newsId: 4C5AA90C-5056-AF26-BE3F72D9A8AC03EE
Title: AU Historians Weigh in on the First 100 Days, Past and Present
Author:
Subtitle: From Lincoln to Trump, historians share their opinions on first 100 days
Abstract: As President Donald J. Trump hits the hundred-day mark, we asked historians in the College of Arts and Sciences to weigh in on what they believe past presidents actually accomplished (or didn’t accomplish) during this period.
Topic: Government & Politics
Publication Date: 04/24/2017
Content:

The first 100 days of a White House administration are often considered a yardstick to measure a new administration's effectiveness in fulfilling its campaign promises. They are also considered a bellwether of a president's success or failure over the next four years. This measurement of a chief executive's accomplishments goes back to the first term of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who entered office during the Great Depression. 


As President Donald J. Trump hits the hundred-day mark, we asked historians in the College of Arts and Sciences to weigh in on what they believe past presidents actually accomplished (or didn't accomplish) during this period. Here, Professor Max Paul Friedman discusses FDR's whirlwind first 100 days; Professor Alan Kraut explains how Abraham Lincoln's plans were nearly subsumed by one of our greatest national crises; and Professor Peter Kuznick analyzes Harry Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan. Finally, Professor Allan Lichtman shares his views on Donald J. Trump in the context of his newly released book The Case for Impeachment. (Opinions expressed are those of the writers.)

 

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
By Professor of History Max Paul Friedman

All US presidents since 1945 have been measured against the arbitrary benchmark set by Franklin D. Roosevelt's whirlwind efforts in his first 100 days in office to tackle the Great Depression. Shepherding 15 major pieces of legislation through Congress, the Roosevelt administration saved the banking system through federally-supervised reorganization, regulated the stock market, and spent tax dollars to support the devastated farm sector.

Faced with unemployment estimated at 25 percent, FDR did not order a freeze on federal hiring, but instead did the opposite. A quarter-million young people employed in the Civilian Conservation Corps built some of the national park infrastructure still in use today. Larger public works programs hired yet more Americans to build roads, bridges, schools, and airports, or to bring electrification and irrigation to impoverished states in the South. Roosevelt saw the federal government as a powerful tool to address the nation's problems, which was proven over the next decade, as yet more ambitious New Deal programs cut the unemployment rate in half, and massive federal spending on World War II—a New Deal on steroids—created full employment.

Upon assuming office, FDR surrounded himself with the most talented public servants available, while reassuring Americans that they had nothing to fear from one another "but fear itself." That calm and confident voice against prejudice and conspiratorial thinking was the most important service President Roosevelt provided immediately after his inauguration. 

 

Abraham Lincoln
By Professor of History Alan Kraut

During their first 100 days, many presidents find their own plans subsumed by national events. President Abraham Lincoln, an adroit Whig politician from Illinois, had his eye on westward expansion as key to American prosperity. He favored a role for the federal government in the nation's economic development and opposed slavery's reaching into states being carved from western territories.

The crisis of the union caused by disputes over slavery and states rights immediately demanded Lincoln's attention. Still, his response was consistent with his opposition to slavery, his veneration of the Union, and his belief in an activist government, including the use of executive power in time of crisis.

Lincoln's crisis began a month after his November 1860 election, when South Carolina seceded from the Union. Six more followed before his March inauguration, four after. On April 12, 1861, Fort Sumter fell to the South Carolina state militia. Lincoln requested that Congress convene, but also used executive authority to quell the insurrection.

He called for 75,000 volunteers for 90 days. He proclaimed a blockade on all Southern ports from Virginia to Texas. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus in states along the railroad line from Philadelphia to Washington. He acted to prevent the secession of border states, including Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. As commander in chief, he ordered the supply and preparation of the military, vainly hoping to prevent further chaos as the nation tumbled into Civil War. 

Perhaps ironically, Lincoln exercised broad executive privilege not to circumvent Congress or to ram through his own agenda, but because he was desperate to save the Union. He feared secession would destroy the world's only democracy and prove that government by the people was not viable. Also ironically, though Lincoln didn't live to see it, the defeat of the South in the Civil War made possible westward expansion as he had envisioned. 

 

Harry Truman
By Professor of History Peter Kuznick

Harry Truman left office with approval ratings so low that only George W. Bush has come close since. But he is now, strangely, remembered as a near-great president. That judgment is bipartisan. In 1999, Condoleezza Rice named him "Man of the Century" for Time magazine.

I profoundly disagree with that judgment. In fact, Truman would be near the bottom of my list. But his first 120 days were certainly momentous.

Truman had been a party functionary—a loyal member of the corrupt Pendergast Machine that ran Kansas City—prior to running for the Senate.  When a reporter asked boss Tom Pendergast why he had chosen Truman to run, Pendergast replied, "I wanted to demonstrate that a well-oiled machine could send an office boy to the senate." Democratic Party bosses gave about as much thought to Truman's qualifications when they chose him to replace the progressive Henry Wallace as vice president on the 1944 ticket. On the eve of the party convention, Gallup asked potential Democratic voters who they wanted as vice president. Sixty-five percent chose Wallace. Two percent preferred Truman. But the bosses controlled the convention and put Truman in over the far more qualified and popular Wallace.

Truman was only in office 82 days before Franklin Roosevelt died. During that time, Roosevelt had only spoken to him twice, about nothing of significance. Nor did anyone else in that administration hold Truman in high regard. In fact, amazingly, no one had even bothered to tell Truman that the US was building the atomic bomb until after he was sworn in.

Once in office, Truman told visitors that the whole thing was a mistake and that he wasn't qualified for the job. He was right. It would only take him 10 days before he had undermined Roosevelt and Wallace's vision for postwar collaboration with the Soviet Union. Roosevelt's last cable to Churchill had explicitly downplayed differences with Russia and urged continued friendship. Truman's meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov on April 23 was a disaster. Truman berated the Soviet diplomat and accused the Soviets of having broken their Yalta agreements. He then bragged to underlings how he had given Molotov "one-two to the jaw." Relations between the two countries would go pretty steadily downhill after that, despite the efforts of Wallace, Stimson, Davies, and others to right the ship and uphold Roosevelt's vision for postwar peace.

Equally calamitous, both morally and militarily, was Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on what his chief of staff Admiral William Leahy referred to as "an already thoroughly defeated Japan." Truman knew the Japanese were desperate to end the war and that the long-sought and now imminent Soviet intervention would do the trick. He also knew that he was beginning a process that could end life on the planet. Seven of America's eight five-star admirals and generals in 1945 have said that the atomic bombs were either morally reprehensible or militarily unnecessary or both.

Whatever good things Truman did as president will always be overshadowed by his role in precipitating the Cold War and his dropping of atomic bombs. The world needed a man of vision in 1945. The challenges were overwhelming. Had Roosevelt lived or Wallace gotten reelected and taken office, there would likely have been no atomic bombings and no Cold War. Instead, Harry Truman helped plunge us into a 70-plus-year nightmare from which we've yet to fully emerge.

 

Donald J. Trump
By Professor of History Allan Lichtman

In my book, The Case for Impeachment, I argue that Donald Trump entered the White House more vulnerable to impeachment than any other first-term president. The book explores eight potential grounds for Trump's impeachment. The Trump presidency can still move in a positive direction to avoid impeachment, but events of his first 100 days have only strengthened the case.

President Trump failed to divest himself of his business interests. He says his children are running the business and that they don't discuss it with him, but the reality is that he can still profit from every venture. And companies that do business with the Trump organization can profit directly and indirectly from ties to the president. His far-flung enterprises abroad may already have put him in violation of the Constitution's emoluments clause, which specifies that a president cannot receive anything of value from foreign governments. For example, the president received nearly 40 potentially lucrative trademarks from China, shortly after he seemed to walk away from this possible two-China policy and failed to declare China a currency manipulator as he promised to do on day one of his presidency.

The administration's response to the investigations of possible collusion between his associates and Russia's attack on our democracy has the hallmarks of a Nixonian cover-up: conceal, deceive, deflect. The Trump administration, when confronted, has claimed that all contacts with Russians were innocuous—just as the Nixon administration insisted that Watergate was a "third-rate burglary." Trump has also mirrored Nixon by claiming absolute presidential power and attacking the courts in his defense of his first travel ban.

Tags: College of Arts and Sciences,History Dept,Political Science,Politics,Presidency
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 4D098B7A-5056-AF26-BED1132BF262A678
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: DB74863F-5056-AF26-BE0E70473CD33B83
Title: The Age of Consequences: Eye-Opening Documentary Screened at AU
Author: Alix Mammina
Subtitle: Focuses on how climate change will be predominant force shaping 21st century.
Abstract: The College of Arts and Sciences brought together the fields of environmentalism, international relations, and security studies with a screening of the groundbreaking new documentary The Age of Consequences on April 5.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/17/2017
Content:

The College of Arts and Sciences brought together the fields of environmentalism, international relations, and security studies with a screening of the groundbreaking new documentary The Age of Consequences on April 5.

Released in January 2017, The Age of Consequences explores climate change as a threat to national security. Through interviews with military experts and analysis of the impact of climate change on resource scarcity, mass migration, and global conflict, the film introduces a perspective rarely discussed in the realm of environmentalism.

Students, faculty, and staff members from across AU’s schools gathered for hors d'oeuvres and refreshments before the film. Following the screening, Hoover Institution Research Fellow Alice Hill moderated a panel discussion featuring School of International Service Professor Paul Wapner, Department of Environmental Science Professor Kiho Kim, and Francesco Femia, the president and co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security.

Topics covered during the discussion included the consequences of climate change, the difficulty of communicating environmental risks, and the future of climate issues under the Trump administration. Kim and Femia both noted the importance of seeking solutions from multiple sources, as well as the need to avoid relying too much on technological solutions.

