Water is undercurrent of New Music and Art Festival

This year’s 28th annual New Music and Art Festival, Oct. 17-20, has an added dimension. The four-day international festival is the fulcrum for Water Works, a semester-long focus on water issues and conservation that has involved students and faculty from around campus, along with community members.

The multidisciplinary project is also bringing to campus a number of respected artists and activists, and is designed to spur conversations and activities around topics ranging from environmental concerns to the economics and politics of water. “This is a wonderful opportunity to engage the entire regional community in a focus on one of our most precious commodities,” said BGSU Galleries Director Jacqueline Nathan.

Highlighting the project is a visit and an exhibition of works by famed photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum, who for 38 years has helped define color photography while addressing critical national environmental issues. His “Southwest Alaska: A World of National Parks and Wildlife Refuges” will be part of the “Water Works” exhibition opening at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center. Ketchum will speak on “Conservation and Photography: A Long, Evolving History” at 5:30 p.m. that afternoon in 115 Olscamp Hall.

Named by the Audubon Society as among 100 people “who shaped the environmental movement of the 20th century,” and by American Photo magazine among the 100 most important people in photography, Ketchum is the recipient of awards from the United Nations and other international groups. His photos will be shown along with installations and project documentaries by artist-activists Betsy Damon, Stacy Levy, Eve Andree Laramee, Jackie Brookner and Basia Irland. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sundays.

“Ketchum’s work is both beautiful and relevant to today’s issues,” Nathan said, adding that she was inspired by the timing of the exhibition during the New Music and Art Festival to broaden the focus beyond just one artist’s work.  Researching other artists who are also concerned with conservation issues, “I discovered the amazing work being done by Stacy Levy, Basia Irland, Jackie Brookner and Betsy Damon,” she said.

BGSU students in various disciplines have been engaging with the water topic, and “Splash,” an exhibition of their projects, will be displayed in the Willard Wankelman Gallery in the Fine Arts Center Nov. 15-17.

Reaching out to the community, COSMOS (Center of Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education: Opportunities for Success) will host two sessions of Project WET: Water Education for Teachers, on Oct. 18 and Dec. 5, in which teachers and student teachers will explore lesson plans about water-related environmental issues.

Part of an Oct. 19 New Music and Art Festival concert will be “Les flutes de Pan/Syrinx,” at 8:30 p.m. in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Composed by Larry Austin for flute, digital video animation and octophonic tape, the performance will feature Nina Assimakopoulos, musical arts, on flute and the University Performing Dancers. Celesta Haraszti is the artistic director and coordinator. Also featured on this concert will be BGSU world music ensembles and guest artist Zhou Yi, a pipa virtuoso. Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens and $8 for other adults. For tickets, call 2-8171.

Water Week kicks off
Water Week, the first phase of Water Works, begins today (Oct. 8) with a 12:30 p.m. College of Arts and Sciences Forum in 207 Bowen-Thompson Student Union, featuring Damon, an environmental artist and activist. The founder of the nonprofit organization Keepers of the Waters designs large-scale art parks and public art events that help clean up urban waterways and promote global awareness of water issues.

Damon’s free talk, “The Living Water Garden and Other Projects: It Takes a Village,” begins at 12:30 p.m. following a noon lunch.

Damon also will take part in a symposium on “The Future of Lake Erie,” from 2:30-4 p.m. this afternoon in the Union Theater. Also participating are BGSU biological sciences instructor Christopher Winslow; Allan Sundermeier, Ohio State University Wood County extension educator; Dr. Patrick Lawrence, geography and planning, University of Toledo, and chair of Partners for Clean Streams Inc.; Dr. Gary Winston, director of the National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg College, and Philip E. Berkeley, senior planner with the Planning Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo, N.Y.

On Thursday (Oct. 11), art and science will again come together in “Water Matters,” at 7 p.m. in 095 Overman Hall. Poet Karen Craigo, general studies writing, will begin the evening with new poetry, followed by a screening and discussion of “A Watershed Mentality,” a WFWA-PBS documentary on the Maumee River Basin. The largest tributary and watershed in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River system, it is home to several unique species and one of the largest natural fish nurseries on the Great Lakes, but is filled with enough toxic sediment to endanger those species. Winslow will lead a discussion after the screening.

Broad support
Water Works has had support and participation from the community and a number of faculty and campus areas, including the Bowling Green Community Foundation and the Medici Circle; Dr. Charles Onasch, director of the School of Earth, Environment and Society; Erica Messenger, general studies writing; Julie Nurnberger-Haag, COSMOS; Peter Kuebeck, College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Alice Calderonello, professor emeritus of English; Arts and Sciences; the Fine Arts Center Galleries; the School of Art; Arts Village; COSMOS; the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society; the Chapman Community, and the geography department.

October 8, 2007