2014 Birke Fine Arts Festival opens with exhibition, artist talk

Updated 33 weeks ago Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University
2014 Birke Fine Arts Festival opens with exhibition, artist talk
Birke Gallery File Photo
Marshall University's College of Arts and Media will kick off its Birke Fine Arts Festival this Thursday, Jan. 30, with the opening of an exhibition of collaborative student art projects created with the guidance of guest artist Harrell Fletcher and Marshall faculty members Natalie Larsen and Daniel Kaufmann.

For more than 15 years, Fletcher has been at the forefront of an art field called social practice, a medium engaging audiences directly through the creation of intangible, collaborative experiences.

The exhibition, titled "27 Marshall University Students Research and Represent Aspects of the City of Huntington, West Virginia," will open at 6 p.m. in the Birke Art Gallery, which is located in Smith Hall on Marshall's Huntington campus. Harrell will give an artist talk at 7 p.m. in the gallery, which will be followed by an opening reception for the entire festival in the Birke Atrium. The evening's events are free and open to the public.

The collaborative projects explored downtown Huntington, Kaufmann said. Students from his photography class and Larsen's drawing class were grouped and assigned a particular perspective aesthetic, historic, scientific or social to study on the block on which Marshall's new Visual Arts Center will be located. Each group then made a collaborative piece for display.

"Among the many interesting works that resulted from this project are 12 wall-mounted aquariums referencing the 1937 flood; a magazine highlighting five key, historic buildings; and etchings, photographs and drawings based on the Keith-Albee Theatre and vaudeville films," Kaufmann said.

Fletcher, who teaches art at Portland State University in Oregon, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and his master's degree from California College of the Arts. He studied organic farming at UCSC and went on to work on a variety of small Community Supported Agriculture farms, which affected his work as an artist. Fletcher has produced a variety of socially engaged collaborative and interdisciplinary projects since the early 1990s. His work has been shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the de Young Museum; the Berkeley Art Museum, the Wattis Institute; The Seattle Art Museum in Seattle; Signal in Malmo, Sweden; Domain de Kerguehennec in France; The Tate Modern in London and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

This year's Birke Fine Arts Festival is based on the theme, "Trending Now: Artists and Audiences in the Information Age." Nicole Perrone, assistant professor of theatre at Marshall and chair of the festival committee, said the theme is designed to consider "how the arts are responding to an audience that has grown accustomed to constant pop-ups, tweets and status updates." 

The Birke Fine Arts Festival was endowed by Helen Birke and her daughter, Julie, in 1979, reflecting their personal interests in cultural and educational activities in the Tri-State area and recognizing the leadership role of Marshall University.

Following is a list of remaining festival events. All are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Glynn Washington // Public Radio Storytelling with a Beat
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4
Memorial Student Center, Lower Level BE5

Troika Ranch // SWARM:  Immersive Multimedia Performance
Friday Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. each evening
Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center, Edwards Playhouse

Eula Biss // Literary Reading
8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12
Memorial Student Center, Upper Level Shawkey Room
           
John Bresland // Literary Reading
8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 @ 8pm
Memorial Student Center, Lower Level BE5

Dead Man's Cell Phone // a play by Sarah Ruhl
Wednesday, Feb. 19 - Saturday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. each evening
Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center, Francis-Booth Experimental Theatre
Note: there is a charge for this event. Call 696-ARTS for tickets.

Dan Senn // Sound Installation Exhibit
8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25
Gallery 842

Marshall University Festival of New Music Concert 1
Music of Dan Senn
8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26
Smith Music Recital Hall

Marshall University Festival of New Music Concert 2
Music of Dan Senn
8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27
Jomie Jazz Center Forum

Marshall University Festival of New Music Concert 3
Lindsey Goodman, flute // Guest Artist Recital
Noon, Friday, Feb. 28
First Presbyterian Church, 1015 Fifth Ave., Huntington
                                  
Marshall University Festival of New Music // Soundwalk
2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28
Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center Atrium and Jomie Jazz Center Forum
                                   
Marshall University Festival of New Music Concert 4
Music of Dan Senn
8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28                                          
Smith Music Recital Hall

Vanessa German // Artist Talk
7 p.m. Thursday, March 6
Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center, Francis-Booth Experimental Theatre
Birke Festival Closing Reception immediately to follow in the Playhouse Lobby
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