“Climate change is too important to be left just to the environmentalists,” Femia explained. “Climate change is certainly an environmental issue at its core, but as the film describes, it touches on so many different issues that we can’t look to purely environmental solutions. We need to have a broader conversation.”

While the speakers expressed concerns about the future of climate change policies, Wapner and Kim agreed that they find hope in the optimism and determination of their students.

“There is a different kind of attitude that is alive right now, at least among students,” Wapner said. “When the Trump administration got voted in, we talked in class about when would be the most meaningful time to be an environmentalist. And, across the board, our students said now. Now is the moment.”

During the last half hour of the event, speakers answered questions from the audience. Students raised questions about water security, funding cuts to environmental NGOs, and the effect of nationalism on future responses to migration issues.

At the close of the event, Hill thanked audience members for their attendance and encouraged them to keep up the conversation about climate change.

“Until we get a collective voice that signals that this is important to us, and we care about it, and we want to leave a safer place for ourselves and our children, I think it’s going to be difficult to build the kind of clamor that we need to move forward,” Hill said.

Tags: College of Arts and Sciences,Environmental Science,School of Communication,School of International Service
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: DBB37031-5056-AF26-BEA88EF9F9F559E5
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: DE0DE7D4-5056-AF26-BE00C18D63CC1CD4
Title: Celebrate Jazz History Month at AU’s Jazz Concert Featuring Local Legends
Author:
Subtitle: JAZZ: Concert and Conversation, April 22 at Katzen
Abstract: On Saturday, April 22, the College of Arts and Sciences hosts its annual spring concert featuring the American University Jazz Orchestra and special guest band, The Sax Summit, with Peter Fraize, Antonio Parker, and Elijah Jamal Balbed.
Topic: Arts
Publication Date: 04/17/2017
Content:

On Saturday, April 22, the College of Arts and Sciences hosts its annual spring concert featuring the American University Jazz Orchestra and special guest band, The Sax Summit, with Peter Fraize, Antonio Parker, and Elijah Jamal Balbed.

“April is Jazz History Month—as good a time as any to present in a grand fashion an art form that is uniquely America's classical music,” said Joshua Bayer, AU musician in residence and director of the AU Jazz Orchestra. “This program will allow those in attendance to not only experience an exciting jazz performance, but to connect with jazz artists—perhaps we will be able to remove the mystery!”

Panel

The event begins at 6 p.m. at the American University Museum with a panel discussion moderated by Bayer. “This event follows AU's tradition in bringing people together on campus to experience, discuss, and participate,” Bayer says. Panelists will discuss the business of jazz, as well as jazz education and performance.

Panelists include Rusty Hassan, longtime jazz host at DC community radio station WPFW 89.3 FM; DeAndrey Howard, musician and director of the Jazz and Cultural Society; saxophonist and composer Elijah Jamal Balbed; and legendary performer and educator Antonio Parker.

The panel is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required.

JAZZ: The Concert

Following the panel is a reception at 7 p.m., and the jazz concert begins at 8 p.m. in the Abramson Family Recital Hall. The concert begins with a performance by The Sax Summit, a group of highly respected musicians and performers. Bayer will join in, playing the guitar. For the concert’s second half, Bayer will lead the AU Jazz Orchestra as it performs a variety of jazz works.

Concert tickets are $5-10 and can be purchased in advance.

Tags: College of Arts and Sciences,Performing Arts Dept
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: DE11FD4D-5056-AF26-BE7C7759F9D314A2
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 7AFF055D-5056-AF26-BE7FA34449EE1210
Title: Denise Saunders Thompson Awarded $500,000 Mellon Grant
Author: Alix Mammina
Subtitle:
Abstract: Professorial lecturer Denise Saunders Thompson awarded $500,000 Mellon Grant.
Topic: Achievements
Publication Date: 04/11/2017
Content:

Denise Saunders Thompson has dedicated her life's work to supporting Black dancers and companies—and now, with the help of a $500,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, she's ready to create change on a grand scale.

Thompson balances her work as an AU arts management professorial lecturer with her role as president and CEO of the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD), which received a grant this year from the Mellon Foundation's recently established Comprehensive Organizational Health Initiative. This highly selective initiative seeks to help arts institutions flourish by enhancing their financial sustainability and capacity building.

Thompson hopes that the Mellon Foundation grant will help IABD address the financial inequities that have historically challenged the Black dance community. "For decades, Black dance companies have been marginalized by an arts funding paradigm that was not accessible," Thompson says. "The financial challenges these organizations have faced to keep their doors open continue to be significant, and now IABD is uniquely positioned to change the course of the tide."

Established in 1991, the IABD operates with the goal of preserving and promoting dance by people of African descent. Over the past 26 years, IABD has hosted annual conferences for Black dance professionals, created an emergency fund for IABD artists and companies, and launched a coalition for scholars of the African Diaspora. In addition to directly supporting the community, IABD establishes archives of Black dance history in museums across the country.

Denise Saunders ThompsonAfter serving as chairperson and executive director of IABD for seven years, Thompson was appointed as its president and CEO in January 2017. During her time at IABD, Thompson has spearheaded several initiatives designed to promote Black dancers, including a multi-company audition for ballerinas of color. The audition provided an opportunity to "diversify the landscape of the ballet world" and foster a collaborative relationship between dancers and artistic directors, Thompson told the New York Times in a 2016 interview.

"As an African American woman in the field of arts administration/management with a robust career in the performing arts and at an institution of higher education, I remain committed to promoting systemic change in post-secondary institutions and nonprofit arts organizations," Thompson said.

Tags: Awards,College of Arts and Sciences,Dance,Faculty,Grants
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 7C47CA98-5056-AF26-BE9F6ED485DBCD63
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: D578B99F-5056-AF26-BE5525323E11EE1D
Title: The Road to Glory: Hip-Hop Star Common Speaks at AU
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: The rapper, actor, and author offered pearls of wisdom in Bender Arena.
Topic: On Campus
Publication Date: 04/07/2017
Content:

Among his many accomplishments, Common won an Oscar for “Glory,” a song co-recorded with John Legend for the movie Selma. “Every day women and men become legends/sins that go against our skin become blessings,” Common intoned on “Glory.” That idea—victory in the face of adversity, belief in the face of oppression—was a theme he returned to at American University’s Bender Arena on Wednesday, April 5.

The rapper, actor, and author struck an optimistic tone throughout the night, reflecting on his Chicago upbringing, his hip-hop career, and his dedication to social change. The student-run Kennedy Political Union and the College of Arts and Sciences co-presented the event. Michael Harvey, an AU professorial lecturer in audio technology, and Sean Glover of SoundExchange, moderated the question-and-answer session. Co-sponsors included the AU Alumni Association, the Office of Campus Life, the AU chapter of the NAACP, Black Student Alliance, the Kogod School of Business-Business and Entertainment Program, Men of Empowerment and Excellence, 94 Forever, Second District Records, and WVAU.

On Ali and Greatness

Common—real name, Lonnie Lynn—was here to speak and not perform. Well, almost. To the delight of the AU crowd, he broke into a freestyle with shout-outs to “coffee at the Dav,” “Mass Ave.,” and KPU Deputy Director Aaliyah Lambert.

He opened by talking about attending Muhammad Ali’s memorial service in 2016. “I started to think about, ‘Why did we call Muhammad Ali the greatest?’” he said. Common believes it was Ali’s humanity that drew people to him. He noted how Ali “spoke up against injustices, how he had sacrificed his career, at the height of his career, for something he believed in. How he greeted each and every individual with love, no matter what your background was. Or what you looked like. That’s why we called him the greatest.”

Common then thought about harnessing greatness within himself. “Find your path. Believe in your path. And live your path,” is his motto.

He recalled finding his path when he worked with his cousin on his first-ever rap song (which he briefly performed to the audience). “Little did I know that that path would take me to China, take me to Japan, take me to Africa. Little did I know that that path would take me to the White House, to visit our first black president and first lady,” he said.

On Believing in Yourself

Common described several pivotal moments in his life, including his breakup with singer Erykah Badu. At the time, he didn’t believe in himself. “I was dimming my light for others. You can’t dim your light for anyone,” he said. “Not if you want to contribute to this world in the highest way.”

He discussed his collaborations with Kanye West, who was a producer on Common’s critically-acclaimed 2005 album Be. The record got multiple Grammy nominations, and he told a funny anecdote about preparing potential acceptance speeches. Ludacris was announcing best rap album, and judging by the way he was talking, Common assumed he’d win. But the award went to Kanye himself, for Late Registration.

“Living your path is knowing that everything that you may desire, may have dreamed of, may have worked for, may not come exactly at the time,” he explained about losing at the Grammys. “The next morning, Kanye called me and said, ‘Let’s get back in [the studio] and do it.’ I said, ‘Let’s get back in and do it.’ I didn’t fall. I just took this as a challenge.”

Hip Hop, Activism, and Politics

Common expanded on his work on social issues, and he made a reference to the current political climate.

“People have asked me, ‘Man, we are in the worst times of our lives.’ And I actually believe we are in the best times. You know why? Because it’s bringing out the humanity in so many of us. It’s bringing out the love in so many of us. It’s bringing out the understanding in so many of us,” he said.

Just this year, he visited with inmates in several California state prisons. It was part of an effort to understand how prison affects incarcerated people and their families. “One of the greatest things I learned as I walked through those prison cell blocks was forgiveness,” he stated.

During the making of Selma, former UN Ambassador Andrew Young gave advice that resonated with him. “The first thing he said to us in our rehearsal was, ‘What are you willing to die for? Live for that,’” Common remembered.

He reiterated the same point to the AU audience. “Find that passion, find that purpose, and live for that—every day,” he said.

During the Q&A, he was asked about the role of hip hop in social activism. “One of the first gifts I learned from being a performer is when I looked out in the audience and I saw black people, white people, Latino people, Asian people, and—when I went to certain states—Native American people. And I was like, ‘Man this is incredible.’”

