Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Otterbein Tells the Story of Cuba through Opening Doors to the World Initiative

Visual arts, music performances and critical dialog about Cuba’s history included in celebration of complex nation

As tensions ease between the U.S. and Cuba, Otterbein University is stepping up to tell the story of the complex neighboring nation. Through an initiative called Opening Doors to the World, Otterbein will share the artistic achievements of the Cuban people and encourage critical dialogue about Cuba’s history from Jan. 11-May 1.

According to Provost Miguel Martinez-Saenz, “Otterbein University hopes to tell a story that shows our students and our surrounding community that they must always resist telling and believing ‘a single story.’ Adopting a visual arts exhibition titled An Island Apart, combining it with panels on Cuban social and political history, with panels on doing business in Cuba today and culminating with a celebration and performance by one of Cuba’s premiere composers and jazz pianists, José María Vitier, we hope those who are fortunate enough to experience all our programming will come away resisting ‘a single story.’” 

Otterbein is able to bring Opening Doors to the World to life through partnerships, including a federal Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Otterbein was announced as a recipient of the NEA grant on Dec. 8.

The $20,000 grant supports one component of the initiative, the exhibition An Island Apart: Cuban Artists in Exile, which includes artwork, performance art and art documentaries by 12 Cuban or Cuban-American artists. Highlights of the exhibition will be an artist-led community installation by resident artist Juan Si González, two art documentaries by artist and educator Coco Fusco, and a performance art piece at the opening reception by Carlos Martiel. 

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The arts are part of our everyday lives – no matter who you are or where you live – they have the power to transform individuals, spark economic vibrancy in communities, and transcend the boundaries across diverse sectors of society. Supporting projects like the one from Otterbein University offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

Art Works is the NEA’s largest funding category, supporting the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, and promoting public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

Additional funding to support artist-in-residence Juan Si González is provided by the Ohio Arts Council. Funding for accompanying events is provided by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter, Dr. Anahi Ortiz and Mr. William T. Conard, the Law Office of José Pertierra, and the Johnstone Fund for New Music.

Other key partnerships are bringing musical performances to stages at Otterbein and in the community. Maestro José María Vitier, pianist and film score composer, will be an artist-in-residence at Otterbein and will collaborate with musicians from Otterbein and the Westerville Symphony during his residency.

The schedule of events is as follows:


AnIsland Apart:Cuban ArtistsIn Exile
An exhibition featuringworks by12 internationally recognizeexiled Cuban artists,performance art, art documentaries and collaboratively created community art. The exhibition spans three galleries:

Departure Gate A
Jan.11-May 1
Fisher Gallery
Roush Hall, 27 S. Grove St., Westerville
Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. Closed on holidays. 

Departure Gate B
Jan.11-Feb 14
Miller Gallery
Art and Communication Building, 33 Collegeview Rd., Westerville
Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Closed on holidays and University breaks. 

Departure Gate C
Jan.11-May 1
Frank Museum of Art
39 S. Vine Street, Westerville
Museum hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday during the University’s academic year. Closed on holidays and University breaks.

Additional visual arts receptions and events:

Opening Reception with Performance Art
Jan.22 from 5-7:30 p.m.
MillerGallery, Art and Communication Building
Carlos Martiel, aHavana-born performance artist who studiewith activist-artist Tania Bruguera from 2008-2010, presents El Tanque (2015),an experiential commentary on politics and prisoners of conscience in Cuba. Performance begins at 6 p.m.

Feb.4 from 4-7 p.m.
Guided tours of all exhibition spaces offered throughout the reception time.

La Confesión and La Botellaal Marde María Elena bCoco Fusco
Jan.11-May 1
See website for times and locations.
Two  powerful art videos by performance artist and writer Coco Fusco give visualvoice tolegendary stories  in Cuban history — the public confession of poet Heberto Padilla in1971 and the poet María Elena Cruz Varela’s letter to FideCastro in1990 requesting democratic forms, which resulted in the poet’s arrest.

Artist-Community Co-created Installation
Feb.15-April 24
FisherGallery, Roush Hall
Artist-in-Residence Juan SiGonzález willwork collaborativelywith students, faculty, stafand the communitto explore themes of exile, migration, identity and place-making.The project will culminate in an exhibition.To join the project, contact Janice Glowski at


Artist-in-Residence José María Vitier
April1-May 1
Maestro José María Vitier, pianist and film score composer, engages greater Columbus through performance, master classes and an orchestral and choral presentation ohis acclaimed Misa Cubana(1996), mass that blends Afro-Cuban and Latin rhythms with Marian elements.

