Raleigh Arts Commission Co-Sponsors National Public Art Forum

February 22, 2008: Public Art 360: A Symposium from Seven Perspectives is a multi-state convening that will be held April 11-12 at Hanes Auditorium on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill.
Nationally and internationally recognized speakers will explore the inherent complexities in public art from the perspectives of artist, architect, landscape designer, government, private developer, community, and critic.
Sessions will frame critical issues associated with how public art projects are initiated, approved, funded, and implemented; how to reinforce shared objectives through public review; and implications for public policy. Throughout the Symposium we will encourage dialogue among participants and speakers.
Public Art 360 is being organized by the Percent for Art Collaborative, North Carolina Arts Council, South Carolina Arts Commission, and the Orange County Arts Commission; its sponsors to date also include Americans for the Arts Public Art Network, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Forecast Public Artworks, Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission, City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Town of Chapel Hill, and Cary Visual Art.
For more information and registration ($60 postmarked by Feb. 27, 2008, $70 after that date), please visit www.publicartcollaborative.org [inactive 10/08].
Art News Prepared by:
June Guralnick, Executive Director, City Of Raleigh Arts Commission
City Manager Department, 222 West Hargett Street, Room 504, Raleigh, NC 27601. 919/890-3610


NCSA School of Music Senior René Barbera Is a Grand Winner at the Metropolitan Opera Grand Finals Concert —- Takes Home $15,000
Winston-Salem, NC. He did it! Tenor René Barbera, 23, a music student at the North Carolina School of the Arts, was selected as a Grand Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council (MONC) Auditions Grand Finals Concert at the Metropolitan Opera on Sunday, Feb. 24. The Grand Finals Concert was accompanied by the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
Barbera takes home $15,000 and the knowledge that he is one of the best student opera singers in the country. A native of Texas, Barbera is pursuing his Bachelor of Music in the School of Music at NCSA, where he is a college senior. He is a student of Marilyn Taylor at NCSA.
“We are thrilled and so very proud that one of our voice students has distinguished himself on the national opera scene, on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera itself!” said NCSA Chancellor John Mauceri. “What an amazing time this is for our School: a winner at the Met, a winner at the Prix de Lausanne, two students at the Grammys, and the list goes on for our students and alumni.
“If this were an athletic department, we would have won every major trophy in college sports!” Chancellor Mauceri concluded.
Barbera was one of nine National Finalists selected from two dozen singers competing in the National Semi-Finals on Feb. 17 at the Met. The nine National Finalists continued to coach with the Met’s artistic staff in preparation for the Grand Finals Concert on Feb. 24. Five Grand Winners were selected; they will receive $15,000 each.
Sunday’s concert was hosted by Patricia Racette, a leading soprano with the Met and a MONC award winner from 1988, and included a special performance by 1992 National Council winner Michelle DeYoung. The concert took place on the Met stage, framed by the set for the new production of Peter Grimes. Following the concert, a champagne reception was held for the new 2008 winners on The Mercedes T. Bass Grand Tier at the Met.
The Grand Finals Concert was recorded for broadcast at a later date on public radio stations across the United States. Check local listings for air times.
Barbera was one of two winners at the MONC Southeast Regional Auditions in Atlanta on Jan. 27. There, Barbera competed against other winners from the North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida districts. All regional winners received cash awards and were brought to New York at the expense of the MONC for musical preparation under the guidance of the Metropolitan Opera’s music staff. Barbera made it to the Southeast Regionals by being one of three equal winners at the North Carolina District Auditions in Charlotte on Jan. 12.
An A.J. Fletcher Foundation Scholar at NCSA, René Barbera also has been chosen to participate in San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program this summer. And he recently was chosen as one of nine singers to participate in the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program of the Los Angeles Opera for 2008-09.
At NCSA, he has performed the role of Ottario in the Fletcher Opera Institute’s production of Belisario, the role of Arbace in Idomeneo, and the role of Joe Crowell in Our Town. This spring he will be seen as Lippo Fiorentino in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene at NCSA.
The son of Mr. and Mrs. Miguel Barbera Jr. of San Antonio, Texas, René Barbera was born in Laredo, Texas. He began singing at the age of 10 as a boy soprano in the San Antonio Boy’s Choir. In high school he competed for the All-State Choir in his junior and senior years as a tenor. Barbera was invited to the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, in the summer of 2003, and the Vocal Arts Symposium in Colorado Springs in 2004. Barbera won first place in the 5th Annual Heafner/Williams Vocal Competition as well as first place in the undergraduate division of the Charlotte Opera Guild Vocal Competition. This past summer, he performed in the concert series “500 Years of Opera” at Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, N.C., as part of NCSA’s Summer Festival.
Established in 1954, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers. Many of the world’s foremost singers, among them Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Ben Heppner, Jessye Norman, Samuel Ramey, and Frederica von Stade, have received awards from the National Council. Nearly 1,500 singers participated in this year’s auditions, which are held annually in 45 districts and 15 regions throughout the United States and Canada. Given the reach of the auditions, the number of applicants, and the long tradition associated with them, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions are considered the most prestigious in North America for singers seeking to launch an operatic career. Some winners are invited to join the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, which assists talented young singers through training and performance opportunities at the Met.
Singers from NCSA have won numerous district, regional and national Met auditions in years past.
(News item courtesy of the NCSA’s publicist Marla Carpenter.)