Common noted that nowadays, he’d like to see artists not only speaking out, but taking action. “If it’s a policy that I could be a part of changing, I need to do it.”

*Bonus Track! For the Q&A, someone submitted this gem of a question: If you could listen to one album again for the very first time, what would it be? Common’s answer: Michael Jackson’s 1979 classic Off the Wall.

Tags: Audio Technology,College of Arts and Sciences,Featured News,Kennedy Political Union
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: D5D56448-5056-AF26-BE0B91655C973100
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: DA768888-5056-AF26-BEDC8CEBF7BCCD33
Title: AU Museum in Spring: Participatory Sculpture, Contemporary Cuban, A Teacher’s Legacy, Myths and Time
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: Spring exhibits at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center open April 1.
Topic: Arts
Publication Date: 03/28/2017
Content: Spring exhibits at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center open April 1.

ESCAPE: Foon Sham, April 1 – August 13
Gallery Talk: 2 to 3 p.m., APRIL 23

Escape showcases Foon Sham's mastery of wood sculpture. To be within one of his vessel sculptures is to experience the palpable space of a woodland creature's habitat, or the place of concealment. At the American University Museum, Sham has built one horizontal tunnel measuring 62 feet long and one vertical tunnel towering 36 feet high. Escape is one of a series of participatory sculptures, begun in the 1990s, meant to be experienced with all the body's senses and to resonate socially. Dualism, as in the Taoist yin/yang dichotomy, is a consistent theme in Sham's work. Escape may be possible spiritually, if not physically.

The title 'Escape' signals that a political interpretation is valid. The outdoor sculpture's craggy ridgeline echoes the mountain ranges of the American West and traces the line of the U.S.-Mexican border. Without being politically prescriptive, the title and tunnel imagery evoke the hotly contested issues of immigration and the plight of the refugee that figured so heavily in both American and European recent elections. The journey for the viewer may be short and sensory, or may be evocative of bigger issues like the death-defying travails undertaken by Central American and Syrian refugees. Curated by Laura Roulet.

Green Machine: The Art of Carlos Luna, April 1 – May 28

Cuban artist Carlos Luna's exhibit at AU Museum features more than 65 works, with some created in new media the artist has been experimenting with during the past four years, including Jacquard tapestries, works on metal sheets with patina and aluminum leaf, and layers of natural materials rubbed into strong, thick, dense, smooth and un-sized French paper. Painting, sculpture and installation become one to portray Cuban stories and fables by one of Cuba's leading contemporary artists.

Summerford Legacy, Alper Initiative for Washington Art, April 1 – May 28
Gallery Talk: Salon-style "Free Parking" series, 5:30 to 7 p.m., APRIL 27, RSVP: www.tinyurl.com/AlperTickets

Ben L. Summerford (1924-2015) taught at American University's Department of Art from 1951-1987. All 14 of the artists in Summerford Legacy studied under Professor Summerford and took different aspects of his teaching to heart. Some stayed close to their artistic roots in AU's Department of Art, and some used those roots to support far-flung but personal explorations. All of the artists exhibit the artistic integrity embodied by their teacher, and approach their art as an act of discovery.

Sharon Wolpoff and Tammra Sigler: Geometry and Other Myths, April 1 – May 28
Gallery Talk: 5 to 6 p.m., APRIL 1

At first glance, the art of Sharon Wolpoff has little in common with the art of Tammra Sigler. Wolpoff is a figurative painter of carefully composed scenes from life, suffused with light and heightened color. Sigler is an expressionist artist who is known for improvisation and bravura brushwork. However, similarities and contrasts emerge in their work as they engage with three different paths to knowledge of the world: geometry, psychology, and spirituality. Sigler's work starts with geometry as a foundation and moves away from it towards the emotional, while Wolpoff's work begins with an emotional response and moves towards the underlying geometry or structure. Both artists have beautifully structured artwork, and their uses of structure have psychological and spiritual functions, as well.

Time Stands Still: Elzbieta Sikorska, April 1 – May 28
Gallery Talk: 2 to 3 p.m., APRIL 8

No matter how we reflect on time, it is a contemplative and complicated subject. Time affects everything: people, animals, woodlands, earth, stone, and artifacts. These are the elements that Elzbieta Sikorska uses in her large scale, multimedia drawings, conceived as loose pictorial narratives whose common thread is the continuity of being. Rather than offering definitive conclusions, these works are intended to lead us into a deeper and more intimate consideration of our own relationship to time – our constant companion. Curated by Aneta Georgievska-Shine.

Master's of Fine Arts Student Exhibitions, April 1 – April 19 AND April 29 – May 28 Gallery Talk/Opening Reception: 5 to 8 p.m., APRIL 29

AU's Department of Art presents the work of current first- and second-year MFA candidates in a two-part exhibition. The multidisciplinary Studio Art program showcases an exciting range of emerging artist's work in painting, sculpture, collage and material studies, photography, and new media.

In the Kreeger Lobby: Frida Larios: Maya Alphabet of Modern Times, April 1 – May 28

Frida Larios's logo-graphic designs are intended to re-invent the ancient Maya alphabet for modern use. The designs borrow directly from the logo-graphic language of the ancestral Maya scribes, but speak to and for the Indigenous Maya of today.

The American University Museum participates in STATIONS OF THE CROSS through APRIL 16, with a painting by Colombian figurative artist and sculptor Fernando Botero from his Abu Ghraib series. This unique exhibition—held in 14 religious and secular locations across Washington, D.C.—will use works of art to tell the story of the Passion of Christ in a new way for people of varying faiths. More information available at artstations.org.

Tags: AU Museum,College of Arts and Sciences,Media Relations
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: DAFE02E8-5056-AF26-BE4BDEBC1941EF62
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 37D25833-5056-AF26-BE6D4A0C08ABEF1E
Title: Making Environmental Film that is Seriously Funny
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: This year's Eco-Comedy Video Competition was won by film and media arts graduate student Ashley Holmes. The theme was "Conservation and Environmental Protection."
Topic: Environment
Publication Date: 03/20/2017
Content:

About eight years ago, the Eco-Comedy Video Competition was introduced to the American University campus. Each year it represents a different theme and challenge to participants. This year, the theme was "Conservation and Environmental Protection," and participants were asked to produce a short and humorous video on any topic that relates to conservation and environmental protection. 

Chris Palmer, director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at AU and creator of the competition, said that his goal with this competition is to encourage filmmakers and producers of media to use humor to win over their audiences. 

"It always seemed to me that, for the most part, environmental filmmakers were far too dour and serious, and this was hurting their ability to reach people," he said. 

Palmer says that the main goal is for filmmakers to think more creatively and connect the dots between humor, environmental challenges and compelling communication. 

Film and media arts graduate student Ashley Holmes was selected as the winner for this year's competition. Holmes has a background in conservation and animal behavior, which is what she said lured her to the Center of Environmental Filmmaking. 

Holmes, both a Center Scholar and recipient of the Palmer Scholarship, said the process of applying to the competition was pretty straightforward and simple.

"I started with a lot of research about the planets and then took the most interesting facts of each and tried to figure out how they would come up in an interview process," she said. "After that, I just kept tweaking the script, had a craft night making giant planet cut-outs, and found two willing friends to help me film while I painted my face." 

Holmes's short film is titled Planet B and consists of outtakes of interviews with the planets of our solar system, who are all aiming for the role of our next home planet. We quickly see that there is no other plane cut out to replace Earth, so we'd better take care of the planet we have. 

 

Tags: Achievements,Center for Environmental Filmmaking,Film and Media Arts,Graduate Students,School of Communication
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 314813AB-5056-AF26-BE315D286AAB7721
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 742CA4F3-5056-AF26-BE681EF024D357BC
Title: Race in America: Past, Present, and Future
Author: Patty Housman
Subtitle: Jelani Cobb Speaks at American University
Abstract: On February 23, students and faculty from American University and surrounding universities came together at AU’s Katzen Arts Center to hear Jelani Cobb speak
Topic: In the Community
Publication Date: 03/06/2017
Content:

On February 23, students and faculty from AU and surrounding universities came together at the Katzen Arts Center to hear Jelani Cobb speak about race, the history of the civil rights movement, and what he describes as a pattern in US history of racial progress followed by powerful backlash and countermovement.

Cobb is a nationally known author, contributor to The New Yorker, and Columbia University professor of journalism, who writes primarily about racial injustice, its roots in American history, and its continuing, powerful influence. His most recent book is The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress. He won the 2015 Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism for his columns on race, politics, and injustice—including “The Anger in Ferguson,” “The Matter of Black Lives,” and “What We Talk About When We Talk About Reparations.”

Cobb spoke at AU as part of the Bishop C. C. McCabe lecture series, sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Cobb, On Race Today

Cobb began his discussion with the trial of Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof, which he covered for The New Yorker. After the trial ended, Cobb flew across the country to San Francisco, hoping to take a break from the heartbreak and tragedy. But the very first person he met in California was a hotel bellman. This man told Cobb that he lost someone dear to him in the church shooting—his childhood librarian, Cynthia Hurd.

Cobb was shaken. “I flew almost as far as I could fly without leaving the intercontinental United States,” he explained. “And the first person I interacted with had been directly impacted by the situation that I had foolishly thought I could leave behind in Charleston, South Carolina. And so it reminds me yet again that our issue of race is not one that is geographic or local, or one that can be confined to a particular locale. It is one that contours to the borders of our nation, perfectly.”

We’ve Always Been Here

“How did we get here?” Cobb asked. “Well, in some ways, we’ve always been here.”

Though it may seem unbelievable to some people that an atrocity like this could occur in a nation that recently elected (and re-elected) its first African American president, it comes as no surprise to Cobb. Roof was not an aberration, Cobb said, and his actions did not happen in a bubble.

