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Hope for Highbrows -- Looping on a local-access channel near you: a speech about the arts by the executive director of the Theater Communications Group. (Yawn.) But wait -- Ben Cameron has a message highly relevant to nonprofit arts organizations -- their leaders, their patrons and the people who read about them. People who skim the Arts & amp; Culture page, in other words. People like you.

In brief: Why yammer on about how an arts NPO presents high-quality ballet or sculpture when most folks are more concerned about value than quality? That is, what good is ballet or sculpture in the first place, let alone whether it's "high-quality" or not?

Three answers: economic stimulus (spending on arts tickets is a local economic multiplier), education value (arts students tend to score higher on the SAT), and -- most important -- social value (amid our society's polarized dogfight, the arts actually encourage empathy, tolerance and ethical reasoning).

In "Lobsters, Art and Public Policy," Cameron concludes that in an era of hyper-efficiency and high-speed data transfer, the visual and performing arts are among the last refuges of inefficiency, leisureliness and genuinely communal reflective thought.

Cameron's talk will reappear on City Cable (channel 5 in Spokane) on Sunday, Jan. 23, at 11 am and on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 5 pm. Visit www.spokanecity.org/services or, as they say, check your local listings.

Laugh for the Cure -- Although cancer - any kind of cancer - is serious business, finding a cure for it doesn't need to be. Which is why the Eastern Washington affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is pleased to present the first-ever "Laugh for the Cure" event, taking place next Thursday, Jan. 27. Al Ernst, a comedian who's been featured on HBO, Comedy Central and A & amp;E -- and was even named "Entertainer of the Year" by Carnival Cruise Lines -- will provide the hijinks; the Davenport's Grand Pennington Ballroom provides the elegant setting. Tickets are $65, and all proceeds benefit the local Komen affiliate. Call 473-4427.

Resolution Revolution -- Even if you're not the kind of person who makes New Year's resolutions, consider attending this weekend's Resolution 2005 event at the Spokane Convention Center. Hosted by the St. Joseph Family Center, Resolution 2005 will have a number of health, self-improvement, counseling and other professionals on hand, including Dr. Mitra Ray, who will be lecturing on America's obesity epidemic and how it changed her own life on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 2 pm. Admission is $8 for the entire weekend of activities. Visit www.spokaneresolution.com or call 218-6519.

Publication date: 01/20/04

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