Wednesday, July 31, 2013



Quote from Google image for educational purposes only

In a wonderful article by Robert lynch he outlines why the arts are so important in America as an agent for change and I would argue the world as well. Below is a conversation Robert Lynch had with Max Eternity of TruthOut online magazine.

Art "is something we see central to great civilizations throughout the world for thousands of years," so when we "think of Paris or Rome or Beijing or ancient Cairo..we think artistic presence and cultural thriving, "Art is basically, "America's secret weapon of positive change," said Lynch.

 When I think of the kind of economic change we need as a country and as I look through the lends of turning our economy around then I understand what Lynch is saying. America, as well as much of the world, has gone through ar great recession in recent years. Some could well argue it is more like a depression.  How do we turn our country around, how do we get back on our feet, and how do we get stronger as a people?  It is here Lynche's view finds its strength.  His argument is sound and as we say here, it "has legs".

The arts provide a way for people better to understand "who they are in a time in history where that is desperately needed," says Robert Lynch.

In difficult times nations lose their way, civilizations flounder.  Through all times the arts have given people a way to express their nature and beliefs.  It is a reflection of who we are and defines us as a people and country.  I have been involved in art advocacy my whole adult life, as an arts teacher and as an artist.  I have seen it as essential to education for our young people, as well as, for our all our citizenry. I have spent a lifetime convincing teachers, administrators, and the community about the importance of the arts in our society.  As interesting as it may be, I never had to convince children, they innately knew.  For children the come into this world with art as part of their being, it is the adults in their world who teach them that it is not practical, it is childish, and to make art non integral part of their lives.  In essence we kill their artist sense and spirit very early.  And in doing so we kill something very important in our society and ourselves. 

"In the United States, if you think about the roots of our culture, there was a time in this continent, pre-columbus, where art was a central part of American Cultures, which is to say in Native American cultures. There is not even a word of art  there because it's not separate, art was essentially part of everything:clothing, ritual, potter et al."

"Art aids communtiy development, and studies show the multiplied benefits of art.  For instance, in a report by Americans for the Arts, which cites research front the College Board on SAT scores, it was discovered students who had four years of art and music classes, on average scored about 100 points better on their SAT'S than students who took only one-half year or less"  of art and music.  And another report by Americans for the Arts cites that James Catterall, professor emeritus at UCLA and author of Doing well and and Doing Good by Doing Art  informs that low-income students "who are highly engaged in the arts are more than twice as likely as their peers with low arts involvement to have earned a Bachelor's degree."

So how do we go about achieving this idea that art can be a secret weapon for change in the United States?

"Today we are seeing the arts being used to help solve many problems: The arts and community development, the arts and law enforcement for crime prevention, the arts and healing.  I want to see more opportunity for kids and adults to have acces to the arts to be used in community advancement."
Additionally, Lynch emphasizes five target points that he believes to be especially capable of creating social change. 

1) The arts as partner in communicating and facilitating the diversification of America.
2) The use of the arts in healing and health environments-including the role of the arts in the healing of our returning wounded military.
3) The arts as a modifying influence on violence, including, but not limited to gun violence.
4) Improving overall pre-k through 12 education results in America by increasing arts education in our schools.
5) Helping to create a safer country and world through International Cultural Diplomacy.

"Art is being used creatively as a problem solver-this goes all the way back to Native American life and as a growth thing to help people move forward".

"Funding is the main issue in the United States for the survival, strength, and growth of the arts.  In Europe the arts are funded by the government at a much higher rate.  In Europe it is a vastly different system: the majority of the funding comes from the government-like 80 or 90 percent. Our system is an incentive or leverage system, so a small amount of money will be invested in hopes of attracting private money. So your looking at about 9 percent at a local level.
Every American should have access to the arts, but a significant and growing new phenomena is the arts being found by and used by, other aspects of our society-like the military working with wounded warriors or at risk student programs where they have discovered that arts help recidivism rates and improving communications. We also see the arts being used in 50 percent of the hospitals." 

