Mighty Dreams: Designing and Fostering Belonging in ‘America’

Rising global inequality, political instability, violence, food insecurity, climate change: these and other factors have resulted in a worldwide refugee crisis unprecedented in scale. From Syria to South Sudan, Myanmar to Guatemala, tens of millions of people around the world have left their homes in search of safety and survival. In the United States, fires, flooding, and lack of affordable housing and job opportunities are among the environmental crises and economic injustices influencing internal migration and sweeping demographic change within cities, states, and regions. With migration often painfully disrupting personal and collective understandings of culture and place, displaced, recently arrived, and changing communities are seeking new meaning and hope around what it means to live and belong in America and the world.

Despite the urgent challenges we face, we are also living in a time of renewed civic, activist, and human spirit. Indigenous peoples continue to fight for sovereignty, self-determination, and thriving ecological futures. Cross border and international immigrant rights coalitions are building sanctuaries and diverse coalitions to combat nativist ideology and violent state policy. Instead of giving up or retreating with despair, youthful and more seasoned artists, designers, scholars, and organizers are together creating spaces to heal, find a sense of belonging, and construct new ways of being, living, and working in community. This work requires compassion, courage, strength, experimentation, and an expansive imagination of the world as it could and should be.

This year Imagining America (IA) celebrates twenty years of supporting publicly engaged artists, designers, scholars, and organizers who imagine, study, and enact a more just and liberatory America and world. Inspired by the cultural landscape of New Mexico and the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential elections, IA’s 20th Anniversary National Gathering will consider how we define, design, and foster belonging in our home communities and as a nation state. With belonging, indigeneity, and migration serving as framing concepts, IA invites proposals that advance public scholarship, dialogue, collaboration, research, programs, and advocacy on realizing an America that, as in Langston Hughes’ mighty dream, is the land it must be – a place of opportunity and equality for all. The gathering will explore such questions as:

●    How do our diverse relationships to land, displacement, and migration inform and interact with the ways we envision place and belonging – culturally, socially, politically, economically, spiritually, ecologically, and agriculturally?
●    How may Indigenous, traditional, cross-border, and community-based ways of knowing be used to shift how belonging is defined and designed, and who participates in this process?
●    In what ways can public memory, history, art, and design be used to address living legacies of oppression and to foster belonging within our institutions and communities?
●    Given that our own histories and narratives of land, belonging, and migration are often different from one another, how do we build cross-movement solidarities towards the long haul project of social change for a more just, equitable and liberatory future?

IA also welcomes proposals that provide participants with new skills or tools, create opportunities for collaboration, and/or more generally strengthen publicly engaged knowledge and practices that integrate the methodologies of arts, design, and the humanities.

For general questions on the proposal process before submitting your proposal, please join us on May 14, 2019 from 10-11 AM PT for an informational webinar.

Instructions on how to submit your proposal are available on IA’s website atwww.imaginingamerica.org >> National Gathering >> Submit a Proposal.
The submission deadline is Friday, June 7, 2019 at 11:59 PM PT.

Sponsorship Opportunity:
Would you or your organization like to sponsor event programming or travel to the IA 20th Anniversary National Gathering? Sponsorship comes with opportunities to promote your work while also supporting students and community based participation in the gathering. For more information on sponsorship, please contact Erika Prasad, Associate Director of Membership and Development: eaprasad@ucdavis.edu.

Learn more about the Session Format here.

Imagining America 20th Anniversary National Gathering
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Friday, October 18, 2019 – Sunday, October 20, 2019
Submission Deadline: Friday, June 7 11:59 PM PT

Mother Nature Inspired IUPUI Students’ Design For A Safer Football Helmet

The thick peel of a pomelo was one of nature's bio-inspired designs the students examined.
The thick peel of a pomelo was one of nature’s bio-inspired designs the students examined.

Two IUPUI students drew upon the wisdom of Mother Nature to create biologically inspired designs that could be used to create a safer football helmet.

Their research has been published in the Society of Automotive Engineering International Journal of Transportation Safety.

The student authors of the paper, “Cellular Helmet Liner Design through Bio-Inspired Structures and Topology Optimization of Compliant Mechanism Lattices,” are Jacob DeHart, a media arts and science student in the School of Informatics and Computing, and Joel Najmon, an engineering student in the School of Engineering and Technology.

