Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Quilting a Community Together

This is a video I created to show participants'  responses  to a  community art experience. It combines two earlier videos I posted with the new section in the middle. This museum initiative is the result of basic research done by art educators I guided in action research for my Place-based Art Dissertation.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Marion Coleman Comes Home

She did an excellent explanation 

    This week Marion Coleman is returning to Wichita Falls for an exhibition of her art and her 50 the High  School Reunion. The participant's in my action research each found an older artist to share with their students and the wider community.  

Marion lives in the San Francisco area and was identified by an acquaintance of one of  the researchers.  Her quilts are Improvisational and narrative.  They are about family and social /cultural events  and their impact on individual and community relationship.
 Students at Wichita Falls High school enjoyed her presentation and all the quilts she brought to share.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Creative Endeavors: Using Science Fiction to Teach Creative Thinking, ...

 Another cool art educator blog I've discovered.

Creative Endeavors: Using Science Fiction to Teach Creative Thinking, ...: Part Three: SteamPunk and Learning to Step Back Neverwas haul , photo courtesy of hanttula.com SteamPunk is a sub genre o...

Monday, May 26, 2014

In Memory of a Mentor

This piece was done after a later trip to Germany but the curator's notes (above) ring true.
 Mary Beth's ideas and spirit continue to be an inspiration to me and I dare say, many others. 
If you didn't know Mary Beth this article by Dan O'Kane is a good introduction,
 if you did know her , it will make you smile!

February 19, 1998 -THE READER -

A small woman verses the forces of nature
Mary Beth Fogarty turns, to the North Sea to inspire her bold, energetic paintings
by Dan O'Kane

If you've ever met Mary Beth Fogarty chances are you've never forgotten her. This diminutive woman is a fireball of energy and emotion. You can't be near her without getting a glimpse of her restless spirit. She has been through a lot in her life - good and bad - and she brings it all to her paintings. In her show Redemption in the North Sea Fogarty celebrates a physical and spiritual journey that started with the music of a Spanish composer and ended with a trip to her ancestral Germany and the frigid waters of the North Sea. in between you have the poetry of Heinrick Heine, the forces of nature as they remind us of our mortality and of course the prickly concept of redemption.  Sounds like a lot to digest, eh? Not to Fogarty.
 "The important thing to remember, Fogarty said (this after I tell her she's lost me 10 minutes into our conversation)”is that it all started with the music of Secundo Pasor. He composed this beautiful and strange song for the classical guitar called North Sea, and when I heard it-I was blown away by its pureness and clarity. The ethics of this one man's music completely inspired me. I decided right then that I would go to the North Sea.
            The North Sea is a long, cold way to go for a song, but hold on, there's more to it than just the music. Fogarty's grandfather was born in Germany, which borders the North  Sea. He later moved to the U.S. with his older sons to avoid inscription in Hitler's armies.  Fogarty feels an affinity toward her grandfather's homeland and to that country's complicated history.
"This idea of 'Redemption in the North Sea' has to do with my grandfather and my father leaving Germany. It has to do with the redemption of the human spirit, the redemption of the German people."
Fogarty has been to Germany before. She once studied art at the Berlin Artist's Workshop.  While there, she was asked to illustrate a special artist's book of Emily Dickinson- poetry. When she contacted her friends at the workshop about her trip to the North Sea, they suggested she illustrate a group of poems also entitled "North Sea" by the German poet Heinrich Heine. The plot thickens.

Fogarty celebrates a physical and spiritual
journey that started with the music of a Spanish
composer and ended with a trip to her ancestral Germany.

