Artworks dedicates Charlie Harper mural

While we were downtown for the Underground tour earlier this month, we stopped by the Artworks dedication of the Charlie Harper mural.

You can see a photograph of the wall before the mural as well as a picture of the Charlie Harper painting here.

“Founded in 1996, ArtWorks is a non-profit arts organization that connects artists of all ages with opportunities in the arts through inspiring apprenticeships, community partnerships, and public art,” (Artworks/about us/ organizational information).

Tamara Harkavy, CEO and Artistic Director, has served at the helm of Artworks since its beginning. The Charlie Harper mural is one of ten painted this year. Created in partnership with Charley Harper Art Studio and Court St. Executive Suites, this rendition of Harper’s “Homecoming (Bluebirds)” is the largest Artworks’ mural to date.

Tamara Harkavy with Brett Harper, son of wildlife artist Charley Harper at dedication of Court Street Artworks’ mural, September 2012.

Born in West Virginia in 1922, Charley Harper came to Cincinnati to study and later teach art at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He became well-known as a wildlife artist. Charley Harper passed away on Sunday, June 10, 2007. (About Charley Harper). His son Brett Harper represented his father’s work at the mural’s dedication. This is the second Harper mural. The only other one is in Dayton near The Green.

Tamara expresses her appreciation to lead artist Jenny Ustick with a bouquet of flowers.

Jenny Ustick, the lead artist, worked with two teaching artists and a group of students to produce this beautiful piece of art on Court Street in downtown, Cincinnati.

What’s Happening Downtown – Artworks 2008

Over the last 16 years, Artworks has produced 46 murals in Cincinnati and three other cities. As we walked the few blocks from our Underground tour to the Charley Harper mural, we passed this 2008 Artworks’ mural, “What’s Happening Downtown,” on Walnut Street,

Kroger Headquarters mural on Vine Street – 2012

and this new mural on Vine Street at the Kroger headquarters.

You can find more information about this year’s and the previous years’ murals at the Artworks website.

Read my post from last year, Artworks is painting up the town.


Watching my son shine

Today marks the 28th year that has passed since I first saw his face.

I called him Son-shine.

He used to sit at our kitchen table, paintbrush in hand, and paint small structures he made from clay.

I watched, by his side.

Matthew Grote, 1987

Now he calls himself Ogre.

He climbs up ladders, paint can in hand, and paints existing structures built of bricks.

Story from Buffalo’s Artvoice, July 19, 2012

I applaud from a distance. Shine, son, shine.

Read more at Artvoice.com, Artists transform a wall on Main St.

Watch video interview of the three artists who painted this mural at Artvoice.com. (Grote, pronounced incorrectly in the video, is actually pronounced Groty.)


Your hands – a mother and daughter grow up

I hope you’ll enjoy this from the archives of my school days, written November 1, 2001

Your Hands

You came out crying, screaming really. You embraced the air and the world and announced your indignation with all the force your tiny body could muster. I heard you before I saw you, before I held you. It was a sign of things to come.

When you were first born I immediately looked for evidence of myself in you. On the delivery table I held your little hand and saw that it was truly a miniature of mine. I was so thrilled to see this part of me in you—to recognize myself in one of what I considered your most important features, —your hands. I think some of our turbulence may have come from this need of mine to see myself in you. It started from day one.

Over the years I have kept a journal of memories for you, filling it mostly with trivia of the times—but also with glimpses into our turbulent relationship at the start. When you were only 2 years old, I was already writing about struggles to come when I noted, “You try to exercise much control and influence over the people and events around you.”

August 16th, 1989
Last night you woke up in the middle of the night. When I put you back in bed, I left the light on and gave you about 6 books in your crib. I could hear them hitting the floor one-by-one as I left your room. You threw them out in your rage.

December 16, 1989
Anna, Anna, Anna, you are truly a challenge. We must come to terms with ‘dressing’—who is going to do it, what you will wear, and when……. I do think that your strong will will serve you well later in life—if we can just get through it together. I love you.

