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May 2015 Previous Issues

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Educational training for Emiratis in the field of museum studies
gulfnews.com, 23 May 2015

DUBAI, UAE — Talented Emiratis will get the opportunity to delve into museum studies following a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between Dubai Culture and Lord Cultural Resources, one of the world’s largest cultural and museum consultancies. The MoU aims to drive educational training for Emiratis and create professional development programmes in the field of Museum Studies and culture. The programmes will cover various aspects such as collection management and acquisition policies, strategic planning of museums and project development planning. It will also enable future development of guidelines for both the public and private museum sector, in addition to strengthening the skill sets of Emirati professionals in hosting international seminars in the fields of cultural development. Signing the MoU on the occasion of International Museum Day Celebrations, Shaikha Latifa Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-Chairman of Dubai Culture, and Gail Dexter-Lord, Co-President of Lord Cultural Resources, agreed that it will nurture Emirati talent in various ways. The agreement will enable talented Emiratis to evolve as creative and knowledgeable professionals who can contribute to strengthening the nation’s cultural scene.
[see also Latifa bint Mohammed signs MoU of Dubai Culture with Lord Cultural Resources to Drive Training Programmes for Emiratis in Museum Studies & Culture, UAEinteract, 21 May 2015]

In May 2015, Dubai Culture signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lord Cultural Resources to drive educational training for Emiratis and to create professional development programmes in the field of Museum Studies and culture. The signing of the agreement coincided with International Museum Day celebrations.

Quelle surprise! Montreal has the most arts museum visitors
theglobeandmail.com, 8 May 2015

MONTREAL, QC — Apologies for the invidious comparison, but Montreal has outstripped Toronto on an important measure of cultural success. For the second year in a row, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts can claim to be the most-visited art museum in Canada, beating out both the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Slightly more than one million people visited the MMFA in 2014, making it the 58th most popular art museum in the world and the 12th most popular in North America. That is the conclusion of researchers at The Art Newspaper, which recently released its annual survey of global museum attendance. There are only two other Canadian institutions on the list: the ROM at No. 62 with 934,384 visitors and the AGO at No. 80 with 757,462, both of them located in Toronto, which has a population about 50-per-cent bigger than Montreal.
[see also Q&A with Gail Lord and Barry Lord, Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb, 10 May 2015]
[see also Cities, Museums and Soft Power, JAZZ.FM91, 8 May 2015]
[see also Time to wake Toronto’s cultural ‘sleeping giants’, The Toronto Star, 4 May 2015]

The 'Soft Power' of the 9/11 Memorial Museum
911memorial.org, 7 May 2015

NEW YORK, USA — In Cities, Museums and Soft Power, Ngaire Blankenberg and Gail Lord demonstrate why and how museums and cities are using their “soft power” to address some of the most important issues of our time. What is soft power? Soft power is the exercise of influence through attraction, persuasion and agenda-setting rather than military or economic coercion. The soft power of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is reflected through its ability to bring people together from all over the world now and throughout the building and rebuilding process. It is reflected through its ability to create a conversation and a place for learning. Through education and promoting understanding, it has the power to change the conversation.

The book "Cities, Museums and Soft Power" by Gail Lord and Ngaire Blankenberg discusses how cities, museums and citizens can work together to increase their influence over the city's agenda using "soft power". Soft power is the exercise of influence through attraction, persuasion and agenda-setting rather than military or economic coercion. The book includes essays written by 14 cultural experts, drawing on museums in cities in Italy, Spain, the UK, China, Egypt, India, Canada, the USA and others. Cities, Museums and Soft Power can be ordered online.


Cultural News, a monthly global round-up of what’s happening in culture, is a free service of Lord Cultural Resources. Excerpts are directly quoted from the articles – please click on the links to read the full articles on the original news sites. To receive it in your inbox rain or shine, please press the subscribe button above - it will take less than 30 seconds to become a subscriber. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest digest of cultural news.


Our Clients and Lord Cultural Resources in the News


Winners of Jodi Awards 2015 announced
museumsassociation.org, 27 May 2015

WORLD — Edinburgh City Library, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Finnish Association of the Deaf were announced as the recipients of this year’s Jodi Awards, which recognise the use of digital media to widen access to museums, galleries, heritage sites, libraries and archives. About 60 people attended an evening ceremony at the British Library last week to see the awards presented by disability campaigner Jane Campbell. Edinburgh Libraries was recognised for its work using technology to improve access for people who are blind and partially-sighted, while the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg was praised for improving access to the museum using accessible videos featuring audio, audio description, sign language and closed captions. The Finnish Association of the Deaf in Helsinki was awarded the prize for its online library, which is open to everyone free of charge. All the materials are available in sign language.
[see also The CMHR's Newsletter, May 2015]

Lord Cultural Resources have worked with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights since 2000. A multi-disciplinary Lord Cultural Resources team led by Co-President Gail Lord helped The Asper Foundation to develop the concept and to craft the three-volume Master Plan and business plan that went to the Prime Minister. We provided the space program and assisted with the international architectural competition that selected Antoine Predock to design the building. In 2009-10, Lord Cultural Resources organized and facilitated the cross Canada consultation process that gathered human rights stories from thousands of Canadians in 19 cities. We have continued to provide advisory services to Board and senior management on all aspects of implementation, content and the inauguration.

The arts continue to mean business for Dubuque
thonline.com, 21 May 2015

DUBUQUE, IA — In 2012, a study brought to light the economic impact the Dubuque arts and cultural scene brought to the city -- to the tune of $47.2 million. Data also suggested that the not-for-profit industry supported 1,530 full-time jobs. City officials dubbed it, "Arts means business." Despite Dubuque creating an Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission in 2004 and allocating $3 million in funding since then, nationwide, Iowa ranks 40th in arts spending. Dubuque aims to step up the effort on the local level. "The city's thought is, 'How can we make that even more?'," said Debra Alleyne, arts and cultural affairs coordinator for the City of Dubuque. "We're in the early stages of answering that question." Earlier this month, an international consulting team from Lord Cultural Resources visited Dubuque. It's part of the city's effort to generate more interest and opportunities for the Key City's arts and cultural landscape and those who help create it. "Our goal is to develop an economic plan that will help Dubuque retain its talent -- to help Dubuque be the kind of place where creative people will want to stay and continue contributing their talents to the community," said Brad King, vice president of Lord Cultural Resources.

Lord Cultural Resources has been contracted by the City of Dubuque, IA, to provide consulting services for Dubuque Arts and Culture Master Plan.

(PHOTOS) Decatur’s Beacon Municipal Center is dedicated
decaturish.com, 18 May 2015

GEORGIA, USA — It was a gorgeous day Saturday for the dedication of Decatur’s new Beacon Municipal Center at 420 West Trinity Place. Three buildings are part of the complex: the Decatur Police Department and Municipal Court, the City Schools of Decatur Administrative Offices, and the Ebster Recreation Center. The area was once the heart of Decatur’s African-American community, called the Beacon Community. Special care was taken to remember and honor that heritage during the dedication and through a special exhibit that is on display in the Ebster Recreation Center. After a brief dedication ceremony led by Decatur city officials, attendees toured the new buildings which overlook a grassy terrace. Lead architect Andrew Rutledge of Rutledge Alcock Architects of Decatur said working on the project was a “dream.” Take a look at the new center and some of the scenes from the dedication.
[see also As Beacon Center is Completed, Committee Suggests New Four-Way Stop on Trinity Place, Decatur Metro, 4 May 2015]

The Beacon Municipal Center, which houses the Ebster Recreation Center and gym, Decatur Police Department & Municipal Court, City Schools of Decatur Administrative Offices, community gathering space, and exhibits, opened on May 16, 2015. The Center's site was once home to Decatur's segregated African American public schools – Herring Street School, Beacon Elementary, and Trinity High School. Working with Rutledge-Alcock Architects, the City of Decatur and Decatur Mayor Emerita Elizabeth Wilson, Lord Cultural Resources led the exhibition development and design, and also managed the exhibit fabrication by Malone Design/Fabrication.

Hong Kong's M+ Museum Won't open Before 2019
artnet.com, 14 May 2015

HONG KONG — Hong Kong's M+ museum is facing additional delays as construction has fallen behind schedule again, the South China Morning Post reports. The delay pushes the completion date back to late 2018, with the museum expected to open to the public in late 2019, two years later than originally planned. Director Lars Nittve—who previously worked at the Tate Modern in London and Moderna Museet in Stockholm—admitted that M+ was the most challenging project he had been involved in. "Conceptually it is quite groundbreaking, and it's very complex and challenging," he said. However, he insisted that despite the setback, once complete, the museum will transform Hong Kong's cultural landscape.
[see also Opening of M+ museum in cultural district delayed until 2019, South China Morning Post, 13 May 2015]

In 2009, Lord Cultural Resources was contracted with Mott MacDonald Hong Kong Ltd. for the Development Plan of West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) in Hong Kong. Our role has been to provide programming, operational and business planning input on the visual arts components: M+, a cultural institution with museum functions on visual culture of the 20th and 21st centuries, its related off-site collection storage facility, and a self-financed Exhibition Centre. The four themes for M+ include Design, Moving Image, Popular Culture, and Visual Arts. The moving image theme will extend to the outdoors as an outdoor cinema. In addition, Lord Cultural Resources was the visual arts facility planning advisors on two of the three new architectural Concept Plan teams: and Foster + Partners‘ development of the Master Plan for the entire cultural district. The WKCD site is to grow and develop organically. Its final phase is planned to be completed by 2045.

9 Things You Need to Know About the National Mall's Newest Museum
citylab.com, 8 May 2015

WASHINGTON, DC — Ten years ago, the National Museum of African American History and Culture had a staff of two. There was no site locked down for the building. No design attached to it. And no stuff to put in it. "We knew we were going to have to raise millions of dollars, but we didn't have a penny to our name," said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s director since 2005, during a press conference this week. ”And also, unlike most museums, we didn’t have a single artifact in our collection.” The latest addition to the National Mall is, as Bunch put it, “Ten years in the making, and 100 years in the making.” Today, the National Museum of African American History and Culture already employs 120 full-time staffers. Its collection numbers around 33,000 artworks and historical objects. And the museum’s leadership has raised nearly $476 million in public and private funds.
[see also Smithsonian's black history museum on track for 2016 opening, WSB Radio, 7 May 2015]
[see also The Media Needs a History Lesson When Addressing Civic Unrest, Says the Director ofthe African American History Museum, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 May 2015]

Lord Cultural Resources' work for the the National Museum of African American History and Culture included leading the national public engagement process, the establishment of general museum and facility requirements, the development of a functional strategy, collections analysis, preparation for collections storage and operations planning. The program planning team was a collaboration of architectural and design firms Davis Brody Bond [Aedas] of New York and Washington; The Freelon Group of North Carolina; Lord Cultural Resources; and Amaze Design of Boston. In 2011, Lord Cultural Resources provided content development and communications services as part of the winning team of Ralph Appelbaum Associates for the exhibition design for the new museum. In 2012, an additional contract was awarded for concept development of the Resource Library.

Saudi culture centre on track for 2016 launch
tradearabia.com, 7 May 2015

SAUDI ARABIA — The construction work is nearing completion on the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture (KACC), a fully integrated institution covering approximately 80,000 sq m, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, said a report. A pioneering undertaking of Saudi Aramco, the KACC celebrates the accomplishments of the giant oil conglomerate. The entire centre is a fully integrated institution covering an interior space large enough to accommodate 10 football fields. The iconic KAAC, which opens next year, celebrates Saudi Arabia’s industrial heritage while acting as a hub for culture, knowledge and the arts. The designs of the centre have been created by Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, which was assigned to ensure the multi-component facility would combine functionality, innovative approach and an iconic design.