Zebulun Wood, a lecturer in media arts and science, and Andres Tovar, an associate professor of mechanical and energy engineering and an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, are co-authors and co-directors of this research project.

“Our research and design algorithms show innovative, energy-absorbing cellular helmet liners,” Najmon said. “Cellular helmet liners are ideal for impact energy absorption, as their structures can mimic the excellent absorbing capabilities of foam and energy protective biological structures while maintaining the ability to be engineered for specific impact, dynamic responses.”

The two students were given the reins to experiment and explore different ways of making something that could be useful to people, DeHart said. “I took a more interpretative look at nature, mimicking functions and forms from nature, while Joel took a more scientific one, putting numbers into a program to get results.”

This work shows lessons learned from bio-inspired designs using protective structures such as pomelo peel, nautilus shell and woodpecker skull, Tovar said. “Our work explores a design approach to tailor the response of a cellular material subject to impact, an approach that offers the potential to mitigate head injury by decreasing acceleration, decreasing penetration and increasing specific energy absorption.”

“What this study really gets to is that nature, through millions of years of innovation and evolution, knows best,” Wood said. “We took some of nature’s hardest surfaces — surfaces that could be translated to helmet design — and re-created them in a way that can be simulated in engineering software.”

Nature may have provided inspiration for the cellular designs, but it took the students months to figure out how the bio-inspired shapes developed by DeHart could be re-created in a way that they could be used by Najmon in engineering simulation software that showed whether their helmet liner would reduce risk of injury.

The challenge the two students faced, Wood said, was to learn how to create geometric shapes that were inspired by nature but could also be simulated in engineering software. “Until our experiment, that was very difficult to do. It’s still difficult to do. Now IUPUI knows how to get those shapes to work together.”

The kind of collaboration that enabled the students to bridge the gap between the domains of media arts and science and engineering could only happen at a campus like IUPUI that encourages people in different fields to work together, Wood said.

The helmet liner study was supported by a grant from the Sports Innovation Institute at IUPUI.

Read the original article from IUPUI NewsJohn Schwarb and Rich Schneider

Herron’s Top 100 Honorees of 2019

Devin Johannis (middle) with Leslie Kidwell (left), president of the IUPUI Alumni Association, and Nasser H. Paydar (right), IUPUI chancellor and executive vice president of Indiana University. Courtesy of Shannon McCullough.
Devin Johannis (middle) with Leslie Kidwell (left), president of the IUPUI Alumni Association, and Nasser H. Paydar (right), IUPUI chancellor and executive vice president of Indiana University. Courtesy of Shannon McCullough.

Every year, IUPUI honors the achievements of their student body by recognizing exceptional students through the IUPUI Top 100 list. Changemakers, innovators, achievers, and leaders are included.

Several students at Herron are being honored this year: newcomers Devin Johannis and Jazmine Hooper, in addition to returning honorees Haley Francis-Halstead and Sydney Patberg.

Devin Johannis
Succeeding on his own terms is something Devin Johannis specializes in. He had an untraditional start at Herron: he was admitted through the newly founded artistic support program. When he received a notification that a portfolio of his work would be due in a week, he had to make do with what he could. “I remember grabbing some colored pencils and pens that were lying around and just looking things up online, trying to make art,” he said. This hard work paid off, and Johannis was soon directly admitted. After an experience while studying abroad in Italy where he saw the same pattern his father uses as trim moulding on architectural columns and church designs, he began to think more about tradition in his work. This eventually led him to furniture design as his major.

“Tradition is such an important part of being a designer now. So many people have made so many things before you, it can only benefit you to know more about it…I would’ve felt blind without it,” he said.

The experience of being a artistic support student serves as a source of inspiration for Johannis, and drives him to help students in similar situations. He is a mentor through IUPUI’s O-Team program. He’s also contributed to the National Mentoring Symposium, IUPUI’s Sophomore Experience program, and IUPUI’s Bridge first year seminar, among others. “My mentor played a huge role in getting me admitted, and through her, I realized how beneficial it can be to have a mentorship. I wanted to know what it means to be a mentor, so that’s why I pursued it,” Johannis said.

