WRITING

Short pieces written for educational, instructional, and business-related purposes.

Blog Post

Denver Seniors Create Memorable Paintings

This post was shared on the blog of the Pegasus senior living community Belleview Suites at the DTC to highlight its painting classes. It was commissioned through the marketing agency Craft & Communicate.

On a recent Friday morning, residents of Belleview Suites at DTC excitedly gathered inspiration from lively photos before mixing watercolor paints and applying them to paper with thoughtful, expressive strokes. They had joined the Memories in the Making painting session within Belleview’s Connections memory care program, a comprehensive plan that not only offers an optimal quality of life to residents with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia, but also transforms the general perception of those conditions.

Painting is not the only way participants of the memory care program in Denver can have fun while keeping their minds engaged. Their various activities and experiences, such as a Mediterranean-based diet, signature music program SingFit, and holistic environment that caters to individual personalities help them maintain their best potential physical and mental health. Every part of the program is supported by the most trustworthy scientific research and data about memory maintenance.

One resident used the Eiffel Tower as a reference for her painting. With a smile, she called it “The Ugly Handbag,” but the staff around her thought it was beautiful! Her unexpected remark demonstrates her unique sense of humor, along with her creativity that the staff has helped to foster despite her diagnosis. Because she contradicts so many myths about memory care patients, this resident truly represents the Connections program’s mission.

Belleview also offers assisted living in Denver. Although its assisted living program is not as intensive, the community still offers plenty of opportunities for enjoyment and personal growth, such as chef-prepared food, a therapeutic spa, and transportation to exciting events. Regardless of the level of care they require, most residents at Belleview and other Pegasus communities across the United States are able to keep doing what they have always enjoyed.

News Story

Learning to Govern: Candidate Simpson's Plan for Schools

The following story was written in AP format and discusses a fictitious political campaign.

Feb. 8, 2019 (CHICAGO)—Yesterday, gubernatorial candidate Barry Simpson visited the Frederick Douglass Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois. The Rockford native has seen how much his state’s public schools are lacking—especially in their extracurriculars—and wanted to speak to their staff and students directly to learn more about their struggles. At 10 a.m., they gathered for an assembly in the school’s gymnasium where Simpson and his wife, Brooke, each spoke and responded to questions. Mr. Simpson promised everyone that, if elected, he would improve their teaching and learning environment so that the next generation of students, workers, and leaders could thrive.

Most Illinois schools do not have enough funding to fix issues such as poor ventilation and leaking roofs. They struggle to purchase adequate educational materials including textbooks and digital learning devices. Their teachers are not paid enough to remain passionate about their careers. These common complaints were made clear to Simpson when he spoke to the staff at Frederick Douglass. “I would buy my students better school supplies if I could,” said Sharon, a math teacher, after Simpson finished his speech. “I live paycheck-to-paycheck, though, and have trouble making ends meet for my own family.”

As Illinois’ low standardized test scores and high dropout rate show, these teachers do not often succeed at their jobs. However, Simpson believes most could do well if given proper resources. Simpson explained to the hopeful crowd that he plans to increase public school funding for building repairs, engaging learning materials, and higher salaries. He would like to raise standards for teaching qualifications to ensure children learn from the very best.

Simpson’s wife explained that she is the owner of an art gallery and a retired art teacher. She has seen how art has provided meaningful jobs and enjoyable hobbies to many people. However, since extracurricular activities such as art and music have been reduced or even eliminated entirely, there is little opportunity for students to express themselves creatively. Brooke knows several art teachers who have experienced pay cuts or have even been laid off.

“As a child, I was inspired by my art teachers to never stop using my imagination,” she said. “They made my time at school worthwhile; I don’t know what I would have done without them. I’m so disappointed that many children in Illinois haven’t been given that experience.”

Brooke understands that establishing a strong foundation of artistic skills early in life can change the course of a child’s career, and has urged her husband to improve this aspect of the education system. The couple has witnessed a decline in the arts through their own family as well; their youngest child, Drew, attends elementary school. Their daughter, Dakota, is a high school student.

“Drew has no music class, and his art class is taught by his homeroom teacher, rather than by someone with a specialized education,” Mr. Simpson remarked. “Dakota wants to study art in college, but her school is unable to afford supplies such as oil paints, canvases, and pottery wheels. Her class selection in the department has been reduced by nearly half over the past few years. Many students see a painter’s studio or musician’s instrument as an escape from the monotony of regular schoolwork, or even as a way to earn a living later in life. Extracurriculars may seem unnecessary, but they are crucial to a well-rounded learning experience. Because they encourage originality and ‘thinking outside of the box,’ they might even encourage innovation in other fields.”

With the support of his wife, Simpson promised to bring more art programs into every school and every grade. Under his governorship, only qualified, specialized teachers would be hired to teach creative subjects. They would be given adequate materials to encourage artistic expression in many forms.

Many Chicagoans worry that their taxes will be raised to pay for spending on schools. However, Simpson explained he does not want to raise the tax rate; he would actually decrease it for everyone, but spend government revenue wisely. It was recently discovered that elected officials of the state have taken large portions of the money for themselves and the companies they support. Even when revenue was used for governmental programs, it often did not directly help citizens. For instance, state administrators spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on promotional materials, such as sponsored maps and advertisements for parks and museums. Simpson strives to protect against corruption and re-prioritize Illinois’ spending. He has been looking forward to a more efficient government that produces successful graduates.

Within the next several weeks, Barry and Brooke Simpson will visit other schools across the state to share their plans for improvement. They have and will continue to personally connect with voters.

reference Guide

Creating a Future

Below is a guide for high school and college students written in Chicago format.

The Creating a Future guide contains all the information a young artist needs to know about declaring a college major. The guide contains summaries of websites that can help you learn about which majors are the best fit for your personality and design style. Many also discuss the career paths one can choose after choosing certain majors, sharing the advantages and disadvantages of each.

This booklet can be used by artistic high school students applying to college, as well as undecided college freshmen or unsatisfied post-secondary students who want to receive guidance about changing their majors. The document can also be helpful to parents and educators who would like to offer their students a second opinion.

You should have a ninth-grade reading level or more and have basic computational skills for comparing job salaries. You are expected to know the basics of how to navigate the internet and download files. Recognizing the names and techniques of popular digital arts computer programs is recommended.

Websites

The Princeton Review Career Quiz

The Princeton Review has provided an online quiz of twenty-four questions divided into six sections. These questions relate to each user’s interests in school, work, and everyday life. They can help predict whether an artistic career is right for you, and if so, which kind you should pursue.

Once you are finished, the website shows a tab displaying two headlines: your Interest, or the kinds of activities you like, and Style, or personality type that could help you succeed in certain professions. Both are categorized based on a system of colors. The other tab is called Recommended Careers. It provides links to pages describing different careers, and once you select one, you will see what a day in the life of someone with that job title is like. It explains how the career has changed over time, and how it is expected to change in the future. To the right side of such a page are the majors you might need to obtain that job title. These link to their own explanations.

When viewing your results, click the button called Save Career to bookmark it for viewing later. 

The Occupational Outlook Handbook

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is located under the Publications tab of America’s Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Like similar sites, it displays categories that link to lists of job titles. When browsing its page above, you will see pictures and brief descriptions of each art-related job—as well as some of the information previously mentioned—to compare them all at a glance. This information is expanded upon in the introduction page of each job. Learn even more about its different aspects by clicking each tab within the handbook. They will also help you learn about what daily life is like in each job and how its salary compares to that of various industries. It connects you to several other sites that help you see how factors such as pay and job outlook vary throughout the United States. One of the last tabs is a detailed list of jobs with similar requirements and activities. To the furthest right tab are external links to similar pages covering your chosen career.

If Spanish is your preferred language, press the translator button under the search bar. To its right is a box that will display a ready-to-print version.

Niche

This list from Niche will show you the best colleges for art and design, beginning with their top choice. It has been constructed by analyzing data from both the U.S. Department of Education and reviews from the millions of students and professors who visit the site.

Each college in the list contains a number ranking, star rating, popular review, acceptance rate, net price, and typical SAT score. The Overall Niche Grade, or calculation based on all of these factors, is in the bottom left of each preview. Once you select a college, you’ll see its Niche Grade broken down into several categories, such as academics, diversity, and athletics. The page presents your college’s contact information and website if you want to receive more information directly from them. It shows how the college ranks in categories other than design, such as architecture or information technology. It details the typical academic profile of an entering freshman and a scatter plot that helps you visualize what kind of students were accepted. Next is the average cost by household income, followed by information about professors, students, campus life, most popular majors, and average earnings after college. Last, all student reviews are shown along with similar colleges with comparable reviews.

