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140 Seconds: Artist Talks

Thirteen artists in Professor Lee Emma Running’s Site Specific Seminar give 140 second artist talks in the Make/Shift space at Stew Art Studios (aka the Stew), 926 Broad Street in downtown Grinnell

The free, public event begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10, 2018. The students presenting are:

  • Can Cai ’18
  • Emma Christoph ’19
  • Julia Cory ’18
  • Misha Gelnarova ’18
  • Isa Gonzalez ’18
  • Bea Herce-Hagiwara ’18
  • Lydia James ’19
  • Helen Lant ’18
  • Emily Mamrak ’19
  • Charlotte Richardson-Deppe ’19
  • Anne Rogers ’19
  • Julia  Shangguan ’18
  • Ella Williams ’19

The students will each give a 140 second talk about art and practice accompanied by 6 images. This will be a fast paced and fun evening!


Bachelor of Arts Exhibition (BAX) Features Student Works

The annual Bachelor of Arts Exhibition (BAX), which features works in the creative arts by students at Grinnell College, will open with a reception from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday, April 6, in the Faulconer Gallery. Prizes will be awarded to students and refreshments will be provided.

The BAX Exhibition features work by third-year students and seniors who major in art, as well as students in other majors who work intensively in studio. With support from Faulconer Gallery staff, the students manage all the exhibition details: from the submission of proposals to selection of a juror, to the installation process and the awarding of prizes.

Prizes to be presented at the reception include awards in a variety of categories, including honors for a specific medium, such as sculpture or print, and for the best piece or pieces in the show.

Studio art majors Charlotte Richardson-Deppe ’19 and Anne Rogers ’19 took the lead in organizing the exhibition this year. The students selected Amy Kligman as juror. She is executive/artistic director of the Charlotte Street Foundation, an arts organization in Kansas City, Missouri.

The BAX Exhibition is exciting precisely because it doesn't exactly have a theme,” says Richardson-Deppe. “It is made up of advanced art students submitting their best and most recent work. It contains a variety of media, including drawings, sculptures and digital work, and it promises to be a strong show this year.”

BAX will continue through May 6 at the Faulconer Gallery in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Diversity in Filmmaking: Independent Film from the Fringes

April Dobbins ’99 a photographer, writer, and filmmaker — will discuss the trials and benefits of making movies outside of the traditional Hollywood model, her path to becoming a filmmaker, and representation in film.

The free, public event begins at 4:45 p.m. Monday, April 23, 2018 in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 152.

Dobbins will screen films shot in the American South by directors and producers from underrepresented communities, including:

  • Alabamaland excerpt (2:47 min.),
  • Cutter (10:07 min.),
  • Paradise (17 min.),
  • An Uncredited Choice (28 min.) 
  • Ballet Bus (8 min.)  

Dobbin’s visit is sponsored by the Cultural Films Committee; American Studies Concentration; the Department of Art and Art History, studio arts; Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies; and Writers at Grinnell.

Dobbins was one of four filmmakers selected to screen her work at Sundance's 2016 Documentary Film Rough Cuts Lab in Miami, and she is also a 2017 Sundance Institute Knight Fellow. Her films have screened at festivals across the U.S.

She has published in Calyx Journal, Cimarron Review, Cura, GOOD, Marr’s Field Journal, Philadelphia City Paper, Redivider, Sojourner: The Women’s Forum, Thema, and Transition magazine — a publication of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University — to name a few.  She was invited to attend Little Brown Mushroom’s inaugural Camp for Socially Awkward Storytellers at Alec Soth’s studio in St. Paul, Minnesota, and she was selected out of over 2,000 applicants to attend the New York Portfolio Review, which was organized by The New York Times Lens Blog.

An alumna of the prestigious Rittenhouse Writers Group, she did a TED talk on her work as a photographer and filmmaker for TEDxGrinnell in 2015, and she has been tapped to do a second TED talk for TEDxUMiami in 2017.

Her documentary film project, Alabamaland, is an ongoing exploration of African-American culture in the rural South. She is a recipient of the S. J. Weiler Fund Award, which is made in recognition of exemplary artistic achievement and creativity in the visual arts as well as significant contributions to the arts community, and Cannonball Miami's 2016 WaveMaker Grant.

