Black, is the first person of color in the company’s history to be in the role.

In an unusual process for a theater company, the ensemble voted to appoint Davis and Francis in an election, after the pair put themselves forward as a team.

The new leadership structure comes at a transitional time for Steppenwolf: This fall, it plans to open a new $54 million addition to the company’s headquarters in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, which will include a 400-seat theater-in-the-round and a floor dedicated to education. The debut will coincide with the company’s return to live performance — with Tracy Letts’s “Bug” in November — after a 20-month pandemic shutdown.

“The ensemble has always been the heart and soul of Steppenwolf,” Davis said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “As the company has grown so, too, has the ensemble, now reflecting a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and passions.”

The current artistic director, Anna D. Shapiro, who has led the ensemble since 2015, announced in May that she would be resigning at the end of August, which coincides with the completion of her second three-year contract. Shapiro’s resignation came shortly after two people of color who have worked with the theater shared grievances about the institution that were published on the website Rescripted.

Lowell Thomas, a video producer at Steppenwolf, resigned in April, accusing the company of burying “claims of harassment, racism, and sexism to avoid accountability and real change.” And Isaac Gomez, a playwright who worked with the theater, said he considered pulling one of his plays from the company’s programming because of Thomas’s departure.

At the time of her resignation, Shapiro told The Chicago Tribune that the timing of her announcement was unrelated to the published accounts, saying, “There’s not a theater in this country worth its salt that is not dealing with these questions of systemic racism and trying to look at its culture.”

In a statement about the new leadership, Eric Lefkofsky, the chairman of Steppenwolf’s board of trustees, said that Davis and Francis’s different backgrounds would lead to a “more comprehensive worldview in decision making.”

Steppenwolf — which employs a 49-person ensemble and operates programming for teenagers and educators — has a history of producing works that draw national recognition and transfer to New York stages.

In 2007, Shapiro directed the premiere of Letts’s play “August: Osage County.” Letts, who is a Steppenwolf ensemble member, also debuted a recent play, “The Minutes,” at the Chicago theater; the show’s Broadway run was interrupted by the pandemic. And the second Broadway show to reopen this summer, “Pass Over,” a play about two Black men trapped by existential dread, had its premiere at Steppenwolf, and two of the company’s ensemble members will appear in the Broadway version.

Davis, an actor and producer, joined the ensemble in 2017, appearing in plays like Bruce Norris’s “Downstate” and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “The Brother/Sister Plays.” In February, he will star in Steppenwolf’s “King James,” a play by Rajiv Joseph about LeBron James that was scheduled to have its debut in June 2020, then was delayed.

Francis, who also joined the ensemble in 2017 after attending its acting residency in 2004, has performed in 10 productions with the company, including Clare Barron’s “You Got Older” and Rory Kinnear’s “The Herd.” Francis co-founded the conservatory Black Box Acting and works as an acting coach for entertainment companies like Showtime and NBC.

In a statement, Francis said that one of their objectives as leaders will be to “re-examine how we support artists on and off stage.”

“We are inspired by the changes we see in our industry,” she said, “and aim to redefine how artists are valued in America.”


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‘A Storm Waiting to Happen’: A Colombian Writer Watches His Home From Afar


In the opening story of his new collection, “Songs for the Flames,” Juan Gabriel Vásquez writes about a war photojournalist who returns to a stretch of the Colombian countryside where, 20 years earlier, the casualties of the bloody conflict between paramilitary and guerrilla forces floated in a nearby river.

“Now things were different in certain fortunate places: Violence was retreating and people were getting to know something like tranquillity again,” she thinks. Yet when she re-encounters a local woman, she realizes that the horrors of the past — the suppressed memories, if not the bodies — remain just below the surface.

“The story shows you how fast Colombian reality moves,” Vásquez said in a video interview from Berlin, where he’s been delivering a series of lectures on fiction and politics (“my usual obsessions”) at the Free University since early April. “We try to deal with the present time in fiction, and reality leaves us behind.”

He is referring, of course, to late April, when Colombian reality abruptly changed once again: After the government of President Iván Duque attempted a tax overhaul in response to economic fallout from the pandemic, mass strikes and demonstrations erupted across the country. In the following weeks, the protests grew in intensity and expanded to encompass issues of social inequality and police reform. Images of clashes with the police flashed across the world. The country was inflamed once again.

Vásquez, 48, whose novels such as “The Sound of Things Falling” and “The Shape of the Ruins” have chronicled Colombia’s turbulent history, watched in horror from afar. It was “frustrating and infuriating,” he said, especially since the country’s struggles with the pandemic, police violence and the divide between rich and poor had long been apparent.

“It was very sad that some of us — many of us — were able to see it, but not the government,” he said with a sigh. “It was all a storm waiting to happen.”

Because of the turmoil in Colombia, “Songs for the Flames,” which Riverhead is releasing in English on Aug. 3, translated from Spanish by Anne McLean, feels particularly timely. But it arrived as something of a harbinger when it was published by Alfaguara in Colombia in 2018. “A year later, we had demonstrations against police brutality in which 13 people were killed,” Vásquez said. “And now we have what we are witnessing every day. Colombian reality has an incredible talent for fulfilling bad omens.”

