Jerome Weeks | KERA News

Jerome Weeks

Senior Arts Reporter/Producer, Art&Seek

Jerome Weeks is the Art&Seek producer-reporter for KERA. A professional critic for more than two decades, he was the book columnist for The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the paper’s theater critic for ten years before that. His writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, American Theatre and Men’s Vogue magazines.

Mr. Weeks was an entertainment reporter for the Houston Post and an associate editor for Third Coast magazine. He has won five Katie Awards from the Dallas Press Club, a graduate journalism fellowship from Columbia University and a Knight Digital Media Fellowship to the University of California-Berkeley. He has appeared on Studio 360, C-SPAN’s Booknotes and the PBS documentary Sweet Tornado: Margo Jones and the American Theater. Mr. Weeks is a member of both the National Book Critics Circle and the American Theatre Critics Association, and was recently named a fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.

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When it started six years ago, Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) already had the largest arts database in America. Since 2012, the center has used sources as the National Endowment for the Arts, the League of American Orchestras and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies to analyze how cultural institutions work and can work better and how they benefit communities.

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You can’t get much simpler than the materials Denton artist Taylor Barnes often uses – just black charcoal on white fabric. Or tree branches and twine. A visit to her unusual studio on the University of North Texas campus in Denton reveals how she can do so much with so little.

Dane Walters / KERA News

At Hamon Hall inside Dallas’ Winspear Opera House, volunteers sort through some 7,000 donated shoes on the floor. Sneakers, flip-flops, high heels, hiking boots, baby shoes.

Gun violence, says Bart McGeehon, “touches us all.”

Courtesy of Stantec

Ground was broken Friday on another high-end, residential high-rise in downtown Dallas near Klyde Warren Park, but this one is different: It's designed with its neighbors in mind.

Courtesy of Peter Salisbury

"You’re listening to the best in town," my car radio tells me, "the best around: 'The Local Mix'..."

Actually, you probably haven’t been listening to “The Local Mix” — or to “Candy's Sour Hour,” or “Electricity Comes from Other Planets,” or even to legendary Denton artist Martin Iles’ “WOODS,” a twice-monthly collage of unusual tunes, ravings, deadpan comedy, musical drones and cricket chirps.

Carol Highsmith / Library of Congress

A landmark exhibition that addresses former President Thomas Jefferson’s long-debated relationship with Sally Hemings, one of his slaves who bore six of his children, will begin its national tour in Dallas this fall.

Jerome Weeks / KERA News

If you’ve driven along Northwest Highway in Dallas, you’ve seen Lovers Lane United Methodist Church. It’s the large, white, rocket-ship-looking house of worship at Northwest and Inwood.

But back amongst all those trees, it’s not simply a church; it’s an entire complex of chapels, a school, a gym, a coffeehouse, various offices and ministries. It offers everything from traditional services to contemporary Christian music that can include country-western or Michael Jackson, even a jazz band.

There are also two choirs made entirely of African immigrants — one just of people from Zimbabwe.

Courtesy of Barbara Luisi Photography

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has appointed Grammy-winning Fabio Luisi as its new music director. 

Luisi has a five-year contract and replaces Jaap van Zweden, who left to lead the New York Philharmonic. The new music director will take over only gradually – although his appointment wasn’t the only big news from the DSO.

Courtesy of Michael Blanchard

The Dallas Symphony filled one of its major leadership gaps Friday morning.

Kim Noltemy, the chief operating and communications officer for the Boston Symphony since 2015, will become the DSO’s new CEO and president — and the first woman to hold both positions.

Justin Locklear is lucky. He knew what he loved to do, had to do, from an early age. As early as elementary school in Atlanta, Georgia, he was doing pretty much anything involving performance.

Dane Walters / KERA News

By the early 1980s, Vernon Fisher was part of a loose group of artists who broke with abstract painting. He’d been painting abstract works himself in the ’70s but, discouraged, he began playing with books and texts, scraps he found around his studio. One day, he was printing out words with an old Dymo plastic label maker.

Hady Mawajdeh / KERA News

Five years ago, Longhui Zhang flew from China to Denton — his first time outside China. When he landed at DFW, North Texas was not what he expected. He wasn’t expecting a Hollywood Western, but this certainly didn’t look like New York or LA, either.

Dane Walters / KERA News

Adrian Hall is a legend in American theater, having run two major companies at once: the Dallas Theater Center and the Trinity Rep in Rhode Island, which won the regional Tony Award in 1981.

