Einstein Makes an Appearance at Oglethorpe

photo by Travis TaylorIn celebration of the 100th anniversary of our campus, Oglethorpe University has put one of its rare treasures on display: Albert Einstein’s handwritten manuscript, “The Experimental Confirmation of the General Theory of Relativity,” on view through April 30, 2015 in the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art (OUMA).

The manuscript, penned in 1920, was written by Einstein by request from his colleague Robert Lawson, an English physicist. Lawson was in the process of translating Einstein’s 1917 work, “Relativity: the Special and General Theory” and asked Einstein to give him observational proof of general relativity for the 1920 English edition. The exact documents Einstein gave to Lawson are now being exhibited for a special few months, exclusively here on campus.

Thornwell Jacobs

Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, President of Oglethorpe University, 1915-1943

Oglethorpe came into possession of the documents in a unique way that spans back to its founding in 1835. Oglethorpe originally had its roots in Midway, a town near Milledgeville, Ga. Because of the Civil War, the school closed for a while. However, Thornwell Jacobs, a generous and well-educated Presbyterian minister, was determined to restore the school. He had grown up hearing stories about Oglethorpe from his grandfather, Ferdinand Jacobs, who had been a faculty member there, and it became his dream to someday reopen the school. A skilled fundraiser, Thornwell Jacobs raised enough money and interest to organize a Board of Trustees for the college by 1912. With land donated by the Silver Lake Park Company and the help of Atlanta architectural firm of Morgan Dillon and Downing, Oglethorpe University at last reopened in 1915 and welcomed 45 students in 1916. Serving as president of the university through 1943, Jacobs accomplished many things, including launching the Crypt of Civilization and establishing a medical school. Jacobs was a true Renaissance man with a talent for writing that led him to found and publish The Westminster Magazine. He will always be remembered for his detailed letters and amazing ability to positively influence others.

As for the Einstein manuscript, it was given to Oglethorpe University by alumna Nellie Jane Gaertner ’34 in 1982. She was the daughter of Herman Julius Gaertner, one of the first faculty members appointed when Jacobs re-opened Oglethorpe at its current Atlanta location in 1915. The manuscript had been retained by Lawson for some years before it was acquired by Herman Julius Gaertner, a professor of German and Mathematics. Oglethorpe is lucky to posses the manuscript as most of Einstein’s work now resides at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jordan Michaels_Holly Bostick_John Tilford

Students Jordan K. Michels and Holly Bostick examine the manuscript with OUMA Collections Manager John Tilford.

OUMA Collections Manager John Tilford helped to illustrate the historical context of the manuscript’s creation, as well as the history of Einstein’s expansive archive. He relied on a number of rarely-seen images of Einstein and his colleagues, including personal secretary Helen Dukas and Professor Otto Nathan, both co-trustees of Einstein’s literary estate. According to John, Helen Dukas preserved Einstein’s papers for decades before they were given to Hebrew University after her death, and for this, scholars and historians owe her an enormous debt.

“Staff and faculty of Division III (Natural Sciences), OUMA, and the Philip Weltner Library, with the enthusiastic input and support of OU students, came together seamlessly to present the manuscript and a rich program of lectures, films, and other events,” says Elizabeth Peterson, director of OUMA. “We are grateful for a Georgia Humanities Council grant which supports these activities and thrilled to again be part of the Atlanta Science Festival.”

The Einstein exhibition has generated robust student involvement with interest from scholars of all disciplines and departments. Students from a variety of majors including physics, theatre, English, and philosophy came together to participate in a group reading of Einstein’s Dreams. Additionally, Oglethorpe University senior and physics major Antonio Mántica leads “A Tour through Time”, during the week of the Atlanta Science Festival. His presentation will explain the historical and current understandings of how time functions and how we can use that knowledge to inform our experience of it. Other events include three film screenings and discussions about Einstein-related movies, and an evening of astronomy with Fernbank Science Center astronomer April Whitt.

