Archive for the ‘Food for thought’ Category

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Art Exhibits

July 16, 2018

Visit Maine museums this summer

Maine is fortunate to have several amazing art museums and other venues to view art work by outstanding artists. Some of my favorite artists and art work are on display throughout the summer and into the fall. I hope that you take time to visit one or more of the following and consider taking your students to the shows. Check them out. Please note: these are not the only shows at these locations nor are they the only locations and shows taking place this summer. Support your local art venue!

  • Bates College Museum of Art (Lewiston) – Amazing Maine artist Dahlov Ipcar created art until she passed earlier this year. “Dahlov Ipcar: Blue Moons & Menageries” includes a wide variety of her art work. Read the story of how she impacted a Maine child who now as an adult curated the show. June 1 – October 6
  • Center for Maine Contemporary Art (Rockland) – Brunswick artist John Bisbee is an inspiration to all, especially those who are dyslexic. In his first solo show “John Bisbee: American Steel” in 10 years, he forges and welds nails in amazing ways. It is a powerful show. In a recent article from the Portland Press Herald John tells about his present work – stretching himself in many ways and even including text. June 30 – October 14
  • Monhegan Museum of Art & History – Celebrating the museums 50th birthday with 80 of the artists who came to the island to create and were awed and inspired by its indescribably light and rugged beauty. July 1 – September 30
  • Portland Museum of Art  – “Painter and Poet”. At a young age, Ashley Bryan noticed the lack of children’s books with African American characters. Through his work as an artist, author, and educator, he has committed himself to filling that void in black representation by creating books about the African and African American experiences. The show includes drawings, paintings and puppets. Consider taking your students to see Ashley’s amazing art work, sure to inspire. Ashley is a kind and gentle giant who lights up a room when he walks into it. At age 95 he continues creating. August 3 – November 25
  • Farnsworth Art Museum“Stories of the Land and Its People”  includes artwork created by 162 students in grades 4 and 7 from Appleton, Lincolnville, and Hope Schools. A wide variety of work that is based on the study a variety of subjects including Maine studies, science, environment, poetry, and geography. May 20 – September 9
  • Colby College Museum of Art (Waterville) – John Marin exhibit “Modern Wonder” includes a wide breath of Marin’s work. He looked at towering skyscrapers and bustling streets of Manhattan and rollicking waters and windy coast of Maine and saw great forces at work. June 5 – August 19
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Inside Dance Conversation with Rennie Harris Puremovement

July 13, 2018

Celebration Barn – Bates Dance Festival

In the days leading up to their performances at the Bates Dance Festival, choreographers and performers will fan out across Lewiston-Auburn and as far away as Portland to reveal the secrets and stories behind their work in a series of free Inside Dance Community Conversations.

Celebration Barn is proud to partner with Bates Dance Festival to present one of these conversations with Rennie Harris Puremovement on Monday, July 16 at 7:00 PM. The event is free. Box Office: 207-743-8452

Rennie Harris has taken hip-hop dance from inner-city streets to a mainstream audience. In so doing he has transformed both art form and audience, and has proven that hip-hop can transcend boundaries of race, religion, gender and economic status. With his company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, this North Philadelphia native is internationally known for such works as the spiritually driven “Facing Mekka” and the critically acclaimed “Rome and Jewels,” a hip-hop opera that transports “Romeo and Juliet” into the world of rival B-boys and street gangs which premiered at the Bates Dance Festival in 1999.

“There’s the option to buy a ticket and sit in the theater to watch beautiful, dynamic contemporary dance,” explains Bates Dance Festival director Shoshana Currier, “but with our new program, there’s now the option to meet a dance artist at the public library or the YWCA and chat about their work. So the festival can be meaningful in different ways to different people.”

Additional conversations will also take place July 2 to August 1 in Lewiston, Auburn, and Portland.

For the full schedule of free Bates Dance Festival events, visit batesdancefestival.org/performances/more-events.

For mainstage performances, visit batesdancefestival.org/performances/. Information about Concerts on the Quad appears at bates.edu/conference/summer-lakeside-concert-series.

