The French Lieutenant's iPod (excerpt)

...And now, just now, there is something about the way the light hits the glass or the smell of the dust in the air or the shudder of the helicopter as it turns, something, and I know that this is my last field mission. I'm done. I've seen enough.

So the French Lieutenant and I sit side by side in the aircraft flying back to Abeche, both settling into the recesses of our iPods. I choose "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones; he chooses "Civil War" by Guns 'N Roses. I'm sure this means something, but I'll have to wait to think about it. This place is complex enough without trying to draw some great metaphorical significance out of the music two westerners choose to listen to while we fly away from the problem.

-excerpt from Ron Capps' “The French Lieutenant’s iPod”

Walking Wounded

Walking Wounded
By Maritza Rivera

I used to dance
and carry your weight
effortlessly across
the floor.

I used to walk
the distance of your gaze
keep cadence when you marched
kick a soccer ball past the goalie
score winning runs
dash to the finish line.

A bullet whispered your name
before you heard the shot
before you felt the sting of it.
When you regain consciousness
I will be a ghost of searing pain
reminding you of how I felt
before the lights dimmed.

In time I will be replaced
by a robotic facsimile
that will never tire
as I once did.
You will walk and run and dance
again without my support
and wonder what became of me.

Now I lay me down on a heap
of other amputated limbs
a mangled mess of bone and blood and skin
missing the flex of your muscles.

Maritza Rivera is a former Army Military Intelligence officer who served from June 1974 to August 1978. She is the author of About You and A Mother’s War, written during her son’s two tours in Iraq. She is also a regular contributor to Poets Responding to SB 1070, participates in the Memorial Day Writer’s Project and hosts the annual Mariposa Poetry Retreat in Waynesboro, PA.

Yo-Yo Ma Spins an Emotional Tale of "Art for Life's Sake"

Tim Mikulski Tim Mikulski

As I have been sitting back at my desk at Americans for the Arts this afternoon, I've had a hard time coming up with a way to describe what I experienced last night at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Join Arts Advocacy Day from Your Desk (or Couch)

Tim Mikulski Tim Mikulski

As Congress returns to work in Washington, DC, this week they will face more than just angry tourists who came to see the not-quite-in-bloom cherry blossoms.

Public Art Year in Review Spotlight - "Your Essential Magnificence" in Austin, TX

Americans for the Arts' Public Art Network Year in Review program is the only national program that specifically recognizes public art projects. Up to 50 projects are selected annually through an open-call application process and selected by two to three jurors.

Share Your Arts Education Story at Arts Advocacy Day

Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, DC is less than a month away and with the recent sequester cuts and still-looming budget battle to come, it is vitally important that members of Congress hear how important the arts are to you and your community in person.

Former President Learning to Paint in His Retirement

In his retirement, President George W. Bush has been spending time learning how to become a better painter.

He recently hosted an artist from Georgia at his Florida home for about a month as she taught "43" and his sister-in-law new techniques. The former President began by painting portraits of dogs, but artist Bonnie Flood says he graduated to landscapes and has a natural talent.

FOX 5 in Atlanta aired this report late last week:

Public Art Year in Review Spotlight - "The Peanut Farmer" in Colquitt, GA

Americans for the Arts' Public Art Network Year in Review program is the only national program that specifically recognizes public art projects. Up to 50 projects are selected annually through an open-call application process and selected by two to three jurors.

Public Art Year in Review Spotlight - "From Here to There: High Trestle Trail Bridge" in Madrid, IA

Americans for the Arts' Public Art Network Year in Review program is the only national program that specifically recognizes public art projects. Up to 50 projects are selected annually through an open-call application process and selected by two to three jurors.

Kerry Washington Receives President's Award at 44th NAACP Image Awards

As stated in the introductory remarks, "philanthropist, activist, and style maven" Kerry Washington is the first African-American woman to serve in a leading role on a network t.v. drama in more than 35 years; however, it's her tireless advocacy work that garnered our respect and admiration.

Public Art Year in Review Spotlight: "Community Garden" in Bronx, NY

Americans for the Arts' Public Art Network Year in Review program is the only national program that specifically recognizes public art projects. Up to 50 projects are selected annually through an open-call application process and selected by two to three jurors.

The How-and-Whys of Our Top 10 Most Viewed Posts of 2012

Tim Mikulski

Everyone loves a top 10 list. Sure, it seems the lists are everywhere this time of year—to the point that you'd think that we've over-saturated the market for them, right? Wrong.

Happy Thanksgiving from Americans for the Arts!

Our offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday so our dedicated staff can enjoy the holiday. We'll be back to work on Monday! Have a safe and happy holiday!

KRIS Wine 'Art of Education' Contest Winners Unveiled

As you saw in a previous ARTSblog post, Brunswick Acres Elementary School in Kendall Park, NJ was very dedicated to winning the third annual "Art of Education" contest sponsored by KRIS Wine and Americans for the Arts.

Not only did this video help them jump out to an early lead, but it helped them score the top prize of $5,000 for their arts education programs:

ICYMI: ARTSblog in August

I've been trying to take the time at the end of each month to review some posts that you might have missed, and since August is a particularly vacation-filled month, I figured why not start now?

In case you missed it (ICYMI), here are some highlights from ARTSblog in August:

'Sesame Street' Moves Full STEAM Ahead

Tim Mikulski

Thanks to a tweet from Rhode Island School of Design President John Maeda on Friday, the world became aware of a new tool that I hope will greatly move the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education movement to STEAM (A=arts) instead.

Public Art and Transportation Partnership Adds to St. Paul Culture

Although federal transportation funding has recently moved away from including public art projects, there is still state and local funding available to help bring the arts to more people in your community via murals and roadside/town square-type public art work.

Fort Worth: Using All the Tools Available to Advocate for Local Arts Funding

You may have read that the Arts Council of Fort Worth is facing a 25 percent budget cut (from $716,000 annually to $450,000) in the proposed city budget that the city council will take up for a vote next month.

'World's Largest Kinetic Art Sculpture' Lands at Singapore Airport

While looking through my many news alerts last week, I came across an amazing kinetic sculpture recently installed in the Terminal 1 departure hall at Changi Airport in Singapore.

SC: Arts Advocates Protest Arts Veto on Eve of Legislative Sessions

As the South Carolina House currently debates which of Gov. Nikki Haley's vetoes to override (the Senate will do the same tomorrow), I couldn't help but post the following video of arts advocates outside the State House last night:

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