Arts Agenda: Culture flourishes off the beaten path

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America's major metropolitan-area museums continue to host major exhibitions, but it's also worth going off the beaten path to see some exciting and unusual exhibits at museums in smaller communities.

Domestic

Boise, Idaho -- Go west to see a spectacular sculpture exhibition at the last stop of its U.S. tour. From June 19 to Sept. 18, the Boise Art Museum hosts "Degas in Bronze -- The Complete Sculptures," featuring 73 works by the impressionist artist. On loan from the Museum of Art of Sao Paolo in Brazil, the bronzes are one of only four complete sets in existence.

Corning, N.Y. -- If glass is your thing, the Corning Museum of Glass has an exhibit focusing on glass in Renaissance Europe. "Beyond Venice: Glass in Venetian Style 1500-1750" is on display through Oct. 17.

Dallas -- "Ellsworth Kelly in Dallas," at the Dallas Museum of Art through Aug. 22, includes paintings, drawings and sculptures from Dallas sources, including the studio of the contemporary artist. The museum also is featuring "The Art of Romare Bearden" June 20 to Sept. 5, with 125 works by the the African-American artist on display.

Indianapolis -- Kids and their parents have a treat waiting for them at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, which opens a permanent exhibition, "Dinosphere: Now You're in Their World," on June 11. The show will enable visitors to travel back to the Cretaceous period and experience the world of dinosaurs.

Decidedly different experiences await the Indianapolis visitor at the Indiana State Museum, which presents "Objects of Desire: Cars and Clothes of the Jazz Age" through Oct. 3 and the Indianapolis Museum of Art's Lilly House, which features "A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era" through Oct. 10.

Kauai, Hawaii -- If you're looking for authenticity in your travel experience, you'll enjoy Koloa Plantation Days Celebration July 19 to 26, a weeklong entertainment fest featuring a crafts fair, block parties, Polynesian dancing and luaus.

Kutztown, Pa. -- The Kutztown Pennsylvania German Festival, which lays claim to being the oldest folklife festival in the U.S., also is one of the biggest. Held in eight buildings and more than 70 large tents June 26 to July 4, the festival, focusing on the area's cultural legacy, features nonstop entertainment, more than 200 traditional craftsmen and Pennsylvania Dutch food.

New York -- Lincoln Center celebrates the coming of summer with several special events. The Lincoln Center Festival 2004, July 6 to 26, is a three-week parade of outstanding events in every area of the performing arts by noted troupes and artists from around the world. Midsummer Night Swing takes hold of the Lincoln Center Plaza June 10 to July 16 for 27 nights of dancing to live music.

New outstanding museum exhibitions opening in June celebrate the art of two giants. "Childe Hassam, American Impressionist" runs June 10 to Sept. 12 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and "Constantin Brancusi: The Essence of Things" holds forth at the Guggenheim June 11 to Sept. 19.

Philadelphia -- America's birthplace will host a weeklong festival of free events June 27 to July 4. On the roster are fireworks, movies, tall ships from Europe and the Americas and, on July 4, the annual "Let Freedom Ring" ceremony at the Liberty Bell Center.

Portland, Maine -- From June 24 to Oct. 17, the Portland Museum of Art explores an 80-year relationship between U.S. and European artists in the exhibition, "Monet to Matisse, Homer to Hartley: American Masters and Their European Muses."

St. Paul, Minn. -- The fifth and final year of Peanuts statues will be displayed throughout the city through Sept. 19. "Doghouse Days of Summer" pays homage to native son Charles Schulz and one of his immortal comic strip characters, Snoopy.

Santa Fe, N.M. -- As part of Russian Summer 2004, which continues throughout the city through Labor Day weekend, the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts has on display "Nicholas & Alexandra: At Home With the Last Tsar and His Family." The exhibition, through Sept. 5, includes more than 200 art objects from the Imperial Court of Russia.

Saratoga, N.Y. -- Among the highlights of the city's summerlong arts offerings are performances by the New York City Ballet July 6 to 24 and the Philadelphia Orchestra Aug. 4 to 21.

International

Lewes, England -- Europe's festival season is off and running. The Glyndebourne Opera Festival's 70th anniversary season runs through Aug. 29.

London -- The 2004 season at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, which continues through Sept. 26, has been named "The Season of Star-Crossed Lovers." No wonder, since the featured plays are "Romeo and Juliet," "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Measure for Measure."

Montreal -- The Montreal Jazz Festival marks its 25th anniversary June 30 to July 11. In addition to performances by such artists as Tony Bennett, Oscar Peterson and Wynton Marsalis, many free outdoor concerts are on tap.

Paris -- "Joan Miro 1917-1934," a major retrospective focusing on the early years of the artist's career, is at the Pompidou Center through June 28.

Long-time arts and tourism writer Alvin H. Reiss is editor of the Travel Arts Partnership Newsletter (TAP), which is published by Museums Magazine, the Arts & Business Council and the Art Knowledge Corp. For more details, visit www.travelartspartnership.com.

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