The book includes four previously published stories and five new ones, linked by what he described as “echoes and common threads.” Several of them are propelled by narrators who resemble earlier incarnations of Vásquez — struggling writers adrift in Europe, unsure about their future and whether or not to return home. In “The Last Corrido,” a young novelist takes on a magazine assignment touring with a Mexican band in Spain, pondering illness, mortality and his uncertain destiny along the way. In “The Boys,” the rituals of a circle of teenagers in Bogotá reflect a world where judges and politicians are gunned down in broad daylight and the Cali and Medellín drug cartels are “starting to be on everyone’s lips.” The story, he said, is “a metaphor for my own adolescence.”

After 16 years in Paris, the Belgian Ardennes and Barcelona, Vásquez moved back to Bogotá in 2012, where he has been a frequent commentator on contemporary political and literary issues. Now the father of twin girls, he radiates warmth and thoughtfulness, as passionate in conversation about writing as he is about soccer.

Vásquez believes in the power of literature to open new spaces in the dialogue about his country’s fraught past and present, something that’s been increasingly on his mind since the 2016 peace agreements between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. “I realized that one of the most important things that was being negotiated was a version of our past,” he said. “We were trying to establish what has happened in Colombia in these 50 years of war, and of course the only way of knowing that is by telling stories. That is where journalists and historians and novelists come in.”

Indeed, Colombia’s literary landscape is thriving today thanks to writers such as Laura Restrepo, Jorge Franco, Pilar Quintana and Pablo Montoya, to name a few. It is not surprising, according to Vásquez, because “places in conflict produce fiction: Fiction is where all the anxieties and discontent, the dissatisfactions and fears of a society, filter down.”

Ricardo Silva Romero, a Bogotá-based novelist and journalist, echoed Vásquez’s sentiments in an email exchange. “All Colombian literature has been made in the middle of war, all of it, from ‘La Vorágine’ [‘The Vortex,’ a 1924 novel by José Eustasio Rivera] to ‘Songs for the Flames,’” Silva Romero said. “Our literary tradition, like our lives, runs along internal conflict.”

For him, there is even room for guarded optimism: “We have wonderful authors who tell what has happened to us and what is happening to us with such vigor, with such courage, that we could live with the hope that we can shake off the logic of violence.”

Not everyone shares such a rosy view. Héctor Abad, the Medellín-based author of “Oblivion,” a memoir about the murder of his father by paramilitary forces in 1987, among other works, said in an email that recent events have darkened his outlook.

“Maybe reality is too real around us. It is difficult to get out from under it: It imposes on your imagination even if you don’t want it to,” he said. “I think we’ve tried to help as writers, but I am very discouraged nowadays. We live in a deeply sick society. Even the society of letters is sick.”

Vásquez’s own mood is tense: The peace agreements, which both he and Silva Romero feel represent the best chance “to free ourselves from the spiral of violence,” have been politicized and are in danger, he said. “And to me, the social unrest we see today is inseparable from the failure of our leaders to fulfill the promise of the agreements.”

But he has nevertheless managed to wrest something positive out of this difficult year. “One of the strange things about the pandemic was that I went into this period of solitude and concentration like I have never known,” he said. “In nine months, I wrote a 480-page novel. It was unheard-of.”


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6 Podcasts to Whet Your Appetite for the Olympics


It’s been a rocky road to the Tokyo Games, which, after being delayed a year by the pandemic, will now take place (beginning Friday) without any spectators. Uncertainty and controversy, and a rising number of Covid-19 cases in the city, have increasingly overshadowed the run-up to the Summer Olympics, and early events like the ceremonial torch relay have felt subdued.

But despite the circumstances, the Games will (almost certainly) go on, and that’s to be celebrated. Whether you’re a dedicated Olympics fan or a casual viewer, these six podcasts will get you in the mood.

This compelling new investigative podcast series tells the little-known true story of one of the biggest mistakes in Olympic history. Women’s gymnastics got off to a rough start at the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia, marred by controversies over substance use and falsified ages — and then, during a competition vault event, things really got weird. One by one, with the whole world watching, elite gymnasts kept falling off the vault, in ways that were embarrassing at best and dangerous at worst. By the time somebody figured out what was going on (no spoilers here), the damage was done. In this five-episode series, through interviews with athletes who were there, Ari Saperstein delves into the bizarre back story of what happened.

Starter episode: “Episode 1”

The first podcast from Team U.S.A. debuted less than a year ago, in November of 2020, and it’s sure to whet your appetite for the long-awaited Games. Hosted by Sasha Cohen, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist in figure skating, the show features weekly conversations with guests who are mainly fellow Olympians, including several Tokyo-bound athletes like the gymnast Yul Moldauer, the Paralympic basketball player Matt Scott and the softball player Haylie McCleney. Because the show began during the pandemic, many of the interviews touch on subjects like mental health and staying motivated in a time of uncertainty, which are just as relevant to non-athletes. The show just wrapped up its first season at the start of July, but plans to return in the future.

