Azim Mazagonwalla

What I love most about the work I've done over the years supporting the arts through work on arts program and policy boards is the people I've met. That goes for the Wyoming Arts Council, the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs, and, as of yesterday, the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), which elected me to a three-year term at a meeting in Bristol, Rhode Island. WESTAF and NEFA are two of the five regional arts organizations (RAOs) in the U.S. My 10 years on the WESTAF board come to an end in October, and I am excited at the chance to transition to another regional, because each of the five has taken a very distinct approach to strategy and programs. I will have lots to learn at NEFA, and, I hope, lots to contribute.

New England's RAO benefits from the fact that these six states have a coherent regional identity going back centuries. Despite their differences, Vermont and Connecticut are a lot more similar (and close to each other!) than, say, Wyoming and Hawaii. NEFA has taken advantage of this geographical fact to help the New England states build close cultural and artistic ties through leadership in such initiatives as Creative Economy work and the New England Cultural Database. In addition, NEFA has become a key national resource in support of dance.

Yesterday morning I was hoping to interview one of the NEFA board members in Bristol, and right after I set up my tripod on the dock, Azim Mazagonwalla strolled over, as if on cue. He even had coffee from Dunkin Donuts! Azim is a member of the NEFA board and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. His day job is at the Education Partnership. He's an intriguing fellow whose high spirits at the dinner party Wednesday night in a seaside mansion had the same intensity as his probing contributions at the board meeting yesterday.

Here is the podcast, which lasts about six minutes:

Friday, July 14, 2006

Plants Take Over Home in Cambridge

My parents returned home to Cambridge yesterday to find that work had begun on a new greenhouse which my mother has dreamed of adding to the kitchen. Their happy banter is a good example of what goes on in that sunny room day in and day out: dreams, jokes, family history, and always the sounds of barking dogs.

I won't add this snippet of family fabric to the official RSS feed for the Mile High Pod Chronicles, but you can check it out at YouTube by clicking here. (And remember you will be able to see a full-screen version of it by clicking on the icon at the lower-right of the sceen once you are at the YouTube site.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

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