“The manuscript should be viewed in person to truly appreciate its uniqueness as each word, diagram and calculation, including a few corrections, were all penned by Einstein’s own hand,” says Tilford. “Anyone can read the transcribed text in print and digital formats but the power of the handwritten documents must be witnessed first hand.”

Ariana Feiner is a writer and a student at Oglethorpe University. She enjoys art history and recently published her first children’s book, Ariana Rose: A Story of Courage.
This online story was adapted from an assignment for her journalism class.

Oglethorpe Partners with Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Capitol City Opera

conant1Oglethorpe University has partnered with three leading Atlanta arts organizations—the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre, the Horizon Theatre Company, and Capitol City Opera Company—to present performances and provide educational opportunities for students of all ages at the Conant Performing Arts Center.

“With the unfortunate dissolution of Georgia Shakespeare in the fall, we were committed to exploring new partners in the arts that were not only rooted in excellence and quality, but also would offer significant hands-on learning opportunities for our students and complement our theatre and music programs,” said Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall.

The Alliance Theatre will host three camps at Oglethorpe during summer 2015, two geared towards primary school children and the third for high schoolers. Oglethorpe theatre majors will be hired as teaching assistants for each of these camps, which will run for two weeks. Each camp experience will culminate in a showcase performance. In January, leaders from The Alliance served as judges and mentors for prospective theatre students during the Oglethorpe Theatre Scholarship Competition.

The Horizon Theatre Company will bring a multi-week run of their summer production, Avenue Q, to the Conant Performing Arts Center, starting in June 2015. Specific dates and further details will be announced soon. Two Oglethorpe theatre students will have the opportunity to be on stage for this production. Lisa and Jeff Adler, co-artistic directors at Horizon Theatre, also participated in this year’s Oglethorpe Theatre Scholarship Competition.

Oglethorpe’s relationship with Capitol City Opera has grown over years. Capitol City Opera now presents multiple performances annually in Oglethorpe’s Conant Performing Arts Center, in both the spring and the fall. The Opera also offers internship opportunities for Oglethorpe students and ticketing benefits for the campus community. Capitol City Opera’s next performances at the Conant Performing Arts Center will be The Abduction from the Seraglio, from March 27th through 29th, and Hansel & Gretel on March 28th.

“Oglethorpe has a long history of offering distinctive arts experiences for both the campus and the larger community,” said President Schall. “These partnerships will help to ensure that continues.”

“STEALING BASE: Cuba at Bat” Explores Baseball, Culture, Politics and More

STEALING BASE: Cuba at Bat is a visual exploration of baseball through the varied perspectives of Cuban-born artists, and will be on view at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art through December 7, 2014.

Arlés del Rio2

Arlés del Rio, Untitled from the series Esperando que caigan las cosas del cielo or Deporte nacional (Hoping That Things Fall from the Sky or National Sport), 2012. Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection.

The exhibition, part of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Exhibition Series, features works by 16 established and emerging artists: Jesoviel Abstengo-Chaviano, Alejandro Aguilera, Carlos Cárdenas, Yunier Hernández Figueroa, Duniesky Martín, Frank Ernesto Martínez González, Bernardo Navarro Tomas, Juan Padrón, Douglas Pérez Castro, Arlés del Rio, Perfecto Romero, Reynerio Tamayo, José Angel Toirac, Harold Vázquez Ley, Villalvilla, and Quisqueya Henríquez.  Mr. Rubin is a 1956 alumnus of Oglethorpe University.

The exhibition is curated by Rachel Perera Weingeist, director and curator of The 8th Floor in New York, and Elizabeth Peterson, director of the OU Museum of Art, with an exhibition essay by Orlando Hernández, a Havana-based curator. The original exhibition concept was the result of a long collaboration between Weingeist and Hernández that culminated in the summer of 2013 at The 8th Floor Gallery in New York.