Starter episode: “Tokyo Bound”

Many of the most popular Olympics-related podcasts are hosted by elite athletes who can speak directly to the competitive experience. “Off The Podium” is emphatically not that. Instead, it’s proudly hosted by three men — Ben Waterworth, Colin Hilding and Jarrod Loobeek — who “dream of Olympic glory and have as much athletic prowess as a piece of cheese.” While they may lack Olympic-level skill, they do possess palpable passion and knowledge about a range of sports. The show has been running since before the Rio Games in 2016 and has returned intermittently to discuss events including the 2018 Winter Olympics. Based on its coverage from past years, you can expect daily episodes recapping the latest news and highlights throughout the 2021 Games.

Starter episode: “The Best of ‘Off the Podium’ Part 2”

When a city wins its bid to host the Olympics, the implications go way beyond the single summer (or winter) when the ceremonies took place. Using the city of Sydney as its test case, this six-episode show explores what happens once the last medal has been awarded and the crowds have dispersed. Twenty years after the Sydney Olympics, the journalist Mark Beretta interviews the organizers and officials who were responsible for fulfilling the pledge to make it “the greenest Games ever,” and how that decision inspired urban transformation and environmental progress throughout Australia.

Starter episode: “How the Green Games Influenced a National and International Environmental Movement”

Although it’s hosted by Laura Wilkinson, a gold medalist diver, this show isn’t strictly about the Olympics. Wilkinson’s interviews with fellow athletes are focused more on the training techniques and psychological tools that have equipped them for success throughout their careers. Interviewees from a wide range of disciplines share candid thoughts about the mental health pitfalls of elite sports, overcoming fear in pursuit of goals and how to stay the course in the face of uncertainty. Even if you’re just starting a running routine or trying to get yourself back to the gym, there are plenty of insights to learn from the mind-set of Olympic athletes.

Starter episode: “17 Scars That Paved the Way to Tokyo With Taekwondo Olympian Victoria Stambaugh”

For a non-American perspective on the Olympics and Paralympics, give this relaxed, affable British show a shot. Throughout the year, “Anything but Footy” offers an overview of just about every Olympic sport played in England (except, as the title suggests, football), and makes a point of including sports that don’t always get the spotlight. The hosts, John Cushing and Michael Weadock, display their wide-ranging knowledge throughout the news and analysis segments. There are also a couple of long-running mini-series within the podcast: “Great British Bosses,” featuring interviews with sports leaders in Britain, and “Back on Track,” which explores how Tokyo-bound athletes got themselves re-motivated after the coronavirus delay.


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American Ballet Theater to Return to Lincoln Center in October


American Ballet Theater will return to Lincoln Center for indoor performances in October, the company said Wednesday. Its homecoming season at the David H. Koch Theater is set to feature the world premiere of the work “ZigZag” by Jessica Lang and the stage debut of pieces by Alexei Ratmansky and Christopher Rudd that were first shown online.

“We’ve all been drastically changed by the experience of the last 16 months,” Kevin McKenzie, Ballet Theater’s artistic director, said in an interview. “It’s poignant to come back to the theater because it will point out how well we have weathered the time away from each other.”

The season will begin Oct. 20 with McKenzie’s staging of “Giselle,” a full-length Romantic ballet from the 19th century with music by Adolphe Adam. Six performances of the 1987 production, originally created for the film “Dancers,” will be given through Oct. 24.

Lang’s new dance, set to 11 Tony Bennett songs, will follow on Oct. 26 as the centerpiece of the fall gala. It’s her fourth piece for Ballet Theater and the second she has choreographed to Bennett’s music for the company. The first, “Let Me Sing Forevermore,” was performed throughout its recent outdoor cross-country tour.

A chunk of the season’s programming has not yet been performed indoors for audiences in New York: Ratmansky’s “Bernstein in a Bubble,” Darrell Grand Moultrie’s “Indestructible Light,” Lauren Lovette’s “La Follia Variations” and Christopher Rudd’s “Touché” were all released online in 2020 and 2021. (Lovette and Moultrie’s dances were also subsequently performed live at the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts in Costa Mesa, Calif., and as a part of the touring program.)

More traditional repertory will be performed in the fall, as well, including “Some Assembly Required” by Clark Tippet and Antony Tudor’s 1942 ballet “Pillar of Fire,” which was last performed by Ballet Theater in 2015.

While McKenzie’s tenure as artistic director is coming to a close — he announced in March that he would step down after the 2022 season — he is more focused on getting the company back onstage regularly and recalibrating it for the world it is returning to than looking backward, he said. “I feel like I’ve got a task in front of me instead of some reflective moment of going, ‘Isn’t this nice?’”

Tickets for the fall season will go on sale Sept. 8.


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‘The Daily Show’ at 25: The Creators Look Back


We’re watching clips of “Dateline,” and all of a sudden, a hush fell over the room. It was like we all said it at the same time. We said: “What if we pretend we’re them? If we pretend we’re them and adopt this really mock-serious, self-important attitude? Then we can be as silly as we want as long as we always bring it home.” That was the moment “The Daily Show” was born.

How was Craig Kilborn brought in from “SportsCenter” to host?

WINSTEAD Herzog was a giant fan of Kilborn’s. He was somebody the network loved. A lot of people were like, “Is he playing dumb, or is he dumb?” He was a straight anchor, and people were always asking the question: “Is he a character, or is that who he really is?”