Latin Jazz and Cuban Music
Featuring José María Vitier; Richard Lopez, Director
April 3 from 3-5 p.m.
Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E Broad St, Columbus

Master Classes with José María Vitier
April 6 andApril 13 from 5-6 p.m.
Battelle Fine ArtsCenter, 170 W. Park St., Westerville

Celebration of Cuban Music (Recital)
Featuringmezzo-sopranOlga Perez-Flora Professor of Voice, Muskingum University
April16 at 8 p.m.
BattelleFine ArtsCenter  

Westerville Symphony performs Misa Cubana byJosé María Vitier
Peter Stafford Wilson, Conductor; Otterbein University Chorus,Gayle Walker,Conductor
April24 at 5 p.m.
The Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville

Celebration of Cuba: Community Gathering with Art, Music and Refreshments
Featuring arby JuanSi González and music by the Redbird Faculty JazzCombo
April 29 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Columbus Museum of Art


Otterbein University deepens its commitment to global education with Otterbein and the Arts: Opening Doors to the World, a multi-year focus on the arts in three non-Western regions: Latin America (2015-16), Asia (2016-17) and Africa (2017-18). The initiative kicked off in fall 2015 with Chile as the gateway country. All events in the series are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call (614) 823-1792. You also can find it on Facebook at

Monday, December 21, 2015

Lourdes University Art Department allows art enthusiasts to “Learn the Art of Ceramics” in 2016

Sessions offered for budding artists ages 16+ and can be a Christmas gift

Erin Palmer Szavuly, MFA, Chair and Associate Professor of the Lourdes University Department of Art, is pleased to announce the establishment of Ceramics/ Pottery Sessions in 2016 for art enthusiasts. Titled “Learn the Art of Ceramics,” the sessions are $110 each and are offered in the new Ceramics Studio at the Canticle Center, 5335 Silica Drive, in Sylvania.

Taught by Lourdes University Ceramics Instructor Lindsay Scypta, MFA, the sessions are designed for adults ages 16+ who are interested in learning the art of ceramics/pottery. Individuals will have the opportunity to create functional and well-crafted pieces and learn the few basic techniques of hand crafting and wheel throwing. “These ceramics/ pottery sessions can be the perfect Christmas gift for your friend or loved one,” adds Professor Szavuly.

The Ceramics and Pottery Sessions include:

Hand Building
First session: Tuesdays, January 19 through February 23, from 1 to 3 p.m., OR
Second session: Tuesdays, April 12 through May 17 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Pottery Wheel Throwing
First session: Tuesdays, January 19 through February 23 from 6 to 9 p.m., OR
Second session: Tuesdays, April 12 through May 17 from 6 to 9 p.m.

For more information or to register for one or more of these sessions, call Erin Palmer Szavuly at 419-824-3685 or email

About the Lourdes University Department of Art
Offering Associate and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Art, the Lourdes University Department of Art offers an inviting studio environment that encourages students to be visually expressive and to hone their craft in a variety of mediums. A wealth of artistic opportunities exist outside the classroom as well including working with visiting artists; networking in the local arts community; assisting non-profit organizations; studying in Florence, Italy; and hosting and submitting work for exhibits. Students can also choose to pursue a Pre-Art Therapy concentration.

About Lourdes University
Rooted in the Catholic and Franciscan tradition, Lourdes University is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis, and offers baccalaureate degrees in more than 30 academic majors as well as graduate degrees in business, education, nursing, organizational leadership, social work, and theology. Community outreach programs include the Appold Planetarium, the Center for Science Education & the Environment, and Lifelong Learning. A member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, Lourdes students can also compete in a variety of men’s and women’s sports. Named a “Best in the Midwest” college by the Princeton Review, Lourdes University is a nationally accredited, veteran and transfer-friendly institution offering a variety of student scholarships. Explore the possibilities online at or by phone at 419-885-3211. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Works from Seven Accomplished OWU Artists at Ross Art Museum through Jan. 31

DELAWARE, Ohio – The artistic muse is always “In Close Proximity” for Ohio Wesleyan University’s fine arts faculty, who are exhibiting their latest works from Dec. 1 through Jan. 31 at OWU’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. 

Seven studio arts professors have created works for the “In Close Proximity” exhibition, showcasing their skills in media including clay, metal, photography, printmaking, sculpture, painting and drawing, and computer design. Ohio Wesleyan faculty members participating in the free exhibit, which represents their biennial art showcase, are:

‘Reaction Interaction,’ a cast iron, wood, and steel sculpture by Ohio Wesleyan University’s Jonathan Quick is on display through Jan. 31 at OWU’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum. The show includes works from seven OWU fine arts faculty. (Photo by Mark Schmitter)
Kristina Bogdanov, M.F.A., who teaches ceramics, drawing, figure drawing and 3-D design. She is represented in the show with pottery, sculpture, and wall hangings. “I was very much drawn by the myth, legend and folklore of my native country,” said Bogdanov, who joined Ohio Wesleyan in 2007. “Lately, I am particularly interested in finding examples of powerful women in history and literature of Serbia. One of the most archaic ones illustrate a female spirit, a nymph, that has a mind of her own. … My hope is to inspire and honor the powerful women around me, of any age and culture to nurture their inner nymph spirit, to make choices of their own.”

Cynthia Cetlin, M.F.A., who teaches metals, 3-D design, art education, and art history. Cetlin’s current work involves working with wool, including stitched resist textile techniques and natural dyeing. “With most of the work here, I did not know until after the piece was out of the dye pot, dried for days, the knots cut and the threads pulled away, whether I would have something worth looking at,” said Cetlin, a member of the OWU faculty since 1987. “It has been a risky process when preparing work for public view, but inescapable and thrilling. I am an ardent learner, always drawn to new techniques and to materials that are new to me. A constant in my life has been the desire to create body adornment and to develop knowledge and technical mastery.”

Frank Hobbs, M.F.A., who teaches painting, drawing, figure drawing, and 2-D design. Hobbs often paints Ohio landscapes, seeking to distill the scenes to their essence. “The foundation of my practice as a painter has always been a simple empiricism, a kind of natural philosophy based on observation and informed by the means of painting, which are color, gesture, shape, and texture,” said Hobbs, who joined the university in 2007. “The goal, ultimately, is to construct a living metaphor in color, shape, and mark for my experience of the concrete world. The thrill when the first crude likeness appears is still as fresh and exciting as it was when I first started painting, nearly four decades ago.”

James Krehbiel, M.F.A., who teaches in the 2-D media of printmaking, computer imaging, and drawing. Krehbiel’s work represents his current research into kiva sites in the American Southwest. “Often kivas are isolated on remote ledges high in the canyons, but sometimes they are positioned in interesting ways in villages with alignments to unusual features in the landscape,” said Krehbiel, a member of the OWU faculty since 1986. “As I have become more interested in these contextual relationships, it has occurred to me that the intriguing alignments may have been set up to utilize astronomy. … All of the pieces in this exhibition are direct responses to my past three years of archaeoastronomical and archaeological experiences in the field. Each piece is created to become a narrative about what was discovered at a particular place.”

Justin Kronewetter, M.F.A., director of the Ross Art Museum, who teaches art gallery management. Kronewetter’s digital photographs often showcase common subjects in uncommon ways. “I take particular satisfaction in finding my subject matter among those things that are normally overlooked due to their presumed insignificance, things that are ‘hidden in plain sight,’” said Kronewetter, a retired OWU professor who joined the university in 1972. “Rather than wanting to show every conceivable aspect of a particular subject, I’m more interested in eliminating everything but that which I consider absolutely essential to the making of an effective image. In that respect I embrace the German-born American architect Mies van der Rohe’s dictum that ‘less is more.’”

Jeff Nilan, M.F.A., who teaches photography, computer imaging, bookmaking, and 2-D design. Much of his current work was created while working as an artist-in-residence at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, an artist residency situated on a 20,000-acre cattle ranch. “Although the landscape is not an entirely new subject for me, having a month to slowly move through the wide-open high plains, both familiar and intriguing to me, challenged me to reconcile with the landscape as subject – developing my awareness of subtleties in the seemingly endless expanse of treeless hills,” said Nilan, who joined the OWU faculty in 2008. Additional work in the show was created during travel-learning trips with students and during the renovation of historic Merrick Hall.

Jonathon Quick, M.F.A., who teaches sculpture and 3-D design. He works primarily in steel and iron, creating large-scale sculptures. “Steel offers me the freedom and range of expression that no other three dimensional medium can match,” said Quick, who joined the university in 1988. “Working with steel gives me a more spontaneous approach to art making, allowing me to quickly render form and arrive at compositional solutions. Iron is one of the most plentiful earth elements. … I am drawn to the process of iron casting using a cupola furnace to smelt scrap iron. Pouring molten iron into wooden molds produces a violent interaction of materials. … [T]he process allows me to create new forms that remind me of their volcanic origin.”

Ohio Wesleyan offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with majors in studio art, art education, and art history. Learn more about the OWU Department of Fine Arts and its faculty at

During the academic year, the Ross Art Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum will close Dec. 17 for winter break and reopen Jan. 12. The museum is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 or visit for more information.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 86 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,750 students represent 46 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at