Lord Cultural Resources developed the institutional “software” for the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture's Keystone project: the programmatic and organizational framework for the Center. The work included the temporary exhibition programming, strategic positioning and recruitment, and training for the Center’s personnel. In addition, Lord Cultural Resources developed an integrated business plan for all components of the Center (and including central operations). Lord Cultural Recruitment has also been engaged to provide training and recruitment services and ongoing implementation services to Opening Day.

Vancouver Art Gallery director is ‘confident’ despite missing deadline
theglobeandmail.com, 7 May 2015

VANCOUVER, BC — Vancouver Art Gallery director Kathleen Bartels says while building a new gallery “has certainly at times been a challenging undertaking ⃛ we are more committed than ever to this major civic project and the tremendous opportunities it presents for our city.” Ms. Bartels made the comments at a lecture Wednesday night by architect Jacques Herzog, founding partner of the Herzog & de Meuron, the Swiss firm that is designing the new gallery. The event was held a few days after the gallery failed to meet one of the major criteria set out for it by the city, which is leasing a prime piece of downtown land to the VAG. To qualify for the lease, the gallery was supposed to have raised $150-million from the federal and provincial governments by April 30.

Lord Cultural Resources conducted a Critical Review and Site Evaluation for the multi-site proposal for the Vancouver Art Gallery, and subsequently developed a Business Plan.

France's Expo pavilion is a wooden lattice with plants and food slotted into its crevices
dezeen.com, 6 May 2015

MILAN, ITALY — France's national pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015 was intended to showcase the country's innovations in timber construction, as well as to show off its national food culture in response to the central theme: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. To achieve this, Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières of XTU Architects created a building that can become a framework for climbing plants with edible produce. It also incorporates recesses where food products can be hung and presented. "France symbolises a cultural wonder, industrial know-how, the good life," said architect Legendre. "That is what we wanted to show the world by inventing a 'built landscape' that all at once portrays the geographic diversity of France's regions, its unique agricultural offerings and culinary traditions." Glue-laminated larch and spruce were used to create a strong but lightweight structure of lattice girders and pillars. The design team took advantage of computer modelling to maximise the efficiency of all of the wooden components, which were precisely cut using a digitally controlled robot. The elements all interlock, minimising the need for additional fixings.
[see also france pavilion gears up for the opening of expo milan 2015, Design Boom, 29 April 2015]
[see also Herbs and hops to grow over France's pavilion for Milan Expo 2015, Dezeen, 29 April 2015]

In collaboration with Studio Adeline Rispal, Lordculture, the French arm of Lord Cultural Resources, participated in developing the messages and themes of the outdoor and indoor permanent exhibition for the French Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015.

Réouverture de la Cité de la voile à Lorient : sensations course au large
france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr, 25 April 2015

FRANCE — Après 6 mois de travaux, le Cité de la voile rouvrait ses portes ce samedi. La nouvelle version, plus moderne joue à fond la carte de l'interactivité avec des nombreuses animations virtuelles qui permettent aux petits comme aux grands de découvrir les sensations de la course à la voile. A la Cité de la voile - Eric Tabarly, à Lorient ce samedi, si les lunettes de soleil n'avaient rien d'indispensable, les lunettes 3D étaient nécessaire pour prendre le large. Ce grand navire posé à la base des sous-marins de Keroman à Lorient, accueillait ce samedi ses nouveaux visiteurs après six mois de travaux.
[see also La Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly, Morbihan, 1 May 2015]
[see also Ouverture 2015 Cité de la Voile 2 Eric Tabarly, YouTube, 9 April 2015]
[see also Inauguration de la Cité de la voile Eric Tabarly, La Croix, 16 May 2008]

The Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly, a museum dedicated to sailing and ocean racing, has reopened after having completely renovated its exhibition space. Lordculture worked with Lorient Agglomeration on this project: from the initial phase to developing a new detailed program to enhance the visitor experience. Subsequently, the Lordculture's team assisted the client in selecting a designer, advised on design and then supervised the implementation and production of the new exhibition. Lordculture also worked closely with the Cité team to write content for the exhibition.

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Are you a history enthusiast, urban steward, or cultural ambassador with a passion for all things Toronto? If so, we need you!
myseumoftoronto.com, May 2015

TORONTO, ON — Starting in mid June, we will be popping up at locations around the city to ask people about their stories of Toronto. Focusing on the natural, built and cultural layers that make Toronto a rich learning environment, we will ask people of all ages to share their objects, memories and  the places that help us create meaning in our city. This program will be known as Myseum on the Move. We need the help of people like you who are interested and passionate to listen to people's stories or contextualize meaningful objects. We are looking for historians, anthropologists, ecologists, architectural historians, art historians and people who are knowledgeable about the multifaceted histories of Toronto to act as 'Knowledge Keepers' and engage with participants and their stories and/or objects. We will be asking the general public to help us to build the Myseum's first digital collection and bring their historical objects, photos, and stories that represent the diversity of experience about our city and we'll add them to our first Myseum on-line project.
[see also Myseum of Toronto Project - Trailer, YouTube, 15 May 2015]
[see also Toronto has a new city museum, or should we say “Myseum”, Toronto Life, 11 May 2015]

Toronto's first Children's Museum is now open
blogto.com, 25 May 2015

TORONTO, ON — Toronto parents have something to get rather excited about with the opening of the new children's museum this weekend in Liberty Village. Even those who don't have kids will likely welcome this news, as the idea of ankle biters being sequestered in one place that can be conveniently avoided means kid-free streets and cafes (everyone wins!). Dubbed the Children's Discovery Centre, it's a novel project that comes from a partnership with Garrison Point condos, which will eventually rise above the museum. The plan right now is to keep the 20,000 square foot space open until October before major development starts on the condo project. The centre is divided into a series of zones, all of which focus on the idea of learning through play. There are separate spaces focused on art and reading, but also a mini city, a campground, and something called the "Boom Room" where children are encouraged to explore their musical tendencies without fear of being told that they're making too much noise.

New museum to honor Palestinian history, culture
al-monitor.com, 25 May 2015

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK — The Palestinian Museum became a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) on May 11, making it the first Palestinian establishment of its kind to join the council of more than 32,000 museums — a powerful show of support for the museum’s future activities. The Palestinian Museum’s cornerstone was laid April 11, 2013, funded by the nonprofit Welfare Association. It sits on about 40 acres in Birzeit, near Ramallah. Once complete, the museum will be the largest institution dedicated to conserving Palestine’s heritage, history and national culture, as well as presenting these aspects of Palestinian culture to the world through modern technology. The museum is located on a hill near Birzeit University. Designed by an Irish architecture firm, the museum is modern with a distinguished, civilized facade. The architectural style is derived from historic Palestinian agricultural terraces that divided land with stone walls to prevent erosion and conserve rainwater. Several gardens, orchards and original Palestinian flora surround the museum.

Preserving a City Where 80 Percent of the Past Has Been Erased
nextcity.org, 25 May 2015

LEBANON — Even behind scaffolding and a curtain of green construction mesh, Beit Barakat, a stately, four-story stone apartment complex in Beirut’s Sodeco district, speaks volumes. Hundreds of hand-sized craters — from bullets, mortar rounds and other military projectiles — mar the facade, gnawing the edges of the stout, sand-colored buildings. Interior walls, too, are marked by gashes of war, alongside faded black spray-painted graffiti: “I want to tell the truth: my soul will fly away in a minute.” Next to deep sniper’s portholes, sunlight splashes on chipped paint, charred plaster and brightly patterned floor tiles. “When I first came here I had such great emotion, yet I didn’t know what it was from,” says Youssef Haidar, lead architect of a city-backed project to turn the building into a museum and urban cultural center. He’s leading a visitor on a tour of the site on a bright, early spring afternoon. “Was it related to the old cracking paint, the architectural value, the bullet marks and the sniper bunkers? Was it just everything together? I couldn’t be sure, so we decided to keep everything as is.” Lebanon’s civil war began in 1975 and split the capital in two: the Christian east and Muslim west. Beit Barakat (“Barakat House”) sits on Damascus Street, the backbone of the city divider known during the war as “The Green Line,” in reference to the many trees and bushes that sprang up in the absence of human activity. Christian militias spied an opportunity at Beit Barakat — two buildings linked by a corner entryway, with vantage points in all directions — and commandeered it as a snipers’ nest.

Welcome to Japan’s best kept cultural secret: an art island with an underground museum
spectator.co.uk, 23 May 2015

JAPAN — In his introductory remarks to the Afro–Eurasian Eclipse, one of his later suites for jazz orchestra, Duke Ellington remarked — this was in 1971 — that east and west were blending into one another, and everyone was in danger of losing his or her identity. Nowhere is it easier to observe that phenomenon than on the little island of Naoshima, in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan, which I visited last month. Naoshima possesses sandy beaches and tranquil blue waters dotted with further islets stretching towards the horizon. But this is an especially heavenly spot for a relatively small and specialised, even eccentric, group of travellers. For more than two decades, Soichiro Fukutake, a billionaire businessman, has been transforming this tiny island — Naoshima is less than six square miles in area and has a population of around three and a half thousand — into a paradise for lovers of modern and contemporary art. His collaborator in this has been Tadao Ando, an architect from Osaka, which is not so far away (at least on the bullet train). On Naoshima, to date, Ando has designed three separate museums, a hotel, and various other structures and projects all of which are linked by a system of shuttle buses — although there is much to be said for strolling from one to another. There are some marvellous things to be seen inside these buildings, but plenty more spread around the landscape outside.

Isle of Man Motor Museum ready to open its doors
iomtoday.co.im, 22 May 2015

UNITED KINGDOM — The island’s much-anticipated new motor museum will hold a launch ceremony with the island’s Lieutenant Governor this afternoon (Friday) before it officially opens its doors to the public tomorrow. The purpose-built venue at Jurby will be home to one of the biggest public collections of vehicles in the British Isles which will include hundreds of vehicles, not just cars of all types and commercial vehicles but motor cycles as well housed on two large mezzanine levels. Father and son Denis and Darren Cunningham began the project last autumn and in a remarkably short period of time were celebrating completion of the basic structure of the building in March. Now the final touches are being added ahead of the opening. ‘There are just a few bits and pieces still to do and the final exhibits are being put in so it is a really busy time at the moment. There has been a lot of work to do but everything will be in place ready for the opening,’ Denis Cunningham said.

Are we building too many museums?
royalacademy.org.uk, 21 May 2015

UNITED KINGDOM — We should focus all of our efforts on opening up existing museums to a much wider public, says Stella Duffy. We don’t need another museum or another gallery because we don’t fully use those that we already have. Additionally, we have far too many city-centre venues. While many buildings purport to be for all, sharing arts and culture with all, they cannot possibly do so from a static base. Not everyone lives in a city, and of those who do, not all live in London, and many of those who do live in London still don’t feel welcome in the moneyed monoliths that are our major arts institutions. Instead of creating yet more buildings for an elite (if your venue isn’t free to all, if there are still people who do not feel your venue is for them, then yes, it’s for an elite), we need to utilise the spaces we do have properly. Turn our night- empty galleries into dance studios, change foyers into midnight rehearsal spaces, share thousands of offices for free evening classes, or simply offer an hour at a well-lit desk to the would-be writer in the night cleaning team. Currently, too many of our arts institutions use the school visit as their main form of engagement, but a teenager who does not enjoy school will equate both venue and art form with the schooling they don’t enjoy, and are less likely to ask a parent or guardian to bring them again. Further, if an adult does not feel comfortable in the building, they will not bring their child, and the depressing circle of privileged parents privileging their children continues. Depressing, not least, because it means new blood is not coming into the arts, and the arts are diminished when this happens.