from google image for educational purposes only

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


You may recall New York glass artist Joseph Cavalieri from my past blogs. As well as showing his work in galleries and museums, Joseph teaches, and has a few upcoming workshops on painting on glass classes here in the US and in Europe. Upcoming are two classes in Germany. The first is at Bild-Werk-Frauenau, a school nestled in the Bavarian Forrest, outside of Munich, Germany.( August 31-Septmember 9th).  Joseph taught a full group of students here in 2011 and has a few return students this year.  The location reminds him of a German version of Woodstock. Quiet, healthy: a perfect place to create. Following this class is a class at the new Berlin Glas. (September 9-22nd). 
This is one of the first classes at this class center in the middle of Berlin.

Joseph discussing Student Workshop Creation

Wonderful Student Work
Back in the states, Joseph has a class at Gallery Northin Long Island, New York (October 18-20), followed by a weekend class at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn, New York (October 26-27, 2013).  This winter he will be back at the Studios at Key West for a warm weather class (November 9-11, 2013).

Sunday, July 28, 2013


NewTown Reaches for the Arts in Their Search for Healing(click)

Newton Uses Art for Healing                                        from google image for educational purposes only

It has been long known that the arts are powerful healers.
As far back as ancient Greeks music and art were used in healing, as well as positive thought, in Asclepion's (hospitals). During the time I lived in Turkey I visited the ruins of an Asclepion in Bergama. It was fascinating to hear how the sound of water, music, art and positive words were used to heal those with physical and mental conditions. I walked down a stone tunnel that had portals cut above and there the doctors would call out positive words for their patients below! I was so enamored that what I deemed as progressive medical thought was born centuries ago.
NewTown, Connecticut experienced one of the worst acts of violence this country has known with the murder of 20 young children and 6 adults.  A mentally deranged young man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary and proceeded to massacre innocent young children and their teachers in a senseless act of violence.  The parents, families and community have continued to struggle to with this loss in the aftermath of the shootings.  The community has reached out to the arts for healing and it seems to be working.  Comments from a community post are listed below.

"Every day we see individuals come into our Healing NewTown arts space to gather, reflect, share and look for support," said Jennifer Johnston, a lifelong NewTown resident and chairwoman of the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission. "We are really seeing signs of growth in these children through the artwork they have been creating. Each project is unique and helpful to them."

"Every day we see individuals come into our Healing NewTown arts space to gather, reflect, share and look for support," said Jennifer Johnston, a lifelong Newtown resident and chairwoman of the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission. "We are really seeing signs of growth in these children through the artwork they have been creating. Each project is unique and helpful to them."

"There is real healing when the community comes together," said Jennifer Rogers, NCAC's vice-chairman and a member of the Healing Newtown team. "The arts help you process your emotions when you can't talk about it, when it's just too hard to say what's on your mind."
Comments posted by  Katie O'Conner in News Around Town, NewTown, Connecticut

Art lets us express our feelings in a way that words cannot. We can communicate complex feelings that escape us in our conscious  mind.   

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Let Me Crochet You Up A Portrait!

Portraits by Crocheting? Yes You Heard Me Right!
Jo Hamiltons Amazing Crotchet Portraits           from Google image for educational purpose only

There are so many unusual applications of art lately in alternate methods.  Every thing from bottle caps, to pins, to food.  It is quite interesting to see all of the ways creative people come up with to translate their talent into visual images.  An art teacher friend sent this to me recently and I thought you would enjoy it also.  It is taking the craft of crocheting to a fine art.  I think of all the crocheting I watched my Grandmother and Mother's nimble fingers crafting bedspreads and clothing growing up. There were always crocheting needles about the house.  I know they thought I would carry on the heritage, but I got the art part of the genes, not the craft part.  
Recently in the St. Pete area of Florida they had a arty knitting project going on where things took a three dimensional form.
So now lets look at Jo Hamiliton's unique portraits in crocheting.