Racial progress in the United States has always been followed by waves of backlash, he said, fueled by a culture of paranoia and victimhood by people who feel threatened by it. We only have to look back to the lynchings in the south, he said, and the rise of the KKK during Reconstruction, or the housing segregation in northern cities during the Great Migration.

These reactions are not just a thing of the past, Cobb reminded the audience. He pointed to how Obama’s 2008 election was followed by the 2013 Supreme Court decision to strike down the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He also described the new populist political force rising in this country, based on what Cobb describes as “the contrary idea that White people are the most disadvantaged group in American society.”

Where Do We Go?

So what do we do now, Cobb asked, and how do we keep moving forward during these difficult times?

Cobb looks back at history for guidance. “I think there is cause for optimism, a kind of hard won optimism, when we look at the fact that each time when we have found ourselves in the depths of despair, it summons people of conscience and good will to the cause of reasserting democracy and freedom.”

After all, Cobb said, many heroes in American history were only able to do great things because of the size of the opposition against them. Against all evidence to the contrary, they believed that slavery should end, that women should have the right to vote, that our country can develop a humane immigration policy, that we can create protections for workers.

Cobb ended on a note of hope. “What I do believe in is the capacity of people with conscience to move the world forward,” he said. “Progress happens. It does take a long time, but it happens.”

Tags: College of Arts and Sciences,History,History Dept
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 74339635-5056-AF26-BECB8BE8F637EE1D
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 6DA2EF7E-5056-AF26-BEF6781ECBA01A15
Title: Students' Reflections on the First International Mariinsky Far East Festival in Vladivostok
Author:
Subtitle: Carmel Scholarship Recipients Experience the Arts in Russia's Far East
Abstract: Carmel Scholarship Recipients Experience the Arts in Russia's Far East
Topic: First Person
Publication Date: 03/02/2017
Content:

Harvey Hinman (Georgetown 2015) and Claudia Huang (Georgetown 2017) interned this past summer in Vladivostok, assisting organizers of the First International Mariinsky Far East Festival in Vladivostok with the artists. They went to Russia's Far East on Susan Carmel Lehrman scholarships. Here are their reflections:

Harvey Hinman

Over the course of the two-week Vladivostok International Far East Festival of the Mariinsky Theater, I experienced a Russia very different from that in Moscow or St. Petersburg. While the streets lined with a mixture of neoclassical, Soviet, and modern architecture could have been transplanted from Moscow, the laid-back crowds in tank tops and shorts that fill them seemed to belong in Barcelona. Even more than their clothing, however, the outlook of those in Vladivostok set them apart from their eastern compatriots. They were excited to compare their city to San Francisco or Vancouver and to tell of the latest news about Vladivostok with an optimism I never saw in Moscow. Many had spent time or had family in major cities in western North America, Japan, Korea, and China. Built upon this, I found that their ideas about international identity seemed to be anchored in personal relationships and their regional position, and not in Moscow politics.

Vladivostok extended its warm reception to many visiting soloists from around the world. Many artists remarked upon the enthusiasm of the local audience. One singer was particularly touched by the way the audience joined her character’s emotional journey. Members of the audience were touched too. A mother and daughter explained to me how excited they were to have such outstanding soloists in Vladivostok, when in the past they had to travel to Moscow to hear such music. Visiting audience members from Korea, Japan, and beyond, excited about the festival’s efforts to transform Vladivostok nto a regional music hub, also enjoyed the performances, food, and history the city offered. At the end of two weeks, we all felt lucky to have participated in such a unique event and look forward excitedly to the festival’s second iteration next year.

Harvey and Claudia stand outside with a young Russian boy

Claudia Huang

To be honest, I had never heard of Vladivostok, Russia, when I first received the opportunity to volunteer at the Mariinsky's I International Far East Festival. As I learned more about why the Mariinsky Theatre established its Primorsky Stage and this festival, I discovered how dynamic international relations are and how essential the arts and cultural exchange are to them. I am beyond grateful to Ms. Carmel Lehrman and the Carmel Institute of Russian Culture History for sponsoring my time at the festival.

I volunteered at the festival in the midst of conducting research on Western classical music, values, and identity in Taiwan and East Asia. Having focused on this topic, I recognize that the Mariinsky's Far East Festival is a significant investment for a Western art institution to have made in serving East Asian artists and audiences. By seeing performances by artists from all over the world and the enormous effects they had on audiences, it was hard to deny the power the arts have in bringing together disparate parties.

While I had a number of assigned tasks as a volunteer, my favorite by far were my principal duties: working with artists. I was able to meet some of the most established performers in the world, as well as some of the brightest rising young talents, many of whom were (amazingly) around my age. I am filled with gratitude that I had the opportunity to assist and get to know these performers. I was constantly surprised by the warmth and generosity these artists had to share—not just artistically, but also personally.

I will never forget the privilege of watching these artists transform each day. When I picked them up at the airport, they were often tired and reliant on festival staff and me to get them to where they needed to be. But then a day or even mere hours later, these same artists would hold thousands of people rapt as they performed. I would sit backstage, reeling from their performances and the magnitude of the audience's response.

In these moments, I knew I would remember some of these concerts for the rest of my life: Ana María Martínez as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with the Mariinsky Opera and Orchestra, Seung-Jin Cho playing Rachmaninoff with the Mariinsky Orchestra, and Yu-Chien Benny Tseng's recital with Sergei Redkin, amongst others. It took my breath away that these artists could capture audiences by sharing something beautiful. There was nothing more thrilling for me to have experienced this and to have helped enable it. I was constantly in awe of the strength of artists and audiences' respect for one another—some artists' relationships with their fans went back years, such as those who had first met when the artists had competed at the Tchaikovsky Competition. One time, American violinist Nigel Armstrong obliged when a fan ran into him in a theatre hallway and asked him to play a bit. It turned into a mini concert, as a small crowd gathered and Nigel played again and again for them.

Thank you to Ms. Carmel Lehrman and the Carmel Institute of Russian Culture History for sponsoring me at the Mariinsky's I International Far East Festival in Vladivostok. My experience there has motivated me all the more to pursue working in arts administration and policy, which I hope to do to advance music and the understanding it promotes. I have taken away an even greater appreciation for the arts, and Russia's invaluable contributions to them. As I grow more invested in the arts scene in East Asia, I am grateful for how the Far East Festival is developing Russian-East Asian relations and championing the arts scene as a whole. I am grateful and proud of having experienced and, in the limited ways I was able, contributed to this festival's success.

Claudia, Harvey, and four young Russians stand outdoors on a steep street

on a walkway overlooking the Sea of Japan, five brightly-colored flags advertise the arts festival

Several Russian children, Claudia, and Harvey stand outside looking happy

 

Tags: Students
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: D4852BD1-5056-AF26-BEF2406F361C25D1
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 01151E10-5056-AF26-BE427EBAEBEB9414
Title: Where Are they Now? Matthew Barresi (MS health promotion management ’11)
Author: Patty Housman
Subtitle:
Abstract: We’ve asked alumni from across the College of Arts and Sciences to check in with us and let us know what they’re doing now. The first in the series is health promotion management graduate Matthew Barresi.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 02/27/2017
Content:

We’ve asked alumni from across the College of Arts and Sciences to check in with us and let us know what they’re doing now. The first in the series is health promotion management graduate Matthew Barresi.

What are you doing now?

Currently, I serve as the fitness and aquatics supervisor at Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge (WCBR), a continuing care retirement community in Charlottesville, Va. Our 400-resident community is home to seniors from ages 65 to 102. They may live independently here, or in assisted living, or with nursing care, or in our memory care unit. In my role, I oversee the operations and staff of our 16,000-square-foot Fitness and Aquatics Center, where we host group exercise classes, personal training services, and wellness initiatives to help our residents of all ages, fitness levels, and living situations to maintain and improve their health as they get older.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is promoting, nudging, and encouraging health behavior change in a population whose behaviors and habits have been established for 60, 70, 80, 90, and even 100 years. I work with a population that did not grow up with access to the same research that we have available to us now about the importance of staying active and following a healthy diet for all ages. Nor did they grow up participating in structured exercise programs. That presents me and my team with the challenge of encouraging involvement in fitness programs for many people who have never taken part in structured, intentional physical activity—what we call exercise.

What is the most rewarding?

The most rewarding part of my job is being in a position where I can serve others. The residents at WCBR exercise so that they can live longer, healthier, more functional and independent lives. Even though they are retired, many of them still work and serve others in and around Charlottesville. In my role, I am blessed to get to help them be fit enough to continue contributing towards making WCBR and Charlottesville great communities.

How did AU help you get here?

AU helped me get to WCBR by encouraging me to put knowledge into practice. The Health Promotion Management Program presented me with so many opportunities to bring what I was learning in the classroom into real, professional situations. This was everything from teaching group exercise classes to designing, implementing, and analyzing health promotion programs. I was able to learn the skills to do these things by working with my professors and then being challenged to apply them successfully with real subjects and circumstances – often involving AU faculty, staff, and students from across the university.

Any words of advice for current students?

Find a way to serve others through whatever they are studying or wherever they find themselves working. In my role at WCBR, I am able to connect with people and truly have an impact on how they are going to feel and function each day, week, and even the last years of their lives. It is such a blessing and an honor to be in that position. My advice to students is to seek out the opportunities where they can experience these same joys.

Tags: Alumni,College of Arts and Sciences,Health,Health Promotion,Health Promotion Management
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 01473674-5056-AF26-BECE9B64FE19D777
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 0D5E097D-5056-AF26-BEE64C84BF6716F5
Title: Students Selected for Full Frame Fellow Program
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: The Film & Media Arts division, the Center for Media & Social Impact and the Public Communication division are all sponsoring seven students to participate as graduate fellows in the Full Frame Documentary Festival
Topic: Communications
Publication Date: 02/23/2017
Content:

The Film & Media Arts division, the Center for Media & Social Impact and the Public Communication division are all sponsoring seven students to participate as graduate fellows in the Full Frame Documentary Festival set to occur April 6 – 9.

