If you’re ready for a new adventure, three guides are blazing trails. There’s no immunizations or passports involved — you just need to tune into a new Mobile-based podcast built around the arts.
“Art Talk” is touted as an exploration of Mobile Bay’s cultural intricacies. Each month, Alabama Contemporary Arts Center (ACAC) Executive Director Elizabet Elliott, Mobile Arts Council Executive Director Lucy Gafford and Mobile Museum of Art (MMoA) Public Relations Manager Glenn Robertson will chat about the philosophies, criteria and institutional roles found in cultural pursuits.
There’s no El Dorado at journey’s end. Notices from ACAC promise to “get lost in the very tall weeds of art history, but maybe you’ll enjoy getting lost with us.” Not quite an Indiana Jones saga; the wandering is the point here.
Use of ACAC mailing lists and facilities pointed to Elliott as the prime instigator, but not so. Turns out Robertson spawned the idea and Elliott lent resources. Musical artist and engineer Jimmy Lee’s studio facilities on ACAC’s third floor had all they needed to produce the tracks.
“We’re trying to keep the episodes down to about 30-45 minutes. I know there will be a lot of fat that needs to be trimmed out, but we won’t be too strict,” Robertson said.
The MMoA publicist takes the hour-plus conversation and edits it down before sending files back to ACAC.
The first installment was recorded in April and debuted May 28. Another is in the can and due for a June release.
“We talked about photography as an art form,” Gafford said. All three hosts were studio art majors, but there’s sufficient daylight between their personalities and professional roles.
Gafford heads an umbrella agency that secures funding for a variety of ventures and advocates for a wealth of individual artists and cultural organizations. They represent artists, students, aficionados and educators at all levels.
Robertson handles promotion for the city’s largest cultural organization, an official arm of the public sector that secures and shows over 9,000 works of art as well as traveling exhibits. Historical context is a key component of their programming.
Elliott is the most seasoned of the trio, yet her institution is the youngest. Her 18-year-old showplace relies on a steady rotation of regional and national artists in a variety of career stages. It’s been home to internationally acclaimed stars and burgeoning talent alike. Their focus is forward, on the newly emergent.
All three institutions have notable educational programs. This podcast fulfills that role in ways yet untried hereabouts.
“We want to demystify the organizations. We’re taking art world ideas and applying them on the local level,” Elliott said.
Robertson mentioned topics like “representational vs. non-representational art,” “immersive art experiences and installations,” “fine art vs. craft,” and “the best and worst of artist statements.” Just before the holiday season, they’ll tackle the ins and outs of collecting on a local level. They promise to move beyond visual art with guests who specialize in varied media or performances.
This is the nouvelle vague for Mobile, as 2019 Arty Award winner Courtney Matthews proclaimed to a crowd just before the pandemic. Whether or not this generation can cultivate a rive gauche on the banks of Mobile Bay, we shall see.
The “Art Talk” podcast is available by searching for it on Spotify or by visiting alabamacontemporary.org/programs/art-talk-podcast.
The Mobile Symphony Orchestra has made a magnanimous offer for their season-ending “Russian Serenade” concerts June 12 and 13. Limited tickets for the twice-daily shows at the Saenger Theatre (6 S. Joachim St.) are free for health care workers and first responders to express gratitude for their efforts during the pandemic. They can call the box office at 251-432-2010 and ask for the offer. Their tickets will be placed in will call, where they can present ID and claim them on the show date.
Local students representing Mobile’s PACT Theatre Company and Sunny Side Theater will travel to Sugar Land, Texas, to perform at the inaugural 2021 Junior Theater Festival Texas June 25-27. PACT students will perform selections from “Children Of Eden JR.” and Sunny Side’s troupe will perform selections from Roald Dahl’s “Matilda The Musical JR.” for judges.
In 2019, nearly 15,000 people worldwide attended a Junior Theater Festival (JTF) or Junior Theatre Celebration. This is the inaugural JTF Texas, featuring 50 groups from 19 states.
Since 2016, both Sunny Side and PACT have been regular JTF award winners.
Other Alabama groups headed to the festival are from Albertville, Anniston, Dothan, Northport and Rainbow City.
Congratulations and break a leg!
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