November 1, 2017

The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription


In this issue:

Lakeshore Art Supply changes location, expands
Artist, 75, wants her work to ‘save all living things’
Meet the Scientists at the Lab Inside the Getty Museum
National Art and Hobby shuts its doors after 86 years
NORMAN ROCKWELL'S 3 SONS SEEK TO HALT SALE OF HIS ARTWORKS
What Is Art Therapy? And How Is It Helping People?
The Hidden Labor Behind the Luxurious Colors of Purple and Indigo
Rodin Bust of Napoleon Discovered in New Jersey
Children’s Prison Art Program Helps Juveniles Process Emotions Through Art

 

The Artists Survey
Talk directly to the art supplies industry with your answers, and get a chance to win one of five gift certificates to you favorite NAMTA member store.

    

 

Lakeshore Art Supply changes location, expands

SHEBOYGAN, WI: It may only be a block down the road, but Lakeshore Art Supply has a lot larger canvas to work with.

The downtown art supplies store quickly outgrew its previous space on 8th Street and moved a block down the road this month to a building with double the space.

The store, now located at 1212 N 8th Street, Sheboygan, specializes in high-end art supplies that are otherwise hard to find and has quickly found a following among local artists.

Among the most popular items are watercolor products, acrylics, canvases and brushes. The store also carries coloring books, pencils, markers, sketch pads, handmade paper and wax-based painting products.

The larger space has allowed the store to carry more products, such as children's art supplies, and the owner, Cindy Hoeper, is also planning to expand into the custom framing business.

The store holds regular workshops and a popular once-a-month Art and Coffee event —and the larger space provides ample room, where before the workshops felt cramped.

"At the other space, it would be set up, but people wanting to shop would have to walk through the crowd," Hoeper said. "Now people can still shop while the workshop goes on (in a separate space)."

The space will be used as an art gallery when workshops are not in session.

For more information, visit lakeshoreartsupplies.com or call 920-783-8612. Sheboygan Press

 

Artist, 75, wants her work to ‘save all living things’

Geri Greinke-Mack is 75 years old, but like a modern day Georgia O’Keeffe, she keeps getting better with age. Geri, a resident of Cathedral Village in upper Roxborough, currently has an exhibit of her linoleum cut prints of animals, oil paintings of Morris Arboretum, animals, gardens, flowers, cats and whimsical images, as well as watercolors and gouache paintings of peaceful and harmonious gardens through October at The Top of The Stairs Gallery in Cathedral Village, a Presbyterian Senior Living Community.

It comes as no surprise that if Geri could meet anyone on earth, living or dead, it would be Georgia O’Keeffe. “I respect how she lived her life,” said Geri. “When I went to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in New Mexico, I was fascinated by her landscapes, and I liked her own quotes about her work. What a wonderful conversation we could have had together about different art categories.”

It is often said that one person cannot change the world, but that does not deter Geri from trying. “My passion is to create gardens of peace, which is influenced by Edward Hicks and his peaceable kingdoms,” she said. “My second passion is to paint fanciful environments for living things that are facing extinction.”

Geri is a graduate of Haddonfield (N.J.) High School and the University of the Arts (then called Philadelphia College of Art) with a BFA in 1964. She obviously had a very artistic, creative streak from a very young age.

“When I was tucked in bed at night,” she said, “I told my mom not to close the bedroom door because it was too dark. With light coming into the room, I could see my beautiful wallpaper with white swans and flowers. I looked at one swan with the flowers. Soon I imagined myself flying and sitting on the swan. A blue long stream appeared. We floated down the delightful stream. I fell asleep that way every night with my swan.”

After college, Geri worked as a secretary for Dean George Gerber in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania untiI she married in March of 1965 and moved to Fayetteville, N.C., where her husband was serving in the Army.

When they returned to Philly, Geri found another job as a secretary for the Department of South Asia Regional Studies at Penn while her husband obtained his MFA from the Fine Arts Department there.

“During my lunch hours,” she recalled, “I went up to the rooftop and brought with me art materials, such as a small metal box of watercolors and sepia ink. I painted pictures of the campus. In addition, I met Stella Kramrisch, a professor who taught in the department. She was well known as a specialist in Indian art and Hinduism, and I loved Indian miniature paintings and Indian sculpture.

“Stella allowed me to attend her classes for free. She was a kind and intelligent woman, whom I admired. I was so inspired by Indian art that it took my breath away every time I attended her classes, and I visited the Philadelphia Art Museum in order to study the wonderful Indian miniatures and the lively and expressive sculptures.”

Inspired also by the works of Henri Rousseau, Paul Klee, Japanese paintings and Frida Kahlo, Geri’s works of art “are about the wondrous things and beauty that I see in nature. I love animals, people’s faces, flowers, trees and landscapes. I chose the linoleum cut medium to express clearly defined, imaginative and well composed prints for certain fairy tales and fables that I liked.”

