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Thinking ahead: Madison arts leaders offer ideas for 2012


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At this time of year, many of us reflect on ways to better ourselves. It's the same for area arts leaders, who offer a variety of New Year's resolutions.

Rob Chappell, spokesman for the Overture Center for the Arts, resolves to "convince every member of every touring Broadway cast to expunge the word 'thrilled' from their bio."

Jim Healy, director of programming at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cinematheque, resolves "to keep developing my telekinetic powers, so that, with a wink or a nod, I can psychically turn off any smart phones that illuminate a darkened cinema. Note to self: Don't study DePalma's Carrie or The Fury for lessons in self-control."

Similarly, Jennifer Uphoff Gray, artistic director of Forward Theater, vows to "work on a force field around Overture Center that blocks cell phone calls during performances."

In anticipation of renovations of the UW Memorial Union, Ralph Russo, director of cultural arts and the Union Theater, resolves to "embrace risk, live artfully every day and work hard to ensure the Wisconsin Union remains art-full, even while we have a little less space to do so."

Anne Katz, executive director of the advocacy group Arts Wisconsin, resolves to work toward engaging support for the city of Madison's pending cultural plan, "so that everyone in the community can benefit."

"My new year's resolution is to achieve a little more balance in my life," says W. Earle Smith, artistic director at Madison Ballet. "I will hopefully do that by continuing to take tai chi, and doing more fishing on Lake Wisconsin. I am sure 'the big one' is still out there."

George Tzougros, executive director of the Wisconsin Arts Board, resolves to work throughout Wisconsin "to promote the need for imagination, creativity and innovation in all their forms in our schools, businesses and communities. Wisconsin must be powered by creativity to succeed in the 21st century."

Tara Ayres, artistic director for StageQ, resolves to "elect a new governor who understands the importance of the arts to a vibrant state and booming economy."

Finally, Lisa Thurrell, artistic director for Kanopy Dance, resolves to always take comfort in a quote from her late mentor, the celebrated choreographer Martha Graham. It reads in part:

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost."

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