Spring is Here

When I was little, my dad would tell me about what it was like to be a child during China's Great Famine. He told me that he would eat ants off the ground for a brief sensation of what food tasted like, and laugh because in America I didn't have to do that. He always served me first when he cooked, and I wondered if I could ever do that, if being grown-up meant feeding other people first.

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Art, an Ecosystem Indicator

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If we want to talk about an economy as an ecosystem, then consider the arts and humanities as an "indicator." The US arts industry is 88% white, 12% people of color, and almost entirely men regardless of race. Women of color represent half of one percent of arts representation. The arts and humanities are where culture-making happens. So is it much of a surprise that we struggle with a diverse business ecosystem, the same way we struggle with biodiversity in nature when the primary infrastructure is centered on supporting a monoculture lawn?

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Uncommon Ground
Solo show by Jenie Gao, Diane Endres Ballweg Gallery at Madison Central Library.

Uncommon Ground

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From personal to professional to political spaces, I have paid attention to disputes between people who plead for common ground yet gloss over perspectives and leave issues unresolved. I have wondered that if instead of common ground, we should advocate and claim space for identities and representations that are rare.

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Spiders, Feminism, and Unlearning Irrational Fears

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As a child, I was afraid of spiders. I was one of those girls who ran away at the sight of any creepy crawly bug that was not either a ladybug, butterfly, or roly poly. I didn't see the irony or hypocrisy of my fear, as a girl who got called boyish, called out for being too rough, too temperamental, too strong, too aggressive for my sex.

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Landmarks Through the Seasons
Rest and Rejuvenation, Private Mural Commission for Mary Burke. Photo by Jenie Gao.

Landmarks Through the Seasons

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Maybe the most magical thing about outdoor works of art is how they not only change their environments, but also transform with the seasons. Though the Midwest got hit with…

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Invest in the Arts and Creativity, Invest in Wisconsin’s Future: Guest Post by Anne Katz

Anne Katz is the Executive Director of Arts Wisconsin. After reading my last post about Arts Spending in Wisconsin, she asked if she could write a guest post offering action…

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Patterns of Bayview
Designs by Boon Mee, Yim Laj, and Yee Lang, student artists on the Patterns of Passage project, members of Bayview's Community Arts Crew

Patterns of Bayview

Bayview Foundation is an affordable housing neighborhood in the heart of Madison. Their residents represent 12 different nationalities, constituting one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in this city. Over…

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A Letter to My Creative Community
Photo from community paint day at Trinity Lutheran Church. Photo credit Daniel Stout.

A Letter to My Creative Community

To my fellow creators: In 2016, we experienced one of the most critical elections of our time, an election that regardless of your politics, regardless of whether you woke up the…

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#MeToo, #YesAllWomen, and Men Who Can Do No Wrong
"I fought the law..." ink drawing from Heartwood series, by Jenie Gao

#MeToo, #YesAllWomen, and Men Who Can Do No Wrong

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#MeToo and #YesAllWomen tell a common story. A man wronged a woman and got away with it. I'm grateful, of course, for the courage and camaraderie of women to be…

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