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March 22, 2012
arts in healthcare ARTS IN HEALTHCARE KATIE DONOVAN THURSDAY MARCH 22nd, 2012 Turns out many outside of Michigan have a fresh point of view about Detroit and a lot of it centers on the arts, artists and creativity. Take a look online at the Society for the Arts in Healthcare for a sampling of notable articles from publications like the New York Times and W Magazine on activities in the arts and healthcare scenes that shed a bright light Detroit’s art community. This May, Detroit will host the 23rd Annual International Conference put on by the Society for the Arts in Healthcare. According to Grace Serra, Art Advisor at Children’s Hospital of Michigan (and Chair of the Local Host Committee for the conference) healing arts that happen in healthcare settings can form the beginning of healing for entire communities. “The conference is going to be a catalyst for those of us that are already working in healthcare settings,” said Serra, commenting on the work environment for healing arts professionals. “Times are tough and we have to be creative.” “The planning committee is very excited about having Richard Florida as our keynote speaker for this conference,” continued Serra. Florida is the acclaimed author of The Rise of the Creative Class and it was his writing on the subject of the creative class that inspired a statewide “Cool Cities” initiative in Michigan established during the Granholm administration. In his keynote address Florida will be discussing the link between the arts and health. “It is clear that Richard Florida believes in the potential of Detroit, and having him at the conference will hopefully draw attendees from a larger group of people that may understand the opportunity of arts in healthcare in a bigger context.” Recent research shows 45% of the nation’s hospitals have diverse arts programs which meet the needs of the hospital, the people who use it, and the community it serves. Decades ago, an art program for a hospital would more than likely take the form of a beautification program or an art committee that would solicit significant works of art for a hospital’s public spaces.It was a beautification program that got Irene Walt started at building a collection for Detroit Receiving Hospital. For the time, the 60’s and 70’s, this was great work for a doctor’s wife. In 2007 Detroit Receiving Hospital created a book called The Healing Work of Art in which many of the works of art from the hospital’s collection are shown, along with an essay by Walt. Over the years, Irene Walt has received numerous awards and recognition for her contribution to the community and art. And at the upcoming Society for the Arts in Healthcare International Conference, Walt will be honored again by her peers for her distinguished career as an Art Advisor for Detroit Receiving Hospital, a position that she has held since 1968. At 88, Irene Walt still fulfills most of her duties at Detroit Receiving, but sometimes calls on her former intern to help her with the walking tours of the hospital’s art collection. Grace Serra says she is honored to do this for her friend and mentor. Healing arts can be of use in a myriad of settings that may reach beyond the hospital walls. The arts can be put to work in addressing therapeutic solutions related to aging and Alzheimer’s; can be helpful in creating a safe environment for veterans with PTSD or others experiencing a major trauma, to open up about their traumatic experiences; and in quietly simple ways it can help the family and friends of people experiencing a health crisis. With the right resources, initiative and leadership healing arts can reach deep into a community. Grace Serra describes case after case of the incredible generosity of artists that volunteer their time in health care or even social service settings by identifying a need and putting their talents to work to meet that need. She tells of meeting 22 year-old artist, Veronika Scott, who saw a need to design a coat for homeless individuals. The coat is now being produced by people who are homeless and in shelters. Veronika’s efforts have provided a creative solution to a problem – a better coat for those that are homeless and therapeutic work for people experiencing homelessness. By the way, Veronika is still a student and her focus of study is NOT in clothing design. “For many volunteer artists, it is not about making money, or even art, it is about making a difference,” added Serra. She went on to describe the work of a metal artist, Matthew Lambert, who learned that Children’s Hospital had very few volunteer art activities on the weekend. Through an outreach program called Art Corp Detroit this artist took it upon himself to create a weekend program for young patients and their families. The end result is a ceramic tile wall mural at Children’s Hospital that greets visitors at the 4th floor. Here is an important distinction to understand about artists in health care: Art Therapy, with a capital “A” is the career path taken by artists that are ready to take on the rigorous clinical training that will make them part of a diagnostic and treatment team in a health care setting. Art therapists will craft activities and programs that match the diagnosis of individual patients and will be able to watch for and identify tangible progress and benefits to the patient receiving the therapy. On the other hand, artists volunteering their time in a health care setting deliver therapeutic art, with a small “a,” and may never know the real benefit of their contribution. Both disciplines have a place in a healing arts program. To learn more about Art Therapy, visit The International Art Therapy Organization or the Art Therapy Alliance. Or better yet, attend the conference being sponsored by The Society for the Arts in Healthcare and Children’s Hospital of Michigan. The conference organizers suggest people in the following professions attend: Architects; Art, Health and Design Educators; Art, Music, Drama, Literary and Dance Therapists; Artists of all Disciplines; Arts Administrators; Community Service Providers; Human and Social Service Providers; Chaplains and Clergy; Child-life Therapists; Curators; Expressive Arts Therapists; Health and Arts Volunteer Coordinators; Hospital Administrators; Interior Designers; Landscape Architects; Mental Health Providers; Nurses; Occupational Therapists; Physical Therapists; Physicians; and Social Workers. In short – anyone interested in learning more about the role the arts play in health. This one time occasion with this international conference in Detroit this May, represents a rare opportunity for people throughout the state of Michigan interested in healthcare, the arts and a combination of the two professional paths.