Geri’s linoleum cut prints have been commissioned by book publishers, such as, G.P. Putnam and Sons and Running Press. Eventually she changed mediums and used oil paints on linen canvas to paint portraits of animals and people.

“I want people who look at my work to react with an emotional response of their own. If my images bring joy, whimsy, beauty and peace to others, then I feel immense satisfaction.”

When she is not doing a commissioned work such as a portrait, Geri looks at her garden and floral book collection as well as photographs she has taken of plants, trees and flowers. Then she starts to sketch a composition.

It usually takes her at least four to six weeks to complete a painting. Her work has been exhibited at numerous area galleries and museums such as Woodmere Art Museum, Sande Webster Gallery, The Print Club, Ursinus College Museum, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Cats Paw Gallery, Hahn Gallery and Third Street Gallery, among others.

Geri’s ultimate goal as an artist is “to create art works which graphically show people that it is our responsibility to take better care of the environment that we have left in the world … There are so many animals wild and domestic that are being treated horribly. For example, elephants are still being killed for their tusks, leaving their babies certain to die.

“Now elephants are endangered. We must not allow this to happen anymore! Do we want our birds, lions, tigers, etc., to become extinct? I say no. Only human intelligent, compassionate beings can make changes that will save our beautiful animals and environment. My ultimate goal is to make art that tells a story about saving all living things.”

When she is not painting, Geri likes to swim, ride a stationary bike, read, watch movies, attend music recitals, visit museums, take walks in gardens, read books with children who attend a public school in Roxborough and visit Cathedral Village for an hour once a week, and do volunteer work for people in need. chestnuthill local

 

Meet the Scientists at the Lab Inside the Getty Museum
LA's J. Paul Getty Museum houses works of art from Monet, Rembrandt, and Rodin. But there's also a science lab inside the impressive structure, and PCMag got a tour.

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles draws in 1.8 million visitors a year, making it one of the most popular museums in the US. Highlights of the collection include works by Monet, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Rosalba Carriera, Rembrandt, and Rodin, as well as beautifully curated 17th Century French decorative arts, Medieval illuminations, and a breathtaking 360-degree view from the Hollywood Hills to the Pacific Ocean.

But did you know there's a science lab at the Getty? Part of the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI)—one of the four programs of the Getty Trust—the GCI's mission is to "create and deliver knowledge that contributes to the conservation of the world's cultural heritage."

PCMag snagged a security pass, waited for the locked doors (with radioactive warning signs; more on that in a moment) to open, and met with Dr. Karen Trentelman, Senior Scientist and her team.

Dr. Trentelman joined CGI in 2004 and—after securing a PhD in chemical physics at Cornell University and serving as a Research Scientist at the Detroit Institute of Arts—now heads the Institute's Technical Studies Research.

"We have an incredible team of international scientists here who have expertise in so many scientific areas, to address the complex problems which arise when you need to identify so many different materials, techniques and methods," Dr. Trentelman told PCMag. "We have multiple ways of looking at works of art, using scientific methods and modes of inquiry which are, important to say, primarily non-invasive and non-destructive—i.e. we try not to take samples from the works of art."

The GCI Science Department has several research areas, from Materials Characterization, Preventive Conservation, Technical Studies to Treatment Studies, and some of its current projects include: Managing Collection Environments, Modern and Contemporary Art Research, (Recent Advances in) Characterizing Asian Lacquer, Photographic Processes Research, and an XRF Boot Camp for Conservators.

"We start with the questions: What is it made with? How is it made? Where did it come from? How does that relate to the culture from which it gave from?" Dr. Trentelman explained. "We're not like academic researchers who focus purely on one field of research; we have to be responsive to anything that comes up. Perhaps there's an acquisition, or we may get called to work on an exhibition that's coming in."

There is a panoply of tech, including X-ray imaging and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy (both of which use X-ray radiation—hence the warning signs posted around the lab), infrared, ultraviolet (UV), and multispectral imaging, CT scanners (at a satellite lab at the Getty Villa), XRF/XRD (adapted from technology developed by NASA JPL for Mars exploration) spectrometers, a suite of mass-spectrometers and FTIR and Raman spectroscopy.

The latter was used to identify the red pigment on an Egyptian Mummy, Herakleides, part of the Getty's permanent collection (although not currently on display)—a scientific process that started by sliding the mummy from 50 AD into a 21st Century MRI machine.

"We first took Herakleides to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to do a CT scan, so we now have a detailed reconstruction of it, including, the doctors showed us, that his internal organs were still intact. More surprisingly they discovered a mummified ibis on top of his abdomen. This was very important—to be buried with an ibis signified that he might have been a priest of Thoth.

"During the scientific process to identify the red pigment which colored the material Herakleides was wrapped in, we used both X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and, as a second technique, Raman spectroscopy, which gave us a fingerprint spectrum, which we then matched to a database. The pigment turned out to be red lead," Dr. Trentelman said.