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Downtown Aurora Visual Arts

July 9, 2018

Amazing work

The Americans for the Arts Education Council members visited and took a walking tour led by Karina Banuelos in the neighborhood of the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA). Twenty five years ago an artist from Aurora, CO started a project with young kids in the community creating a mosaic. After two years of work the mosaic was installed on the side of a building in the heart of Aurora. The students asked if they could continue visiting the artists’ studio and the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts was born. From day one they’ve been evaluating this creative youth development program and the data has been aligned with a bump in the test scores in the nearby schools. Consequently the program is supported by the school district. The positive impact has been continuous on young people and the community. They are doing cutting edge work in multiple programs from drawing classes to an engaging job training program.

Aurora is only a 25 minute car ride from Denver and the arts community successfully meets the needs of young people and families. Working with teaching artists and a dedicated staff it is a fine example of not just surviving but thriving. The Americans for the Arts Education Council members visited and took a walking tour in the neighborhood.

The art center was alive with students from young elementary through high school. Creative Youth Development at it’s best. We saw an amazing exhibit that was created in connection with many science topics; nutrition, the body system, parasites, bacteria, microbioms.

Their programs build upon each other starting with young children, ages 2-6, and their parents two days a week. The after school programs services 100 kids a week and the program continues throughout the summer with even more learners. The clay program had 30 students of all ages – learning from and with each other. This summer they will mix their own glazes so students can be introduced to chemistry.

The Job Training program had students solving a murder mystery while creating a plaster skeleton learning about tissues, bones, and the anatomy of a human. They combined science and art to help solve the identity of the person. In addition they were learning about how to take care of their own body.

For the past nine years they’ve had a film program which partners with the Colorado Film School located close by.  They’ve had students receive recognition at the state and national Scholastic awards program for PSA films that they’ve created.

Their creative youth development program continues to move young people forward in the experiential learning environment filled with student choice and voice. Originally their goal was to get kids to and through high school. Their success has raised the bar and now they are getting into college and some return to give back by working at the art center.

Info below is from a handout provided to us:

Downtown Aurora Visual Arts (DAVA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the Aurora community through the arts, with a primary focus on youth engagement. By providing a safe learning environment for youth ages three to 17, DAVA programs reinforce 21st century life skills, build self-esteem, and connect youth to the community. DAVA represents a unique combination of arts education and youth development, demonstrating how quality arts programming during after- school hours forms a critical framework for long-term youth success. DAVA reinforces the message that youth are an integral part of community cultural development and in 2016 received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Award (NAHYP) for providing a solution for urban communities through its model of creative youth development, combining excellence in the arts with positive youth development. DAVA “taps the untapped potential” in young people by providing access tocreative programming year-round.

In addition, DAVA takes a lead role in organizing the Colorado Alliance for Creative Youth Development (http://cocreativeyouthalliance.org/). We regularly meet with 10 community-based arts organizations to share best practices and evaluation methodology, as well as advocate for creative youth development opportunities across the state. Members have benefitted from the use of a common survey—to track youth outcomes both in terms of arts skills and youth development, use data for improvement of programs, monitor feedback from youth, share results, and advocate for dedicated support for young people who benefit from experiential learning with an emphasis on equity and access.

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Tell The Story

July 6, 2018

Consider this project

In a recent newsletter from the National Endowment for the Arts there was a feature article on a 7th grade photography student from Detroit. What would it take for you to consider doing something like this? Perhaps select one student to highlight, work with the technology yourself or team up with other staff to facilitate. Better yet, look to your students to take the lead and create similar documentation. Have your students help tell each others stories. DonRico Hawkins, Jr. story might inspire you. DonRico’s story and others are pat of a program funded by the NEA called Focus: HOPE Excel Photography program. The video is featured in the new issue of NEA Arts.