For each of her successes, she says, there have been dozens of failures and rejections.

Make/Shift Zine Launch

​See what Make/Shift​ has been up to this semester with the launch of Volume 1; Issue 1 of their zine at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Stew Art Studios space, 927 Broad Street, Grinnell, IA.

Make/Shift's last December drop-in will be from 7-9 p.m. on Dec. 14. Drop-in evenings are free and open to anyone in the community.

Student exhibitions, artist talks, and public workshops have been held at Stew Art Studios on Broad Street as part of a new year-long collaboration between the Grinnell College Studio Art Department and the Grinnell Area Arts Council.

Make/Shift open studio is a continuing effort by the Studio Art Department to engage with the Grinnell community. A variety of Make/Shift events have taken place throughout the year. This fall's events have been held on most Thursday evenings, and focus on collage, drawing, and zine-making.

All ages and skill levels are encouraged to attend and all materials are provided. For more information about Make/Shift, contact Jeremy Chen, senior lecturer at Grinnell College, 641-269-4835.

For more information about the Stew Art Studios, contact the Grinnell Area Arts Council, 641-236-3203.


Running Named a 2017 Iowa Arts Council Fellow

Lee Emma Running, associate professor of art, joins a writer, a musician, a filmmaker, and another visual artist as a 2017 Iowa Arts Council Fellow.

Each will receive access to professional development opportunities, promotional support to enhance their careers, and a $10,000 grant to support new works. They will also participate in Creative Capital's Core Weekend Professional Development Program, one of the nation's premier artist professional development programs, and will participate in "Meet the Artist" public programs at various arts and cultural venues throughout the state.

Lee Emma Running

Lee Emma RunningRunning makes installations and sculptures inspired by natural phenomena, working with animal bones, paper, fabric, fur, raw pigments, and gold. She moved to Iowa City in 2001 to apprentice with papermaker Timothy Barrett at the University of Iowa Center for the Book where she learned to analyze materials and processes as well as maintain the discipline of a fine craft.

Running has done artist residencies at Jentel in Wyoming, Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, the Santa Fe Art Institute in New Mexico, and the Vermont Studio Center in Vermont.

Her work has been exhibited at the Des Moines Art Center, the Charlotte Street Foundation, the Robert C. Williams American Museum of Papermaking, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art.

She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in 1999 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa in 2005. She is represented by Olson-Larsen Galleries.

The Iowa Arts Council Fellowship

A panel of of Iowa arts professionals selected as this year's fellows, who were ​honored ​during a ceremony with Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg at the State Capitol.

Besides Running, the other 2017 fellows are:

  • River Breitbach of Rickardsville,
  • Jennifer Drinkwater of Ames,
  • Jack Meggers of Des Moines, and
  • Rachel Yoder of Iowa City.

“Iowa has a proven track record of developing talented artists. In return, these individuals use their abilities to strengthen our state’s cultural vitality,” Gov. Reynolds said. “I’m proud to recognize these five artists as our newest Iowa Arts Fellows and am eager to hear about the incredible experiences they’ll have over the next year.”

“More Iowans recognize the important role the arts play in improving quality of life across our state,” Lt. Gov. Gregg said. “Iowa has nearly 6,000 art-related businesses that employ nearly 23,000 people. The governor and I are proud to support artists who choose to build their careers in Iowa and commit to contribute to our communities.”

The Iowa Arts Council created the multi-discipline Artist Fellowship Program in 2014 to support professional, active Iowa artists who are at a pivotal point in their careers and who demonstrate exceptional creativity and the capacity to contribute to the excellence and innovation of the arts in Iowa.

Learn more at Lee Emma Running's site or the Iowa Arts Council.


An Exploration of Sound, Music, and Visual Art

Soundscapes, an exhibit by studio art major Zack Stewart ’17, will be on display in the Smith Gallery from March 6-17, 2017.

An attempt to reconcile his identity as a visual artist and as musician/sound artist, “Soundscapes is an exploration of the potential intersections between sound, music, and visual art,” says Stewart. “I hope visitors will think about how we listen to, interact with, interpret, and visualize sound, as well as consider how it can coexist with visual art.”

