The non-profit Day Eight was founded by artist and arts-writer Robert Bettmann. Day Eight manages the arts magazine Bourgeon, online at http://www.Bourgeononline.com. In the last year the organization has completed several major projects within its two major programs.
In 2015 the magazine completed the fifth annual DC Student Arts Journalism Challenge, a competition created to identify and support talented young arts writers. Arts writers Rachel Sadon (DCist), Christina Cauterucci (Slate), and Gareth Branwyn served as finals judges and made the award to Mark Lieberman. The company continued its commitment to providing access to our programming through free submission for students to the competition, and the judges donated their time to evaluate the work of the finalists.
In 2015 the organization received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to expand our arts journalism programming through the hire of an early career arts writer. The NEA grant is an expansion on the prior year’s grant from the Humanities Council of Washington DC to support expansion of the competition with Philip Kennicott (Washington Post Culture Critic, 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for criticism), who has been a judge of the competition in past years.
To manage development of the NEA-funded arts journalism project the organization recruited a committee including arts, journalism, and non-profit leaders. The committee began meeting monthly in August 2015, and committee members include: Jack Rasmussen (American University Arts Museum), Michael Kaiser (DeVos Institute), Joy Austin (Humanities Council), Kay Kendall (DC Commission on the Arts) and Margarita Noriega (Newsweek).
In 2014 Robert Bettmann was awarded a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to execute a partnership (in 2015) with Washington Project for the Arts and Day Eight including capacity building for artists connected to curation of an exhibit and a publication. Working with Lisa Gold of the Washington Project for the Arts Bettmann juried seven artists into the show/publication and helped them create written articles about their work. The Hothouse: imPRINT exhibit was live at the Capitol Skyline Hotel from May 7 – June 29, 2015, and the collected articles were published online and in print by Washington Project for the Arts at the same time. Attendance at the exhibit was reported by Washington Project for the Arts as 7,000. The DCCAH funding allowed Robert Bettmann to conduct a writing workshop for artists in partnership with the DC Public Library (February, 2015). Day Eight Board member and 2014 Larry Neal Award winner Gregory Luce helped to lead that free public workshop. In completion of the project Day Eight held a community conversation on the Future of Arts Writing (May, 2015) hosted by Ben Hammer of Hammer Strategies.
In 2014 Day Eight completed a partnership with the DC Environmental Network including a day-long retreat, held at the Casey Trees Farm, to develop a shared vision for future eco-arts programming. In 2015 Bettmann worked with a team of collaborators from the DC ecstatic dance community to create a two hour arts education workshop and performance which was delivered at the Lab School of Washington April 22, 2015. Joshua Fritts, head of the Elementary Division of the Lab School, evaluated, “I can’t remember a more successful partnership with an outside partner in our programming than the Lab School / Day Eight field day and performance… Our students were engaged and enthralled with the activities and learning opportunities you helped to provide and that speaks volumes about the quality of the programming you and Day Eight helped to lead.”
From March to July a subcommittee of the Board of Directors worked to revise the mission statement of the organization. The revised mission helps clarify the organization’s position: Day Eight empowers individuals and communities to participate in the arts through the production, publication, and promotion of creative projects.
The company added three new Board members in 2015, including Patrick Cavanaugh (BRINK), Lauren Stafford (DCRE), and Tim Mikulski (National Trust for Historic Preservation).