Jo Hamilton Crochet Art Portraits    from google for educational purposes
Jo Hamilton's Crochet Art Portraits   

Friday, July 26, 2013



An Editorial by Rabbit's Moon Studio

Metropolitan Museum of Art                                   from google image for educational purposes onl

Most of my post are on artists, art advocacy or giving an inner look of an artists thought process through my own art work, but this is a discussion that I think needs to be had.  Can Art Museums justify the rising cost of their entrance fees? 

Out of Money                                    from google image  

The average cost of art museums has been rising steadily with the cost of the economy, but to some extent much at a much faster rate.  Insurance costs, electricity, staff salaries and much more go into the reasoning. What I have noticed is smaller museums are charging as much as the mega museums like Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Modern Museum of Art or The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Philadelphia Museum of Art              google image

Smaller cities and communities do not have the same high fees as a large city like New York or Chicago or Los Angeles.  But even then in large cities can this be justified?  That is a question for us to look at and ponder.  Along with what is the purpose of an art museum and what is the purpose of art? Is it education or is it solely for profit?
And to look closely at the fees should we be charging students and schools who want an educational trip?  Should we be charging seniors on a limited budget?  Should we be charging parking fees in areas where parking is not an issue?  Should museums charge at all?  Should they be free and non-profit seeking making their monies in other ways. 
I first became aware of the problem when a local museum I love raised their fees to $21 dollars.  Then other museums in the area began to raise their prices.  The museum also stopped honoring its reciprocal agreements with NARM within 50 miles.  One pays an extra fee to the museums to belong to the North American Reciprocal Agreement for Museum.  So not to honor NARM in your area, just to force people to come to your museum alone and  pay an extra fee seems like an unfair practice.  
As an art educator I have taken hundreds if not thousands of children to art museums on field trips.  Many of the schools I preferred to teach in were low income, poverty challenged schools.  These schools could rarely afford any fee of any kind. The children came form the most impoverished of backgrounds.  Should art museums be asking a profit from these schools and children?
Most of these children will never have an opportunity to visit a museum again in their whole lives if they do not have the exposure in school.  
It is my opinion that fees should be little, nominal at best.  The purpose of an art museum in my view is to share and educate people on the value of art and artists. It is to learn about how visual artist see our world and help us experience it. Museums should never charge schools or any educational purpose of visits.  
If you think of it this way, a family taking their children would be spending a huge amount of money that would make a visit a one time event rather than a constant educational experience of their children.  And how does this limit us as a society and civilization if we take art experiences out of the realm of the average citizen to that of the elite?  I think art museums need to revaluate their purpose and direction. 

Dallas Museum of Art             from google image solely for educational purposes

 Are their other ways to fund raise, and to sfinancially support their collection and cost.  Dallas Museum of Art is one museum that is leading the way in a more inclusive approach. Kudo's to you Dallas Museum of art and all museums that are working out ways for the general public to be part of your art family!

This is an article on new museum thinking on art fees and relationships with the general public.  This type of thinking gives me hope their will be new more inclusive ways of including all citizens.

"Museums are relying less on attention-getting art or blockbuster exhibits and re-examining how they relate to the public as they compete with other kinds of entertainment, according to experts. While science museum and aquarium attendance remains strong, art museums are seeing mostly flat growth, with spikes in visitors for extraordinarily popular exhibitions like the recent“Picasso Black and White” at the Guggenheim.
Museums are also finding that as baby boomers age and their money goes to other purposes or other generations, the institutions need to cultivate new groups as bases of support.
Mr. Anderson says he is upending the museum-world conventions of paid entry and paid basic membership in an attempt to bring in people who might find a museum visit too costly.
“We wanted to deepen community involvement and get repeat attendance,” said Mr. Anderson in explaining the decision, put in place in late January, to end the general entrance and basic membership fees. More than 60 percent of American museums charge a general admission fee, according to the American Alliance of Museums. The admission fee helps defray operating costs, as do paid memberships, renting out space, retail sales and donor gifts.We should know that as a viewing public we need to value the arts as much as sports or any other venue, but should we be priced out of attending at all." from the New York Times Art Section.

