Apply to Participate in the 2019-20 Religion, Spirituality & the Arts Seminar

The Religion, Spirituality, and the Arts Program (RSA) is a program of the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute that brings together artists, religious leaders, religious communities, humanities experts, and a broad range of publics from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary perspectives for sustained study, analysis, and discussion of religious texts in a classroom environment. Directed by Rabbi Sandy Sasso, these textual discussions, which explore the varieties of religious experience and understanding, provide the inspiration for creating new artistic works (e.g. music, poetry, fiction, drama, visual art, dance). Artists share their creations through exhibitions and presentations to members of the Central Indiana community, including religious organizations, congregations, schools, libraries, and community groups.

2019-20 Theme

We will explore the story of Jonah in the Bible and the Quran and consider a variety of themes including the arbitrariness of unwarranted compassion and the desire to escape calls to human responsibility. When others cry out, Jonah runs away or sleeps. Might we see contemporary responses to crises through Jonah’s actions? What about the human desire to flee distasteful obligations? Through visual arts, poetry, and music we will explore the symbolism of the big fish as “reassuring womb” or “terrifying tomb” and the strange prophet who hates change but nevertheless brings it about in the end.

Faculty

The faculty list for the 2018-19 seminar is still growing. So far, the faculty include

  • Anila Quayyum Agha, Associate Professor of Drawing and Illustration in the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI

  • Julia Muney Moore, Director of Public Art for the Arts Council of Indianapolis

  • Sandy Sasso, Rabbi Emerita of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck

  • Steven Stolen Host of WFYI’s Stolen Moments

  • Shari Wagner, Author and Indiana Poet Laureate (2016-2017)

  • Joseph Tucker Edmonds, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Religious Studies at IUPUI

Meetings

Sessions will be held for 2 1/2 hours weekly for a total of eight weeks and will meet evenings from 6:00–8:30 p.m. on 9/19, 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 11/7, 12/12, 1/9 or 1/16, 2/6

How to Apply

Applications for this seminar will be accepted from April 29 to May 28, 2019.

Applicants may be anyone in the community who is active (as a professional or amateur) in the artistic disciplines. Selected applicants must be able to make a commitment to attend all seminar sessions and engage in open and respectful dialogue. Seminar participants will produce creative work to be performed and/or exhibited in a public forum. Seminar participants will receive a $150 stipend at the conclusion of the group exhibition.

Application Form

To apply to be an artist-participant in the current seminar, please submit your application using the online form.

In addition to basic demographic information, the form asks you to answer the following questions:

      • How do you see your art form interacting with a religious text?

      • How do you imagine this experience will impact your creative work?

You will also need to upload

      • An artist resume

      • Three examples of your work

For more information, please visit our website! 

For the record: IUPUI Talks Favorite Albums In Time for Record Store Day

From connecting with family members to influencing their research at IUPUI, music has played an important part in the lives of IUPUI staff and faculty members.

With Record Store Day sweeping into Indianapolis record shops on Saturday, April 13, we wanted to know what some of your favorite records are and why.

Jordan Munson, Department of Music and Arts Technology
“OK Computer,” Radiohead

A senior lecturer in music and arts technology, Jordan Munson teaches synthesis and sound design classes while leading the student performing group Electronic Music Ensemble. He also oversees the performance studios’ use within his department.

Radiohead’s epic 1997 release, “OK Computer,” directly influenced his professional aspirations. The record was groundbreaking in terms of the possibilities of electronic music and recording studio experimentation. Munson has pursued electronic music since then, creating for IUPUI and his solo performance work.

“It was influential in recording and production and all of these things I think about all the time now here at IUPUI,” Munson explained. “It was an interesting turning point. This was a milestone in terms of albums, production and concept.”

Check out Munson’s new, original music live at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Indy CD and Vinyl‘s Record Store Day celebration.

Carolyn Springer, Herron School of Art and Design
“Kind of Blue,” Miles Davis

For most of the 21st century, Carolyn Springer‘s academic work has focused on color and design. She has worked as an adjunct instructor since 2005, primarily teaching color theory in the elective arts program.

Color is her thing, so it’s fitting that Miles Davis’ legendary “Kind of Blue” would resonate so much with Springer, an Indiana University alumna. After all, the record’s compositions include “Blue in Green” and “All Blues.”