Chevy Music Showcase

Petra Kelly is not a singer-songwriter. She's not a band leader, she's not the vocalist out front. She's the fiddle player off to the side. But she's the epitome of a gigging musician. Kelly waits for the right moment to pitch in the tonal effects her violin can bring to a song -- lift it with ethereal wails or gun it forward, backing up the bass guitar's chopping rhythms.

Dane Walters / KERA News

Sedrick Huckaby paints portraits of people, often his own family members. And for more than a decade now, many of the portraits he’s painted happen to be of quilts. Old-fashioned, family-sewn quilts, the kind made from bright scraps and strips of color, whatever fabric leftovers were at hand.

Welcome to the Art&Seek Artist Spotlight. Every Thursday we’ll explore the personal journey of a different North Texas creative.  As it grows, artandseek.org/spotlight should ultimately paint a collective portrait of our artistic community. Enjoy, and let us know what you think.

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Renowned Texas sculptor Jesus Moroles died Monday in a car accident on I-35 north of Georgetown.

Last Thursday, Moroles and his crew from Rockport, near Port Aransas, delivered four giant granite columns to Dallas. Moroles’ 15-foot tall work, called Spirit Inner Columns, was installed Friday in Hall Arts. That’s the new tower complex going up in the Arts District, across from the Winspear Opera House.

Brad Wilson / Flickr Creative Commons

On Tuesday, Southern Methodist University announced the largest single gift in its history. The $45 million gift from the Meadows Foundation is going to the arts on campus.

Max Faulkner / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

José Feghali, a pianist and TCU professor who won the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in the 1980s, has died. He was 53. 

Allison V. Smith

Rick Lowe, the Nasher Sculpture Center’s first artist-in-residence, has won a $625,000 MacArthur Foundation fellowship – the so-called “genius” grant.

Dallas Symphony

The Meyerson was built to last – its acoustics and its modernist style have not aged. But what will the next 25 years hold? The Art&Seek series Secrets of the Meyerson continues with a look at how the Meyerson's future is tied to the future of classical music.

Dane Walters / KERA

A concert hall to rival the best in the world.

In 1989, planners set the stakes high for the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. They persevered through two bond elections, a recession and public protests.

Jerome Weeks / KERA News

The Crow Collection of Asian Art has been expanding, adding a sculpture garden, moving its gift shop. It’s also expanded its mission. The art museum is addressing the links between art and health – and so is a brand-new art gallery in Deep Ellum.

The founder of the Bruce Wood Dance Project, perhaps the most esteemed choreographer in North Texas, has died of complications from pneumonia and heart failure. He was 53.

KERA

Poet, autobiographer, activist and essayist Maya Angelou died earlier today at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86.

In 1992, KERA taped Angelou at her home reading her poem, “Still I Rise,” for the documentary, Kindred Spirits: Contemporary African-American Artists. (See the video below.)

Near the Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake, there’s a large semi-circle of poles standing in the water. They’re part of an environmental installation designed as rest stops for birds. It sounds peaceful enough, but artists, lake activists and neighborhood groups are sharply at odds over the bird roosts.

What triggered the dispute? The city’s lack of maintenance of the artwork.

Jerome Weeks

E-books and Amazon and other industry changes have battered the traditional book trade.  Which is why we don’t see many new bricks-and-mortar bookstores opening these days. But an independent bookstore just opened in Oak Cliff, and it’s an unusual one.

Karen Almond

Jonathan Lethem’s best-selling, award-winning novel, The Fortress of Solitude, premiers this week as a musical at the Dallas Theater Center. The musical follows two boys, one white, one black, growing up in the ‘70s in a Brooklyn full of graffiti, music, drugs – and superheroes. KERA’s Jerome Weeks sat down with the novelist before his appearance at Arts & Letters Live at the Dallas Museum of Art last month.

Veniamin Skorodumov / Shutterstock.com

Did you know that less than 43 percent of art museum directors are women? And the female directors, on average, are paid less than their male counterparts?

Those are among the findings of a joint study done by SMU’s National Center for Arts Research and the Association of Art Museum Directors. It found that female directors at museums with budgets of more than $15 million earn 71 cents for every $1 that male directors earn. At the same time, women who run art museums with smaller budgets do earn more than their male counterparts – annually, they earn 2 cents more.

Kimbell Art Museum

The Kimbell Art Museum has bought a great Dutch landscape to go with its great Dutch seascape. The seascape just looked so lonely, you know? Now it’s part of a surf ‘n turf pair.

The Fort Worth museum announced that it has acquired Edge of a Forest with a Grainfield, painted around 1656 by the leading master of Dutch landscapes, Jacob van Ruisdael (he always signed, never dated, his paintings, which is why their dates of origin are usually vague). 

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