Monthly Archives: June 2013

Putting Heart into Art History: by Teenage Blogger Emily Zauzmer

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All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is a book by Robert Fulghum, and for me, the titular phrase is quite true. I learned to tie my shoes, I learned to share – and I learned that I have a passion for art history.

My kindergarten teacher introduced the class to the wonders of art history in a delightful way: She had each student paint his or her own rendition of Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night. Perhaps my artistic skills were not on par with those of the legendary painter – why did I leave out the cypress tree anyway? – but my love of art history was ignited with more fire than van Gogh’s glimmering stars.

Femilyvangoghollowing this art project, five-year-old me begged my parents to take me to New York City to see the Post-Impressionist masterpiece at the Museum of Modern Art. (This must have not come as much of a surprise to anyone, as I had dragged my family to Plymouth Rock after the teacher’s Thanksgiving lesson on the Mayflower.)

About a decade later, in a seemingly unrelated turn of events, my family made plans to vacation at the Iowa State Fair to experience that quintessential slice of Americana. A week or so before the trip, I happened to come across the Wikipedia page for the Dibble House, the white home with the iconic Gothic window that Grant Wood immortalized in American Gothic. My fates were aligning: the Dibble House was in Iowa. “I see an amazing photo op!” I gushed to my family in an email asking if we could add the Dibble House to our itinerary.

That explains why on August 21, 2011, I found myself in a quaint town called Eldon, where a small house with a steep roof serves as the center of attraction. The American Gothic House Center supplies replica pitchforks and costumes so that visitors can pose as the famous man and woman in front of the actual house that Wood depicted.

americangothicAfter my brother and I snapped our own keepsake photograph, I wanted to have a use for my American Gothic re-creation – after all, what fun is a re-creation if it serves only as a unique Facebook profile picture? It dawned on me that I could make an art history blog.

At first, I was a bit wary.  Would anyone read my blog? Would I essentially be writing for myself? Nevertheless, with a year of AP Art History under my belt, I decided to enter the blogosphere by creating Heartwork.

On Heartwork, I blog about my creative adventures in art history. These adventures have included picture re-creations (American Gothic, Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want, Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, James McNeill Whistler’s Whistler’s Mother) and edible artwork (The Starry Night in cupcakes). I have also blogged about my visit to a nearby park with sculptures of famous paintings, and posts about my trips to museums are coming.

The response to Heartwork has been incredibly rewarding, and many individuals have kindly tweeted about the blog. Excitingly, within its first few weeks of existence, Heartwork has been viewed in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

My great wish is that Heartwork will continue to grow not only through me but also through my visitors. If they email me (emilybz@comcast.net) photographs of their endeavors in art history like picture re-creations, I will be thrilled to post the photographs on the blog.

In my mind, there are two possible paths for the future of art history: If we fall prey to the notion that art history is comprised merely of antiquated relics with no importance to today, both museums and societies will suffer. But if we embrace art history as a meaningful and vibrant subject matter, we will find that works of art can reveal profound truths about us and our cultures.

To choose the latter option, we each need to forge our own connections with artwork – to make art history our own. I sincerely hope that Heartwork inspires viewers to make art history a fun and relevant part of their lives. After all, putting heart into art history is really what Heartwork is all about.

 

Diamond Friends Forever Guest blog June 17th @DFF_DiaMu

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By Claudia Demaeght (youngster of DFF)

As mentioned in the last blog of Nathalie and Brent I, as a member of the group communication, will elaborate on the subject of social media.

2013-05-18 12.45.59To introduce the project and make our target group enthusiastic to visit our museum, the group communication received a budget. The budget wasn’t very large, but that was rather a challenge than a threat to us. One of the cheapest ways to communicate these days is through social media and because youngsters are very present on the social media, this was one of the main elements of our communication plan.

We divided our plan into 4 subgroups, namely: online communication, guerilla marketing, offline communication and press. I will tell you a bit more about these parts that integrate social media.

communicatie 2In our group, Justin, Jacob and I discussed al lot on the subject of social media. Eventually we confined ourselves to the 2 most popular among youngsters: Facebook and Twitter. We thought this was the most efficient way to reach our target audience. Brent and Nathalie made a Facebook-account for DFF at the beginning of the project, and with more than 250 likes this was already a good medium to reach a lot of people. We want to use Facebook for both information and fun.  You will find information like where, when, who and why but also pictures and crazy facts about diamonds bearing in mind the ‘ like and share principle ‘. We want to make sure that people like our page and share things they like with their friends. Starting from the launch of our guerilla marketing campaign we want to use our campaign image as cover image on the page. That way the campaign image will be well-known by our visitors.

89b0f2541b87432d4806e2017bfabde9Twitter was the second social networking site we decided to use. We use Twitter to reach more international audience. Therefore we deliberately communicate in English. Because you are restricted to 140 characters we will use it to post short informational messages but also short fun facts about diamonds. Other social media we thought about to use were Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. In Belgium our target audience is not as present on these social media as in America and the UK so we decided to just focus on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook and Twitter are not the best channels to tell the whole DFF-story, that’s why a WordPress website is being created right now. My co-worker Justin is a handyman when it comes to graphic design so I am already curious to see the result!

fashionableBecause we were encouraged by Nathalie and Brent to think outside the box we wanted to create something fun and unexpected for the guerilla action, something that people will talk about. The winning idea was to distribute a lot of saddle covers for bicycles on places that youngsters and tourist will visit during the period before and during the launch of the museum. Kind of a saddle cover raid! On these covers the DFF-website will be mentioned and here the visitors can participate in a contest to win a real diamond!

The DFF-Facebook and Twitter page will also be present on all the offline media like on beer mats, posters, postcards, flyers and on trams. I hope by the launch of the museum we have a lot of ‘likes’ and ‘followers’… and that our efforts will be rewarded!

You can still visit us on Facebook (DFFDiamondFriendsForever) ,Twitter (DFF_DiaMu) and soon on www.diamondfriedsforever.be!

Guest Blog: Mindspot – Make It Your Library in Denmark

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LogoBy Lisbeth Mærkedahl, Librarian and Coordinator for Mindspot, Aarhus, Denmark

How do we involve young people in our program?

In The Main Library in Aarhus, Denmark we work with the questions above. We want to turn the library into a relevant and interesting partner in the lives of young people (between 14 and 25 years old). We want to be a creator of opportunities and an initiator of conversations. To do that we realized, that we needed to hire young people (mindspotters).

Banner 043Our intention is to involve young people in the whole process from the idea-generating over the planning to the execution. And we want the library to be the producer and the young ones to be the innovators and performers.

We have done a lot of activities fx:

–       AFTRYK

  • A portrait book of young people in our town – made by mindspotters and volunteers

–       Tattoo at Den Grimmeste Festival

  • Try to tattoo on pigskin. Creativeness arise when context and materials are new and different

Groupwork–       AUSFAHRT 12’

  • 8 concerts around in the city  from a van bed  – with one winner band

–       Information seeking and retrieval

  • Visit school classes and do exercise with them – with roots in their needs

–       Workshops fx scratch, drawing and cup cakes

AusfahrtThe outcome for the library is manifold;

–       External partners and branding

–       Engagement, professionalism and constant challenges for the employees

–       Library transformation

You can read more about Mindspot at http://www.aakb.dk/files/file_attachments/2012-07-10_1356/mindspot_rapport_eng_web.pdf or www.mindspot.dk.