Team Member Tuesday: Patty Warren

It’s Team Member Tuesday again!  This week we’re talking with Patty Warren.

Keep your eyes peeled, by the way, for new NON-Team Member stories coming soon!

Name: Patty Warren       Patty

Position: Operations Management Consultant II

How long have you been with the Division? 10 years

So what exactly do you DO? I manage the Division’s budget, prepare all annual documents for the Legislative Budget Request, oversee the grant payment process and manage the National Endowment for the Arts State Partnership Award while supervising assigned staff. Continue reading

Team Member Tuesday: Gaylen Phillips

Happy Tuesday, everyone! We’re deep into panel season here at the Division of Cultural Affairs, and almost every day we have a panel meeting via teleconference.  The panels review grant applications, then recommend the best applications for funding by the State of Florida.

In light of this, this week’s Team Member Tuesday features Gaylen PhillipIMG_0051s, who oversees our grants program:

Position: Arts Administrator

How long have you been with the Division? 25 transformative years

So what exactly do you DO? At this time, I manage the grants services which means I supervise the program managers. I am involved in the guidelines and application procedures for most of the grant programs and I manage several very large contracts. And a lot more stuff that’s too much to mention. Continue reading

Team Member Tuesday: Elsie Rogers

Gosh, we missed Team Member Tuesday yesterday!  Let’s make up for it now with a little bit about Elsie Rogers:

How long have you been with the Division? Since October 2012

EJR CroppedSo what exactly do you DO? I am the Program Manager for Cultural Facilities and Cultural Endowments

What’s your favorite part of your job? Working with and helping grantees and working with my co-workers.  I also love seeing the Cultural Facility projects when they are completed. Being involved with people who love the arts.

Are you an artist yourself? Yes, I am a poet and my MA is in Creative Writing.

What do you like to do for fun? Play tennis, have dinner with family and friends, active vacations… Continue reading

Welcome back!

Welcome back to our blog, which has been too quiet for too long!

We’re starting a new ongoing feature: welcome to Team Member Tuesday! We’ll be spotlighting a Division team member every week. This week, we’ll kick off with one of our newer program managers, Michelle Smith Grindberg.michelle-bentley

Position: Arts Consultant

How long have you been with the Division?
I began my position in April 2015.

 So what exactly do you DO?
I manage grants for Arts in Education and Underserved Cultural Community Development, as well as serve as the Art Education Specialist. In this capacity, I want to engage in collaborative conversations with other state and national arts education managers and educators, regarding best standards and advocacy avenues for arts integration in our schools and creative, lifelong learning methods. Continue reading

Video Postcard from: The Florida Sculptors Guild and “From Start to Finish”

by Tim Storhoff

Recently, Florida artist Brian R. Owens created this video of a sculpture exhibition at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens and shared it with the Culture Builds Florida blog. The show entitled “From Start to Finish” took place last year and featured the work of the Florida Sculptors Guild, which aims to be the “go to” place for all things sculptural in the state.

The sculptures presented in “From Start to Finish” can be seen in the video below, which Owens and edited. He describes the exhibition as follows:

The title of the show embodies its theme. Each sculpture was accompanied by a printed description with photos of the process used to create it. The methods and materials of sculpture are diverse. Materials included bones, paper, fired clay, plastilina, bronze, plaster, ceramics, steel, stone, wood, fabric and wood branches. Methods varied from direct modeling (which is how I made my piece) to more complicated processes such as “lost wax” bronze casting. Pieces varied greatly in size. The intent of the sculptors varied as well. Marla E’s playful work included a sign inviting people to touch and rearrange it. Linda Brant’s work flows from deeply held beliefs about our relationship to other forms of life. The exhibit space was small but this shortened the distance between the viewer and the work, making the experience more intimate, less formal. The work was good and the presentation unusual. This may be why curator Rachel Frisby reported that the show was more than well received. It was a hit!

I asked Owens to discuss the current status of sculpture as an art form in Florida and what role the Guild plays in promoting it.

When you say “sculpture in Florida” my mind hears it as “opportunities to do sculpture commissions in Florida in the immediate future and be paid properly.” Such opportunities appear to be rare. I can only see things from my perspective and I don’t have a birds-eye view of the State, but it is possible to manage without one. The Guild is diverse so I’m speaking for myself when I say I consider Florida as my backyard and this time zone as my neighborhood. Florida may be in its infancy as a market but I’m working on my first transatlantic commission, albeit a small one. Systems that worked for me before, such as gallery representation, are now just another tool in my tool box.

