About the cover
Being executive director of a theater company doesn’t mean you get to sit back
and watch others work, as Michael Cochran knows. At his theater—Market
House Theatre in Paducah, Kentucky—Cochran
does everything from working on the publicity
to coordinating catering and concessions to
maintaining plumbing and setting up lights, in
addition to his artistic duties of selecting and
directing the plays the company stages.
About this Issue
Depending on your lens, art is many things: transformative, evocative, beautiful,
provocative. Behind these great artistic performances and exhibitions you experience,
however, a great deal of hard work is going on. Dance steps must be
learned and perfected, canvas must be purchased and stretched before being
painted, symphonies must be written and then scored into parts for each instrumentalist.
On a more practical level, babysitters must be arranged to free up
time to work in the studio, grants must be submitted or a full-time job attended
in order to pay for supplies, sets must be built, hotels and rehearsal space must
be secured for visiting artists. When we take in the ballet, the photograph, the
poem, we are seeing only the finished product. This issue of NEA Arts will look
at all the steps leading up to that final product, the work behind the artwork.
A couple of months ago, the NEA began the Art Works blog on our website
(www.arts.gov/artworks), where we keep track of Chairman Rocco Landesman’s
travels around the country as part of the Art Works Tour, but also look at
interesting examples of how art transforms communities. If you have an
example you would like to share, or just want to comment on something you
read there or in this issue, please join in the conversation on the blog.