BGSU School of Art

Needle Hall the setting for ‘Desire for the Intangible’ digital video art exhibit

Submitted by ADVANCED DIGITAL VIDEO ART The Bowling Green State University Advanced Digital Video Art 2019 will present a two-day exhibit “Desire for the Intangible” in Needle Hall in City Park, 520 Conneaut Ave., April 25 and 26. A public reception will be held Thursday, April 25 from 6-8 p.m. Light refreshments provided. A public critique with guest critic Cameron Granger will be held Friday,  April 26, 5-7 p.m.“Desire for the Intangible” features the work of the Advanced Digital Video Art class at Bowling Green State University. This is an open invitation to explore the metaphysical. Through various media including video installations, photography, video, animatics, and illustrations, the artists have conceptualized their desire to connect with the ethereal. Is it possible to embody harmonious existence with nature, trauma, art, spirituality,capitalism, technology, alienation, and communication?In housing the exhibition at the historic Needle Hall, the artists challenge goers’ expectations by bringing them into a beautiful recreation hall. Celebrating this gallery’s gathering potential, many of the artworks will tread against the natural surroundings as digital pieces, forging a coalescence with electronics and earth within the subliminal space. A moment with each work will reveal an inclination for self-reflection: a conversation with the present image and one’s past and future.


Student potters filled with enthusiasm for Empty Soup Bowl Fundraiser

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News John Balistreri, head of the ceramics area at Bowling Green State University, makes it very clear: The clay program’s involvement in the Empty Soup Bowl project was the students’ idea. He wasn’t at the Clay Club meeting when the idea came up. And when he was told the students wanted to do it, he drew a hard line. This was a busy time for the studio. “This place is going around the clock,” he said. The students had to committed to create the hundreds of soup bowls — “beautiful bowls that people will want to use” — needed for the event. They also had to be learning something along the way. “It’s up to them to pull it off right,” he said. The students convinced him they would. Emma Robinson works on glazing a bowl. The Artists vs. Hunger: Empty Soup Bowl Fundraiser will be presented from Saturday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wood County Historical Center and Museum. The sale of the bowls for $15 each as well as the good will offering for the soup to fill them will benefit the Brown Bag Food Project. Megan Messer is the student who proposed the idea. Now working on her Bachelor of Arts in ceramics with a minor in community art, she started as an education major. As part of that program she volunteered at Brown Bag. She was impressed by the locally grown effort to address food insecurity. The project provides groceries to tide people in need over until they can get more permanent help. She met Marissa Muniz, a Brown Bag board member and publicist for the museum, while volunteering. Messer came up with the idea of staging an Empty Soup Bowl fundraiser. “It was exciting,” she said. “It could bring us out into the community more, and help a good cause.” Empty Bowl events are held around the country. One of Messer’s classmates, David Rummel, from Bryan, participated in a similar effort back home that was organized by potter Brandon Knott. The project, he said, “is not too terribly hard. It’s a great way to raise funds for a good cause.” Emma Robinson, another student in the ceramics studio, agreed. She said she was on board as soon as the idea was brought up in the Clay Club meeting.  Artists sometimes can be insulated making their work in their studios. “It’s nice to use our skills to reach other communities, and give back,” she said. She added that the project also is a good way to rally the students involved around a common goal. Balistreri is always pushing the students to increase their production, and this will force them to do that, Robinson said. “They’re learning how to make pots, the rhythm of it,” Balistreri said. David Rummel with bowls he’s made. The potters are using the project to experiment with applying a variety of glazes. When Balistreri was convinced the students were committed, he said he’d throw 50 bowls himself — but the students would have to glaze them. They expect to create about 400. Rummel said he was attracted to pottery because it create objects that people will use. “They’ll have it in the cupboard. It’s a way to share myself with someone else. It’s very spiritual.” Bowls waiting to be fired.


BGSU ceramics, historical center team up to fight food insecurity

From  WOOD COUNTY HISTORICAL CENTER & MUSEUM The first annual Artists vs. Hunger: Empty Soup Bowl Fundraiser event to benefit the Brown Bag Food Project is planned for Saturday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum. The project is sponsored by the BGSU Ceramics Department and the Wood County Historical Center & Museum. The goal is to raise funds to help fight food insecurity in Wood County. The BGSU Ceramics Department donated handmade bowls for this event. Tickets for the fundraiser are $15 and include a beautiful handmade bowl and free admission to the Wood County Historical Museum. The meal will be a free will donation. Tickets can be purchased on Brown Bag Food Project’s Facebook page.  The Brown Bag Food Project is a local non-profit that seeks to address issues of food insecurity in Wood County, Ohio.  Brown Bag Food Project provides individuals with a 5-7 day supply of food and vital hygienic items, as well as pet food and supplies, to help meet their immediate needs, along with a resource guide to connect people to additional community resources for long-term support. The Wood County Historical Museum will be open for self-guided tours Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 4 PM and weekends from 1 PM – 4 PM (closed on government holidays). Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children, with discounts for seniors, students, and military. Historical Society members receive free admission as well as a gift shop discount. The museum offers free admission to all visitors on the first Friday of each month, courtesy of the Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau. The museum is handicap accessible and group tours are welcome. All events detailed at woodcountyhistory.org or by following the Wood County Historical Museum on social media. The museum is located at 13660 County Home Road in Bowling Green. 


