Saturday, February 21, 2009

Everyone an Artist

Global voices calling for the development of "every human being (as) an artist" (Joseph Beuys). Shot by Steven Dahlberg at Weimar Sommerkurse 2007 in Weimar, Germany.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Valentine Peace Project

[11 February 2009 - Ode Magazine - Blog - By Susan Corso] The Valentine Peace Project was created to expand the vision of Valentine's Day to include public participation in creative peace action. On February 14 poems surrounding the themes of peace, love and community, will be wrapped around thousands of different flowers in various cities to give away. The mission is to rediscover some of the mystery and magic of love and how that relates to peace. What does Valentine's Day mean to you? More

Loneliness as Harmful as Smoking - Loneliness Affects Brain

[16 February 2009 - Psych Central News] A new study finds that social isolation affects not only how people behave, but also how their brains operate. University of Chicago scientists presented their research, "Social Emotion and the Brain," at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The work is the first to use fMRI scans to study the connections between perceived social isolation (or loneliness) and activity in the brain. Combining fMRI scans with data relevant to social behavior is part of an emerging field examining brain mechanisms. Researchers found that the ventral striatum -- a region of the brain associated with rewards -- is much more activated in non-lonely people than in the lonely when they view pictures of people in pleasant settings. In contrast, the temporoparietal junction -- a region associated with taking the perspective of another person -- is much less activated among lonely than in the non-lonely when viewing pictures of people in unpleasant settings. ... John Cacioppo, one of the nation's leading scholars on loneliness, has shown that loneliness undermines health and can be as detrimental as smoking. About one in five Americans experience loneliness, he said. Decety is one of the nation's leading researchers to use fMRI scans to explore empathy. More

Selling Culture as an Economic Force ... Saving Federal Arts Funds

[15 February 2009 - New York Times] The challenge for culture boosters in Congress was to convince a House-Senate conference committee that the arts provide jobs as other industries do, while also encouraging tourism and spending in general. "We had the facts on our side," said Representative Louise M. Slaughter, a New York Democrat who is co-chairwoman of the Congressional Arts Caucus. "If we’re trying to stimulate the economy, and get money into the Treasury, nothing does that better than art." ... As the details of the final bill were being hammered out, tens of thousands of arts advocates around the country were calling and e-mailing legislators. Arts groups also organized an advertising blitz arguing that culture contributes 6 million jobs and $30 billion in tax revenue and $166 billion in annual economic impact. The tide turned. In addition to preserving the $50 million allocation, the final bill eliminated part of the Senate amendment that would have excluded museums, theaters and arts centers from any recovery money. "It’s a huge victory for the arts in America," said Robert L. Lynch, the president of Americans for the Arts, a lobbying group. "It's a signal that maybe there is after all more understanding of the value of creativity in the 21st-century economy." That Senate amendment, proposed by Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, had grouped museums, theaters and arts centers with implied frivolities like casinos and golf courses. More

Sunday, February 15, 2009

On Education - Our Greatest National Shame

[15 February 2009 - New York Times - By Nicholas Kristof] So maybe I was wrong. I used to consider health care our greatest national shame, considering that we spend twice as much on medical care as many European nations, yet American children are twice as likely to die before the age of 5 as Czech children -- and American women are 11 times as likely to die in childbirth as Irish women. Yet I'm coming to think that our No. 1 priority actually must be education. That makes the new fiscal stimulus package a landmark, for it takes a few wobbly steps toward reform and allocates more than $100 billion toward education. ... So for those who oppose education spending in the stimulus, a question: Do you really believe that slashing half a million teaching jobs would be fine for the economy, for our children and for our future? More

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Richard Florida on How the Crash Will Reshape America

[March 2009 - The Atlantic - By Richard Florida] The crash of 2008 continues to reverberate loudly nationwide -- destroying jobs, bankrupting businesses, and displacing homeowners. But already, it has damaged some places much more severely than others. On the other side of the crisis, America’s economic landscape will look very different than it does today. What fate will the coming years hold for New York, Charlotte, Detroit, Las Vegas? Will the suburbs be ineffably changed? Which cities and regions can come back strong? And which will never come back at all? More