Herron School of Art and Design's Top 100 honorees of 2019, pictured with members of the Student Services team during the recognition dinner on April 12th, 2019.   Courtesy of Shannon McCullough
Herron School of Art and Design’s Top 100 honorees of 2019, pictured with members of the Student Services team during the recognition dinner on April 12th, 2019. Courtesy of Shannon McCullough

Having been listed as one of IUPUI’s top 100, Johannis has proven he is well on his way to becoming a successful creator. With that being said, he stresses the importance of maintaining momentum. “I still try to ground myself, and pretend in my head that at any moment I could get kicked out. The more success, the more things I’m able to achieve — the more praise that comes with it. That’s great, but it’s really easy to get lost in that, to be like ‘cool, I’m in the Top 100! I made it!’ and stop trying,” Johannis said. “I don’t want to ever be like that. I’ve always got another goal, and I’ve always got to keep going.

Johannis is graduating this year with a B.F.A. in furniture design, a minor in art history, and an architectural and interior design graphics certificate. True to his word, he plans on applying for jobs that could push him towards his goal after graduation: getting in-field experience and then pursuing a master’s degree to become a fine arts professor. “There’s something about being out in the actual career field that allows professors to specialize their classes and make it feel like it really is their coursework. That’s something I don’t want to miss out on,” he said. “When people take a class with me, I want them to be able to say ‘oh, that’s his work. There’s a lot that he can provide that’s unique to the course and I couldn’t get elsewhere.'”

Jazmine Hooper
Jazmine Hooper is a leader, first and foremost. She is a member of the Herron Ambassador program, the president of Herron’s Student Council, and the student representative for the Herron Alumni Association, among other leadership appointments. All of these enable Hooper to maximize outreach and help incoming students. “Being able to have these interactions with students and being able to give them advice and clarity is extremely valuable,” she said.

Hooper believes in the importance of the student connection due to the significance of her own time at Herron. She originally intended to major in visual communication design, but ended up in drawing and illustration. Now, she’s currently experimenting with printmaking. She attributes this to Herron’s “beautiful way of making you take classes outside your comfort zone.” “You’re going to be taking electives out of your major,” she said. “I discovered book arts, printmaking — things that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with.” She cites Herron’s inherent experimentation as the reason why she didn’t have to “settle” for a medium that might’ve not worked for her.

Malala, Magician 2 1/2″ x 3″. Courtesy of Jazmine Hooper.

When giving advice to incoming freshmen, Hooper believes one of the most important things to remember is that “everything has a purpose,” especially foundation studies. “I throw back to things I learned freshman year all the time,” she said. “I might be setting up a composition for a print and use gestalt theory without even recognizing it. You have to have patience.”

Being a part of the IUPUI Top 100 is extremely important to Hooper. It was a goal for her since her sophomore year, and she can graduate knowing she’s achieved it. “To get that recognition is a really big deal to me,” she said. After graduating with her B.F.A. in drawing and illustration (along with her minors in book arts and art history), she plans to further her body of work by contributing to the Indianapolis artistic sphere. “Whether I end up as a gallery attendant or creative director or anything else, I just want to be able to express myself creatively and maintain my personal practice,” Hooper says. She plans on eventually going to graduate school to become a professor of the arts.

Haley Francis-Halstead
Haley Francis-Halstead is receiving a B.F.A. in visual communication design(VCD). She has a wide spectrum of experience, ranging from restaurant industry social media marketing to being the executive director of Herron’s VCD capstone exhibition in 2019. She has worked tirelessly to support IUPUI over the course of her education, having been an employee in the Office of Community Engagement, Housing and Residence Life, and IUPUI’s chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha. In her spare time, she creates YouTube vlogs about her experiences as an art student. Francis-Halstead has made the Top 100 two consecutive years.

Sydney Patberg
Sydney Patberg is receiving a B.A.E. in art education. She has already worked in-field, having been employed as an art teacher for both U Craft Me Up and Columbus Canvas. She contributes to IUPUI’s Greek life scene as the chapter president for Phi Mu Fraternity since November 2017, helping to raise over $25,000 annually on behalf of the organization. She also participates in Jagathon yearly, helping to raise money for Riley Hospital for Children. Patberg has also made the Top 100 two consecutive years.

Read the original story from Herron School of Art + Design 

Herron’s Ninth Annual ‘Look/See’ Event Celebrates Indianapolis’s Emerging Artists, Art Therapists And Design Strategists

Opening Eyes: Students Learn About Neighborhoods That Predated IUPUI

Anthropology professor Paul Mullins leads the new Digital History and Community Change in Indianapolis class in University Library. The course explores the history of neighborhoods that existed where IUPUI is today. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University
Anthropology professor Paul Mullins leads the new Digital History and Community Change in Indianapolis class in University Library. The course explores the history of neighborhoods that existed where IUPUI is today. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

Alysa Meyer’s sobering research project began with a 1978 article about an Indianapolis man found drowned in Fall Creek.

