Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Art of Compromise (or Compromising Art?)

This St. Paul, Minn. school struggled with a quandary: How do they teach art to Muslim students who are not allowed to create human images?

According to this article:

That presented a challenge for Higher Ground Academy, a K-12 school just west of Central High School on Marshall Avenue that has about 450 students. About 70 percent of them are Muslim immigrants from eastern Africa.

Executive Director Bill Wilson said he had concerns for some time about how to reconcile the school's art curriculum with the views of Muslim families, but the departure of the art teacher at the end of last school year gave him a window to act.

This fall, he hired ArtStart, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization, to offer more options for about 150 kindergartners through second-graders, including visual arts and drumming. But parents were still upset that their children were drawing figures, Wilson said, and some pulled their children out of art class altogether.

Wilson then sat down with teacher and parent liaison Abdirahman Sheikh Omar Ahmad, who also is the imam at an Islamic center in Minneapolis, to work with ArtStart in determining how to meet state standards without running afoul of Muslim doctrine.
Part of me is glad that we live in a society that can accomodate and adjust, and respect cultural beliefs that have become religious dogma (and that we can serve as an example to societies that have zero capacity to adjust), and yet, part of me is a little concerned, although I am not really sure why.

Read the whole story here.

Bethesda International

The 4th Annual Bethesda International Photo Competition opened last night and the gallery was packed! Curator Catriona Fraser selected the following photographers as the award winners:
Best in Show: Lee Goodwin
First Prize: Adriana Echavarria
Second Prize: David Myers
Third Prize: Prescott Lassman

See all exhibited photos here. Below are some pics from the opening:

packed house

Packed gallery listens as award winners are announced

award winners being announced
Another view of the award announcement

Catriona Fraser and Lida Moser
Catriona Fraser and the legendary Lida Moser

main wall of gallery
Main wall of the gallery

"How to Get Noticed" Panel at the Arlington Arts Center

Next Wednesday the Arlington Arts Center is hosting a workshop titled "How to Get Your Work Noticed by the press, galleries, and museums." The workshop runs from 7-9:30 pm on Wednesday, March 15, and will be held at the Tiffany Gallery in the Center.

The panelists are:
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post Art Critic
Lee Lawrence - Contributing Editor for American Style Magazine
Claire Huschle - Executive Director- Arlington Arts Center
Phylis Rosenzweig - Former Curator, Hirshhorn Museum
and Me!

The panel will take questions from the audience, as well as answer the following questions from the moderator (which I think are quite good):

1) In what context(s) do you come across a new artist’s work? (Press release? Gallery visit? Art or craft fair? Referral?) Do you have one way that you prefer?

2) What is the most effective "marketing" tool that an artist can have today, besides high-quality slides and/or images? Website? Blog? Resume? Etc.

3) Is there more than one person at your publication/business/project that covers similar material? How important is it to get the right information to the right person from the start?

4) How aggressive is too aggressive for an artist to be in trying to get a review/ exhibition?

5) The biggest faux pas an artist can make in approaching a reviewer/gallerist/curator is ___?

6) The most important thing an artist should, but probably doesn’t, know about the press, galleries, or museum exhibitions is ___?

7) Do you recognize any trends in your field that artists should pay attention to?

Cost: $40 in advance - $45 at the door. To register, call the Arlington Arts Center at 703-248-6800. They will take credit cards over the phone.

Arlington Arts Center
Tiffany Theater
3550 Wilson Boulevard
Right across from the Virginia Square subway
Arlington, Virginia

See ya there!