[Kilborn responded in an email: “Every place I’ve worked in television, I’ve mocked the format. At ‘The Daily Show,’ for the headlines I would play the thoughtful, virile news anchor. Then during the guest interview and ‘5 Questions’ I would be myself — affable, charming Craig.”]

SMITHBERG What we felt about Craig was that he was malleable. He had really good timing. He would read anything that was on the prompter, and he delivered the jokes really well. We thought of him as our Ted Baxter. The voice of “The Daily Show” was not Craig’s voice. He called stories about war and politics the front page. He said, “Can we get off the front page?”

[Kilborn: “I had an absolute blast hosting ‘The Daily Show,’ but there were major disconnects because the show was innocently set up in a flawed way — the host wasn’t hired first — so we inherited each other. I liked Madeleine a lot but she didn’t get me. Of course, there’s really no human being who could fully understand me, except for maybe the late Margaret Thatcher. And TNT’s Ernie Johnson.”]

How much did the show change in its planning and early stages?

SMITHBERG I had the set built, and Kilborn wouldn’t even look at the designs or setup. We’re launching the following Monday, so I’m like, “Come on, Craig, let’s get you down and sit you in your chair.” And he sits in his chair and says, “The set’s backward.” “What do you mean, it’s backward?” He goes, “This is my good side.” We had to flip the set over the weekend so that his good side could be to camera when he was talking to the guests.


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Asians Are Represented in Classical Music. But Are They Seen?


Artists of Asian descent have long been the subject of racist tropes and slurs, dating back to at least the 1960s and ’70s, when musicians immigrated to the United States from Japan, Korea and other parts of East Asia to study and perform. A 1967 report in Time magazine, titled “Invasion From the Orient,” reflected the thinking of the era.

“The stringed instruments were physically ideal for the Orientals: Their nimble fingers, so proficient in delicate calligraphy and other crafts, adapted easily to the demands of the fingerboard,” the article said.

Over time, Asian artists gained a foothold in orchestras and on the concert circuit. By 2014, the last year for which data is available, musicians of Asian descent made up about 9 percent of large ensembles, according to the League of American Orchestras; in the United States, Asians represent about 6 percent of the population. In renowned groups like the New York Philharmonic, the number is even higher: Asians now account for a third of that orchestra. (In Europe, it’s often a different story: In the London Symphony Orchestra, for example, three of 82 players, or less than 4 percent, have Asian roots, while Asians make up more than 18 percent of London’s population.)

Yet racist portrayals of Asian artists have persisted. Some have been told by conductors that they look like computer engineers, not classical musicians. Others have been described by audition committees as too weak and youthful to be taken seriously. Still others have been told their names are too foreign to pronounce or remember.

“You get written off as an automaton,” said Akiko Tarumoto, the assistant concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Tarumoto, 44, who is Japanese American, said that musicians of Asian descent in the Philharmonic are sometimes mistaken for each other, and in other ensembles she had heard fellow musicians refer to new hires simply as “Chinese girls.”


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Part of a Seismic Shift in Ballet, Hope Muir Takes on a Major Role


In early July, an article in The Toronto Star speculated about the pandemic-delayed, but at that point imminent, announcement of a successor to Karen Kain, the treasured former ballerina who had just stepped down as artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada after 16 years.

In the article, Tamara Rojo, Guillaume Coté and Crystal Pite, among others, were suggested as potential replacements. Hope Muir, whose appointment was announced on July 7, was not.

“The fact that they hired me and you have to Google is telling,” said Muir, 50, the current artistic director of the Charlotte Ballet in North Carolina. “I feel like more people like me, who weren’t necessarily huge stars, are going to end up in these roles, with perhaps a somewhat different approach to what ballet can be: more diverse, with more access and transparency about what you are doing.”

Muir’s appointment — she steps into the role on Jan. 1, 2022 — is part of a seismic shift in the ballet world. Over the next two years, Helgi Tomasson at San Francisco Ballet and Kevin McKenzie at American Ballet Theater will both step down; Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui will leave a vacancy at the Royal Ballet of Flanders when he moves to run the Grand Théâtre de Genève; Christian Spuck will be replaced by Cathy Marston at the Zurich Ballet when he takes over the Staatsballett Berlin.

“There is a new generation of artists,” Muir said in a Zoom interview from Charlotte. “You need people who want to have the conversations with them, listen to them and have empathy for their experience and what they want.”

Muir was born in Toronto, where she began to study ballet, but decided to dance professionally only after moving to England with her mother at 15 years old. She joined the newly formed English National Ballet School then danced with English National Ballet, Rambert and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago before becoming a freelance stager and ballet mistress. After a stint as the associate artistic director at Scottish Ballet, she took over from Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux at the Charlotte Ballet in 2017.

“I think Hope knew she wanted to be a director when she was 5,” said the choreographer Helen Pickett, who has worked regularly with Muir at the Charlotte Ballet. “She is a connector and a gatherer. She genuinely loves the community, and she has the long view. She knows ballet can evolve and she has a beautiful, keen understanding of both classical and contemporary work.”

In a wide-ranging conversation, Muir talked about her early self-doubt, her ideas for the National Ballet of Canada and whether enough is being done in the ballet world to promote diversity and change. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.

You once said you didn’t want to direct a big ballet company. What changed your mind?