Italy to co-finance Cairo Museum of Islamic Art restoration
ansamed.info, 20 May 2015

CAIRO, EGYPT — Italy is co-funding repairs on the Museum of Islamic Art in the Egyptian capital, one of the most important ones in the world, which was heavily damaged a year ago by a car bomb. The initiative was relaunched during the Cairo presentation of the campaign #Unite4Heritage promoted by UNESCO as a direct response to recent attacks on the cultural and architectonic heritage of Arab nations. The campaign aims to unite all governments and populations against acts of destruction and damage to archaeological sites of priceless historical and cultural value. The Italian Development Cooperation will be contributing 800,000 euros and through UNESCO there will be the restoration of some of the works damaged by the explosion, the selection of museum deposits damaged by the explosion, the preparation of protocols for the conservation of objects held in the collection and the maintenance, repair and replacement of exhibit cases. The Cairo Museum of Islamic Art is an exceptional collection of rare objects in wood, plaster, metal, ceramic, glass, crystal and fabric from all eras and from the entire Islamic world. It holds a collection of 102,000 priceless works mainly from the buildings and mosques of the Egyptian capital, including painted glass windows, ''mashrabiya'', ceramic objects, manuscripts and rare books. Founded in 1881, since 1903 the museum has been in its current location in the Bab Al-Khalq square, in the 25 halls of a building in a Neo-Mameluk style designed by the Italian architect Alfonso Manescalo and known for being the second building erected in reinforced concrete in the country after the Egyptian Museum.

Rijksmuseum crowned European Museum of the Year
theartnewspaper.com, 20 May 2015

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — The director of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, Wim Pijbes, has more than one reason to be cheerful this week. The Dutch national museum of art and history was named the European Museum of the Year (Emya) on Saturday, 16 May. On Sunday the exhibition Late Rembrandt, which the Amsterdam museum co-organised with the National Gallery in London, closed, having attracted 520,000 visitors to the museum’s Philips Wing. The European Museum Forum, which chose the Rijksmuseum from among the more than 40 contenders, singled out for praise the elegant rehang of its most famous paintings, the way the historic galleries integrate items from across the collections as well as the new Asian pavilion. “All celebrate the range and depth of the museum’s collections vividly,” the judges said. Pijbes says that winning the award came as a surprise. It crowns a remarkable two years in the museum’s history after its €345m renovation and expansion, which took ten years to complete, was unveiled in April 2013. “It has been a continuous party since the reopening,” he says. Annual attendance is around 2.5 million visitors and the museum has just set a new record for a temporary exhibition with Late Rembrandt.
[see also Rijksmuseum wins European Museum of the Year Award, Museums Association, 20 May 2015]

At long last: New Donner Memorial museum to open June 6
tahoedailytribune.com, 20 May 2015

CALIFORNIA, USA — The long awaited opening of the Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center is just around the corner. On Saturday, June 6, the new visitor center east of Donner Lake will open to the public, with a special ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony marking the occasion. The ceremony will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include free parking and exhibit admission, and speeches by dignitaries. This takes place on the 97th anniversary of the Pioneer Memorial dedication. The nearly 10,000-square-foot building will feature exhibits on regional Native American and natural history, the Donner Party and early pioneers, Chinese construction of the railroad through the Sierra, and the development of Interstate 80.

Phelps Construction Group Completes New Ellis Island Museum Expansion
prnewswire.com, 19 May 2015

NEW YORK, USA — Phelps Construction Group has completed a project for the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. to build expanded galleries for the newly renamed Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration on Ellis Island in New York harbor. The Peopling of America Center opening to the public Wednesday, May 20 is a major expansion of the previously existing exhibit area that focuses on the Ellis Island era from 1892-1954. The new Center chronicles the immigration of people to America both in the pre-Ellis era from the 16th century to 1890 and the post-Ellis years from 1954 up to today. Phelps was chosen by the Foundation in early 2011 to construct the expansion and completed the first phase, which depicts the flow of immigrants to this country in the centuries before the opening of Ellis Island in 1892, later that same year. Construction of the second phase, covering the period from the end of World War II to the present, which was delayed by the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy in October of 2012, is now complete. During the construction of the second phase, Phelps Construction Group completed major structural changes to Ellis Island's Kitchen and Laundry building, which houses the new museum, while not disturbing the historic fabric of this national monument. Using its experience in working on historic structures and working along with the architect, structural engineer and the National Park Service, Phelps was able to accomplish these structural changes with minimum impact to the buildings.

International Museum Day: Spectacular new museums to look forward to
edition.cnn.com, 18 May 2015

WORLD — May 18 marks this year's International Museum Day, a global event to raise awareness on the importance of museums in our society. To celebrate it, we take a look at some stunning construction projects from all over the world, from brand new buildings that opened this year, to forward-looking concepts for entirely new museums to come.

Berlin's rebuilt Prussian palace to address long-ignored colonial atrocities
theguardian.com, 18 May 2015

GERMANY — If there’s one spot symbolising Germany’s inexorable debate over how it sees itself, it is here: a hotly contested parcel of land on the city’s imperial boulevard where the Prussian royal palace once stood. The East Germans bulldozed the palace in 1952 as a means of driving an architectural stake through the heart of Prussian militarism and nazism. To make the symbolism even clearer, they then built their glass and bronze parliament squarely on top of the palace ruins. Fast forward to 2006, and German rightwingers won a lobbying battle and pushed Angela Merkel’s government to respond to the communists – albeit belatedly – by levelling the parliament building. And what is the government now putting in its place? It is rebuilding the Prussian royal palace, in a project that, at €600m (£430m), is Europe’s most expensive cultural endeavour. Over a year into construction, enmity between pro- and anti-palace factions still runs so deep that seemingly innocuous panel discussions on how the 29,000 sq m, multipurpose space might be used routinely develop into shouting matches between German intellectuals. Yet the palace, rechristened the Humboldt Forum, has managed to entice Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, to join the triumvirate that will run it. The project has also garnered praise from its harshest critics after one of its directors publicly committed to making the museum the first in Germany to address the country’s atrocities in its erstwhile colonies in Africa and Asia.

Future-proofing museums in Amsterdam through collaboration
themuseumofthefuture.com, 18 May 2015

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — How do you get 44 museums to work together? Last week I interned with Björn Stenvers, frontman of a collaboration between the museums of Amsterdam, and this was my central question. His answer – as with the joke about the elephants and the Volkswagen – is almost disappointingly simple: you start with one and use keep inviting others to join. If you do this for a couple of years, relentlessly, and use every opportunity you can find to make connections, before you know they’re knocking on your door asking for more opportunities to collaborate. I met Björn years ago, when he was still head of marketing at the Amsterdam Museum. When we met again last year in Moscow, where I was amazed by the stories he told about collaboration among the museums in Amsterdam. Across 44 museums, departments work together to unify and strengthen their offering. All heads of finance work together, for instance in countering invoice fraud. The museums have joint procurement, coordinate their venue rental centrally, etc. etc. Such collaboration among 44 museums has considerable impact. For each individual employee in a museum in Amsterdam for instance, it means s/he has over 2,500 colleagues to learn from, borrow from or build upon.

Plymouth's military history museum opens
bbc.com, 18 May 2015

ENGLAND, UK — A museum showcasing Plymouth's military history has officially opened. The Devonport Field Gun Association's Museum, which is based at the city's Crownhill Fort, contains hundreds of artefacts dating from the Boer War to the present day. Funding of £62,000 has come from Plymouth City Council, under the Armed Forces Covenant. David Worrall from the museum said it was all about preserving history and heritage. The museum used to be based at Devonport Dockyard, but a shortage of space led to it moving to the north of the city. Crownhill Fort is owned and managed by The Landmark Trust and is deemed as the best preserved of Plymouth's Victorian Defences.

David Adjaye creates temporary museum for Venice Art Biennale 2015
dezeen.com, 15 May 2015

VENICE, ITALY — British architect David Adjaye has filled the largest exhibition space at the Venice Biennale with a temporary museum and has also created a live events space for a seven-month reading of Karl Marx's Das Kapital (+ slideshow). Occupying the 316-metre-long Corderie building – a 16th century ship building depot in the biennale's Arsenale exhibition area – the museum covers 6,400 square metres and features a series of temporary interconnected spaces that house a wide variety of artworks. The show was assembled by this year's biennale director, Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor. Enwezor set the theme of All the World's Futures for the 56th edition of the art event, which takes place on alternate years with the city's architecture biennale.

Preston firms make new aviation museum a reality
lep.co.uk, 13 May 2015

ENGLAND, UK — Two Preston firms have helped make a new aviation museum a reality. Conlon Construction has handed the museum, at the former Woodford Aerodrome site, to BAE Systems and Avro Heritage Trust following an eight-month project. Designed by architects, Cassidy + Ashton, the Avro Heritage Trust Museum will display the Trust’s extensive collection of aviation records and memorabilia – including a full-sized Vulcan bomber. Funded by BAE Systems, the project provides a visitor attraction which will preserve Woodford’s links with British aviation history. The museum is housed in a former aerodrome fire station which has been re-invented by Cassidy + Ashton. Internally, Conlon Construction has created an exhibition hall, new mezzanine gallery, a café which will offer views of the Vulcan, along with archive and classrooms for private study and school visits.

Museum Director at Hermitage Hopes for Thaw in Relations With West
nytimes.com, 13 May 2015

RUSSIA — When the British Museum lent one of the sculptures known as the Elgin marbles to the State Hermitage Museum here last year, the move angered Greece, which wants the sculptures back, and set off a spirited debate about restitution. But it was also a diplomatic coup by one man: Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage and a skilled cultural ambassador. Since Mr. Piotrovsky became director in 1992, after the 26-year directorship of his father, Boris Borisovich Piotrovsky, he has navigated one of the most complex periods in contemporary Russian history: The transition from the Soviet Union to the advent of democracy, the privatization boom of the ’90s, the rise of President Vladimir V. Putin and now the dramatic strain in Russia’s relations with the West after that country’s annexation of Crimea last year.

Tipp heritage projects receive funding
tipperarystar.ie, 12 May 2015

IRELAND — The Museum Mining Project in The Old School, The Commons and the MacDonagh Museum Collection, Cloughjordan, have been included in 2015 Community-based Heritage Grants Scheme. The Heritage Council recently announced funding for a number of heritage projects in County Tipperary under its 2015 Community-based Heritage Grants Scheme. A total of 197 heritage projects nationwide have been awarded funding under the scheme, which supports the continuing conservation and development of Irish heritage through local community based groups. Funding of €547,000 is being provided through the Heritage Council and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The scheme has proven once again to be in demand, with over 600 applications received. It is expected to generate total investment of more than €1 million.