"HACKTIVIST" EVAN ROTH RETURNS TO MICHIGAN KATIE DONOVAN THURSDAY MARCH 22nd, 2012 “When you are a skateboarder, you see the world in a different way. Every set of stairs or railing becomes a new challenge to master.” This personal point of view has propelled Evan Roth from his beginnings in 1996 as a teenaged skateboarder with a passion for rap music to being Michigan’s own international phenomenon in the art world. Roth is from an affluent community in Okemos, Michigan, close to East Lansing. “I got mostly decent grades, but I really wanted to be a professional skateboarder and rapper. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t going to make a living that way. So my plan was to go into architecture, where I might have a shot at designing buildings with public spaces that would be friendly to skateboarders,” shared Roth. Roth received an undergraduate degree in architecture and soon was living in Washington, DC working in his chosen profession. He talked about his growing dissatisfaction with his architectural work where good design and ideas were routinely set aside for budget reasons. “Every night and on the weekends I was spending more and more time online, experiencing the freedom of making things online without consideration for budget,” said Roth about his emerging interest in art. “My whole life changed when I discovered the U.K. artist Banksy who was making art and creating moments of disruption through public art. When I saw the piece he did where he painted crosswalk lines over a parked car, I was hooked. Three months later I quit my job and enrolled in graduate school for new media art at Parsons New School of Design in New York City.” Early influences of rap and skateboard culture drew Evan Roth to explore the public displays of graffiti artists, expand on his online experiences and the art of the “hack” defined by the Urban Dictionary as a clever or elegant technical accomplishment, especially one with a playful or prankish bent. Roth’s unique point of view and sense of humor is reflected in his art, like the TSA Nothing to See Here campaign where he pokes fun at the rigidity of the safety regulations and protocols of the TSA. Or, seeing the irony found in the ubiquitous airborne catalog – Sky Mall where his art form was created with images torn from the catalog, becoming fleeting pieces of work presented on his drop-down tray in-flight and captured for publication online with a camera. It was Roth’s interest in the practice of open source, open data and crowd-sourcing that has led to some of his most widely embraced projects like his “laser tagging” events to create large scale “laser graffiti” on buildings. In the online world, software code is either proprietary/closed or open source. The open source approach fosters rich collaboration and continuous improvement, which this artist has extended to creating works of art online with an open-sourced philosophy. In 2007 Roth and a friend, Ben Engebreth, created the White Glove Tracking project which challenged anonymous online collaborators to help isolate Michael Jackson’s famous rhinestone encrusted single white glove from his nationally-televised landmark performance of Billy Jean. Collaborators have created several videos, easily found online, for White Glove Tracking created with the assembled open data. The open source process can be very empowering. For example, the Eyewriter project created by Roth and four other non-professional developers created an inspiring solution for graffiti artist, Tempt1, who is paralyzed by the advancement of ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Eyewriter team created the ultimate hack by fashioning a device that Tempt1 could control with only his eyes - enabling him to communicate and “eye-write” in his own graffiti style. Similar to the open source approach to the Eyewriter project, an online language called graffiti markup language, known as GML, was created as a universal open file format designed to store graffiti motion data. GML has taken on a life of its own and has been embraced by Golan Levin, the director of the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University. He and his team, in addition to some earth-bound GML initiatives, are exploring the idea of sending a robot, programmed with GML, to the moon. The theory is that the tracks made by the robot will, in essence, put a graffiti tag on the moon. “The cool thing about GML is that the barrier for entry into the language is very low – ‘weekend programmers’ will have no problem getting into it and understanding it…and that will give it so much more community investment,” claimed Roth. Evan Roth and his wife, Michele Walther, have lived in several parts of the world -- Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York, and now Paris, where Roth has earned widespread recognition for his art. Roth is currently staying in Detroit while completing a fellowship at Eastern Michigan University, part of the McAndless Distinguished Professorship award for 2012, and conducting some new hacks using spray paint as propulsion tools rather than pigment tools. In addition to his gallery show, called Welcome to Detroit, (the name of the show is a nod to an early influence by hip-hop artist J Dilla – who passed away in 2006). Blogging about Detroit, Roth writes: “ …there are a bunch of people who have been there for years doing art and they still have a long way to go, but the