Category: UGA

New LDSOA director Chris Garvin

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garvin_chris.jpgEach fall brings many new faces to campus, but this semsester marks the beginning of a new era at the Lamar Dodd School of Art with the arrival of its new director, Chris Garvin. Learn more about Garvin, his background and vision for the school in this extended Q&A (an abridged version appeared in the Sept. 2 Columns):

Chris Garvin comes to UGA from The University for the Arts in Philadelphia, where he served as program director. An interactive designer and creative director in the private sector for many years, Garvin has written and spoken extensively on the complexity of contemporary design and business practice, and its implications on the future of design and education. He spoke with Columns upon his arrival to UGA this summer.

Alan Flurry: You are a professor and an artist, how do those two fit together?

Chris Garvin: There are parts of my life that I act as a designer, as an artist, an educator, an entrepreneur, and I embrace them all. I’m never scared to be a hybrid, to have ‘and’ be in there. Part of my experience is writing curriculum and programs at universities and getting them off the ground, building coalitions and curriculums so that things can happen. I’ve done that looking at those projects as a designer, and I’ve used those designer skills to help me become a better educator.

The thing that makes them part of me is that I use the same thinking processes in all of them. I think about audience differently in each, and I think about the group and the collaborations differently.

AF: That takes a lot of confidence, but also a lot of humility – it can seem like a contradiction.

CG: It can, and I have often said, “I have just enough ego to try this, but not so much ego that I need to own it.” And it’s helped me a lot in building things; many times in academia, the ownership is what can kill interesting projects and keep them from getting off the ground.

AF: You come to UGA from a big city setting, how is that related to your vision for the school of art?

CG: So I grew up in a formerly big city, Buffalo. I went to grad school at Ohio State, then I lived in New York City for ten years, and that’s an education in itself, then in Philadelphia. And those are two very different American metropolises, and they work very differently.

I moved to New York to be a designer, with a painting degree, so some of my vision comes out of my own experience. I was trained in a great art school in a large research university, where I gained the confidence to use those skills in a variety of different ways.

For example, I could talk to computer scientists; I borrowed projectors for my thesis exhibit from the football team; I had an office in a center shared between the art school and the computer science school, all very formative experiences. Being a painter and working in those critiques, I learned the idea of abstracting things, moving across disciplines, across mediums, and in a contemporary business world that would be called ‘knowledge transfer.’ It’s incredibly marketable. So I like to say I was accidentally marketable because of my education, but it wasn’t so much an accident as that academic environment.

For me, the most exciting thing about UGA is that the pieces of that same ecosystem are here. Helping to build those connections where our graduate and undergraduate students can excel in whatever they want to do, that their vision of success is not just the gallery show, not just working at a design firm, but it’s a variety of different things that they choose, we have the ability to do that here. Few places in the world have the academic ecosystem available to make that kind of malleable, exciting graduate that can go out into the world and do whatever they want.

Welcome to the Class of 2018

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The 5,285 freshmen who entered UGA this week, assembled into a Super G on Sunday in Sanford Stadium as part of the Freshman Welcome to the Class of 2018 sponsored by the Student Government Association and the Student Alumni Council. 

That's a lot of people - normally, you would have to be crossing 42nd Street and 7th Ave to see that many people in one place.

Welcome to everyone and do not worry: you will get lost, and then lost again. The bus will come. You will find your class. Snelling will still be open when you get there. You will get used to all of this - and may so many other wonderful things happen to you as you do.

#uga18

Image: Official Class of 2018 Photo, courtesy of UGA Photographic Services. 

Campus smart streets

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Coliseum1.jpgIt's the lull just before fall semester, but around campus, progress marches on. Though they have been a political hot potato locally, smart streets are a safety innovation the university can and has embraced. Note the new pedestrian islands on Carlton Street in front of Stegeman Coliseum. The university has added painted bike lanes around campus as well, all in the service of safer transit in what is a very densely populated area.

Look for more of these as you watch out for people, bikes, buses and yes, cars on campus and around Athens. They can all co-exist and we can get to where we are going in, on time and in one piece.

