to Fine Arts Center Board Member Dr. Patricia Romney
The Fine Arts Center would like to congratulate Friends Board member Dr. Patricia Romney on her recently published article “The Art of Dialogue” on the Americans for the Arts/Animating Democracy web site. Her article offers an accessible review of the ideas of selected historic and contemporary philosophers and dialogue theorists---including: Socrates and Plato, Mikhail Bakhtin, Paulo Freire, David Bohm, and David Isaacs---and considers the implications of their ideas for arts-based civic dialogue practice. She stresses the importance of people coming together to talk about the critical and controversial matters that affect our survival and progress as a family, community and society while also stressing the importance of how we talk — dialogue must address issues of equity before it can be successful.
Her article is also timely because in her article she discusses the controversy surrounding the cancellation of Amherst Regional High School’s production of West Side Story and how the dialogue that surrounded that event was so important and still continues even today. On February 21 at 8pm and February 22 at 2pm in Bowker Auditorium, New World Theater will present West Side Stories, a theatric investigation of issues of racial and cultural representation that ignited the Pioneer Valley community and made national headlines. West Side Stories documents the Pioneer Valley’s reaction to the Amherst Regional High School’s production of the musical West Side Story and the subsequent cancellation. West Side Stories takes its cue from America’s history of artistic political protest as it foregrounds the evolving dialogues about what can be said and by whom in our contemporary moment.
The Animating Democracy Initiative (ADI), launched in fall 1999, is a four-year programmatic initiative of Americans for the Arts made possible with support from The Ford Foundation. Its purpose is to foster artistic activity that encourages civic dialogue on important contemporary issues.
To read the complete article by Romney, follow this link