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Photography Contest for 2015 Iowa Humanities Festival

The Iowa Humanities Festival logoThe third annual Iowa Humanities Festival, co-sponsored by Grinnell College, will be held in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 10-11, 2015.

This year’s theme is “The Elusive Prairie” and the festival’s organizers are currently accepting submissions for a photo contest.

They say:

The prairie states are often described as flyover country — a vast expanse that is faceless and nameless and perceived, if at all, from a great distance. As a result, much of the specificity about the contemporary prairie, its history, ecology, future, people, adaptation, flora and fauna, is hard to grasp. As part of the Iowa Humanities Festival 2015, we hope that photographers can provide images that reveal elements that may be unseen by others, but that can provide a more complete picture of today's prairie.

About the Contest

Finalists' work will be highlighted at the festival and online.

Submissions are due by February 15, 2015.

This contest is open to amateur and professional photographers who are residents of Iowa and prairie states bordering Iowa (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota).

About the Sponsors

Grinnell College Center for the Humanities is co-sponsoring the festival with: 

  • Des Moines Art Center
  • Des Moines Public Library
  • Humanities Iowa
  • Salisbury House
  • Center for Excellence in the Arts & Humanities Iowa State University
  • Drake University Center for the Humanities
  • Mt. Mercy University
  • University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

Financial Aid Announcement for Current Students

The CSS PROFILE is NOT required for the 2015-16 returning student financial aid application process. Watch your email for detailed instructions on re-applying for your need-based financial aid. A postcard with instructions is being sent to your home address, and details are also available on the Returning Student Apply for Aid page.

“Les Contes d'Hoffmann” Live in HD

The Metropolitan Opera’s production of Jacques Offenbach's "Les Contes d'Hoffmann" will be streamed live in high-definition at noon Saturday, Jan. 31, in Harris Center Cinema.

In this wild, kaleidoscopic production, tenor Vittorio Grigolo takes on the title role of Hoffmann in Offenbach’s operatic masterpiece. Soprano Hibla Gerzmava sings all three heroines, each one an idealized embodiment of some aspect of Hoffmann’s desire. Thomas Hampson portrays the shadowy Four Villains, and Yves Abel conducts the score.

At 11:30 a.m., join Randye Jones, soprano and Burling Library media room supervisor, for a free introductory talk before the opera. Brown will illuminate the opera's historical background and discuss salient aspects of the music and drama.

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before the opera.

Tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children and Met Opera members.

Tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff, and students have been generously funded by the Office of the President and are available at no cost at all ticket locations. Family members not employed by the College are required to purchase tickets.

Grinnell to show HD broadcast of Met Opera's 'Les Contes d'Hoffmann' Jan. 31

Grinnell, Iowa - The Metropolitan Opera’s production of Jacques Offenbach's "Les Contes d'Hoffmann" will be streamed live in high-definition at 12 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, in Grinnell College's Harris Center Cinema, 1114 10th Ave., Grinnell.

In this wild, kaleidoscopic production, tenor Vittorio Grigolo takes on the title role of Hoffmann in Offenbach’s operatic masterpiece. Soprano Hibla Gerzmava sings all three heroines, each one an idealized embodiment of some aspect of Hoffmann’s desire. Thomas Hampson portrays the shadowy Four Villains, and Yves Abel conducts the score.

Jennifer Brown, associate professor of music at Grinnell College, will deliver a free introductory talk before the opera. The talk, which will illuminate the opera's historical background and discuss salient aspects of the music and drama, begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Harris Center Cinema.

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before the opera.

Tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children and Met Opera members.

Tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff and students have been generously funded by the Office of the President and are available at no cost at all ticket locations. Family members not employed by the college are required to purchase tickets.

Cutline for attached photo: Kate Lindsey as Nicklausse in Offenbach's "Les Contes d’Hoffmann." (Credit: Marty Sohl, Metropolitan Opera) 

Kate Lindsey as Nicklausse in Offenbach's 'Les Contes d'Hoffmann.

Piano Suite Honors Friends Killed in WWI

Eugene Gaub, associate professor of music, will perform Maurice Ravel’s “Le Tombeau de Couperin: A Memorial to Friends Killed in the Great War” at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28. This free concert will take place in the Faulconer Gallery.

Ravel, a 20th century French composer, drove an ambulance for France during the Great War and saw action at the Battle of Verdun, which is considered the greatest and lengthiest battle in world history. France eventually defeated Germany in this battle, which lasted from Feb. 21 through Dec. 19, 1916, and produced an estimated 700,000 casualties (dead, wounded and missing).

The horrors and carnage Ravel witnessed in the trench warfare and use of poison gas at Verdun found expression in his music, notably in the suite of six pieces for piano titled “Le Tombeau de Couperin.” This work began in 1914 in homage to French music of the past (composer François Couperin, 1668-1733), but became a dual tribute as Ravel dedicated each movement to one of his friends killed in action.

In addition to performing the suite that Ravel finished in 1917, Gaub will introduce the men whose memory the suite honors, and describe the contexts — musical and political — from which the work emerged.

The concert is part of the Grinnell College Center for the Humanities year-long focus on “A Century of War: 1914 and Beyond.” Faulconer Gallery and the music department are co-sponsors of the concert.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. You can request accommodations from Conference Operations.

 

Shaping Students

Two Mentored Advanced Projects (MAPs) in theatre, one in chemistry, an internship with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and a job managing the campus pub — the key points on Ben Doehr ’15’s resume indicate the chemistry/economics double major’s depth and breadth of knowledge.

Grinnell strives to produce “T-shaped students” such as Doehr, the depth and breadth represented respectively by the vertical and horizontal line of a T. This model stands in contrast to both the traditional university model, which emphasizes depth, and the perception of the liberal arts model, which is sometimes viewed as providing a base of knowledge a mile wide and an inch deep.

When they were applying to colleges, both Doehr and Iulia Iordache ’15 wanted something they struggled to find elsewhere. Iordache was looking for an alternative to the system of higher education in her native Romania, which would have required her to know exactly what she wanted to study when she applied. Doehr wanted to have the opportunity to study physics and economics in depth while also doing technical theatre and design work. 

Both have credited the College with expanding their knowledge within their key areas of study and helping them develop transferrable skills such as critical thinking and strong writing skills.

Developing deeper understanding

Doehr and Iordache point to MAPs as a key means of gaining depth. MAPs offer students the opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty mentor. The results of these collaborations are frequently presented at academic and professional conferences as well as on campus.

Doehr likes to joke that being manager of the campus pub, Lyle’s, has taught him as much about economics as his coursework has. It’s not that much of an exaggeration: “Managing the pub gave me a very hands-on experience on the practical side of things,” Doehr says. His MAPs with the theatre department also allowed him hands-on work with interactive design. He and fellow student Caleb Sponheim ’15 created a series of three interactive installations in Roberts Theatre.

Iordache also credits her professors — both the degree to which they care about their students’ success and how accessible they are — for the depth of her knowledge. Iordache completed an education MAP that involved traveling to Romania to study the impact of voluntourism on the local population. Initially, she intended to be an economics major, but changed her mind and pursued psychology instead. She added a second major in Russian, and after completing a summer MAP with Assistant Professor of education Cori Jakubiak, decided to pursue international education when she graduates.

Establishing a broad base of knowledge

Iordache came to Grinnell in part because the open curriculum allowed her a chance to explore her interests. Outside of class, her perspective has been broadened by the views of other students. On a regular basis, she finds herself having conversations that relate to what she is studying. “We were talking about dualism in my psychology class,” Iordache says, “and I ended up having a conversation about dualism versus materialism in the Grill with a friend who wasn’t even in the class. It was a great discussion.” Iordache enjoys these kinds of conversations because everyone brings their own knowledge to bear on a subject.

A summer internship with the FDIC helped Doehr realize how his breadth of knowledge benefited him outside classes. He walked in knowing very little about the day-to-day operations of the FDIC, but quickly learned how the organization worked. He worked with a number of young FDIC employees and found that he could write on the same professional level as they could. He credits his liberal arts education for both his writing skills and giving him the ability to tackle new problems without being specifically trained for them.

John Whittaker Book Release

Cover: Exploring and Explaining Diversity in Agricultural Technology, edited by Annelou van Gijn, John Whittaker, and Patricia C. AndersonJoin Professor of Anthropology John Whittaker for a celebration of the release of his new book Exploring and Explaining Diversity in Agricultural Technology, at 4:15 p.m., Monday, February 9 in ARH Room 102. Light refreshments will be served and all are welcome to attend!

The book is the second volume in the EARTH monograph series. It provides interdisciplinary overviews of the skills and social context of non-industrial agriculture.

Subjects covered include

  • an introduction to the dimension of tools, skills, and processes,
  • land clearance and preparation,
  • sowing and tending crops,
  • harvesting techniques,
  • threshing processes and tools,
  • food storage and preservation, and
  • cereal processing and cooking.

The book also covers the social context of agricultural technology, including agrarian knowledge transmission, symbolism, and legal aspects, as well as change and stability in agricultural practices.

The event is provided with generous support from the Dean’s office.

Photography and German Expressionism

Photos and prints will be on display in the Faulconer Gallery for the first part of the semester. Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument and Playing It Forward: German Expressionism to Expressionism Today” open with a reception on Friday, Jan. 23.

Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument explores acclaimed photographer Gordon Parks' first photographic essay for Life magazine in 1948, "Harlem Gang Leader."

The exhibition traces the editorial process behind the production of the photo essay with vintage photographs, original issues of Life, contact sheets, and proof prints. It also raises important questions about photography as a documentary tool and a narrative device, its role in addressing social concerns, and its function in the world of publishing.

Playing It Forward: German Expressionism to Expressionism Today, features work acquired by the Faulconer Gallery from the collection of John L. and Roslyn Bakst Goldman of Rochester, New York. Since the Faulconer Gallery acquired the prints in 2001, the Goldmans have assembled a new collection of prints by international contemporary artists.

This exhibition will feature the print collections side-by-side, demonstrating the Goldmans' continued interests in cutting-edge printmaking and their fidelity to Expressionist ideals, including a wide variety of printing processes, masterful technique and challenging subject matter.

"The Parks and German Expressionism exhibitions feature artists confronting the issues of the world around them," says Daniel Strong, associate director and curator of exhibitions at the Faulconer Gallery. "While they are separate exhibitions, they speak to similar issues, and both align with Grinnell's commitment to social justice."

Strong curated Playing It Forward: German Expressionism to Expressionism Today while Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument was curated by Russell Lord, Freeman Family Curator of Photographs at the New Orleans Museum of Art, in collaboration with The Gordon Parks Foundation.

In addition to the opening reception, numerous free public events will be held at the Falconer Gallery during the two exhibitions, which will run through March 15.