BGSU Undergrad Art Show is a launching pad for young talent

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News The opening of the annual Undergraduate Exhibition is one of the busiest days for the galleries at Bowling Green State University. The annual exhibit features work by 100 artists, and the awards ceremony draws a large contingent of family, friends, fellow artists, faculty, and staff. Sunday’s opening was no exception. For Charles Kanwischer, the director of the School of Art, the turnout is fitting. Harking back to the first time his work was shown, he said, this is a milestone in these young creators’ careers. “To win a prize, to be acknowledged some way, is to start believing in yourself, and that’s the most important function of this show,” Kanwischer said. Work exhibited in the Bryan Gallery There were many awards — some determined by faculty, and five determined by the panel of three outside jurors. Yuna Ahn, a junior from Perrysburg, won the Medici Circle Best of Show Award  for her painting “I Swallowed the Red Pill,” which was also selected for first place in painting. Also honored by the jurors were: Jacob Church, Main Street Photo and Portrait Studio Award, for his photo “Slide.”Trent Clayton, Marietta Kirschner Wigg Print Award, for his print “South Michigan Ave.”Chloe Arch, Ringholz Art Supply Award 2D, for her drawing “Autism 6-8th.”Hannah Zitzelberger, Ringholz Art Supply Award 3D, for her jewelry “Cicadas.” (Click to see a full listing of awards.) Best of Show honoree, Ahn said she relies on art to tell her story. A native of South Korea, her family moved to Perrysburg seven years ago. Her English isn’t fluid enough to convey her ideas. “I’m always struggling to communicate. I can express myself truly through my art.” Her painting speaks volumes. “I Swallowed the Red Pill” has layers of imagery. The painting employs a popular ancient Korean painting as the background to the scene, just as the painting appears in many restaurants in Korea. That traditional painting, she explained, shows two men spying on a woman bathing outdoors. Ahn connects that to the problem prevalent in Korean of social media voyeurism using spy cams.  The title of her painting is a reference to the “Matrix” movies. The red pill makes you see the truth, Ahn said, and that’s not always pleasant. “It’s going to be something you don’t want to know, but it’ll be the truth.” In the foreground is a double self-portrait of the artist. In one, the figure is staring at her cell phone. Is the truth there? Maybe, the artist answered. But there’s also fake news. One figure is cutting her long hair. The other, her hair already shorn, is lifting the red pill to her mouth with chop sticks. Since she was a child, Ahn has loved creating art. Her parents did not want her to study art in college, but she applied to the School of Art and was accepted. Now her parents support her work, she said. What she can look forward to beyond graduation from BGSU is uncertain. She is not a citizen and does not have a green card, so she will have one year to either find a job or enroll in graduate school. Otherwise she will need to return to Korea, which she would prefer not to do. “Bonding” by Moira Sams Downstairs Moira Sams, who also attended Perrysburg High School, was talking to two people she’d never met before about “Bonding,” which won the first place in sculpture. The piece is a rocking chair with a rounded and contemporary style. Sams is an art education major, so she’s required to make the rounds of…