So how is this scientific investigation of use to the museum itself? Mostly in conservation, to protect priceless works of art from the ravages of time, but also, to provide deeper information for those compiling exhibition catalogs, and writing books (the Getty has its own publishing unit). In a wider, global-facing, more academic output, the GCI also produces peer-reviewed papers for publication, and presents projects at international conferences.

On that note, Nathan Daly, currently a GCI postdoctoral fellow, following his chemistry PhD studies at Columbia University, is preparing to give a presentation on his current project, focusing on the noninvasive identification of black media and organic materials used by Odilon Redon and other artists in nineteenth century drawings on paper. This research was inspired by a recent Getty exhibition, Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th Century Drawing and Prints.

"This project's inquiry was not about conservation, per se," he explained. "But more about the materials used, and the artist's techniques employed in works of art in the second half of the 19th century. Previously, conservators would use microscopes, or their own eye, to ascertain the materials used. But that's not always reliable, so we wanted to turn to some scientific analysis, keeping in mind that we have very limited material so we cannot remove samples.

"We now have a scanning configuration of a XRF spectrometer, which can give us a display of the distribution of elements which we can relate to the materials used across the drawings. We found trace amounts of copper in some areas, and phosphorus in others, and looking at ratios between common elements like calcium and iron we were able to identify two distinct materials. I total we found five black, carbon-based, drawing materials, whereas the conservators initially thought there were two, maybe three."

As Lynn Lee, PhD, Nathan's mentor at GCI and head of the XRF Boot Camp for Conservators, notes, "What's fascinating is that the scientists here learn to collaborate with cultural experts and art historians to illuminate data which were, before this scientific inquiry, hidden."

For example, the GCI is looking into when certain artists' materials, in this case, carbon-based black pigments, were produced and how they were adopted into use by artists.

"I have several books on my desk of the various recipes that were used in the 1800s to create these materials," added Nathan. "So I can link what I'm seeing scientifically to historical practices. It's neat."

In fact, some of the scientists at GCI then replicate materials that are long out of circulation in order to properly date when they were first used.

"For example," said associate scientist Catherine Schmidt Patterson, PhD, "We have recently discovered a particular blue glass, known as smalt, that was believed to be most popular in the 1700s, but, when we examined other, earlier, works of art, we found we could backdate its use to the Byzantine era in manuscript illuminations. This alters our understanding of material use and transfer—and provides new information to our curatorial colleagues at the museum."

Monica Ganio, PhD, joined the GCI from her native Italy, and is an expert on the characterization of archaeological and modern deeply colored glass. She came out from a darkened room at the back of the lab where she had been performing Raman spectroscopy to explain how she is currently recreating something long lost to the past.

"We are examining the discoloration of smalt, believed to be potassium mixed with cobalt in order to understand the degradation process, and why it seems to differ between paintings and illuminated manuscripts. I synthesized my own, using a real historical process which was very fun—mixing pure silica sand with a little bit of potassium oxide, adding cobalt, heating it up to the correct temperature, throwing it in water, and grinding it up to make the pigment. During the discoloration the composition changes, so I made an average of everything that was published across the years—and then made my own recipe."

"These resources are adding much to our profession in terms of being able to reach back and connect with what the artists and artisans hundreds of years ago were using to make materials," enthused Dr. Trentelman. "It's exciting work." PC

 

National Art and Hobby shuts its doors after 86 years

NEW ORLEANS, LA: National Art and Hobby in Uptown will be closing it's doors for good this Friday.

For almost 90 years, the art store has been a local institution for artists and hobbyist in New Orleans. One of them is Randy Frechette, better known as Frenchy. The artist recalled how the store helped him.

"Sometimes you know you got to dig really deep," Frenchy said. "You're always struggling if you're an artist."

Frenchy now runs a gallery on Oak Street, but before he had his own place, he used his talent to help pay his tab at National Art and Hobby.

John Ward was one of the former owners at National Art and Hobby. He used to cut Frenchy a deal, giving him art supplies in exchange for work. That work would turn into a career.

"I was painting John's windows; I was trying to pay off my tab," he said. "Miss Diane Wineger saw me painting windows, and she pulled around, and she goes 'excuse me, darling, do you paint parties?'"

From then on Frenchy's success grew. And Frenchy's story is just one of thousands who have come through the shop's doors.

"Paint, glue, clay, all those things," Ben Rauch, who also ran the Magazine Street store, said about the young aspiring artists who would come through the door. "I would miss holidays because I wouldn't be able to come in and be with customers."

But after 86 years the shop is closing.

"There are a lot of things going on, parking, internet sales, changes in buying habits," he said.

There's a list of reasons why the store is closing, and it's all heartbreaking for its customers.

"It's the mom and pops that make Magazine Street what it is and without the mom and pops it won't have the cultural identity," Bruce Faw said.

