Library Salon Series explores role of art, crafts

The lessons I first learned from knitting keep showing me this truth: that a kind of radical acceptance of errors and an appreciation for our human capacity for resiliency – that’s what’s truly precious. – Bernadette Murphy

These thoughts of a needle worker, quoted in the most recent BookWomen, reflect the theme of the first in the forthcoming series of Library Salons sponsored the American Craft Council Library.

The Library Salon series begins on Wednesday, March 8, when the speaker will be Dr. Amy Elkins, assistant professor of English at Macalester College. (https://www.macalester.edu/academics/english/facultystaff/emyelkins/) Elkins presentation, “The Craft of Survival,” will “trace the history of needlepoint from King Tut’s tomb and Florentine tapestries to Victorian drawing rooms and contemporary creativism.”

Future Library Salons will feature these guests.

  • April 12 – “Situated Somewhere In-Between: Paper Works by Mary Hark.” (http://www.maryhark.com) Papermaker and educator Mary Hark makes high quality paper from urban bio-waste.   Her materials include local plants found on a restored prairie in rural Madison, WI. She also works with Ghanaian colleagues to establish a small paper mill for art, design and small industry. In both settings her goal is to build a creative life grounded in making and community-building.
  • May 10 – Objects and Installations: The Work and Residencies of Artist Emily Nachison. (http://www.bullseyeglass.com/art/emily-nachison.html) Through sculptural objects and installations the artist investigates the use of story, symbols and materiality to mythologize natural phenomena, escapism, and the desire for secret knowledge.

Library Salons meet at 7:00 PM at the American Craft Council Library, located in the historic Grain Belt Building, 1224 Marshall Street, in Northeast Minneapolis. The Salons are free and open to the public; all are wheelchair accessible. Sponsors of the Library Salon Series include Northeast Bank, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and T-Rex Cookie Company.

 

 

 

 

 

Advocates resist restraints, misuse of government information

Clearly, the challenge facing this nation will challenge most Americans in one way or another. It helps to focus – and to assess individual and societal resources within our reach. As past blog posts suggest, my tools of choice lean toward real facts, the truth and, above all, informed citizens “armed” with the tools (weapons?) of access and critical thinking tools to weigh the overwhelming flood of facts and alternative facts by and about the government.

Good information has a real advantage when it comes to weaponry – it’s agile, abundant and, as I often quote, Harlan Cleveland’s contention that “it’s better if shared.”

No wonder then, that the Commander-in-Chief is quick to grasp the potential of information and its manipulation — misinformation, disinformation, and, most recently, depriving Americans of information collected and analyzed at public expense.

We the public are at the ready to fight fire with fire, alternative facts with legitimate data, mindless tweets with authenticity, bluster with honest truth.   Seekers of truth are eager to share truth with citizen stakeholders who possess both the skills and technology to learn, assess, share and act on good and relevant information by and about the federal government.

Clearly, we have a long way to go – and yet at this juncture many Americans are keenly aware that information matters and that we have the people and the organizational power to act. Leaders of efforts to assure truth in government, transparency and accountability share a commitment to shape a powerful strategy built on truth, not trickery.

The founding fathers affirmed that the fundamental principle of this democracy is information, presumably in the hands and minds of citizens for whom government information is a mighty tool – until access is denied – or until the information tool is weaponized. That’s where we are now. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/01/27/information-and-media-not-weapons-but-tools/

The weaponization of the peoples’ information has clearly caught the attention of the public and of those advocacy groups that have galvanized their efforts to collaborate and “resist.” The most overt of action is the forthcoming March for Science, a public expression of resistance set for Earth Day, April 29. Plans for the March are also underway. – some recent updates: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/01/politics/science-march-earth-day-trnd/\

For a half century the most powerful tool in the hands of open government access proponents has been the Freedom of Information Act. More about FOIA here https://www.foia.gov/faq.html. Follow the FOIA website here: http://thefoiablog.typepad.com

Countless advocacy groups, including numerous coalitions, are “armed for action.”

These are just a very few of the insider entities at the forefront of truth-finding:

Muckrock suggests an action plan – https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2017/jan/04/how-we-can-all-work-towards-better-foia-process-20/ [note: if you have problems with this link, google the title]

http://www.openthegovernment.org/node/5414 – offers timely updates and an excellent list of coalition members that share a commitment to open government..

