Posts filed under ‘Arts’

Want to Change STEM to STEAM? BUY ART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are in the golden age of turn-of-the-21st-century art. Really. My husband and I are art lovers who spend many hours of our free time each week visiting artists in their open studios, pop-up exhibits, or openings. It can be the most exhilarating experience to find a new artist or piece of work in the unknown zone of urban guerrillas in transition neighborhoods or the warm glow of nurturing artist lofts. The downside? Seeing the un-purchased work still hanging on the wall years later as brilliant artists struggle to keep their studios and their dreams alive.

In the Renaissance, the convergence of math, physics, art, and music brought European society out of the dark. And the philosophers gave us hope and angst. So it is for educators as we realize the need to nurture the minds of our young with STEM studies even as we feed their souls with Art. Uh, is there a problem here? Yes…the artists are still going to starve.

The schools of art are doing their part. The students are expanding their horizons and developing into wonderful artists. The arts community has collaborated to create safe harbors for creation of new art, critiquing one another’s work, and displaying it whenever and wherever possible. Local politicians, cultural councils, and corporations try to support these communities. However, the missing element continues to be the buyers of art among every day citizens.*

Art collecting in the stratosphere is not the real world, yet that is where the publicity lies. In reality, local work from very talented artists is accessible geographically and financially. Some buy one work a year for a lifetime of joy around their dwellings. For others, there is a great work that is the one-time purchase and the centerpiece of their decorating. The biggest part of the market, however, remains the underground network of bartering among the artists themselves while their day jobs sustain them and their families.

Demand stimulation is the theme for our decade. Just wanted to put in my plug for the artists. Please, go to open studios and buy art. You will find something you love, and it will make you very happy.

*(Or the local museums with megabucks expansions, but that is a topic for another day…)

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May 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM Leave a comment

Symphonies Simplified

Great music for new musicians may be out there if we could get the community of performers to share their translations.

In a recent Education Week article, Peter DeWitt’s guest blogger, music teacher Michael Albertson, shared his frustration with the dearth of sources of music for beginner instruction that is authentic for high school students. Oddly enought, this reminded me of a tour I once took through the Boston Ballet’s studios.

One of the most intriguing revelations on the tour was a music studio in which someone was translating a symphony into a single melodic rhythm for the piano. The purpose was to distill the music to be played by the full orchestra into its essence for purposes of choreography and dance rehearsal. Suppose one were to use it for the reverse – a simple piece to help beginners connect to great orchestral music.

With the accelerated evolution of technology, the procedure I described must be way out of date – not even *last* year. However, there should be a treasure trove of work out there that could be a joy to hear on any instrument…even played by a beginner. Any sources out there?

September 30, 2011 at 7:45 AM Leave a comment