Sunday, September 19, 2010

A New Direction for PBS?

ARLINGTON, VA.- PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger today announced the launch of PBS Arts, a new website that offers Americans the opportunity to experience the arts and explore the creative process through special virtual exhibits, videos from PBS national and local programs and interactive features. The website is part of PBS’ ongoing commitment to strengthen public engagement in all forms of artistic expression and performance – in front of the camera and behind the scenes – and to bring more of the arts into the lives of millions of Americans. PBS Arts’ initial offerings include four concurrent virtual exhibitions, including “Ruin and Revival,” which features works from the “Storm Cycle” collection by New Orleans-based artist Thomas Mann. In this exhibition, Mann commemorates the city’s ongoing recovery and renovation, and celebrates its resilience. Producers from the PBS series CRAFT IN AMERICA filmed Mann in and around New Orleans at locations that inspired his sculptural works. The “Ruin and Revival” virtual exhibition offers additional arts-focused Katrina footage, including a Louisiana Public Broadcasting report, video excerpts of PBS host Tavis Smiley’s recent journey to New Orleans and Smiley’s conversation with Branford Marsalis about the Musicians’ Village, a physical and spiritual home for performing artists in the city. “PBS and its member stations strive to help the American people discover the power and remarkable breadth of the arts,” said Ms. Kerger. “For 40 years, we’ve used television to give the public a front-row seat to the world’s greatest cultural experiences, and now PBS Arts will help us achieve this goal online. PBS Arts will also allow us to transport audiences from these front-row seats and give them opportunities to interact with artists and share their experiences of being engaged and enriched by the arts.” PBS Arts is organized into exhibitions and searchable by artistic discipline. The website will feature initially at least one new exhibition each month with content spanning all genres of the performing and visual arts, including dance, theater, contemporary music, opera, painting, sculpture, film and photography. One new web exclusive, SOUND TRACKS Presents “Quick Hits,” is a spinoff of the PBS SOUND TRACKS: MUSIC WITHOUT BORDERS television pilot, which showcased stories about music and musicians from around the world. The premiere episode of “Quick Hits” presents Italian superstar Jovanotti (considered the Bono or Bruce Springsteen of Italy) in a San Francisco stage performance and interview with public radio reporter/host Marco Werman, along with a photo slideshow. In September, “Quick Hits” will feature the Brazilian singer and actor Seu Jorge. Other exhibitions will showcase stories and videos from signature PBS series such as ART:21 and AUSTIN CITY LIMITS. PBS Arts will explore the process of artistic creation, behind the scenes and directly with the artists. Users will be encouraged to comment on the exhibitions and performances as well as upload their own related content. PBS Arts will allow viewers to share content with their friends, family and followers on Facebook and Twitter. Full episodes of — and additional footage from — upcoming PBS specials and series such as CIRCUS, a six-hour program premiering in November, will give PBS Arts visitors additional opportunities to delve into the many arts and cultural programs found on PBS. The site’s launch coincides with the recently released National Endowment for the Arts report, Audience 2.0: How Technology Influences Arts Participation , which indicates that people who engage with the arts on-air or online are three times more likely to attend a “live” event than non-media participants. For many adults, electronic media represents their sole means of experiencing dance, theater and music, the research showed. The debut of PBS Arts kicks off PBS’s multi-platform initiative to reinvigorate public engagement with the arts through an exploration of performance, artistic expression and the creative process — on-air, online, in the classroom and in every community. PBS believes access to the arts educates the nation’s children, defines cultures, increases creativity and innovation, fosters civic engagement and promotes appreciation for diverse traditions. With the goal to cultivate vibrant and connected communities, PBS brings more arts to more Americans than any other media company.
PBS Arts Paula A. Kerger Thomas Mann Arts Dailey

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