What does all this have to do with painting? Well, the painting "Peace" perhaps tells this story better than any words. On two large pieces of- steel, each approximately 4 by 6 feet, Fogarty has painted a tumultuous seascape. On the bottom two-thirds, the sea, painted in dark, muted tones, boils with enormous brushstrokes. "I actually painted the sea with a broom," Fogarty says. A deep shade of red breaks through the sea in some places, adding to the violence inherent in the water. An horizon line can be distinguished along the top third of the painting, and a spot of blue and a pale yellow make the sky. The painting is dark overall and exudes a great deal of kinetic energy.
"Peace" captures the power and mystery of nature.  And though Fogarty's inspiration is extremely subjective, the image of the tumultuous seascape is a universal one. It's a traditional metaphor for the ends of the world, a reminder of human frailty and mortality. We fear it and we are drawn to it.
"There was something in Pastor's song that captured the movement of the sea. It says, 'come here, come here, no go away." As Fogarty tells me this, her upper body sways dramatically. "This contradiction touches at the heart of the human condition," she adds.
The illustrations for the Heine poems also attempt to capture the fierce beauty of the North Sea. These are made of pressed hand-made paper. The bright colors have been poured on to the wet paper mixture with a ladle and then hand-pressed. The process fixes the colors in a very expressive and organic fashion. It seems like the perfect medium for Fogarty's free-spirited and gestural style. The illustrations are abstractions that gain perspective from their titles, such as "Thunderstorm" and "Dancer."
Other pieces in the show include the large and dramatic "Purification," and "El Hombre," a lovely abstraction that hints at a charging horse. Fogarty, like many artists, is inspired by more than just the concrete world. "Source is the essence of all good art," she says. "It doesn't happen by magic." The show opens Thursday, Feb. 19 at 7p.m., and if you have questions, which I suspect you will after reading this, you can ask the artist herself. She'll be the one swaying back and forth and gesturing wildly. She'll be happy to fill you in.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 22, 2013 Dallas

Dallas Anatole Hilton Hotel
With this post I wanted to mark the historic anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination here in Dallas. Most of us who grew up with the televised memories would find it interesting to be living in the metropolitan area where it happened 50 years later. The event marked the beginning of the end of a wonderful childhood naivete, and a belief that beauty and fairness could win out over treachery.

Local reflective memorials have been positive, with countless arts organizations marking the anniversary with fascinating exhibits and concerts. An overall theme seems to be how much Dallas has changed, and one thread is how much more ethnically diverse it has become.

I experienced the rich diversity from my perspective at an art education conference that week-end at the Anatole Hilton Hotel in Dallas. It houses an amazing collection of Asian Art, and is a favorite place for celebrations of eastern immigrants, from the Mid-East to India to Japan.  On the evening of  Nov. 22,  in one ballroom there was an awards ceremony and dance concert for Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians, with hundreds in attendance.  In a second ballroom there was an Indian wedding, with women in beautiful traditional dress, dancing in a similar style. The waiter at the sushi bar where I was eating  said the Anatole is a favorite venue for Indian weddings, and the massive regal elephant sculptures gracing the lobby seemed to reflect that.

 Sculptural Sphere, by Fahad Aljebreen
 It struck me that one of the most interesting parts of my education in North Texas has been the cultural diversity I have experienced.  I have presented with a colleague from Saudi Arabia, Fahad Aljebreen, on Place-based art. His  perspective is when you live in a desert, sand is the logical creative medium of choice! His sand, paper and glue spherical sculptures are beautiful and poetic. His dissertation research is about  the  American concepts about the veil and the freedom to wear the veil or not. He is pictured with his wife below.

Fahad and Alya Aljebreen

I also have met some amazing students.  Aysheh is a wonderful young American who is studying elementary education at the University of North Texas. Her defiant looking self-portrait I believe represents her pride and self-empowering stance as a young Muslim woman.  Her paternal grandfather was a farmer in Palestine, until his land was re-distributed under Israeli orders. She is the most globally informed college student I have met. I got to know her well when she volunteered for a semester to work with  Earl and I at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center in Denton in an Integrated Arts Club (See Oct. 9 post).