Baseball is today, without distinction of classes, age and sex,
the preferred diversion of all [Cubans].”
– El Sport (Havana), Sept. 2, 1886

The arrival of baseball in Cuba coincided with the emergence of the independence movement in 1868. The sport quickly became a collective emblem of national identity. A love for baseball connects Cubans across race, religion, politics and geography. Pop-flys, stolen bases, and home runs provide meaningful and accessible imagery for Cuban artists. Responding not only to the sport as national pastime, their work has further sought to convey larger complexities within Cuban society. Stealing Base presents the work of a diverse range of contemporary artists, living in Cuba and in the U.S., who have found potency in the imagery of the sport.

“Without question, baseball is a great generator of meanings,” writes Orlando Hernández in his exhibition essay. “The game can and should be used as a grand metaphor to express or to understand not only art but the very reality in which we live.”

“Baseball has played an important role in the impugning, critical, and revolutionary spirit that Cuban artists have demonstrated when faced with acts of dogmatism, official intolerance, and censorship,” Hernández concludes. “Thanks to these brave artists, we realize that the game is not over yet.”

A series of events celebrating baseball and Cuban culture will accompany the exhibition:

  • September 17, 7:00 p.m., “Art, Activism & Social Justice,” by Elizabeth Peterson, Director, Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. Ms. Peterson who is also an adjunct professor for a CORE Art & Culture class at OU, will explore the use of art in propaganda and protest in both Cuba and elsewhere.
  • October 1, 7:00 p.m., “Ideas & Inspirations,” by Atlanta-based artist Alejandro Aguilera.  Mr. Aguilera is an Atlanta-based artist creating a special installation in Stealing Base.  He will talk about his personal connections to the island and how his memories play out in his art.
  • October 15, 7:00 p.m., “Baseball:  A Bridge for Reconciliation” by Hoji Silva Miret, a freelance consultant in leisure travel and tourism.  Mr. Miret immigrated to the U.S. recently and is living in New York City.  He will be talking about travel and tourism and U.S./Cuba relations.
  • October 22, 7:00 p.m., “From Peter Pan to Atlanta,” by Jorge Fernandez, Vice President, Global Commerce, Metro Atlanta Chamber. Mr. Fernandez came to the U.S. via Miami at the age of 10 through Operation Peter Pan.  He was a command pilot for the United States Air Force for 22 years, a Vice President for Delta Air Lines, and is now a Vice President for MAC.  He will discuss his personal story.
  • October 29, 7:00 p.m., “Snowplows in Havana: Irony in Cuban Art,” by Dr. Gail Gelburd, Professor of Art History, Eastern Connecticut State University. Dr. Gelburd curated Aijaco: Stirrings of the Cuban Soul. Her research projects focus on socio-political discourse, environmental issues, global perspectives and non-Eurocentricities.
  • November 5, 7:00 p.m., “Rundown between Spain and the USA: Cuban Independence and National Identity,” by Dr. Nicholas Maher, Associate Professor of History, Oglethorpe University. Dr. Maher will lecture about the late 19th century Cuban Independence Movement and the background to Cuban national identity in navigating a path between Spanish and U.S. cultures.

OUMA is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 12 noon – 5 p.m. General admission is $5 or free with a Petrel Pass and for OUMA members and children 12 and under.

Salvador Dalí, Mid Century Modern Exhibitions Headline at OU Museum of Art

This summer, the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is presenting three concurrent exhibitions: MID CENTURY MODERN: Works on PaperSALVADOR DALÍ: Trilogy of Love, and KIMO MINTON: Jazz Abstractions, all on view through August 31.

“These exhibitions are inspired by the creative outpouring of art at mid 20th century, much of which was influenced by American jazz in its improvisational rhythm,” said OUMA Director Elizabeth Peterson. “Artists pulled narratives of dreamscape, religion, love, war, and other thematic motifs into a language of geometric and organic form, line, and color. This visual vocabulary could be combined or repeated like a musician playing variations on a theme.”

