This Saturday my friends and I participated in a Cyber Banquet (virtually) hosted by artists Lisa Link and Io Palmer. Here is a re-post of my post on Lisa and Io’s site serve & project, documenting the evenings proceedings.
Cyber Banquet hosted in Chicago at Sandi and Stacey’s apartment.
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During the months of December 2009 and January 2010, The John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art in New Haven, Connecticut will come alive with memories, recollections, and recreations of an important community heritage site, in an innovative group installation designed to both stimulate reflection on the legacies of past generations and engage the public in dreams for the future.
The Orchard Street Shul Cultural Heritage Artists Project is an art exhibition, a history lesson, a point of cultural exchange, and meeting place for dreamers, both nostalgic and visionary. Artists, researchers, and scholars have joined together to celebrate an important historic New Haven landmark which was once central to the life of a large Jewish immigrant population in the Oak Street neighborhood.
Urban changes in the last 50 years have all but erased evidence illustrating the importance of the Oak Street neighborhood in the lives of the newly arrived immigrants and migrants who populated much of the area now known as the “Oak Street Connector”, Route 34. Where some see open space, or a new hospital, or a school, or a parking lot, others with longer memories see shops bustling with activity, voices shouting in Yiddish and Italian, sprinkled with a variety of accents from elsewhere, including near and distant regions within the USA.
Contributions to the installation offer a range of approaches. Some artists researched the history of the Orchard Street Shul and its neighborhood, uncovering multiple stories of this community: stories of women working together to aid refugees, stories of hard-working fathers and mothers who dedicated themselves to making a better life for their children, and stories of teenagers who giggled and mingled on the steps of the Shul. Others built on their own experiences, reaching into their hearts to create depictions of the Shul that are evocative of deeper connections with history and community. Still others focused on the issues of urban renewal, making real the shifts in our urban landscape that are difficult to imagine as we visit the site today.
Included in the Project are presentations by researchers from Yale University who developed innovative ways to document the building, including virtual reconstructions exploring new digital methods, ground-breaking research by computer scientists that promises to change the ways that cultural heritage sites will be documented in the future. Some contributing artists used this digital data in their creative work.
The Orchard Street Shul Cultural Heritage Project is organized by Cynthia Beth Rubin, a New Haven based artist, in collaboration with participating artists and researchers: Nancy Austin, Meg Bloom, DonnaMaria Bruton, Jeanne Criscola, Roslyn Z. Croog, Linda Drazen, Paul Duda, Gonzalo Escobar, Maya Escobar, Alan Falk, Greg Garvey, Shalom Gorewitz, Jaime Kriksciun, Leslie J. Klein, Beth Krensky, Seth Lamberton, Mary Lesser, Lisa Link, David Ottenstein, Bruce Oren, Robert Rattner, Cynthia Beth Rubin, Holly Rushmeier, Janet Shafner, Frank Shifreen, Suzan Shutan, Sharon Siskin, Christina Spiesel, Yona Verwer, Julian Voloj, Laurie Wohl, Chen Xu, and Howard el-Yasin. The group includes artists from California, Florida, Utah, Missouri, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York, who traveled to New Haven to contribute to the project alongside artists from the region.
A Project Book is being published in conjunction with the exhibition, including essays by Haisia Diner, the eminent scholar of Jewish immigration history, Walter Cahn, renowned historian of art and and architecture, and Hana Iverson, known for her remarkable multi-media installation “View from the Balcony” that was instrumental in helping attract attention to the renovation project of the Eldridge Street Shul. The book will also feature photographs of the works in the exhibition and memories of the Orchard Street Shul, with commentary by Karen Schiff. The innovative book design is by Criscola Design.
The Public is Invited to the Opening Reception for the Participating Artists, on Sunday, December 6, from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 pm. To set the mood for the launch of “The Orchard Street Shul Artists Cultural Heritage Project”, the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale for Jewish Life at Yale will host a Jazz jam session on December 5 at 7:30, celebrating the swing dance music of 1924 and beyond, when the cornerstone of this Synagogue was put in place in a ceremony attended by Mayor Fitzgerald and much of the entire New Haven community.
