Part 2 of 2: Hurdles Stand Between Arts Leaders And County Support They Seek

Artists in Asheville aren’t unique in this sense—artists everywhere apply and compete for funding from their state and regional arts councils. They’re the custodians of the portion of your tax dollars that fund arts and culture in our communities.

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Lizzo was in fifth grade when it came time to choose instruments for band. The choice was made for her when the music teacher paired her with the flute.

It turned out to be a good match: The singer and rapper fell in love with the instrument and went on to pursue a degree in music performance and music theory with the hopes of becoming a professional flutist. "I saw a life of concert black and Boston Pops and traveling the world," Lizzo says. "When that didn't pan out for me, I was very depressed."

In a year already marked by a wide variety of congressional health care legislation, Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Thursday released the details of a plan they hope will help bring down health costs and eliminate surprise medical bills for patients. Alexander and Murray are the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The release of convicted terrorists after they complete prison sentences is "absolutely a concern," a senior FBI counterterrorism official said — but he sought to assure the public that investigators work to assess those risks months before someone walks out of the gates.

The remarks followed hours after the "American Taliban," John Walker Lindh, exited a prison in Indiana after serving 17 years behind bars for providing support to the Taliban.

The Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to the food industry on Thursday, urging companies to get behind the initiative to standardize the use of the phrase "best if used by" on packaged food labels.

New abortion legislation is sweeping the country, with states introducing ever-more polarizing bills to constrict and expand access.

Rufus Edmisten cut his teeth in the political world as counsel to former U.S. Sen. Samuel Ervin Jr. Ervin was the chairman of what is commonly known as the Watergate Committee, and Edmisten played a key role in that committee’s work as well.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

The Trump administration will provide $16 billion in aid to keep farmers afloat as they reel from the yearlong trade war between the U.S. and China, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters in a briefing on Thursday.

The bulk of the aid, or about $14.5 billion, is direct aid to farmers, which producers will start to see some time this summer, Perdue said.

"While farmers themselves will tell you they'd rather than trade than aid, without the trade that has been possible, they're going to need some support," he said.

I have a theory. We, consumers of media in a capitalist, money-obsessed country, love a good fraudster. There's some compelling evidence, too.

There comes a moment in almost any performance by vibraphonist Joel Ross when he seems to slip free of standard cognitive functions and into a bodacious flow state. Invariably, he's in the midst of a heated improvisation. Maybe he's bouncing on his heels, or bobbing like a marionette. His mallets form a blur, in contrast to the clarity of the notes they produce. The deft precision of his hammering inspires a visual comparison to some tournament-level version of Whac-A-Mole.

The Alabama Historical Commission says a wrecked ship off the Gulf Coast is the Clotilda, the last known vessel to bring people from Africa to the United States and into bondage.

At the Robert Hope Community Center in Mobile, Ala., on Wednesday, researchers unveiled their discovery to descendants of the people on that fateful voyage. "They had been waiting for this for a long time," Alabama Historical Commission Chairman Walter Givhan, a retired major general, told NPR. "They were jubilant."

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Arts & Performance

About 50 people have gathered at a gallery inside the Refinery Building in Asheville’s South Slope. It’s a whos-who among people in local dance, theater, music, the visual arts.

They’re here as a nascent arts alliance, putting new effort behind a familiar message—that city and county officials should prioritize the arts in their annual budgets.

Artists in Asheville aren’t unique in this sense—artists everywhere apply and compete for funding from their state and regional arts councils. They’re the custodians of the portion of your tax dollars that fund arts and culture in our communities.

Morin Photography


At a rehearsal in the Woodfin dance studio of the Asheville Ballet, Rebecca O’Quinn is watching two middle-aged women rehearse a duet O’Quinn created around the prop of an overstuffed loveseat.

 

“They kind of take turns running around the couch and flipping over the couch, and are in relationship with each other, and it’s not clear what the relationship is,” she said of this dance work, part of an Asheville Ballet program May 17-18 at Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville.

 

That unclear relationship could be a metaphor for O’Quinn’s own artistic path.

The Magnetic Theatre

With new works, playwrights often work closely with the director to shape what happens on stage. But once Peter Lundblad finishes writing a play, his involvement with it ends.

“I really like giving it to a director and seeing what they do with it, so I try not to interfere,” he said. “I’m not a details a guy, so somebody else who knows that better. That’s one example of really learning to trust a director.”

Lundblad is perfectly content to leave his new play, “Buncombe Tower,” in the hands of the Magnetic Theatre. And he has left much for the director and cast to interpret. The play is a fantastical, futuristic vision of Asheville and an allegorical commentary on the fallout of gentrification.