Art museums should be for all of us, not just the rich! 

addendum: One point I should have made is that every national and local government should be supplementing and supporting it art museums.  And fairly to add to this discussion in an economic recessive time the USA and other countries have cut their funding to museums and art programs across the county and around the world.  It is the last place that should be cut, but in the arts we know it is the first place that is often cut.  

****If you know a museum that is being inclusive, that is making art affordable for all, that has a new approach to engaging their audience please email or add to comment and I will be more than happy to honor them and give them a shout out!!!!****

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Montreal Mural Festival


Montreal Mural Festival

Montreal is a wonderful city.  I went a number of years ago with a friend to the conference for the Association for Death Education and Counseling.  I was tagging along as the art viewer while my partner attended the Conference.  
It had just turned spring after a harsh winter and everyone was delighted to see the sun and flowers peaking out for growth.  I fell in love with the city.  It was quaint, charming, modern, and definite art town with wonderful galleries.  The food was delightful and a great ethnic variety.  

Montreal Mural Festival                      from google image for educational purpose only

I wish there had been a mural festival then, I would have absolutely stayed for it.  After viewing the mural program in Philadelphia I was hooked.  It is such a fantastic way for the general public to share the value and beauty of the arts.  
Jamie Rojo and Steven Harrington             Montreal Mural Festival

As museums have gone up in cost, it is not as easy for low income people of families to attend.  But murals beautify the city and they can be shared by all! 

Jamie Rojo and Steven Harrington                          Montreal Mural Festival
So when I ran across this on line I had to share it with you.  Recently cities near me and those I have visited have had a mural added to their venue, but a whole festival!!!! Wow!  So now lets take a look at the Montreal Mural FestivaL. A massive event took place this summer with over 20 artists form different countries and 800,000 people visiting over a four day period!  
When in St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida recently I observed two new large murals that had been added to the cities public art.  Now in Asheville, North Carolina I have seen several murals throughout the city. 
Perhaps, just perhaps, you can plan one for your community as well! Diego Rivera was right it is the art of the people!! 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Connoisseur

The Art Appreciators, The Art Lovers, The Connoisseur of Fine Things

There are many people who play a variety of roles in art.  There is the artists themselves, the gallery owners, art museums, critics, framers, newspaper reviewers, the general public, the collectors and the art lover. I think we often forget in the art world how important the role of the art appreciator is and in art education we often forget to understand the importance of that area as well.  Not all people who take art classes will become artists, but they do have a talent that can take years in the making.  To appreciate, to love art, to have a passion for creators and the creation takes a special person who has developed over time and evolved with experience and exposure to fine art.  There are appreciators in all fields, the stamp collector, the coin collector, antique doll collector and so on.  These people become educated in one subject, the gain an unparalleled knowledge of a particular area.  We all know the wine connoisseur as a fine appreciator...even movies are made about this type of hobby where we poke a bit of fun at how some people take it to extremes. ( Sideways)
The Connoisseur by Elizabeth Gordon
My friend and Connoisseur Excellent Sally
The Art world would not exist without the refined lover of art, without the collectors and the viewers. The better educated they are in their field the better it is for us as artists.  It is one of the reasons art education is so important.  Appreciation needs to be trained and educated. There are those who can teach themselves because they have a passion for art, but as a civilization we all become stronger if our citizen are nurtured in the arts in their whole education.  It is the same for music, writing, drama, dance and visual arts.  To have knowledge of something helps us to understand, to value, and to appreciate.  They do what the rest of us cannot do, they can value and discern with a keene eye from a view point that is solely dedicated to the love of the object before them. So it is with though we honor you and you skill and your love of the arts...Heres to you, our hats are off, The Art Lover, The Connoissuer-We cannot do with out you! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Photo detail of  art aseemblage Home by Elizabeth Gordon

I have been in love with bugs as long as I can remember.  My Mother the biologist and science teacher invited us into her classroom when she invited us into the world.  She told us stories of insect, gave them names and explained how they lived and the good they did for us all.  She told us how important they were to the world through her stories.  Grandaddy Long Legs who lived in the bath tub, who would pop down the spout only to pop up again after water drained out.  The doodle bugs who live in Mississippi dirt and made holes in the ground. There is even a childrens saying...Doodle bug, doodle bug, your house is on fire....  She taught us how to catch Black Widow Spiders safely at young age.  We learned about ant hills and had ant farm so we could watch how industrious they were.  My brother had a wonderful butterfly collection and many after noons were spent in the Mississippi woods with a net in hand and a little sister following.  There were lessons on preserving and pinning butterflies and so many many things.  I wish everyone could have had our childhood in that way.  A most memorable part of my early education was when I was about 5 years old and my Mother was finishing up her Masters Degree.  My brother and I would go with her to Mississippi State on Saturdays and spend the day while she was in classes.  Our favorite place was the natural history department and display hall.  And yes thee were insects galore!  
As I went on in life those lessons never left me.  Insects continued to fascinate me and still do.  I learned about the art of Joseph Cornell and others who used insects in their work and realized I could too.  I studied the work of Nancy Graves whose Father was an Archeologist and the influence it had on her work. More recently I have become aware of the work of Christopher Marly who uses insects totally in his work.  As I researched more I became aware that insects have been used in art for centuries...more by painting or the use of their properties for making colors in paints that the actual insect.  
But for me, it is the love of the insect..whether by transfer, drawing or the actual preservation of the actual insect.  I just love insects and the huge variety, shape and color of the species.

Artist who uses insects

Monday, July 22, 2013


Don't you think cats are quite artful?  I do, they just have this way about them posing and slinking about, teasing and flirting, and just when you think they will let you pet them.....poof they are gone.  Have you ever opened a door for a cat to go out or in?  It is an act of frustration, they can't decided, in or out, out or in...hmmmm what do I want to do !  Just keep holding the door open and look like a fool! This wonderful kitty with the fancy collar helps his owner at a jewelry store. Many of Asheville's shops have a resident cat or dog.  It is a very pet friendly town, even the restaurants have outdoor patio's where you dog can be with you while you eat.  I was thinking perhaps I should photograph all the dogs and cats that are in the shops, write down their stories and names, and make a calendar...what do you think?

photo work by Elizabeth Gordon

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Hendrik Kerstens is a Dutch artist whose photography is quite extraordinary.  I think you will agree when you view them as well.  He is a new artist to me and perhaps to you, but he is quite worth of us learning more about.

Hendrik Kerstens   

"when hendrik kerstens decided to dedicate himself entirely to photography in 1995, he turned to a model very near at hand: his daughter paula. he wanted to document all the important moments in her life, to ‘be there’, to capture something of the fleeting moments that fade from memory all too quickly. the inquisitive eye of the photographer plays an important part in the process: he sets out to catch a glimpse of his subject’s secret being and tries to understand what it is he sees.

  Google Image  for educational purposes only
he is fascinated and amazed by the fact that every human being, no matter how familiar, is ‘other’, a mystery that can never be completely unravelled. the project became known as ‘paula pictures’, one of which went on to win the panl-award.
something else is going on in kerstens’ photographs. time and time again he uses his daughter as a model, immortalizing her, as if to stop time and oblivion.
Hendrik Kerstens   for educational purposes only

not only does he picture her in relation to events in her own life, he also projects on her his fascination with the dutch painters of the seventeenth century." source  Wizenhausen Gallery Biography.  

When You Meet The Art Before The Artist

For several years I had been going to the River Arts District in Asheville where there are wonderful art studios in old warehouses down by the French Broad River.  In years past Asheville was a very industrial town.  The large red brick warehouses are remnants of that time.  Artists are always need large spaces and love unused old buildings.  We are very good a turning around old dilapidated spaces into thriving areas of condos and shops and galleries that we then can no longer afford to be in! 
At any rate ever time I  would come to the River Arts area I would notice these giant ceramic statues and be in awe of who could make and fire such pottery pieces.  The artist, however never seemed to be in the studio on my rare visits.  This last time she was.  And I was so surprised, she was female and young.  In my minds eye I had created a male potter, big and strong to do such large pieces.  In the photo's below you see her working on smaller pieces, but the ones I love best are these giant sentinels that guard the garden outside the studio.  Now I will have to go back and get her name to share with you because I am on the road traveling and left her card at home.  But if you go to Asheville and go to the River Arts District, you will see these giant guards of the garden, go in and tell the artist Rabbit's Moon Studio sent you!

