$100,000 Transformational Impact Fellowship goes to Herron Professor Greg Hull for patient-based digital art project

Herron School of Art and Design Professor Greg Hull’s collaborative proposal for the Installation of a work by senior Jenn Brown (in scissor shirt) at IUPUI University Library.“Touchstone Project,” which would produce digital works made of light and controlled by input from hospital patients, earned a $100,000 Transformational Impact Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

Hull, whose work has often included the use of projected light, teaches sculpture. He is one of the first two people to earn the new two-year fellowship, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., announced at the Arts Council’s annual Start With Art luncheon on September 4.

Hull’s collaborators include Assistant Professor Juliet King, director of Herron’s graduate Art Therapy Program, and Dr. Robert Pascuzzi, chair of the Department of Neurology at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The project will provide a way for patients—including those with limited mobility because of neurological conditions such as ALS and Parkinson’s disease—“to interact with and generate engaging imagery that they can experience and change in real time, as well as potentially share with a larger audience,” said Hull.

He and his partners hope to give the patients who participate a sense of identity, autonomy and confidence through the art, as a way to combat the depression and anxiety that often come with such a diagnosis.

The project outcome will be works created in response to data collected from patient sensors and translated through an artist-designed interface. The works can be displayed on monitors or projected at varying scales and experienced privately by the patient or publicly in an installation space.

“This project will open new avenues for partnership across disciplines. It’s an honor to be part of pioneering work that can help people, and perhaps, with further research, become a tool for art therapists everywhere,” said King.

Shannon Linker, vice president of the Arts Council said, “The new Fellowship gives artists the opportunity to be at the center of the project, not brought in as an afterthought. Many artists have an altruistic nature that constantly seeks to better their surroundings. These partnership-based projects allow artists to create something meaningful in keeping with their art practice, but also fulfill their need to positively impact their community.”

Linker said that the Arts Council collected “63 submissions from artists and artist teams working in literary and visual arts, dance, music and theater. Within those submissions there were hundreds of artists and partner groups involved in thinking about amazing ways art can help transform a place or idea.”

Colleagues from arts service organizations in Miami Beach, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati and South Miami Beach formed an e-panel to select the finalists. They did not know the fellowship applicants.

“The e-panel narrowed down the submissions and came up with their own concerns and highlights. Then the grants committee of our board of directors interviewed the lead artist for each finalist project and asked some tough questions—questions that came from the e-panel as well as questions that related to Indianapolis and our community specifically,” Linker said. “The panelists were especially drawn to the proposal Hull put forward because of his team’s potential impact on the world of Art Therapy.”

The Arts Council will be documenting the progress of both fellows (Brian Fonseca of Phoenix Theater is the other award recipient) over the course of the two years and plans to share highlights via video and other means. “The impact may be hard to measure at first,” Linker said. “We understand that this project may just be the beginning of a magnificent idea that will grow over many years.”

Study: “The Bible in American Life”

UntitledThe year 2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. It also marked the beginning of a three-year Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI ) study of the Bible’s place in the everyday lives of Americans.

With a $507,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture – a program of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI – set out to answer questions of how, where, when and why ordinary Americans use the Bible.

According to findings made public online in the 44-page “The Bible in American Life” report, the four-centuries-old King James Version of the Bible is far from dead. Despite its archaic language and a market flooded with newer, more modern English translations, more than half of the individuals and two-fifths of the congregations surveyed still prefer the King James Bible.

And of those surveyed, African Americans reported the highest levels of Bible engagement.

Seventy percent of all blacks said they read the Bible outside of public worship services, compared to 44 percent for whites, 46 percent for Hispanics and 28 percent for all other races.

Bible memorization is highest among black respondents, 69 percent, compared to 51 percent among white conservative Protestants and 31 percent among white moderate/liberal Protestants.

“There are no measures, individually or in congregations, where ‘black’ is not strongly correlated with the most conservative, most active, most involved level of scriptural engagement, no matter which other group comes closest,” the report says.

“If one wanted to predict whether someone had read the Bible, believed it to be the literal or inspired Word of God, and used it to learn about many practical aspects of life, knowing whether or not that person was black is the single best piece of information one could have.”

The report first looks at the practice of scripture reading in the United States, and then explores eight measures among those who read the Bible, such as Bible translation used; scripture memorization habits; favorite passages; and race.

Roughly half of Americans have read religious scripture outside of a public worship service in the past year. For 95 percent of those, the Bible is the scripture they read.

What did the study reveal about Bible readers?

Most of those people read at least monthly, and a substantial number – 9 percent of all Americans – read every day.

Women were more likely to read than men; older people were more likely to read than younger; Southerners were more likely to read than those of any other region.

The percentage of verse memorizers among Bible readers (48 percent) equates to roughly a fourth of the American population as a whole, or nearly 80 million people.

Psalm 23 – which begins “The Lord is my shepherd” – was the most popular Biblical passage.

Younger people, those with higher salaries and, most dramatically, those with more education among the respondents read the Bible on the internet or an e-device at higher rates.

The written report, based on survey questions on both the General Social Survey (1,551 individuals) and the National Congregations Study III (denominations represented among the General Social Survey respondents), is the first stage of the study and offers sociological data about the role of the Bible.

“Historians and sociologists have been working for years to understand how religion is lived out on a daily level,” said Philip Goff, executive director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and one of the three principal investigators who led the study. “This gives us a good snapshot of the practice of Bible reading. That should also help ministers understand the people in their pews.”

Goff’s co-investigators are Arthur Farnsley, associate director of the center; and Peter Thuesen, chair of the Department of Religious Studies at IUPUI.

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