PLANS FOR THE YEAR ... When the City Council gets together on Zoom for its annual retreat this Saturday, don't expect too much suspense. As in years past, the council will use the Jan. 30 virtual meeting to set its priorities from now through December. But while well-meaning and vague priorities such as "civic engagement" and "healthy community" made the official priority list in years past, the council is expected to spend most of its energy in 2021 on pandemic recovery. The list of proposed priorities submitted by council members in the weeks leading up to the retreat includes both "COVID-19 recovery" and "economic recovery," alongside items relating to housing, climate change, social justice and transportation. On Monday, Jan. 25, as the council and city staff discussed a broad range of COVID-19 initiatives — from upgrading air filters at city facilities to permanently changing the configuration of University Avenue to support outdoor dining — City Manager Ed Shikada made it clear that COVID-19 recovery is the biggest issue at the current moment. "From a staff perspective, it's clear that we see no higher priority than sustaining community recovery from this pandemic," Shikada said. Housing also has a high chance of making the list. Of the more than 200 responses that the city received to a resident survey, many include "housing" or "affordable housing" atop their rankings. The retreat will begin at 9 a.m. and can be accessed by Zoom using the phone number 669- 900-6833 and Meeting ID: 362 027 238.
OPENING UP NEW HORIZONS ... Stanford University's Cantor Arts Center debuted its new Asian American Art Initiative this week. The effort seeks "to acquire, preserve, display and research art related to Asian American and Asian diaspora artists and their practices," according to Stanford News Service, which said the initiative is the first of its kind. The initiative is "anchored" by acquisitions of artist Ruth Asawa 's "Untitled (LC. 012, Wall of Masks)," which features 233 ceramic masks, and 141 works from The Michael Donald Brown Collection (pieces created between 1880 and 1996 by Asian American artists). It will be steered by founding co-directors Aleesa Alexander, the Cantor's assistant curator of American art, and Marci Kwon, assistant professor at the university's Department of Art and Art History. "With the exception of a few major figures, Asian Americans remain in the shadows of American art," Kwon told Stanford News Service. The initiative aims to encourage scholarship across disciplines and support research by undergraduate and graduate students in the field. "Stanford is the ideal place for this project, especially when one considers the history of the Bay Area and the museum's plurality of audience," Alexander said. There are plans to host a conference and exhibit in the fall of 2022 "to rethink and reimagine the historical and theoretical dimensions of Asian American art and aesthetics," the article states.
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