The Price of Admission: The New Whitney and Museum Tickets in New York
blouinartinfo.com, 11 May 2015

NEW YORK, USA — Nearly a century separated the 1929 press release announcing the opening of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2008 announcement of its relocation, completed earlier this month, to its new Renzo Piano-designed downtown location. And what a century it has been for contemporary art museums in New York, a city denounced by the founders of MoMA for its parochialism when it came to art of the present moment: If MoMA sought to boldly establish a public forum for the avant-garde in America, the downtown Whitney staked its ground in a city saturated with  institutional claims to the new. Today, New York’s institutional stewards of contemporary art jockey for tens of millions of visitor dollars with spectacular architecture and blockbuster exhibitions, even as ticket prices have climbed relentlessly skyward. Admission to the Museum of Modern Art, for example, costs over 600 percent more (in Consumer Price Index inflation-adjusted terms) than what the museum first charged in 1937, according to an analysis carried out by ARTINFO with data provided by MoMA, while the Whitney’s entry fee has increased by more than 200 percent (also adjusting for inflation) since it was introduced in 1966. To be sure, the services and priorities offered up by New York’s flagship private museums have expanded in the intervening years.

My Day: Aceh Tsunami Museum guide Raihal Fajriah
bbc.com, 10 May 2015

INDONESIA — Raihal Fajriah was 17 when the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami devastated much of Aceh. She now works at the Aceh Tsunami Museum in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, while studying a master's degree in disaster management. I wake at 05:30 to pray. Then I clean and sweep the house, cook, help my mother and have breakfast - rice with vegetables, fish or egg. I head to work at the Aceh Tsunami Museum at 08:00. I work as a local guide for visitors, especially international visitors. We have a memorial hall, exhibition rooms, and a corridor that simulates what it's like being near a tsunami wave. Our museum has three functions. It's here to educate people about how to survive and prepare for disasters, and it's a tourist attraction. But it's also been designed as an emergency evacuation point. The museum is shaped like a boat, and it is built on several pillars, so if a tsunami hits the waves can just flow through the base of the building. The roof is an evacuation space.

Smuggled artefacts to return to Egypt from Switzerland
english.ahram.org.eg, 9 May 2015

EGYPT — A collection of 32 ancient Egyptian artefacts is to return back to Egypt in June after Egypt successfully asserted ownership of the objects. Ali Ahmed, director of antiquities repatriation, told Ahram Online that the objects included limestone and wooden statues as well as a collection of limestone blocks from chapels across dfferent pharaonic periods. The objects were seized by the Swiss police within the framework of a bilateral agreement between Egypt and Switzerland that prohibits the illegal import and export of cultural properties.

Indian Heritage Centre opens in Singapore, designed by Greg Shand and URBNarc
leisuremanagement.co.uk, 8 May 2015

SINGAPORE — The multi-million dollar Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) has been opened in the Little India district of Singapore by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The four-storey building, designed by Singapore-based Greg Shand Architects, in collaboration with URBNarc, incorporates modern and traditional Indian architecture, and is inspired by the “Baoli” – a well in which water is reached via a descending set of steps. With its translucent, shimmering facade, the design creates the impression of “a shining jewel during the day” and a “glowing lantern of the Indian community at night.” The project brief called for a sustainable, contemporary building which would embrace the area and its people. Costing S$12m (US$9m, €8m, £5.8m), the centre includes a museum, as well as programming and educational spaces. Five permanent galleries spread over two levels, enabling visitors to explore the history of Singapore’s Indian community, which is presented through artefacts, maps, multimedia showcases and archival footage.

Heritage center back in business
martinsvillebulletin.com, 8 May 2015

VIRGINIA, USA — The Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center and Museum is back in business, and Steve Rucker hopes the facility will continue documenting the past well into the future. The museum opened about four years ago but shut its doors in January due to a lack of funds, noted Rucker, who has served on the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society board, which owns and operates the museum. He was elected president of the board on May 6. After trimming the facility’s budget, the museum re-opened April 22 and now will operate on a purely volunteer basis. It is open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays.

Blues Hall of Fame museum to open an actual hall in Memphis, 35 years after first inductions
theprovince.com, 7 May 2015

TENNESSEE, USA — For 34 years, blues musicians like the late Lightnin' Hopkins have been honoured with induction into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. Just one problem: There was no actual hall — no museum packed with artifacts and memorabilia, no place where blues fans could visit and learn about their favourite performer. It was a "cryin' shame," to borrow one of Hopkins' lyrics. On Friday, the Blues Foundation will officially open the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. Foundation president Jay Sieleman says the foundation built the Blues Hall of Fame after raising nearly $3 million, finally providing a destination where blues legends can be properly honoured for their work in the uniquely American music genre.

Italy's Museo della Merda is full of shit
dezeen.com, 7 May 2015

ITALY — The Museum of Shit is housed in an Italian castle and is dedicated to demonstrating "what a useful and living substance crap really is" (+ slideshow). Opening this month, the Museo della Merda – or Museum of Shit – showcases projects that span between art and technology, but are all in some way linked to the reuse of organic waste. The museum is located at the Castelbosco dairy farm in the Picenza province of northern Italy, where 2,500 cows produce 30,000 litres of milk as well as 100,000 kilograms of dung. Seeing an opportunity to use this waste for profit, the farm's owner Gianantonio Locatelli created an industrial facility that extracts the methane gas from the manure, which can be burnt as an energy source. His plant also turns the dung into a raw material that can be used as a building product, either as a plaster or fired to form bricks.

Michelle Obama says black kids feel unwelcome at museums, cultural institutions
washingtontimes.com, 6 May 2015

UNITED STATES — Drawing from her own experiences growing up in Chicago, First Lady Michelle Obama last week urged cultural institutions to be more welcoming to children of color. “There are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers, and they think to themselves, ‘Well, that’s not a place for me — for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood,’ ” Mrs. Obama said Thursday at the dedication of the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the Daily News reported. “In fact, I guarantee you that right now, there are kids living less than a mile from here who would never in a million years dream that they would be welcome in this museum,” she said. “Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was one of those kids myself. So I know the feeling of not belonging in a place like this.” The first lady praised the Whitney for offering educational programming for children in struggling communities and said more museums and theaters should do the same, the Daily News reported.

Shullsburg’s Badger Mine & Museum Gears Up For Memorial Day Opening
swnews4u.com, 5 May 2015

WISCONSIN, USA — The Badger Mine & Museum has gone through several changes in the almost year since volunteer curators Mary and Michael Bradley took over the museum’s operation. One big project was going through the many artifacts housed in the museum and organizing and decluttering the collection, with help from museum professionals from the Madison Historical Society and Platteville. Mary said they hope to have a permanent collection on display in the Badger Museum, with some changing exhibits that can be switched out, so that people can enjoy the museum over and over again with new information to learn each time they visit.

Replica San Salvador Ship Nears Completion
kpbs.org, 5 May 2015

CALIFORNIA, USA — Down one of San Diego's most iconic trails, at the tip of Point Loma, there's a tall stone statue looking out over the Pacific. Every year, about a million people from all over the world pay him a visit, even though many of them don't know who he is. "He's a man of mystery," said Cabrillo National Monument park ranger Debbie Sherman. "No one really knows much about him." That man is Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. In September 1542, the explorer sailed into what's now San Diego Bay, aboard his 200-ton Spanish Galleon, the San Salvador. He claimed the land below where his statue now stands at the Cabrillo National Monument for Spain, becoming the first European to set foot on the West Coast. Fast-forward nearly 500 years, and the San Diego Maritime Museum is re-launching a reconstruction of his ship. Sherman said the ship will boost Cabrillo's name recognition and help educate the public about California's history.

Fort Drum museum reopens after major renovations
watertowndailytimes.com, 4 May 2015

NEW YORK, USA — It’s a fresh look for the north country’s military history, as the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Museum reopened after about a year of fix-ups. “It’s easy to read, easy to follow,” said director Kent A. Bolke. “It’s more finished now.” The museum, on South Riva Ridge Loop, touches a wide range of culture over several centuries. Exhibits include relics from the Native American inhabitants of the area, to the War of 1812, to the early-1900s expansion of the post’s footprint that absorbed multiple municipalities. Visitors entering the museum are greeted by a display on Lt. Gen. Hugh A. Drum, for whom the post is named. The 10th Mountain Division’s history includes vehicles, weaponry and uniform accessories from its World War II combat role in Europe and its north country prisoners of war, along with lighter fare such as the early work of Pulitzer Prize-winning soldier-cartoonist Bill Mauldin. The museum then transitions to cover the division from its 1985 relaunch, including pictures, awards and battlefield gear from missions in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

New Children's Museum Oro Valley opens today
tucsonnewsnow.com, 4 May 2015

ARIZONA, USA — Parents who live on the Northwest side no longer have to drive downtown to have some air conditioned fun with the little ones. The new Children's Museum Oro Valley opens today to the public at 9 a.m. with a grand opening ceremony. Admission is free today, Saturday, and Sunday. It is located in the Steam Pump Village Shops on Oracle Road just north of 1st Avenue. That is about a 30 minute drive from the Children's Museum Tucson's downtown location. The Town of Oro Valley says families with young children are the largest growing demographic in the area, so there is a need to create an early-learning experience for the community. The museum says children develop 90 percent of their brain before the age of five.

Delaware Backstory: Historic day for Iron Hill Museum
delawareonline.com, 4 May 2015

DELAWARE, USA — Sunday marked the start of a new chapter in the history of the Iron Hill Museum. When finished, this will be a chapter of the old and the new. Hundreds of guests Sunday at the "2015 Archaeology & Heritage Festival at Iron Hill Museum" got the first public glimpse of a new county-funded building at the site off South Old Baltimore Pike. Now that its construction is complete, the Delaware Academy of Science can move forward with an ambitious plan for its original building – one that will offer a unique asset, as well as a close-up look at what day-to-day activities were like in the structure for those who first used it.

Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota opens in Mankato
marshallindependent.com, 2 May 2015

MINNESOTA, USA— The Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota finally has a permanent home and it's ready to open. KTOE-AM reports construction began last year on the permanent $5-million dollar home in Mankato. Last summer, just as construction was getting underway, widespread flooding destroyed almost all of the museum exhibits in storage and insurance didn't cover the damage. So they had to replace all of the hands-on exhibits. The one surviving item was a hand-made quilt that features southern Minnesota landscape. It had been found in a sealed plastic container and is now hanging on the wall of the new museum.

Museums in Europe and US draw up rescue plans for ravaged sites in Iraq
theartnewspaper.com, 1 May 2015

IRAQ — European and US museums that preserve and display Assyrian artefacts fr om the ancient royal cities under attack by Islamic State (IS) are working to help their Iraqi colleagues prepare for a day when the sites are liberated. A coalition of the willing exists but it remains to be seen whether institutions will co-ordinate their efforts. Jonathan Tubb, the keeper of the Middle East department at the British Museum in London, urges organisations to do more than express outrage. "We need to get over the threshold of despair—we can do something positive and constructive by preparing for the time when effective government control is restored," he says. While the sites in northern Iraq are no-go areas, the British Museum plans to work with colleagues fr om other parts of Iraq to train a "task force" of professionals in rescue archaeology and emergency heritage management in London. They will return, accompanied by British Museum curators, equipped to draw up plans of action for sites including Nimrud and Nineveh.

Armani fetes 40 years in fashion with VIP gala, new museum
reuters.com, 1 May 2015

ITALY — Italy's Giorgio Armani celebrated 40 years in fashion with a star-studded gala and opening of a museum dedicated to his designer business. The 80-year old designer, known for his clean cut and elegant collections, was joined by celebrities such as Leonardo Di Caprio, Cate Blanchett, Hilary Swank and Tina Turner for the bash in Milan, headquarters to his fashion empire. Nicknamed King Giorgio, the designer, who once worked as a window dresser, is known for being hands-on in creating one of the most recognized fashion brands in the world. "There have been many moments, from the beginning until today," Armani told reporters upon arrival at the gala on Thursday evening. "Maybe my most emotional moment was when I saw my cover on 'Time'," he added referring to the magazine.