Arts Beat: Glass artist’s magic is turning kitsch into art

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Zachary Weinberg gave credit to his Bowling Green State University Alli Hoag for naming his exhibit, “Kitsch Alchemy,” at River House Arts in Toledo. She’s good with titles, he said.  Zachary Weinberg Their first stop was at the title piece of the exhibit.  Inspired by the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment of Disney’s “Fantasia,” the piece includes a broom encased in glass. The glass, Weinberg said, was blown to accommodate what’s inside, in this case a broom and a lamp. Weinberg, a technician in the glass studio, and Hoag, director of the glass program, got together recently during the closing days of the exhibit for a public conversation about his art. As he and Hoag strolled through gallery at 425 Jefferson Street, it became clear just how apt the name was.  That’s not the easiest way to go about creating glass. Usually glass vessels are blown and then things fit into them. But, as Hoag noted, “you take the most difficult way to make something.” “Opuntia” Weinberg noted that in his piece, “Opuntia,” which serves as the home for a living prickly pear cactus, the joints could easily have been purchased. Instead he created them out of glass. “Completely inefficient,” he said. That’s part of the magic, the alchemy. Weinberg takes elements considered kitsch and through this technical alchemy turns them into art. “Kitsch,” he explained, “is art that’s been assimilated into the production economy and distributed to the masses.”  Alchemy, which is connected to early science, was “a noble pursuit,” said Weinberg, though driven by the fantasy of transforming lead into gold. For Weinberg that often means working with things cast off from society. “I love working with thrift store stuff,” he said. For one thing, it’s cheap. But it’s also free from the whole cycle of production and consumption. Looking at the broom encased in glass, he reflected, that at one time these had to be hand crafted. “We have factories that just crank this stuff out,” he said. The broom is suspended, not touching the ground, so not functional. Weinberg also turns to pop culture in, “The Final Gesture,” a neon piece that has a thumb’s up gesture rising from waves. It is an evocation of “Terminator II.” But it also echoes the image of the Lady of the Lake in the King Arthur legends. The red neon casts an almost menacing glow. A second neon work addresses that sense of menace directly. Stretched across one wall is the simple silent movie subtitle “[suspenseful, instrumental music playing].” The phrase comes from the 1927 classic film about an industrial dystopia, “Metropolis.” The music is meant to set an ominous tone. Weinberg said it refers to “this industry of fear called Fox News that’s playing in the background all the time.” They report “the most horrible crap to put people in this perpetual state of fear.” Zachary Weinberg and Alli Hoag stand below “Search Party” while discussing the work in River House Arts. “Kitsch Alchemy” winds up its run at the River House Gallery today (Dec. 8). “More with Less,” an exhibit of paintings by Jordan Buschur that explore that way seemingly inconsequential possessions reflect our inner lives, will open on Dec. 13.


Project Connect in need of more volunteer hosts for next week’s event

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The  volunteers’ t-shirts are made, now Project Connect needs to get more people to fill them. On Tuesday afternoon, students in Janet Ballweg’s screen printing class at Bowling Green State University put their skills to good use, printing 170 yellow t-shirts that will be worn by the hosts at Project Connect. Those hosts help guide guests through the dozens of services that will fill every corner of St, Mark’s Church next Wednesday (Oct. 17) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Project Connect is, according to organizers: “A one-day, one-stop event with free goods and services for Wood County individuals, families, elders, and veterans in need. This event is to get individuals that are in need in Wood County more aware of the broad range of organizations and resources available for their benefit.” In 2017, Project Connect, an initiative of the Continuum of Care Coalition of Wood County,  helped 574 individuals from 278 households. More than 200 people volunteers and 52 providers and agencies set up shop. Project Connect provides same day services as well as long-term connections.  The hosts are key players in this. They help the guests navigate the event so they get what they need, whether it’s legal help, food assistance, a winter coat, or a haircut. One week out from Project Connect those hosts are in short supply. An email sent out Tuesday said 46 hosts were still needed. Click to volunteer. It takes more than 200 volunteers to stage the event, said Erin Hachtel, one of the Project Connect co-chairs. And these students are a part of the effort. “For me it’s a way to show the many ways people can use their talents to help people. You see people using art to make a difference in the community.” This is Project Connect’s sixth year, and Ballweg’s students have printed the t-shirts each year. Some years they’ve done more and in multiple colors. Hatchel was wearing a red shirt, which signifies that she’s a member of the organizing committee. On the day of the event this lets people know, she’ll have broader knowledge about what’s going on. Because there were extras from previous years, only yellow shirts are being printed.  “It’s a way to give back to the community,” Ballweg said. This service learning project has elements of both. Given it’s early in the semester, the students have only completed one printing project so far. Taking this  on accelerates their learning. They have to work together, and teach other while printing the shirts, Ballweg said. While their schedules don’t allow them to volunteer on the day itself, she does encourage them to stop by to see for themselves what happens at Project Connect. Those who do are impressed, she said. They don’t realize that this kind of poverty exists in Bowling Green. Hatchel said: “I hope this is something that lasts beyond their student years and they take with them.” 