“It has this warmth, even though it’s ‘Kind of Blue,'” Springer said. “The rich tones … it just felt like it was inside my soul.”

Jasdeep Bagga, School of Science
“Chunga’s Revenge,” Frank Zappa

Jasdeep Bagga is the webmaster for the School of Science, developing and upkeeping sites for the program’s nine departments. Before he became adept at coding, he was putting the needle to the groove on an impressive record collection.

Bagga goes by the nickname “Jazz,” which is also an ingredient in the eclectic sounds of the late Frank Zappa. Bagga was a freshman at IU Bloomington when he first dove into the discography of the man who composed such works as “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama,” “Dirty Love” and, of course, “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow.” He took a music history class that focused on Zappa’s music, career and life.

“The music blew me away,” Bagga remembered. “I did this crazy deep dive of Zappa, fell in love — and there was no going back from there.”

John King, Department of Media Arts and Science
“Copper Blue,” Sugar

A lecturer in media arts and science, John King has collected music since his teens, but the 1992 album by noted alt rockers Sugar has stuck with him through the decades and format changes. It’s the only record he has several copies of; he first bought it on cassette, then CD, then LP — and then all of the reissues, international pressings and promotional copies. When he was a high school student, King said, “Copper Blue” was one of the first albums recommended to him that went beyond pop or classic rock radio.

“My buddy Ryan said I would like it because it was so loud and distorted,” King recalled. “After I bought it, I kept going back to it so many times. There were certain songs that spoke to me lyrically. To me, there isn’t a bad song on the album or one I skip every time.

“Today, when I see it in clearance bins at Half Price Books or something, I’ll get it and then give it to people: ‘I got this for $1. Here, take this.’ I feel like I am rescuing it from oblivion.”

King, who teaches video production, scriptwriting and digital storytelling classes, believes vinyl records still hold a place in modern music consumption. You can listen to Spotify, but holding an LP still strikes a chord.

“The tactile, the idea of holding it your hand — there are marks of character on it,” King said. “I like that there is a loud pop on this record between tracks. You get another copy, and it’s not going to play like that. There’s a significance to ‘This one is mine.'”

Mandy Porter, Division of Student Affairs
“Tapestry,” Carole King

The soothing sounds of “Natural Woman,” “I Feel the Earth Move” and “It’s Too Late” echoed through the Porter household near Portage, Michigan. Mandy Porter, the IUPUI coordinator for student success and outreach, said she grew up in the “CD era” and consumed music accordingly. But her parents’ massive collection of LPs always fascinated her. The old records have become an anchor to childhood memories of her home. She also had to listen to her dad explain — at length — the superior sound of vinyl over CD and digital.

Porter started buying current acts like Adele and Sam Smith on vinyl, but she always went back to those old tunes from “Tapestry,” which has sold 25 million copies and become an iconic title in 1970s soft rock.

“Just listening to an album my mom listened to when she was my age,” Porter explained, “brings me back to multiple times in my life and my mom’s life. Hearing music the way she heard music is relating to my family.”

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ Tim Brouk

Big Tent @ the IUPUI

The IUPUI premiere event of a one-of-a-kind portable multimedia venue designed by Music and Arts Technology faculty Robin Cox and Ben Smith. Events will include live performances and installation work by MAT faculty and students, Herron faculty Danielle Riede, and 2018 commissioned works by IU Bloomington faculty and students. Support for this event has been provided by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, The IUPUI Department of Music and Arts Technology,  and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at IU Bloomington.  http://www.thebigtent.org

Monday April 1st 5:30pm-9:30pm
Campus Center Ballroom 450

 

Maya Beiser in Concert and Conversation

The Religion, Spirituality & the Arts Seminar (RSA), a project of the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, is featuring Maya Beiser in Concert and Conversation, a performance by critically acclaimed cellist Maya Beiser, as part of its eight annual exhibition exploring the story of Lot’s Wife. Beiser will perform excerpts from her cello-opera, Elsewhere, an imaginative and psychological retelling of the biblical story of Lot’s Wife.