The ability to share sculpture through film is an additional tool that Owens plans to use moving forward. “Given the unusual space and the lush surroundings, the decision to make a movie was an easy one,” he said. “Getting it done was a bit harder than I thought. I had to borrow a camera, build some gear, learn how to use apps and find music to license.” The video documenting this exhibition was designed for YouTube and small screens, but Owens says the next movie will be in high definition.

The Florida Sculptors Guild was established in 2008 and was the brainchild of Amy Wieck and Linda Moore. Wieck explained, “Our mission is to enrich, include and educate our community about the sculptural arts. We provide emerging and established sculptors the space, education, exposure, and connections they need for artistic, creative and professional advancement.” The Florida Sculptors Guild is a valuable resource for anyone wishing to purchase a sculpture by connecting them with its professional members.

You can find the Florida Sculptors Guild on Facebook or at floridasculptorsguild.com. You can learn more about Brian Owens and his artwork at brianowensart.com.

Spotlight On: A 300th Birthday with the C. P. E. Bach Festival

C. P. E. Bach is having a 300th birthday party in Tallahassee! The “C. P. E Bach at 300” festival features three days of concerts and lectures that celebrate the life, music, and influence of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach’s fifth child, born 300 years ago in 1714. The festival is presented through a partnership with the FSU College of Music, Musicology area and Early Music Ensembles, with the Tallahassee Bach Parley, and will take place from Friday, November 21 until Sunday, November 23.

Members of the Tallahassee Bach Parley

Members of the Tallahassee Bach Parley. Photo submitted by Erica Thaler.

“This three-day festival is an exciting partnership between the FSU College of Music and the Tallahassee Bach Parley,” says Bach Parley music director Valerie Arsenault. “FSU music faculty and students, guest artists from out-of-town, and Tallahassee community musicians will join forces to present the music and world of C. P. E. Bach.” The Tallahassee community is home to a thriving community of Baroque players and enthusiasts, and this festival offers three days of unique musical opportunities for patrons to enjoy.

Most of the performances will be on period instruments, including fortepiano (an early incarnation of the modern piano), clavichord (a delicate, intimate, soft-sounding keyboard instrument), along with harpsichord, organ, modern and baroque flutes, period stringed instruments, and guest artist Josh Lee on viola da gamba. Special guest Mark Knoll, a founder of the Tallahassee Bach Parley and FSU College of Music alumnus, will be returning to give the keynote lecture and musical commentary for the concerts. By using period instruments, the musicians will recreate the music using the same tools as when it was first written. History and music will come to life with commentary about the pieces and lectures to provide insight into the works and world of C. P. E. Bach.

One of the trademarks of the Tallahassee Bach Parley is to provide commentary before the pieces, to give audience members historical background about the composer or the piece, and to give listeners ideas about what to listen for in the music. In fact, the word “Parley” means discussion, so providing an opportunity to talk about the works is part of what makes the Bach Parley unique. Similarly, the entire festival combines guest lectures in addition to performances, so audience members can learn more about the world in which C. P. E. Bach lived and composed his music, bringing the past to life.

The festival will begin on Friday evening with an intimate clavichord performance by Charles Brewer at FSU in the Kuersteiner Music Building lounge (limited seating), followed by a lecture “C. P. E. Bach at 300, An Overview: Life, Family, Works, Reception” in Lindsay Recital Hall by visiting scholar Mark Knoll, founder of Steglein Publishing and an editor of the new C. P. E. Bach edition through the Packard Humanities Institute.

On Saturday, Dr. Knoll will give a pre-concert lecture followed by a concert of chamber, vocal, and solo keyboard music, including fortepiano, organ, and harpsichord in Opperman Music Hall, FSU. This concert will feature FSU College of Music faculty members Sarah Eyerly (soprano), Joel Hastings (fortepiano), Eva Amsler (modern and baroque flute), Iain Quinn (organ and harpsichord), along with FSU student performers.