Hard work & inspiration on display at BGSU undergrad art exhibit

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Laura Dirksen was 7 years old, she went digging for clay. She’d just learned about the material and was intrigued that it could be found in her back yard. She was so intent on her search and digging the hole that she almost got stuck. Her father had to come out to get her. In truth, Dirksen admits now, mostly she found mud. She rediscovered clay about a dozen years later in her second year studying art at Bowling Green State University.  She started as a painting major. “I fell into the ceramics program my sophomore year,” she said, “and things really shot up from there.” And it made her feel her nostalgic for her childhood adventure. Dirksen’s ceramic sculpture “Degrade” won the Medici Circle Best of Show Award at the Undergraduate Art Exhibition, which opened Sunday in the University Galleries in the Fine Arts Center. The show continues through Feb. 19. “Degrade” is her reflection on the tendency to denigrate people, especially women. The form reflects her own shape, and features the admonition: “Why do you always degrade Tom?” “Tom,” she explained, is a stand in for society. While “a lot of people tear things down … I try to bring out the best.” Dirksen, who grew up in Maria Stein in Mercer County near the Indiana border, wasn’t sure she’d ever make it to college. “In high school my academic level wasn’t exactly the best, but my art stuff was always what kept me going.” After high school she ended up working two jobs and realized that’s not what she wanted. Dirksen recommitted herself to her art. She came to BGSU as a painting major. In her sophomore year, she was introduced to ceramics. Working with clay heightened her sense of touch. “It’s really intense. You’re always working. It’s humbling,” she said. “You work constantly at something, and you’re not going to get your best results unless it’s something you’ve done 1,000 times over.” Seeing a completed piece is “a reminder of how hard you work, and that’s the most rewarding thing ever.” Dirksen credits Professor John Balistreri with instilling that kind of work ethic into his students. “He teaches us in a very disciplined manner. It’s intense. I’ve never had to work as hard. I’ll be better off having worked with him.” Dirksen has returned to painting. That offers a different look at the use of color, which she employs in her ceramics. One of her paintings, “Materiality #2 (6022)” won second place honors in painting. She studied painting with Mille Guldbeck. The show features the work of more than 100 students. The exhibit is an important milestone for many students, said Charles Kanwischer, the director of the School of Art. “For lots of them this is the first time they’re coming out of the classroom and seeing their work in a different arena,” he said. “When you put it up in the gallery, you see it differently, and some of the tentativeness and fears you have about it can be eased when compared to other students.” The show’s importance is why Marissa Saneholtz, who teaches metals and jewelry, encourages her students to participate and helps them prepare their applications. A 2008 graduate of BGSU, she remembers how important it was to her as a student. She sold her first piece, two silver rings, to gallery director Jacqueline Nathan. “That’s exciting,” Saneholtz, a Bowling Green High School graduate, said. The undergraduate show displays the students’ progress because it includes work by first-year students through seniors, she said. It also reflects…


Visiting photographer Osamu James Nakagawa captures intimate images of life & death within his family

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For Osamu James Nakagawa photography is a matter of life and death. Nakagawa bookended his Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Lecture on campus last week with two images. One showed him still a baby being greeted by exuberant relatives on his family’s arrival back in Tokyo. It was the first time, they’d seen either him or his older brother, both of whom were born in New York City. He closed with a video of his mother on her death bed, close up images of her last breaths. This autobiographical streak runs through the photography he showed to the audience gathered in the Fine Arts Center at Bowling Green State University. It does not totally define him though. Nakagawa has won acclaimed for his series of photos of the cliffs and caves on Okinawa where people go to commit suicide. The cave shots are so dark that they barely registered on the screen. He shot them he said at a very slow shutter speed with a flashlight as the only illumination. Also, he photographed the areas around the U.S. military bases on the Japanese island. They are stark representations of an unwanted military presence that brings crime, including rape, to the province. Nakagawa studied painting and sculpture in Houston, and then returned to Japan to work as an unpaid assistant to his uncle who was a photographer. To earn some money, he worked with American photographers helping them find the subjects and locations their editors wanted. The lists of requests were always the same – geishas strolling down the street and Mount Fuji. He knew he wanted to photograph what they were missing. He returned to Houston to get a master of fine arts in photography. In 1998, Nakagawa said his life was a whirlwind. At the time his daughter was born, his father was diagnosed with cancer. The photographer was living in Indiana, where’d he’d just taken a position at the University of Indiana. “All these things were happening,” he said, “and I was taking photographs. I didn’t see it as a body a work. I needed to slow things down. Things were going so fast. I thought by taking photographs I would slow it down.” He studied the work of others who made their families the subject of their cameras, including Emmitt Gowin. So he found himself taking baby photographs, something he’d never imaged himself doing. And he found himself taking photographs of his father as he went through chemo therapy, losing 40 pounds, going bald. That, he admitted, was hard. Nakagawa wanted to take a photograph of his father bathing in the hot springs near the family’s home. It took convincing to get his father to pose naked. His son drew a detailed sketch of the image he wanted. Then his father announced one morning that they should go and take the photograph. It was early, no one would be there. The soft light, Nakagawa said, was perfect. His father had also bestowed upon him a crate of family memorabilia. Nakagawa brought what he found together for family portraits that spanned decades. One showed his father’s brother heading off to fight in World War II juxtaposed with 8mm home movies of Nakagawa’s family visiting Disneyland, a trip he was too young to remember. After his father died, Nakagawa continued to photograph his mother as she made the transition from living alone at home where a photo he’d taken of his father leaned against a wall near her bed to residing in an assisted living facility. She resisted the idea and questioned the…


