On Cleveland: Notes from a Turkish Artist

July 15, 2010

My name is Serpil and I am a visual artist, writer and school counselor visiting Cleveland from  Istanbul, Turkey.  I am working with Young Audiences for several months, and my visit is made possible by The Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion program.  I wanted to share a few impressions about my experience so far.

Since I arrived about a month ago, I have been working with the high school students in Young Audiences’ ArtWorks program.  I am learning and sharing a lot.  I am really impressed that the ArtWorks apprentices are able to work outside in Mother Nature.  When I heard this is where the program takes place, I thought is this possible?  But I have seen that it is more than possible in ArtWorks.  The apprentices are very focused.

As a school counselor I can see the ArtWorks apprentices developing and exhibiting self awareness, individuality, collaboration, self esteem and self respect.  This is very important for young people and a wonderful outcome of the program.

I am teaching the ArtWorks apprentices the Turkish art of paper marbling, also known as Ebru. The technique consists of sprinkling pigment on the surface of a bath of very viscous liquid.  By carefully laying paper over the bath, the floating pigment on top of it is readily transferred to the paper; thus, each Ebru is a one-of-a-kind print.

To obtain beautiful Ebru results, one needs to have a light hand, refined taste and an open mind to the unexpected patterns forming on the water. Patience and a good knowledge of traditional culture are characteristic of Ebru masters.

Turkish Marbled Paper

Cleveland is very amazing city about art especially.   Art is everywhere here, and life is art for me, so I like to be in Cleveland and work here.  People are very helpful and “warm blooded” which is like the Turkish people.

I noticed some differences between American and Turkish students.  Students here have more freedom about what they want to do.  In Turkey there is one set curriculum for the entire country, but here every region has something different.  But I think kids are kids around the world!  Humor and art gives all students a chance to open up and share their experiences.

I suppose paper marbling is a rare thing here, so I am glad to share the beauty of this art form and a little Turkish culture with so many people in Cleveland.

— Serpil Sevgen Schmutz, Young Audiences visiting artist-in-residence from Istanbul, Turkey

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How to Make an Original Production in 5 Days

July 8, 2010

Open Doors, an out of school enrichment program, has a wonderful summer camp for middle school students at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights.  This summer several Young Audiences artists are working each week with the students in dance, theater, music and visual art, and culminating each week with an original production.

On July 2nd, about 15 campers produced and participated in “Taking Care of Business,” an original short story based on a scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  The campers discussed the idea of “why people fight” and “why can’t people get along?”  In only FIVE days, a script with music, dance and costumes was created, rehearsed and performed for the community.

The theme of the performance was how to end conflict and was illustrated creatively through song, dance and acting.  In the words of the campers, “Know there is one earth to share for us all.” We look forward to more creativity this summer with Open Doors!


Winner of Cover Art Contest

July 1, 2010

 We decided to celebrate the start of the 2010-2011 school year with a new design for the cover of the Young Audiences program guide. Each year we mail copied of this 60 page brochure to educators all across Northeast Ohio. This year we held a contest and asked students to send us their best work.  The best artwork would become the cover design for the program guide.

Our cover art contest attracted more than 60 beautiful pieces of artwork submitted by a variety students, ranging in age from kindergarten through high school. Their artwork came in all kinds of mediums from crayon on paper to acrylic on canvas.

The winning artwork to be featured on the cover of the program guide is by Mary Kate McCafferty, a sophomore at St. Joseph Academy in Cleveland.  Her piece, entitled Sun, is a photograph of chalk on concrete.  Mary Kate said of her artwork, “I was inspired by the sunshine logo of Young Audiences.  I made it more colorful and stylized.  I changed the brightness and contrast settings so the colors would pop against the sidewalk.”

Sun by Mary Kate McCafferty

Here are some examples of the other submissions we received. Click here to see all the contest entries.

“Spaceman with ‘Young Audiences'” by Nathaniel Van Kirk, 1st grade, Boulevard Elementary School

“This is me taking Young Audiences to other worlds.”

“Around the World in Art” by Agatha Mathoslnh, 1st grade, Boulevard Elementary School

“We are all the same. We are all different. We have different music, dancing and thoughts, but we can learn about them all and grow together.”

“Creative Vortext” by Samuel Tate, 11th grade, Horizon Science Academy

“This piece represents the fusion of the arts to a central point, the ArtWorks program.”

“Math Bath” by Ivy Hairston, Boulevard Elementary School

“I made a math bath because I love math and also my math teacher.”

“Dancing Girl” by Yitti Greenberger, Pre-K, Hebrew Academy of Cleveland

“This girl is happy because everyday she comes home from school and dances to mucis. She’s wearing a ‘fancy curly skirt’. In this picture she is dancing to the music from the CD player (on the floor).”

“Curiosity” by Abby Meinen, 9th grade, Mentor High School

“In this piece I imitated the brushstroke and the style of Pierre Renoir and the ideas of impressionist painting. The piece also portrays the curiosity of childhood and the desire to explore. The child’s yellow dress is a bright reminder to the peaceful and happy spirit of children, something I tried to illustrate in the piece.”

Thanks to all of the students who submitted artwork to Young Audiences.  We appreciate your efforts!