Graphic musical notation influenced him greatly while developing the works in the show. One, with help from Assistant Professor of Music Mark Laver, Nathan Calvin ’18, and Zac Brennan ’20, involves generating a composition from a graphic score. Another features a graphic score generated from a composition that visitors can listen to.

At 4:30 p.m. March 6, Laver, Calvin, and Brennan will début the new graphic score with a live improvisational sound performance.

The opening reception will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. March 8.

The Smith Gallery is located in The Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center just outside the Marketplace Dining Hall.

Open Studio Event at Make/Shift Space

Grinnell College's studio arts faculty will conduct a free and open studio event on Saturday, April 23, for people of all ages and skill levels interested in creating drawings and collages.  

The event, which is free and includes all materials, will run from 1 to 3 p.m. at Make/Shift Space, 928 Main St., Grinnell.

Make/Shift Space is a temporary downtown space for Grinnell College art students and faculty to hold rotating exhibitions, offer workshops for the community, and work on art in an off-campus setting.

For more information, contact Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art.

Make/Shift Space to be in Masonic Temple

Grinnell College has leased the vacant main floor of the Masonic Temple at 928 Main St. in downtown Grinnell, for March, April, and May. During this time, art faculty members will teach several classes. Students will develop a variety of works and installations, then showcase them during pop-up shows.

The first pop-up show at Make/Shift Space will feature works by students in an advanced seminar on Site Specificity and in Intro to Sculpture. Set for Thursday, March 17, the event, which is free and open to the public, will run from 5 to 7 p.m.

The lease with the Masonic Lodge, which occupies the upper floor of the 99-year-old brick building, provides about 5,000 square feet. The new space will give students the opportunity to spread out and create installations and other large works that will not fit in the Art and Art History Department's current facilities in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

"The Make/Shift Space offers students a valuable opportunity to have their work away from a formal academic setting and out in front of the public," said Matthew Kluber, associate professor of art and chair of the department. "It changes they way they see the relationship of their work and ideas to the wider world — they begin to see themselves as artists."

Additional pop-up exhibitions featuring works from an introductory course, a collage course, and other studio classes as well as free workshops for community members of a variety of ages will be scheduled throughout the rest of the spring semester. Possible workshops and demonstrations include 3D printing, "Re-Mix: Collage as Cultural Practice," screenings of videos made by art students, talks by student artists, and drop-in-and-draw sessions.  

"It's exciting to gain such a large space downtown, where we will have high visibility on Main Street," said Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art. "We are happy to be activating a quiet space that has been vacant for more than two years, and we want to involve local residents in this new venture.

"For example," Chen added, "we want passersby to stop and look into the large, storefront windows to watch students creating works of art. Having a public audience will inspire our students and elevate their projects."

All studio faculty and staff of the Art and Art History Department have been invited to make use of the Masonic Temple. In addition to Chen and Kluber, faculty and staff members initially working there will be Andrew Kaufman, associate professor of art; Lee Running, associate professor of art;  and Andrew Orloski, studio art technician.

About four years ago Chen's sculpture class conducted pop-up shows at two downtown locations, 925 Broad St. and the basement of 800 Fourth Ave. The space was donated by Bill Rozendaal of Rozendaal Rentals and Bruce Blankenfeld of Westside Diner, and arranged through local real estate agent Matt Karjalahti. "It was a wonderful experience for the students," Chen recalled. "We had more than 100 people attend the show. We are eager to expand on that success in our new and larger venue in the Masonic Temple."

John Kalkbrenner, assistant vice president for auxiliary services and economic development at Grinnell College, negotiated the lease for the Masonic Temple space. Although no plan beyond the three-month rental has been made for a more permanent College space downtown, he said, "We are treating this as an experiment. The studio art faculty will be tracking usage and other factors that will help us determine whether this pilot program is successful."

Grinnell College welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Make/Shift activities open to the public all happen on the first floor of the Masonic Temple Building. Visitors are encouraged to use downtown street parking. Accommodation requests may be made to Grinnell College Conference Operations and Events.

Striking a Balance

In their first year at Grinnell, twins Vrishali Sinha ’19 and Vidushi Sihna ’19 led women’s golf to its third consecutive conference title. For added emphasis, they finished one-two individually at the Midwest Conference tournament in October.

The Sinhas’ games were “on” from the start of the season. In their very first competitive rounds for Grinnell, Vrishali and Vidushi shot the second and third best scores in program history at 74 and 76, respectively. Grinnell team scoring records fell three times in the first three tournaments.

The twins’ first-year success was not entirely unexpected. Both Sinhas have practically lived on the links since they were 10. As teens they were among the best women players in the Indian Golf Union, the governing body for amateur golf in all of India.

Vrishali and Vidushi had always planned to attend college together, but some were surprised that they would opt for Division III golf at Grinnell. The choice initially stunned their lifelong golf coach in India.

“Our coach wanted us to go Division I,” Vrishali says.

“When he found out Grinnell was Division III, he was like, ‘Why?’” Vidushi says.

Wanted a Balance

The Sinhas’ father fielded the incoming appeals from Division I programs, but Vrishali says, “I have a lot of friends who went to Division I and they did not have a really good experience. We were always certain that we wanted to go Division III so we didn’t even consider the Division I and II offers.”

“We are really uncertain whether we want to turn professional or not,” Vidushi adds. “You sacrifice your academics if you go Division I.” 

So, does that mean academics were always their first consideration in choosing a college?

“I wouldn’t say first,” they say in unison, laughing at the common occurrence in their conversation.

“… but we wanted a balance,” Vidushi finishes.

Coaches Influential

One of the Sinha sisters sets up a shot while the other watchesGrinnell golf coaches David Arseneault and Jennie Jackson can attest to the importance of tools like Skype and FaceTime in communicating with student-athletes, especially when prospective students live more than 8,000 miles away.

“We were in contact with a few coaches, and out of all of them we liked Coach A. and Jenny the most,” Vrishali says. “I think that influenced our decision to come to Grinnell a lot.”

The Sinhas also talked with teammate-to-be Lauren Yi ’18 to find out about life at Grinnell from a student perspective, Vidushi says.

“For me, golf and academics are at par, but at a Division I, academics become secondary,” Vrishali says. “People who I know (in Division I) have to choose an easier major so that they can balance out the study and travel.”

“Also, there is just the one tutorial requirement here,” Vidushi says. “I want to do a double major, and I think it’s much better that way.”

Liberal Arts Options

The Sinhas are a year away from declaring majors, and when asked what they might presently choose, they answer together: “Econ.”  

“I want to double major in studio art and econ,” Vidushi says. “There are a lot of artists in our family. My mom’s an artist, my brother paints, I paint.”

“Oh, no,” Vrishali says about the possibility of two majors. “I’m fine with one.”

Both sisters say they’ll probably return to India after college, but for now they are comfortable keeping long-term plans open-ended.

“That is also why we came to a liberal arts college,” Vrishali says, “because you have so many options here. I’m taking an intro to psych course and that’s pretty interesting, so I might do something related to psychology, or stick with econ, I’m not sure.”

Responding to Change

The Sinhas seem relatively undaunted by all they’ve experienced in a few short months, including the differences in American golf courses, the stateside approach to team play, and an academic system that requires a new way of doing things.

“Academics here are tough, definitely,” Vidushi says. “The education system in India is a lot different from what it is here. Out there we just have …”

 “One exam…” Vrishali says.

“…twice a year,” Vidushi finishes.

“You have to do well on your exams because that is 100% of your grade,” Vrishali explains.

Dad Likes Decision

The biggest adjustment of all, however, was coming to a place the size of Grinnell from one of the largest population centers in the world.

“Delhi is huge,” Vrishali says. “It’s a lot colder in the interaction between people, which is more formal, like, just when it’s required or necessary. Out here the people are a lot more friendly.”

While their coach back home now has come around to approving of the twins’ decision to come to Grinnell, their father was never in doubt.

“Oh, he’s happy,” Vidushi says.

“My dad is so happy,” Vrishali says.

Vrishali Sinha ’19 and Vidushi Sinha ’19 attended The Shri Ram School in Gurgaon, Haryana, India.