Charles Kanwischer ready to guide School of Art in times of change

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Charles Kanwischer steps into his new role as director of the Bowling Green State University School of Art ready draw on ample experience He assumed the new position in July, taking the reins over from Katerina Ray, who served in that role for 15 years. Kanwischer, 54, had been associate director for most of Ray’s tenure, and two years ago served as acting director when Ray was on leave. So when Ray announced she would leave the post and join the faculty, Kanwischer said he felt he was prepared for the job. “Everyone should be so lucky to succeed someone like Katerina,” he said. “The mechanics of the school are in really good shape.” Having a steady experienced hand will be needed as the School of Art navigates changing currents in the arts. The School of Art, Kanwischer said, “used to be closed place, focused on its own business of training painters and sculptors. We’ve had to learn to be a more open place while still maintaining that tradition our reputation is based on.” The school now has new art minors open to student from around campus, and it has removed some prerequisites to introductory studio classes. That also means developing programs in digital arts and graduate programs aimed at working professionals that blend online and studio work. This year, the school will offer a Master of Arts in art education, building on its successful art education program. Students, mostly working teachers, take courses online, and then in the summer come to campus for studio work. Next year, the school will launch a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design with a similar format. These both fall in line with the university’s push to create professional graduate programs that attract tuition-paying older students. Another trend is for better collaboration among the arts units on campus. This strategy was initiated by Dean Raymond Craig, of the College of Arts and Sciences. The first fruit of this initiative likely will be an integrated media arts program that would bring together elements from art, creative writing, theater and film, and music. The program would be centered on gaming and virtual reality. The development is in the early stages, Kanwischer said, but “we’d like to do it.” He sees it as “the next stage in the evolution of our digital arts offerings.” Also being considered in a program in graphic novels. Digital arts and graphic design, two applied programs, are responsible for much of the enrollment growth. Traditional studio disciplines have steady enrollment, though the quality of students is “stronger than ever.” Arts education enrollment has rebounded. Kanwischer noted that every graduate of arts education who completed student teaching landed a job. “It speaks to a central tension of what it means to run an arts school now,” he said. “How do we preserve and extend and make viable the traditional arts at the same time we’re acknowledging the need to stay relevant in terms of technology? It’s tough to work at both ends of the spectrum. Both are expensive. We need to find innovative ways to support that across that whole spectrum.” He continued:  “We think it’s important that a student who comes to study digital technology has some significant experience with analog or physical material, what you might call the friction-based material, the stuff that resists. At the same time we want them to be working with the state of art technology.” This creates a hybrid art, he said. Students do not doggedly stick with one discipline during their entire college career, he said. But, Kanwischer…


NowOH exhibit surveys local art scene

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For an art exhibit dedicated to artists of Northwest Ohio, it was fitting that the best of show winner was a local scene. Aaron Pickens received the top honor at the 10th Northwest Ohio Community Art Exhibition for a pairing of two small paintings of fields in the Grand Rapids area. They were certainly not the flashiest pieces among the work by 47 artists in the Bryan Gallery in the Bowling Green State University Fine Arts Building. They were not even the flashiest of the pieces Pickens was showing. For juror Robert Thurmer that was the point. “I choose that as best of show mostly to honor the feeling that’s created here with a few skillfully placed brush strokes and color combinations that are apparently simple, but are really quite complex,” he explained. “This is a very, very thoughtfully produced and skillfully handled, and it creates a mood and feeling that’s highly personal statement.” Pickens created the paintings plein air, in the open air. It’s a discipline he’s adopted to complement his studio work, an example of which hung right next to the landscapes. That studio painting is a still life of toys, set on a sheet of cardboard, with an ominous forest in the background. That painting took 70-80 hours to create, Pickens said. The plein air landscapes, each took about an hour to create. He goes out for just a limited amount of time to try to capture the light, in this case dawn and dusk. “This is what taught me how to paint, how to use my material quickly and efficiently,” he said. “It’s a way to clear my mind. It’s a Zen exercise.” The skills he learns outdoors he brings into the studio, he said. While Thurmer preferred Pickens landscape over his toy still-life, he honored another painting that depicted a toy with first place for 2-D work to Joanne Cook’s “American Beauty.” Another small painting, Cook took her inspiration from the movie poster for the film “American Beauty,” but instead of a naked young woman, she put a Little People figure of Wonder Woman, at the center. Thurmer liked the skill of the skin tones placed against the intensity of the red rose petals. The painting, he said, also makes a statement about American aesthetics with its sense of unreality and intentional saccharine quality. Cook said she tries to imagine famous movie scenes filtered through the imagination of a child. For the first place in 3-D work, Thurmer selected glass piece, “Off-kilter” by Noel Welch. “It manages to do a good job of actually being off kilter while maintaining a certain balance,” the juror said, adding, he was “dumbfounded” by Welch’s use of veins of color inside the glass form. Welch said the piece was constructed of 15 layers of float glass that were pressed and glued together, and ground to achieve its elegantly odd shape. “It was a lot of grinding, grinding, grinding,” she said. When tapped, the piece rocks gently back and forth. Thurmer said in his artist statement that he found the exhibit especially impressive given the works were not selected but rather included everything delivered was shown. There were more pieces worthy of recognition, he said, than he had prizes to award. Pickens said he appreciated the dialogue among those like himself who are trained and professional with avocational artists who are just as passionate about art. The show, Cook noted, had a range of styles and ages, from older artists to teenagers. An art teacher in Perrysburg, she said she would encourage her students…


