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All of the Above


On one of the rare weekends this summer we weren’t camping, my husband and I attended our church’s outdoor service. We sat beneath an umbrella on a beautiful morning, the sky broad above us. Our friend, Niesje was leading worship. Before beginning a song about bringing Heaven to Earth, she reminded the congregation that, with God, anything can happen. 


God often speaks to me in wordplay (I like to call Him the Wordsmith). As Niesje spoke, I heard in my heart the phrase “all of the above.” Such words and phrases usually arrive simultaneously with layers of meaning, and it can take me a moment to unfurl them. One layer to “all of the above” was Heaven, as in: all of what is higher, all of what is possible. At that moment, beneath the expansive sky, I was reminded of the vastness of possibility. 


But “all of the above” also referred to that pesky option on multiple-choice tests. 


I was never a good test taker. I could study, and I did—hard. But because I didn’t have the knack of knowing what test makers expected, I spent way too much time trying to memorize things instead of learning their context and how they worked together. 


When required to answer essay questions, I could “show” my work and explain nuances, which helped. But for multiple choice tests, there is just one right answer. Pretty black and white. Unless there is the shades-of-gray option D: All of the above. 


In school, I loved and hated “all of the above.” It meant there was more than one correct answer (which I secretly believed about most everything). But it also meant I’d have to know the subject well enough to know that A, B, and C were all correct, too. 


That Sunday beneath the Heavens, I recognized that I’d been slipping back into old patterns of limited, either/or thinking—of believing I’d have to choose just A, B, or C. I was reminded that God is big enough to be both/and—even big enough to offer an alphabet-length set of options and for all of them to be possible! He is big enough to offer all of the above.


I was recently reading about dialectics, which is basically a fancy way to say “both/and” thinking. It’s the paradox of seemingly contradictory things being true, like feeling sad and hopeful at the same time. In other words, there is usually more than one “correct” answer—or at least more than one way to arrive at it. 


Life will throw tests at us—both essay and multiple choice. But it helps to remember that God offers more answers than any test key. It also helps to remember that He is not sitting around in Heaven with a big red pen, waiting to tally our mistakes and write a low score across our lives. In fact, I have a feeling God isn’t really into tests. Humans? For some reason, we seem to like them. So here’s a test on subject matter I’m trying not to memorize but to learn, to embody: 


A. God is not a test maker, waiting to fail us


B. God is love, and love is BIG: bigger than our closed either/or thinking and bigger than our most open and noble imaginings


C. He invites us to dream with Him and Heaven—to get to know Him well and to embrace the mystery of what we do not know


D. All of the above

 

 

Truth Teller Tribe Returns

During my 40 some years of being an artist and teacher, Tribes of Truth Tellers have manifested themselves in many ways.

I taught Sculpture for many years in public schools and tall, cylindrical sculptural forms showed up in paper maché and clay forms. It was so fascinating to see the variety of expressions that resulted when a challenge was put forth to 30 students and they found 30 ways to express it. I worked along with them in order to teach technique. As always happens, we all inspired each other to make our sculptures unique.

The Tribe has also shown up in layered textural acrylic paintings and in collaged, cut, and layered painted paper forms. These two new ones are acrylics painted on paper with a forest in mind. However, the Tribe inserted itself into my consciousness, so I cut them free from each other and re-assembled them on painted wooden panels. I also cut a tree from another painting to add to the mystery.

There they were in all their glory, telling me Truths I hadn’t known before. As it turns out, the story they tell each viewer is specifically tailored to each individual.

Brief Beauty

So brief, these.

So long from seed to blossom

then so quick to drop their petals.

But worth the pink while.

The Art Inspector: Saving the Earth by Changing Art

Danielle Siembieda-Gribben

Originally Posted at the Huffington Post: 02/27/2013 3:23 pm…But more relevant than ever today! Originally reposted by SOAR on 2/28/2013.

Creative industries have changed standards and best practices to adopt sustainable and environmental techniques in design and production. Architecture has adopted LEED Performance design into standard practice, and Industrial Design begins with thinking about the end of life of a product and how to leave the least amount of impact on the environment. Both of these industries fought for decades, since the 1970s, against changing habits, systems and academic content. Resistors during the transformation proclaimed they would all go out of business; it was impossible to get all stakeholders on board; and they didn’t want to be creatively strangled.

This shared history of transforming creative industry leads us to a problem we are facing within the Art world. Can artists change the way they create work to make a healthier planet? Personally, I believe so, however, with the inclusion of all key players from the art world, including: art institutions, art media, academia, retailer/manufacturers, collectors and artists. Art seeds culture and influences public behavior. If artists can change their standard of practice then the rest of the world will follow.

2013-02-27-artinspector2.jpg
Art Inspector assessing quilters studio. Photo by Wendy Crockett.

How is this transformation possible? Incorporating a triangle approach to such transformation is The Art Inspector, a social practice artwork I founded during my candidacy for a Masters in Fine Arts at San Jose State University, uses a Healthy Art Program (education), Legislative Reform (advocacy) and Third Party Inspections (studio assessments). This project started a few years ago when I noticed fellow studio mates as well as the art school itself seemingly unconsciously teaching and using harmful applications and techniques, disposing of waste, and ineffectively ventilating rooms. I noticed piles of plastic thrown into dumpsters, studio lights left on for what seemed 24 hours at a time, and complete negligence when using harsh chemicals. In my studio, a rusty cabinet labeled “Store Harsh Chemicals Here,” written upon faded masking tape, hosted a dusty plastic binder labeled MSDS Sheets. Taking a closer look, I realized no one had taught me what Material Safety Data Sheets meant and how they might apply to what I do. I asked around to other artists what they might know about these sheets and what they thought about what they were using and how they were disposing of extra material. Many artists noted that they knew someone, or had experienced themselves, long term health problems from misuse of chemicals in the creation of artwork. Most artists intuitively believed that there was a better way to develop their work and acknowledge the harm of some of the materials, but did not know what to do about it or did not see change as a high priority.

Inspired by artworks using methods of Intervention Art which take on the roles and aesthetics of corporations and disrupt systems in unexpected ways, such as the Yes Men and Luther Thie, I decided to become an Art Inspector. Within construction and manufacturing, unaffiliated auditors determine if a building or product can be certified as sustainable. If deemed so, doors open for prospective buyers and subsidies. I wanted to take this method to the Art World.

But how does a third party inspection work? There are at least two inspections to take place. The initial inspection starts with an intake form that asks questions to each artist about their studio environment, materials they are using, and the type of machines or equipment that use power. During this process a series of tests are conducted using similar equipment used for energy audits in residential homes. The Art Inspector tests power outlets, lighting and occupancy, ventilation and Volatile Organic Compounds. Once the inspection process is finished, The Art Inspector will write up a report based on the data collected and make suggestions for alternatives and improvements to artists studios and the working process. If the artist makes the recommended modifications, The Art Inspector will return for a re-inspection and award a Healthy Art Certification if the artist passes.

2013-02-27-artinspector3.jpg
Paint waste from inspection of painter’s studio. Photo by Wendy Crockett.

Artists who fail inspection or those who are interested in diving deeper into changing their habits can join the Healthy Art Program. Various workshops ranging from green materials, sustainable wood products, energy efficiency, lighting and safety are available to artists at varying partner institutions. If the artists are supplied with resources and knowledge, they will be empowered to change. The final part of The Art Inspector is to advocate for change in policy and curriculum on both an institutional and government level. Working with academic and museum institutions to adopt new values and requirements for artworks to be created sustainably will create a shift in the resources for production of art. If a major contemporary art museum such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art sets a standard for new works to be exhibited using a significant amount of low impact materials and works with third party agents such as The Art Inspector, then other practitioners will follow. With this same concept, Public Art Programs can adopt LEED standards into creation of artworks in the public realm.

Even today these concepts of change in the Art World are seen as radical and frightening to some. However, many artists are willing to do what they do best, experiment with new ideas. With the vision of The Art Inspector, we will open up the avenues to sustainable living, healthy living, and simultaneously, changing the way we make art.

Follow Danielle Siembieda-Gribben on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Art_Inspector

Visit the Art Inspector website here: http://artinspector.org/

Yellow: A Month of Focus On One Color

Yellow! To explain, this May I am taking a beginning still life class with artist Karen O’Neil instructing. It is an online class offered by The Art Student’s League of NYC. And, we are exploring the color yellow. Warm or Cool? You might think, or rather I might think, that yellow is yellow. What else …

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The post Yellow: A Month of Focus On One Color appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

May-June 2021 Art Opportunities


Ashland Galleries
May Visual Arts News
May = Art Opportunities

We’re excited to share a handful of art opportunities that are being offered this month to foster your inner creativity.
 
Allen Smith, Skin, Oil on Paper

Central Art Gallery
Display Your Artwork!
Deadline: No Deadline 
Central Art Gallery is a 650 square foot exhibition space located at 101 N. Central Avenue in Medford. The gallery will be offering exhibition opportunities for visual artists monthly during Downtown Medford’s Third Friday Art Walk.  

For those who are interested in participating, please click here or email all inquiries to [email protected]


Sarah F Burns, Late Spring, Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR, Oil on Panel

ART BEYOND
Saturday in the Park: Lithia Park Plein Air Painting Event 

Saturday, June 19, 2021 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Open to all, artists can come and go throughout the day. The general public will be encouraged to engage with the artists between 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. where artists can talk about their work and process. Artists will be invited to show one piece created at this event at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum from June 21 – September 16, 2021. Art will be sold at and by ScienceWorks, with 50% of sales prices going to the artist and 50% to ScienceWorks.

Please register here to be a participating artist by June 1, 2021.


Charlotte Peterson, Three Pink Ladies, Watercolor

The Rogue Gallery & Art Center 
Community Gallery Exhibitions
Deadline: Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Rogue Gallery & Art Center invites artists to submit a portfolio of work for the 2022 Community Gallery Exhibition Series. The gallery is a smaller, more intimate exhibition space. Shows include one artist and special themed exhibitions. Artists working in all media are encouraged to apply.

For those who are interested in participating, please click here or email all inquiries to [email protected]


Northwest Ceramics Studio

Northwest Ceramics Studio
Ceramic In-Person Classes
May 20, 2021 
Times Vary 

Come have fun and get a little dirty at Northwest Ceramics! They offer ceramic classes at all different levels. It is recommended to register for classes early due to small class sizes.

As of right now, a Beginning Hand-Building Workshop and One Time Clay Class on the Pottery Wheel are available. For more information, please visit, https://www.northwestceramicstudio.com/book-online



Vince Carl, Wound for Rebound, Acrylic

Grants Pass Museum of Art
Rogue Valley Biennial 

Deadline: May 16 and May 17
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

  The Grants Pass Museum of Art is hosting the Rogue Valley Biennial and the exhibition will be juried IN PERSON! The call for art is open to artists living in Jackson and Josephine counties only. Artist(s) must be able to hand deliver artwork on May 16 or May 17 between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. for jury consideration.

For those who are interested in participating, please click here or email all inquiries to o[email protected]

Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Thank You! 

To thank and support the Ashland Gallery Association, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is offering a couple of discount codes to view performances. How exciting! 

Currently streaming until May 29 is Snow in Midsummer. This 2018 U.S. premiere production interweaves two stories of a young woman who curses her city from beyond the grave, and of a wealthy businesswoman who must face the parched, locust-plagued city. This modern ghost story beautifully reimagines a classic myth and explores the legacy of trauma, the heart of injustice, and the lengths to which we go for love.

Length: Approximately 2 hours, 25 minutes, with one intermission.
  Codes:
$5.00 Tiks Code: Connects (If you’re experiencing a hardship) 
$5.00 Student Tik Code: StudentSpring5 
$10.00 Indigenous Community Code: IndianC10Spring 
$10.00 Theatre Lovers of Color Code: TLOC10Spring 
$10.00 Teachers for Social Justice Code: T4SJ10Spring 
$15.00 Group Price (Up to 30 people: per show/per group) 
https://www.osfashland.org/en/shows-on-o/groups.aspx
 
Website:
https://www.osfashland.org/en/productions/2021-digital-plays/d-snow-in-midsummer.aspx

Copyright © 2021 Ashland Gallery Association, All rights reserved.

Of literature & Landscaping

 

I am being lazy on the literary front by not writing something fresh for this post, but all my spring creativity has been going toward landscaping!

So for this month, I’ll just say: I am delighted to have won an Oregon Book Award for my poetry collection, Hope of Stones. It was far more rewarding than making my own mulch! Immense gratitude to everyone at Literary Arts for honoring these poems and to dear Press 53 for publishing them. 

Here’s to words and wheelbarrows and wonder,

Anna 

Oh, So Many Choices

Oh, So Many Choices

I have used collage as a technique in some of my paintings for many years. I also keep every scrap of paper left over in case I need it later on in another painting. Needless to say, I have hundreds, maybe thousands of colorful scraps in my flat files.

It struck me that I actually could never need to paint on another clean white sheet of paper again.  Of course, that is an impossible thought because I love those clean white sheets and watching the images appear in the layers of color and texture applied. But I did decide to dive into an exploration of only using already existing scraps to collage together new creations.

With three different sizes of cradle board surfaces to collage onto which gave me some structure as well as variety. I started by letting my intuition guide me to select scraps as anchors or focal points to build onto.

