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NC Arts Council | Art Matters

MARCH 2010

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25th Annual Emerging Issues Forum Reinforces Arts Message

Gov. Hunt

Former Governor James Hunt addresses
Emerging Issues Forum attendees.

Arts leaders from across the state joined economic developers, educators, business executives and government officials in Raleigh in early February to explore the contributions of creativity to our state's economy. The occasion was the Institute for Emerging Issues' 25th annual forum which this year had the theme of Creativity.

Our message that Creativity Means Business was a given at the forum. Every speaker, every panel, every conversation buzzed with the energy of collaboration and potential. Relating design thinking to advances in technology and discussing science and art, Roger Martin, University of Toronto, reminded us that scientific inquiry begins with a hypothesis — a creative supposition.

Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota affirmed that the sense of place that makes a state attractive can be anchored by a dedicated revenue source, describing his state's constitutional amendment allotting a percentage of sales tax to support both cultural and outdoors programming.

Dan Brawley, Wilmington's Cucalorus Film Festival director, acknowledged that economists could adopt the "creativity mojo" of the arts, since the spark that starts creativity is art.

The language of the arts kept percolating through the sessions. Tom Kelley of IDEO challenged us to examine the routine and ask questions, to keep seeing with new eyes. Jazz chanteuse Nnenna Freelon pointed out that art transcends all boundaries, makes us truly human and connects us with other people.

Gov. Perdue

Governor Beverly Perdue

Governor Beverly Perdue touted our ability in thinking, creativity and exploration — and said that North Carolina is developing its creative economy around the arts. And this was just the first day of the forum.

On day two, Daniel Pink, author of new economy books, stated emphatically that science and technology are not enough to educate big picture thinkers. He noted that the arts enrich the human experience, but more than that, the arts are necessary and fundamental to 21st century cognitive skills, so arts education should be infused throughout the curriculum. "The arts are not ornamental. They are fundamental," he said.

Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., founder and chair of IEI, moderated a panel on Graduating Creativity. Governor Hunt said we need the arts in the schools, that the arts are essential to developing a strong economy and creating new jobs. Panelist Eric Liu of Creativity Matters addressed the teaching of imagination in an arts-infused learn-by-doing experiential curriculum. And Judy Osborne, a theater educator from Union Pines (N.C.) High School, spoke in favor of an arts requirement for high school graduation.

In the Big Idea session she moderated, Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle spoke strongly in support of the arts being an essential component of a complete education.

Other panels and speakers reinforced the message that creative development is the foundation of economic development.

Yet despite our message being presented as fact and participants seeming to absorb the information, we suspect that many of them are not fully aware of their local arts resources. We have an opportunity to build on the forum to make these connections in our communities. Creative North Carolina is our daily business. Our call to action is to put arts and culture on the table in all economic development and planning conversations.

Secretary Carlisle plans to meet with each of the seven economic development regional boards in the next few months. Meanwhile, we'll meet with arts constituents to discuss creative vitality in the regions and to talk about promoting local strengths and identifying the contributions of the creative economy. ARTS North Carolina plans a special panel at ARTS DAY Tuesday, May 18, to continue the dialogue. Our message that the creative industry is already an economic engine in North Carolina can't be repeated too often.

Do share your stories of innovative, creative enterprises in your community. How are you partnering with for-profit business to make your community vibrant? What makes your community unique and attractive to residents and visitors? Bookmark www.ncarts.org/creative_economy and check back often for resources you can use.

Mary Regan
Mary B. Regan, Executive Director
North Carolina Arts Council

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Reflections on the Emerging Issues Forum

Guest column by Charlie Flynn-McIver, artistic director for the North Carolina Stage Company in Asheville.

Charlie Flynn-McIver

Charlie Flynn-McIver

We, in the arts, are in a tricky position. We do what we do, hoping for the fulfillment that comes from the expression of arts itself and the realization that it has had an effect on people who have viewed it.

Yes, we hope it pays us money, and yes, we hope people don't only like it but also view it as substantial and meaningful in some way.

But at the end of the day, art springs forth from a desire to express an idea. I don't think we, as artists, are so concerned with what our economic impact is or how we are part of a creative sector. We just do what we do.

Yet we've been told by so many business people, legislators, etc., that in order to keep or increase funding, we need to have figures, proof, empirical evidence, a matrix of measurable items that makes a case for having the arts.

That's why I was particularly pleased to attend the Emerging Issues Forum 2010 last month in Raleigh. This year's title was Creativity Inc., and I went because we as theater practitioners and artists in general are often classified as part of the creative sector.

