Our Country, Our Voices: Oglethorpe Honors Our Veterans

Photo: David Dixon

November 11th is Veterans Day.  It is an occasion to honor the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served our country, to recognize the families who have stood by them in service, and to reflect upon all of the freedoms that these men and women have fought to preserve.

This year, Oglethorpe University, together with various campus organizations and departments, will host a series of events throughout the week to honor our veterans called “Our Country, Our Voices: Oglethorpe Honors Our Veterans.” The events are in conjunction with the OU Museum of Art’s current exhibition “Burden of Proof: National Identity and the Legacy of War,” which runs through December 9, 2012.

Sophomore Antonio Mántica (left) and senior Jef Palframan, president of the OU Veterans' Club, form sheet metal into large "ribbons." Photo: Krista Palframan

On November 4th, the OU Veterans’ Club launched a yellow ribbon campaign to increase awareness of the day’s significance. Club members constructed and installed 10-foot high sheet metal yellow ribbons at the front entrance of campus. They also plan to hand out 1000 personal ribbons on campus and will host a remembrance event, “Lest We Forget,” on Friday, November 9, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in Lupton Auditorium. (Find out more about their efforts on their Facebook page.)

Usually closed on Mondays, the OU Museum of Art will open its doors to host a Veterans’ Open House, with free admission to all veterans on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, 12 noon-7:00 p.m.. Various veterans’ assistance groups will be onsite throughout the day. Plus, the OU Veterans’ Club will be accepting donations for their clothing and coat drive for homeless veterans, and a giveaway of gift items from area businesses will benefit veterans’ services.

Later that evening, veterans of WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan will discuss their experiences and struggles in a panel discussion, “Transitioning to Civilian Life,” at 6:00 p.m.  Many skills learned in combat are not applicable to the workforce, and veterans are generally required to go through an arduous process of re-qualification in order to get work.  Plus, many veterans feel isolated or out of place, unaccustomed to their new lives at home. In addition, policymakers in Washington recently failed to approve a bill that would have eased veterans’ reintegration into the civilian workforce, and recent reports estimate that 88% of veterans will drop out of college.

“It would be wrong of me not to make people aware of this,” said Jef Palframan ’13, president of the OU Veterans’ Club and a veteran himself.  “Our military size is going to decrease… Now starts the work to take care of the guys coming home.”  Admission: $5; free for veterans, OUMA members or with a Petrel Pass. Co-sponsored by OUMA, the Office of Admission and the OU Veterans’ Club.

Other events to commemorate Veterans Day include:

Open Forum/Open Mic: “Empower to Inspire Progress,” Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
What does being American mean to you? What are you doing to make your voice heard? Do you feel you have patriotic obligations? Which American alive or dead inspire you, and why? All are welcome to join this open forum and share your opinions, ideas or a story, song or poem. Admission: $5; free for OUMA members and with a Petrel Pass. Co-sponsored by OUMA and Epsilon Iota Psi.

Lecture: “On the Downstream Biological Effects of Agent Orange,” Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
Dr. Karen Schmeichel, associate professor of biology at Oglethorpe, will present about the hotly debated and complex subject of the widespread use by American troops during the Vietnam conflict of the defoliant called “Agent Orange” and its far reaching effects. Admission: $5; free for OUMA members and with a Petrel Pass.

Movie Screening & Discussion: Agent Orange: 30 Years Later, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
OUMA and ECOS (Environmentally Concerned Oglethorpe Students) will co-host a screening of the award-winning 2009 film by John Trinh with open discussion to follow.  Reel Earth – Environmental Film Festival of New Zealand said, “Despite the horror, the film is at times intensely moving and beautiful, showing also the better side of human nature—qualities like kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.” This event is free and open to all.

Heifer International and Stormy Petrels Unite

Heifer InternationalLater this week, Oglethorpe University will be the first college campus to host the annual meeting of Heifer International, a nonprofit focused on “helping others help themselves.” The Heifer Sustainability Summit will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 12-13. It will showcase leaders in the field, and showcase Oglethorpe’s growing involvement in Heifer’s mission.

