Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

Great Depression Era Photography

 
Titus Oakley family stripping, tying, and grading tobacco in their bedroom...

Marion Post Wolcott, "Titus Oakley family stripping, tying, and grading tobacco in their bedroom...", 1939

The photograph of Titus Oakley and his family shows the necessity of a family working together to make ends meet. During the Great Depression, this was commonplace; families depended on the labor of all members to survive. Men felt responsible for supporting their families, and in the wake of the depression, were troubled by their inability to be the sole providers. Whether they could provide or not, men were still considered by society to be the head of the household. This belief is evident in through the photo of the Oakley family because Titus is the only person whose name is recorded. Even in later photographs, which focus on his wife and daughter and do not include him, his wife and daughter are not given names. They are defined in relation to him.

Marion Post Wolcott, the photographer of this piece, was hired by the Farmer Security Administration (FSA) during the Great Depression to document the lives of the rural and small town poor. From 1935 to 1944, the photographers hired by the FSA took photos, which were used to draw support for impoverished farmers. The images taken in this campaign were often published in popular magazines and are credited with creating the perception of the Great Depression held today. Wolcott took this picture, and two others, of the Oakley family working with tobacco. One is of Mrs. Oakley, barefoot, hanging the tobacco.

Mrs. Oakley

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection

Another photo of the Oakley family is of the Oakley’s eight-year old daughter stripping and tying the tobacco in their bedroom since it had become too cold for them to work outside.

Oakley Daughter

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection

These photos were taken in 1939, the year after Dr. Raymond Pearl published the first report stating that non-smokers lived longer than smokers. While this fact would be debated for many years, it marked a significant moment in the tobacco industry.

Through April 8, 2012, you can visit the Weatherspoon Art Museum to see the photo of the Oakley family (from the Weatherspoon’s collection) and try to figure out for yourself what their life was really like, in the To What Purpose? Photography as Art and Document exhibition in Gallery 6.

The Library of Congress also has over 160,000 of the FSA photos published online at the following website.

Post written by Stephanie Krysiak, a second year History Master’s student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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WAM Teen Art Guides Get Guilford County Art Teachers Talking

 
WAM Teen Art Guides were present to lead their first official tour of the season

WAM Teen Art Guides were present to lead their first official tour of the season

On Thursday, November 17, eight of the WAM Teen Art Guides were present to lead their first official tour of the season—for the Guilford County School’s middle and secondary art teachers. Students worked in teams to engage the teachers in looking at and discovering the art works in Persona: a Body in Parts—an exhibition about identity, how we present ourselves to others and how others perceive us.

Being an effective tour guide is not as simple as it may appear. One has to know how to ask the right questions to get people looking—and then talking. One has to be an active and sensitive listener to know when to impart information.

WAM’s Teen Art Guides are from Grimsley High School and Weaver Academy.  Some have been Guides for almost a year, and others started with the group in October.  In addition to learning how to get others as excited about art as they themselves are, these teens are having a variety of experiences in the museum. Over the course of the year they will have the opportunity to meet museum staff, interview visiting artists, create audio guides for visitors, and volunteer at a variety of fun museum events. Be sure to look for them when you visit the Weatherspoon!

Pictured left to right:  Claire Foust, Kevin Walser, Olya  Sheikina, Shamira Azlan, Matthew Ribar, and Maura Hatzman.  Not pictured: Emery Kiefer, Angele Gray

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Taking a Closer Look

 
UNCG Professor K. Porter Aichele with students viewing works from the WAM Collection

UNCG Professor K. Porter Aichele with students viewing works from the WAM Collection

The Weatherspoon Art Museum’s permanent collection provides a unique resource for UNCG faculty and the courses they teach. With advance planning, faculty may request that works from the collection be presented to their classes for an up-close experience.

Recently, Professor K. Porter Aichele requested a viewing of works from the collection for the course Research on Women Artists since the 1976 Exhibition. Students were able to present research alongside their chosen artwork, which provided the opportunity for direct observation and elicited further discussion.

One of the students remarked about the artwork she selected to research for her paper: “I just needed to see it. I had an image, but it’s not the same.”

In the images above, participants draw close to Julie Heffernan’s Accumulated Self Portrait, 1996, to take in the presenter’s comment that at first glance we see “a world that looks tame and nurturing but which, upon closer inspection, is much darker.”

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Open to Art

 

Our State August 2011 issue about WAM

Our State August 2011 issue about WAM

New article in the August 2011 issue of Our State magazine by Lorraine Ahearn.

“In 70 years of collecting modern art, the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro has become nationally known for selecting works of enduring value….”

Read more by linking to article.

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Woodblock Printmaking with Artist Mona Wu

 
Woodblock Printmaking with Artist Mona Wu

Woodblock Printmaking with Artist Mona Wu

June 29 + 30, 2011

Participants in Mona Wu’s woodblock printmaking workshop had the opportunity to try their hand at two types of prints: a simple black and white print and a three color reduction print. Inspiration for the workshop came from Weatherspoon’s exhibition: Encore: Japanese Actor Prints from the Permanent Collection.

To kick things off, we learned about traditional Japanese carving and printing techniques and were fortunate to have Dr. David Phillips from Wake Forest University, who would lecture about the prints on Thursday evening, join us in the workshop. Weatherspoon registrars, Heather Moore and Myra Scott, also brought an actual Japanese woodblock from vault to gallery for everyone to view.

Getting down to work, participants used modern techniques and tools, including the presses in the Gatewood print studio, to make their images come to life over the course of two full and inspiring days.

Visit our museum Event Photo page for images from the workshop.

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