National Art and Hobby's last day will be Friday, Oct. 20, and then it'll join a growing list of "Ain't Der No More" memories in New Orleans, but the store's legacy may be preserved with its customers for years to come.

"It'll live forever in the paintings and our stories," Frenchy said. WWLTV

 

NORMAN ROCKWELL'S 3 SONS SEEK TO HALT SALE OF HIS ARTWORKS

BOSTON, MA: Norman Rockwell's three sons were among several people who went to court on Friday seeking to halt a museum's plans to sell 40 works of art, including two by him.

A complaint seeking a temporary restraining order filed in Berkshire Superior Court alleges the board of trustees at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield contracted with Sotheby's for a public auction of the works before it announced its plans publicly, acted in breach of its fiduciary duties and trust and acted without legal authority to sell the art.

The planned sale is against Massachusetts laws establishing the museum, which requires the museum to maintain any gifts it receives "for the people of Berkshire County and the general public," the complaint says.

"Once sold, it is highly unlikely that any of the pieces will remain in Berkshire County or in a public institution where they can be seen and enjoyed," the complaint says.

Besides Thomas, Jarvis and Peter Rockwell, the plaintiffs include two local artists and several members of the museum. They are represented by the Boston law firm Foley Hoag LLP.

The museum has consistently stood by its decision to sell the art.

"We believe we have strong legal grounds for our deaccessioning and we are confident in our new vision plan which will allow this important local museum to continue to contribute to the educational and cultural life of this region for another century," trustees president Elizabeth McGraw said in a statement on Friday.

The museum came under intense national and local criticism after it announced in July that is was auctioning the art.

The American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors said in a joint statement that the sale violated a sacred museum rule that collections are not to be sold to pay bills.

The works for sale include Rockwell's "Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop" and "Shuffleton's Barbershop," both of which the illustrator gave as gifts to the museum when he lived in nearby Stockbridge. Works by Alexander Calder, Albert Bierstadt and George Henry Durrie also are on the auction block.

Museum trustees and officials say the museum is in dire financial straits and may close for good if it doesn't sell the works. They say it is hoped that the sale will raise as much as $60 million, which will be used to boost the endowment by $40 million, with the other $20 million being used to renovate the museum as it changes its mission to focus more on natural history and science.

The complaint says the museum's financial troubles are greatly exaggerated. WSB Radio

 

What Is Art Therapy? And How Is It Helping People?

On Wednesday morning, Second Lady Karen Pence held a press conference at Florida State University to outline how and why she will promote art therapy in the United States during her time in the White House. Her platform, officially known as Art Therapy: Healing with the HeART, aims to help Americans understand and access the benefits of art therapy and to stimulate interest among young people to pursue careers in the field.

“From children with cancer to struggling teens to grieving families to people with autism, to military service members experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to those with eating disorders…art therapy is changing lives and it is saving lives,” Pence said. A longtime art educator and painter, the Second Lady has been involved in art therapy initiatives for over a decade, working first with Tracy’s Kids, a D.C.-based nonprofit that administers art therapy to children with cancer, and later, steering fundraising efforts to bring art therapists to an Indiana children’s hospital.

Over the next three years, Pence aims to increase awareness and advocate for more research in art therapy by traveling to programs across the U.S. and abroad and meeting with stakeholders. (However, not every member of the profession is comfortable working in tandem with the current administration.)

“This attention is absolutely unprecedented,” says Dr. Donna Betts, president of the board of the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), who is a practicing art therapist and an associate professor in the art therapy program at George Washington University. “In this country, there has never been any national figurehead that has drawn this much attention to art therapy.”

In light of the announcement, and the potential impact the initiative could have on the field, we spoke with Betts to learn what art therapy is, exactly, and how it exists in the United States.

What is art therapy?

AATA defines art therapy as “a regulated, integrative mental health and human services profession,” which “uniquely promotes the ability to unlock emotional expression by facilitating non-verbal as well as verbal communication.”

The first of Pence’s three goals in her initiative is “to elevate the profession so that people understand that art therapy is a mental health profession, and not arts and crafts.” Confusion surrounding what art therapy is, and what it is not, is a frequent hurdle, Betts affirms.

“A lot of mental health professionals—social workers, counselors, psychologists—will have art materials in their offices; sometimes a psychologist will have a patient make a drawing. That's fine, but that's not art therapy,” Betts explains. “What’s important to distinguish is that in our profession, our students and professionals have had the requisite, in-depth training in understanding the implications and the power of different art materials and the artmaking process.”

And while sitting at home and dabbling with watercolors may feel therapeutic, that’s not art therapy either. Art therapy requires a client, a trained therapist, and the art itself.

Betts notes that qualified practitioners have expertise in both psychological theory and artmaking. They are prepared for scenarios where a patient may express that they’d prefer not to make art that day, in which case “the session becomes more of a psychotherapeutic experience,” Betts explains, “where we may just talk about whatever is bothering the client.”

