Archive for March, 2009

View Outside my Window

March 30th, 2009 2 comments

ArcelorMittal drops friendly chats | By Gitte Laasby, Gary Post Trib

For more than 12 years, ArcelorMittal has met regularly with residents and other stakeholders to discuss how the company can improve its environmental performance and address concerns about anything from noise to permits.

But information might be less available as a result of a class-action lawsuit that Crown Point dad Ron Kurth filed March 25 against Lake County’s 11 biggest polluters, including ArcelorMittal. The lawsuit says the pollution causes increased risk of lung cancer, mental disabilities and other illnesses for Lake County students.

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Studio Visit: Jens Brasch

March 19th, 2009 No comments
Categories: Studio Visits

View of Lake Michigan: from Route 41

March 16th, 2009 No comments

Traveling on route 41 south of Jackson Park, Chicago; 03-13-09.

This is what Lakeshore drive turns into south of Hyde Park. What a trip it can be.

view [ The Ride to School on Route 41 ]

Categories: View of Lake Michigan

Characterizing the Indiana Harbor Shipping Canal

March 16th, 2009 No comments

View Outside My Window

March 15th, 2009 1 comment

03-14-09 @ 8:00 am

Harley Wagler Googled: An Odyssey of the Heart for Russian Students

March 15th, 2009 No comments

  • “Harley, our program director, recites Pushkin the poet with tears in his eyes. I can’t wait to read his stuff now”
  • “Heroes: Harley Wagler (you had to be there)”
  • “…following close behind our enigmatic leader. Harley Wagler, the fastest walking, sixty year old Mennonite I had ever met.”

– Student’s of the Russian Studies Program


  • “Harley’s so culturally adept, even Russians sometimes forget he’s not a Russian,” 

– Amber Palmer, assistant director of student programs.


A little insight into the enigmatic powers of Harley Wagler can be found in his Sermon at Plainview Mennonite Church Truth and martyrdom July 2007

Categories: Misc

Look at the World, be a Witness to it

March 15th, 2009 No comments

“What would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?”

Christian Peacemaker Teams

via [ Peter Miller ]

Categories: International

Planning Mishap? Israel-Palestine: A Land in Fragments

March 15th, 2009 2 comments

From the [ American Friends Service Committee ]


The American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world. Founded by Quakers in 1917 to provide conscientious objectors with an opportunity to aid civilian war victims, AFSC’s work attracts the support and partnership of people of many races, religions, and cultures.

AFSC’s work is based on the Quaker belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. The organization’s mission and achievements won worldwide recognition in 1947 when it accepted the Nobel Peace Prize with the British Friends Service Council on behalf of all Quakers.

The AFSC is directed by a Quaker board and staffed by Quakers and other people of faith who share the Friends’ desire for peace and social justice. 


This is Business

March 11th, 2009 1 comment

Categories: In My Studio

In the Studio: Works in Progress

March 9th, 2009 3 comments

Here are two small works (8″ x 10″) in process. I have always enjoyed working on a small canvases and holding the piece in my hand as I work on it. There is also a freedom to experiment that is not there in much larger paintings.  




<About An Artist Discussion>

I think our culture is beginning to see the artist in all sorts of disciplines and pursuits. But I, myself, keep coming back to this very physical, hands on, direct and humble approach. It is undoubtedly an exuberant indulgence, but also a place to comeback to a registrar my experience and knowledge in the plasticity of a visual language bound by very clear limits. 

The opportunity to blog about the things I am invested in, as a part of the art making process, has been a good experience for me. I would hate to say that to understand my work (paintings) one has to read and know about all that I have done. On a basic level art speaks to its own experience and material. Beyond that you also need to bring something to it and you may want to choose to contribute to our visual culture.

<needing a two-paragraph bio – this is not it>

Just as in the past, when I engaged in an issue, I found that I couldn’t just study it I had to became apart of its family of knowledge. And because of this trait along with studying Art in a university setting I have worked in various visual disciplines. towards my interest to gain certain knowledge and towards the disciplines own practical ends. Regardless I’ve gained from all these experiences.

In the early 1990’s, at the time when the computer’s capacity and the democratization of the internet held great promise for a major shift in our visual culture, I jumped in. I became interested in the practical issues of how we move through or navigate this yet to be defined electronic space and orientate ourselves with in it. In my case this was framed by the forming of online learning communities of highly motivated learners, e.g., Doctors. Don’t get me wrong I recognize that much of the heavy lifting was already done by Tim Berners Lee. Anyhow….

I remember at this time interviewing with Grainger at their corporate headquarters in Lake Forest Illinois (designed by David Hansen of Perkins and Will) during the final phases of the buildings construction. They gave me a tour of the place. What struck me most about that experience was how well the architects organized this very large mall-like facility so that the individual’s immediate environment reinforced a spatial orientation to the whole. It made it very easy for someone who had no previous experience opperating in this space to intuit their surroundings and function successfully.

I took that bit of accidental experience and attempted to apply it to how I would maintain a user’s orientation on a learning website. For me this became a kind of geo-spatial issue of anchoring and extending knowledge. It meant organizing bits of information and knowledge in a particular pattern language relative to the whole. And yet more importantly to me I recognized that knowledge could have a spatial armature. 

Later, I began to address spatial issues found in the severely impaired built environment of East Chicago. I served as the director of the East Chicago Waterway Management District, overseeing the Indiana Harbor Shipping Canal (considered the most polluted waterway in the country). I can’t say that much of my work in East Chicago has been realized. I know I have had a strong contribution. There are many more social, economic and political issues that have impact and there are many reasons why communities like East Chicago fail.

None-the-less, whether your planning for the built environment or building an online community, the ends are very practical and require specific solutions that work. But now, after a lengthy period of working in these other fields I am putting images like these on screen and in galleries.

Categories: In My Studio

Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention

March 5th, 2009 No comments

I knew that.

[ Time Article ]

Categories: Misc

Early Drawings

March 5th, 2009 3 comments
Categories: In My Studio

Conference: Drawing the Lines

March 4th, 2009 No comments

<Looking back at November 2006>This conference occurred more than 2 years ago at Indiana University Northwest. This is the kind of stuff that peeks my interests and tickles my hand. There was great significance to hosting such a conference at this time and place. Northwest Indiana had been looking for strategies to revitalize the region. They had developed the Marquette Plan, the Regional Development Authority, transportation projects, etc. This was in a continuation of efforts to move things along.

This brings to mind two issues.

  1. What is the role of the Artist in urban vitalization?
    • Too often the artist’s voice in these kinds of discussions are treated like a craft booth artist, pedaling their cute works. Otherwise they are deaf, dumb and blind. Artists are to perform and be quiet. This is what I call the “Dirty Dancing” treatment. I am often embarrassed for Artist who accept such roles. 
    • I believe the Artist needs to step up and contribute their voice to the built environment. I believe that Artist voice should take the leading role more often in civil society. 
  2. And what has happened in the last 2-years?
    • I am not certain anything has happened. I don’t know of any new initiatives or changes in the way the region is approaching revitalization. 
    • It appears to me with the announcement of the BP project the region has actually regressed from advancing such initiatives. 
    • Revitalization of the region reverted back to a reliance on old heavy industry, in this case the refining of the even dirtier fossil fuels – the Alberta tar sand.
    • The region became ensnarled in a lack of initiative and culture once again. Indiana and regional Leaders approved environmental permitting with out ANY objection. It wasn’t until Illinois voice objection to violating the the Clean water act that the issue was heard. Regional Leaders and the press did not investigate. They promoted the project without investigation. They approved with out reviewing impacts, particularly to initiatives outlined in this conference.


Drawing the Lines: International Perspectives on Urban Renewal through the Arts
This conference promotes conversation about art and urban renewal on the broader international scale alongside more local applications in Northwest Indiana. Drawing the Lines brings together the multiple constituencies whose perspectives are necessary to evaluating the merits of urban revitalization models.

Drawing the lines seeks to:

  • Explore models of urban renewal through the arts,
  • Reflect on the impact of renovations efforts in the community,
  • Understand how government and private markets affect urban change,
  • Share best practices among community based leaders and scholars, and
  • Build a coalition to create concrete initiatives for the Northwest Indiana region.


Conference Abstracts:

  • The Arts Can Define a Region
    John M. Cain, South Shore Arts
  • Revive:  Using Art to Help Heal a Superfund Site
    Minda Douglas, Marcia Gillette, and Ann Cameron, Indiana University Kokomo
  • The Impact of Visual and Expressive Art on Public Policy and Public Voice
    Karen G. Evans, Indiana University Northwest                                          
    Daniel Lowery, Calumet College of St. Joseph
  • Cool Cities” Through Their “Creative Class”: A Model for Revitalizing Indiana’s Essential Cities
    Bruce Frankel, Ball State University
    Deborah Malitz, Indiana City Corp.
    Larry Francer, Historic Farmland
    Flo Lapin, Goldspace Theater, Muncie
    Richard Sowers, Anderson Symphony
    David Bowdon, Columbus Symphony, Terra Haute Symphony, Carmel Symphony
  • The Interstices Between Art and Economic Development
    Michelle Golden, Books, Brushes and Bands
    Mary Kaczka, Hammond Development Corporation
    John Davies, Woodlands Communications
    Daniel Lowery, Quality of Life Council
  • The Poetics of Space: IU Northwest’s Sculpture Garden
    Neil Goodman, Indiana University Northwest
  • Available:  post-industrial development and design at Lake Calumet
    Ellen Grimes, w / M. Powell, A. Kirschner, and M. al Khurasat, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Urban Redevelopment and the Arts:  Flagship Cultural Projects in Los Angeles and San Francisco
    Carl Grodach, University of Texas at Arlington
  • Leveraging Culture to Build a City’s External Brand and Internal Cohesiveness
    Tom Jones, Smart City Consulting
  • The IU Northwest Klamen Mural Project
    David Klamen, Indiana University Northwest
  • Art in the Region” 
    Patricia Lundberg, Indiana University Northwest
  • Looking at Urban Renewal Trials
     Peter Matthews, University of Mar
  • Spaces of vernacular creativity
    Steve Millington, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • The Other City Beautiful: Philadelphia and its Avenue of the Arts
    Micheline Nilsen, Indiana University South Bend
  • Bilbao: a spectacular but somehow disenchanted city
    Antonio Román,, University of Deusto
  • The Creative Class and Urban Economic Growth Revisited
    Michael Rushton, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Creating A Vision for International Community Development:  Indianapolis in 2050
    William Plater, Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis
  • Projects to Save a City
    Sanjit Sethi, Memphis College of Ar
  • The ‘Guggenheim Effect’ and the ‘New Bilbao’: On the Social Costs of Bilbao’s Urban Regeneration
    Lorenzo Vicario and Manuel Martínez-Monje, University of the Basque Country.

What’s at Uncle Freddy’s?

March 3rd, 2009 1 comment

[ Uncle Freddy’s ]


Saturday, March 14, 2009
6:00pm – 9:00pm

Exhibit Dates:
March 14 – April 18

“This exhibit features the work of two artists dealing with their observations of the world around them and their worlds within. Jim Walker (Indianapolis) will exhibit photographs taken in and around Indianapolis (as well as Highland, IN) from his “Ugly Lights” series. Jim McKern will be showing a new series of acrylic paintings inspired by his own spiritual and dream experiences.”

Walk the Talk Discussion Series:
Join Gregg Hertzlieb, Director/Curator of the Brauer Museum of Art for an informative and delightful discussion of the McKern/Walker exhibit.

Wednesday, March 18 
7:00 p.m.

Categories: General Arts

Black Geography

March 3rd, 2009 4 comments

“Black Geography” is a term I never heard until I came to this region. It is often spoken by whites in regional leadership position and is used to describe all sorts of things, from behavior, to business practices, and governance. I guess if there is “Black Geography” there must be a “White Geography”, a “Hispanic Geography”, and a “Serbian Geography”, etc.

– Just saying

Categories: East Chicago, Misc

East Chicago’s Stimulus Totals $141,826,000

March 2nd, 2009 No comments

From the Stimulus Watch

Ah, we can do better than that.

How do you help a community when the Mayor and his cohorts are under indictment. Can you believe the projects he has put forward are critical to the well being of the community?

There are many critical issues that could be addressed with the proper funding. I would like to look at one vital issue – The Grand Calumet River.

East Chicago is home to the Grand Calumet River, considered THE MOST polluted waterway in the country, which feeds into the Lake Michigan – the source of our drinking water. The leading cause contamination – 100 years of INDUSTRY. East Chicago also has the poorest census tracts in the state. Maybe government agencies ought to begin to do something about it. Like a PUBLIC / PRIVATE partnership (before this industry declares bankruptcy and wiggles out of responsibility).

After 30 years of the Clear Water Act not a single effort has been initiated to clear this body of water -The plans are there, the funding is not.  So why isn’t cleaning of the Grand Calumet river apart of the Stimulus plan? I believe it is shovel ready.

Cleaning this river would stimulate new uses and open opportunities to the communities along its banks. The multipliers of this project are rich with opportunities, but so long as this polluted body of water continues to run through our community, opportunities will run dry. Just a thought.

The Marque project in the region is the Marquette Plan. From a previous post, here is what is happening in Portage: a middle-class community

Categories: East Chicago, Economics

What I am Looking At: Jens Brasch

March 1st, 2009 4 comments

I love discovering. [ ]

<Untitled Work from 2004>