Stanford University: Partnerships

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Lead Artists

Trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas and his band Keystone recorded their new album, Spark of Being, during their Stanford residency. Photo by Jason Chuang, SiCa Photographer.

Trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas and his band Keystone recorded their new album, Spark of Being, during their Stanford residency. Photo by Jason Chuang, SiCa Photographer.

Jazz composer/trumpeter Dave Douglas and filmmaker Bill Morrison visited the Stanford campus for four residency periods to collaborate on their new work Spark of Being as well as to conduct workshops, master classes, coachings, and course visits with students in partnership with Stanford faculty and their academic departments. Some of the artists specific activities included: teaching film and music workshops in the Summer Arts Intensive program; a visit to a new Intermedia course co-taught by music and art faculty; master classes for students in the MFA Documentary Film program; a film screening of Morrison’s previous work; repeated visits to courses in Jazz Arranging/Composition and Jazz Theory; coaching of student jazz groups; and Dave Douglas’ performance of his music alongside students in the Stanford Jazz Orchestra. Members of Douglas’ ensemble Keystone, including turntablist DJ Olive, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, drummer Gene Lake, bassist Brad Jones and keyboardist Adam Benjamin, were also very active throughout the year as participants in public programs, as mentors of student works, and performers at campus jam sessions. Douglas and Morrison premiered their newly commissioned film and live music collaboration Spark of Being in conjunction with Stanford’s inaugural Student Works Festival, which spotlighted student film, music, dance, and sound installation works in April 2010.

Additional Artist Partners

Beyond the centerpiece commission, Art + Invention showcased projects across campus within the art, biology, engineering and music departments, as well as the Creative Writing Program, the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), the Cantor Arts Center, and the Institute for Diversity in the Arts (IDA). Stanford students were provided unmatched experiences creating work alongside visiting artists in classrooms and studios. An astonishing array of major artistic figures visiting campus contributed to Art + Invention programs, including:

  • choreographers Ann Carlson and Ralph Lemon
  • Filmmaker Mary Ellen Strom
  • Composer Steve Reich
  • Performance artist Laurie Anderson
  • Sound artist DJ Olive
  • Kinetic sculptor Reuben Margolin
  • Data visualization artist Aaron Koblin
  • New music ensembles Kronos Quartet and So Percussion

Still Life With Decoy from David Anthony Alvarado on Vimeo.

Play It Loud! with So Percussion at Stanford from SiCa on Vimeo.

Campus Partners

The core A+I partnership was between SiCa and Lively Arts (SLA). While SLA was the Creative Campus grant recipient, SiCa became an integral partner and co-organizer with SLA beginning fall 2008. Together, they expanded the project beyond the core artist residency activities connected with Dave Douglas and Bill Morrison into a year that included 75 activities experienced by students, faculty, alumni, and community members. In tandem, they created and managed the A+I project and brought additional partners into the project. A+I ultimately involved over 16 different partners including Stanford departments/organizations, Stanford student groups, and off-campus partners.
These include:

  • Summer Arts Intensive: hosted film and music workshops with lead artists Douglas and Morrison before start of school year
  • Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA): opened its facilities to Douglas to record the music for his commissioned work; provided sound samples for use in electronics for Douglas work; hosted residencies by So Percussion, Laurie Anderson and many other artists; co-presenter of CCRMA Cabaret concert series. Produces annual Music & the Brain Forum, an internationally respected interdisciplinary meeting of the world’s finest scholars, researchers and practitioners exploring the neuroscience of music. CCRMA also hosted an open recording session and listening party with Douglas and Keystone, which drew an overflow audience and opened up the creative process for the student audience.
  • Stanford Music Department: hosted composers and musicians such as So Percussion, Steve Reich, Laurie Anderson and others in classrooms and informal student gatherings. The new Intermedia Workshop co-taught by Art and Music Department faculty, allowed student composers and visual artists to collaborate and produce works across media and disciplines.
  • Stanford Jazz Workshop: organized multiple master classes, workshops with visiting artists, public program series and high school outreach program
  • Cantor Arts Center: The Cantor mounted two exhibitions that linked to the A+I theme:  From their Studios, a major exhibition in fall 2009, highlighted the creative work of thirteen artists who teach studio art at Stanford; and an exhibition of photographs depicting scenes of labor and industrialization in Europe and America during the first half of the 20th century.
  • The Aurora Forum at Stanford: In a new collaboration, the Aurora Forum, Stanford’s free public discussions with leading figures in the humanities and public life, explored the topic of artistic creation in its longstanding speaker series, hosting public conversations with artists Ralph Lemon, Steve Reich and Beryl Korot, Ann Carlson and Mary Ellen Strom, the artists of L.A. Theatre Works, and Laurie Anderson.
  • The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design: collaborated with visiting artist Ralph Lemon
  • School of Engineering: with the Sculpture department, hosted artist Reuben Margolin in a course about kinetic sculpture.
  • Department of Art and Art History: the MFA program in Documentary film hosted multiple film and music master classes with Morrison and Douglas; and the sculpture department collaborated with Drama to host the Laurie Anderson residency. Design for Exploration was a first-time course funded by the SiCa Curricular Innovation in the Arts grant program, and taught jointly between Art Department lecturer John Edmark and physicist Sebastian Martin from the San Francisco Exploratorium. Also with SiCa funding San Francisco-based sculptor Reuben Margolin conducted a quarter-long interdisciplinary workshop in partnership with the sculpture program in the Art Department and the School of Engineering’s Product Realization Lab.
  • Dance Division: collaborated on immersive quarter-long artists residencies and student showings with Ralph Lemon and Ann Carlson. For the Laboratory of Creative Practice course, Carlson and her students created a series of dance performance pieces based on Carlson’s Real People series.
  • Department of Drama: hosted Laurie Anderson residency.
  • Student Organizing Committee for the Arts (SOCA): Art Affair is an annual, 3-day, student-led celebration of the arts at Stanford. Through funding from SiCa, SOCA incorporated the A+I theme into Art Affair by creating a mini-grant program through which eight $100 grants were given to students to create artworks on the theme of art and invention.
  • Alumni: The Spring Break Arts Immersion in New York was a new, pilot program that provided first-hand, in-depth experience of the New York art world for arts-oriented Stanford upperclassmen. Under the guidance of Arts Initiative/SiCa co-directors, students met with Stanford alumni leaders of major cultural institutions such as Lincoln Center, the Public Theater, and MOMA.
  • Student Works Festival: SLA and SiCa collaborated with faculty in all the arts departments to present an evening of student works as one of the culminating events in the Art + Invention project.

Art + Invention Student Works Festival from SiCa on Vimeo.

Off-campus/Community Partners

Though the primary goals of the project were to develop and strengthen arts infrastructure on campus, two notable off-campus partners include the San Francisco Exploratorium, which collaborated with students and faculty in the Art Department, and the College Track program for teens in East Palo Alto, which hosted several members of Keystone for youth arts outreach programs. In addition, a New York immersion trip hosted by Stanford alumni who work in the arts was a valuable means of connecting student artists and arts enthusiasts with the greater context of the professional arts world beyond the Stanford campus. As part of SLA’s Student Matinee series, Douglas and Morrison also presented a preview performance to a group of area high school students, in conjunction with a teacher professional development workshop in collaboration with Stanford Jazz Workshop.

Programming Theme as Partnership Catalyst

Video: A+I interviews from SiCa site

As a result of SiCa’s partnership with Lively Arts on the Creative Campus project, in spring 2009 SiCa initiated a theme for the 2009-10 year. The Art + Invention theme, initially distilled from the values of the Douglas/Morrison commission, was embraced as a campus-wide theme by SiCa, key arts faculty, and key campus leadership. The theme was also selected as a topic that would resonate with the Douglas/Morrison work, but more importantly, would be open-ended and non-prescriptive enough to include numerous activities and partners across campus. SLA went on to embrace the theme for its entire season. The student group Student Organizing Committee for the Arts (SOCA) also embraced the theme for its annual Art Affair’s mini-grants to students.

The A+I theme became an effective mechanism to realign existing activities into a context larger than an individual, isolated event. For example, the Aurora Forum, which has been in existence for the past seven years and typically presents politically- and socially-engaged speakers for public conversations, was re-positioned for this academic year to showcase conversations with significant artists who were part of SLA’s performing arts season. The theme also embraced activities that had already been planned and brought them into the fold of the overall A+I project messaging. The Art + Invention programming theme was applied to public events and campus-based projects, courses, residencies, research, seminars, and symposia. Art + Invention now marks Stanford’s inaugural year of themed campus programming, and planning and implementation for the 2010-11 theme year Memory – has already begun.

Summary | Partnerships | Lessons Learned | Sustainability | Resource Materials | Contact Information >> View All Creative Campus Projects

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