Westmoreland Yogathon aims to raise money for art museum expansion
post-gazette.com, 1 May 2015

GREENSBURG, PA — Leave it to an art museum to come up with creative ways to raise money. To support its $38 million expansion, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art – due to open in October — is holding a Yogathon. Yoga enthusiasts and novices will be bending and stretching from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 9 at the museum’s temporary facility on Route 30 in Greensburg. "The cool thing is we’ll be doing the classes with art around us so it will be fun," said Catena Bergevin, director of development for the museum. Money raised will go specifically toward a $2 million challenge grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation in which funds raised will be 100 percent matched up to $25,000, said Ms. Bergevin. The challenge grant goes toward the larger campaign that started in July of 2013 with the groundbreaking for the existing museum expansion and renovation.

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Design’s democratic leader
gulfnews.com, 27 May 2015

DUBAI, UAE — On the heels of making it to the shortlist of one of the biggest architectural competitions in history, Asif Khan talks about how intent can create powerful designs. Soon after returning from Dubai, where the British starchitect was invited by Downtown Design to headline their first design talk of 2015, Asif Khan was sitting at a dinner table with a noted architectural historian. “I was talking about my trip to the Emirate when the gentleman declared, ‘that is one city I couldn’t care less about’”, he recalled, as we sank into the warm, worn comfort of a coffee shop near his Vyner Street studio in London. It turned out the historian had never visited our city. “How can you be an architecture, design or arts historian and ignore Dubai?” says Khan, airing his thoughts. “Dubai is where architectural and cultural history are developing in front on our eyes, at a pace seldom seen before.

Bjarke Ingels to deliver the Royal Academy Annual Architecture Lecture 2015
dezeen.com, 26 May 2015

LONDON, UK Danish architect Bjarke Ingels will be the youngest architect ever to deliver the Annual Architecture Lecture at London's prestigious Royal Academy of Arts. The founder of architecture firm BIG has been confirmed as the speaker for the 25th annual lecture at the Royal Academy on 13 July, as part of the art institution's Summer Exhibition. The lecture will offer an overview of Ingels' design philosophy, recently encapsulated in his firm's latest book Hot to Cold, which features BIG's unique projects from around the world. At 40, Ingels is the youngest architect to deliver a lecture in the history of the series, which has been running since 1991. The list of previous participants reads like a who's who of contemporary architecture, with Norman Foster, Hans Hollein, Alvaro Siza, Peter Zumthor, Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Elizabeth Diller of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, and Rem Koolhaas among the speakers. Last year's speaker was Pritzker Prize winning Spanish architect Rafael Moneo.

Detroit's historic $94.5M David Whitney Building renovation wins awards
mlive.com, 22 May 2015

DETROIT, MI — The design firm behind multiple historic restorations and partnerships in Detroit recently won three state award for its work on Detroit's David Whitney Building. The $94.5 million redevelopment of the 100-year-old downtown Detroit building wrapped up last fall. Kraemer Design Group led the historic restoration and renovation, which preserved the marble, mahogany and terracotta that makes up the opulent grand rotunda and main lobby of the Daniel Burnham-designed building. The design firm was awarded The Michigan State Housing Development Authority's Governor's Award for historic preservation, The Michigan Chapter of International Interior Design Association's annual design aware and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network's Tax Credit Project Award.

Allies and Morrison and O'Donnell & Tuomey win contest for Olympic Park cultural campus
dezeen.com, 20 May 2015

LONDON, ENGLAND — Architecture firms Allies and Morrison and O'Donnell & Tuomey have won their bid to design a new cultural quarter at the London 2012 Olympic Park, expected to include new outposts of the V&A and Smithsonian museums. London-based Allies and Morrison, the firm behind the park's original masterplan, and Irish duo Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey – winners of the 2015 Royal Gold Medal for architecture – will collaborate on the 70,000-square-metre scheme at Stratford Waterfront. Forming part of the so-called Olympicopolis scheme, the site will include new buildings for the V&A museum of art and design, and performing arts venue Sadler's Wells. London College of Fashion will also relocate there.

Canadian Canoe Museum selects six architects for design competition
kawarthanow.com, 20 May 2015

PETERBOROUGH, ON — The Canadian Canoe Museum has selected architects for the second stage of its competition to design a new facility at the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site on the Trent-Severn Waterway. The selected firms are:

  • Kohn Pederson Fox of New York City (www.kpf.com)
  • Heneghan Peng Architects of Dublin (www.hparc.com)
  • The team of Bing Thom Architects of Vancouver (www.bingthomarchitects.com and Lett Architects of Peterborough (www.lett.ca)
  • The team of Provencher_Roy of Montreal (www.provencherroy.ca) and NORR of Toronto (www.norr.com)
  • The team of Patkau Architects of Vancouver (www.patkau.ca) and Brook McIlroy of Toronto (www.brookmcilroy.com)
  • 5468796 Architecture Inc. of Winnipeg (www.5468796.ca)

    This past February, the Canadian Canoe Museum issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), open to all architects worldwide who had an interest in providing design services for the new location at the Lift Lock.

    OMA’s striking Prada Foundation arts centre
    worldarchitecturenews.com, 19 May 2015

    MILAN, ITALY — After staging art exhibitions for the past 20 years, the Prada Foundation finally has a permanent home in Milan for their extensive collection of contemporary art. Set in a former distillery in a neglected industrial area of Milan, the new Prada Foundation arts centre is an eccentric conglomeration of austere old industrial units and surprising new structures that confront each other in an interesting juxtaposition. Rem Koolhaas’ firm OMA stepped up to the challenge of creating the rambling 11,000 sq m space that is neither a restoration nor a new architecture project. The old distillery, dating back to 1910 comprises seven existing structures including a warehouse, laboratories, and brewing silos. The three new glass, concrete and aluminium structures include a museum for temporary exhibitions, a theatre for films and lectures, and a 10-storey high gallery tower. Some of the spaces inside have been left as they were found while others have been altered to suit their new purpose, while appearing from the outside as if they have not changed at all. One of the most striking elements is a building that was once a spooky derelict shell, now covered in a shiny gold-leaf façade, adding brightness to the industrial grey of its neighbours. The unusual variation of spaces makes for interesting and unusual open programming. In this building art and architecture some together and as the architecture explains, they ‘benefit from each other’s challenges’ (Rem Koolhaas quoted in the Observer).

    Go with The Flow
    worldarchitecturenews.com, 18 May 2015

    FRANCE — Designed by atelier d’architecture King Kong, a new urban cultures centre in Lille gets a hip-hop makeover. Back in 2004 Lille was named the European capital of culture, but more than 10 years later its cultural venue the Maison Folie was in dire need of an update. Over the years several events and performances had to be cancelled due to lack of space and the changing nature of music and performance. The architects were tasked with turning the building into a place which reflected the young urban culture of the city, and which would be more suited to today’s performances and art. Hip-hop plays a big part with the city’s youth and dedicated recording studios and performing spaces were needed. It also aims to promote and provide a framework for street art  and performance.

    David Adjaye creates temporary museum for Venice Art Biennale 2015
    dezeen.com, 15 May 2015

    VENICE, ITALY — British architect David Adjaye has filled the largest exhibition space at the Venice Biennale with a temporary museum and has also created a live events space for a seven-month reading of Karl Marx's Das Kapital (+ slideshow). Occupying the 316-metre-long Corderie building – a 16th century ship building depot in the biennale's Arsenale exhibition area – the museum covers 6,400 square metres and features a series of temporary interconnected spaces that house a wide variety of artworks. The show was assembled by this year's biennale director, Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor. Enwezor set the theme of All the World's Futures for the 56th edition of the art event, which takes place on alternate years with the city's architecture biennale. Among the exhibits is a multimedia piece by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates called Martyr Construction, a huge installation of spray-painted fabric and rubble by German artist Katharina Grosse, and a series of larger-than-life paintings of upside-down human figures by Georg Baselitz, also based in Germany.

    Natural wonders right in the city
    worldarchitecturenews.com, 14 May 2015

    CHINA — The much anticipated Shanghai Natural History Museum, designed by Perkins + Will’s Global Design Director Ralph Johnson, has opened to the public. Set in the Jin An Sculpture Park right in the centre of buzzing downtown Shanghai, the new Shanghai Natural History Museum is one of the largest museums for natural history in China. Visitors will be able to explore the wonders of the natural world through exhibits of more than 10,000 artefacts from all around the world. The 44,517 sq m building includes exhibition spaces, a 4D theatre, an outdoor exhibit garden, and a 30-metre tall atrium that welcomes visitors with an abundance of natural light filtered through a striking glass wall inspired by the cellular structure of plants and animals. Perkins + Will’s design won the international competition to design the museum, over entries from some of the world’s best known architects. The architects looked to nature to find inspiration for the design, in order to reflect the purpose of the museum.

    Diller Scofidio + Renfro unveils spiralling design for US Olympic Museum
    dezeen.com, 14 May 2015

    COLORADO, USA — New York architecture studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro has unveiled a preliminary design for a new museum in Colorado Springs dedicated to the legacy of US Olympic and Paralympic athletes (+ slideshow). Galleries and public areas for the US Olympic Museum are organised around a large atrium, forming a series of spaces that lead to a top floor gallery with a framed view of Pike's Peak. "Inspired by the movement of athletes, the United States Olympic Museum spirals up and outwards from a central atrium, drawing the public in at its base and propelling them up through the galleries," said Diller Scofidio + Renfro principal Elizabeth Diller in a statement. A new plaza extends the series of public spaces in America The Beautiful Park – a 12-hectare national park within the city. A set of low-rise stairs function as bleachers and merges the building with the plaza to encourage public gathering. The total project site covers 0.7 hectares in a major urban renewal area in downtown Colorado Springs.
    [see also United States Olympic Museum Unveils Preliminary Architecture and Exhibition Concept Designs, PR Newswire, 14 May 2015]

    Public unrest sends urban designers back to drawing board
    america.aljazeera.com, 12 May 2015

    UNITED STATES — A few days before Baltimore erupted in sometimes-violent protests over the death of a 25-year-old black man in police custody, about 250 architects, planners, students, community advocates and designers gathered for a three-hour session of soul searching over the role of urban design and social equity. Co-sponsored by the African American Student Union of Harvard University’s renowned Graduate School of Design, where the event took place, the panel discussion and brainstorming revealed angst and worry that, too often, the professionals in charge of building America’s cities are more interested in actual structures than the people who live in them. After African-American men died at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri; Staten Island, New York; and North Charleston, South Carolina; the calls for social justice that flared in cities across the country have reached the halls of academia. The panel tried to address the connections between design and race, and what professionals in the field can do to help erase the social inequities in poor, urban, minority neighborhoods.

    A preview of the new Museum Liaunig
    worldarchitecturenews.com, 11 May 2015

    AUSTRIA — Designed by Vienna-based querkraft architects, the award-winning listed monument, Museum Liaunig in Neuhaus, Austria has been expanded by 2,500 sq m, is now open to the public. The existing exhibition spaces were created by querkraft in 2008 and total 5,000 sq m. They comprise a viewable storage area, a wing for paintings and sculptures, a 160m long hall for temporary display (2000 sq m), a room for graphic art (500 sq m) and another room for the renowned gold collection (350 sq m). These have been expanded by new components, mostly situated underground. In addition to storage areas and a sculpture garden, a new space for temporary exhibitions has been added by the main entrance. The large, triangular room features a sculpture-like concrete ceiling with atmospheric skylights.