Photo courtesy of our colleague in OVPR, design guru Krysia Haag. Thanks!

This week in UGA history

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photo (60).jpg213 years ago, by just a few days (July 25, 1801), there appeared a classified ad in the Augusta Chronicle (alas, no link from that year) announcing that:

The Senaticus Academicus had chosen a site for the university, "an institution deeply interesting to the present age, and still more to an encreasing posterity."

[Re-]discovered in Nash Boney's excellent A Pictorial History of the University of Georgia. May we be today and always deeply interesting to the present age - and my personal hope that the Senatus Academicus (one of two major governing boards of UGA prior to the creation of the Board of Regents) is re-animated in its original latin.

GMOA Museum Mix features Pylon, Athens cultural scene exhibits

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A late-night art party at the Georgia Museum of Art this Thursday night from 8- midnight will harken back to the 1970s and 1980s music and art scene here in Athens and is surely not to be missed.  Known as Museum Mix, this free event will feature snacks and refreshments, access to all of the museum’s galleries until midnight and a DJ set by Michael Lachowski, co-founder of and bass player for the seminal athens band Pylon.

The summer Museum Mix is inspired by the exhibition "Shapes That Talk to Me: The Athens Scene, 1975-85." The DJ will be Michael Lachowski, co-founder of and bass player for the seminal Athens band Pylon. Lachowski will play records that Pylon members and others listened to during the early years of the Athens music scene, including music by Pere Ubu, The Ramones, Public Image Ltd, Talking Heads, Cabaret Voltaire, Elvis Costello, Suicide, Kraftwerk and many more.

Lachowski, who also handles public relations for the museum and helped organize "Shapes That Talk to Me," said, "The social scene that the early Athens music scene came out of was based around art students, art faculty and visual art itself-but our parties were also fueled by new music from outside Athens. Because access to new music was always a challenge, the communal sharing of new acquisitions in social contexts was taken seriously. While we were dancing and cavorting, we were absorbing an education in music-the influences that shaped Pylon and other bands-and that's the music I want to revisit at this hot summer Museum Mix."

The “Shapes That Talk to Me” exhibit and the Museum Mix event are being held in conjunction with Art Rocks Athens, a festival exploring the works of art and music that established Athens as a cultural center.  Art Rocks Athens and the accompanying exhibits and events is continuing the tradition of UGA and the Athens cultural scene influencing each other. Through December, venues across Athens are taking part in the collaborative celebration with exhibitions, films, lectures and more.  View more about Art Rocks Athens here.

Spring Commencement 2014

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stadium_commence.jpgIt's a great week on campus. The 2014 Spring Undergraduate Commencement exercise will be held on Friday, May 9, 2014 at 7 p.m. inside Sanford Stadium. Athens is beginning to flow with excited and proud parents, family members as well as the graduates themselves. An exciting time for all involved, and the reason at the center of all activity at the university.

Commencement itself then is a spectacle equal to grandeur of the occasion. And in that spirit, this year will also feature a special musical premiere:

The University of Georgia Wind Ensemble will present the world premiere of "Declarations," a new composition for wind band, during the university's spring undergraduate Commencement on May 9. The piece, composed by past Hugh Hodgson School of Music professor Steve Dancz, will commemorate the final performance of departing director of bands John P. Lynch.

"Steve and I thought it would be particularly meaningful to mark this occasion with a new commission," Lynch said. "We were aiming for something akin to American composer Aaron Copland's ‘Lincoln Portrait': regal, epic and concise, for maximum impact."

So true. 5, 374 students are eligible to walk this spring, and we wish every single one of them the very best in their future endeavors. And as we bid Lynch farewell along with this spring's graduates, the premiere takes on that much more significance. Here's to a great night, to be christened with beautiful new music played by our students.

Image:  Commencement 2010, when UGA moved the Spring Commencement ceremony to an evening event, culminating with a fireworks celebration. Courtesy UGA Photographic services.

 

Why support Franklin College?