Tom Muir’s signature vessel finds home at Toledo Museum of Art

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News It has taken 30 years for Tom Muir’s “Cycladic Figure Impregnated” to find a home. The metal coffee server, one of the silversmith’s signature works, could have entered the White House collection of American Crafts. Instead that institution received a vessel inspired by Beluga whales. And it was one of the two works being considered by the Institute of Art of Chicago. That collection got the first in the series of these fertility figures though. Muir has had private collectors offer to buy it, but the price wasn’t right, and he kept it close to home. Now the 30-year-old vessel has found its place in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art. “This was always one of my favorite pieces,” he said. The piece is made of 18-carat gold, sterling silver, oxidized copper and anodized aluminum. “I wanted it to have red belly to make it alive.” The base is shaped like udders. “It was a more interesting way to present it.” The museum has been holding the piece for several years, said Muir, a Distinguished Professor of Art at Bowling Green State University. The intent was to purchase it when the proper arrangements could be made. Jutta Page, then curator of glass and decorative art at the museum, contacted him earlier this year, to start the purchase process. Now the executive director of Old Dominion University’s Barry Art Museum, Page said she was pleased that the museum completed the purchase. In an email, she described “Cycladic Figure Impregnated” as “a significant American contemporary work by this much-revered local artist, nationally recognized metalsmith, and influential teacher to many a generation of BGSU students.” She added: “It is gratifying for me to know that this object will be preserved in a public collection.” Completing the transaction meant determining the purchase price, which has not been disclosed. Muir makes it clear that he does not donate his work. Some artists do, he said, just so they can say they have work in a certain collection. “They’re cutting their own throats and others’ throats,” he said. He’s had purchase offers that barely cover the cost of the $2,000 in metals that were used to make the piece. Even in 1993 when the White House social secretary called about Muir contributing a piece to start the American craft collection, he said he couldn’t donate it. Instead BGSU purchased the piece so it could go into the collection, and the university would benefit from the recognition. Muir researched pieces comparable to his and found out what they sold for at auction. He determined the value from that. Then the museum paid half that price. It was the same process when the Art Institute purchased “Cycladic Figure with His Hair in a Roller,” the first piece in this series. Muir started the series of vessels inspired by fertility figures when he was completing his graduate work at the University of Indiana. He’d been working on brooches, as models for larger work. His love, though, was for making vessels. He attended an art history lecture on fertility figures from the Cyclades, Greek Islands in the Aegean Sea. The figures date back to 3200 BC. Muir, who minored in art history, saw a connection between these figures and the vessel he was working on. And because of the way the spout looked, his gave it the whimsical title “Cycladic Figure with His Hair in a Roller.” His professors and fellow students hated that title, he noted. But it reflected his sense of humor, an element he felt was important. The completed…


BGSU students paint murals to animate Toledo neighborhoods

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Art students from Bowling Green State University have left their mark on the streets of Toledo’s Old South End and East Toledo. Each summer since 2010, groups of students, under the direction of instructor Gordon Ricketts, have made their way to these neighborhoods to paint murals that bring a burst of color and inspiration to the residents. This year, they’re at it again working on both sides of the river. In East Toledo, on East Broadway they contributing to a corridor of color started by previous students, visiting artists, and community members. Ricketts estimates the project has completed about two dozen murals in the southern end of the city. Driving down Broadway, headed west, you first encounter Martin Luther King Jr. on a wall, then nearby Cesar Chavez. Further down there’s the comic book character Green Lantern on the Green Lantern restaurant. Closer to the intersection of South Street, the murals multiply. On a recent morning 15 students had gathered on East Broadway in East Toledo. Ladders up, and transforming a drab viaduct into a vivid celebration of the neighborhood. Trains rumble over the nearby overpass. Traffic whizzes by. Sometimes drivers honk approval and give a thumbs up. Passers-by will express their appreciation and offer to pick up a brush. Ricketts points to a short wall where neighborhood children emulated the BGSU artwork. “This is something that’s visual evidence that positive things are going on in their community,” Ricketts said. “These images are respected,” he said noting those done in previous years have not been tagged with graffiti. “They don’t mess with us.” The first mural project was painted in summer of 2010. Ricketts was working with the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center in the South End when discussions about murals began. Ricketts worked with the BGSU School of Art to bring in Mario Torero, an artist he knew from San Diego. Torero has been creating murals since 1974 in Chicano Park. The Toledo neighborhood “almost mirrors what’s going on in San Diego,” Ricketts said. “You end up with a neighborhood that’s split in two by a highway and marginalized. You have people trying to do good things for the neighborhood, to revitalize it.” He, Torero, and Charles Kanwischer from the School of Art met with business proprietors, and attended Spanish-language mass to meet the priest and parishioners. “We tried to integrate ourselves and make the mural about the neighborhood and what they’re interested in,” Ricketts said. “That’s an important part of the process.” These cross-cultural conversations are an important part of what the students learn from the class. The students who participated that first year were all volunteers. The project went so well. The school brought Torero back four more years and created a summer course so students can earn credit. Another neighborhood group of young people spun off from the project and did their own murals. Mary Wilson, an East Toledo native and activist liked what she saw across the Maumee, and approached Ricketts about going work in her Ironwood neighborhood. Wilson stops by to check on the progress of the murals, Ricketts said. “She is always very nice to us,” said Anthony Kappler, one of the BGSU team. “She made us feel like we were part of the neighborhood. The stretch of East Broadway is significant because it’s the route children travel to Oakdale Elementary and Waite High School. The theme of this year’s project is youth and education with silhouettes of children walking to school a prominent feature. It also grows from a mural done last year by BGSU…