I don’t think I had the trust in my own experience at that time. I had been mostly staging work on smaller companies, and when I first applied for an artistic director job, I didn’t even get an interview. After I became assistant artistic director at Scottish Ballet, I thought, “Hang on, I have danced in a ballet company, I am working in a ballet company and I shouldn’t narrow my options.” After I came to Charlotte, I was 100 percent invested in the potential of this company, and I turned down a few offers.

But when the National Ballet of Canada approached, I paused. I was very aware that a job like this doesn’t come around that often. I sat with it for a bit, then thought, why couldn’t I do this? One thing that I kept thinking was, “You’ve not been a star, not been a prima ballerina? Will they want a big name?” I thought, “Well, why don’t I just find out?”

I think women often worry about their qualifications for a job whereas men will take their chances.

One hundred percent, this has happened to us as women. Men will apply for things they don’t have experience of; women will do the checklist: Do I meet the criteria?

What kind of artistic vision did you present to the search committee?

There wasn’t a vision statement as such. They gave the candidates a three-year programming exercise that included various anchor ballets that you had to incorporate, as well as making sure there was representation of female choreographers, Canadian choreographers, and Black, Indigenous and people of color choreographers in each season. It was a fascinating and very satisfying exercise because when you look at ballet repertory, you realize that most ballets are choreographed by white men.

There were many other elements in my presentation, but working with young choreographers is very important to me. My nature is to nurture. I take the most satisfaction in the thoughtful development of the artists and in pushing the art form forward. A ballet company today needs to lead with stories that connect and keep people interested in the classical tradition.

What will your balance between classical and contemporary be at the National Ballet of Canada?

I think the current balance between classical and contemporary is good. There are full-length ballets that we’ll keep and relationships with contemporary choreographers like Crystal Pite, which I would love to continue. I would like to work with many people who have come to the Charlotte Ballet — Christian Spuck, Helen Pickett, David Dawson, Alonso King. And I need to immerse myself in the Canadian dance scene.

There is a lot of talk about the need for more diversity, more inclusion, more female voices in ballet. Is change happening fast enough?

The conversation has started, but there is a lot of work to still do. The changes need to be thoughtful, measured and permanent.

You need to give people opportunities without tokenism, and at the right moment in their careers. I am thinking about commissioning smaller works first and asking people to come and hang out while other work is being done, because the culture and practices of a big ballet company can be intimidating. Then there are amazing people like Alonso King, who should be acknowledged as a trailblazer.

More work could be done in training to encourage girls to develop their individual voice. I started a choreographic lab here in Charlotte that runs all year, and I want to do the same in Toronto. If one opportunity a year comes up, women are often too exhausted because they dance more. This way they can pop in and out.

I am excited about all these ideas, and for my colleagues and friends who are also taking up director positions. Sometimes we get together and say, “Is someone going to come in and tell us this isn’t real?”


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Gil Wechsler, an Illuminating Fixture at the Met Opera, Dies at 79


Gil Wechsler, who with innovative lighting designs helped bring to life more than 100 productions at the Metropolitan Opera, translating the visions of some of opera’s best-known directors while also contributing to a more modern look for the Met’s stagings, died on July 9 at a memory-care facility in Warrington, Pa. He was 79.

His husband, the artist Douglas Sardo, said the cause was complications of dementia.

Mr. Wechsler was the first resident lighting designer at the Met. He lit his inaugural show in 1977 and, over the next 20 years, made days dawn, rain fall and cities burn in 112 Met productions, 74 of them new.

His career also took him to London, Paris and other international centers of opera and ballet. Wherever he was designing, he knew that audiences often didn’t take much notice of his contributions to a production — which was usually the point.

“If lighting is good, you really shouldn’t notice it often,” he told Opera News in 1987. “In some operas, however, such as ‘Die Walküre,’ the lighting becomes the show. It should seem natural — it shouldn’t jar, but you should be moved by it.”

Fabrizio Melano was among the many directors who appreciated Mr. Wechsler’s skills even though, as he noted, audiences often did not.

“They sort of take the lighting for granted, and it’s something intangible,” Mr. Melano said in a phone interview. “You can see sets, you can see people moving, but lighting is an atmosphere. But sometimes the atmosphere is the most important thing, because so much depends upon it. And he was a master of atmosphere.”

One of many examples of Mr. Wechsler’s handiwork was seen at the Met in Mr. Melano’s staging of Debussy’s “Pelléas et Mélisande,” on which they collaborated in 1977. The set featured a number of scrims and screens, with treelike images projected onto them.

“The illusion of moonlight coming through the trees is created by a patterned slide placed in front of one of the lamps,” The New York Times explained in a 1978 article on Mr. Wechsler and how he created his effects. “From the audience, the set looks remarkably like a three‐dimensional forest.”

Joseph Volpe, a former general manager at the Met, said that Mr. Wechsler was an important part of an effort instituted by John Dexter, the Met’s director of productions from 1975 to 1981, to modernize the look of the company’s productions. Previously, lighting had usually been handled by the head electrician, and the approach was simply to illuminate the whole stage. Mr. Wechsler brought nuance and visual effects into play, including by using light to make a soloist stand out and the chorus fade into shadow.

