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WHAT IS AN OPEN BOOK?

AN OPEN BOOK is an exhibition of Barbara Ellmann’s paintings and drawings, as well as a visual information lab which is intended to provide visual contextual cues that allow visitors to engage further with the work.

It is an ongoing experiment in the exploration of multiple modes of collaborative work and community engagement through aesthetics.

It is inspired by the collaboration inherent in the teacher-student relationship, a core idea in the conceptual framework of Barbara Ellmann’s work.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE GOALS OF AN OPEN BOOK?

To present the mutual influences of teaching and doing.

To emphasize visual rather than verbal language as a means for creative critical thinking.

To reach diverse audiences and communities.

IS THIS EXHIBITION AVAILABLE TO TRAVEL TO OTHER INSTITUTIONS?

Yes! A tour is being organized. The curator and artist are interested in working with a variety of institutions and communities to produce more installments of AN OPEN BOOK. Whether you are an education, community, or exhibiting organization, please inquire at anopenbooktour@gmail.com.

IS THERE A CATALOG FOR THIS EXHIBITION?

Yes. You can view it online here.

You can also purchase a copy here.

HOW DID THE PARTNERSHIPS WORK TO PRODUCE AN OPEN BOOK?

Each partner was engaged throughout the development of the exhibition in various ways. Ultimately the design of the exhibition was produced by the curator, Sophia Marisa Lucas , and the artist, Barbara Ellmann, with a great deal of collective brainstorming along the way to ensure that the exhibition would be useful to all parties.

WHAT WERE SOME OF THE BENEFITS TO THE COLLABORATION?

The most significant benefits were in reaching diverse audiences throughout the community, and in all of the cross-educational avenues between partners and their various areas of expertise. Here are some highlights:

In the first iteration:

Education For the Arts was able to organize for 1822 students to view and study the exhibition with their aesthetic education program. The exhibition is featured on their website for their teaching artists and educators.

In addition, a professional development for 70 Head Start teachers was organized by EFA around AN OPEN BOOK. As a result, over 600 Head Start students will be making art based on concepts in the exhibition. The work will be displayed for Kalamazoo’s Art Hop in May 2014.

The Arts Education Department at WMU used the exhibition as a focus for their SMArt program, in which art education students instruct students ages 7-14 in exhibition-based workshops. About 100 students were able to study the exhibition with SMArt.

The Fine Arts program at WMU has also taken advantage of the exhibition, with over 135 undergraduate students studying the exhibition as part of their curriculum.

The work was installed by WMU students, led by registrar and WMU collection curator, Mindi Bagnall.

Ellmann and Lucas gave a public talk at WMU.

In the second iteration:

The McCallum Theatre Institute incited 56 classrooms, about 1600 hundred students to tour the show with their teaching artists.

Read some teacher responses here.

Ellmann and Lucas gave several talks and Q&A sessions including:

The McCallum’s MUSES Education Ambassadors, women who acted as additional guides for student groups.

The Ophelia Project, an mentoring organization that supports high school age girls who are identified as at-risk.

The Idyllwild Arts Academy, a private high school specializing in the arts.

The Boys & Girls Club Jazz Band of Coachella Valley played at the opening.

HOW CAN I SEE MORE OF THE ARTIST’S WORK?

You can go to http://www.barbaraellmann.com

HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT ENCAUSTIC?

Please visit the website of R&F Handmade paints, the manufacturer Barbara Ellmann buys her paint from. (She also teaches encaustic paint workshops through R&F)

WHO TOOK THE PHOTOS ON THIS WEBSITE?

All installation shots (lab and artwork) are by Mary Whalen. The view from Ellmann’s studio is by Peter Chin. Photos of visitors and students are by researcher, Andra Miletta

GENERAL QUESTIONS?

anopenbooktour@gmail.com

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