Self-Portrait -Aysheh Kadar
 The rich mix of people in Dallas and Denton, Texas  have much to share and offer an amazing opportunity to  understand today's culturally diverse world.  By taking part as an art educator I am able to see its richness, and I invite your comments and suggestions on ways you connect across cultures where ever you are.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jesus Moroles: A North Texas/Nebraska Connection

Jesus Moroles, Internationally Recognized Sculptor and 
Graduate of  University of North Texas, College of Visual Art

Omaha Riverscape, Jesus Moroles  *

Moroles is the focus of current research I am doing for  NTIEVA ( North Texas Institute in Education for the Visual Arts). While updating the NTIEVA website and editing a lesson about Moroles, developed by Nancy Walkup over ten years ago, I am bringing the lesson into the digital age. I am  taking out references to antiquities like overhead projectors and transparencies, and searching for web connected resources. That's where I found the image above and the video below.

Moroles's Omaha Riverscape installation uses Dakota granite, which connects it geographically to the Great Plains region.  Being from eastern Nebraska, stone is not a naturally occurring material in the local environment, so to me it seems quite exotic. Maybe that explains my fascination with ceramics, because we can make our own stone-like structures in fired clay. In this work he makes me aware that regionally I am connected to places with millions of years of exposed history, the granite hills of South Dakota in this case.  As I viewed the video below, produced by the Dallas Museum of Art, I learned more about how his connection to the earth and the environment profoundly influences his work.

In my doctoral research I am looking at how place connects us, and superficially divides us. Why is it that rivers are so often seen as dividers instead of connectors: Nebraska/Iowa, Texas/Oklahoma, US/Mexico? Like Morole's choice of Dakota granite, which relates to the  regional geography of the area,  the local/regional sourcing of our art is valuable as well. Art experiences that connect us to the local make art accessible. Becoming involved in deep conversations with and through art can help.

For teaching lesson plans developed by Joslyn Art Museum based on this installation follow the link: 
Joslyn Art Museum Lesson Plan

For a comprehensive unit on Moroles that looks at his sculpture Granite Weaving and compares it to traditional Navajo waving, stayed tuned for the updated NTIEVA  website.

*IMAGE:  Jesus Moroles (American, born 1950), The Omaha Riverscape, 2008–09, granite and water installation with academy black granite reflecting pool; three column fountains of Mountain Red, Carnelian, and Dakota Mahogany granite; and Dakota Mahogany Granite water wall, Museum purchase with funds from Patron Circle for Contemporary Art and Helen & Ted Kolderie, Photos courtesy of HDR Architecture, Inc; ©Tom Kessler Photography.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Visiting North Texas Art Rooms: Diversity Has a Chance

As a student teacher supervisor, I am simply in awe of the difference I see between art rooms in North Texas as I visit my student teachers. Perhaps because as art educators we have more leeway than other disciplines, I see a wide range of  methods. In Texas there are specific standards for every grade level, and there are tests that cover many of them, but because most districts don't have art tests, the stakes are not as high for the art teacher to cover specific content. I believe that is why there are more diverse methods and ideas in art rooms.

I  have been in 36 different schools in 9 different school districts.  The most radically different classrooms are those that embrace key parts of the 21st Century learning curriculum which aim to develop independent thinkers and therefore require self-directed learning in their classroom.

This week I observed one of my student teacher's lessons for an  introductory course at an IB (International Baccalaureate) High School.  The class was diverse in age and ethnicity, yet they were all motivated to create their own artwork to answer self-defined visual problems. One junior told me that she joined the class because she wants to learn to be a conceptual artist.  Really? Most people do not even know what a conceptual artist does.  Although she had just completed her first small drawings, she has the important notion that in  art, the concept is most important. I had another student teacher who was lucky enough to student teach in a choice-based elementary art room.  The teacher had set-up her classroom so students could choose  the medium to work with and the subject of their artwork. This classroom seems like it should feed into a IB high school, but it is in a different school district all together. Art teachers are an independent lot and students benefit from multiple experiences with different kinds of instruction. Hopefully all students get a chance to create with a teacher that enables them to solve visual problems on their own.

I tell my student teachers that they are fortunate to be starting their careers  in North Texas because in this  amazing growth area there are new schools and jobs popping up all the time. Texas requires fine art in all student's schedules  from kindergarten through at least one year of high school and I get to see what's happening in places far and wide.

My student teacher seminar group meets to share ideas