The Full Frame Fellow program aims to educate, motivate and nurture students interested in the documentary form. During the festival, participating students have the opportunity to view films fresh on the circuit, classics from years past, engage in panel discussions and gain access to the filmmaking community as a whole.

The seven students selected and their programs are listed below:

Film & Media Arts

  •  Megan King
  •  Destiny Owens
  •  Vinny Terlizzi
  •  Emily Crawford

Public Communication

  •  Chandler Green
  •  Katie Putnam

Center for Media & Social Impact

  • Samantha Dois

Tags: Film and Media Arts,Public Communication,School of Communication
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 6DFDD4C2-5056-AF26-BE21C562AD9259C9
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 350BA306-5056-AF26-BE28A0854C45245F
Title: Students Visit New National Museum of African American History and Culture
Author: Patty Housman
Subtitle: History and film students find inspiration at new museum and other DC sites.
Abstract: College of Arts and Sciences double-alum Lonnie Bunch (BA history ’74 and MA history ’76) is opening the doors of the Smithsonian’s newest and highly acclaimed museum to AU students.
Topic: Department Spotlight
Publication Date: 02/13/2017
Content:

College of Arts and Sciences double-alum Lonnie Bunch (BA history ’74 and MA history ’76) is opening the doors of the Smithsonian’s newest and highly acclaimed museum to AU students.

Students in this spring’s Producing the Historical Documentary class recently visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where Bunch is the founding director. Bunch greeted the students when they arrived, and then curators Mary Elliot and Rex Ellis led them on tours of the museum’s collections.

The Producing the Historical Documentary course challenges students to produce a five-minute historical documentary on a subject related to the African American experience. The visit to the NMAAHC gave students behind-the-scenes information and access to the museum’s world-class collections and scholarship.

“The visit was part of an informal collaboration between AU and the NMAAHC, designed to allow students to view objects and exhibits as inspiration and possibly content for their documentaries,” said CAS’s University Professor of History Alan Kraut, who co-teaches the class with School of Communication Associate Professor of Film and Media Arts Maggie Stogner. “It was developed as part of American University’s ongoing relationship with the museum and its founding director Lonnie Bunch, who is also an AU alum and a former student of mine in our Department of History.”

Historical Documentary students with curator Mary Elliot

Curator Mary Elliott with students.

Stogner said the students were warmly greeted at the museum by Bunch and museum curators. “It is the beginning of an excellent partnership. The curators are very enthusiastic about our students in the film and media arts and history departments creating short documentaries.”

Kraut praised Bunch and the museum staff for offering the country a rich contribution to the history of the United States and the African American experience. “I look forward to an ongoing collaboration between the NMAAHC and American University faculty and students," he said.

Historical Documentary students with curator Rex Ellis

Curator Rex Ellis and students.

Next Stop: Historical Sites in DC
The class doesn’t stop at the NMAAAC. Students also visited the Library of Congress, where they learned about all of the historical resources available to them. And later in the semester, they will tour important sites in African American history in the DC area, led by Edward Smith, assistant anthropology professor and founder and co-director of the American University Civil War Institute.

Tags: Alumni,College of Arts and Sciences,Film and Media Arts,History Dept,School of Communication
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 38D159DC-5056-AF26-BEF817DDB7C8EDC6
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 03AC23C0-5056-AF26-BE0DA0D0A32CA110
Title: Bloodlust: AU’s Dracula Will Examine Sex, Gender, and Power
Author: Gregg Sangillo
Subtitle:
Abstract: In the new AU production, gender roles are reversed.
Topic: Arts
Publication Date: 02/07/2017
Content:

“And yet, unless my senses deceive me, the old centuries had, and have, powers of their own which mere ‘modernity’ cannot kill,” observed Jonathan Harker, a character in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. Echoing Harker’s words, the Dracula story has a timeless quality that transcends culture and generation.

Yet since it’s been adapted countless times, making Dracula fresh and relevant can appear as intimidating as that blood sucking vampire’s Transylvania castle.

“It’s really hard, really scary, and really fun,” says Carl Menninger, an assistant professor in American University’s Department of Performing Arts.

Menninger—with help from fight director Robb Hunter—is directing the AU theatre team’s upcoming play Dracula, set to premiere on February 16. And AU is presenting Dracula with a modern-day twist, inventively forcing audiences to confront gender stereotypes.

The Dracula character will be played by a female actor, as all of the gender roles in the production are reversed. The hero-protagonist, Abraham Van Helsing, is now played by a woman, and two heroines in the original story, Mina and Lucy, will be played by men. Interestingly enough, the gender pronouns will remain the same. So even as a woman plays Dracula, the iconic count is still referred to as "he."

Gender Bending

If this sounds a little confusing, then it’s probably accomplishing its goal. Menninger wants the play to jostle audiences out of their comfort zones and provoke discussion.

Dracula is a play about sexual power. It’s about abuse, really,” says Menninger. “I felt like if you’re going to look at it, why not look at it through a different lens?”

During rehearsals, he’s noticed some unanticipated, powerful moments that might also surprise the audience. Those role changes, he says, could make people question the ways in which they view male and female gender differently. In one scene, Van Helsing learns that Lucy and Mina shared a bed together since they were young girls.

“When a woman says that, we don’t think twice of it. But when you see a man say that, we just think, ‘Now we’ve got something homoerotic here,’” he says.

The World is a Stage

AU junior Elizabeth Morton is the play’s dramaturge, a person who typically researches the theories and history surrounding the original text. Through that research, the dramaturge helps convey the director’s vision to the actors and production team. She talked about gender bending in theatre with the Dracula cast.

“One of the actors had a really great point about the kind of disposable nature of female actors in the theatre world, because there’s so few really meaty parts for women,” says Morton, a double major in theatre arts and public relations and strategic communication. “When you’re a woman working in theatre, you can feel really unneeded, or that you’re just there for that one little damsel-in-distress part.”

Historically, Morton says, women were often excluded from the entire process. Female Shakespearean characters were played by men. In Ancient Roman times, the only women on stage were usually prostitutes and not respected as artists.

She conducted research on professor Judith Butler’s gender performance theory, rooted in the idea that gender is not inherent to biology.

“It’s about how society trains women to act a certain way. How it’s a rehearsed performance to be a woman, and a rehearsed performance to be a man,” Morton explains.

Since this is pertinent to stage acting, she incorporated it into her work with the Dracula actors.

“That was a really good discussion to help all of the actors understand that they’re not really playing women. They’re playing someone socialized as a woman, or playing someone practiced and rehearsed to be a woman,” Morton says.

She also studied 19th century England, the setting of Stoker’s Dracula novel. The popularity of early vampire stories coincided with British colonial concerns about “the other,” she says, whether it be fears of the unknown, foreigners, or sins of flesh. Morton notes that Stoker worked in a theatre that specialized in “invasion literature stories” that glorified the British Empire.

“There have been interpretations of Dracula where he’s considered a symbol of homosexuality, or a symbol of sexual deviancy,” she says. “Dracula really represents the ‘other’ in that context, and it was really comforting to people that they could have those stories where this powerful other is defeated.”

Wolf, Monster, and Human

Still, AU’s production is unequivocal about Dracula’s ghastly crimes. For this play, Menninger chose William McNulty’s Dracula adaptation, partly because he depicts the title character in a harsh light. Menninger contemplated the evolution of Dracula and other vampires in popular culture.

“It’s been sort of camped up, and it’s been watered down. To some extent, when you make something campy, you make it comical. And I don’t know if that was the original intent,” he says. “We forget that what Dracula is actually doing is reprehensible, so we haven’t romanticized it here.”

AU’s Dracula play has plenty of physical challenges, too. With moveable Gothic gates and puppeteers, some of the special effects are in plain view for the audience, and they’ll deploy music, sound, and lighting to amplify the suspense.

Dracula can become a wolf, a monster, and a human. That last form—the human Dracula—could push the audience to reflect on the gender politics of today.

“What’s fun about this is I don’t know that I’m making a statement. I haven’t come to a conclusion,” says Menninger. “I am just presenting something and seeing what kinds of questions it raises.”

Tags: College of Arts and Sciences,Featured News,Performing Arts,Theatre and Music Theatre
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 041030B5-5056-AF26-BE90F2288257CBAD
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 869726B1-5056-AF26-BEF84B7FEE2051FB
Title: Modern Day Renaissance Hybrid Woman
Author: Ryan Jordan
Subtitle:
Abstract: Kaylah “Kami” Simmons is a senior interested in theatre arts, media and television, entertainment, political science, and policy-making. The Washington Semester Program gave her the chance to reflect on her career plans while exploring her interests.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 02/07/2017
Content:

Kaylah "Kami" Simmons is a senior at Kalamazoo College with a major in Theatre Arts, Media Studies, and Economics. She is interested in theatre arts, media and television, entertainment, political science, and policy-making. In the summer of 2015, Simmons ventured to DC in search of internship experience through the Washington Semester Program.

"I wanted a program that had internship opportunities for students interested in news and broadcasting with an emphasis on public policy," said Simmons. "I knew that through this program, I would be able to take a course at American University while participating in an internship that aligned with the course and my interests."

Simmons interned at the Voice of America as their English Division Social Media intern. Throughout her time at the Washington Semester Program, she questioned how policy-making relates to fashion, pop culture, and her many other interests. Simmons learned so much from the Washington Semester Program and her summer internship that she was encouraged to apply to the White House for the fall 2015 semester.

"It allowed me to take skills from the Washington Semester Program and continue them in my policy role at the White House," said Simmons about her amazing experience as a White House intern.

During her time in the White House, Simmons worked on the "Let Girls Learn" initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama's Leadership and Mentoring Program. Simmons was able to gain more knowledge on policy-making concerning women and girls while learning about the inner-workings of the White House. This internship experience also broadened her possible career paths, including some she had not considered before.