Avant-garde cellist Maya Beiser defies categories. A major presence on the international stage, she has been praised by Rolling Stone as a “cello rock star” and described by the Boston Globe as “a force of nature.” Maya’s discography includes ten solo albums and numerous feature appearances on film and TV soundtracks. She is a 2015 United States Artists (USA) Distinguished Fellow and a 2017 Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist at MIT. Her 2011 TED Talk has been watched by over one million people. Maya was a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and is a graduate of Yale University.

Maya Beiser in Concert and Conversation is free and open to the public. It will be held at the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis (6701 Hoover Road, Indianapolis, IN 46260), offered in partnership with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation; the Judaism, Arts, Interfaith and Civic Engagement Fund of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck; Indiana Humanities; and the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
7 – 8:30 pm
We’ll see you there!

The 2018-19 Religion, Spirituality & the Arts Seminar programming is made possible by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. and is offered in partnership with Christian Theological Seminary and the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis. Additional information about the seminar is available at https://www.culturalecologies.org/rsa/.

RSVP NOW!

Poetry, Music, & Mind

What are the effects of poetry and music on the mind and the body? Where do art and medicine meet? Join us for a conversation with Adrian Matejka, Nate Marshall, and Eileen Misluk about Poetry, Music & Mind.

Adrian Matejka is a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet who teaches at Indiana University Bloomington and is Poet Laureate of Indiana. His most recent book is Map to the Stars (Penguin, 2017).

Nate Marshall is the author of Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh, 2015) and co-editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket, 2015). He was the star of the award winning full-length documentary Louder Than a Bomb and has been featured on the HBO original series Brave New Voices. He lives on the South Side of Chicago.

Eileen Misluk is Director of Art Therapy and Assistant Clinical Professor at Herron School of Art + Design, IUPUI. She is a registered and board certified art therapist, licensed professional counselor, and licensed mental health counselor.

This event is part of the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute’s Entanglements Series which puts scientists, social scientists, humanists, and artists in conversation with the audience to ask questions that transcend disciplinary boundaries.

Poetry, Music, & Mind is co-presented with the Department of English at IUPUI and the Reiberg Reading Series at IUPUI. Support for this event comes from the Indiana University New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanitiesgrant program.

RSVP NOW! 

Maya Beiser in Concert and Conversation

The Religion, Spirituality & the Arts Seminar (RSA), a project of the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, is featuring Maya Beiser in Concert and Conversation, a performance by critically acclaimed cellist Maya Beiser, as part of its eight annual exhibition exploring the story of Lot’s Wife. Beiser will perform excerpts from her cello-opera, Elsewhere, an imaginative and psychological retelling of the biblical story of Lot’s Wife.

Avant-garde cellist Maya Beiser defies categories. A major presence on the international stage, she has been praised by Rolling Stone as a “cello rock star” and described by the Boston Globe as “a force of nature.” Maya’s discography includes ten solo albums and numerous feature appearances on film and TV soundtracks. She is a 2015 United States Artists (USA) Distinguished Fellow and a 2017 Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist at MIT. Her 2011 TED Talk has been watched by over one million people. Maya was a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and is a graduate of Yale University.

Maya Beiser in Concert and Conversation is free and open to the public. It will be held at the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis (6701 Hoover Road, Indianapolis, IN 46260), offered in partnership with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation; the Judaism, Arts, Interfaith and Civic Engagement Fund of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck; Indiana Humanities; and the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
7 – 8:30 pm
We’ll see you there!

The 2018-19 Religion, Spirituality & the Arts Seminar programming is made possible by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. and is offered in partnership with Christian Theological Seminary and the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis. Additional information about the seminar is available here.

Get your tickets now!

Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Presents Eighth Annual Exhibition: Exploring the Story of Lot’s Wife

The Religion, Spirituality & the Arts Seminar (RSA), a project of the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute, invited 12 Indiana artists to explore and expound upon the story of Lot’s Wife during the eighth annual Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Seminar and the accompanying art exhibition. Artists include Stan Blevins, Peggy Breidenbach, Alys Caviness-Gober, Marjie Giffin, A. Paul Johnson, Kasey May, Michael McAuley, William Peacock, Katherine
Simmons, Jennifer Strange, Teresa Vazquez, and Kevin Wilson.