An inclusive and expansive field, art therapy has been used in diverse settings to help individuals and groups work towards greater emotional, physical, and mental wellness. In the U.S., according to AATA, art therapists work at hospitals, schools, veterans’ clinics, psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, community clinics, crisis centers, forensic institutions, senior communities, museums, and in private practices. It’s proven useful for communities in the aftermath of devastating natural disasters or terrorism, as well as prison inmates and those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. Research has illustrated art therapy’s efficacy in various scenarios: from improving mood among healthy adults, to helping troubled youth stay in school, to contributing to better physical well-being among HIV and AIDS patients.

Individuals looking to find and access an art therapist near them can do so through AATA’s website and those of its state chapters (not every state has a chapter due to the small number of art therapists in some states). Additionally, the website of the Art Therapy Credentials Board can be used to seek out art therapists and check their credentials.

What happens during an art therapy session?

Betts warns that due to the wide range of people that art therapists work with, and thus the variety of treatment goals, there is no formulaic approach to art therapy. She notes that there are, however, shared techniques that individual art therapists employ.

One example she gives is working in a small group setting with three children with autism, where the main treatment goal was to improve socialization. Betts employed a mural exercise with them, which required them to work together on a large sheet of paper. “They had to learn how to be cooperative, how to communicate, all through the process of creating a mural.” A secondary benefit of the exercise was that it helped the children learn how to use new materials, addressing “social-emotional goals, fine motor control, and sensory motor goals.”

Certain populations call for an entirely different approach. Betts gives the example of working with a group of people with eating disorders, primarily young women, which requires a more in-depth art psychotherapy approach. “They are very intelligent and intellectualize their problems,” she explains.
“To be able to work with that population effectively you really do need to have a skillset that enables you to not only encourage patients to engage in artmaking as a vehicle for communication, but also to really be able to deal with some very serious issues related to trauma, anxiety, suicide, and depression.” 

One exercise Betts employs with this latter group is the bridge drawing exercise. “Think of a bridge as a powerful metaphor for change or transition—after all, we are constantly in a state of change and flux,” she explains. “I invite them to create a bridge going from one place to another place.” Often, her clients will draw their life with an eating disorder, which tends to be dark and bleak, on one side of the bridge. On the other is a depiction of their life in recovery, which is decidedly optimistic. Betts uses these drawings to check in with her patients in sessions thereafter, to help them locate where they are on that path to healing.

“We do a lot of work, as art therapists, on a very symbolic and metaphorical level,” she explains. But she emphasizes that they do not analyze or diagnose the artwork, in a Freudian sense. “We are facilitators, we are there to witness the art process, we are there to help guide the patients in uncovering what they are communicating through the art.”

What is the state of art therapy in the U.S.?

“Throughout the world right now, art therapy is definitely the most well-developed in the United States and the United Kingdom,” Betts explains. The field has hit a new level of maturity in recent years, she says, adding that she often has meetings, facilitated through the State Department, to discuss art therapy with foreign officials.

Betts notes that, as with any mental health practice, the main difference between art therapy in the U.K. and the U.S. is that in the U.K., art therapy and other mental health professions are overseen by the federal government, through the Health & Care Professions Council (the HCPC), whereas in the U.S., it’s governed on the state level. In this sense, she continues, art therapy is more nationally stable in the U.K.

“I would say given the fact that art therapy began as a formal profession around 50 to 60 years ago in the U.S. (and also simultaneously in the United Kingdom), if you look at it from a developmental perspective, now we’re kind of in our late adolescence. Mrs. Pence is lifting up our field right at a time when we really are in a stage of rapid growth.”

How do you become an art therapist in the U.S.?

At present, to become a Registered Art Therapist (ATR) in the U.S., one must complete a master’s degree in the field—AATA recognizes 35 graduate masters programs across the country—and earn credentials from the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB). At time of writing, the ATCB reports that there are 5,968 active, credentialed art therapists in the U.S.

To be accepted into a graduate program in art therapy, students must have completed undergraduate coursework in both psychology and studio art. Graduate coursework includes a range of studio-related classes as well as psychological theory and technique, and students must also complete 700 clinical supervised hours in internships during the program. After graduation, students go on to attain their credentials through the ATCB, which requires them to seek supervision for another 1,000 hours of clinical work. Once they’re working, art therapists must earn continuing education credits—through activities like attending conferences—in order to retain their status.

On top of ATCB credentials, 12 states currently offer formal licensing for art therapists. Betts says that it’s among AATA’s top priorities to increase this number, noting that licensing efforts are crucial in order to have a regulatory body protect the field. “Ten to twenty years ago, when the profession was younger, art therapists had to rely on a number of different creative ways to be able to practice and that often entailed having to get a license in another profession, which is complicated,” she explains. “The importance of having a license is to protect the public from harm.”