The John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art is open W-F, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, and weekends 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Schools and other organizations who would like to arrange a group visit outside of regular hours may do so by sending an email to: [email protected]
‘Hope’ springs anew for Washington University grad students
UNIVERSITY CITY — Georgia O’Keeffe found inspiration in the light and shapes of New Mexico. Mary Cassatt found hers in mothers and children. Maya Escobar and Carianne Noga, two graduate students at Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Art and Design, found inspiration for their latest project from the long lines on Election Day at a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop in the Loop.
There, on the sidewalk outside the shop, which was giving away scoops of ice cream to voters, the two women felt excitement and hope among voters. They said they found that same feeling across the street in the long line of voters waiting to vote at the Loop polling place.
“We wanted to continue that moment and not let it peak out,” Noga said.
Before the polls closed, they had begun to create their “I hope…” project.
They first staked out a site: outside the University City Post Office at 561 Kingsland Avenue.
They then provided people with bright red tags and paint markers for them to write down their hopes for a better future.
The tags then are affixed to a permanent lattice wood sculpture already on site outside the Post Office.
“As difficult as it can be sometimes to voice our wishes and dreams, it can be strengthening,” the artists say in explaining their mission. “We can be reminded of the rest of the world outside our own immediate concerns. In this period of great change and near infinite possibilities, it is time for us to voice our hopes.”
While the project is for all people, Escobar said it holds special meaning for young people.
“This is our moment to make a difference for our communities,” Escobar said. “We need to be aware — of our national situation, of the economy.”
Many of the hopes expressed — most recorded anonymously — so far are noble and universal: “I hope for world peace” and “My hope is that hate is no longer.”
Some of the hopes are personal. “I hope to not fear death,” wrote one.
Others have a distinctly political bent: “I hope we get out of Iraq and don’t go to war with Iran.” And some are just fun, like the person hoping for “chocolate cake for dessert …”
A University City police officer named Hope — Reginald Hope — shared with them his own hope: for safety for police officers. A fellow officer was killed while on duty near the Loop last month.
Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton gave his hope and “wishes for better health and greater prosperity for all.”
The artists also are encouraging people to submit their hopes online at togetherwehope.com.
The existing sculpture outside the post office was designed in 2005 by an undergraduate architectural design studio taught by Carl Safe in the Washington University School of Architecture. University City resident Ethel Sherman had asked Safe to help create a sculpture in memory of her husband William Sherman, a Washington University biochemist who died about five years ago.
“It’s strong like Bill and peaceful and quiet,” she said. Sherman said she’s thrilled about adding “I hope…” to it.
“This is an exciting time of change and hope,” said Sherman, a retired psychologist and teacher who worked for 10 years at the Loop’s Craft Alliance.
The artists, both 24, come from family traditions of public service and political idealism.
“I grew up under the table of political meetings,” says Escobar, remembering her childhood in Chicago. “My friends and I formed our first political organization when we were 11 — Students Against Child Oppression — on behalf of children in sweatshops in Mexico.”
Her mother is a school nurse, and her father, an educator, hosts a radio show in Chicago called “Si, Se Puede,” which means “Yes, We Can.” The program has been around since 1996.
Noga grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and in Georgia. Her father is a psychiatrist at a state hospital, and her mother is a library director.
Both artists are second-year graduate students in the two-year master’s of fine arts program.
The project will remain up through January. Later, the tags can be relocated to other sites and the online site will remain.
University City has embraced the “I hope …” project, according to city manager Julie Feier.
“It’s an inspiring project,” she said.
[email protected] | 314-725-6758
The polling lines were LONG in STL, I waited over 4 hrs to vote! But it was well worth it, I have never been more proud to be an american and to take part in such an important moment in history.
The night of the elections, Carianne and I initiated our project together we hope with the help of our friend Becky Potts. We passed out red tyvek tags and asked people to write down their hopes for the future. We tried to encourage them to go beyond “I hope Obama wins” or I hope McCain wins”.
People wrote things ranging from “I hope I get good grades” to “I hope that we end the war in Iraq and do not go to war win Iran.”
Check out this website we created where you can submit your hopes online. We will make a tag for each hope submitted…
I just re-uploaded a better quality of this video to youtube, check it out if you missed it before….
Clip from ABC7’s “The N Beat,” With Host Theresa Gutierrez back in 2002
Paint 4 Peace is a non-profit organization comprised of artists and activists who strive to create a culture of peace, fortify communities, and bridge the gap between humanity and politics through artistic endevors.
