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October 30, 2011 / Melissa Leeanne

Juneau arts support per capita

Juneau must be the most supportive arts community if you look at it in terms of arts support per capita. This community of 30,000 has more arts organizations than I can count and more events than a person could attend without the use of time travel. This weekend I took part in a Rocky Horror showing at the independent Gold Town Nickelodeon, saw the Juneau Symphony’s performance of Sweeney Todd, and missed out on numerous other events, including a roller derby bout and a guest musical artist. We have the umbrella Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, several dedicated galleries, organizations dedicated to every facet of the arts, and once a month there are several art show openings at galleries and cafes and retail locations.

We, as a community, support a professional theatre, plus two or three smaller troupes, two organizations dedicated to opera, a symphony orchestra, the Jazz and Classics festival and related events, community studios and every other citizen is a photographer, painter or musician. You never know who you are going to see, but you will see at least 3-5 people you know at any given event, usually as a member of the cast or band or showing their art. These creators are your neighbors, your co-workers, and your servers (even bouncers). Mrs. Lovett – I’ve been to her house! I’ve taken shots of whiskey with the popular bluegrass band. I have seen a musician who performed at Lollapalooza wearing a wacky blue wig and sunglasses on stage, performing after a group of middle school students playing death metal.

Another great thing about the arts here is how accessible everything is. There is live music most weekends, usually for free. First Friday Gallery Walk is free each month to attend. The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is free for the winter thanks to some sponsorship, there are pay-as-you-can performances of even the professional theatre’s shows, and there is a good chance that you can have a chat with the actors or musicians or artists. The most known musicians and actors are still regular people, rather than distant celebrities.

The best thing about it is that it makes for great date nights. Who needs dinner and a movie when you can have dinner and a live performance? Clearly, I’ve set my standards higher with such classy date nights – no more are the “dates” that involve cheap beer at a dive bar and late night Pel’meni. Who am I kidding, there’s room for that, too, especially if there is live music.

Now, if I were a numbers person like Nate Silver and a great graphics creator like David McCandless, I would figure out some numeric equation to quantify the arts in Juneau and come up with some fancy graphic  for arts per capita. Looks like I have a  new project!

Note:

Dear Nate Silver, I’m linking you back for that time you linked to my OWS – Juneau article in your blog. Thanks. Also, I admire your work.

Dear David McCandless, I also admire your work. If I succeed at this infographic bit, I thank you for some inspiration.

 

Edit: Oh Google, how I love thee, I’m taking my cues from this article: http://www.seattlepi.com/ae/article/Seattle-area-tops-nation-in-arts-per-capita-1148342.php

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