Joan Miró (1893-1983) The Lizzard with Golden Feathers

Joan Miró (1893-1983)
The Lizzard with Golden Feathers

MID CENTURY MODERN: Works on Paper features fine prints by American mid 20th century artists Alexander Calder, Helen Frankenthaler, Larry Rivers, Jim Dine, Adolph Gottlieb, and American composer/artist John Cage with Carl Sumsion are on loan from the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Emory University. Prints by Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, and others in the OUMA permanent collection will also be on view. These 1960s and ’70s works are a powerful representation of the Modernist, Surrealist, Abstract Expressionist movements in the U.S. and abroad. They also touch on the Color Field, Dada, and Kinetic art movements.

Salvador Dalí (1904–1989) The Prince of Love (The Hanged Man)

Salvador Dalí (1904–1989) The Prince of Love (The Hanged Man)

SALVADOR DALI: Trilogy of Love features a selection of large format lithographs by Salvador Dalí (1904-1989), including those in his Trilogy of Love series and his Retrospective Suite. Never one to embrace convention, this Spanish born giant of the Surrealist movement broke with fine print tradition producing hundreds of signed editions of his work. These prints are part of the OUMA permanent collection.

Kimo Minton (1950) Speak Riddles to Me

Kimo Minton (1950)
Speak Riddles to Me

KIMO MINTON: Jazz Abstractions presents a selection of color woodcuts, mixed media work, and sculpture by contemporary artist Kimo Minton (born 1950), courtesy of Atlanta’s TEW Galleries and the artist. Minton, whose work has been compared to that of American artist Stuart Davis (1892-1964) is pleased to embrace musical aesthetic viewers ascribe to his work. His free standing sculptures and bas relief wall pieces also bring to mind the work of one of the earliest Abstract artists Russian/French Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944).

Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is open Tuesday-Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. and closed Mondays and university holidays. General admission is $5. OUMA members and children under 12 receive free admission. Parking is free. OUMA is located on the third floor of Lowry Hall.

OUMA is supported by the Georgia Council for the Arts and is a proud member of Blue Star Museums, offering free admission to members of the military and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. OUMA is a member of the Southeastern Museums Conference, the American Alliance of Museums, and the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries. For more information, visit museum.oglethorpe.edu or call 404-364-8555.

International Internship Opens Eyes to the Real World

India_3

Like many students, sophomore Maggie Crawford ’16 planned an internship as part of her college experience. Unlike most others, her internship was also an international adventure—in India.

India_2Maggie, who is studying international marketing, an individually planned major, worked as a structural advisor for the Mysore Resettlement and Development Agency (MYRADA). In her role, she was responsible for counseling on operations and organizational improvements in MYRADA’s programs that benefit disadvantaged populations.

Maggie found this opportunity through Oglethorpe’s Atlanta Laboratory for Learning (A_LAB), which helps students to put their classroom learning into practice by combining “real world” experiences in professional development, global education, civic engagement, and/or undergraduate research.

India_4Internships abroad can be very different from those in the U.S., which Maggie found out firsthand. “You get to find out what it is like to work somewhere else and learn about the culture of their work,” she says. “By combining travel abroad and internships, you just get a better sense of why you’re there.”

Maggie also faced challenges in acclimating to a different culture. “First, there was the language barrier,” she says. “When I went, I learned a couple of words in Hindi, but I learned that they actually speak something called Kannada. So, it wasn’t actually helpful at all. And, they’d never seen an American where I went, so they were always looking at me.”

India_1Maggie now uses her international internship experience to inform her contributions to classroom discussions. “It has shown me different perspectives,” she says. “We were studying the temples in India in ‘Art & Culture.’ I actually got to see those, firsthand.” Overall, she says her global experience “has made me more aware of the people around me.”

Next on the Maggie’s itinerary is China, where she hopes to add to her repertoire of real world professional experiences around the world.