January 24, 1992
You are really a good girl but I think I misunderstand you sometimes. I yell at you for pushing the baby, or picking him up, but I know you’re usually just trying to help. And many times you really are a big help. You get irate with me when you feel I’ve reprimanded you unjustly. I guess I can’t find fault with that. I love you and hope we will be good friends.

September 22, 1992
You take the bus to kindergarten. The first day you were very brave. You were afraid and came back to me before you got on the bus. But you got on anyway—and that’s being brave.

January 25, 1993
You are very good at knowing where things are, and how things are done. I think you’re going to be a big help to me someday. You’re a smart girl and you are a good singer. You really take care of your little brother. I love you now and always—even if we fight.

January 10, 1996
We have had some times when we could laugh together but you still prefer your Dad to me and don’t hesitate to let me know it. I still believe with time we will have a strong relationship. I love you dearly. I’m just not a very patient person most times.

February 19, 1999
Yesterday you helped me set up the new computer and I saw again how I have come to rely on you. You help me, ungrudgingly, whenever I ask. I do enjoy your company at those times and I appreciate your help.

I know I’ve been hard on you, and I don’t regret some of it, but a lot of it I do regret. I hope that someday you will be able to forgive me. I have firm ideals about being strong, being brave, not being needy, so I know I discourage weakness in you. I think the problem with this is that I may be stifling your ability to feel O.K. about your feelings. I want to tell you now that it’s O.K. to be angry, scared, sad, and proud—forgive me for my mistakes in this. I am not a perfect person either. I’m hoping you will love me anyway. And I’m hoping you will be able to overcome the mistakes I’ve made. I love you dearly and always will.

November 1, 2001
Being a mother is a tremendous emotional burden. I feel your pain; sometimes I think I feel more than your pain. I want to take it all away from you. But I know that I can’t. I can’t buffer the world and keep you in a pastel, cottony soft cocoon. Sometimes I wish I could. Sometimes I wish I could paint your world for you. But it is better that you experience life with all its sorrows, fears and disappointments as well as its triumphant and joyous moments. You are strong and brave and loving. I have confidence that even if I won’t always be able to hold you and comfort you; you have it within you to take care of yourself. This gives me great comfort as you spread your wings and go out into the world.

Now that you’ve gotten older I can see what a charming, talented young woman you are becoming. And I am so proud of you. I worried when you were younger that you would reject all the ideals I held most dearly. I was most concerned about my ideals about the place or role of women in society. When you were young and infatuated with Barbies and make-up and dress-up, I worried you would end up being something of a ‘fluff’ for lack of a better word. Now I realize you have become a brave, serious and enlightened young woman, in addition to being sensitive and caring. I couldn’t have formed you better if I had held the power to do so. You are everything I could have hoped you would be, and amazingly you did it in spite of me.

I like to watch you use your hands: playing the piano or the flute, drawing, painting, and creating hairstyles for yourself or your friends. You are really quite creative and very good with your hands. You use your hands to not only create, but to help and comfort.

I believe you will do great things with your hands.

Charcoal sketch from photograph. “Mom and Me” by Anna M. Grote 2005


Art for All, Downtown — Fountain Square, Lytle Park, and Great American Ballpark

While downtown for the World Choir Games Opening Ceremony, Mark and I went in search of three more paintings from the Art for All exhibit.  We knew there was one at Fountain Square, but not exactly where at the square. I probably noticed this more yesterday because we were wandering around in 100 degree weather. If this heat front persists, I may have to cease and desist on this scavenger hunt until the fall.

In recent years the Fountain Square in the center of downtown Cincinnati has had a facelift and is experiencing a resurgence in activity. There always seems to be something happening on the square.

We found the painting on the right side of the square if you are facing the front of the fountain.

Portrait of a Man Rising from His Chair, 1633 by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Dutch

The man portrayed here is unidentified, but his rich clothing shows that he was wealthy. “A portrait like this would have hung in the most prominent room of the house, where a host would greet his visitors,” (Art for All signage).

A closer look reveals vandalism on this reproduction. This saddens me. It is a sign of so much that is wrong with our society. No one should feel left out. There is no call for meanness, or destructive behavior. This art is for all of us. Why do people do things like this? I’ll never understand.