One of the few prominent, national art therapy programs in the U.S. is the National Endowment of the Arts initiative Creative Forces, which is a collaboration with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and various state arts agencies. The program, established in 2011, pays for the salaries of art therapists, music therapists, and dance therapists who are hired to work in facilities for veterans across the country. The program has been implemented at 12 sites thus far, after originating at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Art therapy is also felt nationwide through emergency relief and natural disaster recovery. In the wake of devastating and traumatic events, volunteer art therapists partner with organizations like the Red Cross and Save the Children to work with affected communities, following first-responder efforts.

What does the field of art therapy need?

Betts and AATA have been involved in Pence’s initiative over the past few months, including a brainstorm session in May where the Second Lady gathered leaders of the field. “She wanted expert input on how to best promote art therapy,” Betts explains. “We informed her of our critical priorities as the leading association for art therapy in this country, regarding the need for more resources for research, the need for increased public awareness, and absolutely to bring more people into the profession.” Betts affirms that the approach Pence rolled out to the public on Wednesday “definitely dovetails with our critical priorities at AATA.”

“The public awareness piece is really huge, just to get it in front of people,” Betts says. “We’ve already seen it help in small ways and now that it’s been officially launched, with the rollout, I do think it will continue.”

More research, Betts says, is crucial in order to learn more about the efficacy of art therapy. “There is some evidence-based research, but we need more of it to demonstrate with certainty that art therapy works and how it works and why it works,” she says. She nods to neuroscience research being conducted at NICoE. “We’re trying to bring in the neuroscience aspect to help further understand what happens in the brain when someone’s engaged with art therapy, which will then help explain exactly how and why it is beneficial.”

There are other considerations for AATA in the near future. “One of our priorities is to increase the number of practitioners—which would mean more opportunity for people to see art therapists,” Betts says, “but also a critical priority is to increase diversity within the profession.” She notes that the field is, at the moment, predominantly white and female. “We’d like to see more men in the profession, but we would also like to see more ethnic and age diversity.”

AATA will continue to work with Pence in enacting the art therapy platform. “We are bound by our mission to advance the profession,” Betts says, “we will continue to help to make sure that it’s done the right way.” ARTSY

 

The Hidden Labor Behind the Luxurious Colors of Purple and Indigo
The history of Tyrian purple, indigo, and other dyes is a fascinating reminder of how we forget the people and the labor behind the products we use everyday.

Perhaps no other color in history has been so celebrated and so reviled as the color purple. Although it has come to be known as the shade of royalty, the workers who labored to make the dye in the Roman Mediterranean were often viewed as lowly. During the later Roman empire, these workers were even subject to state control. From diamonds to coal to Tyrian purple, the workers who create luxury goods often do not enjoy the same status as their products.

In ancient Greek, purple had a number of names. The noun πορφύρα (porphyra) was frequently used to refer to purple cloth, and is still the root of the name for the purple-hued porphyry stone that Greeks and Romans prized for sculpture, sarcophagi, and even the bath tubs of the ancient world. Our word “purple” is derived from the Latin word purpura, which was often applied to the dye used to turn clothing to a rich blueish-red shade. Unlike today, there was a more profound hierarchy of color that could and did advertise status to others. Purple was one of these aesthetic markers, though there were many shades to choose from.

The most prized and expensive dye was called Tyrian purple, which came from small mollusks called murex snails. The natural historian Pliny remarked on the rather unpleasant smell of the murex conchylium — one of the marine gastropods often used to produce the prized purplish-red dye. A number of mollusks in fact contained hypo-branchial glands whose secretions could be used to turn fabrics various shades of purple. Pliny and Aristotle note that it wasn’t until the snails died that it was secreted. Consequently, for the production of the pigment, we should imagine thousands of rotting shellfish laid out in purple dye workshops along the coasts of the Eastern Mediterranean. Early twentieth century experimentations in trying to recreate the purple dye in fact led to the conclusion that eight thousand mollusks produced a single gram of the substance.

Purple dye production was a gritty and often conspicuous, seaside business for those doing the intense manual labor required to harvest it. Although there are few other references to it, the Roman poet Martial alludes to the fact that Tyrian purple, named after the city of Tyre, retained a distinct, rather fishy smell even after it had been made into a garment. He mentions a certain Philaenis, who enjoyed wearing the luxurious textile for its smell rather than for its color. The poet also composed a list of bad smelling things that he would rather smell like than a woman named Bassa: sulphurous waters, a fish pond, an amorous goat, the old shoes of a veteran soldier, the breath of a Jew who had been fasting, ointment made from Sabine oil, and fleece twice dipped in Tyrian purple (‘bis murice uellus inquinatum’). Smelling worse than even a double-dipped fleece of Tyrian purple was quite the slur against the woman. One wonders if Romans could detect the use of imitation purple by Mediterranean dyers made based solely on the smell of the clothing.