But no one can figure out why and how we are part of it beyond creating billions of dollars of economic benefits to the communities we serve. This forum went a long way toward bridging that gap of understanding. I was particularly impressed with the organizers' willingness to listen to us creative types in the arts about problem solving.

That's what a lot of us do in our theaters, studios and rehearsal halls. And the economic bigwigs and policymakers would be wise to hear what we have to say about fiscal responsibility while maintaining and growing our artistic services for the community.

It was particularly gratifying to have Daniel Pink, noted author and former political speech writer, make our case for us as he did in his presentation to the forum on the second day.

His talk was about innovation and creativity and the United States' lack of formal promotion of these qualities in our educational system, to name just one example.

According to Pink, we as a society, in both the private and public realms, have been overly consumed by the notion that standardization is the way to educate. Science, math, things that can be counted and verified do little to spur creativity, and jobs that require those skills can be done anywhere by anyone with analytical skills.

It's the creative influence on analytical thinking that creates innovation. And how can that be achieved? Many ways, but the one that struck me, of course, was arts education.

Pink's demonstration of his self-portrait, before and after having instruction, was remarkable. The former was a bunch of symbolic representations of what he thought noses, ears, eyes and cheeks to be. The latter, done after studying drawing with an experienced artist in only a few sessions, while not necessarily going down as one of the 21st century's masterpieces, showed a remarkable change in perspective and a recognition of the real, tangible values of shape, light, shadow, space and the space around space.

That is the value of the arts and arts education. It is a perspective of the world around us that causes us to stop and examine where we are and what our part in it is. Whether it's the drawing Pink made, a craft or sculpture that shapes materials into something out of nothing, or seeing a performance or play that examines, in the words of Oscar Wilde, "the way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being," the arts draw the questions out of us, and we are compelled to ponder the answers.

This, Pink would assert, combined with the more material studies of science and math, can help the U.S. become the leader of innovation that will help to solve so many of the issues facing the world. In fact, he explicitly said that arts education is integral to the education of creative thinkers. Voila!

Of course the conversation continues with questions such as: how do we teach creativity? A lot of us in the arts feel we are and have been doing this the whole time and the discussion of how do we harness the arts for our gain as a society is a little tiring. But I'm very glad the arts is at least in the discussion, and that some more people besides the choir (pardon the pun) are singing the praises of the arts and their significant contribution to all of us.

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The Laurel Has Passed

Cathy Smith Bowers

Cathy Smith Bowers and Mary Regan
at the installation ceremony.
Photo: N.C. State Archives

Kathryn Stripling Byer, the state poet laureate from 2005 to 2009, passed the laurel to Cathy Smith Bowers of Tryon during a well-attended celebration last month at the State Capitol in Raleigh.

Watch the installation ceremony video »

Byer, who received the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine for her extraordinary service, wrote a poem to welcome Smith Bowers to her new two-year post. It is reprinted below.

Winter Noon
         Sylva, North Carolina


Verde, que te quiero verde....
      (Green, how I want you green...)
         Federico Garcia-Lorca

                                             for Cathy

We've seen how stems snap,
the leaves fall,
the rain soaks,
how ice weaves its blanket
around weeds and garden.

Now we raise our glasses
to what we see over the rooftops
of downtown: gray mountains waiting
beneath scales of cloud

like the ones we know fall
from our eyes
when we see
how each poem comes alive
in the midst of our cold times,

a small hook
that yearns through the mute
sod, our throats
tight with keening its
coming forth, the tip
of our tongues
against bedrock.

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Statewide Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest This Saturday

POL logo

Twenty-seven high school students from across the state will take center stage to compete in a poetry recitation program coordinated by the North Carolina Arts Council.

The statewide Poetry Out Loud semifinals start at 9 a.m. at the North Carolina Museum of History in the auditorium on Saturday, March 6. There are three rounds of semifinals featuring nine to 10 students each. Round two starts at 12:30 p.m. Round three starts at 3 p.m. The final competition begins at 7 p.m. A reception will follow the final competition.

Watch videos from last year's performances »

Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is a national initiative to encourage high school students to memorize and recite poetry while mastering public speaking skills, building self-confidence and learning about their literary heritage.

Poetry Out Loud features readings by students from private and public schools, including schools as far away as Jackson and Swain counties in the mountains to Dare County on the coast.

David zum Brunnen, a professional North Carolina actor, will serve as master of ceremonies. Final judges for the contest are Frank Stasio, host of WUNC's The State of Things; Suzanne Newton, a Raleigh writer and teaching artist; and Howard Craft, a Durham playwright and teaching artist.

"Poetry Out Loud is for high school students what the national spelling bee is for middle schoolers, a chance to compete against peers in a feat that requires passion, poise, patience and self possession," says Mimi Herman, Poetry Out Loud coordinator for the N.C. Arts Council. "While the stakes are high — a $20,000 college scholarship for the national champion — every student who participates in this program wins prizes they get to keep for a lifetime: the ownership of poems they know down to the bones, the knowledge that they can stand up before an audience and despite their fears, recite something that matters."

Read more about Poetry Out Loud »

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Spots Available for Arts Co-op in Our State

April Our State ad

Click to see the April ad.

Several advertising opportunities with Our State magazine are available in the June issue. This is a full-page ad sponsored by the N.C. Arts Council. The April and May issues are sold out!

The cost for each partner is $415. This includes a color photo and a 25-word description about your event or activity. This co-op is open to grantees and subgrantees. The deadline for the June issue is Wednesday, April 7.

If interested, please contact the account representative at Our State magazine directly:

Elizabeth Shurte, Accounts Executive
(800) 948-1409; (336) 286-0600, ext. 173

Additionally, WUNC Radio is offering Arts Council grantees one free bonus spot with each $500 purchase now through June 30. WUNC reaches 275,000 listeners per week in the Triangle and Triad and in eastern N.C. on WRQM and WUND. For more information, contact Corporate Support Associate Jennifer Bowling at (919) 445-9116.

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Upcoming Industry Meetings

Arts Accessibility Workshops
March 9-10, Hickory
March 16-17, Raleigh

National Arts Advocacy Day
April 12–13, Washington, D.C.

North Carolina ARTS DAY
May 18–19, Raleigh

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New on the Web

Meet the New Poet Laureate
Cathy Smith Bowers was inducted as North Carolina Poet Laureate on February 10. Learn more about North Carolina's Poets Laureate, both past and present.

Visit the N.C. Poet Laureate site »
Watch videos of Cathy Smith Bowers reading select works »

North Carolina is Home to Great Writers
Watch reknown N.C. writers reading from new and favorite works.
See the videos »

Creative Workforce Profiles
Learn more about creative North Carolinians whose work puts a face on new creative industry study findings. See the profiles »

Profiles on the Web
We are updating ncarts.org with profiles of artists and arts organizations all the time. Learn more about Cathy Smith Bowers and the Harvey B. Gantt Center.

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HandMade Expo to Spotlight North Carolina Craft, Architecture and Design

Handmade in America logo

HandMade in America, known for its successful efforts to establish western North Carolina as the national destination for the handmade object, is launching an expo this summer.

HandMade: The Western North Carolina Craft, Architecture & Design Expo will bring together craft entrepreneurs, architects, builders, designers and the public to experience the possibilities and access the resources for purchasing or commissioning an original work for the home.

The event will be held Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, at The North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. Tickets at $15 per day or $25 for both days will be available along with additional information on the event Web site at www.handmadeinamerica.org/designexpo.

The two-day event at The North Carolina Arboretum will offer examples of successful collaborations between craft artists, individuals and home building and interior design industry professionals. It will be an innovative way to connect these communities. Drawing from the tremendous craft resources that are a unique and vital part of the region, the event will emphasize craftsmanship in architectural elements and design for both the high-end and mid-range home markets.

Keynote speaker Toni Sikes, founder and artist advisor of The Guild, Inc., will share her thoughts on the importance of details in our homes and our lives, followed by a reception for all participants and ticket holders on Friday evening. Tickets also include admission to the event for either one or both days and full access to the grounds of The North Carolina Arboretum. For an additional fee, participants may join small group tours led by knowledgeable guides and visit private homes and offices to see outstanding examples of craft integration.

Read more about the Expo »

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Creative Aging Symposium This Spring in Greensboro

Creative Aging Symposium

The Creative Aging Symposium offers both artists and caregivers ways to embrace creativity and advance culture change in aging service environments. The two-day symposium will raise awareness of resources available at the national, state and local levels during the general session, and workshops will offer valuable hands-on tools to encourage innovative thought and implementation of new creative programs.

The symposium is offered Thursday, May 6, and Friday, May 7, in Greensboro. Learn about the untapped potential of older adults and the growing field of creative aging, including research and programming at the national, state and local levels. Receive hands-on training in creative programs that you can take back to your community.

This event is open to all kinds of artists including musicians, dancers, painters, actors and a range of caregivers including activity directors, recreation therapists, nurses, nursing home administrators and social workers.