The tragedy and the life of Dr. George Watkins was part of the new Digital History and Community Change in Indianapolis class, which focuses on the histories of racial displacement and urban transformation along Indianapolis’ downtown canal in commemoration of the IUPUI 50th Anniversary and Indiana University Bicentennial. The class explores the rich history of the Indiana Avenue Cultural District and the nearby Ransom Place neighborhood as well as the contentious displacement and gentrification that occurred when IUPUI was established in 1969.

Meyer and research partner Kyle Turner dug up what they could with the random address they were assigned: 402 W. Vermont St. Watkins’ home also held his practice, once standing where parking lots are now paved near Inlow Hall.

As their research will soon be published online, Turner and Meyer were guest presenters at the April 12 Butler Undergraduate Research Conference. Their findings shocked their peers from other Indiana institutions. Though Meyer grew up in Indianapolis, she, too, was unfamiliar with the history of the area before the university, which included Watkins’ sad story.

This house that once stood at 402 California St. belonged to Dr. George Watkins. It was located where parking lots for Inlow Hall and the Science and Engineering Laboratory Building now exist. Photo courtesy of Indiana Landmarks Central Canal and IUPUI Image Collection

“He was very involved in the community and worked a lot with the YMCA,” said Meyer, a biology senior with an anthropology minor, of Watkins. “We found articles that said he would often give his chiropractic services for free in a way to give back to the community. In his later years, he would wander around the old neighborhood, searching for his house, according to another article. It was thought he had developed Alzheimer’s.”

The Digital History and Community Change in Indianapolis course is led by the team of Andrea Copeland, associate professor of library and information science; library and information science lecturer Kisha Tandy; and anthropology professor Paul Mullins, whose 2009 book, “The Price for Progress,” pays tribute to the neighborhoods that once bustled before IUPUI’s establishment. The final projects are being managed with the help of Herron Art Library digital services specialist Danita Davis and librarian Sonja Staum, who is also the director of the Herron Art Library.

The class of 17 undergraduate and graduate students majoring in science, museum studies, library science and public history utilized digitized newspapers, databases, old city directories, and Sanborn insurance maps from the late 1800s and early 1900s to monitor what kind of homes, businesses and landmarks once stood where IUPUI is today.

Museum studies graduate student Hannah Lundell had no idea of the history that was once literally beneath her feet as she prepared for her class, which takes place in University Library.

“It’s been a consensus with the class that a lot of people weren’t fully aware of the extent of the neighborhood that used to exist here,” said Lundell, a Florida native. “But we’ve been able to talk to former residents, which is rare when working in archives and piecing together stories.”

‘Study our city’

As the student projects are nearing completion, the research is being uploaded into a digital map from 1908. Users will be able to scroll along the map and click on the houses to learn more about the structures and the families who once inhabited them. Some of the content was acquired in collaboration with Indiana Landmarks.

A Civil War-era mansion once stood at 538 W. New York St., near where Inlow Hall is today. Photo courtesy of Indiana Landmarks Central Canal and IUPUI Image Collection
A Civil War-era mansion once stood at 538 W. New York St., near where Inlow Hall is today. Photo courtesy of Indiana Landmarks Central Canal and IUPUI Image Collection

Copeland said her students have learned about an early, hyper-local example of gentrification and displacement, which occurs in cities all over the country. These final projects give needed history, images and data to one of the most historically underrepresented parts of Indianapolis.

Copeland hopes the class will help pave the way for an Indianapolis history minor, specialization or certificate at IUPUI.

“There is a need to study our city,” she explained. “We don’t have a permanent course with the word ‘Indianapolis’ in it. Geography, history, social issues, current events, economics in our city — it’s all intertwined.”

Dr. Watkins’ story to live on

Meyer and Turner’s work filled in not only Watkins’ story, but that of his neighborhood.

“I think this is really eye-opening for a lot of people because I don’t think they realized this was happening,” Meyer said. “I think it’s a good way to teach people about displacement. You get to read about people’s lives and who it affected.”

Since publishing his book, co-authored with Glenn White, Mullins gets calls and messages from relatives of former area residents who are curious about their former homes. He hopes his class’s digital research project will answer questions for those relatives as well as for Hoosier historians.

“In general, we are interested in putting as much of this history as possible in an accessible, digital place,” Mullins said. “We’re building like genealogists would. We have so much digitized. Now, it’s about helping people understand how to use it and what they can do with it.”

Read the original story from IUPUI NewsTim Brouk 

Film Screening of Faat-Kiné

Come join us to watch the film, FAAT KINÉ (Senegal 2001)! Ousmane Sembene, the father of African cinema, calls his fellow Africans to a reckoning of the post-independence era at the beginning of a new century. FAAT KINÉ tells the story of the title character (Venus Seye), a gas-station manager in present-day Senegal, who has climbed the ladder of success in a male-dominated society after enduring numerous betrayals by men she trusted. A masterful portrait of the changing roles of women in Senegalese society, Sembene’s film is a poignant reminder that Africa will not be liberated from its colonial past without a concomitant liberation of African women.
This event is presented by the IUPUI Committee on African Studies (CAS)
Thursday April 25th, 6-8pm
Lilly Auditorium University Library 
We’ll see you there!

Run Toward Fear: Education & Art as Cultural Sites of Resistance

A Diversity Speaker Event Featuring Haki R. Madhubuti; a poet, professor, and publisher. A Leading poet and one of the architects in the Black Arts Movement, Haki R. Madhubuti has been a pivotal figure in the development of independent Black Institutions and a strong black literary and intellectual tradition. He is one of the world’s best-selling authors of poetry and nonfiction. In this public lecture, Prof. Madhubuti will address challenges and opportunities confronting us in our current historical moment, He will speak on the importance of developing critical stances in matters of culture, agency, social justice, equity and community.

Friday April 19th
2-3:30pm
Lilly Auditorium
UniversityLibrary
755W.MichiganAve

This event is free and open to the public! We’ll see you there!

Design, Culture, and Everyday Life in Denmark

Aaron Ganci and Haley Francis-Halstead in Copenhagen. @hollabackhaley

This spring break, twenty-two students from Herron’sfurniture designvisual art, and visual communication design programs traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, with associate professors Aaron Ganci and Helen Sanematsu to experience one of Europe’s modernist design epicenters. They traveled via bicycle to design studios, museums, and cultural attractions and sampled a plethora of Danish cuisines.

“It was inspiring to see my students experience Denmark. We visited several design agencies to learn about their people-centered approach to design, went to a few museums, had a bike tour of the city with a local designer, and made a dinner together to experience hygge. Our trip to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art was especially inspiring because we had a personal tour from their director of education who taught us about the history of land, the collection, and the architecture. I can’t wait to get back with more students!”

Aaron Ganci, associate professor of visual communication design

“The museums we visited during our study abroad were amazing and made me fall in love with the arts all over again. But above all, the talks with the designers were what stood out to me.

We went to EGGS Design and spoke to Katja [Egmose] and Nikolaj [Bebe], who are the creative directors for EGGS in Copenhagen. Katja had us do an exercise where a few groups had arthritis and the other groups were mute. The groups with arthritis (I was in that group) had to tape their knuckles and wrists, which would mimic the lack of movement with arthritis.

This was an important exercise because we had to go to the grocery store and pick up ingredients to make lunch while our hands and wrists were taped. This seemed weird at first, and we got some interesting looks from the people in the store, but as we were shopping – trying to hold on to the basket, use our phones to look up translations, and take out our credit cards – it all made sense.

Design isn’t about making something pretty; design is about creating a solution to a problem. Our problem was the fact that everyday tasks were made more difficult because of our mobility issues. Katja said we should always try and put ourselves in the shoes of the people for whom we are creating a solution.”

Romarie Quinones-Perez, visual communication design student

“Being exposed to well-designed solutions that address a particular problem has had the biggest influence on me. I am now confident that I can provide techniques and ideas similar to the ones used in Denmark for problem solving in the United States. For example, at the airport, instead of scanning your ticket when they start boarding, you scan your ticket to get into a seating area when you first arrive at the gate, therefore, making the boarding process quicker and less stressful.”

Caila Lutz, visual communication design student

“Denmark always ranks in the top 3 of the world’s happiest countries, and it was awesome to get some idea of why by being there and hanging out with Danish folks. We used our previous experience in design to share our own networks with our students, and we all learned a lot about how design can make life better.”