arts community in Detroit – as opposed to say, New York – is so united.” The show, Welcome to Detroit, at the EMU University Gallery is open to the public until 4/2; Roth is also conducting a 6-week intensive course for EMU art students and offering several lectures open to the public. “The popularity of the Evan Roth class demonstrates the students’ interest in his timely and unique inter-disciplinary approach to his art,” said Colin Blakely, head of the EMU Art Department. Currently Evan Roth is exploring an “internet cache” approach to a biography. The internet cache creates a visual biography or self-portrait of an individual’s time spent online, chronicling all the web locations visited. Roth wonders what meaning the self-portraits will have over an extended period of time, say 10 to 20 years – how will technology change, how will a person’s own interests evolve and be represented over time? Visitors to the Eastern Michigan University Gallery at the Student Center will be able to view Roth’s own Internet Cache Self-Portrait and many other examples of his art, which “see the world in a different way.” When his time at Eastern Michigan concludes in April, Evan rejoins his wife Michele at their home in Paris for a few days and then he is off to Barcelona to prepare for another gallery show at N2 Gallery.
GRAMMY NOMINEE REDEFINING EDUCATION IN GRAND RAPIDS VIKI LORRAINE THURSDAY MARCH 22, 2012 When Marvin Sapp started singing in church at the age of four he never imagined becoming the all-time highest charting gospel artist (based on Billboard’s 54-year history of tracking album sales). “I’m an inner city boy with divorced parents,” said Sapp. “There are certain things you just don’t expect to happen.” But over 40 years later, his voice and his music can be heard on eight highly-acclaimed gospel albums. Sapp, the Founder and Senior Pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church in Grand Rapids, has received six Grammy nominations, several Stellar Gospel Music Awards, the Gospel Music Excellence Award, and Soul Train Music and Dove Award nominations. The 2010 release of his album, Here I Am, marks the first time in the history of Billboard’s Top 200 chart that a Gospel release has landed in its #2 position. Prior to going solo in 1998, Sapp sang with the Grammy nominated gospel group Commissioned. “I was twenty-two years old when they asked me to join,” said Sapp. He moved to Detroit to perform with the group, but returned to Grand Rapids when he left the group six years later. “Grand Rapids honed my skills and gift sets, but it keeps me humble. Being here gives me the opportunity to be me. I don’t get caught up in all the glitz and glamour. Here I can just be Marvin. You can be who you are all the time. You don’t have to put on any airs. It’s a great place to live. It has been a springboard to so many great things.” For Sapp the word “great” has special meaning. With a shared vision and the guidance of his late wife MaLinda, Sapp has transformed their idea of fully integrating the arts into academic curriculum into a charter school called the Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts & Technology (GREAAT). The school, scheduled to open this fall, will be the first of its kind in Western Michigan. “People don’t realize the importance of music, art, and dance,” said Sapp, “especially in the lives of children. According to several studies I’ve seen, children with arts in their core curriculum had five times better achievement. The arts have a way of challenging you, pushing you to do more.” When Sapp attended public schools there were still arts programs in the schools. “If you weren’t academically oriented, you still had the arts you could turn to,” said Sapp. “You could expand your concept of school through the arts. We just don’t have that anymore. When schools started downsizing the first thing they got rid of was the arts. We want to re-implement the arts, to allow the arts to help us to accomplish our goal of educating children.” In 2011 a design team, commissioned by MaLinda Sapp, started looking at models for the school. They travelled to some of the best - LaGuardia School of the Performing Arts, Harlem Children’s Zone, Envision Academy of Arts and Technology, and Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. What they found were programs with a strong arts curriculum and programs with strong academics, but few that integrated the two together. Then they learned about Concord Academy in Petoskey, the first school in Michigan with an integrated curriculum. The GREAAT Board hired a curriculum consultant who had worked at Concord for 17 years developing, refining and executing their ‘arts-integration’ model for education. The intent of ‘integration’ is to help students develop an appreciation of how the arts can support their learning. So, for example, kids working on a Shakespearean play would also study the language, culture, and history of that era. GREAAT hopes to attract students from all across the region as well as students from the Garfield Park neighborhood where the school will be located. “I want to make change in the lives of people,” said Sapp. “To make sure kids have the same opportunities we had.” “My late wife had a saying, ‘keep it moving’ she always used to say.” And that’s what pastor, doctor, dad (Sapp is a single parent for his three children) and acclaimed gospel singer, Marvin Sapp, fully intends to do.