The Taft Museum. The Immaculata is visible in the background

Mark, who has always seemed impervious to heat, walked with a spring in his step, while I trudged beside him thinking of shade and a large cold glass of water, the entire seven blocks from Fountain Square to our destination. We passed the Metro Station where we expected to find a painting, but didn’t. (Now that I am home and looking closely at the map, the paintings location is actually Metro Bus Route 1, Bus # 1004. That might be tricky to get.)

We went on, in search of the painting in Lytle Park across the street from the Taft Museum, sponsor of Art for All, and home of the originals reproduced in this exhibit. I never before realized that the Church of the Immaculata is visible from this vantage point.

The Doctor’s Visit, about 1663, Jan Steen (1625/26-1679), Dutch

According to the sign, this painting is about “a young woman who is sick, and the doctor has come to take her pulse. Is it serious? Probably not. This story is a comedy starring a pretty young girl, an incompetent doctor, and a street-smart maid. To find out what’s really ailing this blond bombshell (Is she lovesick?) visit the Dutch gallery at the Taft Museum of Art,” (Art for All signage). I don’t know how they know this from looking at this painting, and can only surmise they have inside information. I may have to make a visit to get to the bottom of it.

The painting was at the far side of Lytle Park from where we entered (of course). We retraced our steps past the beautiful gardens and walked about four blocks more to the US Bank Arena where we enjoyed the Opening Ceremony of the World Choir Games inside in air-conditioning.

It was nearly dark when we left the opening ceremony. We walked a couple of blocks to the Great American Ball Park, where we found our third and final painting for the day hanging on a wall just outside the view of this camera shot to the left.

Charles Phelps Taft, 1902 by Raimundo de Madrazo Garetta (1841-1920), Spanish

Charles Phelps Taft was a lawyer, newspaper publisher, politician, and philanthropist. From 1914 to 1916, he owned the Chicago Cubs. Now his portrait hangs at the entrance to the home of the Cincinnati Reds. “He and his wife, Anna Sinton, acquired the works of art that now form the collection of the Taft Museum of Art,” (Art for All Signage).

About five blocks later we were back in our car and headed for home. Next time Mark says it’s just a couple of blocks, I’m going to check the thermometer right after I check a map.

 


Let the singing begin

In the same spirit of fellowship as the Olympics, united around a common goal, over 3000 individuals from 64 countries around the world have come to Cincinnati to compete in the 7th World Choir Games, for the first time hosted in the United States.

“Hundreds of choirs and thousands of visitors have come to Cincinnati to share their cultural heritage and to celebrate our global community with music, the common language of the world,” World Choir Games.

When we got our tickets several weeks ago, I was interested in experiencing the World Choir Games at some level, and I also wanted to plan something special to do on the 4th since we didn’t have a family event to go to this year. It turned out that the Opening Ceremony was being held on the 4th of July. Two birds.

What a perfect night it was.

The magnitude of this event hit me as Mark and I were trotting around the Fountain Square looking for one of the Art for All exhibits. We ended up behind a group of young singers from somewhere in the far east or Asia (Don’t hold me to it. I’m geographically challenged. )  I realized that this was a very big deal for quite a few people, including this group of students who could only have been excited to be on this international trip.

The opening ceremony was held at the U.S.Bank Arena on the riverfront. The television screens provided good close-up shots of the speakers and activities. And provided the content for several of my photographs. As you can see, it was dark; I was at a great distance; and I was using my little Nikon Cool Pix without a tri-pod.

We noticed blocks of color signifying groups of individuals, undoubtedly choir members, in the audience. There was one particularly enthusiastic group waving their flag that I found out later to be Russian. (See qualifications on both photography and geographical knowledge above).

The opening, welcoming, and thanking comments from all involved did take quite some time when you added it all together, as these things often do.

The MC’s, Carol Williams and Clyde Gray, from WCPO news kept the program moving, but there was a letter from President Obama to read and politicians to hear from, and as I said above, people to thank.