Portraits in friendships between BGSU student photographers & Wood Lane individuals exhibited at Toledo Museum

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News To find the Wood Lane photo exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art, walk toward Matisse’s “Apollo” on the ground floor, then take a left. Just down the hall from that masterpiece, images of people served by Wood Lane line the walls of the Community Gallery. Most of the photos were taken by students in Lynn Whitney’s Community Projects class at Bowling Green State University. Some were taken by the Wood Lane individuals themselves. The exhibit, “Speaking of,” is the culmination of semester long project through which a dozen BGSU student photographers were teamed up with Wood Lane individuals. This is the project’s fifth year. At the opening, Whitney said this was “a project that seeks to bring a voice and alternative vision to a community of especially wonderful people.” In the beginning the Wood Lane individuals were the subjects. The photographers worked with them to depict their lives. This year, though, they were also given cameras and with the guidance of their student partners also made photographs. They went out bowling, shopping, for ice cream, and talked, said Lisa Kaplan, a BGSU graduate and a professor at Adrian College who has watched the project develop. And they came to the museum both for a visual literacy workshop and to view the Kehinde Wiley exhibit. This kind of partnership is especially needed now, Kaplan said. “We face a nation that’s increasingly suffering in many ways from a terrible lack of empathy. The struggle continues to get to a place where people with disabilities are fully integrated members of society who have full access to jobs, family, and education. … The public presentation of these pictures is a challenge to a dominant, often dehumanizing, narrative of people with disabilities.” Museum Director Brian Kennedy said the project connects with the museum’ focus on visual literacy. “We teach people how to see, to make them understand what they see. When you understand what you see, you empathize; you try to think what the other person is feeling.” Those connections are more personal between the partners in pictures. “I really felt like it was going to be a new experience,” said Kristy Cartmell of her decision to enroll in the class. “It would take me out of my comfort zone and make a connection with somebody. Photography is all about the connection.” She was partnered with Michael. He said he learned about photography, and was pleased he could take a few shots himself. His favorite subject was “my friend Kristy.” Brandyn, who was teamed up with Clara Delgado, had taken photos on his phone, now he learned to operate a camera with a shutter and using film. “I learned a lot.” Delgado said he learned patience. She uses a 4-by-5 format camera, which takes longer to set up shots. But Brandyn was easy to get along with, she said. “I had a good experience,” she said. “I learned a lot from Brandyn. I learned to be with him. It wasn’t hard at all to be with him.” That was the point of taking the class. “I was interested in meeting somebody new and learning how to make pictures with someone and having really nice moments. We had some really wonderful moments.” Those friendships last beyond the single semester, Kennedy noted. The exhibit will be up through Aug. 6. “You will have the opportunity,” Kennedy said, “to bring every friend you have, every relative you have to see your photographs hanging in the Toledo Museum of Art.”  


