February 5, 2013  • Musings

program_140x130I love the Super Bowl, mostly for the chance to socialize and imbibe while making ridiculous assertions about teams I couldn’t care less about surrounded by ridiculous props and characters. An example: On Sunday, I actually said this sentence while sipping fifteen-year-old scotch and watching my three-year-old and her friends have a dance party to Beyoncé’s halftime show: “I think the line on the game has San Francisco by 4 or so points.”

But what I particularly enjoyed about Sunday’s game was the affinity guests at the party we attended had for the cities represented by the teams – not so much for the teams themselves. One couple from Baltimore raved about the gritty art culture of the city and lamented that they lived there during particularly financially strained years, so they missed out on many things the city had to offer. Another friend described his favorite gallery in San Francisco with enthusiasm normally reserved for major life events, like, say, the birth of a child.

I was able to visit Baltimore for the Half Century Summit hosted by Americans for the Arts in 2010, and between panel discussions I sat on, I dashed around the harbor enjoying the scene. It is gritty, it has a tough, resolute feel to it, but Baltimore is thriving artistically.

It has been longer since I visited San Francisco, but the art scene (broadly defined to include all types of fine, performance, live, and educational arts) is even more pronounced, supported by a population who values the contribution of the arts to the city’s culture.

And then of course, there is New Orleans, a city near and dear to my heart (and the hearts of most of my relatives who reside across Louisiana). To say the arts are thriving in New Orleans is an understatement. I visited for a seminar hosted by the DeVos Institute of Arts Management’s Capacity Building program in 2011, and the city (and its food!) had never seemed so vibrant.

I suppose we could have raved about the art scene in any number of cities, and for any team that could have ended up in the Super Bowl, I suspect we could have found enthusiastic things to say about the community of artists who share geography with a professional football team.

But it was remarkably easy to enjoy the parallel cultures of arts and football with Baltimore, San Francisco, and New Orleans in the mix. Next up? Super Bowl XLVIII just outside of New York.

I can’t wait.

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