seniors watching performance

By Resident Reed Browning

Amanda-400wOn Tuesday evening, June 4, in a jam-packed Amelia Gathering Room, Amanda Modelski and Lexie Dungan were the stars of the “Meet the Artists” presentation that they had crafted to introduce themselves to the residents of Kendal at Granville. Amanda and Lexie are the two young women who will be serving as artists-in-residence during the summer of 2019.

During their presentation they talked of their diverse interests, described some of the interactive activities they were planning to bring to the community, and provided examples of their work. Afterward, they invited the audience to enjoy some cookies that they themselves had baked, and meanwhile they chatted with residents who came forward with questions and comments. By Wednesday morning it was clear that Amanda and Lexie had generated a buzz of excitement and anticipation in the community.

Lexie-300wAmanda introduced herself as a 20-year old native of Chicago. A rising junior at Denison University, she is a psychology major with minors in anthropology-sociology and creative writing and an interest in philosophy. She plays classical piano, writes mysteries and poetry, and has an intense interest in aviation. (She invited fellow aficionados of flight to contact her!) As a visual artist, she works in black-and-white and enjoys preparing portraits. When she went to the piano, she performed and sang the “St. James Infirmary Blues” and played a solfeggio by C.P.E. Bach.

Lexie is two years older than Amanda and has just graduated from Denison. She grew up in Twinsburg, Ohio, spent her junior high school year in France, and after testing her interest in physics in college, chose studio art as her major, specializing in various forms of animation. Meanwhile, she also contributed her skills as an alto saxophonist to the Jazz Ensemble. While at Denison, she lived at the Homestead, the university’s project in sustainable living. Via projection she shared some of her animated creations with us; via her alto sax she treated us to “Autumn Leaves” and “Willow Weep for Me.”

The two artists-in-residence were particularly interested in telling us about the sorts of activities and experiences that they’ll be creating for and with residents over the next three months. Among them are:

  • Sessions on “Poetry for Everyone”
  • Demonstrations of animation techniques
  • Opportunities for being memorialized in portraits
  • “Music and Art” days
  • Narrating the lives of residents through animated comics
  • Showing the animation techniques of famous films
  • Readings of poetry and short stories by residents
  • Discussions of literature
  • Opportunities to discuss the creation of art, stories and poetry

Amanda and Lexie closed their “Meet the Artists” session by letting the residents know that they welcomed suggestions as to still other projects and programs that would be of interest to members of the community.

The evening was a grand success. With their ideas, offered with smiles and a welcoming openness, Amanda and Lexie tantalized the residents with the prospect of a summer rich with opportunities for artistic experimentation, a widening of intellectual horizons, and, above all, fun. Since neither artist is shy about going right up to introduce herself to residents who might be snacking in the bistro or dining in the dining halls, their message of “art is for everybody,” which already resonates well in the community, will soon be the theme of the summer. And that’s good. After all, as we are often told, art and the act of creating are no less than food for the soul.


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