Tag Archives: culture

Searching Seattle’s Neighborhoods

IMG_7406Living in a new city is incredibly exciting, and something that comes with time is getting the feel of that new city. Seattle is a place with a very well-defined neighborhood structure. Tons has been written about what separates each of these little enclaves, but getting there and seeing it for yourself is really the only way to understand it.

A quick lesson on Seattle geography... and infographics.

A quick lesson on Seattle geography… and infographics.

A couple weeks ago, Seattle’s International District (ID) was having their annual Dragon Fest. For $2 at each participating restaurant in the neighborhood, patrons get a generous sample of their fare and a chance to breathe in all the sights and smells of the ID. Having never been to this section of town, it was a lot of fun.

Multicolored dragons adorn the streets, Shimmering Chinese characters line the sides of buildings and archways over intersections. It’s amazing to feel so transported only a 20 minute bus ride away from our home.

After a few bites of steamed pork buns, dumplings, dim sum, and gelato, we found ourselves in a garden. Rows of ripening vegetables twisted around gravel pathways. We made our way up higher, past a pig roasting spit and beautiful flowers, to a Japanese garden. Above all the festivities below, with the gentle hum of the nearby I-5, we enjoyed some down time before hopping the bus back home.

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Around the World in Four Hours

My review of Clark University’s annual event, International Gala [link].

Digging up the underground: The internet’s effect on counterculture

(Just a side note: I hate how the US is the center of most 2D images of globes.)

One of my flat mates and I were sitting around our kitchen the other night, cooking and doing what usually happens to the idle-minded: Facebooking. Yes, I’m going to condone the use of that word as a verb for the time being. After a while, she noticed that a bunch of her friends were attending an event – a small show at a little known venue back home. This prompted the question: how did people find out about things before the internet?

Before we all became so attached to this cyber snare of communication and information that we now know as the World Wide Web, events like concerts and small shows were only heard about through traditional word of mouth. Sure, flyers help, too, but for the most part, if you didn’t hear about it, you didn’t know about it. The underground music scene really was very secretive.

With the addition of Facebook’s Events application and further with the addition of things like foursquare and “check-ins” everyone knows where everyone is all the time. It’s weird. This translates to there being far less privacy (and let’s not forget to mention that we’re all willingly giving up our privacy when using the social networking site). Underground shows are now inviting people to attend via Facebook. Raves and places like the Firehouse in Worcester are now “likable.”

Underground music is all much easier to access now. With FTPs and torrent sites hosting little known artists, anyone can become immediately acquainted with small bands from around the world. Variables of time and place aren’t factors anymore; you can be anywhere and hear music that was made years ago and miles away.

With the internet has come a jarring change to counterculture and the underground. Simply put, I don’t think there is an underground anymore.

A world of art at Clark: Two Clarkies compile exhibition of student work

If winding up a full semester, finishing essays, and prepping for finals wasn’t already enough work, junior Studio Art majors Nina Eichner and Caitlin O’Brien have put together A World of Art, a gallery featuring student work focused on sense of place, culture, and belonging. “We want to show the student body how important places can be to people,” O’Brien said.

Taito by Santi Maldenado

Taito by Santi Maldanado. Spray paint, Pen, Colored Pencils on Cardboard.

As members of the International Student Association, Eichner and O’Brien wanted to bring the realms of art and culture a little closer. “The president of the ISA, Chanchala Gunewardena, contacted me at the beginning of the semester and wanted to integrate the art department with something; it was an aspect they hadn’t collaborated with yet,” said O’Brien.

“World of Art is unique and important because it brings together a department and a club,” Eichner added. “It was really great to have work from both art students and non-Studio Art students in the exhibit, and the ISA co-sponsoring the event helped to give us a great mix of international work.”

While many of the works are by international students who have much more to be homesick about than most of us, the themes represented through the work are those to which everyone can relate. “It’s really exciting work, and we’re both very impressed with all of it,” Eichner said. “It’s great to see how a simple topic can be interpreted in so many ways.”

As winter break approaches and we begin thinking about the holiday season and seeing our families, A World of Art reminds us of our inevitable attachment to where we are in the moment. In everyday speech, I find myself confusing which place is home. Is it the house and town I was raised in or my apartment and friends at Clark? What does home mean to us?

The two curators fulfilled their initial goal to “showcase the diversity of Clark students’ backgrounds and cultural connections to places around the world through their art.” The exhibit features art inspired by a myriad of places from Japan to Peru to Seattle to Guatemala. There are also some non-descript pieces about travel and prints involving road maps. The exhibit shows the broad concepts of culture and place literally and figuratively and its roll in shaping who we are.

“[Studio Art professor] Ellie Crocker was very excited and agreeable. She guided us and also gave us a lot of free range in putting the exhibit together. It’s been great to have the faculty to support us,” Eichner said. Both she and O’Brien reached out to as many students as possible to fill the exhibit in a short period of time.

Piecing Together Seattle by Karissa Lear

Piecing Together Seattle by Karissa Lear. Collograph Print With Water Based Printing Ink

“Initially we were worried that we wouldn’t have enough submissions due to time constraints, but we ended up with the perfect amount of pieces,” O’Brien said. The gallery consists of 23 pieces from 12 artists and features a range of media. “We were really excited to have a sculpture piece in the exhibit,” she added. World of Art also includes photography, drawings, prints, spray paint, and more of every kind of media the two curators wanted to include in the exhibit.

Eichner, who is also a gallery intern, said that she’d welcome the opportunity to have another student show. “We’re lucky that we go to a small school that allows us to do this. I don’t think we’d have the same opportunity to have this experience elsewhere.”

Uchi by Scott Cofrin

Uchi by Scott Cofrin. Graphite and Ink on Paper, Mounted on Poster Board. “I spent ten months living and studing abroad in Japan… Moving out of my parents’ home in my freshman year of college game me more freedom and independence but I could not make a real home for myself in dormitory life. Living in Japan was the first time where I was really on my own, and I came to love the life I was able to create for myself and be a part of every moment of every day… This piece tries to integrate memory with reality, combining snippets of tangible, yet unspecific, representation in the illustrations with informative topographical mapping.”

You Have More by Matt Sexton

You Have More by Matt Sexton. Fujifilm s1000 Inkjet Printed. From outside a Mayan temple in Guatemala “It’s very significant to me because it depicts some of the despair that remains from the civil war within their country.”

One Reason Why I Love Worcester

Kids breakdancing at the Worcester Youth Center.

This city gets a bad rap, but there’s something great about it. Living here, I feel like I’m fully immersed in our global society. Coming from a small town in rural North Carolina, I never really appreciated the rich diversity of this country and the real sense of the “melting-pot.” In Worcester, I am constantly reminded that cultures are blended together in the US.
I went to the bank to cash my checks from my job where I work with (among others) people from Puerto Rico and Italy. My teller was from Brazil. The other, the Dominican Republic by way of California. The man beside me was from India. We all talked about international life and travel, and although I didn’t have much first-hand account to offer, just being in that environment was enjoyable. Illegal Cuban cigars, the best Brazillian liqueur none of us had ever heard of, Indian flight costs and transfers in Mumbai… Just one of the many globalized conversations I have a day living in the incredibly diverse city that is Worcester, Massachusetts. I called Clark’s escort service for a ride back in a van made in Japan, driven by a girl from India, as words of Spanish and Portuguese still echoed between my ears.