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In L.A., 'Arts Month' is All Year Long

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, January 06, 2010, at 12:06PM
opera and angels flight Ed Fuentes

L.A. Opera young artist mezzo soprano Ronnita Nicole Miller performed "Weiche Wotan" from Rheingold. Behind her, from a series inspired by the Ring Cycle, Peter Adams' painting portrays Angels Flight official John Welborne as Donner, the god of thunder.

When City officials and arts leaders gathered on Tuesday to kick off the second annual L.A. Arts Month, they heard mezzo-soprano Ronnita Nicole Miller perform a selection from Wagner's "Das Rheingold," one of four operas that make up the vaunted Ring Cycle. The cycle and an arts festival to surround it are the highlight of the spring arts calendar.

They also don't start until April.

The "Arts Month" moniker may make a handy package for L.A. Inc. and Cultural Affairs to market, but one suspects that all involved would be pleased if the event really served to generate awareness and attendance for events throughout the year.

January highlights Downtown include the L.A. Art Show (January 21 - 24), which for the second year will take place at the Convention Center, and the continued "First Thirty Years" exhibit at a revived MOCA.

Arts Month's official dates are January 1-31, 2010, and the Tuesday kick off included an afternoon panel "Museums: Not Just For Tourists" at MOCA. Beyond January, through "community outreach, local promotional ticket giveaways, and a viral word-of-mouth and print and radio campaign", L.A. will be showcased as a "creative haven."

On Tuesday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the arts "the soul of the city," promising to continue to fight for increased funding.

"We already invest in a lesser degree than any other city in America. We ought to be moving in the other direction," said Villairagosa. "That's a hard sell to a number cruncher, until you tell them international culture tourism accounts for 2.5 billion in the L.A. economy annually."

Those finding their own numbers coming up short should check out L.A. Inc's Discover the Arts in Los Angeles, which offers discounts for L.A.'s arts institutions from January through April 30, 2010.

L.A. Arts Month / January events include Rembrandt Prints at the Hammer UCLA; LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards; Urban Interventions; Los Angeles Art Show; and VIA/LAND

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