ONLINE NEWSLETTER - Aug 2017
Welcome to Occurrences, the e-newsletter about Oklahoma State University’s Doel Reed Center for the Arts. Here you will find information about the latest developments related to this unique program based in Taos, New Mexico. To learn more about the Doel Reed Center for the Arts, click here. To make a gift, click here.
Topics include fashion, fishing and food
Taos native Marc Harrell will again teach “Fly Fishing (Beginning and Intermediate).”
Oklahoma State University is pursuing ways to further enhance the value of the Doel Reed Center for the Arts by adding more events to its calendar throughout the year. One example is the recent addition of fall leisure-learning classes.
From September 28-30, the facility will host four courses for $400 each.
The center is also offering a full slate of six leisure-learning courses from July 24-28. Each course is $600.
For more information or to enroll in the July courses, click here. For more information or to express interest in the September courses, contact Carol Moder at firstname.lastname@example.org or (405) 612-8295.
Singleton teaches participants about papermaking
A capacity crowd of 25 people were up to their arms in sludgy pulp as they made paper on Feb. 24 at the Stillwater Multi Arts Center. They were drawn in by a free workshop led by St. Louis-based Megan Singleton, the Doel Reed Center for the Arts’ 2016 Smelser-Vallion Visiting Artist. Singleton had spoken about the science of the process the previous day at the OSU Museum of Art, with about 30 attending the reception and talk. Singleton explained that she incorporates local plants into her work whenever she travels.
Megan Singleton, the 2016 Smelser-Vallion Visiting Artist, held a papermaking workshop in Stillwater on Feb. 24.
“It’s an interesting process that I developed when I was in grad school,” Singleton said. “It’s taking the idea of exploration, research and interpretation. So looking at a site, a place, a location, through its flora, and figuring out how you can interpret the landscape using those materials. It changes every time depending on what plants are there, how the landscape is different, and how I interpret it.”
Jim Vallion created the Smelser-Vallion Visiting Artist program in 2010 with a generous donation. Thanks to his support, Singleton was at the Doel Reed Center for the Arts last summer for the academic class “The Science of Art.” She helped students make their own paper with plants gathered at the property, and she delivered a public lecture at the Harwood Museum. Then she essentially did a two-day version of the class with her talk and workshop in Stillwater.
“This was our first time to do a community workshop, and we were thrilled with the turnout,” said Carol Moder, director of the Reed Center. “This bridges the Taos and Stillwater experiences. Community outreach is a mission of the Reed Center and this visiting artist position, which also does so much for our students.”
Jim Vallion, who established the Smelser-Vallion Visiting Artist program, met Megan Singleton at her workshop.
Betty Wilson, a member of the Stillwater Book Arts club, attended the workshop to learn more about Singleton’s process.
“Making paper is a lot harder than she makes it look, but I’m really enjoying this,” Wilson said. “I am very grateful to Jim Vallion for bringing her here, and it’s such a great free workshop.”
Vallion also enjoyed the workshop.
“She is terrific,” Vallion said. “The presentation was very thorough. This was exactly what I had in mind when I created this position.”
Singleton, who was in Taos three weeks last summer, said her experience at the Reed Center was “amazing.”
“I visited a lot of river sites and was interested in how I could take a process of papermaking, which is very heavy in water usage, and be conscious about that in a location that is really dealing with a lot of water conservation issues and a lot of water rights issues,” Singleton said. “So after working at the studio for about a week, I decided I was going to pack up my stuff and take it to the river. I took all my pulps and mold decals and set up on the Rio Pueblo and the Rio Grande on different days and used the flowing water of the river to make the work. Being able to really pick up the sand and the soot and the dirt and the mud and throw that all into the paper as the river was running through it is a really great experience for me.”
