Faculty News: Mari Lacure Featured on PRINTERESTING

NEW VOICES: MARI LACURE
Posted by PRINTERESTING on May 1, 2014 | http://www.printeresting.org/

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New Voices is Printeresting’s newest effort to recognize and support young and emerging artists. These articles will be image-heavy and accompanied by short reviews of art work, providing both a glance at emerging print-based work and a review of compelling and innovative artists who have not yet been widely recognized by the broader printmaking community. Check out the submission process here if you’d like to be considered for a future New Voices feature! Today we begin the series with Mari LacCure, a recent MFA graduate (2010) of the University of Kansas.

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LaCure’s mixed media work explores printmaking alongside drawing, painting, collage, and textile. Drawing from microscopic and macrosopic source material—constellations, cellular structures, and the ocean—LaCure weaves patterns from nature in each of her series: Cosmos, Waves, Clouds, and Crystals. First distilling information to its most fundamental parts, LaCure then uses repetition to create dense, immaterial spaces and forms. The work feels measured and careful, a bit scientific, yet distinctly poetic too. Each series evokes a greater perspective of complex ideas and forms, and reverence of the search for those things which are indiscernible and infinite, even today. Contemplation is a part of her practice, and the resulting work reveals the unobservable or unnoticed around us as both calculable and yet uncertain.

LaCure is based in Beverly, Massachusetts, where she teaches at Montserrat College of Art. She was the recipient of a 2011 Artist Innovation Grant from the Kansas Arts Commission, and has been awarded residencies at Women’s Studio Workshop and Emmanuel College in Boston. Her work is included in several collections including the RISD Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, and the SGCI Archive.


www.montserrat.edu

Alumni Feature: Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell, an artist based in Indiana, attended Montserrat in the 1970s.

Jim Campbell, an artist based in Indiana, attended Montserrat in the 1970s.

Carved from a Stack of Books,
J
im Campbell’s Artwork is Bound to Inspire
by Kristin D’Agostino

In looking at Montserrat alumnus Jim Campbell’s work, it’s easy to see the Indiana-based artist has a good sense of humor. A cookie, baked to a golden crisp, is displayed in a lower corner of his website. But, viewers beware- this is not your grandma’s chocolate chip cookie. Baked from a mold the artist carved himself, this tasty treat resembles an ancient relic found in a museum, complete with scene straight off a Japanese vase- a woman standing in front of a temple, gazing into the distance. This cookie is one example of how Campbell, a freelance designer and painter, likes to amuse himself and stay creatively challenged.

Campbell attended Montserrat in the early 1970’s. After decades working in the printing industry as a designer, in the 1990’s with the advent of digital, Campbell was forced to reinvent himself. He studied Adobe InDesign and CAD technical drawing software, and spent the next years carving out a new career for himself as a freelance designer. These days he designs traveling exhibits for commercial clients.

Campbell does his part to keep print alive by carving sculptures out of old books.

Campbell does his part to keep print alive by carving sculptures out of old books.

When he’s not working, Campbell enjoys creating multi-media paintings and sculptures from materials such as foam, PVC and lightweight concrete. His brightly colored wall sculptures are geometric in their design, like Van Gogh in 3 D.

Recently Campbell has found a way to reconnect with the printing world: He’s been carving sculptures out of stacks of old books and magazines. “It’s a type of low relief carving into the edge of the publications,” the artist explains. “It keeps the spines intact and the surface of the pages acts like a relief surface.”

In one piece entitled The Tenth Muse, a voluptuous woman looks as though she’s about to step out of a stack of magazines. This sculpture, Campbell says, took about three weeks to create through a combination of rough carving and work with a band saw. The print sculptures, the artist says, are just another way stay challenged.

This cookie, titled Whispering Mountain, was inspired by Asian artwork.

This cookie, titled Whispering Mountain, was inspired by Asian artwork.

As for the cookie, this blogger wants to know, are there more, and will he share?

Unfortunately, no, says Campbell; the cookies were a passing phase. The curious must satisfy their hunger by feasting their eyes on the digital version on the artist’s website. Every last special cookie edition was eaten by friends and family.

Still painting and exhibiting his work locally, Campbell says he remembers his time at Montserrat fondly. “The teachers do a lot for helping you find yourself. The requirements of the classroom, the pressure to keep working and producing is important to being an artist.”


www.montserrat.edu

Alumni News: Dana Martin – Illustrator Saturday Interview

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The following is an excerpt from an interview with Montserrat College of Art alumna DanaMartin ’11 conducted by kathytemean.wordpress.com.

Dana Martin is an illustrator and designer who was born in New Mexico and has been roaming ever since. A recent graduate of Montserrat College of Art, her work has appeared in several local shows and was recently featured in CMYK’s Top New 100 Creatives.

Her clients include the Peabody Essex Museum, Hendrickson Publishers, Chrysler, ABDO, ArtThrob Magazine and Ploughshares. The Johnstown Flood, scheduled for release this fall, will be her first illustrated chapter book.

How long have you been illustrating?
3 years professionally.

dana-artthrobtumblr_m871wocm1y1qfkufkHow did you decide to attend Montserrat College of Art?
Because I knew so little then about how to choose an art school, I started my search with two lists. One was of all the schools in the AICAD (Association of Independent Schools of Art and Design) and the other was of those in the NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design). I wanted to go to a private college and I figured any school that made both the lists was probably pretty good (now that I know more about accreditation processes, this seems amazingly naïve). After that I just started investigating every school that was in both associations. Most of them didn’t offer illustration programs, so they were easy to cross off. Others I could tell just weren’t the right fit. I eventually applied to RISD, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and Montserrat, and was accepted into all three. At that point, the smart thing would have been to visit the campuses, but since I was in the middle of gen. ed. classes at a state university on the other side of the country, I couldn’t get away. I kept calling and emailing the admissions offices with more questions, and they all did their best to get me the info I needed. Montserrat was always the pleasantest to deal with, though, and I just started to get the sense that it was a place where I would really feel at home. This turned out to be true.

unnamed-5Can you tell us a bit about that school?
Montserrat is a quirky little school slightly north of Boston. They offer all the standard art school concentrations, but the illustration department is particularly strong. There’s an emphasis on building foundational skills rather than chasing the latest trends, and the learning atmosphere is great because the students and instructors are serious about their work, but not their self-image. It’s a down-to-earth and unpretentious community, something that’s not always easy to find in the art world.

What were you favorite classes?
That’s a hard choice, I had a lot of great ones. I really enjoyed the natural science illustration class, because we learned a lot about botany and insects, and there was a whole closet full of butterflies, dried flowers, stuffed birds, and other treasures that we were free to borrow for sketching. My thesis class was also amazing, because I got to plan my own assignments but was supported by everyone’s feedback. Even the classes I wasn’t enthusiastic about, though, such as typography and web design, have proven invaluable since graduation.

What did you do right after you graduated?
I continued with some of the things I’d already been doing in college – working at a library and helping with Montserrat’s summer program – but I did manage to get some small illustration jobs almost as soon as I graduated.

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Do you feel that the classes you took in college have influenced your style?
One thing I appreciated about my instructors was that they didn’t steer students toward one style or another, but instead worked to help each of us sort out the voices we already had. I’ve always had an eye for detail, but when I started school, it was out of hand. My compositions were cramped and everything in the picture was competing for elbow room, so nothing could flow. The instructors helped me recognize the problem and find ways to open up the page.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate a children’s book?
I expect from the moment I first saw a children’s book. Even before I could read them I never went anywhere without one. Come to think of it, I still don’t.

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?
Everyone knows they have to work hard, but I don’t think everyone realizes how long they’ll be working hard. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s easy to neglect everything else in the pursuit of your craft, but over time that undermines you. Art has to be about something. If you cut yourself off from your friends, your hobbies, and whatever else fuels you as a person, you eventually will have nothing to say artistically. In the words of Gore Vidal, the unfed mind devours itself.

You can visit Dana at www.dana-martin.com or find out what’s new with her on her blog at http://danamartinillustration.tumblr.com/

See the full article here: kathytemean.wordpress.com


www.montserrat.edu

Faculty News: Julia Shepley Exhibits in Berlin

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Montserrat Faculty Member Julia Shepley has an upcoming show in Berlin for US and German Sculptors entitled Ovid’s Girls.

Ovid’s Girls will be an exhibition at the Boston Sculptors Gallery featuring artworks by twelve female sculptors, six from the USA and six from Germany, all sharing an aesthetic of the evocative and enigmatic. The exhibition will highlight parallels and relationships in the artwork, in a cross-continent dialogue of ideas, materials, and conceptual approaches.

Two companion exhibitions of Ovid’s Girls, featuring the same artists, will be hosted at the Kunstverein Tiergarten in Berlin, Germany and at the MEWO Kunsthalle in Memmingen, Germany.

The exhibition will be hosted by three different venues in 2014. The first will be at the Kunstverein Tiergarten in Berlin, Germany (April 4 to May 3, 2014), followed by the Boston Sculptors Gallery in Boston, USA (June 25 to August 3, 2014), and then at the MEWO Kunsthalle in Memmingen, Germany (September 19 to November 8).

For more information, please see the show’s website: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ovid-s-girls.

Congratulations, Julia!


www.montserrat.edu

Montserrat’s Project with Footprint Power Featured in Boston Globe

The art and heart of Salem Harbor Power Station
By Kathy McCabe | THE BOSTON GLOBE STAFF MARCH 27, 2014 

PHOTOS BY JOANNE RATHE/GLOBE STAFF

The blinking red lights on its soaring emission stacks, an icon for mariners and airplane pilots on the North Shore, will go dark after the 63-year-old coal-and-oil fired power plant closes on May 31.

Its big, noisy machines, such as the original General Electric turbine, will fall silent after the plant is torn down and replaced by a new $1 billion gas-fired plant.

For workers with decades on the job, life without the old coal plant seems hard to imagine.

“We’ve all walked through that gate for years and years,” said stockroom manager Beth Tobin, 52, who has worked at the plant for 28 years. “It’s kind of weird to think that you’re not going to be doing that anymore.”

PHOTOS BY JOANNE RATHE/GLOBE STAFF

PHOTOS BY JOANNE RATHE/GLOBE STAFF

But through the eyes of students at Montserrat College of Art, Salem Harbor station and its 105 workers will not fade quietly into the landscape.

The Beverly college and Footprint Power, the plant’s New Jersey-based owner, have teamed up to create “Across The Bridge,” an art course and exhibition that will celebrate the power plant workers.

Armed with video cameras and sketch pads, and outfitted in hard hats and yellow safety vests printed with “artist” on the back, Montserrat students are getting a rare look inside a 1950s-era industrial facility.

“I love the lights,” Chelsea Stewart, 22, a senior painting major from a small village near Albany, N.Y., said over the roar of the pulverizer. “It’s so dark, but there’s this glow. It can look orange, yellow, or blue. I like colors.”

“I had no idea about a power plant or what it did,” said Kerry McDermott, 22, of Burlington, a photography and art education major. “It’s opened my eyes about all these people who have worked here for so long, and now they have to start new lives, which is obviously so painful.”

Since January, about 30 students have visited the plant once a week to interview workers for a video archive. The workers’ stories will then be turned into painting, sculpture, and other art forms that will be displayed at the plant in July.

“There is a lot of history in this plant,” said Peter Furniss, chief executive of Footprint, seated in an office overlooking the scenic Salem harbor. “We have about 105 people working here, who have a combined tenure at the facility that is probably 500 years. They have a wealth of stories. I wanted to find a way to preserve those stories and honor their service.”

Furniss proposed the idea of the art project to Montserrat president Stephen Immerman, with whom he serves on the board of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce.

“I saw it as a real opportunity to enhance the quality of our students’ experience in a real-world setting,” Immerman said.

“Across the Bridge,” a name that reflects the only way to travel from Beverly to Salem by land, aims to inspire students through the lives and jobs of the power plant workers.

“Their practice is different than usual,” said Rebecca Bourgault, an assistant professor and chairwoman of the art education program at Montserrat. “They are working with a very specific subject matter that is very new to them. It requires new approaches and a lot of discipline.”

At first, plant workers were skeptical. Most have spent their entire working lives dressed in soiled workboots and hard hats. They’ve bulldozed raw coal, crawled through narrow spaces to fix machines, dragged hoses, and climbed to the top of its nearly 600-foot emission stacks.

Most of the workers will be laid off in June. Footprint will keep a handful to wind down operations this summer, Furniss said. Workers will be paid severance packages and have been offered help with retraining for new jobs, he added. The new plant is scheduled to open in 2016.

“We did heavy, hard work here,” said Priscilla Canney, 62, a stockroom clerk who spent most of her 28 years at the plant in mechanical maintenance. “Some of the tools we had to work with were just huge.”

They never imagined their working lives would inspire art.

“We’re power plant workers, not art students,” said Tobin, the plant’s coordinator for the project. “I’m not sure people, at first, really knew what to expect. What kind of art would they make here?”

The relationship evolved slowly. Students made videos to introduce themselves to workers. They visited the plant with three professors. Workers gradually warmed to the idea of sharing their stories of work and friendship.

The coal pile at Salem Harbor station is shrinking as the plant’s closing nears.

JOANNE RATHE/GLOBE STAFF
The coal pile at Salem Harbor station is shrinking as the plant’s closing nears.

“We’re a close group here, and we know better than others what it’s been like to work here,” said Ed Dattoli, a mechanical maintenance supervisor who has also worked 28 years at the plant.

“The whole place as we know it is going to be gone,” said Dattoli, driving in a truck near a coal pile. “At least we’ll have this [artwork] to remember it.”

Miledy Santana, a chemist at the plant, said working with aspiring artists has helped ease the pain of the plant’s looming demise.

“The students I’ve worked with are very, very friendly,” said Santana, who lives in Methuen. “They’re fascinated with what we do here. Now they know my story.”

Santana will be featured in a video documentary about women workers that McDermott plans to create.

“I’ve always been really interested in documentaries and this is a good chance to make one,” McDermott said. “The women here are such a minority. I’ve gotten some really interesting stories about how they’ve dealt with working in such a masculine environment.”

Stewart plans to create a large, abstract portrait, drawn in charcoal and pastel colors.

“I’m thinking of mixing everything that I see,” she said. “The walls, the floors, the lights. I’d like it to be half about the building, half about the people.”

Kathy McCabe can be reached at katherine.mccabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.


www.montserrat.edu

Anna Schuleit Haber Featured in The Boston Globe for Beverly Oracle

Beverly may answer life’s mysteries through oracle project
By Kathy McCabe THE BOSTON GLOBE STAFF MARCH 27, 2014

JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF)/ (RIGHT)LEXIA ORTIZ-MELO

JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF)/ (RIGHT)LEXIA ORTIZ-MELO

In ancient Greece, pilgrims traveled from distant lands to seek the wise counsel of the Oracle at Delphi.

Artist Anna Schuleit Haber has imagined the oracle returning, but this time in digital form, speaking poetry on Beverly Common.

“I wanted to work in a way that would bring an aspect of mystery to Beverly, through a project that would invite people to come and sit down on the common, to have an experience of poetry in an unusual place,” Schuleit Haber, 39, said in the soft accent of her native Germany.

The Beverly Oracle was born.

Schuleit Haber designed the poetry-based project for the city, Montserrat College of Art, and Beverly Main Streets as part of a National Endowment for the Arts public art competition.

The oracle — which has not yet received city approvals to be built on the common — would run on wireless technologies.

A glass pavilion, capable of changing colors, would be built. Once inside, a visitor would sit in what Schuleit Haber describes as a “single, strange chair,” capable of reading body rhythms.

Like the ancient Greeks at Delphi, a visitor would ask a question. The answer would come from a digital library filled with the words of American poets and writers from across the country.

Adding to the mystery, the oracle’s answers — but not the questions — would be displayed on digital panels installed at four high-profile downtown locations: the train station off Rantoul Street, and corners of Cabot Street at Central, Dane, and Winter streets.

“The oracle will be filling the urban space with poetry and riddles,” Schuleit Haber said, reading from her project proposal.

Schuleit Haber, a visual artist based in Brooklyn, has a degree in painting from Rhode Island School of Design. She also earned a master’s degree in creative writing from Dartmouth College.

In 2006, she received a “genius” fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation. In Massachusetts, she is best known for creating art memorials at old mental health hospitals.

In 2001, Schuleit Haber staged a sound installation at Northampton State Hospital, piping Bach’s Magnificat through the abandoned building. Two years later, she filled Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston with 28,000 live plants and flowers as a tribute to former patients.

Since September, Schuleit Haber has been an artist in residence at Montserrat. She has appeared as a guest critic in classes, but spends much of her time in the printmaking studio, where she has worked on the oracle’s design with help from six Montserrat interns.

“It’s such an interesting project,” said Christiana Lauzon, 21, a senior painting major from Augusta, Maine, who has built 3-D models of the oracle’s chair. “It’s not like people will just be looking at a piece of art. They’re going to experience it.”

Some interns may join Schuleit Haber on a cross-country trip this summer to collect answers for the oracle. She plans to drive her butterscotch-colored 1973 Buick Centurion to visit with writers and poets. Her dog, Finnegan, also will be along for the ride.

“It’s a mysterious way of picking them,” Schuleit Haber said of the writers and poets on her list.

Jane Brox, a Dracut-born writer now living in Maine, contributed the oracle’s first answer. Schuilet Haber declined to reveal it.

Schuleit Haber has made presentations about the project to schools — including at a Beverly High assembly where 1,200 students were given the chance to submit questions to the oracle — business, and civic groups. At the end of each talk, she asked people to write down a question for the oracle.

“I ask them to really ask themselves what’s important to them,” she said.

Some have asked, “How do I face my fading beauty?” “Is anybody really meant to be alone?” “Will I get into Harvard?” “Are you absolutely sure?”

Schuleit Haber promises answers of poetic mystery.

“They will receive a fragment of poetry or a riddle,” she said. “The Delphi Oracle never gave a straight answer.”

Stephen Immerman, president of Montserrat, hopes The Beverly Oracle will become a signature piece of public art.

“We want something world-class,” Immerman said during an interview at the college’s printmaking studio. “We wanted a public art project that is interactive and permanent. We didn’t want it to be an event, which many public art projects are.”

Montserrat soon will start to raise $250,000 to pay for the final design and construction of the project. “We’ll be applying for grants and soliciting support from foundations that support public art,” Immerman said.

Mayor Michael Cahill predicted that the Beverly Oracle will boost the city’s arts scene.

“It holds the promise of helping to create a sense of place,” said Cahill, who took office in January. “It would be a draw that would bring people here, and brand us a destination for art and culture.”

Montserrat and the city now are trying to determine what local permits would be required for the oracle to be built on public property.

Cahill said he is not yet ready to support locating the oracle on the city’s grassy common, the heart of downtown.

“I can’t say yet if it would, or should, go there. We’re just now starting a conversation with Montserrat about the specifics of all of this,” Cahill said.

One alternative site could be Ellis Square, located just off Cabot Street, and not far from the common.

“That would put it very close to our restaurants and shops downtown,” Cahill said.

Gin Wallace, executive director of Beverly Main Streets, said the oracle could make Beverly a must-stop on the region’s tourist trail.

“This will help distinguish us from our neighbors,” Wallace said. “When people come to visit Gloucester in summer, or Salem in October, we want them to come to Beverly. We’re kind of banking on this putting us on the arts and tourism map.”

The oracle proposal comes as Beverly’s artistic star is rising. Montserrat was chosen last month by the state Department of Housing and Economic Development to lead the Creative Economy Network — a statewide effort to boost local art industries — on the North Shore.

Montserrat, the city, and Main Streets in 2012 received a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to create a master plan for an arts and cultural district downtown. A portion of the grant also was used to sponsor a public art competition. Schuleit Haber’s proposal was chosen from a field of 75 submissions from across the country.

“We had proposals that were stunningly remarkable, visually and conceptually,” Immerman said. “But Anna’s proposal eclipsed all of them in terms of its intelligence, creativity, and its imagination.”

————————————
Some of the questions people in Beverly submitted to Anna Schuleit Haber to be considered for the Beverly Oracle Project:
■ How can I be relevant?
■ What can I do to make people happy?
■ How do I face my fading beauty?
■ How can I share my love with the world?
■ Should I retire or start a business?
■ Will I be a Dad?
■ Will I ever see peace in the world?
■ How long will I live?
■ I tried to find, and understand, but I still feel lost. How do I know when I’m not?
■ What’s good for my heart?
■ Is anybody really meant to be alone?
■ Will I ever marry again?
■ Will I get into Harvard?
■ Are you absolutely sure?

SOURCE: Anna Schuleit Haber

Kathy McCabe can be reached at katherine.mccabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.


www.montserrat.edu

Alumna Lindsey Parker’s UnchARTed project

20140324__TFront~p1UnchARTed gallery shaping up in Lowell as place for artists to show their creativity
By Samantha Allen, Lowell Sun

Montserrat College of Art alumna Lindsey Parker ’09 remembers when her concept of a group of local artists coming together and collaborating in Lowell was just an idea in a cramped space filled with trash.

Five years ago, she set out with some friends to open artist studios on Merrimack Street under the name UnchARTed. Originally, they rented a space for free at 126 Merrimack St., as the crew of artists banded together to clean out cluttered rooms and make space for themselves.

“It was literally just heaps of junk,” Parker recalled.

Today, the group is now at 66 Merrimack St., in a spiffy gallery space with hardwood floors and simple white walls they renovated and repaired themselves. Parker, a Chelmsford High School graduate, was joined by local artist and musician Michael Dailey Jr. in continuing to lead the group’s efforts.

“What you see here is really just friends and beer,” Dailey said, of the current space.

Parker, 26, and Dailey, 40, have about 20 artists in their guild, though they say they’re anything but pretentious when it comes to their group or their semiunderground “brand.” They market their gallery, and studio space for rent above, as a place where any artist, starting out or longstanding, can get a start in the art world.

“I look at us like we’re just a resource in the community, the creative community, and we’re just facilitating artists who are either very sure of themselves … or they’re not so sure of their creative abilities and they want to take a whack at it,” Parker said. “I feel like we’re providing a space that’s low maintenance, low stress. It’s an open forum for anyone to try their creative urges.”

The gallery is hosting, through Sunday, an exhibition by Rachel Napear called “Dedicated to the Proposition: The Civil War Recreated.” Napear, a photographer who traveled with Civil War re-enactors and took photos documenting their anachronistic creations, said UnchARTed gave her space to host her first show ever.

Occasionally, the gallery will host joint shows with the artists who spend their time upstairs, too. Local artists from across Greater Lowell spend their days working in the small rooms, which are available for rent at a rate of $155 to $205.

Corey Luebbers of Chelmsford is working on a mural that spans almost the entirety of one wall in his small studio with a window looking over downtown.

And Roy Hawes, a 2002 Lowell High School graduate, spends a majority of his time devoted to his paintings. As Hawes walked through his studio, which he said had just been rearranged, dozens of his works covered the walls and spots of paint covered his workspace.

“It just happened, really,” he said. “A person that I knew mentioned a couple of people were starting a studio and still looking for spots for people to take. So I jumped at it, because I didn’t have my own studio. It’s my first time having a room with a door on it.”

Giovanna Aviles, a Lowell photographer and artist, said UnchARTed gave her an opportunity to get back into the art scene after she gave birth to a daughter. She said the studio is a space where she can come and work and get inspired, and she’s also working to convert one of UnchARTed’s rooms into a community darkroom open to the public.

“The great thing about UnchARTed is, they give people an opportunity,” Aviles said. “They base it on potential.”

She said that after graduating from UMass Lowell, she missed the experience of receiving feedback and critiques from her peers. That’s why Parker, who graduated from Montserrat College of Art, hosts monthly meetings with the group for UnchARTed artists to inspire one another.

The UnchARTed project is Parker’s full-time passion away from her full-time day job as a screen printer. She and Dailey and the group pour themselves into helping fellow artists put on shows.

Parker said that though they’re not officially nonprofit, any money raised goes back into developing shows or offering space to renters.

When Parker gets a moment, she comes to her sun-drenched studio to work on her own pieces and to experiment with her large, antique printing press. She said she met Dailey at 119 Gallery, another Mill City artist venue on Chelmsford Street, to which she credits much of UnchARTed’s success.

“It organically formed into, now, this living organism,” she said. “This combination of weird people are making it happen and keeping it interesting. … I’m not sure what will happen in the future because I never even expected it to be this. I don’t even know where we could take it.”

UnchARTed Gallery is located at 66 Merrimack St. The closing reception for Rachel Napear’s Civil War-themed exhibition is scheduled for Sunday, starting at 7 p.m. On Saturday, May 31, the gallery will host the second annual Mill City Skillshare. For more details, click here!


www.montserrat.edu

Montserrat Students Document the Workers and Closure of Salem Power Plant

Honoring the end of an era 
Art students, power plant workers creating legacy
By Will Broaddus, Staff writer

Salem: Dumond Thebaud speaks about his work at the Salem Power Plant while being recorded on video. Art students from Montserrat are undertaking a project to document the experiences of workers at the plant.

Salem: Dumond Thebaud speaks about his work at the Salem Power Plant while being recorded on video. Art students from Montserrat are undertaking a project to document the experiences of workers at the plant.

After Salem Harbor Station closes in May, its huge structures will come down and most of its workers will move on.

To make sure their stories don’t disappear along with the 500-foot smokestack, 28 students at Montserrat College of Art have been conducting interviews with plant employees that will become part of an archive. These stories will also serve as the inspiration for student paintings, sculptures and videos that celebrate the workers’ careers, and will be exhibited at the plant this July.

Ken Yuszkus/Staff photo Electrician Dumond Thebaud speaks about his work at the Salem power plant while being recorded on stills and video. Montserrat College art student Rebekah Segar, left, shows still photographs she took to Alicia Parent. Ken Yuszkus/Staff photo

Electrician Dumond Thebaud speaks about his work at the Salem power plant while being recorded on stills and video. Montserrat College art student Rebekah Segar, left, shows still photographs she took to Alicia Parent.
Ken Yuszkus/Staff photo

“The general theme they’re beginning to see is how the workers treat each other like a family,” said Elizabeth Cohen, who teaches at Montserrat and is helping coordinate the project. “Some have worked there for 20, 30 years. They’re constantly caring for the plant as if it was a family member, and the plant has cared for them.”
The Montserrat class is being sponsored by Footprint Power of New Jersey, which acquired the coal and oil-burning plant in 2012, and plans to replace it with one that burns natural gas.
The idea for the project developed in a conversation between Peter Furniss, CEO of Footprint, and Stephen Immerman, president of Montserrat College.
“It provides a constructive output for my staff,” Furniss said. “Many are good storytellers, and they have their own kind of artistic sensibilities around their work.”
“I think there’s a lot of grieving going on on the part of my staff, with the loss of the plant, loss of jobs and loss of family they’ve built there over many decades. I know it’s helpful for them.”

Dumond Thebaud, right, speaks about his work at the Salem power plant while being recorded on video. Art students from Montserrat, from left, are Alicia Parent, Rebekah Segar, Adam Kooken, and Dan Stone. Workers' stories will inspire an art exhibit this summer honoring their legacy. Ken Yuszkus/Staff photos

Dumond Thebaud, right, speaks about his work at the Salem power plant while being recorded on video. Art students from Montserrat, from left, are Alicia Parent, Rebekah Segar, Adam Kooken, and Dan Stone. Workers’ stories will inspire an art exhibit this summer honoring their legacy.
Ken Yuszkus/Staff photos

Students started visiting the plant in late January, touring its control rooms, turbines and shops, and they recorded brief videos that introduced them to the workers.
“We wanted them to meet each other, but because of all the security and scheduling it was really cumbersome. We couldn’t get a big group together,” said Ethan Berry of Beverly, one of three faculty members working with the students. “These people are busy running a plant.”
Those workers who chose to participate in the project — about 22 of the plant’s more than 100 employees — in turn recorded videos in which they talked about their work. These provided a starting point for interviews, which the students started to conduct last Friday.

 
They continued yesterday as Berry led a group of nine students to the plant, where they donned hard hats, safety glasses and fluorescent vests identifying them as artists.

One group visited the electrical shop to speak with Dumond Thebaud, who started out shoveling coal but is currently an electrician and has held several other jobs in more than 30 years at the plant.
Another student visited Miledy Santana in the plant’s chemistry lab, and a third group interviewed Ed Daddoli, who works in mechanical maintenance.As the students become more familiar with the workers, they will formulate proposals for artworks they want to create for the exhibit.

 

“The students are being asked to interpret,” Berry said. “One student’s interviewing just the women, to hear their stories. Another person is taking pictures of the people working and using them as outlines to make sculptures. Another one is making costumes and having some of the workers reenact episodes that happened.”

Salem:  Dave Burke talks with Katherine Roldan, left, and Kaitlyn Assmann, center, at the Salem Power Plant. Art students from Montserrat are undertaking a project to document the experiences of workers at the plant.

Salem: Dave Burke talks with Katherine Roldan, left, and Kaitlyn Assmann, center, at the Salem Power Plant. Art students from Montserrat are undertaking a project to document the experiences of workers at the plant.

“So they are going to be interpreting, and there’s going to be flat artwork — drawing, photographs — and sculptures. There’s going to be a mural that’s going to involve the community, all kinds of different things.”

Student Melissa Tremblay wants to paint pictures of each worker’s boots, which will serve as “a symbol of their lives,” and was partly inspired by a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, Cohen said.

Kaitlyn Assmann, from Syracuse, N.Y., has asked workers to describe the first moment they saw the plant, and will use their responses in the soundtrack for an animated film.
Berry said the class is a valuable opportunity for students to get outside their studios and learn to articulate their ideas in the real world.

At the same time, the archive they and the workers are creating, along with the artistic visions it is inspiring, are recording a world that is passing away.

“I call them ‘end-of-an-era projects,’” Berry said. “I think Peter’s idea was, ‘We can’t let this pass without acknowledging the workers in some way.’”

 


www.montserrat.edu

Gordon Arnold’s Salem News Column: Cabot Street Theatre

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The enduring legacy of the Cabot Street Theatre
Montserrat College of Art Prof. Gordon Arnold

It’s a time of transition for Beverly’s beloved Cabot Street Theatre Cinema. We don’t yet know the ultimate fate of the historic property, which is currently for sale. But whatever happens, its pivotal place in cultural history of the city is secure.

For nearly a century, area residents have known and loved it. Yet, the theater is more than a place of fond memories. The magnificent structure has played a major role in creating the vibrant cultural life of the city that continues today.

The theater opened in 1920 as the Ware Theatre. It was named after its founders, N. Harris Ware and D. Glover Ware. The brothers already operated the popular Larcom Theatre in Beverly, which opened in 1912 just a few blocks away. The early success of the Larcom suggested there would be a demand for a larger and grander facility. The brothers arranged financing and began construction of an opulent new theater on bustling Cabot Street, with an eye toward serving all of the city’s residents. The theater was built to accommodate both movies and stage performances and was truly multipurpose facility.

From the beginning, the theater was a place for the city to come together. While the luminaries of high society were among its earliest patrons, it was no stuffy institution. It drew a wide audience. The best seats were 30 cents (a price that included 3 cents tax), but a balcony seat could be purchased for as little as 20 cents. Children could attend matinees for as little as 11 cents.

In the early 1920s, America’s love affair with Hollywood was just starting. Ornate movie palaces were being built throughout the U.S. to meet the demand for sophisticated new venues. The Ware, with its elegant frescoes, grand fixtures and golden dome, amply met this need and drew widespread praise.

Though these were the days of “silent movies” (the sound era did not start until the late 1920s), movies were seldom seen without musical accompaniment. In fact, announcements for the gala premiere of the theater boasted of a “$50,000 Austin Pipe Organ.” In today’s dollars, this cost was the equivalent of well over half a million dollars.

In the Great Depression of the 1930s, the carefree spirit of the “Roaring Twenties” ended. The popularity of vaudeville waned, but going to the movies remained a staple in American life. The grand theater on Cabot Street became primarily a movie house and eventually changed owners.

Local movie theaters retained their popularity in the 1940s. By the 1950s, however, the popularity of television led to decreased movie attendance. Theaters everywhere suffered.

In addition to competition from television, there were the new realities of suburbia. Movie theaters followed stores and restaurants away from downtown areas to shiny new shopping centers at the outskirts of town. The Northshore Mall, which opened in the late 1950s, was one of earliest of these. In 1963, a multi-screen theater was constructed adjacent to the popular shopping destination. It was a glimpse of the future.

In the following years, customers were increasingly drawn to suburban shopping centers and to the theaters there, some with a dozen or more screens. The aging theater on Cabot Street, like similar venues, came to be seen as relics of a bygone era.

By the mid-1970s Beverly’s downtown theater, which had long since been acquired by the E.M. Loew’s chain and renamed the Cabot Cinema, fell on hard times. It showed mostly second-run films at reduced rates. Although it remained a local attraction that generated many fond memories, it suffered in the wake of changing consumer preferences and the economic crunch of that decade. Finally, Lowe’s decided to sell it.

A new ownership group, led by the late Cesareo Pelaez, acquired the property in 1977 and changed its name to Cabot Street Theatre Cinema. They then began to restore to the theatre to its former splendor.
Pelaez was Renaissance man. He was a college psychology professor and also a stage magician. Soon, in addition to restoring first-rate film programming, the Cabot began weekly stage shows featuring the Le Grand David and his own Spectacular Magic Company.

The live magic show gained national acclaim with its spectacle and old-world charm. The old theater regained its luster and was once again a source of pride for the city. With its rebirth, the reputation of the Cabot was assured for many years.

With Pelaez’s death in 2012 and the closing of the magic show, the future of the theater once again seemed uncertain. In 2013, the Cabot was put up for sale. The search for new owners continues today.
What will happen the Cabot Street Cinema Theatre remains an open question. Until new ownership is secured and plans are made, it’s difficult to predict whether the aging building will continue to be operated a theater for either film or stage.

As a theater for film, there are daunting challenges for any new owner. Hollywood studios are ending distribution of movies on film. Instead, most films will be available only in digital formats. This will require theaters to buy expensive digital projection equipment. Many independent theaters simply can’t afford that cost. It remains possible, of course, that visionary new owners could solve that problem.

Whatever the future of Beverly’s grand old theater, however, the cultural vibrancy that the Cabot helped bring to downtown Beverly a century ago will continue. A formal cultural district is being developed for the downtown area where the Cabot Street Cinema Theatre stands.

Montserrat College of Art, the city of Beverly and Beverly Main Streets, are leading the project. Their goal is to improve to the city’s “livability, civic engagement, and arts appreciation and support.” It’s a fitting development and a testament to the cultural tradition of Beverly that the Cabot Street Cinema Theatre helped create a century ago.

Gordon Arnold, Ph.D., is the author of several books about film and American society and is professor of liberal arts at Montserrat College of Art.

Above artwork: alumnus Jon Bolles ’12, oil on canvas “Cabot Cinema” (36”x48”)


www.montserrat.edu

 

Salem Film Fest Class Interview

Salem Film Fest Class Interview
“DISCOVERING DOCUMENTARY” AT SALEM FILM FEST”

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Documentary film has the power to teach us about the unfamiliar and to help us discover new realities.  A guide can be helpful in this journey – enter Erin Trahan, Editor and Publisher of The Independent.Salem Film Fest audiences might recognize Trahan from the filmmaker forums and Q&A sessions she’s monitored in the past. She’s also involved behind the scenes as a member of multiple juries every year, helping to decide which films featured at SFF leave Salem with honors.

This year, Erin has partnered with SFF and Montserrat College of Art in creating and leading an interactive classroom/festival experience, “Discovering Documentary: Tools for Educators, Filmmakers, and Astute Viewers,” which combines a theoretical introduction to the documentary genre, from origins to the latest trends. As part of the students’ education on how to use documentary film in education or community settings as well, Trahan will be bringing her class to Salem Film Fest to see some of the premier documentaries currently being produced.
SFF Organizer Jeff Schmidt had the chance to speak with Trahan after her first class to discuss the role documentaries can play in today’s classrooms, why the class is important, and how Salem Film Fest can help support the lessons learned in the classroom.
Jeff Schmidt:  What was your goal and inspiration in designing this class and why partner with Salem Film Fest?
Erin Trahan:  The goal is to bring together people who already have an appreciation for documentary film in order to deepen their knowledge both of the form and ways to access movies, especially locally. Salem Film Fest is a great fit as it’s already a tremendous resource for documentary lovers, and it’s right next door! The thinking behind the class is to enhance what the festival offers annually with additional focused dialogue and community-building.
JS:  What is it about the documentary form that lends itself as a teaching tool for educators?
ET:  Documentary has always been interested in the actual and the factual. It’s roots are in presenting new and unseen worlds to its audiences or taking a close, sometimes academic look at a culture or political situation or conflict. Though students today might be inundated with moving image, it remains evocative and irresistible. Turn on a TV and all eyes will turn their attention to it, at least for a while. Documentary gives teachers a powerful way to engage students on a huge range of current and historical topics.
JS:  Do you think documentary film has become more accessible to general audiences over the last few years?  If so, why?
ET:  Not necessarily in terms of theatrical releases. Art house cinemas, where most documentaries screen, are doing their best to stay afloat but it’s not uncommon for an American to live a good two hours drive from an independently-owned cinema. Of course the Internet and online streaming options have opened things up a great deal. Now the challenge for viewers is to sort through the plethora of titles and find ones that are worth their time.
JS:  What films at this year’s festival will your class be viewing?
ET:  We’ll be seeing TOKYO WAKA and EVERYBODY STREET together as a class though my guess is that class members will be seeing a good five or six more films throughout the fest.

JS:  What are you hoping your students will take away from this class?
ET:  If each student discovers one new local film festival to explore or indie theater to check out plus a new friend, the class would have exceeded my goals! As much as I’d like for students to leave feeling informed, I want them leaving feeling the abundance of opportunity they have to see documentary and directly engage with filmmakers and programmers working in this region.

For more information about “Discovering Documentary: Tools for Educators, Filmmakers, and Astute Viewers,” visit montserrat.edu/continuing-ed/spring/salem-film-fest-class


www.montserrat.edu

A New Kind of Oracle Filled With Poetry Planned for Beverly, MA

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Anna Schuleit Haber collaborates with MacDowell Colony fellows in finding answers to questions that have not yet been asked.

By Jonathan Gourlay

While the Oracle at Delphi had the Pythia to answer the most pressing questions of the ancient Greeks, the Beverly Oracle will respond to visitor questions with poetry, riddles, and thought fragments contributed by poets, writers, and artists from around the country, many of them MacDowell Colony fellows.

Schulet-and-pooch-(big).jpgThis post-modern oracle is the brainchild of visual artist and three-time MacDowell Fellow Anna Schuleit Haber. The oracle will be a newly designed free-standing glass structure with frescoes and a single chair from which visitors will engage with the oracle.

Scheduled to open in 2015 as a permanent structure on the Beverly (Massachusetts) Common, the oracle will be free and open to the public. It was commissioned as part of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Arts and Cultural District Public Art Competition

“I’m collecting answers to questions that have not yet been asked,” says Schuleit Haber, who is currently working on the oracle’s physical design with a team of architects. “We are hoping to build a building that will be filled with poetry, which in turn, will fill the city with poetry.”

Schulet-and-pooch-_big_The artist, who was awarded MacDowell Fellowships in 2000, 2002, and 2005, and worked on the Landlines public art project for Medal Day in 2007, says that the idea for The Beverly Oracle was “influenced by my stays at MacDowell, since it was through the friendships that I forged with writers and poets at the Colony that I arrived at the idea for inviting them to be its main contributors – of poetry, fragments of text, idioms, and forms of speech.” Some of the artists who have already contributed include John Bisbee, Jane Brox, Brock Clarke, Susan Orlean, Meghan Daum,Joshua Wolf Shenk, Andrea Cohen, and Mark Wethli.

“Working with them adds to the element of collaboration that I often aim for in my large projects,” says Schuleit Haber. “To work with these amazing writers and artists on a nationwide scale is like a dream.” By the time it opens, the words of the oracle will come from every corner of the country, and the artist says she hopes the pool of answers will continue to grow every year.

“I’m thrilled and excited and also nervous,” says Schuleit Haber. “I want it to be all about these poets and writers across the country and not me. I want it to be owned by the city, by the people here, so they can feel very strongly about their home.”

To view a trailer about Schuleit Haber’s road trip to gather contributions for the oracle, click here.

Photo of Anna driving the convertible with Finnegan en route to New Hampshire by Madeleine Jennings.


www.montserrat.edu

Review of Montserrat Gallery exhibition “Made” in Boston Globe

Alexa Meade’s “Come Down,” currently up at Montserrat Gallery, Montserrat College of Art.

Alexa Meade’s “Come Down,” currently up at Montserrat Gallery, Montserrat College of Art.

Toying with our tendency to trust photographs
By Cate McQuaid

“MADE,” an exhibition about visual trickery at Montserrat Gallery, Montserrat College of Art, carries water for familiar contemporary art tropes about fractured identity, photographic fiction versus reality, and the like. But gallery director and curator Leonie Bradbury focuses on fun. All the works will drop jaws, to one degree or another.
Alexa Meade, the canniest artist of uncanny work here, inverts the usual approach to trompe l’oeil painting, which makes you think you’re looking not at an image, but at something real.
Meade paints people so their bodies look flat, like drawings, and photographs them on the street. In “Come Down,” a model, painted silver, black, and white, jumps in front of a wall tagged with graffiti. He looks, at first glance, like part of the street mural. But glimpse unpainted flesh beneath the cuffs of his jeans! Tiny giveaways add to the thrill; they make you look more closely, and admire Meade’s weird artistry.

Peer into a small porthole in the wall, and you’ll see Jacobs’s woodsy scenes, which resemble photographs. They’re not. They’re intricately constructed tiny dioramas. Once you recognize that, the effect is similar to catching on to the tell in Meade’s works; you’ll marvel at the craftsmanship.Meade, Patrick Jacobs, and Kelli Connell all toy with our tendency to trust photography as a document of reality. Connell’s seamless color photographs might be portraits of identical twins. That would be disconcerting enough, given the sometimes romantic and flirtatious nature of the images — in “Valley,” one woman leans over her supine partner. In fact, Connell layers multiple negatives of a single model. The intimacy of the two selves is more unnerving than if Connell had layered in several.
The artistic duo Alexi Antoniadis and Nico Stone offer their trademark sculptural trompe l’oeil. They craft crumbling architecture out of unexpected materials. “Promised Land” looks as if a grid of glass and steel has dropped from a high rise and landed, folded over and in shards, in the gallery. Though it looks weighty, suggesting the rotting of corporate power symbolized by such architecture, gallery staffers say the artists carried it in on their shoulders.
What you see is not what you get in this show — until you get it. Contemporary as it seems, “MADE” grounds itself deep in tradition. Hasn’t art always been about fashioning believable fiction out of the tools at hand?

More information:

MADE
Montserrat Gallery, Montserrat College of Art, 23 Essex St., Beverly, through March 29.


www.montserrat.edu

Montserrat’s Creative Economy Leadership Designation Featured in The Salem News

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Creative efforts 
BY ETHAN FORMANSTAFF WRITER, The Salem News

BEVERLY — Montserrat College of Art and its partners are now standing at the forefront of the state’s efforts to bolster the creative economy.

Greg Bialecki, secretary of Housing and Economic Development, and Helena Fruscio, Creative Economy Industry director, came to a reception at the art college last week to kick off a statewide Creative Economy Network. This new network is meant to help creative companies find resources, such as space, talent and access to capital, and track their progress.
Creative economy companies include for-profit businesses, such as video game makers, architectural firms and musicians, as well as nonprofits, like museums and theater companies.

Lest you think the creative economy represents a bunch of starving artists, think again: There are more than 120,000 people who work for creative economy firms in the Bay State with an economic impact of $1 billion, according to state officials.

To help bolster those efforts, the art college and its numerous partners were designated on Feb. 12 as part of a statewide Creative Economy Network, with Montserrat named the North Shore regional leader. The college and its partners were the first of five such regional networks to be designated.

To understand the needs of creative companies, Fruscio met with 500 Bay State companies and nonprofits on a listening tour. She found they all had needs in five key areas:

access to business development;
access to capital and financial support;
visibility through events and marketing;
finding creative talent; and
locating space.

She also found that help on a purely statewide level was not enough.

“It was really about what was happening in a given region in those five areas,” she said.

That’s where the idea for regional networks came in, said Fruscio, noting that the North Shore was ahead of the game in thinking about the creative economy — which is why the first such event was held here.

“You are doing it already,” Bialecki said, “and we know that.”

Since 2006, the North Shore has been at the forefront of boosting creative economy companies, thanks to the efforts of Christine Sullivan, executive director of the Enterprise Center, and Patricia Zaido, executive director of the Salem Partnership. In 2008, their report showed there were 2,200 creative economy enterprises on the North Shore.

Zaido and Sullivan helped found the Creative Economy Association of the North Shore at the Enterprise Center, an effort that was funded by a grant. That grant has now run out.

Montserrat has picked up the ball to provide staff to the local Creative Economy Association, which now becomes part of the larger statewide network.

Montserrat president Stephen Immerman said the college will work with partners, including not only Salem State University’s Enterprise Center and the Salem Partnership, but also the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce, Centerboard in Lynn, the North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, the Rocky Neck Art Colony, Beverly Main Streets, seArts of Gloucester and the Salem Chamber of Commerce.

One of their first efforts will be a program at the Salem State Enterprise Center called “Unlocking Creativity and Innovation,” which will be taught by Montserrat faculty.

“I think at some level, we all think it’s fun,” Bialecki said of the creative economy. “It’s enjoyable. We all understand at a local level how it adds to the quality of life and the character of our communities, but in fact … it’s not just fun. It’s actually a very important business and a very important business for Massachusetts and for many regions of Massachusetts, like the North Shore.”


Courtesy of The Salem News 


www.montserrat.edu

Frame 301 Wins Beverly Cultural Council Grant

 

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Beverly Cultural Council Announces 2014 Grant Winners

Residents in Beverly can look forward to a year of unique concerts, new public murals, live theatre, and a variety of special events for all ages, thanks in part to grants provided by the Beverly Cultural Council (BCC).

Almost twenty artists or groups representing a wide range of the arts received grants from the BCC, totaling $11,165. With support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the BCC funds will provide school children unique educational opportunities, seniors with creative workshops and the general public with numerous cultural activities. Each fulfills BCC’s priorities: to provide more programs for children, families and seniors.

“We are thrilled to fund so many quality projects and programs that will enhance Beverly and our growing reputation as a vibrant arts community,” said (Montserrat alumna) Bea Modisett, BCC chair.

All of the artistic projects or events will take place in Beverly. Some are free and open to the public, while others are tailored for specific audiences at community centers. Many grant recipients reside in Beverly.

“The arts play such a vital role in our community,” said Modisett. “We’re excited about each of this year’s recipients as they’ll contribute great things to Beverly. And we’re already thinking of next year’s grant cycle, inviting anyone with a strong idea—from an individual artist to a collaborative group—to apply!”

For more information on the Beverly Cultural Council or for grant information, please visit mass-culture.org/beverly, or contact Bea Modisett, BCC chair, at beamodisett@yahoo.com.

The purpose of the Beverly Cultural Councils is to support public programs that promote access, education, diversity and excellence in the arts, humanities and interpretive sciences in our community, and is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences and humanities every year.


www.montserrat.edu

President Immerman Featured in New England Board of Higher Education Journal

unnamedHigher Ed Can Be Market-Smart and Mission-Centered
by Stephen D. Immerman
January 21, 2014

The cost and the value of higher education, the short- and long-term impact of student debt, the role of career preparation, and accountability for student outcomes are the subject of intense and increasing examination and debate.

Every higher education professional I know is acutely aware of shifting demographic and business models in our industry, and the need to explicitly provide, and show, value for students and their families. We recognize the need to respond to increasing consumer scrutiny, government regulation and the legitimate evolving needs of employers and the labor force. We understand the pressure to compete and to be responsive to the need to reduce costs and increase value. Whether at a small independent school like Montserrat College of Art or a major university, this is our work. But, it is also our fundamental work to maintain the integrity, excellence and relevance of the education we provide—to educate and prepare students to enter society as thoughtful and contributing citizens, to impassion curiosity, and to challenge them to seek truth.

In their 2005 book Remaking the American University: Market-Smart and Mission-Centered, Robert Zemsky, Gregory Wenger, and William Massy outlined the road American higher education has traveled to become less a “public good” and more a “private gain.” They clearly articulated our collective imperative to maintain the centrality of mission to educate, not just train, even in the face of our need to respond to the markets in which we operate. Almost eight years later, the perspectives articulated in their book could not be more pertinent or their prescriptions for change more acute. We leaders and stewards of higher education must carefully calibrate how we respond to the external pressure of the marketplace while still maintaining our responsibility to hold fast and advocate for the central core of values that have made American higher education the envy of the world.

As challenging as these times may be, it is still our imperative to maintain access, be cost effective, be contemporary in providing an excellent and relevant education, and at the same time, intentionally prepare students for life and for the world of work. We must do this while holding true to the important values and larger social purposes that guide our institutions, aggressively protecting the quality of what is taught.

While delivery models continue to evolve, we must maintain curricula and pedagogy that ensure the habits of mind, analytical problem-solving, writing, speaking and visual communication skills, and appropriate professional preparation necessary for our students to successfully navigate an increasingly complex and rapidly changing marketplace. We must accomplish all this in an evolving environment in which the development of new educational tools challenges us to impart this learning differently, in some cases to far-flung constituencies.

We can rail about inconsistent and over-politicized calls for increased accountability, the increasing costs of regulation and diminished public funding, but these realities are not going to change. There is little doubt that we will be subject to a rating system developed by the U.S. Department of Education. Few of us will be happy with the accuracy or the quality of the data employed in those assessments or in the relative lack of appreciation for the extensive innovation already underway in our industry.

With federal support for student aid now in excess of $150 billion per year, with overwhelming demand at both state and federal levels for too few resources, with seemingly permanent dysfunction in Congress, and with aging populations and business communities not supportive of increases in taxes, the pressure on education to provide value will likely only grow.

Following are a few ways that could mitigate some of the challenges:

In the college search process, students and their families should be encouraged to focus more on the range of learning opportunities offered at prospective colleges and less on the increasingly expensive amenities that drive up the cost of education for everyone.

Our government leadership can focus on new ways to encourage student K-12 readiness for higher education, rather than expecting higher education to remediate the failed outcomes of current programs.
Investment should be encouraged in experiments and pilot projects across the higher education landscape to reduce cost, increase persistence and measure relevant outcomes rather than squandering energy defining and imposing centrally developed regulation.

We should be advocating for STEAM not just STEM education. STEM-related coursework is important but creativity is core to innovation and entrepreneurship—and hence a major driver of economic and cultural growth. Maintaining investment in arts and humanities education is critical for both the quality of the human experience and a robust economy. The diverse professional paths and achievements of Montserrat alumni and their successful careers inside and outside the creative economy validate the importance of maintaining arts and arts funding. See Letting Off STEAM at Montserrat College of Art.
More students and their families should be encouraged and educated about how to take advantage of loan-forgiveness and pay-as-you-go debt-management programs. These are important and useful programs directly designed to help reduce the increasing student debt burden.

And Congress can end the practice of collecting exorbitant interest profits from direct student loans (this year alone in excess of $37 billion)—a tax on those students least able to pay.
The means and methods of providing a quality education—and the business model that enables them—will evolve. The perception of price and value will also evolve, but the underlying core values and integrity of what is to be learned must be preserved. With persistence, learning and sharing best practices with our colleagues, and some reasoned encouragement from those to whom we are accountable, we will all be able to be both market-smart and mission-centered.

Stephen D. Immerman is president of Montserrat College of Art.

Painting of The View from Andrew’s Room Series IXX #4 by Montserrat College professor Timothy Harney.

Montserrat President Steve Immerman


www.montserrat.edu

Erin Dionne Update: Edgar Award Nomination and Merit Award Winner


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Assoc. Prof. Erin Dionne is excited to share the news that her latest novel, Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dial), is nominated for a 2014 Edgar Award, Best Juvenile, sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America.

Here’s a link to the site: theedgars.com/nominees

Also, Dionne’s website, which was designed by Montserrat instructor Justin Gagne, is a Merit Award Winner in the 15th Annual HOW Interactive Design Awards!

Visit www.erindionne.com

Congratulations to both Justin and Erin!

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Creative Economy of the North Shore (CEANS) Evening of Networking at Montserrat

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Tuesday, Dec. 3, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Montserrat Gallery, 23 Essex Street, Beverly

Join us to network and hear about Beverly’s National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) project to create an arts and cultural district in downtown Beverly. Meet and hear from Art Consultant Ricardo Barreto and Montserrat College of Art Artist-in-Residence Anna Schuleit Haber, who was chosen from a field of 75 nationally known artists to create a public art project for Beverly. Ricardo was on the advisory board for the NEA project and is a Cultural Consultant for non-profits, with emphasis on public and visual arts.

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Ricardo will give an overview of the NEA public art process in Beverly, and Anna will discuss her past works and ongoing project to create The Beverly Oracle.

 

R.S.V.P. to Kathleen Burke at kathleen.burke@montserrat.edu or 978.867.9662

Photo of Anna Schuleit Haber by John Solem; Illustration by Joe Zelloe of Zelloe + Weaver Architects, Beverly

www.montserrat.edu

Faculty News: Profile of Greg Cook by the Massachusets Cultural Council

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Check out the Q&A profile of Montserrat Instructor Greg Cook posted by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The article, “Greg Cook: Enchanted Forest in the Neighborhood” profiles Greg’s art, art writing and community organizing.

Read the interview here:
artsake.massculturalcouncil.org/blog/

Image courtesy of Greg Cook


www.montserrat.edu

Beverly Makes Boston Globe’s List of Top Places to Live in 2013

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Beverly was named one of Greater Boston’s Top Places to Live in 2013 in The Boston Globe Magazine Sunday, May 5. The town was included among 12 other communities in Eastern Massachusetts where the real estate market is ‘sizzling.’

The commute to downtown Boston – about 40 minutes – is hardly a deterrent when a city’s got as much going for it as Beverly, located at the confluence of the Bass, Danvers, and North rivers, which form Beverly Harbor, with access to Salem Sound.

Originally an agricultural and working waterfront community, Beverly became a summer resort for city dwellers in the 1800s, and many properties built between the late 19th century and World War II still stand, from bungalows to Queen Annes. There’s also plenty of green space, and though each neighborhood, from Prides Crossing to Fish Flake Hill, has its unique charm, taken together they’re “sophisticated but very family-friendly and family-oriented” according to Patricia Marcotte, an agent with Beverly’s RE/Max Advantage.

There’s just a lot going on, and people really get to know one another. Beverly’s a beautiful place to live.”

>>Click here to see full article in The Boston Globe Magazine.

Caroline Bagenal Voted #1 Woman Artist by Big Red & Shiny

bagenalImage: Caroline Bagenal, Toron, 2012, Cardboard, newspaper, bamboo, 10ft x 6ft x 6ft

Congratulations to Assoc. Prof. Caroline Bagenal, who was voted the #1 Woman Artist (out of 9 women artists) by the editors of Big, Red, and Shiny.

Also note that Zsusanna Szegedi, of Montserrat’s Absent | Present show, is number 5 on the list.

>>Click here to learn more!


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Erin Dionne Featured in Salem News

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Preteen heroine tries to solve Gardner heist
By Will Broaddus, Staff writer, The Salem News

Here’s a tip for the FBI: If you want to find the 13 works of art that were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, talk to Moxie Fleece.

That’s because 13-year-old Moxie, the protagonist of Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne, has discovered that the missing masterpieces are connected to her grandfather’s criminal past.

51R8ggEfzJLThe timing between the July publication date for Dionne’s novel and the FBI’s recent disclosures — that they know who stole the paintings, but have lost track of the artworks themselves — is coincidental.

Dionne, who has taught composition and creative writing at Montserrat College of Art for 10 years, has wanted to write about the stolen paintings since she first visited the Gardner as an undergraduate.

It made me angry that somebody would take something of such beauty,” she said.

But first, Dionne, who has published three previous books for “tweens,” or youths ages 8 to 12, had to create Moxie.

g0a00000000000000007be8ed51aa7577676a12b8c881cfca069bcb02c7My books usually launch from a character that I can build a narrative around,” she said. “It’s a story about family and the truth. (Moxie’s) grandfather has been honest, she knows he’s a criminal. But she has to confront, how much truth does she know, and what will she do to recover the paintings?

Moxie was worth waiting for because she has turned out to be Dionne’s first repeating character and will return in two future novels, also set in Boston.

Dionne, who lives in Framingham and attended Boston College, studied creative writing at Emerson.

When I first started pursuing my MFA, I was writing what I thought was serious fiction. It was terrible,” she said. “Then I took a writing-for-children class, and I found I had so many more interesting stories to tell.”

The preteen period of junior high school offers rich material for fiction, Dionne said.

It’s such a period of turmoil and change for all of us,” she said. “There’s a lot of potential for drama, between friends issues, family issues, figuring out who you are. It’s ripe for that.”

On Saturday June 1, Dionne will be holding a Creative Writing Retreat at Montserrat College of Art. The day will consist of morning writing from prompts, an afternoon receiving a critique of their work and an evening in lively discussion with a panel of writers who publish poetry, memoir, fiction and biography. The retreat will be led by the core faculty of creative writers at Montserrat including Dionne, Colleen Michaels and Dawn Paul.

Whether participants are novelists looking to jump start a summer goal of finishing those last—or first—chapters, poets hoping to find inspiration in a new setting or visual artists eager to test the medium of text, Montserrat’s Saturday retreat is designed to help writers of all levels move forward in their work. This course makes a wonderful companion to Shockingly Good Book Arts Course, during the week of June 24. There will also be classes focused in metal sculpture, knitting, film, acrylic, collage, portraiture, performance art, woodblock printing, comics and mixed media.

For more information about Dionne’s Summer Immersive workshop and others, visit montserrat.edu or contact Montserrat’s Continuing Education Office at ce@montserrat.edu or 978.921.4242 x1202.


www.montserrat.edu

Review of Montserrat Galleries Absent/Present in Boston Globe

What’s up at Boston-area art galleries
By Cate McQuaid |GLOBE CORRESPONDENT | MARCH 26, 2013
The Boston Globe

aProperErasure04

Absent/Present,” the two-person show featuring Kate Gilmore and Zsuzsanna Szegedi at Montserrat College of Art Gallery, started out with a fairly obvious concept. Gilmore is always present in her performance-based videos and Szegedi tends to vanish from hers. But as the exhibit developed, curator and gallery director Leonie Bradbury writes in her catalog essay, the theme played out in deeper ways.

The question of absence or presence applies as easily to the art as to the artists. Szegedi’s smart, enveloping, and elusive “A Proper Erasure” happens over time, in two spaces. She created a massive, operatic wall drawing in another gallery on campus. Three white-garbed dancers proceeded to erase the drawing with their bodies, sponges, and a damp broom.

The artist captured the performance with stop-motion photography. She projects that in a video here, and makes another wall drawing around it, which she has invited gallery visitors to erase. A separate video of that ongoing erasure runs on a monitor to one side of the drawing.

The work poignantly drives home the sheer transience of the creative process, and plays against the attachment we have to art as commodity. We witness the drawings coming to be, and fading away.

Gilmore has said she considers herself a sculptor. Her labor-intensive performances, acted out in front of a camera but not spectators, result in objects or altered environments that can be viewed as sculptures. But her videos are more than merely documents: They are works of art in themselves. Three are on view here (and no art objects — although you can see one in “PAINT THINGS: beyond the stretcher” at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum).

In “Between a Hard Place,” Gilmore, dressed in a black silk cocktail dress, black gloves, and gaudy yellow pumps, kicks and elbows her way through five gray sheetrock walls. The pretty clothes contrast with the gritty work, which would be better accomplished with the swing of a sledgehammer than a high kick with a high heel.

For Gilmore, art does not begin and end with a single object or action. So where is the art? It’s dispersed over time and space — a video here, a photograph there, a sculpture and video elsewhere, and in snippets on the Internet. That makes it harder to pin down. With Szegedi, it’s not a simple drawing, but a participatory experience of drawing and erasure. If you’re not there to experience it, you can catch it on Vimeo, where her virtual drawings may be less tangible, but they capture the swell and ebb of a drawing’s life more effectively than the object itself could.


www.montserrat.edu

SNAAP Report: Arts Degrees Valued in a New Light

SNAAP: Strategic National Arts Alumni Project is out with a new report with data indicating arts graduates view success differently than the prevailing wisdom about the value of different college majors. The SNAAP report, Painting with Broader Strokes: Reassessing the Value of an Arts Degree, includes data from nearly 14,000 arts graduates from 154 institutions. A key finding: most arts graduates are happy with their arts education and don’t view salary levels and job prospects as the dominant measures of success.

Key data points from SNAAP’s report:

• 87% are satisfied with their current jobs
• 82% are satisfied with their ability to be creative in their current primary job
• 76% of respondents would attend their degree-granting institution again
• 90% rate their arts school experience either “good” or “excellent”

Download the report at www.snaap.indiana.edu


www.montserrat.edu

Artrageous Auction Featured on Boston.com

Raul-Gonzalez-art

Image: Artwork by Raul Gonzalez III.

Beverly’s Montserrat college hosts annual ‘Artrageous’ art auction
By Terri Ogan, Globe Correspondent

Montserrat College of Art welcomes well-known Boston artist Raul Gonzalez III as the featured guest of the school’s annual art auction, Artrageous!27. All proceeds from the event go to student financial aid and scholarships.

Artrageous!27 will be held Saturday April 6 at 6 p.m. at Centennial Park in Peabody. Not only will Gonzalez feature artwork from his 2012 exhibit, Nowhere To Go But Everywhere, but students will have the opportunity to introduce their work to business professionals in the area.

We ask our current juniors and seniors to submit to the auction so they have an opportunity to get their work up on the walls and up in front of the jurors and gallery professionals,” said Erin Carter, Monsterrat’s development associate. “We had a student last year who had a piece in the live auction, there was a bidding frenzy and her piece went for a couple times her asking value and got a solo show at a shop up in Manchester as a result of her piece doing so well.”

This curated auction will feature more than 200 paintings, prints, photographs, illustrations, sculptures, jewelry, giftware and more, all donated by Montserrat alumni, faculty, staff, students, as well as important established and emerging artists from around the nation. Students will also exercise their creativity at special “Art-In-The-Moment” stations.

Born in El Paso, TX, Gonzalez was voted Boston’s best visual artist for 2010 by readers of The Boston Phoenix. His work has been exhibited in various parts of the northeast including The Drawing Center in New York, the Aidekman Gallery at Tufts University, The Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts in Boston and Ogunquit Museum of American Art. He has also been exhibited on the west coast at SCION Installation, San Francisco Art Institute and Self-Help Graphics in Los Angeles.

Gonzalez believes it is important to introduce youth to the visual arts and has taught in the education departments of Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts. After receiving a Wet Paint Grant, he then collaborated with more than 125 kids from all over Boston to create a work entitled “and their Families” for the Linde Family Wing of the Museum of Fine Arts.

For further information about Artrageous!27 tickets, advertising, sponsorship, art previews visit montserrat.edu/auction27 or contact Erin Carter at erin.carter@montserrat.edu, 978-921-4242 x1114.

>>Read this article on Boston.com


www.montserrat.edu

Leonie Bradbury Writes for New American Paintings

whatitisbackwall2

Image: Anthony Palocci Jr. Installation at Lot F Gallery

Montserrat Galleries Director and Curator Leonie Bradbury has written a piece on the New American Paintings blog about alumnus Anthony Palocci Jr. ’09.

WHAT IT IS: PAINTINGS BY ANTHONY PALOCCI JR.

Anthony Palocci (NAP #104) is a thing painter. He likes to paint things, household objects mostly, such as phones, air conditioners and ovens. He likes to paint the things that he sees in his every day life. His latest work on view at Lot F Gallery in Boston features many items taken directly from the artist’s environment. One of the most striking paintings is a huge, blue and yellow tiled shower stall straightforwardly titled Shower, 2013. Palocci includes a bit of white tile floor and a small section of wall both of which add to the lifelike quality of the image. A perspectival tour de force, the painting’s vivid colors and irregular tile pattern invite you to step right in and get wet. Across from Shower hangs the equally graphic and large-scale Tub, 2012, which features a close-up view of the faucet, drain and knobs from inside the same shower stall. All of the elements are strikingly lit from above, the light causing brightly hued, contrasting shadows underneath each knob and faucet. The drain is painted is such a simplified, direct manner that it almost becomes a cartoon rendition.

- Leonie Bradbury

>>Click here to read the article!


www.montserrat.edu

7 Social Media Marketing Tips for Artists and Galleries

Courtesy of Mashable

Artists need to embrace the fact that both their work, and they themselves as artists, are brands that must be marketed.” – Darius Himes, Asst. Director of Fraenkel Gallery, a fine art photography gallery in San Francisco.

So whether you’re an aspiring artist who wants to build an initial following, or a veteran art dealer looking to expand awareness of your brand, it pays to get savvy to new social marketing techniques to help you achieve your objectives. The following are seven strategies for more effective social marketing.

1. Optimize Your Website
2. Get Busy Blogging
3. Maximize Your Facebook Presence
4. Be Active on Twitter
5. Take Advantage of Pinterest
6. Experiment With Facebook Ads
7. Use Press Releases for Search

>>Read full article here…


www.montserrat.edu

Prof. Martha Buskirk’s Book Featured in The Salem News

Looking at the art world
By Will Broaddus Staff writer
The Salem News, November 16, 2012

When Martha Buskirk looks at contemporary art, she sees the forces that shaped it, most of which come from the art world where it appears.

I’m looking at contemporary art and trying to think about how both its incorporation into museums, and its promotion as part of an art marketplace, changes the nature of art itself,” said Buskirk, a professor of art history and criticism at Montserrat College of Art.

In her book Creative Enterprise: Contemporary Art Between Museum and Marketplace, published this spring, Buskirk spends a chapter discussing “Yard” by Allan Kaprow, a work that has been displayed “at least 10 times” since 1961.

The installation is a collection of automobile tires, which visitors are free to rearrange as they please, and that Kaprow has also varied over time.

In 1991, instead of having tires all around the place, they were presented on orderly racks against pink walls with a Fiat parked in front,” Buskirk said.

By changing to reflect Kaprow’s evolving ideas of what art should be, the work embodies the themes of Buskirk’s book.

The artist is part of a larger set of forces,” she said. “The larger set of forces wind up intersecting with the creation of the work over time.”

Buskirk will lecture on those forces in December, at Art Basel in Miami, which she calls “a huge art market” that is becoming a center of the art world.

Her talk will be on the itinerary of a “Behind the Scenes” expedition — led by Montserrat Gallery director Leonie Bradbury — which is being offered to the public during the college’s winter session.

Courtesy of The Salem News


www.montserrat.edu

College degree is still worth it, despite soaring costs

Reproduced from lifeinc.today.com by Jean Chatzky, TODAY

Over half of recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed, meaning their jobs don’t fully use their skills or knowledge. This is prompting many to ask, is higher education really worth the cost? TODAY financial editor shares one recent grad’s story and offers her own perspective.

The skyrocketing cost of a college education and frustratingly low job prospects have more young Americans questioning the value of a higher education.
Is saddling yourself with so much early in your career worth it?

The simple answer is yes.

Click here to read more:

Continue reading

The Boston Globe Reviews the Guerrilla Girls and Hannah Verlin

Image: Montserrat College of Art Director Leonie Bradbury with Guerrilla Girls signage.

What’s up at Boston-area art galleries
By Cate McQuaid | OCT. 02, 2012

BEVERLY — The art world keeps inviting the Guerrilla Girls in, which puts the undercover artist activist group in a strange position. It’s hard to be incendiary, let alone provocative, when the institutions you critique are welcoming your work. Still, “Not Ready to Make Nice, Guerrilla Girls in the Art World and Beyond,” now up at Montserrat College of Art, startles with both humor and facts.

That’s what has made the Guerrilla Girls so effective since they began their campaign to expose art world sexism and racism back in 1985, making anonymous appearances in gorilla masks and posting fliers on New York streets, tallying women represented in museums and galleries there. The group is still actively counting — for this show, its members paid a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts and estimated that just 11 percent of artists in the museum’s collection are women.

Continue reading

Montserrat: A Renowned Art Conservatory of Global Excellence

Montserrat College of Art is definitely a beautiful place under the sun to learn, enjoy, and experience the art culture as a way of life.”

Thank you zimbio.com for this great feature!
By AlfredOliver, originally posted July 17, 2012

Arts and Crafts have been one of the greatest gifts bestowed upon mankind. Therefore, developing and conserving it is an integral responsibility of the humanity. Montserrat College of Art was also founded by a group of artists with this noble motive in mind and today the institution is functioning well to achieve that sole purpose to the fullest possible extent. It has now grown to become an autonomous institution of global repute offering a wide variety of courses in various disciplines of visual arts. Its curriculum is challenging and it does not compromise the needs of every individual student, with unique talents, coming from varied backgrounds. In fact, this was also one of the primary doctrines of the institution when it was established for the first time.

The sprawling seaside campus of Montserrat College of Art is located in the beautiful coastal city of Beverly, Massachusetts. Beverly in itself is a city of profound cultural heritage. It is commonly known as the “birth place of American Industrial Revolution” and also the “birthplace of American Navy”. This city houses many galleries, non-profit music theatres (The North Shore Music Theatre is a fine example) and popular museums like the Beverly Historical Society and Museum.

Such a culturally extensive neighborhood makes it an ideal location for an art school. This gives students of art the much needed exposure to stay updated about the latest events in the world of art. The presence of restaurants with an assortment of global cuisines, a station with a good frequency of trains connecting it to other important locations in the vicinity, art supply stores, boutiques, food markets and a host of other such places makes it a very accessible campus for the students.

Here, all academic programs are aptly designed to nurture and hone the skills of the students so that they would be able to think and independently create masterpieces of highest artistic excellence once when they graduate out. These are achieved with a curriculum that assesses and documents the abilities of the students over a period of four year. It also consists of open house programs giving place for public interaction through a series of exhibitions, lecture talks on general art topics, and other such events well spaced throughout the year. So, Montserrat College of Art is definitely a beautiful place under the sun to learn, enjoy, and experience the art culture as a way of life.

- zimbio.com


www.montserrat.edu

Mary Bucci McCoy’s Article in Art New England Magazine

Prof. Barbara Moody, Prof. Rose Olson, Asst. Prof. Stacy Thomas-Vickory, Asst. Prof. Len Thomas-Vickory, Instructor Elizabeth Alexander, alumnus Bradford Rusick ’08, 17 Cox, [Space] and many more from the Montserrat community were mentioned in Instructor Mary Bucci McCoy‘s column Cape Ann Contemporary in Art New England Magazine!

>>Click here to read full piece!


www.montserrat.edu

Greg Cook in Juxtapoz and Art New England

Instructor Greg Cook has published a profile of Brian Chippendale, co-founder of Fort Thunder in Providence, in the June issue of the national art magazine, Juxtapoz!

This follows his article on links between 20th century art in Boston, Chicago and California that appears in the May/June issue of Art New England, which was based in part on a research trip he made to Los Angeles in January with faculty development grant funding from Montserrat College of Art!

>>Preview June issue of Juxtapoz!
>>Read Cook’s piece in Art New England!


www.montserrat.edu

The Benefits of Small Colleges

Montserrat College of Art makes the list for the top 20 smallest colleges in the U.S.

Serge Consulting, March 31, 2012:

Small colleges aren’t on most high school students’ radar. But small colleges have a lot to offer prospective students – even the very smallest colleges. Not everyone likes the idea of being a tiny fish in a gigantic pond. Attend a small college, and you have a good chance of becoming a big fish. So what if it’s a relatively tiny pond?

Small colleges mean small classes, and classes taught by tenured professors instead of assistants, graduate students, or adjuncts. You get more opportunities to participate in classroom discussions, along with better access to faculty. Faculty that, we should add, is often more dedicated to teaching than they are to research. Another benefit of the lower student to professor ratio at smaller colleges is that you are more likely to be graded fairly – and to get high-quality feedback on your work.

At many small colleges, there is more freedom built into the curriculum to create a unique concentration or major that is precisely in line with your interests. There are often fewer core classes that all students are required to take and even opportunities to collaborate directly with the faculty on high level projects related to your major. You may find it easier to access research programs as an undergrad, simply because professors who are doing research are happy for the help.

What else is great about small colleges? Many students who choose schools that fall outside of the mainstream report less bureaucracy. No huge lines on registration day, trying to talk your way into full classes, or dealing with advisors who can’t even remember your name. In fact, that may be the very best thing about attending a small college… that the administration and faculty have a chance to get to know you, and you have a chance to get to know them.


www.montserrat.edu

Marjorie Augenbraum: Beverly Citizen Art Talk

Look; ‘Art’ Stands for Meaning
By Marjorie Augenbraum
Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs

The oldest objects that the Western world calls “art” were made approximately 30,000 years ago. One is a carving in the shape of a man with the head of a lion. Another is an array of drawings of animals on the walls of a cave. What is most fascinating is that they were made at all.

In our day and age many consider art an “extra,” something we visit in a museum. When the priorities of life are considered, art often does not make the list. But is that right?

In many early cultures, there was no word for “art.” Objects had a purpose. Even later, art stood for meaning. Recently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art there was an exhibition of Renaissance-era portraits. They weren’t created to be decoration. They documented the lives of real people. Portraits are visual mementos, a kind of summary of a life. If we look, each portrait will tell us a lot.

Last year the Peabody-Essex Museum exhibited 19th century American landscape paintings from the New York Historical Society. Although they display a lot of precision, these paintings were not made as leaf-by-leaf exact reproductions of particular locations. They are representations of real sites, enhanced by not a little artistic license, but why the explosion of landscape paintings at that particular time? They resulted in part from a search for the answer to the question, “What is American?” Throughout the 19th century this question arose in many areas of American culture. The painters of the Hudson River School put their stake in the ground. Many of these landscape paintings are meant to reveal the country’s potential, but also by extension the potential of its people. Just look at the vastness and the variety the artists show us.

Of course, it is unfair and untrue to classify all art as “functional” or containing a message. One of the most intriguing American artists, James McNeill Whistler, stood at the exact opposite pole. The meaning in Whistler’s work is in the very fact of its lack of message. Whistler immerses us in mood and sensation. The aesthetics are the “meaning.” Later, in the paintings of Mark Rothko there are no recognizable objects. The painting itself, as a whole, is the object and is offered to us by the artist for reflection and contemplation.

So, back to the lion-headed human and cave paintings. They must have emerged from some need or compulsion. After all, the people who made them were living a harsh Ice Age existence. It’s difficult to believe they had inclinations toward “extras” or luxuries. They had to carry their belongings around, so the objects must have had importance. And people returned to the same caves over centuries, adding new drawings and paintings to the existing work. Whatever those objects and paintings meant, they were carefully made and highly regarded. Art was not extra. It never has been. We just need to look.

As featured in the Beverly Citizen


www.montserrat.edu

Julie O’Boyle: Fashion Forward Blogger

Alumna Julie O’Boyle ’06 is the face and voice behind her fashion blog Orchid Grey. After graduating from Montserrat with the Excellence in Photography Award, O’Boyle worked in Montserrat’s Admissions Department for a while before branching off and creating Orchid Grey! Last October, she moved to Philadelphia to work at ModCloth.com, an online retailer, where she is their Fashion and Blog Writer.

O’Boyle was recently down in Texas to make an appearance at SXSW where she discussed fashion and blogging on a panel at the Texas Style Council Conference (March 9-11).

I started Orchid Grey as a way to be more outgoing with my clothing choices and to connect with other people who had similar interests as myself,” O’Boyle said. “My blog helped me realize that I could take the leap and pursue what I am passionate about.”

Read her full feature in The Daily Texan here…


www.montserrat.edu

Erin Dionne featured in The Boston Globe West

Assoc. Prof. Erin Dionne was featured in The Boston Globe West for her most recent novel Notes from an Accidental Band Geek!

Erin Dionne, Framingham (preteen novelist)
Notes from an Accidental Band Geek

What led up to this book: ‘‘I participated in marching band in high school and at Boston College. Being part of a school marching band is a bizarre experience that a lot of people don’t know about. After my first two books sold, my former editor said she would love it if someone wrote a novel set amidst a school marching band. While this book includes a lot of the experiences I had as part of a band, including marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which we did while I was at BC, it’s not a story about me. I played piccolo and flute; my main character plays brass. She’s standoffish and prickly and snobbish; I am not.’’

What’s in store for 2012: Dionne’s first project is to deliver her second child, due this month. After that, she’ll be completing her next age-group novel, scheduled for publication in 2013.

Click here to read the full article in The Boston Globe West!


www.montserrat.edu

President Immerman and the Creative Economy

President Steve Immerman discusses his thoughts on the Creative Economy in the Salem News as a follow-up to his piece in the New England Board of Higher Education’s Journal.  Immerman strongly feels as though the foundation of our nation’s STEM curriculum (science, technology, engineering and math), which many fundamental leaders find as key to the economy, should be a STEAM curriculum, including the arts. President Immerman’s voice is one of countless others who reinforce the crucial role that Arts Education has on the future of America.

Montserrat President Sees Arts as Vital to Economy: Read full article in the Salem News

Immerman was also mentioned in the North Shore Chamber of Commerce Economic Development & Public Policy Blog.


www.montserrat.edu

President Immerman’s STEAM Article in The New England Journal of Higher Education

Asst. Prof. Tim Harney’s "The Magician and the Trick with Doves"

President Steve Immerman’s article on “STEAM not STEM” was published in this week’s New England Journal of Higher Education entitled Letting Off STEAM at Montserrat College of Art. He discussed the necessary innovative skills that students need to succeed in today’s ever changing creative economy and emphasized how essential an education that stimulates creativity and innovation is in today’s climate.

President Immerman is among several other important figures who are constantly promoting the idea that the existing foundation on STEM educational framework (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) should also include an equivalent concentration on Arts and Design.

“Our thinking about education needs to shift from preparing students for specific careers, to preparing students for careers we have not yet even imagined,” said Immerman. “Visual Arts education also demands strong problem-solving skills, engages students in the processes of critical analysis, and prepares students for the give and take of collaborative work. All these perspectives, experiences and skills are central to adaptable and creative lives and careers, regardless of the path an individual student may take.”

Read the full article in The New England Journal of Higher Education.


www.montserrat.edu