Large Ceramic Garden Statues 

Artist working on smaller pieces.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Joys and Fears of Showing Your Art

Photo Elizabeth Gordon of my Assemblage "Home"

I don't care whether it is Monet or Rembrandt or Picasso or Rauschenberg or Da Vinci or Van Gogh when you show your work you are filled with fears and doubts.  Even the greatest artist or the largest ego has to reckon with the praise and criticism of sharing ones work with others. 

You are sharing the most intimate vulnerable part of yourself when you share your art. It is your creation, your child, your being that is being tossed out to adorning public or to the wolves....or so it seems.  I  remember once an 
artist saying they would rather 
Science vials with cocoon, leaf bug, and cicada 
receive an A or an F in art class and nothing in between.  An A would show success and an F would show an extreme reaction which is what artist want one way or another, but to be ignored, well that would be the worst!
There is a great joy walking into a gallery or show and seeing ones work displayed surrounded by other work.  It is creativity come alive.  So many thoughts artists have, so many ideas that may or may not come to fruition, but those that do become a physical reality in the world. In essence they are born.  

detail with statue of Liberty transfer, home lettering, and Turkish beads
In earlier post I took you through the creation of this assemblage called Home. That was the theme of the Morean Art Center Show this year.  The actual title is Home in many languages.  I talked to you about my thought processes as an artist and decision making along the way.  Every artist works differently, some intuitively like myself, and others that plan every move, cut and stroke.  But we all start the same, with an idea that is vague and begins to take shape and form in our minds.  I think it is the same for writers and musicians and actors and all creators.  The idea is the seed and must germinate in a form.  We, the artist, are the conduit that brings the form alive.  

Assemblage by Elizabeth Gordon "Home"
Assemblage by Elizabeth Gordon "Home"
porcelain glove mold hand, rusted disk and metal ribbon

Hornets nest, letter of home in different languages and rusted disk

When I walk through a gallery I think about how people may react and whether I may see someone look at my work. 
My work is not easy to come to, not like a painting of a person or flower or image. I ask you to think and experience.  

I put symbology of all kinds, as if a language to help you enter the piece and interpret from your paradigm.   I am a Surrealist at heart and I love the artifacts of our culture and time.  I am a frustrated anthropologist at best and at worst a collector of refuse.  I will fight you for a piece of rust!  But I come by all this very honestly.  
Morean Members Art Show 
My Mother loved science, nature, and biology.  We hunted fossils as long as I can remember and studied ancient cultures.  I think my Mother was the original recycler...she was green before people knew what green was.  There was nothing to be thrown away, a depression baby, all had to be reused.  I was an alley rider and trash hunter by 7 years old and never stopped. Symbols and hidden meaning became more and more important to me as I traveled the world and lived in different cultures.  So now you can see how I began to develop as an artist and person.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Visiting Art Dogs of Rabbit's Moon Studio

Recently we had an influx of dog visitors at Rabbit's Moon studio, our dog Vinci played host, a spoiled one, but a host non the less!

As the resident artist Leonardo Da Vinci anxiously awaits the arrival of his artist dog guests at the mountain studio! It took great concentration on his part not to show excitement and to effect boredom.   

Riley Renior meditating on his reclining nude painting of rabbits.  Is the art world ready?

Ginny Alpha Dog Cassett is thinking a Paris cafe may be more to her liking if there are not cats about.


             Minnie Mouse O'keeffe was off put by the lack of cow skulls and concentrated on long naps dreaming of large flowers.

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