Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thatch Grass Weavings and Painted Bamboo Installation

Terry Smith, a staff member donated thatch grass from his garden. He also bought in indigenous artifacts, from South African, and his native American collection. He was in Peace Corp, and traveled to various countries in Africa.

 We stripped the canes and gesso them white, so that the students from TLC could paint them with primary colors.

The thatch grass was tied onto the fence that separates the school garden from the 40 arches of corn stalks that surround the school and the neighboring community.


Poles were repurposed and hung from the trees, like the pods, this was the coldest day of the year, below -2 wind chill, but we installed the art projects to bring art into the sacred space.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jumpin Jambalaya Tribute to Grandmother's Circle

Article reposted from Journal Gazette & Times-Courier

Kucha Brownlee & Baba Tony Brown

CHARLESTON — The public is invited to a reception and storyteller program in the 
Tarble Arts Center atrium to close the month-long Arts-in-Education Residency with 
Alpha Bruton from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Guest artists and storytellers Baba Tony Brown and D. Kucha Brownlee will present
 “Jumpin’ Jambalaya,” a diverse program including folk tales, call and response, poetry,
 and music.

Resident artist Alpha Bruton will discuss her installation exhibition, “Grandmother’s Circle,”
 including how she incorporated works that the students made during the residency into her 
exhibition. Refreshments will be served.

Funding for the residency is provided by a Ruth and Vaughn Jaenike Access to the 
Arts Grant, the Coles County Arts Council, the participating schools and Tarble Arts
 Center membership contributions.

The Tarble Arts Center is located at 2010 Ninth St. on the EIU campus in Charleston. 
The center is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 Saturday; and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday; closed Mondays.

 For more information, visit

A dynamic storytelling duo that combine their experience as performers to weave 
a rich tapestry of African,African-American and Spanish folk tales, frolicking fables, 
proverbs and dialect into their cultural performance
art storytelling.

This storytelling workshop primary goal is to provide an environment where lovers of story,

 including teachers, storytellers and librarians, can concentrate on writing and telling stories
 created for listeners (kindergarten through adulthood). Informative written materials and 
interactive exercises will be used to inspire greater creativity, facilitate collaboration and 
enhance performance styles, using techniques and strategies that are applicable in a 
variety of settings including: classrooms (kindergarten through college), business
 conferences, community groups, and family settings.

“I’m Just Sayin …” Writing and Tellin’ Our Stories

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sound and Video Installation

The focus of the installation was the narratives that were given by guest artists that I interviewed. Contributors: Anita P. Lowe, Talver Germany, Diana Bruton, Christine Burks Allum,  Antionette Bruton,Toni Collie Perry, Taylor, and Jackie (workshop participants). Gave us great short stories about their grandmothers, and shared a memory, the short films were put together randomly and between each segment we added transitional scenes of driving to Table Mountain in the Pine Flat Dam area of Fresno Co., and my train ride from Chicago to California.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tarble Arts Center Textile Art Workshop

Winsor Jr - Sr High School Loft
The core group project was textile arts, focusing on batik, fabric painting, and quilt making, incorporating individual works. The course was offered to school-aged children in grades 6-12 and adult community members, allowing for intergenerational exchanges and providing meaningful interaction with the artist for a variety of populations.

 Indigo Fabric folding
Before oxidation

 Cobalt Blue and Bees Wax Batik
set-up materials and equipment

Often referred to as plangi, tie-dyeing is a method of decorating cloth by isolating areas so that they resist the dye. Instead of coating sections of the fabric with a “resist” substance, such as wax, in order to isolate them, areas are bound with thread so that when the fabric is immersed in the dyebath the tightness of the yarn acts as a barrier to the dye and prevents it from penetrating to the tied areas. Other methods of tie-dyeing include folding, sewing or binding small objects such as seeds, pebbles or dried peas into the cloth.

 Tie-dyeing is practiced in many countries of the world, although the best examples can be found in India, Africa and Japan. The reason why the art of dyeing, and especially tie-dyeing, originated in countries with hot climates is because those are the areas where the best dye-plants can be found. For example, in Africa there is an abundance of wild plants which contain the colouring indigo, the traditional hue used in West African tie-tye. Another reason why dyeing is a native craft in hot regions is because the cloth can be easily laid out to dry in the sun once dyeing is complete

Grandmother's Circle Story by Toni Collie Perry

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Adinkra Symbology Environmental Installation in Humboldt Illinois

Treatment and Learning Center, Humboldt

Dave Logsdon, Principal; Amy Wettig & Rich Holtz, coordinating teachers, Sean Fairchild (Tarble Arts Center-assistant).
 Amy Wettig, donation of broken glass

Site of Environmental proposed Installation at TLC Garden

Installation- the students began the residency today by painting spirit flags using Adinka Symbology. This workshop was conducted by Caryl Henry Alexander, during "the land" retreat in Auburn California. We will use the banners as spirit flags, and install them in the environmental installation.

Week Four, December 9-12th, on Monday Dec, 9th we had a snow day, the school was closed, so we have to double on workshops to make enough art for the school installation. Today we made spirit flags, and started painting our symbols on card board.

Adinkra Symbology

The Origin and Meaning of Adinkra Symbols

The adinkra symbols represent popular proverbs and maxims, record historical events, express particular attitudes or behaviour related to depicted figures, or concepts uniquely related to abstract shapes.
Ako Ben Akoko Nan Akoma Ntoaso Ananse Ntontan Bese Saka Bin Nka Bi Denkyem Dono
 Adinkra, originally produced by the Gyaaman clans of the Brong region, was the exclusive right of royalty and spiritual leaders, and only used for important ceremonies such as funerals – adinkra means 'goodbye'.

The area is considered rural and economically depressed. Ethnic composition of the schools involved (average of all schools) is 92.6% White, 2.23% African American, 1.3% Latino, .7% Asian, .23% Native American, and 2.9% Multiracial. Participants include students with disabilities and impairments mainstreamed into the classes with whom I worked. There are no art teachers at the school, so the students and staff were really excited about the AIR coming to their community.

The Tarble Arts Center, an AAM accredited museum, is a community arts center and Eastern Illinois University’s art museum. The Tarble is located in Charleston, a rural community of 21,500 (including E.I.U. students), 190 miles south of Chicago in east central Illinois. The residency is funded by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, by participating schools, the Coles County Arts Council, and Tarble membership contributions.






Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ringing of the Bells on Hartman Street

CeCe Antoinette  Bruton, my 1st cousin- contributed an Ancestral Tribute to Pricialla  Hartman her grandmother, she was the first person profiled as a Hometown Hero. 
Princella Hartman died  at the age of 107. Hartman was featured in the first edition of Hometown Heroes in 1995 for her work as a volunteer at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Hartman took the bus three days a week to help out mothers and newborns at the hospital. Hartman came to Dallas to run a boarding home during the Great Depression. She also worked as a private cook in homes and for the Dallas Independent School District.
The house Hartman lived in was purchased by her in 1934 and Hartman Street in the State-Thomas district of Uptown is named after her.
Hartman's volunteer efforts resulted in honors from President Barack Obama, George W. Bush and the City of Dallas. Hartman's family members said she never smoke or drank and exercised daily. Dominoes and reading were some of Hartman's favorite activities. Hartman lived long enough to see six generations of family members.

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