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Dahlov Ipcar’s Impact

July 5, 2018

A wonderful connection

As educators, we often don’t know the impact of our relationships with students. As a teacher our words and guidance may stick for a day, a month, or perhaps a lifetime. We know of Dahlov Ipcar, the amazing artist and her contributions as a children’s book author and illustrator but this story tells much more about Ipcar’s relationship with others. In particular how her work as a teaching artist in a classroom in Cape Elizabeth in 1999 spoke to a young student named Rachel Walls. During the 90’s the programs were called Artist-in Residence and although I don’t know for sure I’m guessing that the program was funded by the Maine Arts Commission. The following  post is was published on June 7, 2018 in the Bates News. It is reprinted on the Maine Arts Education blog with permission from the writer Doug Hubley who is a newswriter at Bates College. Thank you Doug! 

Rachel Walls ’99 was 8 years old when she first met Dahlov Ipcar, one of Maine’s best-known and most-loved artists. Ipcar, known for her children’s books as well as her work in other media, came to Walls’ classroom in Cape Elizabeth through an artist-in-residence program in Maine schools.

“She was assigned to work with us for a quarter and teach us how to write and illustrate children’s books,” says Walls, who is now an art dealer and curator, a cultural historian, and an advocate for the arts in education.

That early encounter blossomed into a friendship and professional relationship between Walls and Ipcar, who died in 2017 at age 99.

Today, Walls is the sole representative of the late Ipcar’s work — a position that led to her participation in creating the Bates College Museum of Art’s summer 2018 exhibition, Dahlov Ipcar: Blue Moons & Menageries.

Dahlov Ipcar chose Indrani Rahman, a famous classical Indian dancer and the grandmother of two Bates alums, as her model for the oil painting “Valley of Tishnar.”

Opening June 8, Blue Moons & Menageries comprises a stunning range of work by an artist known for her versatility across media. And it includes pieces seldom or never shown in public, including a painting from the 1960s for which the model was the first Miss India (for the Miss World pageant) and the grandmother of two Bates alumni.

The daughter of prominent modernist artists Marguerite and William Zorach, Ipcar reached a wide audience through the many children’s books she wrote and illustrated. She also maintained a steady studio practice, producing paintings, sculptures, and prints that are widely represented in public and private collections.

Her work is known for its bold use of color, a dramatic and romantic flair, and its many representations of animals wild and domesticated. Her works “are rich, decorative and, yes, even a little homespun. They are playful, comfortable and homey,” art critic Daniel Kany wrote in January for the Maine Sunday Telegram.

“But they are also highly sophisticated responses to some of the leading intellectual art movements of Modernism, particularly Cubism and Surrealism.” In 1939, Ipcar was the first woman — and, at age 21, the youngest artist at that time — to be featured in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Rachel Walls. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Walls’ parents collected work by Ipcar. “I did get the opportunity to visit her at her farm” in Georgetown, Maine, Walls says, “and because my parents were fans of her work, I was aware of when she was going to be in public, and I attended those events.”

The pair reconnected in a more profound way in 2011. Walls, recovering from a serious skiing accident that affected her reading and writing, turned to Ipcar’s children’s books as she recovered those skills. She brought some Ipcar first editions to a book signing, and the artist invited her to the farm for what turned into an ongoing series of visits.

Ipcar was dealing with her own health setback, and the cruelest one for an artist: gradual loss of her vision because of macular degeneration. She enlisted Walls in an effort to organize information about the life and work of her mother, Marguerite Zorach, and especially to help re-establish Zorach’s artistic credibility, as too often her work was viewed as secondary to that of husband William and even to Ipcar’s.

“Blue Moon Square” (2007) is one of seven works in Dahlov Ipcar’s “Blue Moon” series on display at the Bates art museum.

Ipcar, says Walls, “wanted someone to really document what she felt were important aspects to the cultural significance of Marguerite Zorach in American history and art history.” (Zorach was awarded an honorary degree by Bates in 1964 — and Ipcar had her own turn in 1991.)

“When we completed that project,” Walls continues, ”we started doing the same thing with Dahlov, to make sure that her legacy was also preserved.”

“Something that was very much a part of my training at Bates is that, outside math and science, there’s no one answer to anything,” says Walls, a double major in women’s studies and in American cultural studies.

