arts + culture at aspen ideas

This sounds exciting – wish I could get there!

At the 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival, the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic welcome today’s edgiest and most eminent critics, artists, administrators and patrons to the Arts and Culture programming track.  They will offer fresh and dynamic perspectives on the status of the arts in the face of unprecedented economic, social and technological changes.


  • Chuck Closeartist, photographer, and 2009 Harman-Eisner Artist-in-Residence, will discuss his life’s work and the creative process in an exclusive interview with Anna Deavere Smith, Pulitzer Prize-Nominated playwright and actress on July 1

  • Frank Gehry, world-famous architect, in an interview on July 3 with Tom Pritzker, chairman, Hyatt Foundation – sponsor the Pritzker Architecture Prize

  • Is the Curtain Closing on Live Theater in America?”—a July 3 roundtable discussion with Michael Eisner, founder, The Tornante Company; former chairman and CEO, the Walt Disney Company; trustee, the Aspen Institute, David Ives,playwright, All in the Timing: Six One-Act ComediesAnna Deavere Smith, Pulitzer Prize-Nominated playwright and actress; professor, New York University; trustee, The Aspen Institute, and moderated by Dana Gioia, director, Harman-Eisner Program in the Arts, the Aspen Institute; former chairman, National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Seven—a groundbreaking documentary theatrical performance about seven women from the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network, followed by playwrightAnna Deavere Smith in conversation with two of the real women whose experiences are featured in the play: Marina Pisklakova and Mu Sochua on June 29

  • Weathering the Storm: How Will the Arts Make It Through the Economic Crisis?”—a July 4 roundtable discussion with Deborah Borda, President and CEO, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Leonard Lauder, Chairman of the Board of Directors, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.; Chairman Emeritus, The Aspen InstituteLaveen Naidu, Executive Director, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Damian Woetzel, Director, Vail International Dance Festival; former Principal Dancer, New York City Ballet, and moderated by Dana Gioia, director, Harman-Eisner Program in the Arts, the Aspen Institute; former chairman, National Endowment for the Arts

“What’s exciting about the Aspen Ideas Festival is the convening of truly remarkable minds across so many disciplines,” said Kitty Boone, Vice President, Public Programs at the Aspen Institute. “This year in particular we are pleased to have so many bright thinkers who are leading the way forward for a thriving arts community in America.  We will be presenting speakers from various fields of art including, painters, photographers, dancers, musicians, and architects, as well as leaders from arts foundations around the country.”

“The Ideas Festival provides a great forum for the latest thinking about our rapidly-changing political, economic, and cultural landscape, and for debate about how to turn that thinking into action,” said James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic. “We’re thrilled to tap the shared strengths of the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic to help shape the week’s conversation.”

About The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC, Aspen, CO, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and has an international network of partners. For more information, visit

About The Atlantic

Since 1857, The Atlantic has played a central role in shaping the national debate on current affairs and cultural trends.  Dedicated to bold, independent, diverse, and highly reasoned perspectives, its writers, bloggers, and critics represent the best in American journalism.  The Atlantic’s award-winning commentary and coverage can be found in its magazine, on its website at, and at 100+ events a year produced by its industry-leading events division, Atlantic LIVE.

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