Lower-level dye workers in Roman workshops were often slaves, and probably had stained hands in addition to a distinct odor attached to them. However, like the business of tanning leather, ownership of the business itself appears highly lucrative. The economy of the ancient city of Tyre was partially dependent on the selling of purple dye, and a number of inscriptions etched on stone proudly attest to the activity of purple traders there and nearby.

Other cities and areas in the East, such as Berytus, also depended on the precious dye, until the state consolidation and tighter control of Tyrian purple that perhaps began under the Roman emperor Severus Alexander and intensified up to the reign of Justinian. During the late Roman empire, laws restricted the wearing of purple to the imperial family, and purple dye workers became relegated to a labor caste that became hereditary and overseen by the state. Tyrian purple and imitation dyes were also used to make expensive bibles and to denote their value with purple pages written upon with gold and silver inks.

It was not until after 1453 that a serious blow to the Byzantine and ecclesiastical use of purple (particularly purple silks) to denote high status was dealt. It was in this year that Constantinople was captured by the Turks and the supply of purple to the Church in the west was cut off. A papal decree of 1464 written by Pope Paul II dictated that cardinals within the clergy would now wear a scarlet hue derived from kermes, a dye procured from scale insects.

If we look to the history of another purplish hue, indigo, we see a similar regulation of the labor force — and the very bodies — of those used to produce it. We get the word indigo from the Greek Ἰνδικός (indikos), which simply means Indian. Like many dyes, it was named for the place it came from. In Latin, it became indicum, and was introduced to Romans probably around the reign of the emperor Augustus (r. 31 BCE–14 CE).

Indigo came from the leaves of fermented indigo plants, though Roman writers were often confused as to whether it was mineral based or plant based. The architect Vitruvius noted that imitation indigo came into vogue when Romans could not buy the pricey import: “Again, for want of indigo, they dye Selinusian or anularian chalk with dyer’s woad, which the Greeks call ἰσάτις, and make an imitation of indigo.”

The popularity and potential for profit from indigo dye lasted into the early modern period and extended into the new world during the middle of the eighteenth century in particular. Indigo was an integral part of the transatlantic slave trade, wherein many slaves were brought from West Africa into the West Indies and the Americas in order to grow and then harvest the valuable plant.

After harvest, the dye often went back across the Atlantic Ocean to be sold to wealthy Europeans. Within what is now the United States, indigo came to be cultivated particularly in South Carolina. Indigo farming in the United States is a subject explored extensively by art historian Andrea Feeser in her book, Red, White, and Black Make Blue: Indigo in the Fabric of Colonial South Carolina Life.

As Feeser points to, there was a vicious cycle of use, production, and exploitation both of African slaves and native peoples in order to produce indigo in the American South. Even here, there was a hierarchy. South Carolinian indigo was viewed as inferior to that made by the French and Spanish. Many African-American slave workers had their hands and arms dyed a shade of pale blue while making indigo cakes which would then be used to die wool, linen, and other fibers. When the American Revolution came, the British market for selling indigo went bust. As a result, many farmers turned to rice — although a few southern plantations continued to grow indigo up to the mid-nineteenth century.

In the conclusion to Red, White, and Black Make Blue, Feeser notes the “Janus-faced” nature of indigo: “The past is not a singular phenomenon to be recovered, but a social fabric to be woven from diverse historical strands to become a means to clothe the present with knowledge and foresight … the shrub enriched many lives but simultaneously impoverished many others.” Many white plantation owners grew wealthy off the labor of African slaves used to feed the hunger for rich dyes, just as Roman emperors used compulsory and slave labor to run the purple dye workshops of the their empires. Cheap labor has always been attractive to people in power.

This tendency to celebrate the product rather than the producer of luxury goods is one that is still common today. Few that wear diamonds, who burn coal, or who buy textiles think about the workers who produce these goods. The invisible labor of those who created luxury goods did not go unnoticed in the ancient world either. The historian Plutarch recognized the divide in his biography of the fifth-century BCE Athenian general Pericles:

In other cases, admiration of the deed is not immediately accompanied by an impulse to do it. No, quite the contrary, many times while we delight in the work, we despise the δημιουργός (“workman”) who works for the people, a skilled workman, handicraftsman workman, as, for instance, in the case of perfumes and dyes; we take a delight in them, but dyers and perfumers we regard as base and vulgar folk.

The history of Tyrian purple, indigo, and many other dyes is fascinating, but it is also a reminder of how we forget the people and the labor behind the products we use everyday. This history should also remind us that slave labor continues to be used to create products like sugar in the Dominican Republic or t-shirts in Bangladesh. This will likely not change until we value modern miners, farmers, and dyers for their workmanship in the ways that we value fine artists for their art. Hyperallergic

 

Rodin Bust of Napoleon Discovered in New Jersey
An archivist at the borough hall of Madison, New Jersey discovered, sitting innocuously in a corner, a genuine Rodin: a bust of Napoleon Bonaparte, carved of marble and weighing 700 pounds.

