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Houston Breakthrough 1980-07 - 1980-08
Page 22
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Houston Breakthrough 1980-07 - 1980-08 - Page 22. July 1980 - August 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 16, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/286/show/276.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(July 1980 - August 1980). Houston Breakthrough 1980-07 - 1980-08 - Page 22. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/286/show/276

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough 1980-07 - 1980-08 - Page 22, July 1980 - August 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 16, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/286/show/276.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough 1980-07 - 1980-08
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date July 1980 - August 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 33 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 22
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_562as.jpg
Transcript ART NEW FACE FOR THE ARTS Cultural Arts Council appoints woman executive director ,BY SUSAN HUNNICUTT. Houston's two-and-a-ha/f-year-old Cultural Arts Council (CACH) is one of the largest in the country. With a 1980 projected budget of over $1.8 million, gleaned from the state's seven percent hotel-motel tax, it has responsibility for providing partial support to the city's ten largest cultural institutions: The Houston Symphony, the Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, the Alley Theater, Society for the Performing Arts, Theater Under the Stars, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Contemporary Arts Museum, the Museum of Natural Science, and the Harris County Heritage Society. In addition, CACH supports programs at Miller Theater and other city parks, and through its funding cycles, numerous small arts organizations and special projects, many of which directly or indirectly benefit artists working in the Houston area. The task of running CACH is "the best job in the country for people interested in local arts agencies," says John Blaine, former executive director. It is also a demanding job that abounds with opportunities for fresh thinking and innovative approaches to old problems. After Blaine left last spring to become executive director of the Alaska Council on the Arts, the CACH board of directors appointed Blaine's assistant director, Mary Ann Piacentini, to replace him. A Harvard graduate with a Master's in city planning, Piacentini came to Texas in 1975 as a housing planner for the Houston-Galveston Area Council of Governments. She served three years in the Community Development Division of the Houston mayor's office before leaving in 1978 to become assistant to the director of CACH. Since that time W —— —i Susan Hunnicutt, graduate of Trinity University, was art critic for the Trinitonian. she has been involved in the CETA (U. S. Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) Artists in Residence Program administered through the Arts Council. Susan Hunnicutt: When John Blaine announced his resignation, there was initially some talk of going "outside" to search for a replacement. Rumor had it that the new director might be a man, and the issue of sexual discrimination was mentioned. But in fact, the board of directors of CACH actually made a fairly quick decision to appoint you as the new director. Do you feel your nomination encountered strong resistance for any reason? Mary Ann Piacentini: In terms of sexual discrimination, no. I do think there was a general sense at the time of my appointment that I was extremely competent and could deal with most of the issues, but that I might be viewed as fairly young. The other question was whether Houston needed a more national image. John brought with him a very strong national image. I think Houston has that image regardless of the director. And I think I do have a national image, but in a very different sense. I am on the National Advisory Board to the Department of Labor for CETA. I have presented papers at the Urban Symposium on the Arts to over 25 major arts organizations. SH: Your background is mainly in the area of city planning, and specifically in the development of housing programs. When did your interest in the arts develop, and how do you think your experience in city planning has prepared you for and influenced you in your present position? MP: Essentially, many of the projects I was working on in the Community Development Division of the mayor's office were streets, parks, public improvements. But there were a few other projects directly related to the arts. One was a study for the National Endowment for the Arts that looked at five neighborhoods and came up with both conservation plans for them and development plans that would be in keeping with the historically and architecturally signficant aspects of the neighborhood. Another was the Art in Public Places project. We devised three different ways of acquiring art for public spaces. One was a completely open competition for the residents of Houston, or artists working within the city. We received about 98 entries and chose what I think is a very nice piece of art—Frank McGuire's access sculpture which is out at the West End Multi-Service Center. The second process we determined for acquiring the art was to ask the National Endowment for a matching grant and actually present an artist to them. That was Luis Jimenez and his work The Vac- quero, an eighteen-foot fiberglass sculpture to be installed in Moody Park in a month or two. The third was basically a limited Invitational. We asked the community in Fifth Ward who they would like to see. They definitely wanted a black artist. They wanted a local artist. They considered people who had worked here—like Herman Oliver. Oliver had worked here but really wasn't identified with Houston, he was identified with Dallas. They determined there were two people they wanted: either Carol Simms or John Biggers. John had worked as a juror on one of our other projects. He really felt that the exposure and the kind of project that would be done would be better done by Carol Simms. So when I left the mayor's office, I really wasn't sure I still wanted to be just a planner in terms of Community Arts development, or if I wanted something else. I began interviewing with the Arts Council and determined that what I really wanted was to look at arts issues, but with a planning background. I am very interested in the notion of long range planning, in helping the community find out what the cultural resources are and essentially how best to use them. SH: During the time you have already been with CACH, what do you see as your most significant contributions? MP: I think I have been most effective in the CETA Artists in Residence Program, in providing employment for artists who have a marketable skill, but who perhaps have not yet learned how to market it to the general public. I also help these artists find institutions that can use those services. You see, the artists in the program have to provide a public service. They are not just doing their art. We wish we could help them to just do their art. But they instead provide a service, whether it is teaching or staging free performances. SH: What about the Art in Public Places program? I understand it is continuing under your direction at CACH, rather than out of the mayor's office as it formerly was. MP: Yes. I brought $120,000 with me from Community Development to run an Art in Public Places program. Part of the money is an NEA matching grant, similar to Luis Jimenez's but different in that we had nothing to do with the artist who was selected. The artist—Matt Whitney—was selected by a panel of judges, three of whom were chosen by NEA and three of whom were chosen by a joint committee consisting of CACH, the Municipal Arts Commission and our board. Beyond spending that money, we now have about $50,000 left over to run competitions in eight neighborhoods for local 22 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH