M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Today’s blog post is by Annika Nyquist, one of the Murdock Trust summer interns. A graduate of North Park University, Annika is pursuing a career in the arts and nonprofit sector.

Alaska Dance Theatre – photo credit Nick Bradford

The 21st century is undoubtedly a whirlwind era to be living in. A time that is filled with robust innovation, entertainment presented in the highest of quality, and access to infinite resources at the scroll of one’s fingertips. It is an equation of these qualities that helped me to even begin compiling this blog post, as well as many other actions that occur in my day-to-day routine.

Far too often my own daily rhythm is oversaturated in busyness. And busyness does not come only in the form of an active lifestyle, but also in the form of being flooded by visual information that comes to us in pictures, words, videos and much more. If you live in an even semi-urbanized area, everyday routines feel like they occur within a constant swim through hyper-commercialization. It is no wonder though, there are millions of sleek product images and psychologically-crafted advertisements with the motive being to sell. Our attention never seems to stop jumping from one thing to the next at an ever-increasing rate. Where then, do we focus our eyes and ears and bodies for meaning beyond the fast-current of entertainment and consumption? Where do we find sacredness as it relates to our present-day?

“Entertainment distracts our attention, art focuses it,” could not ring truer, written by Andrew Simonet in his book, Making Your Life as an Artist. He continues by prompting artists for being the one’s responsible for making the small sliver of images out there that address the spiritual, emotional, cultural, and political. Thankfully there are countless individuals and groups in every region that dedicate their lives towards the sacred act of making meaningful art and celebrating cultural beauty. The Murdock Trust has the great pleasure to partner with several organizations across the Pacific Northwest that create a platform for these artistic responses to be exhibited.

It also should not go without mentioning, it takes conscious effort to go-and-see. Even reading or getting up to speed on the arts is a task that requires time on a person’s own behalf, no matter how much love one has for art, music and culture. It also does not help that, for many individuals, there are often too many things to see in a limited amount of free-time per week. To slightly ease the process, we wanted to pull together a sample of options available across our region. These events are hosted by a wide selection of organizations that have been awarded grants from the Murdock Trust. However, these are only a fraction of events that present the rawness of the creative spirit, wonderfully brought to life in the form of productions, exhibitions, workshops and much more.

To highlight a few events that will help get you started on marking your calendars:

In Washington:

  • The Seattle Theatre Group presents free theater tours every first, second and third Saturday of each month. In 2014, the Murdock Trust provided a grant to the Seattle Theatre Group to manage historic theater preservation. This is a wonderful opportunity to see remarkable theater architecture and explore the sites that have presented a variety of artistic productions in Seattle for nearly a century.
  • The Centrum Foundation presents the 8th gathering of the Port Townsend Ukulele Festival this September with two public performances that showcase the remarkable faculty. Both days of performances will take place the Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden State Park. In 2017, a Murdock Trust grant helped to upgrade Centrum’s two main performance venue’s, including the Wheeler, to simpler and more energy efficient systems.
  • The Artist Trust provides artists of all creative disciplines valuable resources to launch and sustain successful careers. In 2011, the Murdock Trust provided the Artist Trust a grant to support statewide business training for artists. To give an example of the many opportunities that they provide artists, an Artist Mentorship Night will be happening at the Allied Arts of Whatcom County on October 20th. It is a free event that would be informative for any early to mid-career artists in the Bellingham area.

In Oregon:

  • The Salem Art Association hosts workshops and classes throughout the year that covers a range of artistic practices and are taught by established artists. In 2015, the Murdock Trust provided a grant to the Salem Art Association for access to the arts. Part of the project included the construction of the Bush Barn Art Annex which extended the reach of arts programs provided to the community. An example of the many classes provided is Silk Screen for Everyone. This is an incredible opportunity to learn the dynamic printmaking process for those who have always been interested.
  • The Egyptian Theatre Association is the largest movie house of its kind on the beautiful Coast of Oregon. In 2015, the Murdock Trust provided a grant to enhance the historically unique cultural venue. For one week this fall, over 300 art house cinemas globally will unite for the 2018 Manhattan Short Film Festival. Coos Bay is one of three cities in Oregon to have a site that will host the festival.
  • The Portland Playhouse envisions a world awakened by the wonder of theatre. The Portland Playhouse is an abandoned church renovated into a theatre in 2008. Nearly a decade later, in 2017, the Murdock Trust provided the Portland Playhouse a grant to improve audience experience and production capacity. This fall, the “Profoundly moving!” show (Ben Brantly, The New York Times), Wakey, Wakey will be coming to life at the Portland Playhouse.

In Montana:

  • The Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell will exhibit painted works that showcase the artistic legacy of Glacier National Park. Stunning representations of the Park’s vibrant landscape will be on view at the Museum beginning August 14th until December 1st. In 2013, the Murdock Trust provided a grant that allowed the Museum to install art racks which in turn improved the long-term conservation care of the Museum collections.

In Alaska:

  • For two nights only, the Alaska Dance Theatre will be presenting Bernstein & Beyond. Celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, it will feature dance scenes and live music from West Side Story and an all new Bernstein inspired ballet Anchored In! A 2011 Trust grant was made to hire a company manager for the professional dance company, elevating its artistic quality and allowing it to reach a larger audience and attract more competitive dancers. The show will be at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, a venue that the Murdock Trust provided a grant in 2013 to enhance audience and artist experience.

In Idaho:

  • Ballet Idaho will be presenting NewDance: Form and Concept this fall. The Murdock Trust provided a 2018 grant in support of artistic programming. NewDance will provide the opportunity to experience world class dance from sought after choreographers in Ballet Idaho’s intimate theater. Single ticket sales will begin September 19,2018.
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