“The company had a nickname for Gil: Prince of Darkness,” Mr. Volpe said in a phone interview, “because Gil of course understood that it’s important that you don’t flood the whole stage with light.”

Gilbert Dale Wechsler was born on Feb. 5, 1942, in Brooklyn. His father, Arnold, was a stockbroker, and his mother, Miriam (Steinberg) Wechsler, volunteered at the Brooklyn Museum.

When he was growing up his parents often sent him to summer camp in New Jersey, Mr. Sardo said in a phone interview, and working on camp productions is where young Gil first discovered his fascination with theater.

He graduated from Midwood High School in Brooklyn and studied for three years at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., before realizing that a career in business or finance was not in his future. In 1964 he earned a theater degree at New York University, and in 1967 he received a master of fine arts degree at Yale.

Upon graduating he found work as an assistant to the prominent set and lighting designer Jo Mielziner, and in 1968 he received his first Broadway credit, as lighting designer on the Charles Dyer play “Staircase.” He would have one more Broadway credit, in 1972, for Georges Feydeau’s “There’s One in Every Marriage.” Before coming to the Met, he also designed for the Stratford Festival in Ontario, the Harkness Ballet, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and other leading regional theaters and festivals.

At the Met, Mr. Wechsler worked with Otto Schenk, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, David Hockney and many other leading directors and designers. Lighting for the Met is particularly challenging because — unlike on Broadway, for instance — the shows change on a weekly or even daily basis. One of Mr. Wechsler’s accomplishments, Mr. Sardo said, was to develop accurate records of the lighting schemes for each production, so that one show could be swapped for another more efficiently.

“Before Gil was involved, there were no reference manuals as to how that should be done,” Mr. Sardo said. “Someone kinda remembered how the lighting was supposed to be.”

In 1979, Mr. Volpe said, Mr. Wechsler further smoothed the changeovers by installing the Met’s first computerized light board.

His work on a production began well before opening night or even the first rehearsal; for an opera, he would study an opera’s score and develop his own ideas of how each scene should look.

“The lighting cues are always a function of the music,” he told The Times, “and in that sense, the score is the bible. The music will suggest a sunrise, or a gloomy day perhaps, as well as a feeling of continuity from scene to scene. As I follow the score, certain pictures will automatically occur to me.”

But they were not necessarily the same pictures that occurred to the director or the scenic designer; once they all put their heads together, the compromising would begin. In the Opera News interview, he recalled a particular scene in “Turandot” that he and the director Franco Zeffirelli conceived very differently.

“Puccini’s score doesn’t indicate when the scene is held,” he explained, “except to mention that lanterns are placed around the stage. That clue meant ‘night’ to me, but Franco sees it another way” — he wanted the scene staged in daylight.

Mr. Wechsler also found compromises with the set and costume designers, and with the performers. There was, for instance, the issue of fire.

“Fire is difficult, because you obviously can’t have a full stage fire, even though quite a few operas call for them,” he told The Times. “We create fire with smoke, steam and projections. The more smoke and steam we can use, the better it will look. Unfortunately, the more smoke we use, the less happy the singers are.”

The Prince of Darkness didn’t use shade only to hide the chorus; in the case of some of the Met’s older productions, he used it to keep the wear and tear on the sets from being visible. That could be difficult, though.

“When the score calls for a bright, sunny day, we can’t make it too bright, or you’ll see where the paint is flaking,” he said. “And we can’t make it so dark that it doesn’t look like daytime anymore.”

Mr. Wechsler, who lived in Upper Black Eddy, Pa., oversaw his final Met production, Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino,” in 1996. He and Mr. Sardo, whose relationship began in 1980, married in 2017. In addition to Mr. Sardo, Mr. Wechsler is survived by a brother, Norman.

Mr. Wechsler’s lighting designs were still in use by the Met for a number of productions before performances were halted by the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.


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‘Free Britney’: Lawmakers Unveil Bill Spurred by Movement


Prompted by growing public outrage over Britney Spears’s conservatorship, two members of the House of Representatives have proposed a bill that, if passed, would create a pathway for Ms. Spears and other individuals to ask a judge to replace their private guardian or conservator.

The legislation, known as the Freedom and Right to Emancipate from Exploitation Act, or the FREE Act, was introduced on Tuesday by co-sponsors Representative Charlie Crist, Democrat of Florida, and Representative Nancy Mace, Republican of South Carolina.

Under the bill, individuals would have the right to ask that their private guardian or conservator, who is appointed by the judge, be replaced with a public guardian employed by the state, a family member or a private agent, which the bill argues would provide more accountability. Currently, individuals typically must prove in court that abuse or fraud has occurred in order for a guardian to be replaced. The legislation could also help remedy the dearth of data on guardianships and conservatorships in the United States.

“We want to make sure that we bring transparency and accountability to the conservatorship process,” Ms. Mace said in an interview with Mr. Crist ahead of the announcement. “The Britney Spears conservatorship, it’s a nightmare. If this can happen to her, it can happen to anybody.”

The legislation, which refers to Ms. Spears as a pop icon, was proposed as the “Free Britney” movement has gained impressive traction, including among lawmakers, after a New York Times documentary this year revealed Ms. Spears’s yearslong struggle under her conservatorship, which began in 2008 and gave her father broad control over her life and finances. In 2019, Ms. Spears told a Los Angeles judge that under the conservatorship, she felt forced to a stay at a mental health facility and to perform against her will.

