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Arts in the News: Micro Museum, Hashtag Movement and more

A Tiny Museum Trying to Make a Big Impact

Scientist Amanda Schochet and designer Charles Philipp are the minds behind the MICRO museum — a 6-foot installation meant to educate visitors and passersby about mollusks. There are currently five MICRO museums circulating in the New York City area; the latest was unveiled just at the end of 2017 at the Ronald McDonald House on the Upper East Side. Schochet and Philipp aim to “foster equal access to fundamental knowledge” by creating these MICRO museums, which can be found outside traditional museum settings and can run for limited times, like a month or a year. They’ve also partnered with the Brooklyn Public Library to create readings lists of weird and fascinating science stories. Schochet and Philipp are hoping to become the most-visited museum in the country within five years; based on current visitor statistics, they could achieve this with fewer than 100 units in circulation. They plan to debut a new MICRO museum core module every year, starting with the core sciences and moving onto math and art. The first MICRO museum physics edition, the Museum of Perpetual Motion, is set to launch in early February. Hopefully, these museums will help inspire and educate people young and old! It will certainly be fun to see how the project progresses over the next few years.

Asian-American Creatives Start Hashtag Movement
In order to amplify one another’s voices, Asian-American creatives are coming together for a hashtag campaign for the new year. The campaign involves actors, writers, filmmakers, and other artists all using the hashtag #AsAmCreatorRollCall. The social media campaign was launched by comics writer Greg Pak as a way for Asian-American creators to learn about and support one another. Pak posted a tweet on Twitter, asking all Asian-American creators: “What are you working on? Let’s all talk it up and support the hell out of each other in 2018! #AsAmCreatorRollCall.” The hashtag has a wealth of artists sharing their upcoming work or pieces in the process. Some bigger names, like blogger “Angry Asian Man,” writer Melissa Hung, and actor Yoshi Sudarso, have all chimed in with their own contributions. What a wonderful way for Asian-American artists to show solidarity and amplify one another’s talent and hard work!

It’s Time to Appreciate NBA Dancers

Most people don’t go to basketball games for the half-time shows or side acts. But as Gia Kourlas of The New York Times points out, the NBA is host to some of the best dancers around. She argues that dance troupes like the Brooklynettes and the Knicks City Dancers, who perform during the breaks between quarters of professional basketball games, are worth going to see in their own right. The Brooklynettes were established in 2012 and perform at Barclays Center in NYC; the Knicks City Dancers were established in 1991 and perform at Madison Square Garden. Each troupe has 20 dancers and performs at home games. Alyssa Quezada, the coach of the Knicks City Dancers, says the group’s goal is “to create a production–a show–in the middle of a basketball game.” These dancers face a unique challenge–unlike those performing on a traditional stage, they dance in an arena with 360-degree views. These dance troupes are beginning to attract higher-profile choreographers, like those who have worked on movies and “So You Think You Can Dance.” So next time you find yourself at a game, think twice before you use the quarter breaks as bathroom or snack breaks–you might be missing out on some incredible performances!

Phyllis Wheatley: A Poet You Should Know

Phyllis Wheatley was the first black person and one of the first women to publish a book in America–but few people have ever heard of her. A piece in Smithsonian Magazine provides some background on this amazing young woman who lived during the 18th century. The National Women’s History Museum writes that “slaveowners and abolitionists both read her work.” Wheatley was forcibly brought to Boston on a slave ship when she was about seven years old; historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. guesses she would have been a native Wolof speaker from the Senegambian coast of Africa. Wheatley was taught to read and write by the daughter of her slaveowners. She published her first poem at the age of 13; her poems often showed her pride in her African heritage and often revolved around religion. Her book, “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral” was the first book on the record published by an African-American, and was read on both sides of the Atlantic. With its publication, Gates Jr. argues, she “became the most famous African on the face of the earth, the Oprah Winfrey of her time.” Wheatley died in poverty in 1784, ten years after she was freed. To learn more about this fascinating poet, read on <HERE>. Certainly more people should know the name “Phyllis Wheatley”!

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