This week, our host department, the Office of International Cooperation and Exchanges at Nanjing University, provide a full-day tour of Nanjing, complete with driver and guide. Our guide was a Nanjing native, a 25 year-old masters degree candidate in Linguistics named Yuan Yuan, but who asked us to call her Vivian. Most Chinese students whom we have met have an English name, which Vivian says they typically adopt in middle school as they are learning English. So one of the students in my class, Wang Li, is Lily, another of our assistants, Jia Shi, is Cici, and our very capable program as
Art and Art History
Anyone who saw the Olympics may have gotten a sense of the sophistication of Beijing. Whatever TV can show, it’s nothing compared to the lived experience in China’s capitol city. From its wide boulevards, to trendy shopping areas seemingly without end, to skyscrapers that appear to spring up overnight, Beijing is a city relentlessly on the move. Compared to Nanjing, everything is bigger, wider, fancier, though Nanjing has the edge in pedestrian, bike and motor scooter traffic. Beijng is a car, bus and metro culture.
When I was a little boy, I used to love to play and imagine what I was going to be when I grew up. I would take my plastic dinosaurs outside, bury them in my backyard, and then dig them up, dreaming of the day I would be excavating real dinosaur bones in the scorching hot Sahara desert. I also wanted to grow up to be a veterinarian, or an elementary school teacher, or maybe even an architect, but reality turned out totally different.
This brand-new gallery features student art year-round. Located in the Rosenfield Center, next to the dining hall, the gallery gets a lot of foot traffic. Any artist can submit a proposal for the space and use it to exhibit his or her work for several weeks.
Located in the lower level of the John Chrystal Center, the JCC Gallery presents several visual art exhibitions throughout the year.
Grinnell, IA - The Young, Gifted and Black Gospel Choir, a 32-voice choral ensemble from Grinnell College, will present concerts, March 18-24, in churches in Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi, and Houston, Tex., as part of a spring break tour.
The Young, Gifted and Black Gospel Choir, open to students of all backgrounds, has a 45-year history on the Grinnell campus. Through a bond of “cultural uniformity,” the choir ministers to a variety of audiences with a wide selection of sacred music, including spirituals and traditional and contemporary gospel. Each engagement is tailored to the audience, adding an air of spontaneity and encouraging audience participation.
The gospel choir, directed by Barry Jones, lecturer of music, will share their music ministry at:
Mar. 18, 10:45 a.m., 3 p.m.: Greater Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 1219 South St., Burlington, Ia.
Mar. 19, 7 p.m.: Gateway Area Bible Fellowship Church, 85 Water St., Rt. 3, Cahokia, Ill.
Mar. 22, 7 p.m.: Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 655 Beasley Rd., Jackson, Miss., with The Grinnell Singers select choir
Mar. 24, 5 p.m.: Brentwood Baptist Church, 13033 Landmark Dr., Houston, Tex., with The Grinnell Singers select choir
Grinnell College is a nationally recognized, private, four year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 26 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.
Grinnell, IA - Grinnell College has partnered with New York City’s Metropolitan Opera to offer the final three shows of the 2011-12 season “Live in HD” at the Harris Center Cinema on the Grinnell campus. Each show will be preceded by a half-hour opera talk by Jennifer Williams Brown, associate professor of music at Grinnell.
On Sat., Feb. 25, the Italian opera “Ernani,” composed by Giuseppe Verdi, will be presented with English subtitles. Audience members should plan to arrive by 11:30 a.m. for the opera talk, with the performance to begin at noon.
The French opera “Manon,” composed by Jules Massenet, will be performed on Sat., Apr. 7. Audience members should arrive by 10:30 a.m. for the opera talk, with the English-subtitled performance to begin at 11 a.m.
Verdi’s “La Traviata” will be performed on Sat., Apr. 14 at noon, with the opera talk to begin at 11:30 a.m. The opera will be sung in Italian with English subtitles.
Synopses of the shows are available at http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/history/stories/. Details for the 2012-13 “Live in HD” season will be announced at a later date.
Tickets are required for each performance and can be purchased at the Harris Center on the day of the show: $15 for adults, $10 for students. Tickets will also be on sale at the Pioneer Bookshop in downtown Grinnell, beginning Feb. 17. For ticket questions, call 641-269-3235.
Harris Center is located at 1114 10th Ave., with available parking east of the center on 10th Ave. Grinnell welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grinnell, IA - Family photos, old and new, reconstruct memories in the summer exhibition opening at Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery on June 24.
Using digital photographic techniques, California-based artist Liz Steketee offers creative insights into the art of photographs that explore the dynamics of family life and the lasting effects of memories. The artist combines old and new family photographs as a means of revisiting “the epic scenery of the everyday,” documenting her life as a wife and mother, and “the joy, the agony, and the irony of life’s experiences.”
“‘Family Album’ makes an immediate connection with gallery visitors because nearly everyone has or takes family photos,” said Daniel Strong, curator of the exhibition and associate director of the gallery. “Many of the scenes depicted in Steketee’s works will be familiar: family gatherings, trips to the beach and to the ice cream parlor, or sitting at home in front of the TV.
“We also hope the exhibition will encourage visitors to experiment in their everyday lives with photography’s creative potential. Not everyone is inclined to draw or paint but everyone takes pictures, and thanks to the genius of a camera on every cellphone, we’re all artists now.” Faulconer Gallery will host several “Family Album” public events this summer:
- Fri., June 24, 11 a.m.: exhibition opens.
- Sun., June 26, 3 p.m.: flute and piano concert with Rebecca Stuhr and Royce Wolf.
- Thursdays, June 30-Aug. 18, 12:15-12:50 p.m.: yoga with Monica St. Angelo.
- Sun., July 24, 3 p.m.: concert by Turlach Ur, including traditional and contemporary bagpipe tunes
- Thurs., Aug. 4, 5-7 p.m.: Families@Faulconer, an exhibition and reception for young artists who created work during summer outreach programs.
- Fri., Aug. 26, 4:15-6 p.m.: “Family Album” back-to-campus reception.
- Thurs., Sept. 1, 4:15 p.m.: gallery talk by artist Liz Steketee.
“Family Album” is open June 24 through Aug. 21 during summer gallery hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Monday. From Aug. 23 to the exhibition closing on Sept. 4, “Family Album” will be open during regular gallery hours: Tuesday-Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m., Thursday-Friday, noon to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; closed Monday. For more information about the exhibition and related programs, call 641-269-4660 or visit www.grinnell.edu/faulconergallery.
Grinnell, IA - “Sandow Birk’s American Qur’an” will open Fri., Jan. 27 at Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery. The exhibition, organized by The Andy Warhol Museum of Pittsburgh, will be on view in Grinnell through Mar. 18.
Birk, a California-based artist, has been engaged for the past six years in transcribing and illustrating an English translation of the 114 Suras, or chapters, of the Qur’an, Islam’s sacred text. Based on traditional models of manuscript illumination, Birk’s adaptation combines handwritten text with images drawn from contemporary American life. The Faulconer Gallery exhibition includes 85 painted panels from the ongoing project, which the artist plans to complete in 2014.
Birk was drawn to the Qur’an out of curiosity, seeking to educate himself about a book that many have formed opinions about, but fewer have actually read. “Given the global situation, the Qur’an may be the most important book on Earth, but few Americans know anything about it,” Birk told the New York Times in 2009. “I’m attempting to create visual metaphors that go along with the text and hopefully make it more accessible to Americans, more relevant to American life.”
Six of the panels in the exhibition, representing chapters 36 and 37 from the total 114, are part of Grinnell College’s permanent art collection, purchased in 2010.
“The purpose of the college’s art collection is education, and it is the Faulconer Gallery’s mission to use the collection in provocative ways to foster greater understanding,” said Daniel Strong, associate director of the gallery and curator of exhibitions. “Here is an artist who, when he’s completed the project, will have spent a decade of his life studying and interpreting the Qur’an solely for the purpose of educating himself about it.”
Strong explains that while most of the imagery is relatively benign, the artist found it impossible to avoid controversial events that have recently defined American life, such as devastation by Hurricane Katrina (one of the chapters in the college’s collection) and at the World Trade Center (in a chapter titled “Smoke”). “Art is a perfect means to launch the discussion. The Qur’an can’t be reduced to a few incendiary passages, nor can they or should they be disregarded. This exhibition is a quest for fuller understanding through beautifully executed art,” Strong said.
Educational programming, organized by Tilly Woodward, curator of academic and public outreach, also provides a wide variety of platforms to learn about Islam, including an open invitation for reading of the Qur’an. “Gallery visitors are invited to read aloud from the Qur’an in any language that feels right to them. We believe their experience will be enhanced from listening and reading. All are welcome to come,” Woodward said.
All events sponsored by Faulconer Gallery are free, open to the public, and located in the gallery unless otherwise noted:
- Jan. 27, 4:15-6 p.m.: Opening reception.
- Jan. 30, 4:15 p.m.: Panel discussion on “Islam in Iowa” with Kamal Hammouda, adjunct Muslim prayer leader; Mervat Youssef, assistant professor of French and Arabic; and Imam Taha Tawil of the Mother Mosque of America, who will speak on their experiences as Muslims in the state.
- Feb. 9, 4:15 p.m.: Student roundtable on “The Qur’an in America,” facilitated by Caleb Elfenbein, assistant professor of religious studies and history.
- Feb. 11, 1:30-3:30 p.m.: Community Day with a variety of hands-on activities.
- Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m.: Open mic night, co-sponsored by Grinnell Review and Grinnell College Libraries, featuring original works by Grinnell students and others who wish to share favorite writers or composers.
- Feb. 16, 4:15 p.m.: “Visualizing Islamophobia” discussion with Max Leung, lecturer in sociology, based on his research on the identities of Arabs and Muslims in America.
- Feb. 28, 4:15 p.m.: Gallery talk by artist Sandow Birk, discussing his ongoing project.
- Thursdays, Feb. 9-Mar. 15, 12:15-12:50 p.m.: Yoga with Monica St. Angelo. Co-sponsored by Live Well Grinnell. Mats provided for beginners and experienced practitioners.
More educational events will be offered in March. Faulconer Gallery, located in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St. on the Grinnell campus, is open Tuesday-Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m., Thursday-Friday, noon to 8 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; closed Monday. For more information about the exhibition and related programs, call 641-269-4660 or visit www.grinnell.edu/faulconergallery.
GRINNELL, IA—The Grinnell College Department of Theatre and Dance will premiere the U.S. production of “The Contingency Plan” by British playwright Steve Waters, Oct. 7-10, in Flanagan Arena Theatre in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts on the Grinnell campus.