Kudos

Arcola Theatre: setting a standard for resourcefulness?


Kudos to London’s Arcola Theatre for the announcement of their new plan to further green the theatre, putting sustainability at the centre of its work. The impressive thing about Ben Todd and his team at Arcola’s plan is it’s not just about bricks and mortar – though they do have the support of Arup’s sustainability experts on that; it’s about successfully integrating the theatre into the wider enviroment as a kind of signpost for more fundamental change. As Todd said in the launch document: “Wrapped around the main stage will be dynamic spaces to accommodate our ever-growing environmental sustainability and community engagement programmes.”

And the other, even more impressive thing, is that they’re putting much better funded arts institutions to shame with their implementation of this plan.

I’ve just been sent the book Theatre Materials, edited by Eleanor Margolies. There’s a good quote in there from Todd from the original Theatre Materials conference back in the spring about why theatre can be so successful at these initiatives – something that really fits with ourDesign team’s ideas of resourcefulnes:

“There is a big fear that theatre can’t go green because it costs too much money, but theatre has always operated with minimal resources. Theatre people are incredibly resourceful and theatre has always proven that it can operate with very little money. Theatre knows how to get things done.”

Let’s do the show right here, folks!

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

What is the value of art?

Sometimes it’s worth asking the questions that are so big people people only raise them shortly before last orders. Kudos to Art 21 | blog who have been running a series of what they call “Flash Points” over the last few months. Their topics have included What’s So Shocking About Contemporary Art? and How Can Art Affect Political Change?

They’ve just started a new strand with What Is The Value of Art, introduced by Beth Allen:

The questions of how art is valued and how it is monetized inevitably overlap: artworks perceived as “important” yield high prices at auction; economic development funding goes to out-of-the-way cultural institutions that bring high quality programming and consequently, tourists, to their neighborhoods; exhibitions that push boundaries attract grants from foundations dedicated to promoting free speech; arts education is consistently underfunded… Buried within questions about the economics of art, are assumptions and often, judgments, about its value that beg to be examined: How is the value of an artist’s intellectual versus physical labor calculated? Are collectible works valued differently than ephemeral projects? How does individual “taste” and critical reception affect the value of an artwork, exhibition, or institution? What factors influence the way we value an artistic experience, as individuals and as a society? How do we quantify the intangible benefits that art education provides? How do we talk about the subtle and personal value that art has in our lives?

And, of course, they’re looking for contributors to stir the pot.

Image:  Photo of Fear Eats The Soul [date unknown] by Rirkrit Tiravanija taken at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, November 22 2008 by j-No

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology