October 4, 2017

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


In this issue:

Influencing Artistic Expression One Child at a Time
Vienna’s Prodigal Son
First-year printmaking graduate thinks big on digital media, digitized society
Faith, science, beauty: what doctors can learn from Catholic art
The man on a mission to 'fill this town with artists'
She Lost Her Son to Cancer. Now, This Artist Is Helping Patients Express Themselves
3 Simple Ways to Get Your Child Involved in the Arts
Veterans discover hidden talents through art therapy
Art supplier donates $130,000 in tools to Springfield High School
Could This Nude Mona Lisa Really Be by Leonardo da Vinci? The Louvre Says Yes

 

 

  

 

Influencing Artistic Expression One Child at a Time

INDIANAPOLIS, IN: For many students, back to school means back to Art With a Heart. Inside their east-side studio, in what used to be Hazel Hendricks School 37, students in the After School Art Enrichment program are clustered around their instructor at a table, surrounded by an eye-popping choice of art materials. The studio is part of what’s known today as 37 Place, a neighborhood center in Martindale-Brightwood that provides public access to a range of life-changing services.

The program at 37 Place caters to Art With a Heart’s vision that all children, regardless of background, should have access to a high-quality art education. Founded in 2002, Art With a Heart was the brainchild of teaching artist Carol Conrad, who started the program as a summer camp for 100 kids. Since then, the organization has grown to serve well over 3,000 students each year — with both in-school and out-of-school programming.

Art With a Heart provides a range of art programming to reinforce evidence generated from studies, such as a 2009 study at UCLA that evaluated 10,000 students throughout 10 years and showed how art was more likely than any other after-school activity to improve success in an individual’s career, relationships and civic engagement during early adulthood.

The need for art programming is prevalent, but in Indianapolis’ Near Eastside area, only one in three students attends an after-school program, with most programs being full. That’s where Art With a Heart steps in, creating opportunities for those bright-eyed students in Martindale-Brightwood and elsewhere across the city of Indianapolis.

On the east side, art classes are offered after school at the Elizabeth Odle studio, Art With a Heart’s location at 37 Place. The studio operates through “choice-based” curriculum, meaning students get the opportunity to learn about and use everything this refurbished classroom has to offer — from clay and a kiln, to fiber art and digital media. Since not everyone can get to the studio, Art With a Heart operates after-school programs in youth-serving locations around the city.

Art With a Heart’s in-school art classes take place at 13 public, charter and parochial schools around the Indianapolis area. These classes, known as Creative Classroom Connections, are taught to students in pre-K through first grade. The curriculum and support for the lessons are provided by Art With a Heart, but the class is taught by students’ classroom teachers. Activities are art-based but also reinforce core subjects, such as English, math and science.

Teachers also receive boxes of art materials so kids can stay after school and work through activities in a multicultural curriculum that builds art skills as well as understanding of geography, history and sociology. Other out-of-school programs include summer camps, homeschool programs, Family Art Nights and Saturday studio.

For more information about Art With a Heart, visit artwithaheart.us. Art With a Heart is currently enrolling Saturday School and homeschool programs, both of which operate out of the 37 Place studio. For more information on these two programs or other out-of-school programs, contact Kaitlyn Akin, director of out-of-school programs, at kakin@artwithaheart.us. Indianapolis Recorder

 

Vienna’s Prodigal Son
The talent and tumult of Richard Gerstl’s work beg the question of what would have been had he not ended his life.

On November 4, 1908, at the age of 25, painter Richard Gerstl committed suicide in his Vienna studio, both hanging and stabbing himself. Gerstl’s suicide was prompted by the discovery of his affair with Mathilde Schönberg by her husband, Arnold Schönberg — the modernist composer and Gerstl’s close friend. Before his death, Gerstl destroyed letters, notes and paintings in his studio, but he left in his wake a body of artwork that reveals a prodigious and untimely talent.

The mythology of the passionate, unstable prodigy, ahead of his time, and untimely in the Nietzschean sense of opposing the currents of one’s time, pervades Richard Gerstl at Neue Galerie, the artist’s first US museum retrospective. Organized thematically, the exhibition includes more than half of the roughly 70 works that have been attributed to Gerstl since his rediscovery by Viennese art dealer Otto Kallir in 1931. The underlying narrative of talent and tumult and the strength of the work beg the question of what would have been had he not ended his life.

The answers are various. His absorption and reinterpretation of influences suggests a painter who knew his talents and had the facility and desire to take on new territories of artistic expression. This characterization is supported by the artist’s few extant letters and notes. In the exhibition catalogue he is quoted as saying he is pursuing “entirely new paths” and friends and relatives confirm his convictions.

Curator Jill Lloyd, a specialist in Austrian and German Expressionism, reiterates the theme of the artist’s prescience by exhibiting select works by his contemporaries — most notably Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele, and Gustav Klimt — alongside Gerstl’s paintings.

Klimt, whom Gerstl dismissed as a society painter, rarely sacrificed the physical beauty of his female sitters for inner emotion. Born in 1890, Schiele (represented in the exhibition by a 1917 portrait of Arnold Schönberg), began to gain acclaim the year after Gerstl’s death. Kokoschka, born in 1886, worked in the same period of feverish creative ferment as Gerstl and was, in some ways, more radical. A poet and playwright as well as a painter, his portrait “Rudolf Blümner,” from 1910, portrays the sitter as cross-eyed, with prominent, jaundiced hands and a wraithlike body dissolving into a spatial chasm. Yet Kokoschka’s radical derangements, of his own body as well as those of his sitters, are often infused with allegory and marked by theatricality.

Gerstl, on the other hand, comes across as fiercely focused on exploring his technique and the humanity of his subjects (including himself in his several self-portraits) with a startlingly modern lack of affectation.

The full-length “Semi-Nude Self-Portrait,” painted between 1902 and 1904, while Gerstl was under the sway of Symbolist painters such as Ferdinand Hodler, lacks the maturity of his later self-portraits. His full frontal pose, his body wrapped in a cloth from the waist down, evokes the figure of Christ, an effect heightened by the glow of the cerulean background. But aspects of the artist’s later style, and his disdain for allegory, symbolism, and the Academy, are already apparent: for instance, the spotty brushwork, flecked with light, the amount of surface area allotted to the background and the way it competes with the image of the artist — who all but disappears in later self-portraits, if not for his piercing outward gaze.

The catalogue and wall texts cite van Gogh and Munch as major influences. While van Gogh is present in the complexity of Gerstl’s colors — pastoral palettes in some works, dark earth tones with golden highlights in others — and in his increasingly thick, gestural application, he was equally indebted to Munch’s expressions of existential angst, eventually pushing representation to the brink of dissolution.

Madness underpins “Self-Portrait, Laughing,” dated summer-autumn 1907. Gerstl portrays himself from the shoulders up with a wide grin. The slight unevenness of his facial features, with one brown and one blue eye (the blue left eye popping out against the earth tones), and the sharp slope of his shoulders contributes to the sense of mania, but a greater intensity lies in the interaction between the face and background.

Gerstl fills in the background with abrupt, agitated brushstrokes in an earthy brown-beige that reflects his face and clothing. While the mottled background draws attention away from Gerstl’s face, it seems simultaneously to absorb him, infringing on the edges of his silhouette. It comes across as a maelstrom of color cohering at the center into a person, or, alternately, a person in the process of disintegrating.

Gerstl’s abstraction of his subject matter reached an extreme in his late landscapes, many painted while he vacationed with the Schönberg family in the town of Gmunden near Salzburg. In “Small Landscape at Traunsee” (August 1907), loose swirls of paint articulate a blue sky and verdant green meadow; the canvas is bisected vertically by the willowy black line of a tree trunk carved into the thick pigment. “Landscape Study” (September 1907) is further abstracted: broad smears of paint, squeezed straight from the tube or applied with a palette knife, are almost unreadable as a landscape up close.

The following summer, he again vacationed with the Schönbergs in Gmunden. A portrait, “The Schönberg Family” (late July 1908), portrays Arnold, Mathilde, and their two children as pools of paint amid a liquid yellow and green landscape. Gerstl’s style in this and similar works goes beyond Austrian or German Expressionism, laying the groundwork for Abstract Expressionism. Visionary, but conceived from a foundation of van Gogh and Impressionism, it exemplifies the artist’s spirit of formal innovation.

Yet, among his most striking works is a comparatively conventional representation of Mathilde Schönberg from the summer of 1907. Rendered in tempera rather than oil, Gerstl portrays Mathilde as pale and expressionless, dressed in a light-yellow-and-ochre kaftan and seated with folded arms in front of the goldenrod wall and blue doors of the Schönbergs’ farmhouse. Here, the artist’s future mistress is more a void in the pictorial space than its focus.

Gerstl’s self-portraits are equally compelling because he conflates narcissistic self-scrutiny with a sense of humility and his own insignificance. Where fellow Austrian Expressionists Kokoschka and Schiele, and German counterparts, such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, represented themselves through sexuality, machismo or gendered self-performance, Gerstl portrayed himself as slipping away. He is off-center and defaced (“Fragment of a Full-Length Self-Portrait, Laughing,” c. 1904); shrouded in shadows (“Self-Portrait in front of a Stove,” winter 1906-1907); and in his final self-portrait, nude and awkward, with a bluish pallor (“Nude Self-Portrait,” September 12, 1908).

