lane arts council

A little ArtSpark in Eugene

As schools stay shut down, arts teachers in Lane County shift their studio classes online and take the art to kids across 16 districts

As Covid-19 shuttered schools across Oregon, limiting access to in-person learning of core curriculum and electives alike, arts organizations like Lane Arts Council pivoted on a dime, reinventing program delivery models to meet the changing needs of students in Lane County.  

ArtSpark Online has been created so that every student across Lane County can have free, flexible access through open-access video tutorials teaching a variety of art forms,” says the county arts council’s arts education program manager, Eric Braman. “We have reached out to every school district in hopes of encouraging teachers, parents, and students to stay creative with the tools around them – whether that is turning dandelions into dye or an old sock into a new puppet! Each video provides clear instructions, guiding students to engage directly with the ‘making’ of art, exploring both visual and performance art.”


THE ART OF LEARNING: An Occasional Series


Lessons vary in length, depending on the art-making process, Braman explains.

“Our goal was to create 15-20 minute videos that guide students through approximately 45 minutes of viewing/art making,” Braman says. “We wanted to avoid “lecture-style” arts instruction, and instead always have the video directing students toward the ‘making’.”

The videos provide clear direction for students to follow and regularly instructs them to pause the video and go do.

“In the observational drawing videos, this translated to the artist showing the students how to begin a sketch, then instructing them to pause the video and take some time sketching on their own. In puppetry, the lessons were much shorter, but the unlimited potential between the crafting of the puppet and the performing of the puppet are unlimited! Our hope is that each video will encourage approximately 45 minutes of active engagement with an art form,” Braman says.

Alex Ever, demonstrating on Vimeo how to make natural dyes. Photo courtesy Lane Arts Council

Lane Arts’ teaching artists are learning new ways of doing things, too. Before quarantine measures, artist Alex Ever primarily taught students about natural dyes.

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Friday coronavirus arts news roundup

A news update about the relief efforts for artists and arts organizations in Oregon

The country’s chief executive revels in the ratings for his crazy coronavirus briefings in D.C. Meanwhile, the rest of us deal with the pandemic itself, trying to protect our health and scrape together enough money for the culture to keep from falling into a deep state of dormancy. Sorry, but that’s about as jolly as this roundup of arts news in Oregon is likely to get. Well, maybe there ARE some glimmers.

In case you missed it, yesterday I talked to Brian Rogers, the director of the Oregon Cultural Trust and the Oregon Arts Commission, about what he was seeing out there and the status of the emergency fund the Cultural Trust is assembling. Not to mention how much of that woefully inadequate $75 million the Congress allocated for the National Endowment for the Arts is coming to Oregon. The short answers: “pretty grim,” waiting for approval from the next session of the Oregon legislature, and not much.

Subashini Ganesan and Kim Stafford, the city’s Creative Laureate and the state’s Poet Laureate, started a relief fund for artists, as you probably already know. In the early days of the lockdown they raised $95,000, which they have distributed to 245 artists in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties, mostly in $400-$500 increments. Ganesan reports that MRG Foundation and a few other independent donors have donated an additional $40,000. “Kim and I are reading through a little over 250 applications (that were received through March 29th) to pull together the next round of recipients,” she wrote.

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Stop Motion: Eugene dance world’s shrinking borders

Eugene arts and political leaders must broaden the city's dance horizons

by RACHAEL CARNES

Choreographer David Parsons’ signature piece, Caught (1982), features more than 100 leaps in six minutes by a solo dancer who is repeatedly trapped in mid-motion by the strobe lights he controls, creating an illusion of flight. Seen live, the work is unforgettable; I saw it once here, in Eugene, at the Hult Center’s Silva Hall, danced by Parsons himself.

David Parsons's "Caught." Photo: B. Doctor.

David Parsons’s “Caught.” Photo: B. Doktor.

Caught seems an apt metaphor for dance: vital, powerful yet ephemeral, almost fragile. Dance requires a nutritive base to thrive, constant support and a collaborative spirit. Any dance venture is a leap of faith.

Although Parsons’ company made four visits to Eugene from 1992-2000, it’s unclear when we might see a national or international touring company here again. Dance in Eugene is varied and diverse, yet the community is acutely missing the kinds of opportunities it used to enjoy.

In this city, I can go to the museum and see masterworks on display. I can attend a concert and hear a variety of music from around the globe, played to perfection. I can sit down at the theater and see premiers from playwrights from across the country.

And yes, I can see dance — I try to see everything local — and the talent and verve our community has to offer continually amaze me. But what I can’t see with any regularity is choreography from beyond this valley, or dance from beyond this region.

Eugene once hosted stellar out-of-town companies, artists with worldwide and historical significance: Martha Graham Dance Company, David Parsons, Bill T. Jones, Pilobolus, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Nrityagram, even the Bolshoi Ballet — all played the Hult, some making repeated visits to our leafy college town.

Exposure to contemporary dance increases awareness, not just for dance but for other art forms, too. Looking at dance helps people learn to see, to observe, to relate. And looking at dance builds audiences for theater, music and art, for now and for future generations.

So where did the national and international touring companies go? And will the stars align to leverage their return?

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