The singer’s testimony last month, in which she told a judge that the conservatorship was “abusive” and that it had “traumatized” her, has increased scrutiny of such arrangements.

The bill argues that Ms. Spears’s unsuccessful petitions in court to remove her father, Jamie Spears, as conservator show that her right to due process has been violated. However, the legislation falls far short of systemic reforms many advocates have called for. It would not make it easier to end such a guardianship or conservatorship, nor would it encourage state courts, which largely oversee such arrangements, to use alternatives.

The National Center for State Courts estimated that, in 2011, there were 1.5 million active guardianships alone. (A conservator generally controls an adult’s financial affairs, while a guardian control all aspects of a person’s life. But in practice, there can be little difference between the two arrangements.) Most involve seniors or individuals with disabilities. Individual cases show how little agency an individual can have in a guardianship, but there is no data about how many have petitioned to be freed.

“Guardianship is extremely restrictive,” said Prianka Nair, co-director of the Disability and Civil Rights Clinic at Brooklyn Law School. “One thing that would be extraordinarily helpful is to have legislation that actually says guardianship should be the last measure and that courts should consider other less restrictive ways of providing decision-making support.”

Rick Black, executive director of the Center for Estate Administration Reform, a not-for-profit advocacy group, who helped to shape the bill, said that he was heartened, although the path to reform remains long.

“The FREE Act is just a start,” said Mr. Black. “But it will drive discussions to hopefully give us statistics to help quantify the issues to help introduce real reforms and prosecute those who execute these crimes.”

Mr. Crist said that the bill was designed to be narrow in order to attract bipartisan support.

“We’ve tried to be very smart and focused,” he said. “That gives us a much greater opportunity to have success.”

The bill would also fund states to assign independent caseworkers to individuals under guardianship or conservatorship to monitor for signs of abuse. States who accept the grant must then require caseworkers and guardians to provide financial disclosures, an effort aimed at preventing fraud.

A previous measure aimed at reforming guardianships, introduced in 2019, failed to move beyond the House Judiciary Committee. But with lawmakers, advocates and Ms. Spears’s supporters teaming up to promote the current legislation and boost awareness, all parties are encouraged.

“We’re all taking advantage of the momentum that the Free Britney movement has provided,” Mr. Black said.


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It’s Never Too Late to Play the Cello


“It’s Never Too Late” is a new series that tells the stories of people who decide to pursue their dreams on their own terms.

In 1940, at age 12, Vera Jiji found her first passion: the cello. She learned to love playing the orchestra instrument at the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan. “I didn’t pick the cello. They assigned it to me because I had a good ear and long fingers,” said the Bronx native, now 93. “I loved it. It’s a beautiful instrument that can sound like a human voice. It looked like a female body, with hips, breasts and a waist. Holding it and playing it was a very intimate experience.”

As an adult, though, she stopped playing the instrument. She became a professor and a fixture at Brooklyn College teaching English classes. She married twice and had four children. Her beloved cello, her mother’s high school graduation present, sat tucked away in the back of her clothing closet. It remained untouched, almost forgotten, for about 40 years. She picked up her cello again only after retiring at 62.

“I revived the passion I always felt when I started playing again,” she said. Since then, it has been like a second life.

Today Dr. Jiji, who lives with her 93-year-old husband in an Upper East Side townhouse, can be found playing most Fridays with other amateurs and friends in two musical groups, a trio and a string quartet, at the 92nd Street Y. She’s also a part of the Y’s annual musical performance. In 2007 she self-published her first book, “Cello Playing for Music Lovers,” which is sold on Amazon in more than 20 countries. (The following interview has been edited and condensed.)

What made you return to music after all these years?

Brooklyn College gave me companions and socialization with other teachers and students. I felt important socially. When I retired, I lost that. I felt empty and needed to replace that loss and community. I wanted to meet people in the neighborhood.

How did you feel about retiring?

I thought my life was over; it wasn’t. I had to find a different road. I thought about the road I took when I was younger, and the one I didn’t take because I was a wife and a mother of four and had a career. I thought about the road I didn’t travel — one filled with music — and realized I should take that road now. I couldn’t take both at the same time. The one I took became my life. I went back to the fork and took the other road to see where it would take me.

How did you know where to start?

I’m a half a block away from the 92nd Street Y. I walked in and asked about classes; they had a creative music class for people over 60 and told me to just show up. I thought I would have to take a test, but I didn’t. I was at the piano, seated next to an instructor who said, “Let’s see how you play,” when someone walked in carrying a cello. I couldn’t believe it. I asked if I could play it and I fell in love with the instrument instantly.

What did that feel like?

Like coming home. It all came flooding back, and it was wonderful. I felt like I was reconnecting with a best friend. I needed the opportunity to play music and have these other musicians in my life. This was a return to a prized passion.

What have you gained by returning to this passion?

Music is a perfect language; it’s like a conversation between people who never misunderstand each other and never get bored. When you play music with people, it’s a kind of friendship. Music is a world of pleasure. It has given me a way to communicate without using words. It gave me a next step in life.