In the final concert on Sunday, the Tallahassee Bach Parley will join forces with members of the FSU Baroque Ensemble for orchestral and chamber music. Kim Jones will be featured in C. P. E. Bach’s Concerto in A major for cello, and the large ensemble will also play the Berlin Symphony in G major. For the chamber music portion, guest artist Josh Lee will perform a viola da gamba sonata, and Eva Amsler, Melissa Brewer, Iain Quinn, and Valerie Arsenault will play duos, trios, and a quartet.

For additional information about the festival or the Tallahassee Bach Parley, visit www.tallahasseebachparley.org or e-mail musicdirector@tallahasseebachparley.org. The FSU College of Music publicity office can be reached at music-publicity@admin.fsu.edu.

Poetry as a Means to Understand and Cope with the Social Difficulties of Having Autism

by Jacob Richard Cumiskey

My name is Jacob, and I am a twenty-one year old undergraduate at Warren Wilson College studying poetry. I have a disability known as Asperger syndrome: an Autism Spectrum Disorder that manifests itself through extreme discomfort in most social situations and difficulties in non-verbal communication. The phrase “non-verbal” can be a bit misleading here, because while I personally have a very difficult time reading body language from my friends or hand signals from my parents, I have a very comfortable time communicating to the world through my writing. I have been writing poetry for around nine years, and I believe there may be reasons linked to my disability as to why poetry comes more naturally to me than socializing, and the truth behind these reasons might not just be important for the autistic community to understand, but for the state of Florida to know as well.

Autism has become a hot word in our state recently, but there seems to be some pretty dangerous patterns regarding people’s initial take on what having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (an ASD) means. There is this tendency to either reduce individuals with an ASD to people with basic social anxiety or demonize them to the point of labeling their behavior as intentional social deviance. Doctors and scholars naturally have a much more empirical view on ASD—having linked differences in social behavior with differences in brain structure— but in my opinion, the ways in which the general public is learning about autism these days is extremely silly. The behaviors of a shark need to be researched from afar because we cannot ask the shark why it does the things it does, but some people with autism can be asked what their life is like and explain directly (or indirectly) what autism means to them.

The arts are an easy example of how this can be accomplished.

First and most important, eye-to-eye discussion is not always necessary with art, and so just about any artistic medium can act as an outlet for people with an ASD to discuss things they wouldn’t normally be comfortable talking about. Writing, for example, creates a safe environment where it is just the person and some paper. A blank page (or canvas, or journal) is the perfect listener and has zero social expectations for the artist, and this makes all the difference in terms of comfort. As someone with autism myself, one of the main reasons why I chose to write poetry over other forms of artistic expression is because it gives me the chance to speak without having to be spoken to or observed. I feel safe when writing because essentially nothing is expected of my behavior when I am alone with the page, unlike just about every other moment of my life. Poetry provides an opportunity for me to feel easy about my own thoughts, and so instead of forcing kids and adults with an ASD to participate in uncomfortable social experiences in order to help them “grow,” doesn’t it make more sense to allow the autistic community a means to indirectly communicate with neurotypicals through the arts? Wouldn’t art be an effective way to help people with autism grow comfortable with their own voice?

The arts can be no replacement for day-to-day communication, I know this, but art also creates the chance for normally unacceptable forms of communication to be celebrated and allows for an individual’s confidence to build. Through poetry, I may not have immediately begun socializing with other people, but I slowly learned to feel confident and safe with my own thoughts, and this confidence is the key to prosperous social interaction. In time, I hope our state will begin notice this valuable correlation between autism and the arts even more. So many people with an ASD are relentlessly treated like social pariahs by their peers; at the very least, it is essential for people on the autism spectrum to have a place where thoughts can be explored safely. Poetry is this for me, and I hope it might already be this for a few other people with an ASD as well.

As a personal example of the concepts I have been talking about, recently a good friend of mine asked me how I feel being in a long-distance relationship. Because of my autism, this was naturally a hard question for me to answer in the moment, and so I began working on a response to this through poetry. Writing this was not only more comfortable for me personally, but I feel as if it became a more effective form of communication than me just speaking on the subject immediately. What do you guys think?

I had to write some stuff to myself before I could answer her question.

I had to write some stuff to myself before I could answer her question.

My response.

My response.

Jacob Cumiskey recently spoke at the Florida Alliance for Arts Education 2014 summit in a session entitled “Access through the Arts: One Student’s Journey to the Neurotypical World in the Public School Setting.”