There is one specific image that I have never been able to remove from my mind: an image of a Guatemalan solider pointing a gun at the belly of a young pregnant woman. Ironically, I have no recollection as to the source of that specific image. Part of me wonders if that image even existed, or if it was a confabulation of my youth, created in response to the countless stories of political massacre in Guatemala that my father described to me on a regular basis.
The Power of Image
Recently I attended a symposium on Architecture, Art and the Experience of Blackness, where I was greatly moved by the words of Hamza Walker, who serves as the Director of Education and Associate Curator for the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago.
In an effort to outline “blackness” or the “black experience”, Walker alluded to the profound impact of the publication of the casket-side Emmett Till photos in JET magazine.
The Till incident began with the brutal beating and murder of an 11yr old boy, whose only crime was whistling at a white woman. In a surprisingly high profile trial the two men accused were almost immediately acquitted by an all white jury. The boy’s grieving mother insisted on an open casket funeral so that the world could see what had happened to her beloved son.
Walker said, that the media transmission of these transgressions confirmed the collective understanding shared by African Americans that this treatment was the reality of the judicial system. If they were to ever “compromise the integrity of a white woman” what happened to Till would happen to them.
Is exposure to explicit images of human brutality the proper way to insure that these incidents do not repeat themselves?
How many times have we seen the same iconographic holocaust pictures?
But do we know who is in these images and what is taking place?
Has seeing the same images a million times done anything the stop the Iraq war or prevent genocide in Darfur?
Perhaps the issue comes down to the dissemination of information to young people. Without providing a proper context for the interpretation and dialogue surrounding these explicit images, the depicted incidents become far removed from our lives, and we become numb to their reality.
Why a Coloring Book?
Coloring Books, emerged in the United States a part of the movement towards the “democratization of education”. They are commonly utilized in popular education models as, accessible teaching tools for often illiterate audiences.
This coloring book provides the platform for the introduction and the critical re-evaluation of social movements the context in which they occurred, and the individuals who have preserved and made a major impacts upon the world.
Rald Institute’s mission is to assist at risk children and individuals with learning, social-emotional, and other disabilities. We strive to enhance self-worth while strengthening cognitive and affective domains. We work to increase public awareness of various disabilities and function as advocates. The institute supports schools by providing technical assistance to staff. Rald provides experiences in the arts because we believe such experiences help children expand critical thinking, increase imagination and develop an appreciation for cultural diversity. Inclusive art workshops are offered at no cost to children. The institute is run by volunteers and there are no charges for services to individuals.
here is a link to an abc special on Beverly’s work.
Beverly Normand, Ph.D., Founder and President, is a consultant for public and private schools in Illinois, and is lecturer and adjunct professor for several universities. She recently retired from the Office of Specialized Services, Chicago Public Schools, after thirty-four years of service as Special Education Teacher, Citywide Instructional Specialist, and Facilitator for School Based Problem Solving/Response to Intervention programs in Psychology and Special Education. She earned degrees from Roosevelt University, DePaul University and Chicago State University. She was a contributing writer for several publications of Chicago Public Schools, is the recipient of numerous educational awards, special recognitions, and various grants. She has written and hosted several educational television programs, has been published in numerous journals and magazines and has participated in various research projects.
A poet, designer, lyricist and patron of the arts, she has collaborated with artists and musicians on special projects and has planned and coordinated cultural programs and art exhibitions for school children, churches and other institutions throughout her adult life.
Serving as Commissioner of Religion and Race for the United Methodist Church in the South Shore Community of Chicago for twenty years, Normand developed activities and programs to support African American history and culture, while also planning activities and programs to strengthen multi-cultural exchange and diversity training. She served as editor for the Nimbus publication for many years.
Normand has helped thousands of pupils, parents, teachers, ancillary teams and school administrators, and is highly respected for her integrity, creativity and skills. “I believe in interdisciplinary instruction and all curricula that stimulate the imagination and lead us away from mediocrity and complacency. The mission of Rald Institute is to reduce the at-risk population, support children and individuals with special needs in a manner which leads to self-actualization, support as many parents and teachers as we can, and help twenty-first century educational leaders maintain integrity and democratic forms of leadership, while problem solving.”