(SCENE) METROSPACE: A KALEIDOSCOPE OF CREATIVITY IVY HUGHES THURSDAY MARCH 22nd, 2012 For all the roles (SCENE) Metrospace plays — art gallery, music venue, concert hall — its most important is creative incubator. Located in the middle of downtown East Lansing, (SCENE) Metrospace is what Director Tim Lane calls a “contemporary alternative art gallery.” The traditional art gallery component brings six, six-week exhibitions to the space. The contemporary alternative components attract bands, poets and other creatives who use the space for concerts and poetry slams. “(SCENE) Metrospace — in my opinion — is all about outreach,” Lane said. “It provides community programming and gives creative people an opportunity to be creative and to enjoy creative events.” In 2004, the City of East Lansing used funding from the state’s Cool Cities Initiative to start (SCENE) Metrospace. The city surmised that by showcasing local art in a downtown venue, (SCENE) Metrospace would become a destination, a place to expose new talent while also drawing people to the downtown. “The City of East Lansing wants creative people to live and reside in the City of East Lansing so they reached out with (SCENE) Metrospace,” Lane said. “The city’s commitment to maintaining a venue of this sort is pretty special. It’s what keeps (SCENE) thriving.” While the city funds (SCENE), an annual fundraiser, established by Lane when he took over in 2008, contributes to the non-profit’s small operating budget. The event brings in about $4,000 a year. Commissions on the sale of art and minimal event-cover charges also fund the space. “The focus is on providing an experience, on bringing people downtown and providing a venue for people to enjoy the artistic things going on here,” Lane said. Lane first got involved with (SCENE) as an artist when he moved from Washington, D.C. to East Lansing to study with Michigan State University (MSU) Poet-in-Residence Diane Wakoski. Originally from Flint, Lane taught middle school, wrote a column for the Lansing State Journal, served as a personal secretary for a retired psychologist and worked as an editor before the director position at (SCENE) opened up in 2008. By this time, he’d been part of the East Lansing arts scene for approximately ten years. “(SCENE) was always my top choice if I got to pick where I got to show my art,” Lane said. “It was about bringing people together and showing art that was a little edgier, something you’d find outside of traditional retail galleries. It brought together emerging artists and was showing artwork that inspired me. I wanted to be a part of it.” Although (SCENE) has gained in popularity — it attracts about 4,000 people a year — it hasn’t lost its appeal to artists. In fact, each of (SCENE)’s directors has expanded programming and artistic outreach by attracting new creative outlets. “(SCENE) originally targeted the 18-to-25 year old demographic and its mission was to come up with ways of interesting them and keeping them engaged in the City of East Lansing,” Lane said. “One of the things I tried to do was be an ambassador for the rest of the community as well.” Lane brought in poetry slams and developed relationships with MSU’s English and music departments, initiatives which bring different talent to the space. “I wanted to make (SCENE) feel inclusive to everyone and try to dispel this notion that (SCENE) was just a hip place where the college students were hanging out - so I expanded the programming.” While commercializing art isn’t (SCENE)’s mission, several artists and musicians have undoubtedly benefitted from the exposure they’ve received at (SCENE).“We’re in the business of helping creative people make small dreams come true,” Lane said. “(SCENE) is an incubator because it helps artists get off the ground.”