Friday, November 27, 2009

Refugees at the Walters

Hello and happy post-Thanksgiving, everyone!  I'm sure you are all still digesting your turkey, like I am.  Recently, I have been lucky enough to work with and teach refugees at The Walters.  In years past, The Walters has worked with Baltimore City Community College's Refugee Youth Program (RYP), an after-school program for refugee youth at various Baltimore schools that helps them with learning English, homework, and generally fitting in.  In addition to RYP, The Walters also worked with the HOPE program, another after-school refugee program through the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

I taught children from both groups, and had a WONDERFUL time!  They are so joyous and eager to learn, despite all they have gone through in their young lives, and their enthusiasm is infectious.  They are also a challenge for me as a teacher, as they have some behavior/social custom issues as well as low English levels.  Working with them is a great opportunity for me to grow as a teacher.  I usually work with preschoolers, and to work with the refugees I had to learn techniques and skills for teaching second language learners, which is totally new for me.  I think I did well when I put them into practice with my students, and I hope I was able to help them learn new words in English and have fun with art!

These pictures are all from the HOPE visit.  The RYP students have been in this country, as well as coming to The Walters, for several years now and have fairly good English levels.  However this was the first year at The Walters for the HOPE students, and many of them had very, very low English levels as well.  They were so excited to be at the museum, though, and were super well-behaved.  I was teaching a younger group with some of the lowest English levels overall.  They didn't say much and I'm not sure whether I really got through to them or not.  We looked at the Heroes exhibition and talked about monsters.  Afterwards, we went downstairs and made our own collaged monsters.  They really got into the studio project and did a great job with their monsters!  We colored coloring sheets and took pictures afterward, and whenever someone would finish a coloring sheet they'd bring it to me and I would point at the different colors and have them repeat the names of the colors after me.  They loved taking pictures, and all in all I think they had a great visit.  I can't wait to work with the Refugees again, I learn just as much from them as I hope they do from me, and it feels like I'm doing something helpful and good for these refugees as they try to make a home for themselves here in America.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Highway to Nowhere

Art Action and Civic Engagement
Yesterday, my fellow Master's candidates and I met with MACA alum Ashley Milburn ('07) to talk about his on-going work with the 'Highway to Nowhere'. The project is centered on the "multi-mile stretch of Route 40 between Martin Luther King Jr. , Boulevard and the West Baltimore MARC station that dead-ends in the middle of the city". Ashley is currently working with community residents to transform the space into the East Coast's largest mural space that would employ thousands of artists and city-residents and revitalize the community of W. Baltimore potentially drawing tourists from around the globe.

The History of the Highway
"Before its completion in 1979, the highway displaced thousands of residents and more than 700 homes, schools, hospitals and small businesses, disrupting life in the black community [of W. Baltimore]. The original plan called for the highway to connect with Interstate 70. Instead, it simply cuts off after about a mile and quite literally goes nowhere."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Spotlight: Tamar Mogendorff

Hello!!! I'm back!!!  I know you're all as excited as I am, and I have to say first and foremost that I am sorry to have been gone for so long!  I have been such a slacker blog-wise, but only because I have been such a workaholic otherwise.  I am happy to report that I am enjoying my new job at Whole Foods very much, and am feeling pretty settled in at this point.

On another blog post related note, for the second (or third?) time now I am going to alter my posting schedule.  In the beginning, I was so psyched and energized about this blog, and had very lofty goals and ambitions for it.  I set my sights very high in terms of what I would be able to do, mainly the amount of time I would be able to devote to posting.  While I am still very psyched and energized about blogging here on The Art Caravan, and very devoted to bringing you all awesome art and art history posts, I am forced to admit that even my scaled-back goal of one post a day every weekday has become very difficult, given that I am working 7+ hour days 6-7 days a week.  I do not want writing this blog to become a burden, a source of stress, or an obligation for me- and that is what will happen if I keep trying to meet overly ambitious goals!  It is no fun to have to scale back- it is always better to start with modest posting goals and then increase the amount you post over time.  However, my schedule has worked in the opposite direction- I have gone from having too much free time to too little! point is that from now on I will have no posting goal.  I will post when I can, whenever I can, and will always post enthusiastic and exciting posts that will make you forget I am not posting more!  However, that being said, I will always make an effort to post as much as I possibly can. :)

Now, moving artist Tamar Mogendorff!  I "discovered" Tamar's work on artist Lena Corwin's blog.  It is so precious!  Everything she does is like a magical little dream, sweet and childlike but also mature and intricate.  Her wondrous creations make me smile.  On her website, this quote is posted from Milk Book (Hors-serie Deco | October 2008):
"Using thousand and thousand of fabrics and threads to create her ideas in her Brooklyn workshop, Tamar Mogendorff's world is populated with swans, bears and mushrooms carefully made by her fairy fingers.  The originality of her creations is in the choice and assembly of the fabrics from gaudy to the precious, the subtle or solid."

I just can't get over how lovely and special all her pieces are.  They are like little treasures, worthy of being coveted and held on to.  Some artists just speak to you, just make you so happy (and sort of jealous at the same time- I would love to make work like Tamar's!), and I like her work more than many other artists' work that I've seen lately.  She makes me feel inspired to learn to sew, and do cool things with fabric.

You can check out Tamar's work on her website,

Monday, November 9, 2009

Be back soon!

Hi everyone!  I'm sorry that I have TOTALLY SLACKED on posts for the last couple of days.  I just started at Whole Foods and I am trying to adjust.  I am working ALL THE TIME! But adjust I will and I will soon be back with all my normal posts.  :) ~Sarah

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Art Goods: Elisa Shere Jewelry

Hello, everyone!  Today was my first day at WHOLE FOODS!  It was very exciting and fun and I'm a little pooped out/overloaded with information.  So today I am bringing you a (small) post on the jewelry of Elisa Shere.  Elisa Shere is a jewelry maker/metalsmith here in Baltimore who makes "Eco-silver jewelry with a rustic urban feel."  I do consider jewelry making an art, and you may have noticed that lately I have been posting what I am now calling "Art Goods"- basically art pieces that are functional or more retail-y, like plates or necklaces or what-have you.....and Elisa Shere's gorgeous, minimalist, recycled, and all-around awesome jewelry is a great of example of art that doesn't have to hang on a wall in your home or at a gallery.

I own a ring exactly like the one above, which I bought at Baltimore's massive yearly arts festival, Artscape, this year. I walked up to her booth, looked down at this ring, and swooned immediately.  I don't often buy jewelry, and I am quite particular about what I like, but still I was on a tight budget and really couldn't afford it.  So, I walked on and tried to find something else I liked that was a bit...cheaper.  A block down the street, I realized it was no use, called my bank to double-check, and walked right back and bought it.  And I am so glad I did, as I absolutely LOVE my ring and have never regretted the purchase (even if I had to eat PB&J's for a couple of nights)!  I feel that anyone who picks up an Elisa Shere piece probably feels the same way- you walk around all day feeling like what you are wearing is truly a piece of art and not just another ring or necklace or whatever.  Hopefully I can pick up a few more of her pieces in time, and have my own little Elisa Shere collection!  (P.S. Sorry if this post wasn't very exciting for the male readers out there....but maybe it's a good little gift idea for those special ladies in your life?)  ~Sarah

Check out Elisa's work at her Etsy shop,, and visit her at her blog,!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quotes: Paula Rego

"Every change is a form of liberation.  My mother used to say a change is always good even if it's for the worse."
-Paula Rego

Personally, I don't think a change for the worse is always better than no change at all, but I think it's important to always be moving forward...and I love Paula Rego's work! :) ~Sarah