    Food for thought: the best pavilions of Expo Milan 2015
    wallpaper.com, 8 May 2015

    MILAN, ITALY — The global architectural extravaganza that is the World Expo is once again upon us and it is Milan's turn to play host. The original master-planners, a team that included Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, walked out in 2011 after their vision for a new typology of the Expo, one based on content rather than the individualist (and often propagandist) architecture of national pavilions, was rejected by the organisers. The results - despite much decried construction delays and other colourful scandals - were in turn demented, elegant, garish and at times audacious; a sort of global Eurovision song contest in building form. Often the exhibition's avowed theme, Feeding the Planet - Energy for Life, seemed merely an excuse to have a restaurant outlet and/or a shop selling national produce. Standout designs were few and far between, though the pavilions of Bahrain and UK alone did much to restore the faith.

    Creativity and design for the masses
    worldarchitecturenews.com, 6 May 2015

    SEOUL, KOREA — Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul welcomes over 8.5 million visitors in its first year. A new Zaha Hadid Masterpiece, opened last year, is the world’s largest three-dimensional asymmetrical architectural structure. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), which has already attracted millions of visitors is a new epicentre of design and the creative industries at the centre of the historic district of Seoul. The cultural centre comprises a variety of public spaces, including art exhibition halls, a conference hall, design museum/exhibition hall, design labs, media centre, seminar rooms, designers lounge, and 24-hour design market, allowing the DDP to present the widest diversity of exhibitions and events that feed the cultural vitality of the city. A place where the past, present and future, peacefully coexist, the DDP is an architectural landscape that revolves around the ancient city wall and cultural artefacts that were unearthed during the archaeological excavations that took place prior to starting construction.

    Log-clad museum by Bornstein Lyckefors honours the legacy of Finnish slash-and-burn farmers
    dezeen.com, 6 May 2015

    SWEDEN — Bornstein Lyckefors Architects pays tribute to an agricultural technique known as slash-and-burn with this forest museum near Torsby, Sweden, clad with wooden logs (+ slideshow). Slash-and-burn is a form of self-sufficiency farming that involves the cutting or burning of woodlands to create fields for growing food. As the Torsby Finnskog Center is dedicated to the history of the Nordic forests, Bornstein Lyckefors Architects wanted the design to make reference to this practice, which was brought to Sweden in the 1600s by Finnish migrants known as the Forest Finns. "The Forest Finns lived from burning the forest and using the leftover pieces of land for agriculture," architect Andreas Lyckefors told Dezeen. "The museum is exhibiting their way of life and we wanted to let the architecture communicate the same values." A total of 300 logs were sourced from the surrounding forest to create the museum's wooden facade. Each log was stripped of its bark before being cleaved in half and mounted onto a rack.

    The Whitney Museum of American Art Architecture Review
    wsj.com, 5 May 2015

    NEW YORK, USA — At nearly three times the size of its former home, the new Whitney Museum of American Art is practically another species. Where the Madison Avenue building (1966) by Marcel Breuer was compactly monolithic, the downtown Whitney (at 220,000 square feet) is multifaceted and bulky, punched with porthole windows and bristling with outdoor terraces. Since opening on Friday, visitors—some 30,000 of them—could be seen clambering up and down its marine gray, metal-grated exterior stairs much the same way that tourists swarm the decks of the Intrepid. Indeed, the new Whitney is as tough and ready for action as a Navy warship. It was designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, this millennium’s McKim, Mead & White. Mr. Piano understands that the brief has changed from the days when architects built neoclassical shrines to local cultural heritage. Museums today need to function smoothly at processing and provisioning large numbers of visitors at an efficient clip, sometimes fueling a lament from locals that they no longer feel a sense of ownership. The key to Mr. Piano’s success in so many projects is that he is neither cynical nor condescending about translating the meaningful encounter to a much bigger scale.

    EcoLogicStudio transforms cladding system into a bioreactor with Urban Algae Canopy
    dezeen.com, 1 May 2015

    MILAN, ITALY — Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: in this movie Marco Poletto of ecoLogicStudio claims the integrated algae farm and cladding system his practice will showcase at the 2015 Milan Expo could be used to power cities in future. London architecture practice ecoLogicStudio's Urban Algae Canopy, which will be unveiled today at the 2015 Milan Expo, is a pavilion made from an ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) skin that has been adapted to grow algae inside it. "It takes an existing architectural technology and readapts it to host microalgal cultures," Poletto explains in the movie, which was filmed earlier this year at ecoLogicStudio's London office. "It becomes a living, bio-digital shelter." The system works by pumping oxygen and a solution of water, algae and nutrients through the ETFE cushions. The rate of the algae's growth inside the system will vary with the strength of the sun, Poletto claims.

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    The city of Sydney has turned into a magnificent light installation
    mashable.com, 27 May 2015

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Vivid is a festival of light that saturates the city of Sydney in all its hypercolour glory. More than 60 light installations are splashed across nine regions with several famous landmarks lit up, including the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Rocks, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Walsh Bay and Martin Place in the city have been transformed into a hub of sound and light, with interactive technology works — such as Games of Drones — allowing the audience to totally immerse themselves. The festival has branched into two new areas this year to cater to the growing crowd, which climbed to 1.43 million people last year. Voted the world's best tallest building, Central Park in Ultimo sees street artists create impressive light art installations and a crowd moshing at a silent disco. The suburb of Chatswood, in Sydney's north meanwhile, brings a little bit of suburbia to the mix — with an underwater fantasy land transforming the area. Vivid Sydney Festival director Ignatius Jones, who has been behind the festival for five years, told Mashable Australia the event is an experiment in crowdsourcing and focusses on giving the ownership of art back to the people.

    Maritime Museum using interactive technology for exhibits
    fox11online.com, 22 May 2015

    WISCONSIN, USA — The Door County Maritime Museum, at Gills Rock, is using technology to help bring history to life. Some exhibits may be small but the history, behind the artifacts, is endless. “We have our fishing tug the Hope which, basically, one of the biggest things about the museum is that you can go on board a real life fishing tug and see what it was like to be a commercial fishermen,” said Adam Gronke site manager at the Door County Maritime Museum. For many of the people who live in Door County, the area’s rich maritime history is important. “If we’re going to understand who we are, where we’ve come from, and maybe where we’re going, it’s important to preserve museums and to understand history,” Gronke said. The newest exhibit called “Death’s Door” focuses on the late 1800s and early 1900s. “Death’s Door is basically a passageway between the northern most tip of the peninsula and Washington Island. That passageway has traditionally been an area where a lot of shipwrecks have happened.” Gronke says the water surrounding Door County contains one of the largest concentrations of fresh water shipwrecks in the world.

    Architect's modelling system hailed as "posh Lego"
    dezeen.com, 24 May 2015

    IRELAND — Architect Damien Murtagh has created a reusable three-dimensional modelling system for architects and designers that is now on sale as a children's toy, prompting comparisons with iconic Danish building blocks Lego. Frustrated with computer-generated models, Damien Murtagh decided to create a more tangible and three-dimensional system he could use to share his ideas with clients. The result is Arckit: a modular system made from moulded ABS plastic. The pieces click together, and can be disassembled and used again when the model has served its purpose. "For many people, 3D modelling images are very difficult to fully understand," Murtagh told Dezeen. "A physical model is much easier to comprehend. With Arckit you don't need to spend months learning a complex and expensive software either, you just open the box and go." "Unlike traditional cut-and-glue model making, which is totally inflexible once built, Arckit's snap-together system allows continuous modifications and enables client participation in the design process," he added. The kit, which is at 1:48 scale, was originally designed for professional architects and was launched at the 2014 Grand Designs Live event in London.

    Google project allows users to experience Hong Kong museums and heritage sites online
    scmp.com, 21 May 2015

    HONG KONG — Exhibitions from four Hong Kong museums and heritage sites have been digitised by the Google Cultural Institution to be viewed online and through dedicated apps. The West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong Maritime Museum, Hong Kong Medical Science Museum and St James’ Settlement were added to the online exhibition platform on Wednesday, joining the King of Kowloon street art exhibit launched in March. “What has really impressed me is the speed we’ve been able to add institutions in Hong Kong, we worked with the King of Kowloon exhibition for our Street Art exhibition project ⃛ and now today is really special because we’re adding four partners,” said Amit Sood, director of the Google Cultural Institute. More than 400 items and 10 special exhibits have been added to the online archive by the four new partners, including the first use of gigapixel imagery in the city for “An unglazed painting of Canton (Guangzhou)” on display at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. Gigapixel imagery takes detailed photographs of close to one billion pixels allowing viewers to zoom in to examine individual strokes or minor imperfections on the artwork.

    Historic Met museum puts new technologies on display
    cio.com, 14 May 2015

    NEW YORK, USA — The Metropolitan Museum of Art faced a legacy challenge few organizations have to worry about. It needed to improve the visitor experience without disrupting the culture of the 145-year-old museum. In this video report, CIO.com’s Lauren Brousell looks at how the Met combined iPads, kiosks and mobile apps with Rembrandt and Monet. iPads, smartwatches and Google Glass weren’t around when Van Gogh created his iconic self-portraits in the 1800s. So how does an institution like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has been around for 145 years, integrate new technology? That’s the question CTO Jeff Spar and his team asked themselves as they tried to reduce visitor wait times, speed up the ticketing process and enhance the museum experience without disrupting it. “We had to find the right balance between being able to introduce the technology [without changing] the culture of the museum,” he says. “This is a place where the art is the number 1 experience, so we didn’t want the technology to take away from people coming and enjoying the museum.

    A Museum at the Forefront of Digitization
    nytimes.com, 13 May 2015

    AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — While many major museums have embarked on sweeping digitization projects, the one at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is distinguished by its ambition to be among the most exhaustive. By 2020, the museum intends to digitize all one million objects in its collection — from masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer to Delft pottery, silk brocade gowns and matchlock muskets. Today, 25 percent of the museum’s collection, including nearly all of its paintings, is freely available for download in high-resolution on rijksmuseum.nl, with new images being added every day. What sets the Rijksmuseum’s digitization program apart is not just its scope, but also a very progressive approach to copyright. Works have a Creative Commons “0” status, which means they can be modified and disseminated in practically any way. That includes exploiting the images for commercial use — downloaded artworks have been turned into iPhone cases, scarves, even a tattoo. The museum encourages experimentation, hosting creative contests and offering .tiff files (also for free) to those who want to republish images in large formats.

    Heineken Experience marketing campaign leads curious visitors directly to its door
    leisuremanagement.co.uk, 12 May 2015

    AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — Heineken has employed a unique marketing campaign in Amsterdam, teaming up with advertising agency J. Walter Thompson (JWT) to place a series of Heineken-branded bottles around the city which, when activated, guide visitors to the beer-maker’s museum experience. Using GPS technology, the bottles feature a rotating cap to offer directions to the museum and are activated with the use of an accelerometer, which when triggered activates a vibration mechanism and the navigation system. Potential visitors can choose to follow the bottle’s directions, which will lead them to the former Heineken Brewery, now the Heineken Experience.