Federal News Radio provides just one of countless descriptions of the backlash to presidential halts to the free flow of federal government information – in this case the news is geared to inside the Beltway audience. http://federalnewsradio.com/

A couple of recent “Poking” posts underscore and elaborate the centrality of an challenges to an informed electorate:

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/category/access-to-information-2/freedom-of-information-act-foia/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/inquiring-minds-need-to-know-thoughts-on-sunshine-week-2016/

 In a Time of Universal Deceit Telling the Truth

Is a Revolutionary  Act ~ Source not certain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words matter – and are now searchable in the Trump Archives

The opportunity before all of us is living up to the dream of the Library of Alexandria and then taking it a step further – universal access to all knowledge.  Interestingly, it is now technically doable Brewster Kahle

Founder of the Internet Archive Brewster Kahle is disinclined to back down from a challenge. He’s also a proponent of real facts, primary sources and the capacity of technology – in the hands of people of good will — to assure that real acts trump alternative facts and fake news. Basically, he believes that a democracy ruled by informed citizens is what the Forefathers envisioned….

Kahle’s Utopian vision is realized in the Internet Archive, now an accepted and essential pillar of today’s information infrastructure.

Sometimes a tool waits in the wing for just the right moment to be essential! Such is the case with the Internet Archives,  henceforth the home of the Donald Trump Archives.   Journalist David Lumb heralded the archive with a hearty “Fact-checkers, start your engines!”

Dating back to December 2009 the Trump Archives’ ultimate goal is to capture virtually every utterance, print, video, digital, or other of the Trump administration.   At the launch of the Trump Archive last month journalist Kalev Leetaru wrote this in Forbes:

For this first incarnation of the Trump Archive, the Archive chose to start with a manually curated collection of around 700 video clips, ranging from major events like presidential debates and major speeches to key policy statements and views espoused by the President-elect, drawing heavily from those video clips that journalists had already identified as particularly noteworthy or which received widespread attention. This means that the collection as it presently stands includes many of the most-talked about Trump statements, but is not an exhaustive record of Trump’s total television appearances.

Read Leetaru’s full article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2017/01/06/the-internet-archives-new-donald-trump-and-white-house-archives-transparency-and-history-as-data/#26efe1907d98

It’s been nearly a month now since The Launch.   To get a sense of the goals, and to keep up-to-date on the scope, response and impact, follow the Trump Archive blog here:  http://blog.archive.org/2017/01/23/in-the-news-trump-archive-end-of-term-preservation-link-rot/

A well informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny. Thomas Jefferson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scholars create digital learning tools on volatile current issues

As the Commander in Chief stresses about the throngs of immigrants, wiser, more temperate scholars have devoted themselves to helping Americans better understand the deep historical roots of today’s immigration debates. Immigration historians, working with the University of Minnesota’s Immigration History Research Center (http://cla.umn.edu/ihrc) and the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (http://iehs.org/online/) have produced another in series of unique and timely resources, #immigration Syllabus. This indispensable tool for teaching, learning and advocacy is available online: http://editions.lib.umn.edu/immigrationsyllabus/

The syllabus “seeks to provide historical context to current debates over immigration reform, integration, and citizenship.” It follows a chronological overview of U.S. immigration history as well as thematic weeks that cover “salient issues in political discourse today, including xenophobia, deportation policy, and border policing.”

Listing essential topics and readings and linking to historical documents and multimedia source #ImmigrationSyllabus provides real facts that answer a broad range of questions including the history, policies, and “what’s ‘new’ about new immigration to the US.”

#ImmigrationSyllabus is actually one in a series of timely resources created by and through the University of Minnesota. Previous syllabi include these:

  • #TrumpSyllabus, designed to hep readers understand Trump’s political success during the presidential campaign,
  • #Fergusonyllabus, intended to inspire conversations about race, violence and activism, and
  • #StandingRockSyllabus, a tool to raise awareness of the Dakota Access Pipeline and to place the #NoDAPL process in context.

