Midweek News Podcast, photo festivals, art budget cuts, final travel update, news and events

This week Roberta and Ryan discuss the 20/20 Photo Festival, the Italian market, shows opening this week, art budget cuts in Florida and the final update on Ryan's whirlwind travel saga.

In today’s episode of the Midweek News, Ryan and Roberta catch up on Ryan’s travels through the west. He says he’s traveled 7,200 miles and passed through 14 states! Amazing. They talk about the Great Lakes and how Ryan got his toes in three of them in this trip (Huron, Michigan and Superior). Meanwhile back in Philly, they talk about a couple great upcoming events and also about the continuing story of Florida eviscerating arts and culture, with the news of the governor’s veto of $32M for the arts sector. Woe is us, Florida!

Roberta: Hi everyone, it’s Roberta.

Ryan: And this is Ryan. And this is the Midweek News

Roberta: On Artblog Radio. Ryan, good morning. Where are you this morning?

Ryan: I made it back to Philly safe and sound.

Roberta: Oh, hooray. Hooray. I can’t wait to hear about your trip. So let’s save that for a little bit later and go straight rolling through the news.

So news this week, Ryan we’re going to talk about the 20-20 Photo Festival, which is at Cherry Street Pier and coming in September. t’s a photo festival roundup that is a collaboration by a bunch of organizations like Gravy Studio, the Halide Project, Tilt, and it has exhibitions and other programming.

And Cherry Street Pier, if you haven’t been is a wonderful place to have a festival like this. Put it on your radar. Look for 20-20 Photo Festival at Cherry Street Pier.

It is in September. Save the date and come around for all kinds of photography. Philly is a great photo town. Photography is taught at all the major arts schools and community art centers, and it’s just a great way to experience humanity and landscape and all kinds of things, even abstract stuff through photography.

I highly support photography and photographers in the city. I want to talk also about Our Market, which is the project of Michelle Angela Ortiz at the, what used to be called the Italian Market on 9th Street from Washington Avenue until about Christian. Angela, who is a wonderful, respected community art practitioner and muralist has done outreach to many, many communities that are affiliated with the market.

And as we all know, it’s not only Italian anymore, although when I moved to Philly back in 1984, one of the first things that someone took us to was Villa di Roma, which is in the market right on 9th Street. Because it was legendary, even back then. It’s still legendary today. And then there was always the talk about where do you get cheese, Claudio’s or di Brunos.

There was this big competition, it’s like Murray’s and Hymies delis, the Jewish delis in the suburbs. You’ve got Claudio’s and Di Brunos and each one has, you know, aficionados and they only go there and there are reasons and yada yada.

The Market on 9th St. is quite the place, but filled with all kinds of other vendors now of produce and other, other things.

Right now Our Market is collecting testimonials, interviewing people about their experiences with the marketplace. And you should go down there. Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and on all the rest of the weekends in June and most of the weekends in July. If you have an Italian market story, they’d like to interview you and collect it for the digital archive. Find out more about that on their website and check it out. And if you’ve never been to the market, you must go. It’s a must. 

The final thing I want to talk about is and perhaps you’ve seen this, it’s a story that is a shame, shame, shame. A lot of things are coming out of Florida these days. Social policies that are very, you could say anti-humanist in a way. Mm-Hmm. They’re certainly not pro anything I believe in anyway, Ron DeSantis who is the governor of Florida, just vetoed the arts budget, basically $32 million worth of grants to arts organizations just got vetoed. He had not warned anybody he was going to do this; had not spoken out against the arts. We don’t know why he did it, except as a cost saving measure.

And Ryan, over to you, because we were talking earlier and you had some statistic about this, of what small percentage of the budget it is. But they had to do it right. They absolutely had to do it. 

Ryan: Let’s kill the arts for national security or keeping the kids safe plan, or Yes, Don’t say gay. So cut all the money out for whatever they want to save this time.

Roberta: Yeah.

Ryan: Yeah. Fear mongering.

Roberta: Total fear mongering. That’s that’s really sad. And, it just makes you realize how vulnerablethe a rts are. And for example, if — and it’s not going to happen, I want to say — but if, let’s say the Philadelphia Cultural Fund got vetoed somewhere along the line, that would be a really bad thing for the arts in Philadelphia.  Again, it’s a small percentage of the overall $6 billion dollar Philadelphia budget, but it would directly hurt arts organizations. I have to emphasize that is not going to happen.

Philadelphia is different. We’re not in Florida. But it would have a terrible impact. So here, big heart going out to people in Florida in the arts. We’re sorry.

Ryan: Yeah. Philadelphia’s budget is $6.3 billion roughly, and mural arts is again a topic. They’re talking about taking a a million dollar out of that budget. Since Mural Arts is a little bit different because it’s one of the few things are line item. On the budget, they’re a named item.

Roberta: They put some of that back. They did put some of that back ultimately. But not the whole thing.

Ryan: Not the whole thing. So it’s been, it’s been interesting with the new mayor and the budget proposal with nearly you know, a billion dollars set for police and prisons. You’ve got to wonder what we’re making. What we’re building towards. But yeah, I always like to think of when I was in Berlin however many years ago, I was always impressed that there was art happening everywhere.