Helen Sanematsu, associate professor of visual communication design

“Everyone there was so kind! Me and the other grad student took a day trip to Møns Klint, a beach with giant white sand cliffs. We had a four-mile hike to get to there, after a train and two bus rides. During our hike back, it started to rain and the wind was really strong. We stopped to use the restroom in what turned out to be a nursing home and the manager offered us a ride to the train station. It was a 40-minute drive and she told us a lot about Denmark and even stopped at a couple churches to show us the architecture and art inside.

I think part of why everything felt so intentionally placed and beautiful in Denmark is because the people there really value what they have – not just as possessions but also in terms of quality and design as well as togetherness. So many things there are designed to maximum potential and to be aesthetically pleasing, which compliments their emphasis on togetherness and coziness. It is definitely something I have taken home with me and makes me look at things differently.”

Tiffany Pierce, visual art student

“The people there were amazing, and the architecture was breathtaking. It was an incredible experience I would want to have again and again!”

Deven Grose, visual communication design student

Read the original article from Herron School of Art + Design

Five Questions with Associate Professor William Potter

 

William Potter. Courtesy of William Potter

William Potter, associate dean of faculty affairs and associate professor of foundation studies, serves as an academic cornerstone for Herron and currently teaches in the painting and drawing and illustrationprograms.

In our next “Five Questions” Q&A series, where we ask various Herron faculty members for sage advice and insights about their chosen creative disciplines, Potter shares his insights on creative inspiration, the importance of an arts education, and more.

HERRON: You’ve had lots of experience working with art on a large, sometimes national scale. What inspires you creatively?

POTTER: Like many artists, I was an introverted kid and also a dyslexic one. Art was another world that I could go into. I would draw constantly and would fall asleep drawing, staining my bed with magic markers. The inspiration then was fantasy creatures – dragons and unicorns. In high school, I was inspired more by punk rock culture and the grittiness of it. At this point in time, I thought that photography was my medium.

William Potter, “Blue Field Red Noise,” 2012. Courtesy of William Potter

When I first started art school, I was inspired by surrealism; the stranger the better. As I viewed more artwork, I was inspired by the works of painters like Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jasper Johns, and more.

Currently, an old sketchbook of mine has inspired me and the concept of abstraction. Experimenting with a new, different medium also sparks creativity. The creative process as a whole is something I really enjoy engaging in. What I have tried to advise my students to do is stay curious about what inspires them.

HERRON: In 2007, you received the Arts Council of Indianapolis’ Creative Renewal Fellowship, which allowed you to travel to Germany as well as Marfa, Texas. What did you gain from the experience?

POTTER: Going to Germany let me visit the Bauhaus, an art school famous for its unique take on design. In Marfa, I got to see the work of Donald Judd. I first saw his art in the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio, in the 90s. I was blown away but I didn’t completely understand it. The sculpture was a series of 10 metal boxes that changed subtly in color.

I have been curious about Judd’s work ever since. He is described as being a minimalist artist, a form of art that focuses on essential elements of form and space. His work overlapped with sculpture, painting, design, furniture, and architecture.

Donald Judd, “100 untitled works in mill aluminum,” 1982-1986. Courtesy of William Potter

Additionally, in the Marfa exhibit, there were talks by artists like Andrea Zittel and the architect David Adjaye, and the band Sonic Youth put on a free concert. But most importantly, I was able see Donald Judd’s work installed the way he intended it to be. The installation of 100 cubes within converted military barracks was amazing. The polished metal cubes became almost transparent.

HERRON: Describe foundation studies at Herron. What can students gain from the courses within it?

POTTER: Foundation studies is a program for first-year students that allows them to find their niche and medium before declaring their majors. Two examples of classes I teach within the program are Drawing I and Drawing II. Drawing is often one of the classes that students feel the most nervous about. It is not uncommon for students to tell me that they have never drawn before. However, if they thought back to when they were very young, they would remember days of drawing with crayons in kindergarten.

I think the initial nervousness comes from the idea that their drawings should look like a photograph, but that is not always the case. Drawing from observation is more about learning to see things deeply and learning to translate the three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional format. Drawing is about teaching the hand and the eye to communicate with one another. I think this is a beautiful thing. That is why we have the class and that is why I am here.

