NEA Announces Second Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater at USC Annenberg
September 12 , 2005
LOS ANGELES – The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California today announced the second NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater. The Institute will be held January 9-20, 2006 in Los Angeles at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. It is part of a series of linked programs across the country that focus on improving arts criticism and coverage of theater, classical music, opera and dance.
"There can be no meaningful theater culture in America without lively and informed criticism, and so fostering arts journalists is essential," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "With the exception of a few major American cities, arts coverage today is rather neglected. These Institutes allow working journalists to brush up on their craft, and deepen their knowledge. USC has helped to improve the quality of theater criticism in recent years."
The NEA Arts Journalism Institutes are helping to establish the importance of professional training in the coverage of the arts. The programs are designed for print and broadcast journalists located outside the country's largest media markets, where professional development opportunities are limited. Institutes for dance critics are also being hosted by the American Dance Festival at Duke University and for classical music and opera critics at Columbia University. The NEA is providing $1 million for the first two years of the program, which will help to cover most of the participants' expenses.
"Theater criticism plays an important role in America's cultural dialogue and development," said USC Annenberg Dean Geoffrey Cowan. "Last year’s institute at USC Annenberg was a tremendous success and we are delighted to continue our partnership with Dana Gioia and the NEA to foster arts journalism and criticism that keeps the conversation going between artists and audiences."
USC Annenberg program director Sasha Anawalt will direct the Institute in collaboration with artistic advisor and L.A. Weekly theater editor Steven Leigh Morris.
"The 25 NEA participants from last year are truly a fellowship," said Anawalt. "They have stayed in touch with each other and their instructors, regularly exchanging professional advice, story tips and insights that they report have revolutionized their work for the better. The Institute is actually a living network that serves America's theater community. For the new batch of fellows coming in, the scene will become even more connected and vital."
Professional Development through Study and Hands-on Training
The NEA Arts Journalism Institutes are helping to establish the importance of arts journalism through lectures and seminars with leaders in higher education, the arts, and journalism. Participants acquire basic working knowledge of the relevant art form through pre-institute reading lists; introductory lectures covering basic vocabulary, historical roots, and contemporary trends; and by attending performances.
The attendees work with senior journalists and faculty members to improve their viewing, analytical, and writing skills. In addition, participants attend performances that cover a wide variety of genres and styles, as well as rehearsals and behind-the-scenes meetings with artists and administrators of Los Angeles’ leading theater organizations.
Finally, the journalists develop a firsthand understanding of artistic creation through a physical learning component, such as a basic lesson on a musical instrument, memorization of a monologue, or a lesson in physical movement.
The January 9-20 Institute at USC
Guest faculty for the 2006 Institute include Robert Brustein, founding director and creative consultant of American Repertory Theater and theater critic for The New Republic; Misha Berson, chief theater critic for the Seattle Times; Jason Robert Brown, Tony Award-winning composer of Parade and visiting professor at the USC School of Theatre; Ben Cameron, executive director of Theatre Communications Group; Gordon Davidson, founder and former artistic director of Center Theatre Group; Sylvie Drake, former theater critic of the Los Angeles Times; Eric Ehn, dramatist and dean of CalArts School of Theater; Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, co-artistic directors of A Noise Within; Barbara Isenberg, arts journalist and author of Making It Big: The Diary of a Broadway Musical; Thomas Leabhart, theater professor at Pomona College; Judith Lewis, features editor of the L.A. Weekly; Dominic Papatola, critic at large for the Pioneer Press; Michael Phillips, chief theater critic for the Chicago Tribune; Leonard Pronko, author of Theater East & West; and Jack Viertel, creative director of Broadway's Jujamcyn Theaters and former dramaturg at the Mark Taper Forum and former theater critic at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.
For more information, including how to apply, visit annenberg.usc.edu/nea. The deadline for applications is Monday, October 24, 2005.
Located in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, the USC Annenberg School for Communication (www.annenberg.usc.edu) is among the nation's leading institutions devoted to the study of arts journalism and criticism. Its midcareer education programs include the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program, the Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships, and the Institute for Justice and Journalism. In addition to its programs for working journalists, USC Annenberg enrolls more than 1,600 graduate and undergraduate students earning B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in journalism, communication, and public relations.
For more information about the NEA Arts Journalism Institutes or the National Endowment for the Arts, contact the NEA Office of Communications at 202-682-5570.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency