Monday, April 06, 2009

NGA Partnership Encourages Children Artists

By Prelli Williams

Last March 5, it seemed that the National Gallery of Art moved to J.C. Nalle Elementary School in Southeast Washington as attendees marveled at the student Art exhibition of clay sculptures created by fifth grade students while the fourth graders recited Haiku poems as they stood beneath Drip paintings in the main corridor.

Principal Kim Burke said that a team of fifth grade teachers had submitted a proposal to the NGA, then the school was interviewed, and were finally selected out of eleven other schools that went through the process leading to a partnership between J. C. Nalle Elementary School and the National Gallery of Art.

Sara Mark Lesk, Coordinator of Art Around the Corner said that Nalle students visited the National Gallery of Art multiple times to experience works of art, develop their critical thinking skills through active looking, and explore creativity through art making. All lessons complied with the DCPS curriculum.

Student Brianna Hooks delivered the Welcome Address and the Gallery teachers presented certificates to eighty-six fourth and fifth grade participants. “This is awesome,” said Prelli Williams of Ward 7 Arts Collaborative to teachers Ms. Jones and Ms. Preston as Dr. Buaful, Ms. Staffer, Ms. Surles watched the fifth grade perform “A Day at the NGA” inspired by Art Around the Corner, and directed by Ms. Bailey.

A family activity making Clay Creatures ended with a dessert reception. The Mark and Carol Hyman Fund, The Mead Family Foundation, and the Janice H. Levin Fund made Art Around the Corner possible.

First Rocky, now...

A corner of Philadelphia's Ben Franklin Parkway lost all of its Alexander Calders this week.

For more than four years, sculptures by the inventor of the mobile adorned the grassy, tree-dotted Calder Garden bordering 22d Street - a two-acre plot once eyed for a Calder museum.

A few years ago, 11 works - 10 stationary ones called stabiles and a hybrid with a movable top - were scattered there.

As of Sunday, seven remained, including the bright-orange Jerusalem Stabile.

Yesterday morning, the last piece was carted away, and the Calder Garden was no more.
Read the Peter Mucha Inky story here.

Do this: lottoHEART

Deadline to register: April 10th, 2009

CAMP Rehoboth in Delaware is an awesome GBLT advocacy group has grown up from a grassroots effort reacting to a health epidemic to a powerhouse fighting for human equality.

For the eighth year, my good friend Sondra Arkin is the co-chair of their annual art event and they’ve made some big changes this year! And both her and I are inviting you to be part of this project.

We are asking Mid-Atlantic artists we admire to create two original, postcard-sized (5" x 7" exactly) works in any medium. All works are donations and will be sold for $100 — the catch is that your identity will not be known by the buyer until after the purchase. Also, the order in which a buyer gets to select their art is random and will be pulled off as part of a lively night of entertainment. One piece goes into the LottoHEART where the buyers select at the event (July 3rd), and the other will go into our Blind Date group (literally wrapped and random) for buyers who might not want to choose or who may not be able to come to the event.

While the exhibition is anonymous, they will heavily publicize the names of the participating artists and provide a web catalog immediately following the event. There is no theme — just stick to the size restriction. To help with this, they will provide you with two 5 x 7” hardboards free of charge if you would like. Please indicate that you would like them on your registration form or in your registration email.

You may mail or fax in the form or register at this website.

The deadline for registration is April 10th — but since the project is limited to 200 artists, I urge you to sign up today. Your work is due by June 15th.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sondra at (202) 588-1764 or at

Review of my last curatorial task

"Even in the world of visual art — where originality is routinely faked or manufactured when it cannot be had by honest means — the Cuban-American artist, critic and frequent National Public Radio commentator cuts an unusually distinctive figure.

You can hear it in the streetwise mix of Latin and Brooklyn cadences with which the former Navy man — whose career included stints as both an officer and an enlisted man — sizes up and translates high-art themes in his thoughtful videos and radio narratives. You can trace it in the muscular leaps of taste and logic found in his pioneering art blog, where the one-time student of the great African-American artist Jacob Lawrence and devotee of visionary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo shows he's capable of embracing old-school aesthetic values, a populist kind of viewer's stance and the contemporary fondness for quirkiness in the very same sentence.

You can also see it in the 19th Annual Mid-Atlantic Art Exhibition at Norfolk's d'Art Center, where Campello's online prominence and long experience as a juror drew nearly 625 entries from 17 states, then distilled them into a formidable show of 61 pieces."
Art critic Mark St. John Erickson reviews Norfolk's D'Art Center's annual Mid Atlantic Competition and has some very nice things to say about both the exhibition and yours truly. Read it here.

The Declaration of Arbroath

Americans have not been the only people who have fought English armies for independence. England's own neighbor to the North, Scotland (where I lived for three years and visit often and love dearly) has fought English aggression for centuries.

Today marks the 1,690th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, or the Scottish version of their Declaration of Independence, dated the 6th of April of 1320. It is addressed to the Pope:

Declaration of ArbroathTo the most Holy Father and Lord in Christ, the Lord John, by divine providence Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Roman and Universal Church, his humble and devout sons Duncan, Earl of Fife, Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, Lord of Man and of Annandale, Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March, Malise, Earl of Strathearn, Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, William, Earl of Ross, Magnus, Earl of Caithness and Orkney, and William, Earl of Sutherland; Walter, Steward of Scotland, William Soules, Butler of Scotland, James, Lord of Douglas, Roger Mowbray, David, Lord of Brechin, David Graham, Ingram Umfraville, John Menteith, guardian of the earldom of Menteith, Alexander Fraser, Gilbert Hay, Constable of Scotland, Robert Keith, Marischal of Scotland, Henry St Clair, John Graham, David Lindsay, William Oliphant, Patrick Graham, John Fenton, William Abernethy, David Wemyss, William Mushet, Fergus of Ardrossan, Eustace Maxwell, William Ramsay, William Mowat, Alan Murray, Donald Campbell, John Cameron, Reginald Cheyne, Alexander Seton, Andrew Leslie, and Alexander Straiton, and the other barons and freeholders and the whole community of the realm of Scotland send all manner of filial reverence, with devout kisses of his blessed feet.

Most Holy Father and Lord, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous. Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today. The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many victories and untold efforts; and, as the historians of old time bear witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever since. In their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own royal stock, the line unbroken a single foreigner.

The high qualities and deserts of these people, were they not otherwise manifest, gain glory enough from this: that the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord Jesus Christ, after His Passion and Resurrection, called them, even though settled in the uttermost parts of the earth, almost the first to His most holy faith. Nor would He have them confirmed in that faith by merely anyone but by the first of His Apostles -- by calling, though second or third in rank -- the most gentle Saint Andrew, the Blessed Peter's brother, and desired him to keep them under his protection as their patron forever.

The Most Holy Fathers your predecessors gave careful heed to these things and bestowed many favours and numerous privileges on this same kingdom and people, as being the special charge of the Blessed Peter's brother. Thus our nation under their protection did indeed live in freedom and peace up to the time when that mighty prince the King of the English, Edward, the father of the one who reigns today, when our kingdom had no head and our people harboured no malice or treachery and were then unused to wars or invasions, came in the guise of a friend and ally to harass them as an enemy. The deeds of cruelty, massacre, violence, pillage, arson, imprisoning prelates, burning down monasteries, robbing and killing monks and nuns, and yet other outrages without number which he committed against our people, sparing neither age nor sex, religion nor rank, no one could describe nor fully imagine unless he had seen them with his own eyes.

But from these countless evils we have been set free, by the help of Him Who though He afflicts yet heals and restores, by our most tireless Prince, King and Lord, the Lord Robert. He, that his people and his heritage might be delivered out of the hands of our enemies, met toil and fatigue, hunger and peril, like another Macabaeus or Joshua and bore them cheerfully. Him, too, divine providence, his right of succession according to or laws and customs which we shall maintain to the death, and the due consent and assent of us all have made our Prince and King. To him, as to the man by whom salvation has been wrought unto our people, we are bound both by law and by his merits that our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come what may, we mean to stand.

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

Therefore it is, Reverend Father and Lord, that we beseech your Holiness with our most earnest prayers and suppliant hearts, inasmuch as you will in your sincerity and goodness consider all this, that, since with Him Whose Vice-Regent on earth you are there is neither weighing nor distinction of Jew and Greek, Scotsman or Englishman, you will look with the eyes of a father on the troubles and privation brought by the English upon us and upon the Church of God. May it please you to admonish and exhort the King of the English, who ought to be satisfied with what belongs to him since England used once to be enough for seven kings or more, to leave us Scots in peace, who live in this poor little Scotland, beyond which there is no dwelling-place at all, and covet nothing but our own. We are sincerely willing to do anything for him, having regard to our condition, that we can, to win peace for ourselves.

This truly concerns you, Holy Father, since you see the savagery of the heathen raging against the Christians, as the sins of Christians have indeed deserved, and the frontiers of Christendom being pressed inward every day; and how much it will tarnish your Holiness's memory if (which God forbid) the Church suffers eclipse or scandal in any branch of it during your time, you must perceive. Then rouse the Christian princes who for false reasons pretend that they cannot go to help of the Holy Land because of wars they have on hand with their neighbours. The real reason that prevents them is that in making war on their smaller neighbours they find quicker profit and weaker resistance. But how cheerfully our Lord the King and we too would go there if the King of the English would leave us in peace, He from Whom nothing is hidden well knows; and we profess and declare it to you as the Vicar of Christ and to all Christendom.

But if your Holiness puts too much faith in the tales the English tell and will not give sincere belief to all this, nor refrain from favouring them to our prejudice, then the slaughter of bodies, the perdition of souls, and all the other misfortunes that will follow, inflicted by them on us and by us on them, will, we believe, be surely laid by the Most High to your charge.

To conclude, we are and shall ever be, as far as duty calls us, ready to do your will in all things, as obedient sons to you as His Vicar; and to Him as the Supreme King and Judge we commit the maintenance of our cause, csating our cares upon Him and firmly trusting that He will inspire us with courage and bring our enemies to nought.

May the Most High preserve you to his Holy Church in holiness and health and grant you length of days.

Given at the monastery of Arbroath in Scotland on the sixth day of the month of April in the year of grace thirteen hundred and twenty and the fifteenth year of the reign of our King aforesaid.
Freedom does not come easily.