In this exhibition, the artists consider questions that delve far beyond the story Lot’s Wife who, as told in Genesis 19, turns to see the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and becomes a pillar of salt. Did she act in disobedience or out of compassion? What is our responsibility to bear witness? Is looking back redemptive or paralyzing? Might we see contemporary events (mass tragedies, refugees) in the light of this text? Exploring the story through
religion, art, poetry, and music, this exhibition will ask questions fundamental to the human experience

Directed by Rabbi Sandy Sasso, the RSA Seminar explores the varieties of religious experience and understanding. Through seminars led by an interdisciplinary faculty, artists gain the knowledge and inspiration to develop new artistic works. Artists share their creations through exhibitions and presentations to members of the Central Indiana community, including religious organizations, schools, libraries, and community groups.

On March 7, 2019, the first public exhibition of the 2018-19 RSA Seminar’s work will open featuring new works of painting, sculpture, music, and poetry developed by the cohort. A reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with performances beginning at 6:30 p.m. The exhibition will remain on display at the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis through April 30.

This opening event and exhibition is free and open to the public at the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis (6701 Hoover Road, Indianapolis, IN 46260). Refreshments will also be served at the March 7 reception.

Thursday, March 7, 2019
Reception begins at 5:30 PM; performance begins at 6:30 PM
We’ll see you there!

The 2018-19 Religion, Spirituality & the Arts Seminar programming is made possible by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. and is offered in partnership with Christian Theological Seminary and the Jewish Community
Center of Indianapolis. Additional information about the seminar is available at
https://www.culturalecologies.org/rsa/.

REGISTER NOW!

Catch a Fire! Honoring the Black Arts: An Evening of Spoken Word Poetry and Drumming

Babalawo Awodele Ifasina and Lasana Kazembe

Come and enjoy an evening of spoken word poetry and drumming featuring Babalawo Awodele Ifasina on the drums and Lasana Kazembe doing spoken word poetry.

The IUPUI Africana Studies Program invites one and all to a special evening of creative artistic expression. JOIN US as we honor the Black Arts with an exciting presentation and performance featuring spoken word poetry and live music.

The event will be held at Lilly Auditorium in the university library on the lower level. Wednesday, February 20th at 6pm.

This event is FREE and open to the public!

IUPUI’s musical man: Dennis Jones shines onstage and in the Campus Center

 

Dennis Jones helps open the Campus Center every day. He and his team keep the IUPUI building functioning like a song. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

In show business, a triple threat is a singer, dancer and actor all rolled into one performer.

That must make Dennis Jones an octuple threat: One, Jones is a beloved presence in the Campus Center, where he has worked for the past seven years for Campus Facility Services. Two, Jones is a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy, based in San Diego from 1982 to 1992. Three, Jones has sung the national anthem before Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever games. Four, five, six and seven, Jones is an actor, director, producer and backstage guru for Indianapolis’ Footlite Musicals theater group.

And eight, Jones will be honored with the 2019 Advocate of the Dream Award at the annual — and sold-out — IUPUI Black Student Union’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner. The award goes to a staff or faculty member at IUPUI who promotes the ideals of freedom and equality presented in King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.

“When I found out about the award, I was sitting here during rehearsals for ‘Legally Blonde,'” Jones said while standing in Footlite Musicals’ 255-seat theater. “I got all emotional.”

Jones is producing Footlite’s current show, “Murder Ballad,” which will be presented in a cabaret format with a live band Jan. 18 to 20. Tickets are available for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. As producer, Jones must monitor show budgets, ticket sales and marketing while being a conduit between theater bosses and show director Bradley Lowe.

Dennis Jones will be honored at the IUPUI MLK Celebration Dinner for his work in the Campus Center and in local theater.

While Jones made his debut for Footlite in 2011, acting and singing in such classics as “Sunset Boulevard,” “Follies” and “Big River,” he co-directs the theater’s summer camp for teens and has been added to Footlite’s board of directors.

“He means quite a bit to us,” said Keith Matters, Footlite’s president. “He’s very good with people, working with our youth and he’s great all-round. You have to know how to do all of these things to make an organization like ours work.”

Balancing his passion for his job with theater has been a dance of long hours and maintaining a hectic schedule during show runs, but it’s been well worth it for Jones, an Indianapolis native who holds a theater degree from Indiana State University.