The 2017 Smelser-Vallion Visiting Artist is Beverly Acha, who explores structure, time, space and the forces that shape our experiences through paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures. A fellow at the Roswell (New Mexico) Artist-in-Resident Program, she will interact with students in Andy Mattern’s two academic courses at the Reed Center in July: “Introduction to Photographer for Non-Majors,” and “Height and Light Photography in New Mexico.” She will also give a public lecture at the Harwood Museum in Taos on July 13 at 4 p.m. She will then visit Stillwater next spring.
“We always select our visiting artist with an eye toward the credit courses, and Beverly will be a great teacher for the students,” Moder said. “I’m excited for them and for the Stillwater and Taos communities because I know she will be another fantastic contributor to the success we are having creating wonderful experiences both places.”
Rudnick presents lively public lecture
Ask Lois Rudnick about New Mexico art patron Mabel Dodge Luhan, and Rudnick will reply, “Do you have 15 hours?”
The 2016 Jim and Linda Burke Visiting Scholar in Literature actually spent about an hour to cover “A Creator of Creators: How Mabel Dodge Luhan Catalyzed Southwest Modernism” on April 6 at the OSU Museum of Art. A crowd of about 50 people learned about the woman who helped turn Taos into a mecca for artists and writers. Among the long list of cultural icons Luhan hosted in Taos were artist Georgia O’Keeffe, photographer Ansel Adams, and novelists Aldous Huxley and Willa Cather.
Lois Rudnick, the 2016 Jim and Linda Burke Visiting Scholar in Literature, delivered a public lecture about Mabel Dodge Luhan on April 6 at the OSU Museum of Art.
Rudnick, the retired former chair of the American Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston, focuses on modern American history, culture and literature, especially the writers and artists in Taos and Santa Fe. She is particularly drawn to Luhan, about whom she has written three books.
“Many things drew me to her,” Rudnick said. “One thing is that my field is American Studies, and she is the most interdisciplinary woman I’ve ever come across. She was interested in creating these utopian communities, all of which had tremendous conflicts within them. But that’s the way the world goes. Unlike most patrons, salon hostesses or hosts, she was interested in everything: philosophy, psychology, literature, drama, photography, sculpture, painting, social reform, Native American rights. Her idea of creating an arts community was much broader.”
Rudnick’s talk was not only informative, but also entertaining and funny. She said things such as, “No one really knows the true story, so I’ll tell you the story that I like.” Another laugh line was about the love life of Luhan, who married four times. “At this point, she goes into a depression, which she does every time she gets married but never learns from it.”
Rudnick was in Stillwater after having co-taught “New Mexico Regionalism and Modernism” last summer with former Reed Center director Ed Walkiewicz.
“The creativity and smarts of the students was just wonderful, and Ed knows how to create a terrifically comfortable but rigorous atmosphere, so it was a complete delight,” said Rudnick, the fourth Burke Visiting Scholar. “I was able to give them a private tour of my Mabel Dodge Luhan exhibition at the Harwood Museum in Taos just after it opened. My being the visiting scholar was the culmination of 40 years of my life’s work.”
Jim and Linda Burke, who established the Jim and Linda Burke Visiting Scholar in Literature program, met Lois Rudnick at her reception.
She had this opportunity thanks to the generosity of Jim and Linda Burke, who created the position to enhance the literature-based aspects of the Reed Center. Linda is a former language arts teacher.
“I thought literature just needed a niche beside the visual arts at the Doel Reed Center,” Linda said. “Bringing in such great scholars and speakers has become such a fun thing to do every year.”
Rudnick and the Burkes met at the Museum of Art, but it turns out Linda had a preview of Rudnick’s talk years before.
“I had read a book on Mabel Dodge Luhan, and it was fascinating,” Linda said. “It was my father’s, and I found it after he died. When we chose Dr. Rudnick for this position, I went back to find the book to refresh my memory and I was stunned to realize she was the author!”
Rudnick thanked the Burkes for their generosity, adding it was wonderful to receive both the funding and the trust that comes with it.
Carol Moder, director of the Doel Reed Center for the Arts, said there are few positions in the nation similar to the Burke Visiting Scholar.
“We’ve had a lot of interest in it because it’s not the typical case where you spend a semester on a campus and work on a research component with a faculty member here,” Moder said. “We’ve really had top-notch faculty apply for this position. It has been great because it enriches the classes in Taos, and then we come back and we are able to do something for the people who weren’t able to go to Taos and are here on the campus in Stillwater.”
She added that Rudnick was “fabulous.”
“When she interacted with the students in Taos, I’ve never heard more enthusiastic, rave reviews about the ability of a person to adapt to their interest, to give them information that was helpful to them, to tell them stories and be lively and amusing at the same time,” Moder said. “Then her public lectures are vibrant and make the subject matter come alive.”
The 2017 Jim and Linda Burke Visiting Scholar is Spencer Herrera, a New Mexico State associate professor of Spanish specializing in Chicano literature, film and culture.
Later this month, he will assist with the Reed Center’s academic course, “Tourism & Taos: Rhetorical Invention and Intervention.”
On May 23 at 4 p.m., he will be at the Harwood Museum for his Taos talk, “Etched in Wood: Cultural Propaganda and New Mexico True.” He will visit Stillwater next spring for another talk.
“The visiting scholar position has a great community aspect for Stillwater, bringing in a speaker about a topic that is accessible to the public,” Moder said. “Also, we bring in experts in areas that don’t necessarily overlap with our faculty on campus, so it helps to enrich the experience for the students.”
Peter Gilstrap says course had profound effect on his studies
Peter Gilstrap participated in the “Science of Art” class last summer at the Doel Reed Center for the Arts. He wrote the following to thank everyone who made his experience possible, and agreed to let us share it as a reminder of the opportunities the Reed Center creates for dozens of students each year.
Peter Gilstrap and his wife, Genevieve, both participated in last summer’s “The Science of Art.”
As an Architectural Engineering student my studies have always emphasized a balance between aesthetic and scientific constraints. This dual concern was a significant part of why I chose this major as I am the child of a geochemist father and an artist mother. As such, the Science of Art course immediately resonated with the way I view and interact with the world, and was the perfect way to spend my last free summer before looking for internships.
The majority of the course involved lectures, and demonstrations, on the scientific processes involved in the creation, viewing, and aging of artworks. These lectures were then followed by plenty of time to test and explore a wide variety of artistic media and techniques, many of which no one in the class had used beforehand and some we had never even heard of. The chance to try out the various media was incredibly helpful for me. Having grown up in the Russian Orthodox Church I have always been fascinated with iconography. In our class we were taught the basics of traditional gesso techniques and egg tempera painting, which I further explored through my individual project at the end of the class. Now I have a solid grounding in the requisite techniques to move forward in the pursuit of becoming an iconographer. While the strict subject of the class was intellectually and artistically stimulating, the location provided an education in itself.
Students learned from artist Megan Singleton how to make their own paper from pulp created from plants they gathered at the Doel Reed Center for the Arts.
Having never been to New Mexico, this class provided the opportunity to explore a new region of the U.S. Besides the natural beauty of Taos, the location is rich with educational opportunities. We were able to learn about the local art and culture through class field trips to the Harwood Museum and to the workshop of a renowned local Santero. While these were both excellent learning experiences, it was the class field trip to Earthships Biotecture that has had a profound effect on my studies. The concepts and philosophy of Earthships has provided a new lens through which to explore the built environment. The experience has also prompted me to begin a proposal for independent study of passive systems and non-traditional structures, which I will be submitting to my department this fall.
Of course none of the above would have been possible were it not for the DRCA Scholarship, which I am very grateful to have received. Because of it I was able to participate in a course that has helped me define my artistic and professional pursuits, and has broadened my understanding of the culture of the American Southwest.
If you are interested in making a gift to support scholarships at the Doel Reed Center for the Arts, contact Deb Engle at email@example.com or (405) 385-5600.