This is where the plot thickens. Every piece I added affected every other decision and the possibilities were so immense that my mind boggled. Since pieces were still loose, I took photos so when it was time to glue, I’d have a map. Well, there was still so much fluidity that the glued results were never exactly according to plan.  

The Home Planet

Being used to following circuitous threads, I am pleased with the results.

The Poet Wonders

Nationally, it has been poetry month, but personally, it has been gardening month (with plenty of gravel schlepping!). In the realm of poetry, my collection Hope of Stones was nominated as a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards. I wait to hear the results. In the realm of gardening, I planted seeds. I wait to see the results. 

 

I’ve always honored the timeless metaphor of a garden, but it’s one thing to write about it. It’s another to prepare the soil and plant the physical seeds. 

 

Since I’ve spent far more time with a shovel than a pen this month, I thought I’d pull out a poem from Hope of Stones. Unlike the opening line, it is still the “month of April & maybes.” So much waiting. And even more than the results of the book awards, I am excited to see what this coming harvest season will bring. 

 

The Poet Wonders

Oregon, October

 

The more I wonder, the more I love.—Alice Walker

 

It is no longer the month of April & maybes. 

It’s October & root vegetables—the soil-

pulled concretions of harvest. What we seeded 

in spring has grown up & down & waits 

for us to lift it from the skin of earth. 

 

How silent prayer was revelation & heresy.

 

The clouds roll in. The leaves redden. 

The cat’s coat thickens. We gather 

the tangible close & prepare for cold. 

 

How physics is the science of prayer.

 

One friend is dying. Another is trying to love 

someone who doesn’t love her back. 

 

I visit the first friend, & we sit on his deck 

watching tractors in the adjacent forest dig 

foundations for new houses he will never see. 

 

I visit the other friend & notice the old 

potatoes she keeps on a shelf. They’ve 

shriveled a bit but have new eyes—new shoots 

already looking for somewhere else to grow.  

 

How a perennial can inspire prayer.

 

Oregon Fringe Festival 2021 Schedule

2021 Oregon Fringe Festival is HERE!

Thursday, April 29 – Saturday, May 1, 2021

This year’s festival will take place online and feature outdoor art installations located on the SOU campus.

https://oregonfringefestival.org/2021-off

This is a free, virtual, and in-person event. Submission fees do not apply.

The Oregon Fringe Festival is excited to announce that this year’s schedule is HERE! Please visit our website or review the pdf below (it’s a large file, so please give it a moment to load and/or refresh the page if it doesn’t display) for a complete list of performances and exhibitions. We’ve included dates and times, descriptions, performance links, and more. Don’t forget to follow us on social media either! Festival highlights will be covered in addition to other pertinent information.

Facebook and Instagram: @oregonfringe

(Ashland, Ore.) Each spring, the Oregon Center for the Arts produces the Oregon Fringe Festival (OFF), a multi-day event bringing together emerging creators and real-world artistic practitioners to share their respective experiences and to engage with each other’s work. The festival’s mission is simple: to provide a boundary-breaking platform for free expression and to celebrate unconventional art and unconventional spaces.

This year, we are excited to announce that the OFF will feature over 50 acts from over 40 different artists. From live virtual performances to artist lectures/workshops, an extensive virtual gallery, and outdoor art installations, viewers will have the opportunity to interact with a variety of creative work.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend our events. If you are a person with a disability who requires accommodation(s) in order to participate in this festival, then please contact Disability Resources at [email protected] in advance.

The OFF is committed to providing a boundary-breaking platform for free expression that amplifies the voices of those who are all too unrepresented in the creative arts industry. A lens focusing on equity, diversity, and inclusion will filter our selection process for all projects submitted.

About the Oregon Center for the Arts:

The Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University serves as a creative catalyst for the mixture of students, educators, and artists from the state, the nation and the world. The beautiful Southern Oregon mountain setting provides a special place to learn, explore and train in all of the arts disciplines.

Visit: oca.sou.edu

About Southern Oregon University:

Southern Oregon University is 175 acres of beautifully maintained campus with outstanding facilities, occupied by a committed and well-respected faculty and talented students. SOU’s vision is to be an inclusive, sustainable university for the future. Faculty, staff and leadership collaborate to achieve those ideals, and are united in their dedication to the students who will create lives of purpose and fulfill our region’s promise. SOU enhances the economic, cultural and social well-being of southern

Oregon, and helps its students learn the skills to work both independently and collaboratively, be adaptable and embrace creativity. Its diversity gives SOU both texture and strength. Students’ thoughtfully shared points of view are valued and respected.

Visit: sou.edu