That versatility has helped Jones’ work at IUPUI. He’s a fixture in the Campus Center as much as the bookstore, the Cultural Arts Gallery and Starbucks.

Campus Center star

Jones collects an average of 12,000 steps a day at the Campus Center. He helps lead a crew that keeps the IUPUI campus crown jewel clean, organized and functioning.

While certainly not shy, Jones is less animated at work than he is onstage. After all, his shift starts at 6 a.m. But he is always happy to see students, faculty and staff members who have come to love him over the years. You can’t walk with him for more than 20 seconds without someone saying “hello” to him as he scales up and down the Campus Center’s five bustling levels.

“I guess they appreciate me. I don’t know. I try to do the best I can,” Jones said.

Jones said he wakes up every morning at 4 a.m. Coffee, watching the news and relaxing before opening the 250,000-square-foot Campus Center are part of his predawn routine.

“It’s quiet,” Jones said. “I don’t do anything but come to work. During the summer, I meet some of the parents of the students. We talk, and I assure them that I’m like the students’ second or third father here. I make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. If they linger too much, I send them off to class.

“I see them as freshmen, and then I see them when they leave and go spread their wings.”

During a recent visit, Jones said hello to Cindy Harkness and Jennifer Zotz, senior coordinators for recruitment and outreach in the Enrollment Services office. Jones directed Zotz’s son, Tommy, during last summer’s young artists camp at Footlite, which culminated in a production of “Pirates of Penzance.”

“I loved that he shares his gifts and talents with young people,” said Zotz, who saw all seven “Pirates” performances. “He has amazing patience, and he’s so great to work with. On the stage and off the stage, he’s just a shining star.”

Harkness has known Jones since his first year working in the Campus Center. She’s among the many staff members who are aware of Jones’ theater talents.

“We tell him, ‘When you go to Hollywood, remember us,'” Harkness said with a laugh. “We love Dennis. I think we need a star in the Campus Center with Dennis’ name on it.”

The Show Must Go On

Dennis Jones has acted, directed, produced and worked backstage at Footlite Musicals in Indianapolis. His talents earned him a spot on the theater’s board of directors as well. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Jones remembers the moment he fell in love with theater. Sure, he played the giant in his elementary school’s smash musical version of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” but he really developed a passion for theater while attending Northwest High School.

Toward the end of his first year, Jones happened upon his school’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie.” The rest of his life has been dedicated to the stage, even if it meant serving his country and later keeping IUPUI’s student hub functioning first.

Footlite Musicals gets the majority of Jones’ theatrical work, but he has expanded to television, online promo work and even film. During his time in Southern California, Jones got some TV work in Los Angeles. When he returned to Indianapolis, he got a local spot for WISH-TV as well as being a face of IN Biz advertising.

Jones is pumped for March. He was cast in a new project from Indianapolis author Joyce Licorish — a film version of her novel “The Forgotten Timepiece,” which was published in 2017. The shoot will take place in Covington, Georgia.

“She directed me in ‘The Color Purple’ here,” Jones said. “When she was writing the novel, I told her I wanted to be a part of it, and she stayed true. I did have to go through the audition process, but I got in.”

Jones’ love of the theater — and IUPUI — has increased each season. When he’s not at home, he’s usually at his work home or his stage home.

“Most shows, everyone gets along like family,” Jones said. “No matter what I’m doing, as long as it’s around theater, it’s just what I do.”

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ Tim Brouk

 

South African Singer-Songwriter to Perform in Columbus

Berita is an international award-winning “Afro soul” singer-songwriter. She is headlining the IUPUC-sponsored event Arts for AIDS on Tuesday, Dec. 4, in Columbus. Image courtesy of Berita

Sponsored by IUPUC, the annual Arts for Aids “Songs of Hope” event will raise awareness and funds for the AIDS crises abroad. The 2018 event is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Yes Cinema in Columbus.

The concert will be headlined by Berita, a South African-based “Afro soul” singer-songwriter. The young performer has earned several national and international awards, including the Zimbabwe Achievers Award for Best Music Artist. Berita’s discography includes a 2017 self-titled effort.

Arts for AIDS is a Columbus-based initiative formed by combining the efforts of five organizations representing projects in Haiti, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.