Go on a campuswide art hunt
Outside, inside and up high, SPU's art collection offers a variety of artisans and their distinctive visions, ranging from bronze and cement to oils and wood. Feel free to go on your own campuswide art hunt. Locating the following art pieces should get you started:
Between Alexander and Beegle Halls in a garden setting is the Story Pole carved by Abner Johnson, honoring Northwest native heritage. The lobby in E.E. Bach Theatre is brightened by “noon ‘til night," a three-dimensional tapestry by former Professor of Art Larry Metcalf. In the SPU Library, each floor has its art. On the lower level, find “Yucatan Nose Rack" by Lee Kelly. On the main floor, see “States and Movements" by Professor of Art Michael Caldwell. On the second and third floors, find “Historic Church in an Ominous World" by Jerry Koukal and “Don Quixote" by David Murphy. Throughout the main stairwell, identify sculptor John Powers' busts of Methodist pioneer Francis Asbury; Catholic missionary to the poor Mother Teresa; Baptist missionary William Carey and notable SPU alumni Doris Brougham and Jake DeShazer.
One of the most labor-intensive artistic expressions at SPU can be found on the Demaray Hall clock tower. Designed by former Professor of Art Ernst Schwidder, “Science, Religion and Humanities" was brought to fruition by Metcalf and three of his art students. From full-size sketches on paper to forms carved of plastic foam, the cast-stone relief panels emerged to depict major areas of investigation in the liberal arts: the physical sciences, social sciences and humanities. Symbols are drawn from American Pima, Arabic, Aztec, Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek cultures. See a complete explanation of the clock tower symbology.
Homecoming play: circus acts and soul-searching drama
The Common Curriculum at Seattle Pacific University challenges students to answer some of life's deepest questions: “Who am I?" “Where am I going?" “Is God for me or against me?" The curtain rises on just such a self-examination during SPU's Homecoming Weekend, January 22–24, and the following weekend, January 29–31. The stage production is “J.B.," a contemporary retelling in verse of the life of the biblical character Job. It won for poet and playwright Archibald MacLeish his third Pulitzer Prize.
The play asks: What happens when a man loses everything, blames no one and holds on, despite everything? One thing is certain. He asks the hard questions about his relationship with God, personal questions that will resonate for audience members.
“It takes place in the modern context of the circus world," says set designer and Theatre Department Chair Don Yanik. Though inspired by the color and theatricality of Cirque du Soliel, Yanik says he didn't try to precisely replicate that circus setting. Bright costumes and bold lighting design combine with a fantastical set and the surefooted direction of Professor of Theatre George Scranton. As a student, Scranton acted in “J.B." when it was last performed at Seattle Pacific, more than 30 years ago.
Like Job, MacLeish enjoyed great success. Unlike Job, he did not suffer severe reversals of fortune. During a colorful lifetime, MacLeish was an ambulance driver, lawyer, professor, editor of Fortune magazine, Librarian of Congress, assistant secretary of state and winner of an Academy Award. The acclaimed writer of more than two dozen plays died in 1982, one month shy of his 90th birthday. (For play schedule, see calendar.)
Writer-in-residence wins praise for book of essays
Gregory Wolfe's vision is the animating force behind Image, one of the best journals on the planet. Intruding Upon the Timeless, a collection of his pieces from Image, takes its title from a phrase of Flannery O'Connor. That's apt, because not since O'Connor's Mystery and Manners has there been such bracing insight on the pile-up where art and faith collide.
—Annie Dillard, author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
With praise like this for one's book of essays on art and faith, how much more can one author take? As it turns out, SPU Writer-in-Residence Gregory Wolfe's newest book, Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith and Mystery (Square Halo Books, 2003), has received kudos from a whole host of writers of faith. Nonfiction writer Richard Rodriguez, author of Hunger of Memory, says, “With a prose as fine and sharp as a surgeon's knife, Wolfe manages, over and over, to cut very close to the soul."
And Ron Hansen, author of the novel Mariette in Ecstasy, believes these essays establish Wolfe as “one of the most incisive and persuasive voices of our generation."
Enhanced with engravings by artist Barry Moser, Wolfe's book contains essays he wrote first for Image: A Journal of the Arts And Religion, based at SPU. As editor of Image, he has written on subjects ranging from “Why I Am a Conscientious Objector in the Culture Wars" to “The Painter of LiteTM," the latter referring to sentimental work by artists such as Thomas Kinkade. For a neighborhood angle on Wolfe and his book, see a recent review in the Queen Anne News.
Brooker's paintings invite questions about connections
While on your art hunt around campus, don't forget to check out SPU's Art Center Gallery, with its changing canvas of work by students and professional local artists. One of these professional artists is Adjunct Professor of Art Suzanne Brooker, whose show of paintings of figures at the Gallery runs January 5–24.
Brooker, who teaches figure drawing at SPU and at the Seattle Academy of Fine Arts, has earned the respect of fellow painter and Professor of Art Michael Caldwell. "She draws the figure very well," says Caldwell. “The figure seems to have an air of mystery, making the viewer ask, ‘What's going on? What's the relationship between the subject and objects floating in space on the canvas?' Each painting's title implies an attribute of the person, and that suggests a further connection between the subject and the objects that populate the space." (See calendar.)
Do you see your SPU arts event featured here? If not, it could be that we just didn't hear about it. Let us know by March 1 about your arts event scheduled for April through June 2004.
Gallery Show. Contemporary work in figure paintings by Adjunct Professor of Art Suzanne Brooker. 206/281-2959. (See story.)
Thalia Symphony. Homecoming Concert. First Free Methodist Church. 2 p.m. Tickets: 206/281-2048.
Thalia Symphony. Rainier Beach Performing Arts Center. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 206/281-2048.
Evening of Gospel, Worship and Praise. Part of Schoenals Symposium. With gospel director Stephen Michael Newby. Featuring Gospel Choir, MOSAIC, Wind Ensemble, Chapel Praise Team, Group Praise Team and Triune, the Stephen Newby band. First Free Methodist Church. 7:30 p.m. 206/281-2959.
SPU Invitational GospelFest. Part of Schoenals Symposium. With gospel singer Horace C. Boyer, SPU's Gospel Choir and other gospel choirs from the Pacific Northwest. First Free Methodist Church. 7:30 p.m. 206/281-2959.
Cabaret Swing Band. Bach Theatre. 7:30 p.m. 206/281-2959.
Wind Ensemble Concert. First Free Methodist Church. 7:30 p.m. 206/281-2959.
Men's and Women's Choir Concert. First Free Methodist Church. 7:30 p.m. 206/281-2959.
Vocal Jazz Night. Demaray 150. 7:30 p.m. 206/281-2959.
Flute and Percussion Concert. First Free Methodist Church. 7:30 p.m. 206/281-2959.
Concert Choir Concert. Free Methodist Church. 7:30 p.m. 206/281-2959.
Jan 22–24, 29–31
Theatre Performance. “J.B." by Archibald MacLeish. Bach Theatre. 7:30 p.m. Homecoming matinee Jan 24, 2 p.m. 206/281-2959. (See story.)
Student-directed one-act plays. “The Actor's Nightmare" by Christopher Durang. Directed by Tammy Lykins. “Words, Words, Words" by David Ives. Directed by Brooke Swanson. “The Jewish Wife" by Bertolt Brecht. Directed by Robin Foote. “Winners All" by Ida Lublenski Ehrlich. Directed by Rachel Lamb. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: 206/281-2959.