Foundation studies is a collaborative space as well and fosters dialogue between the students. It’s a place for them to explore. Herron has a particularly strong foundation studies program. It’s difficult, but beneficial.

HERRON: Do you have any advice for students seeking a bachelor’s degree in the arts?

POTTER: Your education is a gift you give yourself. It’s important to honor that gift. My education gave me many opportunities, such as the studying abroad I mentioned before. Many people told me not to major in art but I decided it’s what I’m doing in the moment that’s important, not where I end up.

An art and design degree creates a marriage between intellect and creativity and if that appeals to you, you should pursue it.

HERRON: Lastly, we hear you’re learning to play the banjo?

POTTER: With the banjo, I wanted to pick up something as a beginner. Spending as many years painting as I have, it’s easy to forget that feeling. As a teacher, I think that’s a good thing to do every once in a while, going through the process of learning something new. Reminding yourself of that experience is always beneficial.

Read the original article form Herron School of Art + Design

IUPUI Liberal Arts Faculty, Students Assist in Repatriation of Massive Artifact Collection

U.S. Department of State’s Aleisha Woodward, center, and National Cultural Heritage Administration of China Deputy Administrator Hu Bing, to her left, inspect ancient Chinese artifacts after a repatriation ceremony in Indianapolis on Feb. 28. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

A most unusual ceremony played out Feb. 28 at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in downtown Indianapolis, as members of China’s national cultural heritage administration and U.S. embassy gathered alongside FBI agents and officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State.

On the side of the meeting room sat a few of the 361 artifacts — some thousands of years old — that were once in an Indiana man’s residence but were soon to return home to China after this repatriation ceremony of unparalleled magnitude in the history of the FBI’s Art Crime Team, a rapid-deployment team of 16 special agents from around the country who have specialized training and expertise in fine arts, antiquities and cultural property.

The ceremony drew worldwide attention, with a number of Chinese news crews on hand to document the handoff.

Associate professor Holly Cusack-McVeigh, center, was joined by students Rebekah Ryan, Emily Hanawalt, Liz Ale, Rebecca Jacobs and Brianna Jackson, from left, at the repatriation ceremony. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

And sprinkled among the crowd were students and faculty from the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, seeing the fruits of their labor — with more work still to be done.

“It was such immediate gratification to see the look on the delegates’ faces as they opened those objects that we’ve been delicately preparing for years,” said Liz Ale, a second-year museum studies graduate student.

In the fall of 2013, when FBI agents had just begun to uncover the bizarre story of Donald Miller’s home artifact collection, one of their first calls was to IUPUI associate professor of anthropology and museum studies Holly Cusack-McVeigh.

Could she help shed light on the magnitude of the collection? And could she mobilize a group that could move these delicate pieces with dignity and safety?

“On April 1, 2014, we had over two dozen current or former students from anthropology and museum studies on-site helping FBI agents,” Cusack-McVeigh recalled. “It was absolutely astounding to see a collection of this global scale.”

In conjunction with the authorities, Cusack-McVeigh and her IUPUI contingent began the process of moving items and then cleaning and identifying them off-site. The collection was museum-like in its size (42,000 pieces) and scope, but questions about where the items came from and their legality — headlines in the United States centered around the human remains of over 500 individuals, mostly Native Americans — weren’t easily answered.

But with the help of IUPUI’s team, hundreds of pieces are returning to their rightful homes. Two years ago, some 70 items were repatriated to the Peruvian government at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Now, Chinese officials are taking home priceless pieces.

“This repatriation ceremony is important because of our current political climate and because our Chinese counterparts care deeply about their cultural heritage,” Cusack-McVeigh said. “The members of both delegations are working together because we care about these issues and recognize the value to the country of origin.”

And the work isn’t even close to complete. The IUPUI students are helping to package the Chinese artifacts for shipping across the globe, and then they’ll continue examining, cleaning, identifying and packaging thousands more for delivery to other countries and to Native American tribes in the U.S. in what amounts to amazing on-the-job training in anthropology and museum studies.

“This has been a one-of-a-kind opportunity for my students to take what they’re learning in the classroom and apply it to the real world, but also to apply it to something that is very relevant, very current and incredibly meaningful,” Cusack-McVeigh said. “This is as much a human rights issue as anything, and that is what my students are learning both in the classroom and here, as they work countless hours to help get all of these objects back where they belong.”

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ John Schwarb