Download for #Immigration Syllabus:

PDF version of #ImmigrationSyllabus

Word version of #ImmigrationSyllabus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wintertide offers warm welcome to art lovers in NE Minneapolis

The world – well, Minnesotans and neighbors for sure – know Northeast Minneapolis as home of Art-a-Whirl, the springtime extravaganza showcasing the work of hundreds of artists who create works of art – and often live – in Northeast Minneapolis. Less well known is Wintertide, the biennial juried art exhibition that celebrates the work of the ever-growing community of the arts represented through the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association. (NEMAA)(https://nemaa.org)

The 2017 Exhibition is currently happening in Northeast Minneapolis– ongoing through February 11. Exhibition site is the Public Functionary ((http://publicfunctionary..org/wintertide-biennial-jured-art-exhibit/), Public functionary is located at 1400 12th Avenue NE – this is on Buchanan Street NE, just North of Broadway)   Visitors to the exhibit will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite “Audience Choice” award to be announced at the closing reception.

Exhibit hours are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Noon–6:00 p.m. with special open hours Friday, February 10, 7:00–11:00 p.m.  The exhibition is sponsored by Cedarwoods Foundation.

Remembering Langston Hughes, the “O.Henry of Harlem”

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed – 
Let it be that great strong land of love 
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme 
That any man be crushed by one above.   Langston Hughes

The words of hope were written by African American poet Langston Hughes, born this day in Joplin, Missouri, in 1902. His early years were difficult, many moves and the loss of parents and his caregiving grandmother. Hughes found solace in reading, reflecting later, “then it was that books began to happen to me, and I began to believe in nothing but books and the wonderful world of books – where if people suffered, they suffered in beautiful language not in monosyllables, as in Kansas.”

Restless and apparently weary of traveling the world, Hughes settled in Harlem where he was active in the Harlem Renaissance, a utopian environment for creative African Americans. His writing reflecting the world around him; when asked, Hughes shared this description of the topics he explored and reflected in his prolific writing. His words ring true for many in these times:

People up today and down tomorrow, working this week and fired the next, beaten and baffled, but determined not to be wholly beaten, buying furniture on the installment plan, filling the house with rooms to help pay the rent, hoping to get a new suit for Easter – and pawning that suit before the Fourth of July.

When Hughes died of cancer in 1967 the New York Times reported: “Mr. Hughes was sometimes characterized as the ‘O. Henry of Harlem.’ He was an extremely versatile and productive author who was particularly well known for his folksy humor.'”

There’s much to learn about this renowned poet, essayist, novelist, playwright and prolific letter writer:

  • Learn about the Langston Hughes Center at the University of Kansas, a repository of Hughes’ work and a center for research and teaching about his life and literary contributions. https://langstonhughes.ku.edu

UPDATE:  Read more Langston Hughes quotes here: http://mentalfloss.com/article/91742/20-inspiring-quotes-langston-hughes

 

 

Black History Month opens links to learning

I don’t want you to praise me…Some praise me because I am a colored girl, and I don’t want that kind of praise. I had rather you would point out my defects, for that will teach me something. — Edmonia Lewis

Though I have seen her sculptures in galleries and in print, it was not until today that I knew or appreciated the life and work of sculptor Edmonia Lewis. As I started my research/writing routine this morning I instinctively clicked on Google’s doodle du jour. I was delighted and, even more, captivated by a visual introduction to the elegant sculpture of this brilliant African American artist. https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/exhibit/gQJi3NKm3VagLg?utm_campaign=bhm17_edmonia_lewis&utm_source=google&utm_medium=hppromo

Fortunately, my morning meeting was shifted – so my fingers and my mind heeded the lure to learn more….

Intrigued by the subject I googled again to learn about the life and work of a woman I had not known. The search led me to Michael Cavna’s piece in Washington Post where I learned more about Edmonia Lewis. I am awed, eager to learn more.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2017/02/01/edmonia-lewis-google-doodle-salutes-pioneering-sculptor-to-kick-off-black-history-month/?utm_term=.65ed8b5ba9f4.

Another click led me to Time’s take on the Google doodle where I paused to track the process of how a doodle comes to be. http://time.com/4656108/google-doodle-sculptor-edmonia-lewis/

Happily, my search continued as I followed the links to learn about Akilah Johnson, the Eastern High School (Washington DC) student who actually designed the Google Black Lives Matter doodle. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2016/03/21/d-c-student-wins-national-google-doodle-contest-with-art-that-invokes-black-lives-matter/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.7548d215327f

At this point, the time has come to face the work routine of the day. Still, it has been a beautiful way to celebrate the first day of Black History Month 2017!