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Privately funded scholarships have a direct and personal impact on UGA students and provide opportunities for them to achieve their dreams. Often the impact is life changing and can best be understood in the words of the students themselves. Below are the words of one of our students, junior psychology major Toni McKoy, whose life has been changed through the generosity of a scholarship donor.

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This has been a critical past year for me, I've had to juggle classes, work, and club activities in order to stay on top of classes and financially support myself. After a rough first semester and unfortunate events following, I decided to pursue what I thought would make me a happier person in life. I continued my studies in Japanese and I made a critical decision to switch my major from Animal Science to Psychology. I even decided to become more active in the Japan Club at UGA. I ran and was elected as the advertiser, historian, and dance coordinator for the club. After all of these changes and accomplishments, I decided to further challenge myself. This school year I hope to begin my music minor and join even more clubs and organizations around campus. Next summer I wish to be able to study abroad in Japan to strengthen my language skills.

Now that I have more goals I'll have to try even harder to keep my grades up, stay active in activities and work throughout the year. Last school year I worked at the Georgia Museum of Art as a security guard. While it would be nice to get that position again, I would like to expand my work experience which, at the moment, includes my work as a security guard and as a youth coordinator at a local Atlanta organization called Project South. I've been working for Project South for the last three summers as a coordinator and a team leader of a youth summer program in the Atlanta area. This experience made me realize that I enjoy working in the field, doing research based work, and helping others. This was important to realize, because by pursuing my degree in Psychology, I can work in all three areas. After obtaining my Bachelor's degree, I plan to find a job and begin my Master's degree. After that, I want to be able to do research based work and maybe travel around the country or even the world. At the same time, I still want to be able to enjoy things I love like studying music and the Japanese language and culture.

It is crucial that we continue to offer the opportunity of the UGA experience to the widest possible array of students. Read more stories about what scholarships mean to our students here.

Careful on campus

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OldCollege_snow 2014

Okay and...we're back.

Great snow, terrific sense of 'found time,' whether you used it well or not. But now we're back and you need to look out for falling ice - especially Old College, New College, Libraries, Peabody, Administration every building on campus for at least the next few hours.

The Athens-Atlanta Connection

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Very interesting juxtaposition of forces arrayed this week, highlighted in separate articles, connected by a major weather event and both predicated on an issue critical to the state and UGA: economic development.

First, the Columns article, Downtown Connector, about the importance of linking the new Office of Economic Development to important partners in Atlanta:

Sixty-five miles is the distance between UGA's hub in Athens and Atlanta, Georgia's economic hub.

That challenge can create another kind of distance between UGA and the state's economic development agencies and industry leaders. The university is overcoming the challenge through its recently established UGA Office of Economic Development in Atlanta, directed by Sean McMillan.

The Atlanta office, located in the Centergy Building on the Georgia Tech campus in midtown Atlanta, positions McMillan to be responsive to industry needs and stay abreast of trends. It allows him to stay in touch with changing economic development needs throughout Georgia. 

Then Tuesday's dusting of snow over the region caused the kind of havoc usually reserved for big-budget feature films. An article by UGA Grady College (and Emory University) professor Rebecca Burns in Politico laid out the dire consequences of Atlanta's physical development:

Metro Atlanta’s patchwork of local governments is rooted in early Georgia history; the state has more counties—159—than any other in the country, save Texas. But while other metro areas strove to consolidate city and county operations in the mid-to late twentieth century, Atlanta grew more balkanized. In the 1970s, while then-mayor Richard Lugar helped to consolidate Indianapolis with Marion County, creating Unigov and making Indianapolis one of the largest cities in the country, the city of Atlanta witnessed an exodus of 160,000 people. The white flight of the 1960s and 1970s, triggered by integration of schools and housing, was followed by reverse migration as blacks from the Northeast and Midwest returned to the Atlanta region but opted to move into the suburbs of DeKalb, Fulton and Clayton counties. Atlanta the city, became—and despite a slow uptick in population, remains—the commercial district to which people commute from Atlanta, the suburbs.