“It’s all about perspective. I learned how important it is to listen to other perspectives and contextualize how things may have been for somebody else, and how their own experiences left an imprint on how they view and experience life every day.”

Blue Moons & Menageries is full of great stories and surprising connections. The painting “Valley of Tishnar,” for instance, has an arcane but fascinating link to Bates. Named for a place in the children’s fantasy book The Three Royal Monkeys, this 1966 painting depicts a woman wandering in a jungle with leopards, tigers, zebras, and a peacock.

If Ipcar’s fantastic side often seems to draw the most attention, the artist made a serious study of educational, artistic, and psychological theory.

Ipcar’s model for the piece was a famed Indian classical dancer named Indrani Rahman, daughter of an Indian father and American mother. Named Miss India in 1952, Rahman was also the grandmother of two Bates students: Habib Wicks ’94 and Wardreath Wicks ’99, Walls’ classmate.

Meanwhile, appearing in public for the first time ever are five panels from two murals that Ipcar created in the 1930s. A gift to relatives of Ipcar’s husband, Adolph, who died in 2003, the murals illustrated two popular folk songs, “Froggy Went a-Courtin’” and “The Walloping Window Blind.”

Spanning some five decades of Ipcar’s career, and making their public debut as a group in the Bates exhibition, the “Blue Moon” paintings of the exhibition’s title afford a tidy summary of Ipcar’s oeuvre. “If you were only to look at these seven paintings, it’s a very nice overview of the range that she had, and some of the subjects that she used throughout those decades,” Walls says. “To be able to show the majority of those paintings in one space together, is, I think, a major coup.”

Rachel Walls ’99 speaks with museum visitor Jane Abrahamson on the eve of the Ipcar exhibition opening at the Bates College Museum of Art. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

“There are large gaps in the years between some of the paintings,” she adds. “And that’s because the series was truly inspired by Dahlov’s dreams” — she would make a “Blue Moon” painting only in response to a dream whose imagery, what Walls describes as “these fanciful and imaginary creatures,” seemed right.

But if Ipcar’s fantastic side often seems to draw the most attention, the artist, Walls points out, made a serious study of educational, artistic, and psychological theory pertinent to youth development, with the aim of learning “to write literature that was appropriate for the illustrations that she was able to easily create for her books.” (With that in mind, Walls has worked with the Bates museum to develop educational programming for Blue Moons & Menageries, including a reading of Ipcar books coupled with an art-making session on June 26.)

Looking at her own writing and the inspiration she found, early and late, in those books, Walls sees herself as an example of what Ipcar aimed to achieve. “That’s something I find very rewarding,” she says. “I very much valued her friendship, and her creative genius, and the principles and ideals that she tried to put forward in her children’s books.”

“Hunters of the Moon” is a 1966 oil painting by Dahlov Ipcar.

Doug Hubley
Newswriter, Bates College
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Two Success Stories

July 4, 2018

that include a flag and a comic man

Story 1. A 17-year-old student from Lancaster, Ohio, defeated over 1,5000 entries in a nationwide contest to create a new design of the American flag. Our National had added two new states (Hawaii and Alaska), making our flag outdated. A new flag design was needed. Young Robert Heft entered his design as a class assignment in history class. His teacher gave him a grade of B-. She also challenged him… “submit your design to Congress, and if they accept it, I’ll give you a grade of an A!” Not only did young Robert win the national contest, he eventually became a motivational speaker nationally. His design IS the American Flag.

Story 2. Two high school students came up with an idea of creating a comic character that was “super human”… and they were inspired by a man who appeared in circuses as an attraction displaying his strength.” His real name was Zishe Breitbart and the man used “Superman New York” as his mailing address. (WOW!!) FAST FORWARD… these two teenagers decided that their comic “Super Man” would be the Captain of Truth, Justice and the American Way! Not surprisingly, their new comic character was not an “overnight” success. It took these two young men, even after trying “self-publishing,” three long years before finding a publisher (Action Comics).

Source: Caricatures America

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Videos

July 2, 2018

So interesting

The following videos are from Big Geek Daddy and the Upworthiest – fun, interesting, some emotional, and some to share with students.

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