November 9, 2009

Winners of Arts Innovation Grants announced at Homewood

The Johns Hopkins University has awarded approximately $25,000 in grants to students and faculty to stimulate new courses in the arts and other arts-related efforts on the Homewood campus, said Winston Tabb, vice provost for the arts.

Initiated in 2006, the Arts Innovation Program offers funding to faculty to create new courses in the arts for undergraduates, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary and cross-divisional courses. The program also supports the artistic efforts of students, both those currently engaged in arts activities and those wishing to create a new venture, with an emphasis on making connections between Johns Hopkins students and the Baltimore community.

Six new undergraduate courses will receive support.

In the spring 2010 semester, Tristan Davies, senior lecturer in the Writing Seminars, and Jane Delury, lecturer in the University of Baltimore’s English Department, will offer a collaborative creative writing course—focusing on the Central Baltimore district—for students at Johns Hopkins, the University of Baltimore, Goucher College and Maryland Institute College of Art. The creative work generated by the students will be published electronically, and each of the participating institutions will host a public event related to the course and the physical, historical and cultural resources of the Central Baltimore communities.

In fall 2010, Joan Freedman, director of the Digital Media Center, and Annet Couwenberg, a Fiber Arts faculty member at Maryland Institute College of Art, will offer Smart Textiles Research Lab, a course in which students will investigate innovative smart textile design, such as wearable forms of interactive electronics, and create artwork integrating new textiles.

Four courses have been developed for the Program in Museums and Society by its associate director, Elizabeth Rodini.

In Art in America: A History, co-taught by Rodini and Katherine Gerry, Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the Walters Art Museum, students will research the history of America’s great art museums through the lives of the collectors who founded them. The course will culminate in the development of an online exhibition of photographs, recently discovered in the Walters archives, that document the earliest installations of the museum’s collections. The course will be cross-listed with History of Art.

Deb Weiner, research historian at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, will teach Museum Voices: History Making at the Jewish Museum, in which students will study the ways that history museums choose to tell their stories and will produce oral histories by graduates of the Sinai Hospital School of Nursing and individuals involved in Baltimore’s scrap metal industry. The oral histories will be featured on the Jewish Museum’s Web site and in related exhibitions. The course will be cross-listed with History and Jewish Studies.

In Behind the Scenes at the Walters Art Museum: Relics and Reliquaries, led by Martina Bagnoli, associate curator of medieval art at the Walters, students will study medieval religious objects and the role of materiality in devotional practices through close, independent research on objects from the museum collection. The results will be incorporated into a forthcoming major exhibition on reliquaries and added to the Walters archives. The course will be offered during the fall 2010 semester and cross-listed with History of Art.

In the spring 2011 semester, Michelle Wilkinson, director of collections and exhibitions at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, will teach a course titled At the Lewis Museum: The African-American Experience in WWII. Students will investigate the African-American experience during World War II, and their research will contribute to a forthcoming exhibition at the Lewis and the development of an online component. The course will be cross-listed with History and Africana Studies.

Additionally, three student-proposed arts initiatives will benefit from the funding.

The student dance group JHU Jaywalk, headed by junior public health major Kara Mirski, will present a universitywide dance showcase on April 2, 2010, in partnership with other student dance and vocal ensembles.

The Johns Hopkins chapter of Habitat for Humanity, led by senior history major Kevin Park, will organize a student art exhibition highlighting the organization’s work in Baltimore and around the world, including photographs documenting its post-Katrina rebuilding efforts in New Orleans. Also, student arts groups on campus will be invited to create art inspired by the community-building goals of Habitat for Humanity. The exhibition is scheduled to run April 19 to May 2, 2010.

The Indian classical dance team JHU Shakti, headed by junior Swarnali Sengupta, a biomedical engineering major, and senior Sujal Singh, a molecular and cellular biology major, will receive funding for Nritya Mala, an exhibition of Indian classical dance and music. The event will be held in November 2010, and proceeds will be donated to the Indian nonprofit charity organization Child Rights and You.