WBHM 90.3 FM
Your NPR News Station

Volunteers wanted

Arts & Culture90.3 WBHM | Birmingham -- Now that officials with Region 2020 and a Massachusetts-based consulting firm have released their long-awaited arts and cultural master plan for Birmingham/central Alabama, volunteers are needed to serve in different groups to help attain the plan's goals. Priority areas include facilities, funding, technical assistance and neighborhood education.

"The success of the master plan depends on all of us," said Kate Nielson, president of The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. "This important work cannot be done without the continued involvement of citizens and arts organizations." Nielson is co-chairing the arts and cultural master plan implementation process.

Those interested in volunteering should contact Elizabeth Sims at Region 2020.

After nearly a year of research, public hearings and facilitated group meetings, Boston-based consultants Wolf, Keens and Company released their findings and laid out arts and cultural needs for the 12-county Birmingham region. Among the needs found in the report: increased funding for arts organizations, more cooperation between arts groups and local and state government and more minority participation in the arts.

History of the arts and cultural master plan

| Birmingham -- In the last ten months, there have been several public hearings and meetings - complete with facilitators - to discuss the details of a regional arts and cultural master plan. At the meetings, hosted by Region 2020, participants -- many of them leaders in arts organizations statewide -- discussed specific problems and possible solutions in the Birmingham area arts community.

At the outset of the arts and culture master plan discussion a year ago, civic leaders and residents showed up for an initial presentation and a chance to speak up about future plans. The open house broke ice between the consultants and the arts community. Some people in attendance told the panel that only a select few wield much of the community power and control with regard to money and publicity. A vast amajority called the initial step toward a master plan a constructive beginning with much to do.

Organizers say the final report, released at the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham annual meeting, mirrors what's been discussed in the past year. They also say many of the community concerns are addressed in the master plan.

In 'Love And Techno,' The World Is Cruel — But The People Aren't (Mostly)
Anthony Marra's new short story collection is a hundred-year relay of Russian history, full of black, bone-dry humor and characters who are often (but not always) as awful as the worlds they live in.
A Mixtape Of Russian History In 'Love And Techno'
Anthony Marra's new book, The Tsar of Love and Techno, is a collection of stories playing out over nearly a century of change in Russia. He tells NPR he wants the book to function like a mixtape.
Grace Jones: 'I'm A Bit Split Personality'
The gender-bending musician and supermodel discusses how her past and her personality inform her new book, I'll Never Write My Memoirs.
An Intergalactic Adventure Winds To A Close In 'Ancillary Mercy'
Ann Leckie's powerhouse space-opera trilogy followed a soldier out to bring down a galactic empress. Critic Genevieve Valentine says the final volume is rich in detail, and a fitting capstone.
From Solitary To Stardom On The Court: What It Means To Be 'Tuff'
Before his success in the NBA, Caron Butler overcame a rocky youth in the inner city. Drugs and violence nearly derailed him — but, as he writes in a new memoir, he managed a dramatic turnaround.
Too-Insidery 'Razzle' Sadly Doesn't Dazzle
Theater critic Michael Riedel dishes some juicy backstage anecdotes in his new book about Broadway's Shubert Organization, but fails to bring its deal-makers and their troubles to convincing life.
How A Show About Zombies Looks At Legacies Of Real Violence
Fear the Walking Dead is telling a story not often explored on prime-time television: generational rifts over the violence that immigrant parents have experienced.
In Trove Of Kids' Book Treasures, A Glimpse Of The Work Behind The Magic
Once a doctor's hobby, the Kerlan Collection is now one of the world's great collections of children's literature. Over 100,000 books offer visitors a chance to see the writer's process — for free.
Good Gourd! What's With All The Weird-Looking Squash?
Cinderella pumpkins just don't cut it for fall decor anymore. Squash and gourds come in all sorts of colors and sizes — and as far as consumers are concerned, the stranger, the better.
Where There's A Will: Shakespeare Remixed In 'The Gap Of Time'
You've heard of cover songs — now, a group of authors are writing cover plays, retelling the works of Shakespeare in their own words. Jeanette Winterson leads off, reimagining The Winter's Tale.
'M Train' Is A Poetic Journey Through Life And Loss
Patti Smith's new memoir is a dreamy, elegiac recollection of loved ones gone too soon, energized by her interests and travels. It jumps in time, from her husband's death in 1994 to Hurricane Sandy.
Historic Art, Luxury Apartments Battle Over Berlin's Famous Wall
A stretch of the old Berlin Wall has stood for decades as an open-air gallery, covered in fine art and graffiti. Bids for luxury developments in the area have artists hitting the streets in protest.
Not My Job: We Quiz Sportswriter John Bacon On Bacon
We're taping the show in Ann Arbor this week, home of Michigan Football and sportswriter John Bacon. Bacon's latest book is called Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football.
Swordswoman, Opera Singer, Runaway: 'Goddess' Chronicles A Fabled Life
Author Kelly Gardiner's new novel is a fictionalized version of the life of Julie d'Aubigny, a swashbuckling 17th-century fencer-turned-opera singer whose exploits often seem stranger than fiction.
Big Themes, Tiny Frames: An Art Show Writ Small
This weekend, The Mini Show opens at The Lodge, an emerging gallery on a gritty street in Los Angeles. It'll feature teeny, tiny paintings.