Totality exhibition drew thousands

Fairbanks Hall was a-buzz with activity this weekend. 

The weekend before the August 21 eclipse, our usually-sleepy summer campus was bustling with life.  And that Fairbanks Hall, home of the Art Department, was a hub of excitement in the midst of the scientific phenomenon, was inspiring.

Curated by Associate Professor of Photography and New Media Communications Julia Bradshaw, the Totality Exhibition brought together a variety of works by locally and nationally recognized artists.

When Julia first learned of the eclipse, she seized on the idea to show the public how artists contribute to the conversation.

“With this exhibition, and the companion arts activities, I bring together artworks and artists who put us in touch with our human relationship to the Cosmos in some manner.”

Art in-progress

Together with the gallery exhibition, Julia scheduled workshops and performances on photography, print making, and poetry writing for the throngs of eclipse visitors who descended on our sleepy campus.

Eclipse visitors making mono-prints.

Artist events showcased work-in-progress style forums, where visitors watched and learned and practiced art.  Artist events included a performance piece by Kaitlyn Wittig- Mengüç and a poetry writing workshop led by Qwo-Li Driskill.

Eclipse visitors watch a performance art piece unfold.

Visitors watched mural painter Johnny Beaver at work, helped children’s author Eric Wayne Dickey write his next book, and listened to musicians Ryan Biesack and Mike Gamble improvise work inspired by the cosmos.

Mural artist Johnny Beaver talks about his process with visitors.

Julia was certain that the Totality art show would have appeal.

“That the eclipse is happening in our back yard is very special, but everyone’s reasons for viewing it is different. Our relationship to the Cosmos is like that: some are interested in space as a vehicle for fantasy and some are interested in space as a vehicle for scientific exploration.”

And she was right!  Fairbanks Hall saw an estimated 1,000 visitors on Saturday, and approximately 2,000 on Sunday.  It was wonderful to see so many visitors on campus.

Visitors make their own cyanotype sun prints.

A Lasting Effect

The Totality events catered to the young and old, and it added context to a truly extraordinary cosmological event.  I am certain the eclipse itself will leave lasting memories in the millions of people who witnessed it across the country.  I am equally certain that the Totality exhibition and events helped the thousands of visitors to our state and to our campus think about the significance of the eclipse on their daily lives.

I, for one, am still buzzing with inspiration.

Photos by Julia Bradshaw.  To see others, click here.


Liberal Arts 2017 funding summary

Prior to my appointment at the beginning of fiscal year 2015, CLA didn’t have a research program manager.  Faculty were on their own when it came to submitting grants.

For my first project, I studied the funding history of CLA and looked at eleven years of data, all the data available to me, from 2004 to 2014.  Over those eleven years, the college averaged 8.7 funded projects per year.  The report can be viewed here.  Slide four shows a table of the data, and slide seven summarizes and averages the data.

What’s the deal?

I am happy to report that for 2017, a whopping 30 projects were funded. That’s a 245% increase! Wow!

I am looking forward to the future and the opportunities for funding for CLA faculty, to whom I say, “Come see me!  I am here to help you succeed.”

Humanities, funding, and James Comey?

The humanities are at the center of the happenings going on in our nation’s capitol. As a grant writer for the College of Liberal Arts, it’s important to recognize.

I visited the National Endowment for the Humanities earlier this year.  My host there commented on the heightened security. She attributed to it the presence of the Federal Trade Commission, and “the lawyers,”  she groaned as she rolled her eyes.

I responded with a, “Oh, I don’t know, isn’t it ‘first kill all the poets?'”

My host smiled and said, “maybe so.”

I don’t know to whom that saying is attributed.  Whether it was poets or lawyers, either way, I was in a building with both.

Despite all the craziness coming out of DC, I was struck by how a recent press briefing focused on the interpretation of a poem.

On my other blog site that I keep for my personal writing, I just wrote a piece about the James Comey testimony and its Chaucerian significance.  The piece itself  bridges my personal and professional interests.