This past summer, Simmons interned as the Planning and Programming intern at HLN with CNN. The role gave her the opportunity to practice using a television teleprompter. She was also able to pitch story ideas and help produce and write scripts for various shows produced by the HLN network.

"I want to be a journalist who not only gives people a voice by telling their story, but I also want to challenge my viewer's thinking of the world around them," said Simmons about her future career endeavors. "I am a modern-day renaissance hybrid woman with many interests and interning at the Voice of America, the White House, and CNN has helped me to continue to think about how I want to connect all of those interests to create my own career path."

After graduating this spring, Simmons plans to attend graduate school for journalism. She hopes to join a television network as an on-air personality and correspondent. Ultimately, she wants to create her own television and media production company, which will allow her to create content, tell stories, inform, and inspire. The Washington Semester Program gave her the chance to reflect on her career plans while exploring her interests.

"I credit this program for giving me the opportunity to think broadly about how I want to continue to combine my interests of policy making and journalism to inform, inspire, and shake up the world while also challenging the beliefs of my future audience."  

Tags: School of Prof & Extd Stu,School of Prof & Extd Studies
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 86BC7284-5056-AF26-BEAF4C20F53C94EA
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 2939C90A-5056-AF26-BE1199A81A7D823A
Title: Christine and Michael: From McDowell dorm mates to AU Sweethearts
Author: Patricia Rabb
Subtitle:
Abstract: For AU Sweethearts Christine and Michael, a shared dorm and passion for soccer turns a friendship into marriage.
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/24/2017
Content:

For AU Sweethearts, Christine Moo-Young, Kogod/BSBA ’87, and Michael Russell, Kogod/BSBA ’86, it wasn’t love at first sight but friendship. However, during her junior year and his senior year at AU, that friendship deepened into love.

They met as dorm mates in McDowell when Christine was a freshman and Michael a sophomore. “Because we both lived in McDowell, we hung out in the same circle of friends,” commented Christine. Their mutual studies at Kogod and a shared passion for soccer meant they saw each other every day. “We were good friends long before we ever started dating,” added Michael.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Christine graduated from a small, all-girls high school and loved being in an academic environment where she felt a part of the community. She wanted to attend a small liberal arts university in or near a city. Upon visiting AU, she immediately liked the size of the school, the diversity on campus, and the business school. “DC was new to me and it had everything a student could want. It was an ideal fit,” she adds.

A self-proclaimed “army brat”, Michael was born in Anchorage, Alaska. Over the years, he lived in Florida, Arlington, Virginia, and Australia, eventually returning to Arlington where his dad retired at the Pentagon. Michael decided to attend AU for both its academics and athletics.

While at AU, Michael was a member of the only AU soccer team to reach the Division I NCAA finals. His most memorable experience as a student was walking across campus with the men’s soccer team to beat Hartwick College in a 1-0 victory during the 1985 NCAA semifinals at Reeves field. “Banners were hanging from McDowell and Leonard Halls. Students were hanging out the windows screaming and cheering. Hundreds of students surrounded us chanting, singing, and walking with us all the way to field. It was a memory I will never forget,” he exclaims.

Christine was also a big soccer fan and attended all of Michael’s home games. After over two years of friendship, they finally had their first date – hiking the trails at Great Falls, Virginia. “I wanted to show Christine a place where I knew she had not seen since living in DC,” says Michael.

After dating and graduating from AU, Michael moved to Jamaica when they became engaged in 1989, and they were married there the following year. As time passed, they had two daughters, who each independently decided to attend AU too. Kiera is a 2015 international studies graduate from the School of International Service, and Hailey is a senior majoring in business administration at the Kogod School of Business.

Christine and Michael are pleased their two daughters also chose to attend AU. “We did not pressure them to go to AU. They evaluated all the options and made their own decisions to attend. That is why I know they love it here. It was their choice,” says Michael.

Currently, Christine and Michael own and manage a small hotel in Jamaica that Christine’s parents built almost 50 years ago. “My mother passed away when I was quite young and my father passed away in 2015, so now I own and manage it with my husband. It has always been a family business,” Christine explains.

Even while working seven days a week at their hotel, Christine and Michael still manage to find time to be alumni volunteers for AU. They are both active Alumni Admissions Volunteers and co-chairs of the Legacy Alumni Network. Members of the legacy network include alumni and students who are the children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents of an American University alumnus/a. Because their daughters attended AU, all four of them are legacies.

Christine and Michael both agree that helping to promote AU as alumni is a great way to give back. “We very much appreciate what the alumni association has done for us, and we are very happy to give back in any way we can,” says Christine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Update,Kogod School of Business,Legacy
Publication: DC9BFA6D-C400-714B-030527285D7B0492
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 2A18AC80-5056-AF26-BE878A279D5E017B
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 314C342A-5056-AF26-BE73A996666C6C19
Title: Contemporary Abstraction on Display at AU Museum
Author: Rebecca Basu
Subtitle: An eclectic mix of painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media, and fashion
Abstract: Winter exhibits at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center are open Jan. 28, 2017 through March 12, 2017.
Topic: Arts
Publication Date: 01/24/2017
Content:

Winter exhibits at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center are open Jan. 28, 2017 through March 12, 2017.

Howard Mehring, a native Washingtonian, became a leading figure in the loosely defined Washington Color School movement, a form of Abstraction particular to D.C. Mehring / Wellspring: The Early Color Field Paintings of Howard Mehring is a survey sample of his 'Color Field' paintings created between 1957 and 1963. In the mid-1960s, Mehring changed his abstract style to one of geometric patterns using bolder colors under the influence of critic Clement Greenberg, before his premature death at 47.

Art historian E. A. Carmean Jr., wrote the catalogue essay for Mehring / Wellspring. During his tenure as curator of 20th century art at the National Gallery of Art, he organized the exhibition of the Color Field paintings of Morris Louis. Carmean Jr. was also the curator of two retrospectives of New York Color Field artists, one of the pioneer Helen Frankenthaler for the Museum of Modern Art in New York and a second, of Jules Olitski, shown at the American University Museum in 2012. The author of over 200 essays, books and catalogues, published in seven languages, a selection of his writings and sermons is currently in preparation. 

Julie Wolfe, an alumna of The University of Texas, Austin, uses her paintings, photography, sound and video production, works on paper, and installations to explore existentialism inspired by Michelangelo Pistoletto's concept of a third paradise. Wolfe's Quest for a Third Paradise seeks to showcase the relationship between the natural world and human nature. This exhibition was curated by Claire D'Alba.

In the Alper Initiative for Washington Art, Washington native Joe Cameron's photographs are on display. Cameron focuses on purity within black and white photography. His exhibition Touching Air works to highlight his excellence in incorporating in his photographs the poeticism in drawing and design. He captures this connection through the camera and allows it to create a visual quest for audiences.

New Ruins is an exhibition displaying the work of six, New York-based contemporary artists: N. Dash, Jessica Dickinson, Donald Moffett, Sam Moyer, Nathlie Provosty, and Brie Ruais. The artists make use of specific temporal, material, and tactile detail that challenge the traditional painter's mark while also modifying time and presence perception. The exhibition was curated by Danielle Mysliwiec, assistant professor of art, American University, and Natalie Campbell.

Mike Shaffer: Towers and Monuments showcases an array of paintings and sculptures by Maryland artist Mike Shaffer. Shaffer combines styles of minimalism, pop, and conceptual art to emphasize how the memorials and monuments in Washington, D.C. are inherently material, but portray non-material matter -- inventions, glory, prestige, honor. He explains that his "work is about ideas rather than things," but he uses "things to explain" his ideas.

On view through Feb. 12

COCO CHANEL: A NEW PORTRAIT BY MARION PIKE, PARIS 1967-71
Organized by the Washington Winter Show, this exhibition explores the profound friendship between California artist Marion Pike and legendary designer Coco Chanel, featuring five large-scale portraits of Chanel, painted by Pike, and several haute couture pieces styled by Chanel for Marion and her daughter, Jeffie Pike Durham, who generously loaned all of the pieces for the collection. Curated by Amy de la Haye, London College of Fashion, this collection makes its North American debut. This exhibition will be on display in the Katzen Kreeger Lobby through February 12, 2017.

Tags: AU Museum,College of Arts and Sciences,Media Relations
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 31E1AC98-5056-AF26-BE7E205D2CFEDAA2
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 22B89875-5056-AF26-BEA216CCAC36FB35
Title: Share Your AU Happily Ever After
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: Add your story and photos to our AU Sweethearts Social Media Project!
Topic: Alumni
Publication Date: 01/13/2017
Content:

Every new American University student begins their journey expecting to find lifelong friends, make lasting memories, and – of course – get a world-class education. A lucky few find their soulmates along the way. In fact, we know there are at least 2,500 happy AU alumni couples.

Each February, we ask these couples to share their love stories as part of our AU Sweethearts Social Media Project. Below are some highlights from previous years. If you found your mate at AU, tell us your story and send us your photos. We will feature you and other AU couples in the next issue of Alumni Update and on social media. You can fill out this form or share stories and photos on Twitter and Instagram using #AUSweethearts.

Sarah Cooper, SPA-CAS/BA ’12, and Sam Miller, SOC-CAS/BA ’12, notably got engaged at commencement. The video of the proposal went viral and was even featured on the Today show.

Robyn (Slagle) Showanes, SOC/BA ’08, and James Showanes, SPA/BA ’08, met on Tenley Campus and now have a beautiful daughter named… Tenley!

Gerry Sommer, CAS/BA ’66, and Joni Palew Sommer, CAS/BA ’67, returned to Mary Graydon on the 50th anniversary of their meeting there.

Adam Dunn, SIS/BA ’07, and Mary (Turkowski) Dunn, SIS/BA ’07, were married on campus in Kay Spiritual Life Center.

Together for over 50 years, Dot (Murray) Waugaman, CAS/BA ’62, and Paul Gray Waugaman, CAS/BA ’61; SPA/MA ’66, love attending All-American Weekend together.