MADISON, NJ: In 2014, 22-year-old Mallory Mortillaro, who’d recently graduated with an art history degree, was hired as an archivist at the borough hall of Madison, New Jersey, a municipality of 16,000 people. In the second floor meeting room, she discovered, sitting innocuously in a corner, a genuine Rodin: a bust of Napoleon Bonaparte, carved of marble and weighing 700 pounds. “A. Rodin,” the signature read, faint and nearly lost to time. It’d gone so unnoticed for the past 80 years that its accompanying pedestal was often leaned on during meetings.

After searching through the building’s archives, Mortillaro consulted the Paris-based Comité Auguste Rodin, the leading authority on Rodin. They had, in their collection, a photo of Rodin with the bust. In 2015, Rodin expert Jerome Le Blay traveled to Madison to authenticate the piece; even before doing so, he knew the bust was genuine at first glance.

The piece dates back to 1908; engraved with “Napoleon enveloppé dans ses réves” (“Napoleon wrapped in his dreams”), it features the military leader cloaked in swaths of billowy fabric and is worth between $4 and $12 million. As of this month, it’s on its way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it will be donated on an extended loan in commemoration of the centenary of the artist’s death in November.

Madison’s borough hall, officially named the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building, was built by heiress Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge and filled with art from her private collection. The building is a tribute to her son, Marcellus Hartley Dodge Jr., who died in a car accident in 1930. At the time, there were no official records indicating any inclusion of the Rodin piece.

After further digging, Mortillaro discovered that the bust was originally commissioned in 1904 by a prominent collector — the wife of New York lawyer John Woodruff Simpson — who eventually stopped communicating with Rodin, perhaps due to the length of time the piece took to complete. Her colleague, the tobacco magnate Thomas Fortune Ryan, later purchased the piece in Paris; he eventually loaned it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it was displayed for over 10 years. When Ryan passed away, Dodge purchased the bust at an auction in 1933.

While the bust’s authenticity was confirmed two years ago, it has been kept a secret by the Hartley Dodge Foundation until quite recently. Hidden-in-plain-sight stories are strange for their conclusion and even more for their implication — that an object you’ve overlooked is, potentially, a legitimate treasure. Hyperallergic

 

Children’s Prison Art Program Helps Juveniles Process Emotions Through Art

HOUSTON, TX: There is a growing body of research that shows a direct connection between arts education in prison and lower rates of recidivism. The Children’s Prison Art Program (CPAP) in Houston is a nonprofit that helps kids in juvenile detention to process their emotions through art, putting the research to the test.

CPAP’s mission statement is: “to expose youth in correctional facilities to an innovative, educational creative writing, theater and visual art forum where they can express their thoughts and visions in constructive ways, and present their art to their peers and to the community at large,” according to the nonprofit’s website. The three central organizational goals of CPAP are, “to increase the number of incarcerated youth with access to arts education; to encourage at-risk youth to cultivate an appreciation of the arts; and to enable juvenile offenders to exit the cycle of violence, gang affiliation and other destructive behaviors.”

CPAP was founded 23 years ago as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization to positively impact the lives of thousands of incarcerated youth in Harris County, Texas. From its inception to present day, CPAP has served 25,000 high-risk youth. Birgit Walker, a lifelong arts activist and founder of CPAP, started the program in 1994 at the Harris County Juvenile Detention Center, and has since been able to expand the program to two other juvenile facilities.

CPAP serves almost 900 incarcerated youth each year with an audience of 1,500 facility staff, volunteers and youth. CPAP’s summer education programs reach about 100 youth each year, and the art exhibits of all of the children’s art reach an audience estimated at 10,000 annually.

The volunteer-supported program includes theater, creative writing and visual arts, and is tailored to youth ages 10 to 17. The goal of the program is to provide arts-based intervention and prevention programs to youth who are involved with violence, delinquency, substance abuse and other harmful behaviors, with the intention of breaking them out of these destructive behaviors and patterns.

The two main programs at CPAP are Art Behind Walls and Wondrous World, with Art Behind Walls being the year-round creative writing, visual art and theater workshop, and Wondrous World as the summer equivalent. Over 300 original performances have been written and performed by CPAP program participants. CPAP was recognized by the Harris County Probation Department from 2009 to 2013 in its annual report for bringing an integral learning dimension to residents of the juvenile facilities.

For some children participating in the program, it may be the first time they are being asked what they think, what they feel, and to share or express that. For example, a recent workshop asked girls to discover their inner strength by producing images of larger-than-life women in control of their universe. “That’s the power of this — making kids conscious,” said Diana Muniz, a visual artist who works with the project trying to teach children about self-care and self-love, in a recent interview with Houstonia Magazine. “We process emotionally through these paintings. No, it’s not art therapy, but it is healing on a soul level.” Correctional News