    Nelson museum brings technology of war to Tasman schools
    stuff.co.nz, 7 May 2015

    NEW ZEALAND — The Nelson Provincial Museum brought its Science and Technology of War exhibition to the Motueka Technology Education Centre this week as a way to make its educational outreach go further. Many school groups visit the museum but as museum educator John Campbell explained, the cost of a bus trip can be a deterrent and so setting up at MoTEC was a way to reach all 13 primary schools in the Motueka cluster. The hands-on exhibition was repurposed as a technology classroom, with educators Campbell and Nicky Green working with the centre's technology teachers to teach concepts such as materials being fit for purpose and showing how the demands of war led to a technological leaps forward. On Monday afternoon Campbell showed a group of year 7 and 8 pupils from Ngatimoti School how aircraft technology progressed from a 20 horsepower engine in 1909 to more than 2000 horsepower in a WWII ear Spitfire.

    National Museum turns disabled friendly
    thehansindia.com, 4 May 2015

    INDIA — For the first time in the 55 years since the National Museum in New Delhi has opened its doors to people, tactile paths have been laid and tactile objects displayed for an ongoing exhibition to create a better environment for the visually-impaired. The pilot project also aims at a better understanding of how to make the museum accessible to persons with disabilities. For the "Cadence and Counterpoint: Documenting Santhal Musical Tradition" exhibition, the museum has laid yellow and black tactile mats on the floor that serve different purposes. "The surface of yellow mat is softer than the black one which indicates that you have to walk till you reach the harder surface. This surface is to indicate that you have to stop and listen to the audio guide, or touch a tactile object," Joyoti Roy, projects coordinator (Museums and Archives) at National Museum, said on Sunday. Tactile paving, also known as truncated domes, is a system of textured ground surface to assist people who are blind or visually impaired. The team for this project has created audio guides that come with the skip facility. "This part is important because we are giving them a choice to explore the exhibition at their own will," said Roy.

    Van Gogh vs. Candy Crush: How museums are fighting tech with tech to win your eyes
    digitaltrends.com, 1 May 2015

    UNITED STATES — One recent morning, as children and adults were still making their way to schools and offices, respectively, we found ourselves standing with a group of French business leaders outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City. The 145-year-old museum wouldn’t open for another hour and a half, but we weren’t there to be tourists. We had been invited by Sree Sreenivasan, the Met’s chief digital officer, for a special guided tour, aptly titled #emptymet, that explores how he and his team are bringing the museum experience into the digital age. Despite having one of the greatest collections of art and being one of the most visited museums in the world, the Met finds itself in the same boat as other museums: How does it compete in an age where our eyeballs are glued to our screens. Why spend the energy to visit a museum when you can do it virtually online? “Our competition is Netflix and Candy Crush,” Sreenivasan says, not other museums. Which is why the Met and other museums are investing in technologies to make the museum experience more interactive, even working with the smartphones that guests carry with them.
    [see also Van Gogh masterpiece turned into VR explorable 3D piece, Attractions Management, 19 May 2015]

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    Art and Culture


    Neolithic village hidden beneath Bulgaria: 8,000-year-old streets and rows of two-storey houses unearthed
    dailymail.co.uk, 25 May 2015

    BULGARIA — The stereotype of Stone Age men was cave dwelling brutes rather than sophisticated town planners who lived in two-storey houses. But archaeologists have uncovered the remains of 60 large houses built 8,000 years ago as part of a Neolithic village, in south west Bulgaria. Thought to be built by farmers, the town has three parallel streets with homes spread over five acres (215,278 square ft or 20,000 square metres). The village also features a canal, a port for boats and an unusual cemetery. Excavation of the site, located near the town of Mursalevo, is underway and has so far yielded pottery and jewellery as well as the fascinating buildings. It came to light as work began on the construction of the Struma Highway – a main road intended to link the Bulgarian capital Sofia, with the Kulata Crossing on the border with Greece. Archaeologists from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences have unearthed prehistoric houses that would have stood 26 feet (eight metres) tall with two sloped roofs, Archaeology in Bulgaria reported. Experts believe that the well-planned town, built between two gullies on the bank of the Struma River and consisting of 60 houses, was home to the earliest European civilisation.

    Pompidou outposts to pop-up across China?
    theartnewspaper.com, 20 May 2015

    CHINA — The newly appointed president of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Serge Lasvignes, is in talks with Chinese officials about a number of joint projects, including temporary pop-up Pompidous at venues across the Asian country. Lasvignes visited China 15-16 May with Laurent Fabius, the French minister of foreign affairs and international development. A spokesman for the Centre Pompidou declined to comment on the initiative. The visit signals that the pop-up strategy pursued by the institution’s former president, Alain Seban, is due to continue under Lasvignes. The launch in March of a Pompidou outpost in Málaga, Spain was Seban's final flourish before handing over the reins to Lasvignes, who began a five-year term on 2 April. This is not the first time the Pompidou has tried to branch out in China. In 2007, the then president Bruno Racine said he expected a museum carrying the Pompidou’s name to open in a former fire station in Huaihai Park in Shanghai. But the scheme never materialised because of difficult negotiations with the Chinese authorities.

    Concern About Palmyra’s Ancient Riches
    nytimes.com, 20 May 2015

    SYRIA — It was once one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world, a desert hub along the caravan route that in the first and second centuries served as a crossroads for Greek, Roman and Persian cultures. But now Palmyra, Syria — whose rich, monumental ruins include the Temple of Ba’al, an ancient theater and a famous 2,000-year-old colonnade that is already scarred by mortar fire — is threatened by the arrival of Islamic State militants. Government officials and preservationists around the world have expressed grave concern about protecting the temples and artifacts already eroded by years of war. But experts and local residents in areas overrun by the Islamic State have seen that, even though they might be able to document damage, try to safeguard ruins with sandbags or cart away artifacts as they flee, these are limited protections, if any. “I am deeply concerned by the situation at the site of Palmyra,” Irina Bokova, director-general of Unesco, the United Nations agency that works to protect historic places, said in a statement on Wednesday.

    Whitney Museum, Still Focused on American Art, Looks to Raise Its Global Profile
    wsj.com, 19 May 2015

    NEW YORK, USA — The lead curator who oversaw “America Is Hard to See,” the inaugural show at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new home downtown, is taking on a new role intended to boost the museum’s international profile. Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s chief curator and deputy director for programs, has been appointed deputy director for international initiatives and senior curator. It is a new job in which she will help increase the museum’s global audience, develop closer relationships with sister institutions and cultivate potential donors abroad, its director, Adam Weinberg, said in an interview this week. “I get very excited talking about American art in the world,” Ms. De Salvo, 60 years old, said. “I have these great projects that I want to take forward and more broad thinking about how the Whitney is placed in that global conversation.” The role will allow her to focus more on big-picture planning and less on day-to-day matters.

    Public artwork breathes life into Toronto transit
    thestar.com, 19 May 2015

    TORONTO, ON — The screeching sounds of the subway. The throngs packed into the morning streetcar. The time spent in the dark underbelly of the city, surrounded by weary commuters and ads on every wall. At times, there’s little to love about transit in Toronto. But in those claustrophobia-inducing moments, public artwork offers a breath of fresh air. “As a user of the TTC I experience spaces that are overcrowded, worn down and increasingly filled with more and more ads trying to sell me something,” says Toronto photographer Robert Burley. “Public art is a welcome element, celebrating the human spirit in places where the soul is challenged.” In the rush of a morning commute, it’s easy to miss the artwork found throughout the TTC system. But even more is on the way — public art is being incorporated into all six stops on the upcoming Spadina subway extension, for instance — and many say it helps bring the city’s transit system a sense of character and community.

    Art15: how and why public museums are no longer defining the art scene
    wallpaper.com, 18 May 2015

    WORLD — Private museums are reconfiguring the art ecology, says Philip Dodd, broadcaster, former director of the ICA and chairman of the advisory board for London art fair Art15. 'In some countries, they are "inventing" the art scene; in others, they are outshining their public counterparts. They are blossoming in countries where the state is withdrawing or is weak, and thriving in countries like China where it's too strong.' With this in mind, four years ago, Dodd launched the Global Private Museum Summit, a 'self-help group' aimed at private museum owners. This May, during Art15, it will bring together more than 40 private museum owners from as many countries. Topics for discussion include philanthropy and cultural regeneration. 'We are less focused on London, New York, Miami and Basel, and more interested in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, where private museums are leading the way,' says Dodd.

    Abandoned St Peter's seminary to be transformed into £7.5m new arts centre
    thenational.scot, 18 May 2015

    SCOTLAND — Work starts this week to turn an abandoned brutalist architectural wonder in the wilds of Argyll into a world-class arts complex. St Peter’s seminary in Kilmahew has lain abandoned for nearly 30 years. The building has been exposed to neglect, nature, graffiti and low-level vandalism. Earlier this year it was announced that arts organisation NVA were set to transform the building into a space for cultural events. Some £7.5 million will be given to the arts organisation by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and Creative Scotland to bring the space into being. Over the weekend media suggested that concerts, plays, operas, exhibitions and festivals would all be staged at the site. NVA is hopeful St Peters will be open to the public in time for the building’s 50th anniversary. Plans are already under way for a massive event next spring, with 10,000 people expected to attend.

    Nepal's national art collection at risk in building damaged by earthquake
    theguardian.com, 8 May 2015

    NEPAL — Nepal’s permanent national art collection is trapped inside a building that is in danger of collapse at any time, its chancellor said on Friday. The Academy of Fine Arts, a neoclassical building in Kathmandu dating from the 1930s, was critically damaged during the earthquake and Ragini Upadhyay, its chancellor, said a vital part of the country’s cultural heritage was at risk. “The building was very damaged, walls collapsed during the earthquake and there are still 700 paintings in there that we haven’t been able to rescue. The warning over the fate of the academy came as the UN complained about the slow response of the international community to an appeal for emergency funds to help the millions of people hit by the earthquake on 25 April. Jamie McGoldrick, the UN’s chief official in Nepal, said the agency had received $22m (£14m) so far against an appeal last week for $415m to support relief efforts for the first three months in the Himalayan nation.

    Suddenly, Tehran’s Mayor Becomes a Patron of the Arts
    nytimes.com, 7 May 2015

    TEHRAN, IRAN — The mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf, is well known in Iran as a former Revolutionary Guards commander, retired pilot and the loser of two presidential elections. This week he added one more title — patron of the arts — as he directed all of the city’s 1,500 billboards fitted out with copies of famous works of art, including many by prominent Western artists. Almost overnight nearly all of Tehran’s billboards, which are owned by the city and are a prime source of income, stopped showcasing South Korean dishwashers and the latest bank interest rates (now 22 percent) and sported still lifes by Rembrandt and images by the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Residents of Tehran, who spend hours a day on congested roads, often protecting their mouths from the continuous blanket of smog, rubbed their eyes at the sight of works by such artists as Rothko (Nos. 3, 10 and 13) and Munch (“The Scream,” of course), along with pieces by prominent Iranian artists.
    [see also Tehran swaps 'death to America' billboards for Picasso and Matisse, The Guardian, 7 May 2015]

    How crowdfunding kickstarts the arts
    hbs.edu, 7 May 2015

    WORLD — Philosophers have talked by turns about both the “wisdom” and the “madness” of crowds. How wise are crowds when it comes to art? And how does their wisdom compare to that of art experts? HBS associate professor Ramana Nanda sought to answer those questions in his recent study, which compared the funding decisions of art-loving masses on crowdfunding website Kickstarter to evaluations by experts in the field. Crowdfunding platforms represent a major shift in the way art projects seek support and find success. Since its founding in 2009, Kickstarter has raised more than $1.5 billion for over 80,000 art projects and has opened doors and lifted curtains for many projects that couldn’t or wouldn’t otherwise have gotten off the ground and onto the stage.