Read more about the Creative Aging Symposium »

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New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music Statewide Tour

New Harmonies Exhibition

New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music, a Museum on Main Street exhibition presented by the North Carolina Humanities Council, the Smithsonian Institution and rural communities statewide, begins a year-long tour throughout North Carolina this month.

New Harmonies offers rural communities — where one-fifth of all Americans live — access to exhibitions from the Smithsonian Institution and gives N.C. the opportunity to collect and showcase its distinct musical traditions, sacred and secular.

The exhibition tells the rich musical story with interactive kiosks devoted to American music genres such as blues, country western, folk and gospel music. Kiosks display instruments and artifacts as varied as fiddles and banjos, accordions and drums, vintage sheet music, photographs and program bills. A listening station provides an immediate opportunity to experience the music. In addition, each host site will develop programming and activities to complement the exhibit — lectures, films, performances, oral histories and photo essays about home-grown musicians and local musical traditions.

Sites include:

  • Mount Airy Museum of Regional History
    March 13 through April 24

  • Warren County Memorial Library in Warrenton
    May 1 through June 12

  • The Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City
    June 19 through August 1

  • The Arts Council of Wayne County in Goldsboro
    August 7 through September 18

  • Rural Life Museum at the Liston B. Ramsey
    Center for Regional Studies, Mars Hill College
    September 25 through November 6

  • The Don Gibson Theater in Shelby
    November 13 through December 29

For more information about the tour, visit www.nchumanities.org.

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University of North Carolina at Greensboro Hosts Conference for Artists

The North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center is hosting the Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts conference Saturday, March 27.

Artists will learn practical skills that can be implemented in their business and turn artistic passion into a living. This artist-led conference will present entrepreneurial strategies and resources for student artists and emerging artists to become self-supporting. The conference will feature numerous speakers in three breakout sessions: literary, performing and visual arts.

Fees are as follows: early registration (before March 12) $45 for the general public and $25 for students; regular registration (after March 12) $60 for the general public and $35 for students. All sessions, meals and reception are included.

The conference will be held at the Elliott University Center on the campus of UNC Greensboro. For more information, visit entrepreneur.uncg.edu or call (336) 256-8649.

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Orange County Arts Commission Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The Orange County Arts Commission, located in Hillsborough, is celebrating its 25th anniversary as the official, county-wide advisory body on the arts.

Since 1985, the Orange County Arts Commission has served as a clearinghouse for arts information, granting state and county funds for arts programming by nonprofit agencies and/or artists, facilitating arts program development and advising the Board of County Commissioners on the arts.

"The Orange County Arts Commission is a very strong advocate for the large number of individual artists that choose to make Orange County home," says Janie Wilson, arts in communities director for the N.C. Arts Council. "It has provided consistent support to artists and arts organizations for the past 25 years, which makes Orange County a vibrant place to live."

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DPAC Joins National Loyalty Program

Arts fans can earn points redeemable for show tickets, memorabilia and merchandise from the Durham Performing Arts Center loyalty program. Named "The Official Rewards Program of Broadway," Audience Rewards® has already attracted more than 400,000 members since its New York debut.

DPAC is the only theater in the Triangle that offers this program to its customers. It's free to become a member, and DPAC arts patrons who sign up will receive points each time they purchase tickets for events at DPAC.

Read more about this program »

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Community Foundation Accepting Grant Applications

The US Airways Community Foundation is accepting grant applications for its spring 2010 funding cycle. The US Airways Community Foundation supports multi-year capital campaigns (bricks and mortar building projects only) for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations located in and providing services in the major metropolitan areas of Charlotte, Phoenix and Philadelphia.

Eligibility includes those organizations that improve the quality and availability of charitable health care, artistic and cultural organizations, education and community services.

Interested nonprofit organizations should visit the "US Airways Community Foundation" section on www.usairways.com/corporategiving to review grant guidelines and apply online. The application deadline is Thursday, April 1, and awards will be distributed in late May. The Community Foundation has two annual funding cycles of April 1 and October 1.

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Poet David Rigsbee Wins Sam Ragan Award

David Rigsbee

David Rigsbee

Raleigh poet David Rigsbee received the Sam Ragan Award for Distinguished Service to North Carolina Arts Thursday, Feb. 4, at St. Andrews College in Laurinburg.

"Honorees are persons who have, over a long period, been outstanding practitioners of their art, and who have selflessly shared their talent with other creators, working in their primary genre and beyond," said Ron Bayes, chair of the Ragan Awards Committee.

Rigsbee has published 12 books with two coming out later this year. His book The Red Tower: New and Selected Poems will be published by NewSouth this fall.