Elizabeth Horsely, SPA/BA '09, SPA/MS '13 and Clay Massa, SPA/BA '10, spent their first date watching the 2009 Inauguration of President Barack Obama. "It was cold, and we left before the swearing-in! But we made up for it in 2013 when we attended the re-inauguration," says Clay.

Tyler Budde, CAS/BA ’10, and Ezree Mualem, CAS/BA ’09, went to the Founder’s Day Ball together for their first date. “Who knew we would be practicing for our first dance [at our wedding]?” says Ezree.

Tessa Telly, CAS/BS '01, CAS/MS '03, and Saliou Telly, CAS/BS '02 were close friends until an outing for a school project turned into a date.

Read about more AU couples:

Tags: Alumni,Alumni Relations,Alumni Update
Publication: DC9BFA6D-C400-714B-030527285D7B0492
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 2536B9C3-5056-AF26-BE73B8231791027C
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 8C7C5597-5056-AF26-BE03430FBF7FE21F
Title: Spring Arts Season Kicks Off at AU
Author: Asantewa Boakyewa
Subtitle:
Abstract: Spring 2017 calendar filled with art, music, theatre, and dance.
Topic: Arts
Publication Date: 01/06/2017
Content:

Welcome to the 2017 spring arts season at American University! Our calendar below is filled with concerts, dance performances, new interpretations of classic plays, exciting art exhibitions, and talks by nationally known scholars and artists.

Spring Calendar

MOVEMENT SPEAKS: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT DANCE
Featuring Guest Artist Michel Kouakou
Saturday, January 28, 5:30 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Room 152

As the culmination of a week-long residency with the AU Dance Program, guest artist Michel Kouakou discusses the choreographic process and gives a sneak peek of the new performance collaboration with the American University Dance Company (AU/DC). The AU/DC will perform this new choreography as part of its April dance concert, Dance Works. Free and open to the public.

ART HISTORY AND MUSEUMS LECTURE

Never the Same Day Twice: Art History and Curatorial Practice
Wednesday, February 8, 4–6 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall

Virginia Treanor, associate curator for the National Museum of Women in the Arts, will talk about her adventures as a curator and how she has learned to balance exhibition planning with unexpected challenges and opportunities. Reception to follow. Free and open to the public.

KATZEN SOUND BITES
Thursdays, 12:35–12:55 p.m.
February 9, February 23, March 9, April 6, April 20
Katzen Rotunda, Katzen Arts Center

Join AU student and faculty performers for live midday mini-concerts. Free and open to the public.

AU CHAMBER SINGERS: AN EARLY MUSIC PROGRAM

Saturday, February 11, 7 p.m.
Sunday, February 12, 3 p.m.
Kay Spiritual Life Center
Daniel Abraham, director

The American University Chamber Singers perform Baroque works, including a rare hearing of a large-scale Zelenka mass, one of Bach's beloved vocal motets, and a juxtaposition of the beautiful Salve Regina by Caldara with Pärt's modern masterpiece on the same text. This program is a preview of their international concert tour to Poland in May. Tickets: $5–10

DRACULA
Thursday-Friday, February 16–17, 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 18, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Greenberg Theatre
4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
Directed by Carl Menninger

Adapted by William McNulty, this performance is an action-packed, blood-soaked retelling of Bram Stoker's classic tale of horror. Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. (playscripts.com) Adult content and some mild adult language. Tickets: $10–15

ARTS MANAGEMENT SPRING COLLOQUIUM
Friday, February 17, 3 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall

Leading practitioners and theorists address critical issues affecting today's cultural community. Free and open to the public.

AU SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: CONCERTO AND ARIA COMPETITION

Saturday, February 18, 7 p.m.
Sunday, February 19, 3 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall
Matthew Brown, director

The AU Symphony Orchestra hosts the annual competition, open to all AU undergraduate students. Held in two rounds, the winner will perform as soloist with the AU Symphony Orchestra in a public concert. Free and open to the public.

ALLEGRO

Thursday-Friday, February 23–24, 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 25, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Studio Theatre
Directed by Karl Kippola

A small-town doctor tries to follow in his father's footsteps—but is tempted by fortune, fame, and the big city. Rodgers and Hammerstein's most innovative and contemporary musical explores the challenges facing an ordinary person in a chaotic modern world.
Tickets: $10–15

ARTIST TALK: SAM MOYER

Monday, February 27, 6 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Room 201

Sam Moyer introduces students and the public to her work, which fuses the languages of painting, sculpture, and photography. Moyer's work is featured in the exhibition New Ruins at the American University Museum, on view January 28–March 12. Free and open to the public.

AU SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: MARCH MEDLEY
Saturday, March 4, 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 5, 3 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall
Matthew Brown, conductor

The American University Symphony Orchestra spring concert opens with Rossini's Barber of Seville Overture. The program continues with Smetana's Moldau, Painted Music by AU faculty composer Jerzy Sapieyevski, and ends with Edvard Grieg's lively and memorable Symphonic Dances. Tickets: $5–10

ARTIST TALK: VALERIE HEGARTY
Thursday, March 9, 6 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Room 201

Valerie Hegarty introduces students and the public to her interdisciplinary practice, which includes painting, sculpture, and installations that address themes of memory, place, and history. Free and open to the public.

EMERGING ARTS LEADERS SYMPOSIUM
Sunday, March 19, Day-long event
Katzen Arts Center

Now in its tenth year, the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium (EALS) is a day-long event kicking off Arts Advocacy Day. This year's theme is Focus Forward, a call to action to use our collective strength to not only envision the future of the arts, but to make this future possible. The symposium will be a day of conversation, reflection, education, and networking. Registration is required. ealsatau.org

MASTER CLASS WITH ZOE SCOFIELD
Saturday, March 25, 11 a.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Room 152

Learn contemporary dance practices with guest artist Zoe Scofield. Prior dance experience recommended. Free for the AU Community.

THE GORENMAN RUSSIAN PROJECT

Saturday, March 25, 8 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall

Internationally acclaimed concert pianist Yuliya Gorenman performs masterpieces of Russian composers. Tickets $10–25

MOVEMENT SPEAKS: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT DANCE
Featuring Guest Artist Zoe Scofield
Saturday, March 25, 8 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Room 152

As the culmination of a week-long residency with the American University Dance Program, guest artist Zoe Scofield discusses the choreographic process and gives a sneak peek of the new performance collaboration with the American University Dance Company (AU/DC). The AU/DC will perform this new choreography as part of their April dance concert, Dance Works. Free and open to the public.

ART HISTORY DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS LECTURE
Foregrounding the Background: Dutch and Flemish Images of Household Servants

Wednesday, March 29, 4–6 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall

Diane Wolfthal, the David and Caroline Minter Chair in the Humanities and a professor of art history at Rice University, presents a lecture on images of servants in Netherlandish art, challenging previous interpretations of such images to better understand the rich and complex web of attitudes towards servitude that existed in the past. Reception to follow. Free and open to the public.

ARGONAUTIKA

Thursday-Friday, March 30–31, 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 1, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Greenberg Theatre
Directed by Isaiah Wooden

This imaginative adaptation of The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts follows Jason and his spunky band of Argonauts as they endeavor to retrieve the coveted Golden Fleece. Bursting with humor and fantastical creatures, playwright Mary Zimmerman refashions the enduring tale into a timely theatrical event that explores the complexities of the human condition and the resilience of the human spirit. Gaius Valerius Flaccus translated by David R. Slavitt. Apollonius Rhodius translated by Peter Green. Tickets: $10–15

AU DESIGN SHOW
Monday, April 3–Thursday, April 13
Reception: Tuesday, April 4, 5 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Rotunda Gallery

An exhibition of selected student design work from the next generation of leaders in graphic design. Free and open to the public.

AU CHAMBER SINGERS: INTERNATIONAL A CAPPELLA

Saturday, April 8, 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 9, 3 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall
Daniel Abraham, director

The American University Chamber Singers present a mixed program spanning Renaissance European and Polish works; intense contemporary American, Polish, and central European choral literature; and uplifting American spirituals, traditional, and gospel arrangements. This program is a preview of their international concert tour to Poland in May. Tickets: $5–10

THE LIVING COMPOSER'S SERIES: THE MUSIC OF AMY WILLIAMS

Friday, April 21, 8 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall
Noah Getz, director

The American University Workshop jazz ensemble concert focuses on one of Amy Williams' newest large ensemble works and several chamber works. Williams writes with a modern aesthetic that borrows from a variety of musical styles in a uniquely American way. Her music is informed by her work as an active contemporary pianist. Tickets: $5–10

DANCE WORKS
Friday-Saturday, April 21–22, 8 p.m.
Greenberg Theatre
Artistic direction by Britta Joy Peterson

The American University Dance Company presents the annual Spring Dance Concert, featuring choreography by AU students, faculty Britta Joy Peterson and Erin Foreman-Murray, and guest artists Zoe Scofield and Michel Kouakou. This main stage production presents fresh and seasoned perspectives on concert dance performed by AU dance students. Participate in a post-performance discussion with the choreographers on Friday, April 21. Tickets: $10–15

JAZZ: CONCERT AND CONVERSATIONS
Saturday, April 22
Panel Discussion: 6 p.m.
American University Museum

Join jazz musicians and scholars for a panel discussion on education, performance, and business education moderated by Joshua Bayer, director of the American University Jazz Orchestra. Panelists include Rusty Hassan, longtime jazz host at Washington, DC, community radio station WPFW 89.3 FM. Reception to follow. Free and open to the public. RSVP required.

Jazz Concert: 8 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall
Joshua Bayer, director
The American University Jazz Orchestra and professional jazz musicians perform a variety of works for the orchestra's annual spring concert. Tickets: $5–10

AU SYMPHONIC BAND: FRENZY AND CALM
Sunday, April 23, 3 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall
Ben Sonderman, director

The American University Symphonic Band proudly presents its spring program. This production features popular classics and new favorites of the repertory.

