Going Public
by Leslie Vreeland
Apr 12, 2012 | 344 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kachina History in Gunnison

The Native American Student Council at Western State College is one of the most active and involved the college has seen in years, says art history professor Heather Horr. She has helped the students organize a workshop on the creation and meaning of Hopi Kachina Dolls, to be led by Glendoria Yazzi (2nd Hopi Mesa) this Friday, April 13, 5-6:30 p.m. at the Aspinall-Wilson Center.

Horr first encountered Yazzi years ago, in a Gunnison restaurant where Yazzi was selling her Kachinas. “I was so intrigued, I asked her if she’d come speak to my class,” Horr said. Yazzi agreed. Not only did she know how to carve Kachinas, her story was interesting. As a child, Yazzi and her nine siblings were taught to create Kachinas by their father, who thought selling them would help his children earn a living. The Hopi priest sternly warned his daughters that this was not a practice for young girls, but he persisted in teaching, and the girls kept carving.

The wood for the carvings comes from cottonwood tree roots Yazzi finds along riverbanks; for painting, she uses acrylic and clay paints, and to carve, she employs a single utility blade. Kachina dolls depict Kachina dancers who transform into spirits as part of the dance. “They represent blessings, protections, guidance, healing and happiness,” Yazzi says. Four Kachina dolls are not to be displayed in public, because “they’re reserved for the priests.” So she doesn’t carve those.

Montrose School District Art Show

The Montrose/Olathe School District Art show is not only for the public; it was created by public school students from all 10 District schools. The fourth annual show opens Monday, April 16 and runs from 8 a.m.-5 p.m daily to Friday, April 27. Montrose High School Arts educator Ann Marie Fleming, the event’s organizer, calls it “the Super Bowl for the District’s art students.”

And, just like the Super Bowl, the region’s art students got an especially commodious space to play in this year: the Enterprise Center at 300 North Cascade Avenue. “It’s a great exhibit space,” says Columbine Middle School art teacher Carol Soderquist. There are long hallways for each school to hang students’ works in, as well as plenty of room in a big central space for the display of 3D clay work. Soderquist, who has taught art for 12 years at Columbine, teaches drawing, printmaking, watercolor painting and stone carving from sandstone she finds by Blue Mesa Reservoir. She supplies her students with rasps, files and chisels, then lets them have at the stone. What they come up with is “Whatever the stone lets them do.”

Also new this year will be photography, from High School teacher Kathy Gaber’s classes. “They are extremely excited,” she says of the students. Several have paid to have their works matted, and are hoping to sell them. Gaber has tried to showcase a range of photography students, from beginning to advanced. “We’ve been concentrating a lot on color values and composition,” she says. “The students who were mastering what they were learning, I chose.” There will be an official opening Monday evening, with a reception and free refreshments from 6-7:30 p.m. The general public (not just parents and family members) is invited.

ITVS Community Cinema in Telluride On the third Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m., the Wilkinson Library has been screening a new film from Independent Television Service (ITVS) Community Cinema. Next Wednesday, the film will be Hell and Back, the Academy Award-nominated documentary about Sergeant Nathan Harris and his journey home from Iraq to his wife in North Carolina. In the film, Harris, like thousands of servicemen returning from war, is in serious pain from his injuries, and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. At the same time, he is trying to re-integrate with his family and reconcile the gap between the violence of war and a “normal” life at home. The film was made by photojournalist Danfung Dennis, and is the first ever to be shot on a Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR camera. ITVS Cinema screens its features in select venues. In addition to Telluride, Hell and Back will show in Berkeley, Saratoga Springs and Seattle in an effort to “to get the public discussion going” before the film screens on PBS as part of the Independent Lens series, says Ryan Davis, the Wilkinson’s marketing manager. “We’re in a remote area, and there may not be that many here who have served in the military,” Davis says of this intense, unsparing film. “But this is a chance to be part of that experience.”

Locals’ Poem

In continued celebration of National Poetry Month, this week’s poem is by Beth Paulson, who lives in Ouray. “I try above all to consider the reader or listener in what I write – their enjoyment and understanding of my words are foremost for me,” she says, which is a public-spirited sentiment indeed. This is from Time/Place/Change.

The earth said
 Come to me--or because it was so dazzling
 I thought it was speaking to me.

Whitehouse Mountain of course
 was silent as rocks are
 but it held me for a while
 in its steely shadow.

So I lay down in the tall grass
 and called out the names
 of all the trees and flowers 
I could see--
oak juniper pine
 cone flower sunflower sage.

I knew I couldn't stay forever.

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