I’ll just show you the program:

Procession of Choirs (I didn’t actually notice this part, so I’m not sure if they scratched it from the program, or did it in a quiet, ‘Okay, everybody go to your seats’ kind of way.)

Introductory Remarks (Carol Williams and Clyde Gray)

Procession of Honored Guests (Again, I missed this part. Maybe I was busy trying and failing to photograph a waving flag.)

Presentation of the flags. This was a fascinating part, to me, and really drove home the significance of these world games. (I’ve included the photo below  so you can fully appreciate the quality of the photos in the slide show below. If your country is here and you don’t see your flag, maybe it looked something like this photo. Yes. I’m pretty sure that was your country’s flag.)

The flags of the 64 countries with choirs in attendance were presented by the boys of Cincinnati Boys Choir. Some are pictured in the slide show below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The program continued with The National Anthem of the United States. (A very patriotic moment. Especially with the awareness that perhaps many of the people here were visiting our country for the very first time. And let’s face it, few bands are going to do it better than the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra with the May Festival Chorus.)

Here they are. Probably should have mentioned this before, but it got lost in the welcoming comments and thank yous section. The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and the May Festival Chorus, along with some fascinating guests, provided an abbreviated musical history of our great country. More on that later.

The orchestra and singers performed the World Choir Games Anthem after our National Anthem. This was followed by Welcoming Remarks spoken in German by Gunter Titsch, President of INTERKULTUR, and in English by an interpreter. Very cool.

Mayor Mark Mallory, pictured here during the playing of the National Anthem, offered his welcoming and thanking remarks after Gunter Titsch.

Oops. I’m back to the banner that is spangled with stars. A feel-it-in-your-gut kind of moment and great way to spend the 4th of July.

I’m going to fast-forward through the opening ceremonies and just say that in addition to the above we saw a video and heard live comments from Werner Geissler, Vice Chairman, Global Operations, Procter and Gamble. And as P&G was the generous Presenting Sponsor of the event, he was entitled to whatever time he wanted. In my opinion.

Opening Declaration by the Honorable Rob Portman, United States Senator (OH).

Ringing of the Peace Bell. (A nice touch, I thought, even if it did take four seemingly fit gentlemen to to accomplish it. The bell is pictured here, but the actual ringing of the bell I didn’t photograph. Oops again.)

Then the music really got going with the performance of “I Can — The Official Song of the 2012 World Choir Games” by Kirk Franklin along with the Cincinnati One Song Choir. Awesome. And you don’t have to take my word for it. You can watch a very nice short video about it, along with highlights, at Cincinnati.com.

At this point the program was turned over to Maestro John Morris Russell who made a tribute to the late (and great) Erich Kunzel, then proceeded to tell the story of America through music.

The traditional White Oak Singers performed Native American Drumming — a soul-stirring welcome.

The orchestra played a nice rendition of “Yankee Doodle,” followed by “Shenandoah” sung by the chorus. Absolutely the best I’ve ever heard. Loved it.

The Comet Bluegrass All-Stars played “I am a Man of Constant Sorrow,” and “Back Up and Push.”

Soprano Jacqueline Echols sang an amazing “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess. Tenor Steven Cole entertained with “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” also from Porgy and Bess.

They were followed by the orchestra and chorus’ renditions of

“The Promise of Living” from the Tender Land.

“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” from Buck Privates.

“76 Trombones” from The Music Man.

Jacqueline Echols, Luther Lewis, and the CSO Classical Roots Community Choir performed “Maybe God is Trying to Tell You Something” from The Color Purple, and “Let Freedom Ring.”

The orchestra and chorus ended the program with “Ode to this Land.”

All in all, a very moving and entertaining evening. I’m glad we didn’t miss it.

If you live nearby, I hope you are able to attend some of the 2012 World Choir games events.

 

See more posts about Cincinnati.


Art for All, Downtown — Three Masterpieces

Mark and I drove downtown in Cincinnati yesterday for an open house at ArtWorks. While we were there we found and I photographed three more paintings on display outdoors through the Taft Museum’s Art for All program.