So on Tuesday, as schools, businesses and governments, announced plans to close early, everyone who works in Atlanta headed for the freeways to get home or collect their children. In a press conference Wednesday morning, Mayor Reed reported that one million vehicles were part of the mass exodus from downtown. We’re not morons, Northerners: The problem was not one of Southerners’ inability to drive on icy roads, but of too many cars headed for congested highways.

Emphasis in the original. Granted, everyday is not an emergency of this magnitude. But every news report we read about the hours and hours trapped in cars on highways or children marooned all night in school cafeterias were all textbook exercises in burying the lede. People commuting 40 miles (often more) each way to work is the issue that can lead to majors problems such as those experienced Tuesday. The snow is atmospherics; any number of things can cause massive disruptions when a region is as tenuously connected as this one is.

To then speak of the very meritorious concept of economic development, the transportation/sprawl issue must be front and center. Past planning and politics have left no other choices. The issue has become more difficult, but will only grow more so. The very first step in connecting UGA and ATL should be a literal one, one that also connects all of communities in between.

Build the train.

The role Classical Music will play in America's future

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So this is really what blogs are for - to publicly follow up on a story, a note, an idea, an event. To add context. Here's some.

Related to the prior post on the piano recitals next week in Hodgson School of Music, I saw this interview with Richard Zimdars in Fanfare Magazine from February 2012, on the occasion of the release of his new recording. Let's pick it up wih the final question, in which Dr. Z brings the light:

Q: I am very concerned about the role that classical music will play in America’s future, what with the dwindling of music classes in public schools, and the evident aging of audiences at classical music events. As someone who has enjoyed direct contact with young people for many years, what is your perspective on the future of this art form? What kinds of changes have you witnessed over the years?

A: I share your concern with developing a future audience for classical music in America. Growing up attending the Chicago Symphony’s 10-concert season in Milwaukee was my prime formative classical-music experience, along with my piano and horn lessons. Attendance at those concerts was by no means restricted to the upper classes or elderly in those days, although much German was spoken among the older crowd during intermissions. A Central European ambience was surely in evidence. At home, the music played on our record player was the standard repertoire from Bach to Debussy. This music, and also the sounds of singers like Björling, Milanov, Warren, Albanese, Flagstad, Lotte Lehmann, John Charles Thomas, and Risë Stevens were—fortunately!— the sounds locked into my brain at an early age. Musical memories are involuntary and reflexive. My tastes were formed early by my parents’ choices in recorded music: rock and roll was excluded, but not jazz or American musicals. Alvin and the Chipmunks crept in, too!

The distributors of broadcast and mechanically reproduced music exert tremendous power to form taste, their goal being financial profit. The huge economic organization of music distributors is predatory in the extreme. The vast majority of the distributed product is utterly unimaginative, fostering a worldwide appetite for generic styles directed toward the youth market. This product, marketed to appeal to the concerns of its audience, actually suppresses expression while sending a dumbed-down message of identity to listeners and potential purchasers. The infliction of this narrow musical choice on the public is masked by its seemingly limitless sources of distribution.

How to break the cycle? It cannot be broken, but now and again people do escape from its orbit. I’ve seen this happen often during my academic career. Recently I taught a one-day-a-week one-credit class to about a dozen freshmen at the University of Georgia who were not music majors. I had graduate piano students play Schumann, Chopin, and Liszt for the class. They were entranced by the skills of the young pianists, and peppered them with questions. After one class, a student I’ll call Elberta told me that despite the value that her metropolitan area high school placed on her athletic skills, she had longed to participate in music as well. Shortly thereafter my class was assigned to attend a University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra concert, and I saw Elberta with an athlete friend at intermission. Our orchestra is capable of performing works like the Mahler Fifth and Sixth symphonies, and since Elberta and friend had never been to a live symphony concert, they could not believe how good their fellow university students sounded. They asked, with innocent sincerity, what the purpose of the conductor in front of the orchestra was. This was enough to get us talking for the whole intermission, after which they enthusiastically returned to their seats!

It is never too late for people to expand their interests, and I think live concerts are the best way to do it. The earlier children are exposed to live music of quality, the better. Opportunities to sing or learn an instrument should be available in every U.S. school system, public or private. 

Gladly. There's more at the link