Each year, Big Picture Learning holds ‘Big Bang’ an international conference on Student-Centered Learning. This conference is an intergenerational collaboration, where students and educators come together to learn from one another and from the community. This year Big Bang took place in Detroit, MI., in late July.
This year, Director David Gersten was invited to join Education Reimagine’ national working group for Learner Centered Education. The group is holding multiple meetings, bringing together diverse voices from across the country, to work towards expanding Learner Centered opportunities for more children. For the June, meeting held in Denver, Colorado, Associate Director Frida Foberg, was invited to challenge the norms of communication with new modes of expression.
On September 8th, 2019, smudge studio invited our artists in residence for an interactive micro-production. The micro-production, entitled Cosmos Night Flood of Light included a moon-viewing experience and serving of tea. The event, staged to coincide with the September waxing moon, was held outside the Studios, next to the creek.
This Fall we had the great honor of contributing to the ‘Future Unknown’ Chancellor’s Summit held at The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing, China. The project grew from careful consideration of the mission and vision of CAFA and the principles driving the “Future Unknown” initiative to move art and innovation forward by building linkages to many educational and cultural locations around the globe.
Though Arts Letters & Numbers is still a young organization, our partnering organizations, such as the Art Center of the Capital Region have had a crucial role in the regional art scene for a long time. Their Fence Show, now in its 53rd year, is a member show, which originally was exhibited on the iron fence surrounding Washington Park in Troy, the original location of the Arts Center. These days the artwork is displayed salon style (floor-to-ceiling) in their galleries, and all levels of skill and ability are represented, from novice to professional.
Each year, a juror is invited to choose artwork for the Fence Select, an exhibition curated from the works in the fence salon. This year, the Fence Select exhibition was be juried by David Gersten. Together with Frida Foberg and Chris Rose they identified approximately 50 pieces that became the Fence Select, which were on display July - August, 2018.
Over the years we have been fortunate to experience the transformative work of AHS Theater Ensemble and NCBI, bringing students stories, experiences and observations to the stage. The production of 2018, Blaq Boi is a truly deeply moving, pure and honest student written performance about the young black male experiences in this country today.
Director David Gersten was recently honored to participated in ‘Future Unknown: Global Education Summit’ held at CAFA (Central Academy of Fine Arts), Beijing, China. Future Unknown gathered Artists, Designers, Technologist, Educators and Futurists for a two-day exchange on the future of education. David’s address entitled: “Constellations: Hinges Mirrors Eclipses” shared, with a global audience, the mission and vision of Arts Letters & Numbers as a social poetic project. Addressing both future challenges and promises, he spoke of the critical role of diverse cultures and ways of knowing in creating transformation that aspires to our best hopes and aspirations. He called for new models of asking the extraordinary complex questions of our time and outlined a framework of education as a living system with the capacity of developing new pathways of interaction and forms of knowledge.
Future Unknown was the first in a year-long collaboration between CAFA and Arts Letters & Numbers.
This workshop was the first in a series of collaborative projects that Arts Letters & Numbers and UNICEF’s Office of Innovation are planning for the near future. It is a distinct honor and pleasure to be collaborating UNICEF in a partnership that resonates so deeply with the mission of Arts Letters & Numbers.
On October 12th - 14th, 2017, Dr. Krysta Dennis Votes for Women was performed in the House on the Hill, as a collaboration between Arts Letters & Numbers, Siena College Creative Arts Department and Sand Lake Center for the Arts. The performance brought the past and the House on the Hill alive, as the audience members found themselves in the middle of a suffrage march and lead was through the intimate moments from suffrage movement.
SAUCE was a 3-day celebration of Soul, Motown, Funk, Swing, and Blues organized by our friends Joshua Fialkoff and Bryan Brundige. Arts Letters & Numbers hosted the late night dance on Saturday September 30th, where the tunes were accompanied by an edible installation made by Frida Foberg, Merethe Bahn Trolle, Josephine Saabye & Zubin Singh.
Based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, Lionel Bart’s frothy musical adaptation boasts some on the most classic tunes in all of Broadway history. And as with all of AHS Theatre Ensemble's productions, the audience got to experience a “twist on Twist,” as they explored the show’s deeper themes of lost innocence, corruption, classism, and social decay.
In mid-November we were invited to participate in the weekend-long Alternative Art School Fair (AASF) at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, along with +50 other schools/institutions/project spaces.
Over the course of 5 weeks Arts Letters & Numbers hosted the installation Harmonic Sky, a collaborative project created by conceptual artist Megan Mosholder and composer Michael Harrison.
Arts, Letters and Numbers was invited to collaborate with Albany High School’s after school Social Justice Theatre program to witness the students in the telling of their stories and to design a single stage set that would be used for this production along with seven other student-written and performed plays as part of an annual festival. After the festival, ALN hosted the Albany students at the Mill and with Youth FX, a local non-profit film arts program, they filmed and produced a dramatization of students’ stories.
Sun Ship: An Exhibition in support of Arts Letters & Numbers was held at Wilmer Jennings Gallery, in New York City, co-hosted by Dorian Grey Gallery and curated by Director, David Gersten. On view from June 17 till June 30, 2016, the Exhibition contained over 100 works by over 70 artists from more than a dozen countries, all donating their works to support Arts Letters & Numbers. These were emerging and internationally renowned artists, including Dennis Adams, John Ahearn, Michael Benson, Mike Bidlo, Lorenzo Clayton, Martha Cooper, Marylyn Dintenfass, Adeline Kueh, Bill Morrison, Margaret Morton, Laurie Olinder, Walid Raad, James Romberger, David Shapiro, Homa Shojaie, Suha Traboulsi, Ian Woo and Lebbeus Woods, among others.
Bringing together works of the broader Arts Letter & Numbers community, the exhibition opened with a beautiful celebration of these many vibrant and diverse works and voices. The highlight of the evening was a grand piano performance by Michael Harrison followed by a live auction in support of our project. Photos from the exhibition and event are below, and a publication of the exhibition is available here on our website. Sun Ship was new territory for Arts Letters & Numbers and the entire organization sprang into action determined to have the exhibition, publication, events, online and live auctions created and crafted with all of the thoughtfulness, and precision, poured into all of our ALN works.
Albany Highschool Theater Ensemble's Promising Playwrights Festival 2016 was held in the Abrookin Theater in Albany. Seven student written plays was performed over the course of four days. We are very honored that Arts Letters and Numbers have been part of this journey, and we excited about what this collaborative work can bring.
Featuring four immersive rooms that dealt with bullying, loss, identity and empowerment through one's talents and strengths, the young artists wrote their own pieces; there was dance, music, costumes, lighting and even short film pieces.
The book has a capacity to reach across disciplines as no discipline can renounce the book which is what makes it such a universal object/subject.