Read interview with choreographer, dancer and scholar Thomas F. DeFrantz, who joined the faculty of the Duke University Dance Program and African and African & American Studies department in the fall of 2011. See page 19 in the Social Science Research Institute's latest issue of Gist from the Mill.
Wet Ink Ensemble
Encounters: with the music of our time will present the New York-based Wet Ink Ensemble on December 9 and 10 at Duke University. These performances are the first in a series of events that are part of a two-year residency to establish Wet Ink Ensemble at Duke and in the wider Durham arts community.
Founded in 1998, Wet Ink Ensemble has presented over 80 concerts featuring a wide range of established and emerging artists. Repertoire ranges from scores of rigorous notational complexity to indeterminate and improvisational music, from the American experimental tradition to the contemporary European avant-garde, and from acoustic to amplified to electronic works and works for homemade instruments. Learn more about Wet Ink Ensemble here.
On December 9 and 10, Wet Ink will perform two programs: the first will feature works by ensemble members Rick Burkhardt, Alex Mincek, Kate Soper, Eric Wubbels and Sam Pluta; the second program will feature works by Duke Graduate Music students Jamie Keesecker, Kenneth David Stewart, Vladimir Smirnov and Youngmi Cho. (See program below.)
In the spring of 2012 the residency will continue with programming open to both Duke students and the wider arts community. (See residency schedule below.) During the 2012-13 academic year Wet Ink will return to work with graduate students in the Music Department and in the new Master of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts (MFAEDA) program. Students from each department will work together to develop interdisciplinary works for the Ensemble to perform. These works will premier first for the Duke and Durham communities and later for New York audiences providing a unique professional opportunity for graduate students in both programs.
This is a free event. No ticket is required.
For more information contact Elizabeth Thompson in the Music Department.
The Vice Provost for the Arts and the Council for the Arts are pleased to announce a Call for Proposals for Visiting Artist Grants. These grants support projects that will enrich the life of the university and broader community, augment the curricular efforts of a range of departments and programs, facilitate interaction of artists and scholars, foster the reputation of Duke as a place where the arts are vital and diverse, and contribute to the arts as a whole. Proposals are due February 1, 2012. The official announcement and full description of this opportunity with information on funding, the application process, and selection criteria can be found here.
Arts Journal posts about past visiting artists residencies:
The success of the recent Duke Arts Festival prompted the editorial board of The Chronicle, Duke's student-run newspaper, to scrutinize the overall state of the arts on campus. What they found is an arts scene that has been transformed in the four years since Scott Lindroth became Duke's first Vice Provost for the Arts. A series of editorials published November 17, 18, and 21 celebrated that transformation and outlined a vision of the work that remains.
The first article, "Duke's blue period", credits Lindroth with an "ever-climbing crescendo in the visibility of the arts."
In addition to adding new arts courses to the registry, Duke has hired half a dozen stellar new faculty members who have been working with each other to create innovative and interdisciplinary curricular opportunities for students. A particularly electrifying new seminar, "Wired," explores novel ways to present humanities research through visual technologies and draws together students and professors from the Classics, Visual Studies and Computer Science departments. Progress on the academic front has been paralleled by the resounding success of Duke Performances and projects like the "Artists in Residence" program. Student attendance for Duke Performances currently peaks at about 50 percent of the audience, up from 14 percent in 2005. In that time the University has sponsored over 20 Artists in Residence, and Lindroth's office has been able to endow the residencies of several visiting artists. Lindroth has also helped to foster greater artistic collaboration between Duke and Durham, providing support for community events like the Full Frame Film Festival and the American Dance Festival.
The editorial board notes that the higher curricular and institutional profile of the arts has been mirrored by an increase in student-driven activity, and the combination is potent. "[C]ollaboration between students, faculty and advocates in the administration [creates] an artistic culture at Duke that seeps into the mainstream Duke experience."
The article concludes by hoping that robust financial support for the arts will continue. "Now, and in its next major fund raising campaign, the University must seek sustainable sources of arts funding."
The headline of the second editorial announces that this is "No time for applause". The arts may have made "astounding progress... on Duke's campus in five short years," but there are still problems left over after "decades of neglect."
Visible gains, like the Hull Avenue Dance Studio near Swift Avenue or the arts spaces in the renovated Smith Warehouse, look tall when stood next to the retrograde arts infrastructure that preceded them. But they also look short of what is possible. Problems still confront the arts at Duke, but they are solvable ones. These problems fall into three silos: space, money and student culture.
The editorial board worries that the arts will continue to be marginal if the arts spaces are marginal, "fractured and spread across the fringes of Duke's campus." They believe that the renovation of the West Union building presents an opportunity to address this problem, but "getting space in West Union will be a dogfight." A new student group called duARTS "may be the ideal body to launch a concerted lobbying effort."
With respect to money, they note that many arts groups are "selective in membership" and therefore cannot be funded through Duke Student Government's Student Organization Finance Committee. Performance groups that require certain skills have to be selective, yet some of these groups "are a tremendous public good." In the editorial board's opinion the SOFC bylaws should be amended to accommodate them.
On the culture front, "arts groups [need to] to collaborate, hold joint events that leverage their disparate audiences and step up collective advertising efforts."
The Chronicle has a role to play in this: By extending coverage of noteworthy performances and exhibitions beyond Recess, The Chronicle's admirably done weekly arts supplement, and moving onto the front page, The Chronicle could give student art the real estate it so often deserves.
In its third editorial, "Between heel and horn"), the board laments that "arts opportunities exist a mere bus ride away from Duke's campus, yet most Duke students are unaware of them." UNC-Chapel Hill is especially rich in opportunities, and they suggest that a concerted effort should be made both there and here at Duke to publicize events on the other campus. Even better than cross-promotion are "joint or collaborative events" like Double Exposure, which involved "shuttling students between the Nasher and the North Carolina Central University Art Museum for related photo exhibits and performances."
Earlier this year, incoming students at Duke and UNC read the same summer reading book, ostensibly to strengthen the intellectual ties between them. If Duke and UNC truly care about strengthening those ties, they will encourage programs and events that require students to physically travel to the other campus and share an intellectual experience together. Arts provide the perfect opportunity to do just that.
The Chronicle's editorial staff was also pleased with the weekend of networking and workshops presented by the Duke Entertainment, Media and the Arts Network (DEMAN) during the Duke Arts Festival. Students interested in business or finance can avail themselves of the robust recruitment efforts from those industries. But, as the editorial board notes, students who want to pursue an arts-related career don't have the same opportunity — their chosen industry has much more modest resources. "Informal solutions like DEMAN, which do not rely on firms dishing out recruitment dollars, can fill this gap."
We also would like to commend DEMAN for exposing students to less typical careers. College students have only basic conceptions of the true nature of their dream jobs. As a result, students tend to bend with the recruitment wind, focusing on highly visible financial and consulting firms. To truly understand what different careers entail, students must engage with older individuals who know the field. DEMAN facilitates this engagement nicely by matching students up with industry professionals who share the same niche passions. Indeed, career events catering to other industries would do well to emulate the DEMAN model. ... Arts-inclined students who previously were ambivalent toward anything resembling a recruitment event might have been tempted by the plethora of music performances and art showcases to attend. This clever pairing--part-entertainment, part-recruitment effort--effectively mobilized a sizable group of students to take part in DEMAN.
The Duke Arts Festival highlighted student artists in a way that not other event has. It was a chance to revel in the tremendous range of talent and creative energy on campus. But the diverse array of student artists who made it possible — poets, painters, photographers, musicians, dancers, sculptors, actors, filmmakers, and others — are active and engaged not just for a week but every day of the year. The Chronicle has long been the essential student-centered source of news and commentary about Duke's rich and noisy campus life. We in the Vice Provost for the Arts office are gratified by the paper's recent attention and we welcome its constructive engagement. And we fully agree that it has a role to play — a crucial role, in fact. If we want the arts to be in the foreground on campus, they will have to be in the foreground in The Chronicle.
Paul Swartzel is a graduate student in Duke University’s music department. Today he will talk about '80s music with Frank Stasio on "The State of Things" (WUNC, 91.5 FM) from 12:20-12:40 pm. Listen if you can! Paul was interviewed earlier this month by Eric Ferreri about his class, "I Love the '80s."
Since she was 4, Meridith Pingree knew she wanted to be an artist. But a robotic artist? Robots and electronics? No, that realization came later. Pingree speaks at Duke Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. at Smith Warehouse.
She spoke with Duke Today's Thea Neal about her life and work. You can read more here.