THEATRE/MUSICAL THEATRE SENIOR CAPSTONE
Thursday, April 27, 8 p.m.
Friday, April 28, 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 29, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Katzen Arts Center, Studio Theatre
Artistic direction by Randy Baker

Graduating theatre and musical theatre students present original dramatic work and songs. Production contains mature themes. Tickets: $10–15

AU CHORUS AND AUSO: LUX IN TENEBRIS (LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS)
Friday, April 28, 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 29, 8 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall
Matthew Brown and Casey Cook, conductors

The American University Symphony Orchestra and AU Chorus present a concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of Morten Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna. The performance also includes a newly written work by AU faculty composer Sean Doyle, as well as Brahms' epic Symphony no. 1 in C. Tickets: $5–10

For More Information

For more information or event updates, visit AU Arts. To reserve seats, visit american.tix.com or call 202-885-2787.

Tags: Art Dept,Arts and Entertainment,College of Arts and Sciences,Performing Arts,Performing Arts Dept
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 2A1E7BD2-5056-AF26-BE544A42CA4E32EC
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 221AD77C-5056-AF26-BE04027744FF1255
Title: The Looking Glass Visits the AU Museum
Author: Patty Housman
Subtitle: Latin American artists and identities
Abstract: Latin American artists and identities
Topic: Arts
Publication Date: 12/15/2016
Content:

It took seven years and a Communist revolution to begin the journey of Ric Garcia’s family to the United States.

In 1959, when Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro ousted the government of President Fulgencio Batista, Garcia’s parents decided to stay in Cuba and see if their new country would be a good place to start a family. But within months, they realized the revolution had not created the place they had hoped for.

It would take them seven long years, but finally they were able to leave Cuba for Miami, Florida. Garcia was born there, surrounded by a close-knit Cuban American community who shared old-world values and traditions. He was introduced to art by his father and went on to study graphic design and illustration at the University of Miami before ultimately moving to the DC area.

Garcia’s widely exhibited paintings and pop art prints are a cultural mash-up of Spanish and American culture. “I looked to the wealth of experiences from my childhood, where my family’s Spanish traditions were the center of the world,” he says. “I began to understand what to paint and what to say about that world…I came to an understanding that in my adolescence I became part of the whole as one set of values layered upon another. I was Cuban…I was American...I was blended.”

Garcia was just one of ten artists recently featured in the exhibition The Looking Glass: Artist Immigrants of Washington at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. “The exhibition celebrates artists who left Latin America for many different reasons over the last 60 years—primarily for safety, freedom, and opportunity—and made their homes, and their artistic careers and contributions, in the Washington region,” says AU Museum Director Jack Rasmussen.

The Looking Glass was the third exhibition presented by the American University’s Alper Initiative for Washington Art, which promotes understanding and appreciation of Washington’s art and artists. Artists celebrated in the exhibit include Joan Belmar (Chile), F. Lennox Campello (Cuba), Irene Clouthier (Mexico), Juan Downey (Chile), Ric Garcia (Cuba), Muriel Hasbun (El Salvador), Frida Larios (El Salvador/Honduras), Carolina Mayorga (Colombia), Naúl Ojeda (Uruguay), and Jose Ygnacio Bermudez (Cuba).

The exhibition celebrates the personal stories and journeys of each artist. “These artists come from different generations and from different circumstances,” says Rasmussen, “but they brought with them artistic traditions and innovations that took root and bore fruit here in the United States—and in the Washington area."

Highlights from the exhibition include Juan Downey's The Looking Glass video installation, Muriel Hasbun’s multi-layered acrylic painting, and F. Lennox Campello’s anti-Castro drawings. Here are their stories.

Juan Downey

Juan Downey, Stills from The Looking GlassJuan Downey, Stills from The Looking Glass, 1981. Video still. Copyright Juan Downey. Courtesy of the Estate of Juan Downey.

Downey was born to an Irish father and a French and Mapuche mother in Santiago, Chile, in 1940. By the time he earned a degree in architecture, he was already an accomplished painter and printmaker. He moved to Barcelona and Madrid to explore painting, and then to Paris to study printmaking. In Paris, he met fellow Latin American artists, and poet Pablo Neruda, who influenced his interest in political and revolutionary art.

In 1965 Downey moved to Washington, DC, where he began collaborating with local artists to bring art out of the studio and into public space, often involving audience participation. Soon he began incorporating video into his art, purchasing his first video camera, and moving to New York, where he produced The Looking Glass, the inspiration for his exhibition’s name.

The Looking Glass is part of a series of videos that focus on masterpieces of Western culture—particularly Velázquez’s Las Meninas, which first captured Downey’s imagination decades earlier in Spain. The Looking Glass is still considered a work of major importance for twentieth century art, and for new media artists working today.

Muriel Hasbun

Artist and photographer Muriel Hasbun describes herself as born and raised in El Salvador to a Salvadoran Palestinian Christian father, whose family escaped conscription into the Ottoman army at the beginning of World War I, and to a French-Polish Jewish mother who survived the Holocaust by hiding with her family in the Auvergne region of France during World War II.

Hasbun left El Salvador in 1979, at the beginning of its 12-year civil war. One year later, she moved to Washington, DC, to attend college. Hasbun says she made the city her home “by becoming an artist, and by actively trying to bridge the space between here and there. I realized shortly after my arrival in Washington that I experienced life through the prism of my own multivalent, hybrid identity and that I had no choice but to confront my own personal subjectivity: what I called ‘the irreconcilable.’"

Hasbun is best known for her photography, paintings, and mixed media installations. She explores her place in the world through her art, which has described in the Washington Post as “an intriguing and beautifully rendered depiction of her own memories of her multi-layered background.”

Julio Sequeira, Hombre cosmico (left) and Muriel Hasbun, Janine (right)

(Left) Julio Sequeira, Hombre cósmico, undated. Acrylic on canvas, 71 x 35 in.

(Right) Muriel Hasbun, Janine, 2011.12.11, San Salvador / Washington, DC, from the series si je meurs/if I die. Video still.

Both images courtesy of Muriel Hasbun and Laberinto Projects and copyright Muriel Hasbun.

F. Lennox Campello

In the 1960s F. Lennox Campello came to the United States as a child. His father had been part of the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s, fighting against the Batista dictatorship. But after their victory, he criticized the new Communist regime, was arrested and sent to a concentration camp, and ultimately left Cuba for the United States as part of what was called “The Freedom Flights.”

Campello and his family felt indebted to their new country, and at 17, Campello enlisted in the US Navy. He drew cartoons for the Stars & Stripes newspaper and entered art competitions wherever he was deployed around the world. By the time he retired from the Navy, he was exhibiting in as many as 30 shows a year.

He began writing about the arts, and then opened a small gallery in DC’s Georgetown neighborhood. It flourished, and he opened a second gallery. Campello says that Washington has profoundly impacted his artwork, comparing the diversity in the region to what he experienced as a child in Brooklyn, NY. “The DMV offers such a wide array, not only of people, cultures, and places in a small area, but also (and more important to an artist) of opportunities in the visual arts, that it provided fertile soil for my work.”

Julio Sequeira, Hombre cosmico (left) and Muriel Hasbun, Janine (right)

F. Lennox Campello, Cuban by Ancestry, but American by the Grace of God, 2016. Charcoal and Conte crayon drawing with embedded video and digital components, 18 x 24 in. Courtesy of Alida Anderson Art Projects.

Tags: Art Dept,AU Museum,CAS Connections,Katzen Arts Center,Museums
Publication: DCA3B7D0-9227-0557-66F64A0C0158ACCB
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 588C1D48-5056-AF26-BEC2A4803A5AF8E7
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: ABFF7B7C-5056-AF26-BE4C8062F49EE288
Title: DC Arts-Grant Awarded to American University Adjuncts, Alumni
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities presents AU artists with $25,000 in grants.
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 11/03/2016
Content:

The DC government Commission on the Arts and Humanities awarded $25,000 in artist grants to American University School of Communication alumni and adjunct faculty. 

Two alumni of the graduate film program, Yi Chen and Emiliano Ruprah, were recipients of the fellowship grant for Media.

Recipients of the Visual Arts grant include adjunct professorial lecturers Alexandra Silverthorne, Terri Weifenbach and Nancy Daly. 

The Arts and Humanities Fellowship Program (AHFP) offers fellowships to individual  artists whose artistic excellence significantly contributes to the District of Columbia as a world class cultural capital. AHFP recognizes the impact of individual artists within the District of Columbia and supports the vitality that those artists bring to the local community.

Check out a trailer for Yi Chen's film (and a playlist of all her Chinatown films):

Tags: DC Community,District of Columbia,Faculty,Film,Grants,School of Communication
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: AC466418-5056-AF26-BEF1F6C6C6BAA034
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList:
newsId: 6FEE3605-5056-AF26-BEA5879CD6511C6F
Title: Environmental Film Students Tapped for Prize
Author:
Subtitle:
Abstract: Three film and media arts graduate students have been selected as the recipients of the Challenge Prize.
Topic: Announcement
Publication Date: 10/13/2016
Content:

Three film and media arts graduate students have been selected as the recipients of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking Challenge Prize. The prize is given out annually to aspiring environmental filmmakers who have overcome or are overcoming adversity in their lives. This year's winners were Elizabeth Herzfeldt-Kamprath, Doaa Nour and Kent Wagner.

For more information on the impactful work of these students as well as the application and selection process, check out the Challenge Prize

Tags: Center for Environmental Filmmaking,Film,Film and Media Arts,Film Production,School of Communication
Publication:
Photos: 0
Contact Name:
Contact Phone:
Contact Email:
News Photos: 73D22F9D-5056-AF26-BE3493818B40176A
Profile:
Media:
newMediaIDList: