The Washington Spectator is a monthly, independent political periodical with a circulation of 35,000. In the tradition of I.F. Stone’s Weekly, it gives independent-minded readers behind-the-scenes insight into significant news ignored by the corporate media. Founded by Tristram Coffin in 1974, it is currently edited by Lou Dubose.
The Public Trust Project (PTP) is a nonprofit organization that investigates and reports on the manipulation of scientific research by corporations and government, and promotes the findings of independent scientists whose work has not been skewed by powerful interests. PTP takes on campaigns relating to public health, occupational safety, and environmental protection. Using strategic communications, investigation, and multimedia projects, it seeks to hold corporations and government accountable.
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In 2009, the Public Concern Foundation teamed up with Ballroom Marfa, a leading contemporary arts center in Far West Texas, to create the Marfa Dialogues project, an interdisciplinary exploration of social and political themes involving the participation of journalists, academics, activists, artists and participants from the wider creative community.
Held in September, 2010 in Marfa, Texas on the high-desert plateau of Presidio County, fifty miles north of Mexico, the first Marfa Dialogues examined the politics and culture of the border and featured a border-themed art exhibition at the Ballroom galleries, public conversations and panel discussions, film screenings, poetry readings, musical performances, and artists’ discussions of their work. In the fall of 2012, Ballroom and PCF, with the support of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, presented Marfa Dialogues: the Politics and Culture of Climate Change, with a diverse program of journalists, authors, scientists, artists, filmmakers, ecological tours, and performance artists. Ballroom Marfa again mounted a synergistic exhibition, curated by David Buckland of Cape Farewell, the London-based arts group that integrates climate themes in its exhibitions and productions throughout the world.
Hamilton Fish, President of PCF and co-founder with Fairfax Dorn (Executive Director of Ballroom Marfa) of the Marfa Dialogues project, has worked throughout his career to incorporate political and social values in cultural and artistic initiatives – in documentary films, musical theater, film festivals, and magazine and book publishing. “We found that the participation of artists in the public discussion of climate change – and in general in the public examination of all social issues – expanded the conversation, and made it richer and more accessible,” he observed in describing the impact of first two Marfa Dialogues events.