Well, it’s been quite a year, Culture Vultures. A great deal has happened in the arts in  New Jersey; then again, you can probably say that about each and every year. The great thing about art, after all, is that it exists to comment on culture, to open us up to new possibilities and the ideas and ideals we have and wish to share with one another.

So, at the end of 2011, we wanted to look back at five of our favorite stories we’ve shared with you this year, and a little bit about what we learned, in five lessons.

1.Comedy is serious business. So is the banjo. This summer, Cat Cosentino participated in a roundtable discussion with Steve Martin, in support of his summer music tour and new album. Far from the “Wild and Crazy Guy” image of his younger days, Steve Martin touched on his position as an elder statesman of American comedy, and how each and every artistic discipline has the ability to flow into one another. It was a fascinating chat.

2.The national spotlight on an art form can–and should!–be reflected in your community. Our new dance blogger Macada Brandl shared some thoughts on the So You Think You Can Dance effect, and the impact of major televised dance competitions on local dance companies. It’s a wonderful idea–if you see it on tv and love it, there’s something similar you can seek out in your own backyard.

3. Gregory Peck actually was just as charming as he seemed on film. Susan Wallner interviewed Mary Badham, who played Scout in the legendary film “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The conversation is a master class in the golden era of Hollywood, and the transformative nature of film.

4. Andy Warhol’s iconic motifs said a lot about him, even beyond Marilyn and Soup cans. Montclair Art Museum’s investigation into Warhol’s work on cars showed us a whole new side of the pop artist.

5. There’s magic in watching an artist age gracefully. Shen’s interview with Ani DiFranco at Appel Farm showed off the indie folk icon’s growth as an artist and individual, with candid thoughts on her new life in New Orleans, motherhood, and how the touring circuit has changed over the last decade and a half.

And with that, we end our Culture Vultures coverage of 2011, friends. We look forward to more stories and adventures in 2012. See you soon–and if there’s something in particular you’d like to see (or see more of!), let us know in the comments below!

Happy New Year, Arts Lovers!

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About Author

Jonathan Elliott
Jonathan Elliott

Culture Vultures Editor • John is an arts manager, writer, and social media omnivore. A locally-grown specimen, he’s worked for organizations up and down the eastern seaboard. He writes for the popular film and tv site Cinema Blend as a news reporter and tv commentator, is a screenwriter for the web tv series Issues and NeverLanding, and his play Forward Motion is available for purchase and production via Playscripts, Inc.