Art history students survey the lost heritage of the Syrian city of Palmyra

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Syrian city of Palmyra was a crossroads in the ancient world’s global economy. In the second century A.D. the city called The Bride of the Desert sat astride the major trade route from Rome to the east. It was a place where cultures met. Now Palmrya is in the crosshairs of global conflict that’s taken thousands of lives. Another casualty of the war in Syria and the emergence of ISIS is the ancient’s city’s cultural heritage. An exhibit in the School of Art, Palmyra: Exploring Dissemination, looks at the city though the lens of the ancients but also through that of the Europeans who visited its ruins in the 17th and 18th centuries. The exhibit, in the lobby gallery of the Bryan Gallery in the School of Art, is the work of students in the graduate art history course, Iconoclasm: Ancient and Modern taught by Sean Leatherbury. In its heyday the city showed the cultural influences of the Romans and the Persians. When Europeans started visiting the ruins again they were enthralled. The images shows panoramas of the ruins, some with stylishly dressed Europeans strolling about, and another with fancifully costumed inhabitants. The cultural influences came together in the Temple of Bel, and that had an impact of European tourists. “The Temple of Bel influenced architecture of that time,” Leatherbury said. “You go to a manor house in England and you can see ceilings influenced by the Roman Temple.” But these ties to Western culture and to ancient pagan religion made them particular targets of ISIS. ISI blew up the temple a few years ago. Another cultural victim was the great arch in the city. ISIS fighters wrapped it with explosives to take it down, Leatherbury said. One of the students. Michael Kopp, created a short film that is projected as part of the exhibit, from footage of ISIS fighters destroying artifacts in the Mosul Museum in Iraq. The class, Leatherbury said, explores the notion of iconoclasm through the ages. It also touches on those who damage works in modern museums, as well as artists for whom destruction can be part of their work. Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei filmed himself dropping an ancient vase. Each student selected an object and research it, then write explanatory paragraph for the exhibit guide. They include prints, drawings, and a stereoscopic image. “The exhibit gives students a chance to approach the material they’re reading about in a hands-on way that gets them more excited about the context of the course,” Leatherbury said. This is the second spring exhibit organized by a class taught by Leatherbury. Last year students organized an exhibit of seldom-displayed Greek antiquities from the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art. Melanie Isenogle said she was surprised to learn after enrolling in the course that it involved curating an exhibit. She appreciates having the chance to learn about staging a show, and then having result on display in the School of Art. Two of the objects on display are replicas made with a 3-D printer. Mariah Morales had already studied the bust of Haliphat, which originally was in Palmyra, but now resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Though that bust is safe, another 3D replica represents a statute of King Uthalm, which was one of the objects destroyed in Mosul. Morales said that 3D printing gives viewers a greater sense of the cultural value of Palmyra and appreciation for the heritage that ISIS is destroying. “This,” she said, “is everyone’s history.” Also in the course are Justin Gerace, Dominique Pen, Jessica…


‘Sit&Tell’ uses graphic design, storytelling to unite communities

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Jenn Stucker is inviting us to pull up a chair and listen to a story — 100 stories, and 100 chairs. Stucker, chair of the graphic design division in the Bowling Green State University School of Art, is the creator of “Sit&Tell,” a project in which graphic designers and artists created chair graphics related to stories told by residents of eight Toledo neighborhoods, preserved through audio recording. BGSU students and faculty were integral to the project, a collaborative effort among Stucker; AIGA Toledo, the Professional Association for Design; the Toledo Arts Commission and local manufacturer MTS Seating, which donated the chairs. The result is a cultural and artistic achievement that unites communities and allows members to learn about themselves and one another. Stucker said that in choosing a focus for the project, she was inspired by the “strong women” theme of 2016 World Storytelling Day. Some of the stories people tell are tales of notable events, others are remembrances of and memorials to strong women and their often difficult lives, others of the power of sisterhood. As storyteller Dora Lopez said simply, “Gracias, hermanas (Thank you, sisters),” for paving the way. The project captured some notable speakers, such as Doris Hedler, the oldest living Chinese woman in Toledo, Stucker said. “It’s a terrific example of graphic design in the service of both community engagement and outstanding student learning,” said Dr. Katerina Ruedi Ray, director of the BGSU School of Art. “Sit&Tell” has already garnered two prestigious awards. First was a Platinum award in the Creativity International Print and Packaging Design awards. Submissions came from 41 countries, and of the winning works only 3 percent received platinum. The project also won a Merit Award in the respected design publication HOWMagazine’s International Design Awards, a very competitive event. Now the community has the opportunity to buy a one-of-a-kind chair, during an online auction http://sitandtell.com/auction/ that closes Nov. 28. Proceeds will go to the Arts Commission for facilitating art programming for young people in the Toledo neighborhoods. Bids start at $50, or a buy-it-now price of $350, the retail price of the chairs. Several chairs have already sold. The public can view the collection at https://toledo.aiga.org/. “The chairs are so interesting, so beautiful and diverse,” Stucker said. Serving as “blank canvasses” for the 80 carefully selected artists (some created two chairs) were the 100 curved, chrome-legged birch chairs from MTS. “I chose them because of their clean, simple design and made them all the same to give a uniformity to the collection,” Stucker said, adding, “MTS has been wonderful in every way, supporting the project.” BGSU students in graphic design and media and communication got the chance to design chairs themselves, for those who were accepted into the juried project; to record the stories told by community members; and to help repeatedly set up the traveling exhibition. The chairs were shown in groups of 10 for two weeks at a time in the eight neighborhoods. Perhaps most importantly, Stucker said, “the students had the opportunity to see how this project evolved, from first hearing about it from me in class to participating but also seeing how much perseverance you have to have to see a big community project like this through. They got to learn about the proposal process and then managing all the details, such as making sure all the release forms were signed to checking each chair to make sure the print format was ok. “I’ve learned from running marathons that it’s not just the race, it’s the preparation. Every day is the race….