And everybody seemed to be an artist and everyone was doing something. I’m like, how can you afford to live here and be an artist? And they said, well, we are supported by the city. And so then I just looked up what the Berlin in 2024 Berlin is increasing its cultural fund, which includes a lot of different things. But to 947 million euros. All right. For the city. For the city of a billion dollars, a billion euros. Wow. For, for the city. That’s just an immense amount of money that shows you what the focus is. It shows you what they’re trying to build as opposed to cutting arts. What are you trying to build? More prisons and more police. That’s not what we want. So more art. Berlin be your model. Yes, indeed. Okay,

Roberta: I’m going to turn it over to you now. We’ve gone through the news. Let’s hear about what’s going on on Artblog Connect.

Ryan: So we have some openings coming up this weekend. Primarily I want to  shout out. Commonweal has a show opening Plantation kind of goes in the last week’s thing, but with picnic and now we’ve got plants. There’s a couple different plants, ones as well.

Fabric Workshop Museum has My Favorite flowers Bloom in winter, which J Mase III.

And then our friends at Asian Arts Initiative have a continuing project that they’re doing for several months and that’s called Sound Type. It’s their music festival and writer Writer’s residency on July 2nd. They have a seminar followed by a concert in the evening, so take a look at that. Those are all available on Connect.

And then there are some really great things coming up as well at Cherry Street Pier. Again, it’s a fibers, fantastic fibers opening reception. That looks like a lot of fun. That’s July 5th and I can’t believe we’re already coming up to July 4th pretty soon.

I hope you had a great summer solstice and the strawberry moon, full moon. That was pretty where I was in northern Michigan. It was pretty spectacular. So yeah, we’re already coming into July 4th. That came fast.

Roberta: Yeah. Amazing. Onto August. That’s what I say. Let’s get out of the heat.

Ryan: We got 90’s coming up this week, so hopefully y’all stay cool again. Hopefully Juneteenth wasn’t too crazy hot for you. Hopefully you all survive that. And there are more things coming up in July and so we look forward to those events coming up. And if there’s anything that you know of and want to get released, just feel free to reach out to us as well. We’re always happy to post your events if you have any issues. 

Roberta: Right. And now, Ryan? Yes. To turn to what everyone wants to hear. Oh, let’s hear the travel stories.

Ryan: So our long mileage saga has concluded just shy of 7,200 miles. 14 states. So quite a few.

Roberta: Bravo. Bravo.

Ryan: So that was a lot of fun. I wish I had a few more data points. But those, those are good ones. I think eight of those states were new for my youngest, so that was pretty exciting. We detoured into North Dakota to make sure that my oldest two could check off the lower 48 states. So that was a lot of fun.

And then the family has an old schoolhouse we renovated a few years ago in the lower peninsula, the northern section of the lower peninsula of Michigan. And so we took the northerly route to get to that (through Northern Wisconsin). So when you go through the upper peninsula of Michigan that touches both Lake Superior as well as Lake Michigan. And on our way down, you cross the Mackinaw Bridge, which is a multi mile span bridge. It’s really large and beautiful. And so we were able to touch three Great Lakes. We saw Superior or dipped our toes in Lake Superior, in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Roberta: And did you have a preference? One or the other?

Ryan: I find Lake Michigan and Huron are very similar. And definitely that side, the eastern side really flattens out the state in an interesting way. So a lot of ancient glacial movement through there. And I think the west, the Lake Michigan side is really interesting. But they have very different personalities. The western edge of Michigan is sandy soil, but with more dramatic edges and the eastern side is much smoother and more worn down. But Superior feels even that much more dramatic. It has a lot more rock faces, a lot more cliffs. It’s really beautiful. Really interesting.

Roberta: And really cold. Like arctic.

Ryan: Yeah. It’s the deepest lake, so you definitely feel the cooler temperatures. So it should warm up to reasonable by end of August, hopefully. I stopped in a town I hadn’t been to in many years. Marquette, Michigan.

Roberta: Okay. Heard of it.

Ryan: Cute little college town. Just a dot of a space, but really pretty if you’re into outdoors. Lots of fun options and great mountain biking and a lot of interesting things to hike through a lot of rock formations that are really interesting. So just put that on the obscure list of places to go see a reason to get out.

But yeah, it was still beautiful. And then you end up on the big lake and it’s as large as the ocean. I went to school in San Diego, so it was like, okay, this is substantial. You see nothing straight ahead of you. The rest, you know, that’s Canada, however many miles that is, but you don’t see it.

So it’s substantial. It feels. Feels sizable and you think of all the shipwrecks there too. So yeah, really definitely.

Roberta: Lake Michigan was my ocean until I saw the ocean. I had never seen the ocean until, well, I don’t even know when I have to think about that. I might’ve been in my thirties. I don’t know.

Ryan: I grew up close to the ocean, so I was, whenever I got to freshwater, I was like, “It doesn’t have a smell”. And you could see the bottom a lot. You can go a hundred feet out and you could still touch in Lake Michigan and still see your toes. It’s wild.

Roberta: So that is not the Lake Michigan I’m familiar with. That must be from the Michigan side of it. The western side. The eastern side, the beaches are rocky. They’re not sandy.  And they are not clear. And you can’t walk out for miles before you are in over your head.

Ryan: Well then the other benefit of the Michigan side is that you get beautiful sunsets as well.

Roberta: Fabulous. Cool.

Ryan: So I arrived safe and sound and glad to be back in Philly.

Roberta: Great. We’re glad you’re back too. Now you have to avoid the heat.  And that’s about it for me, Ryan. So should we wrap it up?

Ryan: Let’s wrap it up.

Roberta: All right. This has been Artblog Radio, everybody. It’s Roberta signing off. See you next time.

Ryan: And this is Ryan, and this has been the Midweek News.

Roberta: Bye-Bye