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    Creative Economies, Creative Cities, Innovation and Urban Planning, Cultural Tourism


    An evolving art: Calculating museums' economic impact
    citizen-times.com, 26 May 2015

    UNITED STATES — Museums are ubiquitous among modern human civilizations. They represent some of the most long-standing, recognizable institutions to showcase objects, places, peoples and creatures of cultural and historical significance. A prevailing opinion of museums' value is how well they perform traditional core responsibilities, such as their programming, preservation activities and public-education events, said Jeff Pettus, artists and communities senior program director at the North Carolina Arts Council in Raleigh. "We're lucky that North Carolina has so many institutions that do those things well," Pettus said. But museums' economic value to the regions they serve, and society at large, continues to evolve. Some entities track those types of data and some don't. Economic development officials often lump museums under a general tourism heading when analyzing their impact. Arts and culture organizations typically don't make museums a discrete category when examining their economic productivity. The American Alliance of Museums, a nonprofit advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., offers museums an online template to create individualized economic impact statements. "Now more than ever, legislators and funders need to know just how your museum impacts your community," the form's introduction states.

    The Most Inspiring Cities for Young Artists Ranked
    hyperallergic.com, 26 May 2015

    WORLD — In our data-obsessed era, we tend to think that any question can be solved by just looking at statistics, indexes, or rankings — even when it comes to something as elusive as the best place to find artistic inspiration. The educational website WorldWideLearn recently culled data from the American Community Survey and the Local Arts Index to rank the 15 most creatively inspiring cities in the United States for aspiring young artists and art students. The results are mostly predictable — New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco make up the top five — though there are a few curveballs. Few people think of Lexington, Kentucky (which came in sixth) or Anchorage, Alaska (seventh) when considering locales particularly conducive to art studies. The report’s authors ascribed scores to cities populated by 300,000 or more people according to seven basic metrics that presumably make for an inspiring environment: percentage of the population in college or graduate school; percentage of the population aged 18–34; art dealers per 100,000 people; performing arts companies in the metropolitan area per 100,000 people; museums per 100,000 people, fine arts schools in the metropolitan area per 100,000; and businesses classified in the “creative industry” sector per 100,000 people.

    Capital developers given cultural ‘call to action’
    scotsman.com, 26 May 2015

    SCOTLAND — Major developments in Scotland’s capital will be told to incorporate cultural elements in their plans in future under a drive to bolster Edinburgh’s artistic scene. Senior councillors have pledged to redraw the city’s planning policies and insist developers make space for artists in their masterplans as part of a new drive to give culture a greater priority. In its first response to a “call to action” from the cultural ?sector demanding more protection for existing cultural venues, the city council admitted arts and culture was too often sidelined from “mixed-use” developments. Deputy council leader Sandy Howat admitted the whole city needed to change its view of its cultural scene and festivals as an “entertainment industry”. He pledged that they would no longer be regarded as a “sideline” by the council and would be recognised in future policies as being at “the very heart of the city”. Mr Howat said developers would be told to pay more heed in future to what venues were already in an area and asked what they would be doing to enhance the city’s cultural offering.

    New York City Rethinks Art for the Masses
    wsj.com, 18 May 2015

    NEW YORK, USA — New York City’s cultural-affairs budget is bigger than that of the National Endowment for the Arts. Yet for many artists, the city has never been a harder place to make ends meet. Some complain that the city’s cultural largess doesn’t extend to all of its residents. Now the city is attempting to address some of these problems, by drawing up a plan that outlines its cultural priorities and ensures they align with the needs of artists, residents and local organizations. “Are we reaching every community? Are we providing access to culture and the arts to every child in every neighborhood?” said New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens, the chairman of the cultural-affairs committee. “It just seems to me that as the largest city in the nation, with the biggest, most robust funding for the arts, we should have a plan for what we are doing.” On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill requiring the Department of Cultural Affairs to come up with a plan that analyzes where arts activities occur, how they affect community welfare and how they can be incorporated into city planning and economic development. Chicago, Houston and Denver have already adopted similar cultural plans, pitched at making cities more artist-friendly and cultural activities more accessible.

    Scottish economy benefits from increase in museum and gallery attendance
    artsprofessional.co.uk, 15 May 2015

    SCOTLAND — Museum and gallery visits in Scotland have risen by 3.2 million since 2012, bringing a 40% increase in the economic impact – up from the £631m reported that year, to an estimated £891m in 2014. Using data generated by the tourism agency Visit Scotland, the Visitor Attraction Monitor Report 2014 calculates  £780m of this to be due to visitors’ subsequent expenditure on accommodation, food, drink and travel after their visit, with only £111m relating to expenditure at and by the museums themselves. Whilst there is huge variation between them, on average there are more unpaid than paid staff running these organisations. More than half of all staff last year were volunteers (56%) and less than half were paid. Of the paid staff, more than one in five were seasonal, and only half were employed full-time.

    In Barcelona, a New Draw for Design Fans
    nytimes.com, 14 May 2015

    BARCELONA, SPAIN — Not so long ago, travelers might have stopped in the Glòries area of Barcelona only if they were stuck in traffic. Three major roads leading in and out of this Spanish city — Avenida Diagonal, Avenida Meridiana and the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes — converged here at an elevated roundabout, where cars often came to a standstill. But lately this northeastern axis of the Catalan capital — situated in the Sant Martí district, bordering Eixample — is becoming a place to go to, not just through, especially for those interested in design. The roundabout has been torn down as part of a roadway reconfiguration, making the area more walkable. And some of the city’s most exciting public spaces have sprung up nearby, including a popular flea market under a modernist metal roof and, opening last December, the Barcelona Design Museum. “The area is definitely up-and-coming,” said the tour guide Jordan Susselman, whose company, Hi. This Is Barcelona ⃛ , increasingly makes stops in Glòries and adjacent Poblenou. In fact, the city has been trying to invigorate this part of town for some time. Ildefons Cerdà, the engineer who drew up the 1859 plan for the expansion of Barcelona, envisioned his Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes as a new town center. Instead, Glòries (pronounced GLO-rias), as it’s commonly called, became the aforementioned traffic snarl, a no man’s land at the top point of a triangular swath stretching down to the Mediterranean, encompassing Poblenou, or “new city,” a longtime manufacturing zone that declined in the 20th century.

    Cultural leaders demand change for Edinburgh's art scene
    heraldscotland.com, 12 May 2015

    EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND — A Director of culture should be appointed in Scotland's capital to ensure the city is a world leader in the arts, according to a new document by a group of industry figures. The group, which called itself Desire Lines, has today published a "call to action" which proposes a series of radical ideas for boosting culture, finding and maintaining venues, and aiding artist and artistic organisations and companies in Edinburgh. Its is also calling for "citizens, agencies and organisations" based in the city to sign up to an 'Edinburgh Cultural Promise', which includes a pledge to "articulate the positive impact of arts and culture in Edinburgh and maximise the resources available to help it thrive". The 28-page document asks the City of Edinburgh Council to "demonstrate their commitment to culture within the city by appointing a Director of Culture who would be a member of their senior management team." A director of culture would ensure a "place at the top table" for the issue, its authors believe. The document said: "The key role of arts and culture in the economic, social and cultural development of Edinburgh is significant.

    What a Creative Neighborhood Looks Like
    citylab.com, 12 May 2015

    CANADA — Innovation and creativity are the basic engines of economic development in cities, regions and nations. But what makes some places more innovative than others? How do certain neighborhoods come to specialize in different types of creativity? A new study published in the journal Regional Studies by my Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) and University of Toronto colleague Greg Spencer takes a detailed look at the kinds of neighborhoods that are home to high-tech industries versus those that foster vibrant arts, cultural and music scenes. He focuses on Canada’s big three city-regions: Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Spencer defines high-tech or “science-based” industries as spanning computer, software, pharmaceuticals and medicine, as well as research and development, while “creative” industries include film and video, music, radio and television, and design, as well as independent artists, writers and performers. (This is narrower than my own occupationally-based definition of the creative class). To get at this distinction, Spencer uses unique and detailed data from the commercial analytics firm Dun & Bradstreet on the locations of 1.4 million businesses in the years 2001, 2006 and 2011. The study asks: To what degree do these two main types of innovative activity prefer urban versus suburban neighborhoods? The main finding of the study is that these two types of activities—science-based versus creative industries—are based in very different kinds of locations. The table to the left, from the study, summarizes these differences. Basically, the science-based firms and industries are out in the suburbs, along highway interchanges, and in newer, low density suburban campuses. The creative industry locations are much more urban, dense, closer to the core of the city, walkable, mixed-use and often served by public transit.

    Is the Attractive City of Paris Becoming a Museum City?
    huffingtonpost.com, 11 May 2015

    PARIS, FRANCE — As we, the French, boast zero increase in the unemployment rate in France, as Marine Lepen, the President of the Front National, insists on French economic protectionism and as the Macron law is forced through parliament so as to make significant changes in the country; the question "Is France still as great, shining and attractive as it used to be?" can be legitimately asked. To answer this question, lets simply have a look at the city of Paris and its aura. In 1939, the French singer Maurice Chevalier sang "Paris sera toujours Paris (Paris will always be Paris)". But is Paris still the same 80 years later? Paris definitely remains an important city and the decentralization, imposed by the Defferre or Raffarin Laws has not changed that. Paris is indeed seductive, still able to create desire and is remains an example to be followed. Paris, considered to be the temple of elegance and fashion, has seen Chinese brands opening boutiques in Paris to give legitimacy to their labels -- so French. The economy of the country remains mainly based on tourism. This is only one of the trees that hide the forest.

    Art Works - Boston's creative economy
    baystatebanner.com, 6 May 2015

    BOSTON, MA — The creative economy in and around Boston has deep roots in traditional arts, but also nurtures new and up-and-coming sectors that will usher the creative industries into the future. Creative minds and concepts now boost a market that many believe already is, and will become more so, a driver of Boston’s evolving economy. That’s why Boston’s leaders want the city to become a creative economy hub and are making the moves necessary to make it happen. Last fall, Mayor Martin Walsh appointed Julie Burros as the first Chief of Arts and Culture in over 20 years to create a “cultural plan” that will outline a strategy to keep the creative sector active and vibrant. Burros had a similar assignment in Chicago, and the city is banking on that experience to get the job done here. To help move the process along, Boston Chief of Economic Development John Barros has been charged with working with Burros to help fortify the city’s creative economy. That could very well give Boston a leg up on its efforts.

    Dubai expects to greet 20 mln tourists by 2020
    xinhuanet.com, 3 May 2015

    DUBAI, UAE — Dubai expects to greet at least 20 million tourists by 2020 to the emirate, tourism and airline sources said on Monday. Dubai regards China as its top source market for more tourists in the future, said Issam Abdul Rahim Kazim, CEO of the Dubai corporation for tourism and commerce marketing (DCTCM). He made the assertions at the opening press conference for this year's tourism fair Arabian travel market which starts on Monday. The tourism official also believed that Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are also among the major source markets. Kazim told Xinhua that he will soon travel to Beijing for activities of the Dubai week in China, which will start later this week. The week-long program seeks to introduce industrial sectors of the Gulf Arab emirate to China's business community and its general public. In 2014, 13.2 million visitors flocked to "Fly-Buy-Dubai," as the emirate is nicknamed. The number of Chinese tourists surged by 25 percent year on year, Kazim said.

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