Findlay Market, downtown Cincinnati

First we went to Findlay Market. “Findlay Market is Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market and one of Cincinnati’s most cherished institutions. The Market is located just blocks from downtown in Over-the-Rhine, a dense historic neighborhood rich in 19th century architecture. Open Tuesday through Sunday, Findlay Market is home year-around to about two dozen indoor merchants selling meat, fish, poultry, produce, flowers, cheese, deli, and ethnic foods. On Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from April to November the Market also hosts a thriving farmers market, dozens of outdoor vendors, numerous street performers, and lots of special events,” (www.findlaymarket.org).

Cattle in the Meadows, 1880, Willem Maris (1844-1910), Dutch

Number 1 out of 80, Cattle in the Meadows by Willem Maris is on display at Findlay Market. The organizers of the Art for All program tried to match up the subject matter of the paintings with the location.

“This bit of landscape, showing the low horizon and broad skies of the Netherlands, becomes a portrait of “three sisters”—cows seen at close range grazing in the tall grasses. They remind us of the famous dairy products of Holland: rich butters and Edam and Gouda cheeses, among many others,” (Art for All signage).

As a stroll through Findlay Market will fill your senses with the sight and aroma of meats and cheeses of all varieties, I think this was an excellent location choice for Maris’ Cattle in the Meadows.

Music Hall, downtown Cincinnati

Our next stop was Music Hall. “Built in 1878 with private money raised from what is believed to be the nation’s first matching grant fund drive, this Cincinnati showpiece has been renovated and updated and includes what is judged to be among the best and most beautiful concert theaters in the world,” (http://cincinnatiarts.org/musichall/).

Art for All at Music Hall in Cincinnati

Here we found the painting displayed on the wall under the shelter of the porch roof.

At the Piano, James Abbott McNeil Whistler, (1834-1903), American

At the Piano, 1858-59, by American James Abbott McNeil Whistler is number 2 out of 80. “Looking down at her hands, a woman in a full black gown plays  piano intently. A girl in a white dress leans against the piano, watching and listening to her mother. The piano itself is beautiful with decorative legs and rich wood grain. Although the piano separates mother and daughter, the music brings them together,” (Art for All signage).

Art Academy of Cincinnati – September 2011

Our final stop was the Art Academy of Cincinnati. We found The Cobbler’s Apprentice by Frank Duveneck hanging on the bare wall  you see in this photo taken last September.

The Cobbler’s Apprentice, 1877, Frank Duveneck, (1848-1919), American

“Why is this boy smoking a cigar? The picture was painted before people understood the dangers of smoking. Born in Covington, Frank Duveneck taught at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and painted the boy in Germany. The boy’s fingers are caked with dirt, his clothing is ragged, and his load is heavy,” (Art for All signage).

The location of this painting is particularly appropriate as Frank Duveneck was first a student and later a teacher at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

 


Art for All at the VOA— Jacob Maris’ The Quay: A Dutch Town

I was taking Arthur for a walk this morning at the VOA (Voice of America Park) when I was greeted by this painting installed at the beginning of our loop around the lake. I wasn’t completely surprised because Mark had told me that the Taft Museum of Art is putting on the Art for All program and has installed 80 reproductions of its paintings around the Cincinnati area to celebrate its 80th anniversary. I just didn’t realize one was right here at the VOA.

The Quay is the first painting I saw and posted, but it is number 51 out of 80 on the Art for All website.

The Quay: A Dutch Town, probably 1880s, by Jacob Maris (1837-1899), Dutch

The Quay: a Dutch Town was likely painted in the 1880s by Dutch artist Jacob Maris. Here is the information on posted by the Taft Museum about this particular piece of art:

“Much of the Netherlands is bordered by the sea, and most of the inland areas are situated below sea level. The famous Dutch windmills and canals served as pumps and drainage ditches to keep Holland above water. This busy seaside scene illustrates Holland’s dependence on the sea for trade and fishing. Views of land and water, industry and architecture, abound…at your Taft Museum of Art.”

The Art for All open-air gallery is a gift from the Taft to remind the public of Charles and Anna Taft’s donation of their home and art collection 80 years ago. These gems belong to everyone.

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 357 other followers