The idea behind Heifer International is simple: rather than raising money and donating it to the needy, Heifer uses raised funds to buy and donate livestock (cows,  chickens,  sheep, etc.) to  groups of people in need to help to increase their self-sustainability. Not only can they rely on the animals for renewable resources like wool, eggs or milk, but when the Heifer-gifted animal reproduces, the  resulting livestock provides even more possibility for income.  The self-sufficiency people gain from having their own source of income also helps to improve quality of  life. Suddenly, a family can go from surviving to thriving; a village can go from impoverished to self-reliant. The independence that comes with a Heifer gift is often even more valuable than the gift itself.  Heifer operates in more than 50 countries and has been a driving force against poverty worldwide since 1944.

The summit will focus on the needs of a world stricken by hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation, and Heifer’s current and future plans to help. Special guest speakers will include National Center for Civil and Human Rights CEO Doug Shipman, Heifer International President and CEO Pierre Ferrari, and Oglethorpe University’s own First Lady, Betty Londergan, the wife of Oglethorpe’s President Schall.

Betty and children in a Heifer-assisted country

Heifer International has gained quite a following at Oglethorpe, due in part to  Londergan’s involvement with the nonprofit. She is on a mission to showcase the benefits of Heifer’s work through Heifer 12×12, a blog project launched by Heifer International, which is taking Londergan to 12 countries in 12 months. Since January, she’s traveled to 11 Heifer-assisted countries, including Uganda, Haiti and Rwanda, and has shared her experiences through blogs and photography.

Heifer 12x12

Betty Londergan's blog highlights Heifer's accomplishments around the world

Thirty of Londergan’s photos will be on exhibit in Oglethorpe’s Lowry Hall in honor of National Photography month. The exhibit, titled “Unforgettable Faces,” will debut during the Summit’s opening dinner reception on Friday, October 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art and remain open through December 9, 2012. The photographs will be available for purchase to benefit Heifer International.

But, Londergan isn’t the only Stormy Petrel hoping to make a difference through Heifer. Sophomore Ruwa Romman and a small group of OU students were inspired by Londergan’s involvement with Heifer and decided to get active. They are starting the OU Heifer Club, the first on a college or university campus in the Southeast.

“Oglethorpe’s a good place to have a grassroots initiative [like Heifer],” said Romman. “They focus on self-sustainability, on passing on the gift… We hope to get a movement going. We can’t donate huge sums of money, but if we can donate $10 for chickens and help send someone’s kid to school, that’s still huge. It’s all about giving back.”

The OU Heifer Club will officially launch during the Heifer Sustainability Summit.

“Mandalas by the Patients of Carl Jung” Exhibit at Oglethorpe University Museum

A new exhibit opens at the OU Museum of Art on February 5, 2012. “The Secret Round: Mandalas by the Patients of Carl Jung” features 40 original mandalas created by the famous Swiss psychoanalyst’s patients during their treatment between 1926 and 1945. This first ever exhibit is courtesy of the C. G. Jung Institute in Switzerland.  

Mandalas were used during therapy to help patients express both the conscious and unconscious. Included in the exhibit is a handmade book containing one patient’s dream descriptions and drawings, hailed as the feminine version of Jung’s famous The Red Book.

The exhibit is accompanied by a series of guest lectures, presented in partnership with the C.G. Jung Society of Atlanta, and featuring top Jungian analysts. Each lecture will unveil a different aspect of the mystery that is the mandala.

Curator Vicente de Moura, archivist at the C.G. Jung Institute.

The Public Opening will take place on Sunday, February 5, 12 noon – 5 p.m.  A special lecture by exhibit curator Vicente de Moura, C.G. Jung Institute archivist and Jungian analyst, will start at 3:00 p.m.  As always, OU students, staff and faculty have the amazing opportunity to visit the exhibit for free with a Petrel Pass. The exhibit will run through May 6, 2012.

Join us and immerse yourself in the inner world of mandalas!

Oglethorpe presents “Chagall – The Early Etchings of the 1920s”

The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is now featuring an exhibition of sixty-five rarely viewed etchings and aquatints by Russian-born painter and printmaker Marc Chagall.  The exhibition also features five colored lithographs from the private collection of Drs. Isaac and Yolanta Melamed. The show will run through December 11, 2011.