The Sam Ragan Fine Arts Awards were initiated in 1981 in honor of Sam Ragan, North Carolina's first Secretary of Cultural Resources, and to celebrate the fact that North Carolina was the first of the United States to establish a cabinet-level position recognizing the fine arts. Ragan was served as one of the state's poet laureates.

Previous recipients of the Sam Ragan Award have included Gov. Bob Scott, David Brinkley, Loonis McClohon, Kathryn Gurkin, Paul Jeffrey, Sally Nixon and Sally Buckner.

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Regional Artists Announced

The Community Council for the Arts in Kinston, in partnership with other arts organizations and the N.C. Arts Council, awarded 11 regional artist project grants totaling $7,200.

The grants support the creation of new work, the purchase of equipment, professional development workshops, travel expenses associated with attending professional conference and upgrading of promotional materials such as brochures, DVDs, CDs and Web sites.

The recipients are: Erick Greene (film) of Beaufort County; John Hoppenthaler (literature) of Beaufort County; Jill Eberle (visual art) of Craven County; Holly Ann Sanders (visual art) of Dare County; Susan Fecho (visual art) of Edgecombe County; Erica Rose Coker (visual art) of Pitt County; Mike Hamer (music) of Pitt County; Gail Ritzer (visual art) of Pitt County; Lisa Beth Robinson (visual art) of Pitt County; Marty Silverthorne (literature) of Pitt County; and Brenda Behr (visual art) of Wayne County.

For a list of artist opportunities, visit our Artist Opportunities archive or subscribe to receive this e-news directly by sending an e-mail to ncarts@ncdcr.gov with the subject "Subscribe to Artist Opportunities."

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CODA Scheduled in Savannah

The Craft Organization Development Association Leadership Conference is scheduled Tuesday, April 6, through Thursday, April 8, in Savannah, Ga.

The CODA Leadership Conference is an opportunity to share ideas, learn successful strategies and benefit from the experiences of others through presentations, discussions and informal dialogue while gaining valuable insight into the newest ideas and projects created by some of the most forward thinking organizations devoted to craft.

The theme of this year's conference is Aspects of Identity. As organizations struggle to market themselves, grow memberships, expand services and attract customers and funders, establishing a clear understanding of the organization's identity is a critical step toward successfully reaching its goals.

The conference highlights include workshops on "Challenges and Creative Solutions in the Current Economy" and "New Media and Technologies" along with a tour of the Savannah College of Art and Design, a state-of-the-art facility and studios.

Read more about the conference »

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NEA Grant Deadlines and National Medal of Arts Nominations

National Endowment for the Arts grants applications are now available. Applications for the Access to Artistic Excellence, Challenge America Fast-Track and Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth are listed by discipline and are available at www.nea.gov/grants/apply.

Deadlines are as follows:

  • Access to Artistic Excellence:
    Thursday, March 11, and Thursday, August 12

  • Challenge America Fast-Track:
    Thursday, May 27

  • Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth:
    Thursday, June 10

Nominations are being accepted for the 2010 National Medal of Arts. The deadline to nominate a person or organization for the nation's highest honor in the arts is Wednesday, March 17.

For more information on the National Medal of Arts or to nominate, please visit www.nea.gov/honors/medals.

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Southern Arts Federation Becomes South Arts

South Arts logo

The Southern Arts Federation changed its name to South Arts this month. The name and logo reflect a new direction, which is detailed in the 20102016 strategic plan Crafting the Future of the Arts in the South.

A summary of the plan is available online. A webcast about the positioning of the new name and logo will be posted online at www.southarts.org.

South Arts will expand its service to the region beyond current activities. Contact information, including email and Web site domains, will remain the same.

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North Carolina Museum of Art Acquires Four Artworks


Seated Woman, Red

and Yellow Background

The North Carolina Museum of Art will open it doors this spring with a new painting by Pablo Picasso. New Yorkers Julian and Josie Robertson have promised four works by late 19th- and 20th-century European masters.

Picasso's striking portrait of a nude, pensive woman titled Seated Woman, Red and Yellow Background (1952) will be coming to Raleigh, first as a loan for the grand opening on Saturday, April 24, and later as a gift.

The other paintings are Anglo-French impressionist Alfred Sisley's The Bridge at Moret on an April Morning (1888); French painter Maurice de Vlaminck's The Bridge at Poissy (1905); and German expressionist Emil Nolde's Fishing Boat [Red Sky] (1916).

"These works, by major School of Paris painters, will both fill a gap in and beautifully complement the museum's collection, enabling it to present more fully the story of the birth of modern art," says Lawrence J. Wheeler, director of the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Read more about the paintings »

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