What made you write your book, “Cello Playing for Music Lovers”?

I looked for other books I could turn to, and didn’t find anything helpful. So I decided to write one. As an English professor, I knew how to do this. I’m good at articulating ideas, being able to put things down in a way people can follow, and I’m disciplined enough to sit down everyday and write. I made it a practice to stop at a specific point where I knew what I wanted to say going forward. I never stopped when I was at a loss. That way I could continue the next day knowing I had direction and wouldn’t get overwhelmed. And I wanted to help others.

How do you feel about this stage in your life?

I’m 93. People view age incorrectly: Getting older doesn’t mean you can’t have something, you can. And getting older isn’t getting worse. I’m about enjoying the moment. You have to get up each morning and do something you love. That’s how you move forward.

What is your best advice for people looking to make a change?

Do not be afraid to go back to something you loved. People say no to things too quickly. We aren’t always our best friends. Your passion or skills are still there. You will remember more than you think. All the information about music I thought I’d lost was in a part of my brain that wasn’t talking to me until I tapped back into it.

What have you learned during this new act in your life?

Even though I was aging I learned I could still re-enter this wonderful world of creating music. And the community I lost I found again. Music gave me a new group of people. It gave me support. It gave me a new home.

In this second act, what are you most proud of accomplishing?

Writing and publishing “Cello Playing for Music Lovers.” I lived, I died; what did I give the world? This book, which will outlast me. When I’m gone, this will still be here, helping people learn the cello.

What lesson can people learn from your experience?

Don’t say no to yourself.

We’re looking for people who decide that it’s never too late to switch gears, change their life and pursue dreams. Should we talk to you or someone you know? Share your story here.


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Kurt Westergaard, 86, Dies; His Muhammad Cartoon Sparked Outrage


Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist whose 2005 caricature of the Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban touched off violent protests by Muslims, prompted a massacre that left 12 people dead at the offices of a French satirical magazine and made him a target of assassins for the rest of his life, died on Wednesday in Copenhagen. He was 86.

His family announced his death to Danish media on Sunday. No specific cause was given.

Mr. Westergaard was one of 12 artists commissioned by Jyllands-Posten, a self-described center-right newspaper in Denmark, to draw Muhammad “as you see him.” The newspaper said “the Muhammad cartoons,” as they came to be known — although some depicted other figures — were not intended to be offensive but rather to raise questions about self-censorship and the limits to criticism of Islam.

Mr. Westergaard said that when he drew his cartoon he was seeking to underscore his view that some people invoked the prophet to justify wanton violence. He later explained that the bearded man he had depicted, with a lit fuse protruding from his turban, could have been any Islamic fundamentalist — not necessarily the founder of Islam.

Still, many Muslims were outraged because they believe that any images of the prophet, much less one provocatively connected to terrorism, are considered blasphemous.

In 2006, Danish embassies in the Arab world were attacked in riots that claimed dozens of lives. In 2008, three people were charged by the Danish authorities with threatening to murder Mr. Westergaard. Two years later, a Somali Muslim intruder armed with an ax and a knife penetrated the cartoonist’s home in Aarhus, though it was equipped with steel doors, bulletproof glass and surveillance cameras.

At the time, Mr. Westergaard and his 5-year-old granddaughter were cowering in a fortified bathroom. The intruder was shot by the police and later convicted and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and deportation.

In 2015, three Islamic militants stormed the Paris office of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had reprinted the cartoons, and killed 12 people, most of them staff members.

In an interview with The National Post of Denmark in 2009, Mr. Westergaard expressed disappointment at the reaction to his cartoon by many newcomers to his country.

“Many of the immigrants who came to Denmark, they had nothing,” he said. “We gave them everything — money, apartments, their own schools, free university, health care. In return, we asked one thing — respect for democratic values, including free speech. Do they agree? This is my simple test.”

He was born Kurt Vestergaard on July 13, 1935, in Jutland, Denmark, the peninsula flanked by the North and Baltic Seas.

Raised in a conservative Christian family, he experienced what he described as a religious liberation as a high school student. He later enrolled at the University of Copenhagen to study psychology and then taught German and worked in a school for disabled students in Djursland. He joined Jyllands-Posten in 1983 and retired in 2010, when he was 75.

His survivors include his wife, Gitte; their five children; 10 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

In 2008, Mr. Westergaard won the Sappho Award from the Free Press Society of Denmark. In 2010, he received the M100 Media Award from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany for his contributions to freedom of opinion.

“I want to be remembered as the one who struck a blow for free speech,” he once said. “But there is no doubt that others will instead remember me as a Satan who insulted the religion of a billion people.”

Mr. Westergaard and his wife lived under tight security after the authorities foiled the first assassination attempt against him in 2006, although it was difficult to hide a man so often nattily attired in red trousers, a broad-brimmed black hat and giraffe-headed walking stick.

He chose to live openly in Aarhus in recent years.

“I do not see myself as a particularly brave man,” he told The Guardian in 2010, adding: “But in this situation I got angry. It is not right that you are threatened in your own country just for doing your job. That’s an absurdity that I have actually benefited from, because it grants me a certain defiance and stubbornness. I won’t stand for it. And that really reduces the fear a great deal.”


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