Oglethorpe students are invited to a special students-only opening reception at the Museum on Tuesday, October 4, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Hear about the artwork and enjoy some refreshments as well!

The exhibit focuses on the early etchings of the 1920s when Chagall and his young bride Bella (Berta) Rosenfeld moved to Paris following the Russian Revolution of 1917.  Included in the exhibit are the famous etchings based on Dead Souls and the La Fontaine Fables.  Chagall was prolific in his artistic endeavors and he became a master in many pursuits that included painting, tapestry design, stained glass, mosaics and the graphic arts.  His interest in etching began when he was thirty-five years old while still living in Berlin before moving to Paris.  He was passionate about learning all the technical aspects of using the burin and drypoint in this newly discovered art form. 

During the exhibit’s run, OUMA will also offer lectures and the Skylight Gallery Concert Series. Visit the OUMA website for more information. 

OUMA is open Tuesday-Sunday, 12 noon – 5 p.m., with docent tours offered at 2 p.m. on Sundays. General admission is $5.00, but if you have a Petrel Pass it’s free!  OU students, you can earn a Petrel Point by attending the student reception or by checking out the exhibit. Don’t miss it!

Pictured: Lloyd Nick, director of the OU Museum of Art.

Pastels & Utrillo: Great Art from Savannah to Paris

Kristina DeVega '11

Having a summer job has its obvious benefits, like having some extra money in your pocket for the little pleasures of life.   Working at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art gives you some chunk change and then some…

I enjoyed working at the Oglethorpe Museum because we had (and still have) some of the most interesting exhibitions, but, unfortunately, not enough people know about them. For example, while I worked there, we hosted the Southeastern Pastel Society Juried Exhibition until June 27, and Utrillo: The Magic of Monmartre through Sept. 5 of 2010.

When we were hanging the pastels, I was delighted to see artists from Atlanta, St. Simon’s Island, and Woodstock, Georgia. We have seen exhibitions from around the world, but nothing is more fun than to see artists who live right around the corner. I sometimes forget that great art isn’t always the highbrow work that appeals to the esoteric elite, but great art appeals to anyone who is willing to look.

One of my favorite pieces from the exhibit is called “The Blue Motorcycle” by J. Kay Gordon from Marshall, North Carolina. The painting is a close up of the chrome parts of a motorcycle where you can see a reflection of a pristine, all-American, baby blue motorcycle. I love  the distortion the artist used in the painting. You can see the blue motorcycle through different perspectives, and it’s amazing to see the swirls and curves of a warped motorcycle. The Pastels Exhibition was a collection of different artists who use pastels distinctive to each of their styles. It was refreshing to see a medium used differently in one collection.

Featured pastel artist, Kay Ridge of Stockbridge, painting an animal portrait at the museum.

I am an admirer of art who loves to learn from artists and other art enthusiasts. The wonderful members of the Pastel Society volunteered to have an artist paint each weekday while the exhibition was up. Even someone as shy and awkward as me asked them questions about their work, and they were more than happy to talk about pastels. Ms. Betsy Cozine, who painted “Tulips in the Spring,”  took me to one of her colleague’s paintings and described what she loved about his technique.  I also talked to Junko Ono Rothwell from Atlanta, who painted “Sand Dunes in October”, about working with pastels.

We also had another exhibition called Utrillo: The Magic of Monmartre which showcases artwork of Maurice Utrillo, one of the last artists born in the bohemian Monmartre of Paris. He is said to be one of the last impressionists, and this collection had never before been seen in public, which made this our little gem. Although I love impressionism, I think I enjoy the backstory on Utrillo most of all. He was born to a model who worked for several Impressionists such as Degas and Renoir, but his real father is unknown. Utrillo was somewhat of a mystery child until another painter, Miguel Utrillo, claimed him as his own. 20th century debauchery is so much fun.

When you visit the museum, it’s not only the paintings you will see, but a sense of community and a laid back atmosphere that is hard to find anywhere else.