A small self-portrait on a nearly square canvas (16 3/8 by 15 3/8 inches), dated winter 1907-spring 1908, is more unsettling. Described by Kallir in 1931 as “Head, self-portrait, detail of a larger painting,” and possibly cut from a full-length portrait, the painting, as Gerstl left it, depicts the artist in formal dress from the top of his chest up, against an olive green backdrop. Gerstl, in a three-quarter profile, his head tilted slightly downward, glances, furtively or nervously, at the viewer. Too small to consume the picture plane (his head reaches about three-quarters to the top edge), he seems dwarfed by its space, engulfed by emptiness.

Gerstl’s talent and vision are matched in this painting by its psychological weight. It feels both claustrophobic and unanchored. It would take a world war for his Expressionist peers to expose this level of anxiety. Hyperallergic

 

First-year printmaking graduate thinks big on digital media, digitized society

First-year graduate student in the UT School of Art Dana Potter found inspiration for her art in digital culture, combining printmaking and technology.

In her work, Potter explores how phones and social media greatly occupy mental space while occupying little physical space in people’s environments and how individuals spend their time with these technologies.

Potter earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking at the University of Northern Iowa in 2015 and came to the University of Tennessee under the newly created Tennessee Fellowship for Graduate Excellence. She developed her interest in digital culture through her minor in interactive digital studies, which examines how technology influences modern culture. After finishing her undergraduate studies, she spent a year interning in Minneapolis at the Highpoint Center for Printmaking.

Potter's art has received accolades from SGC International, an organization that, as it states on its website, seeks “to stimulate public appreciation and interest in the arts of printmaking, drawing and other graphic media.” This last spring, her work was featured at the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning in Atlanta during the SGC International Conference.

Potter first brought her ideas on digital culture together in her undergraduate thesis. Over a few months, she tracked the movements of her computer mouse and translated the abstract lines and their discordant interactions to print.

The project was born when Potter realized her anxiety when using the computer and interacting with other forms of digital technology.

“I was starting to become interested in the anxieties of using technology in everyday situations. What I mean by that is cell phones and computers give us constant interruptions in our daily tasks,” Potter said. “This creates a significant amount of disruption to process.”

Potter noted that the physical act of printmaking demands continuity of process, focus and collaboration. In a sense, printmaking argues against social media’s isolating effects.

“I enjoyed how a print shop is a place where artists culminate and group together rather than huddling in their own studios,” Potter said. “The space itself is collaborative. You have to share your tools, share your equipment, and I’m definitely interested in that. I’m interested in sharing.”

Potter credits two of her professors at UNI with introducing her to printmaking. One of these professors, UT alumnus Tim Duly, led her to UT. Ultimately, however, Potter noted that the strength of UT’s printmaking department recommended itself. UT's graduate printmaking department is ranked second among public institutions in the country by the U.S. News and World Report.

Chancellor’s Professor Beauvais Lyons, head of the UT printmaking department, ascribed part of UT’s prestige to Knoxville’s suitability for hosting print conferences. Most importantly, he credits UT’s facilities and its faculty, all of whom have exhibited their work nationally and internationally.

Lyons responded to the common perspective that art thrives best in city centers, from New York City to Chicago.

“It’s not like you need to be in a major metropolitan area. You’re pretty hunkered down with your classmates, focusing on the disciplinary work that you do.”

Some people have asked Potter why she isn’t in Silicon Valley, the center of digital technology, or in New York, which many perceive as the center of the art world.

The dynamic between urban coastal cities and middle America is one Potter considers in her work. Potter mentioned that the area in which she grew up and the place she has now chosen to live in are often forgotten parts of America. Potter has found that this matches her visions and goals as an artist, rather than going against them.

“I even asked my professors, should I be going to this more acclaimed art school in this larger city?” Potter said. “Being here, and not on the coast, and being able to say something about how technology affects everyone, is important to me. That’s something I will try to address while I’m here.” Daily Beacon

 

Faith, science, beauty: what doctors can learn from Catholic art

The intersection of art, medicine, and faith in the Catholic tradition has a lot to teach today, especially if you’re a doctor.

“Catholic art has a long history of demonstrating the beauty of the human person, beauty both in its health as well as its disease,” Dr. Thomas Heyne, M.D. told CNA. “Catholic artists have been very effective observers and demonstrators of that dual beauty.”

“In looking closely at artwork, we’re able to have a window into what disease looked like many centuries ago as well as how our patients still look today.”

Heyne, who works in the internal medicine department of Massachusetts General Hospital, spoke at a breakout session “Did Michelangelo have Gout?” at the Catholic Medical Association’s annual educational conference, held in Denver earlier this month.

Reviewing historic artwork helps doctors review the presentations of forgotten or rare diseases, he said. It helps improve their observational skills, and remember how patients behaved when lacking simple treatments like pain-relieving ibuprofen.

Citing several studies on medical training, he said that medical examination of art can help make doctors better through honing their observation skills, tolerance for ambiguity, mindfulness, communication skills, and empathy.

Heyne also contended that teaching medicine through art also advances a deeper appreciation for Catholicism’s role in both art and medicine, indicated that looking at classical art is a unique opportunity through which a secular audience can encounter the beauty of Catholic history, especially with regard to care for the sick and poor.

“To me, this is a pretty helpful thing for the new evangelization.”

His presentation drew on many studies and arguments from doctors and art scholars, including his own research.

Among his examples of diagnosing health conditions in art was Giovanni Lanfranco’s work from about 1625: “St. Luke healing the Dropsical Child.” It shows St. Luke taking the pulse of a child with a distended belly, as a woman looks on. A book of the ancient medical writer Hippocrates rests on a nearby table with an icon of a woman saint.

Heyne suggested that the child’s symptoms as painted by Lanfranco could be the earliest known depiction of congenital heart disease.

At the same time, any interpreter must take into account the interplay between realism and stylistic convention. Despite the child’s stomach, the child appears to have a healthy musculature. Lanfranco tended to paint all children beautifully, Heyne explained.

Even the standard iconography of saints can show Catholic awareness of medical problems. St. Roch, a patron saint of plague victims, is often shown with the tell-tale bulba of plague.

In Istanbul’s Chora Church, a fourteenth century mosaic depicts Christ healing a multitude. One person depicted has crutches, another is blind, another appears to have rickets.

The work also shows a sitting man with a bulge nearly the size of a basketball in his groin area. According to the doctor, this is likely a massive inguinal or scrotal hernia.

“This artist put a giant scrotum on the top of a church. This is pre-Puritan,” said Heyne, interpreting the art as saying, “Jesus came to save everyone.”

“I think this is remarkable: ‘No shame: come out and you will be healed’,” he said. “I think it is a remarkable testament to what the human body was back then.”

The mosaic could be the first depiction of a hernia.

The art history of European Christianity shows diseases now associated only with the developing world.

Other artworks show signs of longstanding diseases like leprosy, while others trace the arrival of diseases new to Christian Europe. A 1496 sketch from Albrecht Dürer shows a man with syphilis, just four years after the disease is believed to have spread to Europe from the New World.

Some figures in famous paintings show signs of finger deformities suggesting rheumatoid arthritis, like the hands of the nude women in Peter Paul Rubens’ 1639 painting The Three Graces.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa portrait shows the famous subject in great detail. The 25-year-old woman appears to show an accumulation of cholesterol under the skin in the hollow of her left eye. Her hand shows a fatty tissue tumor. She is known to have died at age 37.

Heyne took these conditions together and asked whether Mona Lisa died of a cardiovascular event.

As for master artist Michelangelo, his training in anatomy helped give deeper artistic significance to his work. For instance, his statue Night from 1531, depicting a bare-breasted woman personifying Night, and perhaps death, appears to show signs of a breast tumor.

Heyne did criticize some interpretations of Michelangelo’s Last Judgment. While some suggested the bulging of some figures’ eyes was intended to represent disease, he said it rather simply represented astonishment at the arrival of the apocalypse.

Review of art also helps doctors understand how patients with particular diseases or health conditions were viewed throughout history.

There is the example of the seventeenth-century Spanish painter Diego Velazquez, who painted at least ten portraits of people with dwarfism. These show their “dignity and beauty,” and don’t depict them as “court buffoons,” Heyne said, suggesting this is another role for Christianity in art. Catholic News Agency

 

The man on a mission to 'fill this town with artists'
Writing a manifesto that’s more than just a clever sound-bite has helped Cass Art founder, Mark Cass, on his mission to energise and support creative people.

For more than a century, the Cass family have championed art and nurtured those who make it. It's in entrepreneur

Mark Cass's blood. His father founded the Cass Sculpture Foundation in 1992, while his great, great uncle, Paul Cassirer, was one of the most influential art dealers of the early 20th century and among the first people to promote the work of Vincent van Gogh.

That's not to mention the relatives who launched art publishing houses and ran paint companies.

Not only did it make for some thought-provoking family dinner conversations growing up, but this tradition of energising and encouraging creatives set Cass on the path to founding his own chain of art supply stores, Cass Art.

He opened his first shop in 1984 on London's Charing Cross Road.

It was an art store for 100 years before then, and counted Claude Monet and Winston Churchill among its customers.

But it was something of a distraction for Cass, who worked full time on Image Bank, a stock photo library business that he set up with his father in 1979.

When it was sold to Getty 20 years later, Cass stayed on for a short while, but in 2001 left to turn his sideshow store into a serious venture.

"I wanted to reinvent it," explains Cass, who describes his Charing Cross shop as the best placed art store in the world. "It's located at the back of the National Gallery, so footfall was great, but it was a secretive, almost exclusive business." The artists and hobbyists who came through the doors were more of a select group: experts who knew their paints, brushes, pencils and paper.

"I wanted to put that store on the high street and invite a broader audience," says Cass, who enlisted the help of legendary design consultancy, Pentagram, to rebrand the business and help with the launch of a new store in Kensington.

That included redesigning the shop's interior to be more inviting and welcoming (light, airy and modern – more colourful sweet shop than fusty hardware shop), plus an overhaul of the logo "into the style of a Bristol graffiti stencil," adds Cass. "It's quite urban and we're an urban business that needs to be accessible to all."

More vital to the reinvention of Cass Art was the creation of a mission and manifesto. "I think I said [to the Pentagram team]: 'let's fill this town with artists' – and it stuck," says Cass.

Beneath that mission is a six-point manifesto, which reads much like the declaration of an art movement. That's deliberate, but a bit tongue-in-cheek too, explains Cass.

Some of it is straightforward, for example its promise to "stock the top brands from around the world" – which is key, says Cass, "because if you draw or paint and don't use the best materials, you stop".

Other parts of the manifesto are more worthy, such as the firm's focus on artistic freedom and accessibility: "Cass Art believes in art. We know the freedom and creative pleasure that it brings, so we want everyone to realise that they can do it – and afford it."

It's more than a useful sound-bite, which is the reason why many companies might draw up a strongly-worded but ultimately empty manifesto, says Cass. "It's from the heart; we mean it, do it, celebrate and share it."

It's also a useful tool for running the business; staff have it in the back of their minds when making decisions, and it helps to inform interactions with customers. "It reminds us why we get up in the morning," adds Cass. Employees are also on the Cass Art manifesto. "Our staff are artists," it reads. "They give you intelligent and thoughtful advice – no bluffing and no hidden agenda."

Its founder thinks that staff should be higher up on the manifesto list, given their importance to the success of the business. "Our products are like bottles of wine," he explains, comparing a pinot noir to a tube of acrylic paint. "People want to know what's in it, what it does and how to use it."

That's where an army of 185 artist-staffers comes in; they can demo products in dedicated in-store areas. "They're the key to unlocking the products," he says. "It's about intelligent and informed advice."

Many of those staff members are students, who make up about 25pc of Cass Art's business, which registered turnover of £18.5m in the year ending 31 August. "They're the future of the sector, so we must invest in them," says the founder.

It's a focus that extends to student shoppers as well, who can benefit from a special discount card, called Cobalt Blue, which guarantees 10pc off art materials in-store and online. There are also annual student days, where young people can visit Cass Art stores (there are 12 in all, including ones in Manchester, Bristol and Brighton) for music, demos and further discounts.

"Making them a special part of our business is something that we really got right," explains Cass, who hosted two Glasgow student days this week at his Queen Street store. Attendees who spent £25 also received free goody bags, worth £30, of artist materials.

It's about supporting the sector, but it also makes sense for the business, he adds, because it's an investment; if Cass Art can help these young creatives become successful (through inspiration, advice and quality, affordable products) they will hopefully go on to great things, and come back.

The next key calendar date for the company is Thursday 19 October, when the firm will take over the Bargehouse exhibition space at London's Oxo Tower to showcase the work of its artist-employees and 45 volunteer student ambassadors. It's about giving back, explains Cass: "It's not commercial; it's a thank you for all their support." The Telegraph

 

She Lost Her Son to Cancer. Now, This Artist Is Helping Patients Express Themselves

PALO ALTO, CA: Twelve years ago, Purvi Shah’s 3-year-old son Amaey was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, a cancer that affects blood cell production.

During the hours spent in hospitals waiting for doctors' appointments, the graphic designer did what she knew best: She brought art supplies and distracted Amaey and her older son by drawing and painting. Her projects attracted a crowd.

“We got to know a lot of parents,” Shah told NBC News. “The same kids have appointments at the time ... I just started doing art with my boys, and it just grew into the 15 families that we knew.”

Word spread about her waiting-room projects, and Shah’s informal art therapy sessions have since grown into the nonprofit Kids & Art Foundation, which hosts weekly art workshops at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University hospitals, as well as monthly events at places such as Pixar and Google headquarters, Whole Foods, and local art centers.

In total, more than 6,000 children and caretakers have participated over the past nine years, learning how to paint, do photography, make comic books, and repurpose fashion, according to Shah. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 10,000 children under the age of 15 were diagnosed with cancer in 2016, with the childhood cancer rate rising slightly over the past few decades.

Some of the creations of Kids & Art participants have been auctioned off to raise funds to keep the programs free and contribute to other causes. Between donor fundraising and foundation support, Shah said Kids & Art has raised more than $68,000 in 2016 alone.

Children who participate in the workshops — both cancer patients and their siblings — may find an outlet to express emotions they otherwise wouldn't understand.

At a September event at the Pacific Arts League — a community gallery in Palo Alto, California, that hosted the nonprofit for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month — 20 local artists worked one-on-one with children, teaching them how to paint, sew, and make clay sculptures among other projects.

One of the participants was 10-year-old Suri, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 3, according to her mother, Ying Zhu.

“At that time, the only thing she would do after she came out of the patient room was go to the kids' room to do art,” Zhu said.

When the mother learned about Kids & Art earlier this year, she started bringing Suri, along with her 4-year-old sister, to the group’s events.

“I think the power of art is really amazing sometimes. It especially helps her release the stress,” Zhu said.

Shah said that cancer treatment can be so intensely focused on combating physical ailments, that social and emotional well-being can be overlooked.

“A larger conversation about the whole child in treatment needs to happen, rather than just the diagnosis or the cure. It’s a process,” she said.

According to a 2006 research review published in the medical journal Cancer, support groups can improve psychological well-being in childhood cancer patients. Other research has also found that the siblings and parents of cancer patients can benefit from "psychosocial support," which includes mental health counseling, education, and group support.

Shah noted that it’s especially necessary for Asian-American families to have a place to talk about the stress of cancer.

“It’s cultural. You don’t talk about bad things. Most people only share when things are looking good,” she said. “That’s something I would love to change. Without those stories coming out, how are people going to know that there is someone else who looks like you who is going through this as well?”

Kids & Art's programs can help children who participate explore and deal with their emotions. Eleven-year-old Raaif, who used pastels to draw a dragon inspired by the cover of a children’s book at the September event, said that for the past six years he’s been coming to Kids & Art events “to just draw and do art, feel what other people feel about how cancer affects them in many ways.”

While many of the children are in remission, not every story of cancer treatment has a happy ending. Raaif’s older sister passed away when he was only 5 years old.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “And I didn’t care what was going on. I didn’t know she had cancer.”

Shah understands this pain well. In September 2011, her son Amaey passed away at the age of 9.

She remains committed to raising awareness and helping families through the process of treating cancer, no matter the outcome.

"It's what they get out of it that really matters,” Shah said. NBC News

 

3 Simple Ways to Get Your Child Involved in the Arts
Arts and achievement go hand in hand

Funding for the arts is getting slimmer and slimmer. In March, President Donald Trump proposed a budget that would eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a federal program that provides vital arts funding to nonprofits, schools and local and state governments. While it will continue to be funded until Dec. 8, the future of the NEA is uncertain.

There’s a reason why the NEA exists. Art isn’t just for artists, it’s for everybody. And the earlier kids engage in the arts, the better off they are.

A Stanford University and Carnegie Foundation For the Advancement of Teaching study found that young artists are likely to read for pleasure nearly twice as often as their peers and perform community service more than four times as often. There are also links between increased participation in the arts and being recognized for academic achievement.

There is a real and measurable link between participation in the arts and success in academics. So why do many families miss the connection?

Let’s face it, “busy” doesn’t begin to describe today’s families. Between work, school and extracurriculars, there’s little time left over for a meal together, let alone those subjects thought of as inessentials. And sometimes, parents are unable to cover the cost or transportation involved with arts education outside of school.

Florida schools have been hit with deep spending cuts since the 2008 recession, and overworked teachers don’t get much time or resources to fill the gaps. Private schools frequently include visual and performing arts in their curriculum, but their higher tuition often proves prohibitive for many families.

There are many obstacles to making the arts a part of your child’s life, and yet research has proven that a student involved in the arts excels in school, period. So what’s a frazzled parent to do? Here are some ideas you can implement right now:

Play classical music in The Mom Taxi. Your kids might fight it at first, but they’ll get used to this new normal. There is a proven link between music and math skills so don’t give up—you might even enjoy it yourself!

Sign your child up for dance. Even one class per week can make a visible improvement in your son or daughter’s confidence and poise, and the benefits of physical activity for kids age 4-9 are widely acknowledged. Remember recess? Dance class is like recess in Fantasyland.

Leave art supplies out and easily accessible in your home. Art time doesn’t need to be structured—just let your kids create the way they want, when they want. Dorothea Brande said “A child’s mind is not a container to be filled but rather a fire to be kindled.”

You don’t need a degree to help your own kids get to the graduation stage—just use these simple tips to make the arts part of their daily schedule. Then stand back and watch them shine! boca

Veterans discover hidden talents through art therapy
Brock Fahrni residents take up painting, sculpting and poetry in their senior years

“We'll meet again,
Don't know where,
Don't know when,
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day...”

The crooning of Second World War favourite Vera Lynn wafts softly from the overhead speakers in the Artworks studio at Brock Fahrni Pavilion on Oak Street on a warm August afternoon.

The song choice is fitting when you consider the three men sitting around a large arts-and-crafts table are all veterans of the Second World War, including a former Lancaster bomber pilot named Ron Cox who is covering a piece of canvas with blue paint. Cox says once the piece is complete the blue will act as sky and backdrop to the image of a Lancaster plane he intends to paint over it.

Across the table from Cox is veteran and retired salesman Alfred Best, who says there was a time he “couldn’t even draw a cat.”

The statement is hard to believe considering the beautiful silk scarf adorned with delicate purple flowers Best is showing off. The scarf is one of more than 20 the 91-year old has painted since joining the art therapy program at the long-term care facility home to 148 residents, many of whom are veterans.

“The scarf is a gift for Cecilia, one of the caregivers here,” Best says, showing off a hand-printed card he also made for his friend. “The greatest satisfaction I get is making someone else happy.”

Best moved into Brock Fahrni from his Coal Harbour home two-years ago in January, after suffering a heart attack and several strokes. It wasn’t long afterwards he joined the art program and discovered his hidden talent.

“I had to give up singing so this is my consolation,” says Best, whose wife died 12 years ago after 60 years of marriage. “I used to play the violin and was music director of a church choir so I miss it, but that’s OK, I’m a positive thinker.”

Like most activities offered at Brock Fahrni, which falls under the umbrella of Providence Healthcare, the art program is supported by several veterans associations, including Veterans Affairs Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion and Army Navy Air Force Veterans in Canada.

Arts and crafts instructor Paddi McGrath says the art program, which started during the Second World War, is a great way to draw residents out of their shell and encourage them to socialize. For those who can’t leave their room, art therapy staff members go to them with supplies and instruction. Once a week, an instructor wheels the “Art Cart” around the entire facility encouraging residents who aren’t already involved in the program to try their hand at something artistic.

“Sometimes you find someone who is isolated,” says McGrath. “Art is a way to get them socializing. We focus on veterans, but the workshops are for everyone.”

Irving Bakerman, 94, who had recently been confined to his bed due to a health issue, says his art is “getting there.” But the swing table across Bakerman’s is chock full of art supplies so they’re available to him at any time, demonstrating his interest is more than passing. The charming senior and former wholesale clothing salesman says he enjoys the reception he gets when presenting someone with a one-of-a-kind handmade gift.

“I love the gracious comments,” says Bakerman, with a grin. “Every day when I go downstairs I couldn’t look forward to it more. Who knows, I might be discovered one day yet.”

David Dennison also paints from his bed, but even under a blanket it’s easy to see the strapping young man he was. Paintings and drawings on his wall depict Dennison’s favourite subjects, scenes from the Old West and the arctic, including many of wolves. After retiring from the Air Force in 1992, Dennison taught at a remote school for boys in northern B.C. where he learned to hunt and fish, not paint and draw.

“At first they gave me books, but I wasn’t too keen,” says Dennison, showing off a realistic painting of his son and daughter-in-law he was in the midst of completing. “I’m grateful for these departments or I’d go crazy.”

Meanwhile, McGrath calls what she does her “dream job.”

“I once read poetry to a man as he was passing,” says McGrath. “It was poetry he wrote himself so it was very special.” Vancouver Courier

 

Art supplier donates $130,000 in tools to Springfield High School

SPRINGFIELD, OR: Students in Adam Dimock’s drafting class at Springfield High School soon will have all new tools to complete their projects and homework, thanks to Imagination International Inc., a local art supply importer.

Drafting classes teach students how to draw two- and three-dimensional objects and to develop technical drawings and blueprints. Students at Springfield High School also learn to use drafting software to translate their hard-copy designs to a computer. The school offers several levels of drafting.

Dimock and two of his students on Thursday picked up more than $130,000 worth of rulers, erasers, protractors, drawing boards, templates, scales and more at Imagination International’s warehouse on Chad Drive.

They said they were overjoyed to be receiving such a gift.

“It’s cool because I get to use this stuff, but I’m happy for all of the other students who get to use them in the years to come,” said Michael Drury, a 17-year-old senior at the school.

Drury, who has been taking drafting classes since his freshman year, said he plans to attend Oregon State University and continue to take drafting classes. He hopes to become a civil or mechanical engineer.

“It’s a great program,” Drury said. “It gets my creativity going, and it teaches you some skills that will actually help me get a job.”

Hillary Darland, the director of philanthropy and employee enrichment at Imagination International, said the company was set to discontinue a number of products and wondered how the materials could help people.

“We just thought, ‘What can we do with this?’ ” she said. “We wanted to give to a program that really needs some of this stuff, and Springfield High School seemed like the perfect fit.”

Dimock, who has about 160 students in his drafting classes, said Thursday that the new materials will go a long way for the program.

“We’ll be able to use these supplies for years to come,” Dimock said. “They’re high-quality materials, too.”

The supplies ultimately will help to keep students interested in the program and will further many students’ education, he said.

“We have a real emphasis on learning trades and these types of programs help student to be ready for a career or more school right out of high school,” he said. “Things like this keep up-to-date with the industry and helps us stay relevant, which really just benefits the students so much.”

The Springfield district recently has emphasized career technical education, or CTE, within its high schools. Examples of such classes — once known as vocational courses — include construction technology, engineering, business management, early childhood development, computer sciences, robotics, engineering, culinary arts and more.

Career Technical Education courses help students gain the skills, technical knowledge, academic foundation and experience needed to prepare them for high-skilled, high-demand, living-wage careers after high school, according to the state Department of Education, which has pledged to invest more money in such programs.

To encourage the growth of CTE programs, the Legislature appropriated $8.75 million over the course of the 2015-17 biennium to motivate districts across the state to provide high-quality CTE programs to qualify students for living-wage, in-demand occupations.

Springfield High School Principal José da Silva said Thursday that he was grateful for the donation.

“Partnerships like this create opportunities for us to better prepare students for college and careers after high school,” da Silva said. “This is especially helpful in a time of tight budgets.” The Register-Guard

Could This Nude Mona Lisa Really Be by Leonardo da Vinci? The Louvre Says Yes
The discovery might alter the course of Leonardo scholarship.

Experts at the Louvre in Paris are investigating whether a charcoal sketch of a nude figure that resembles the Mona Lisa may in fact be the work of Leonardo da Vinci. The drawing, known as the Mona Vanna, had previously been attributed to Leonardo’s studio.

The large drawing has been part of the collection of the Musée Condé du Domaine de Chantilly, on the northern outskirts of Paris, since 1862. The revelation about its authorship is the result of research initiated by the Louvre ahead of a celebratory exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, which is scheduled to open in June 2019 in Paris and Chantilly.

After several weeks of scientific testing, researchers now believe the work may indeed have been partly executed by Leonardo himself. Mathieu Deldicque, a curator at the Musée Condé, tells artnet News that researchers suspect the work is a preparatory sketch for a nude oil painting that no longer exists. (The discovery was first reported by London’s The Times.)

If researchers are able to definitively attribute the drawing to Leonardo, it would be a groundbreaking discovery that would help art historians better understand both the artist and the period in which he worked, the curator says.

“Why [did he paint] a nude Mona Lisa or a nude female?” Deldicque asks. “Is it erotic? Is it a portrait, a portrait of divinity? Is it an allegory of fertility, or love? Or beauty or vanity? There are a lot of possible meanings and a lot of influences and [each has] lots of meanings and connotations.”

The drawing, Deldicque says, bears a number of hallmarks of Leonardo. The face, hands, and shadows are drawn using the sfumato technique, a method of very fine, almost imperceptible gradation that was favored by the Renaissance master. Deldicque emphasized that the hand positioning is also characteristic of Leonardo.

“With the new imagery and new technology we were able to see the high quality of the drawing, especially in the face and the arms,” he tells artnet News. “And something very interesting is the position of the arms of the Mona Vanna, because it’s very close to the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.”

A technical analysis also confirmed that the drawing’s paper was manufactured in northern Italy, somewhere between present-day Venice and Florence, during Leonardo’s lifetime.

Still, other clues indicate that at least part of the drawing was executed by another artist. Researchers concluded that the hatchings around the face were drawn by a right-handed person, which suggests that the composition was filled out by someone else, likely a student or assistant. (Leonardo was left-handed.)

There will be more to investigate before experts can come to a final conclusion. “We’re just wondering if the hand of Leonardo da Vinci is present in the drawing,” Deldicque tells artnet News. “It could be, but we have no clear proof of that yet.” artnet news