community + cultural info

Art on its Own Terms

This week we appropriate some ideas. Very good ideas. Ideas that we frankly wish were our own. But then that's why we appropriate them (with permission). In his most recent Report to Members, Samuel Hope, executive director of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design writes:

"We are all accustomed to charges of elitism if we let our high aspirations show too clearly. The phrase "art for art's sake" is regularly used to counter the validity of aspirations for teaching the arts on their own terms to the general population. The distinction between art-for-art's-sake and art-on-its-own-terms is lost. Art-for-art's-sake is primarily a philosophical position; art-on-its-own-terms means that art is considered and engaged in terms of its own nature and content. In arguments, it helps to make this contrast between learning math for math's sake and learning math on its own terms. No matter what one's position on math for math's sake, almost no one would argue that students should not learn math on its own terms. Failure to do so would render it impossible for an individual to use math for any purpose, whether for its own sake or some other."

This is good stuff. Organizations like NASAD, which is the accrediting body for pretty much every art school in the country, is out there fighting the good fight. We ought to hold our heads high and not allow our missions to be watered down with obtuse justifications just because we fear people don't "get it." This is not to say that we can't apply the practical consequences of our work in ways that will ensure support, but let's not shy away from the core values of what we do. Say out loud.

Charlie Humphrey
Founding Member
Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance



The US Senate has approved National Endowment for the Humanities funding for FY 2004 at $142 million, an increase of $15 million. Also approved in the 2004 Interior Appropriations Bill is National Endowment for the Arts funding of $117.5 million, less than approved by the House. The difference of $10 million will be worked out in conference committees.

On September 25 the President signed into law a bill reauthorizing the Institute of Museum and Library Studies through 2009.

Being 'Out' in Art & Politics in a Conservative Society
You are invited to attend a luncheon discussion with performing artist, gay rights activist, and Irish Statesman David Norris

Irish Statesman and performer, David Norris will lead a discussion on Being 'Out' in Politics in a Conservative Society and the current political climate for gay and lesbian artists and politicians.

Famed for his formidable wit and intelligence, Norris is a member of the Upper House of Irish Parliament, a tenured professor at Trinity College, Dublin and a world renowned James Joyce scholar. Norris rejects convention and challenges the mores of his time as the first openly gay Irish politician. He led the reform of Ireland's homosexual law, requiring him to sue the Senate and take the case to the European Court of Human

Being 'Out' in Politics in a Conservative Society luncheon discussion will be held Monday, October 6 at 12:00 pm in the Regional Enterprise Tower, 425 Sixth Avenue, 31rst floor, downtown. Registration begins at 11:45 with program starting promptly at 12:00.

The event is a collaborative presentation of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance, Pittsburgh International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, and PERSAD Center. Mr. Norris's appearance is made possible by Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre where he will be performing at their gala event October 7.

Make reservations by October 1 by going on line to or in person at Banner Coin Exchange, 347 4th Avenue. The event is $15 including a box lunch. Seating is limited.

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We can be reached at:
Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance
425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2685
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
t: 412-227-6565
f: 412-227-6566

The Arts Alliance advocates for the arts in Western Pennsylvania. The Arts Alliance works to enhance our region using the arts as a catalyst for growth, change, and enrichment.