There is a clickable index of every headline to the left of each page. Near the center is a link to another part of the site called Find College Scholarships. However, these are not always relevant to the college you previously viewed. If you reach the bottom of a college’s page and are considering it, click the Add to List button.

Published Works

Hussian College: Art School Vs. Traditional College: Which One is Right for Me?

Hussian College is a private Pennsylvanian art school; nonetheless, in this article, it takes an unbiased perspective by sharing the pros and cons of art schools and public universities. Public educators offer a broad educational experience. Their students are required to take general education courses and have the chance to transfer to non-art majors within the same school. There are more extracurricular activities—such as fraternities, sororities, and sports teams—than in art schools. However, this also means university students cannot have such an immersive experience in the arts.

As their name suggests, art schools offer only art-related degrees, sometimes specializing even further in areas such as digital design. They charge the most, but students there are able to take courses only directly related to their major. They are also more likely to be hired for artistic careers.

To jump to different sections in the article, click one of the links in the Table of Contents under its title. Press the Contact Us tab at the top right if you have any questions after reading.

The International Journal of Art and Design Education

This journal—abbreviated the iJADE—is edited by Jeff Adams and hosted by the Wiley Online Library. It was created by the National Society for Education in Art and Design. The association was founded in 1888, but their journal has been published for the past thirty years. The iJADE publishes articles about many aspects of the visual arts in an educational context. There are both paid and free articles on its platform, sorted by Most Recent and Most Cited tabs. You have the option of viewing each article either online or in printable PDF form. Below them are recent issues of the journal.

There are multiple ways to use the search bar on this site. First is the dropdown menu that lets you choose to search in either iJADE or throughout the site. There is also Advanced Search, which searches using multiple terms and custom publication dates. You can search by the citations within papers as well. Click the second to browse a free sample issue, the third to become notified when new articles are uploaded, and the fifth to subscribe to the journal’s news.

Montash University: Databases by Subject: Art, Design, and Architecture

Montash University is an Australian college that has combined scholarly resources for its Art, Design, and Architecture into an online database. The qualifications and content of linked resources are clearly described so you can better decide which one to choose when viewing a single page. They are sorted into groups based on their importance; within these groups they are organized by alphabetical order.

If you have a specific interest in mind, go to the Contents heading to the left and choose from the three separate subjects in the page’s title. Access related parts of the same site below them under Related Sites. To check the Last Updated link, scroll to the bottom left. On the same line you are given an option to download a printer-friendly version of the page.

Critique

Labor of Sleep

This essay compares and contrasts three pieces of digital artwork in MLA format.

Labor of Sleep, Have you been able to change your habits?? is a video created in 2017 by Elisa Giardina Papa (“Labor of Sleep“). As an Italian-born artist, Papa currently lives and works in both the Berkeley, the U.S. and Sicily, Italy, where she created this piece. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Politecnico di Milano in 2007 and her Master’s degree from The Rhode Island School of Design in 2013. The co-founder of the artist collective Radha May, Papa has taught at several colleges, including Brown University and the ENAIP. In addition, she has given lectures and speeches at many institutions, such as museums and other schools. The artist has exhibited her art in some of the most prestigious galleries, such as the Museum of Modern Art (Papa 2018).

Papa has been active in the art world for about ten years. Her art is film-based and combines many types of videos into each piece; it explores the way film is made and experienced by large groups of people. Papa deals with the subject of personal identity and how it relates to public policy and technology (“Labor of Sleep” 2017).

Labor of Sleep was created specifically for the Whitney Museum of American Art. It is part of a recent series the museum commissioned for its website to represent the Sunrise and Sunset of New York City. When people visit the site during either sunset or sunrise, they will see a new project with the same theme (“Labor of Sleep” 2017).

Labor of Sleep runs different exercises incorporating multiple video clips over nine days. Papa has used a variety of technologies to develop her work, such as film, graphic design, three- dimensional animation, and video editing. The Whitney Museum explains, “The work examines the idea that sleep has become the newest frontier for gathering behavioral and biological data in order to optimize sleeping patterns, thereby turning the time that our bodies use to rest and replenish into a form of labor devoted to data extraction.” It emphasizes that, by trying so much to analyze and adjust the time we spend relaxing, we are causing more stress in our lives and losing sight of what relaxation truly means. By trying to make more time for rest, we are left with less time that could be spent resting in the first place (“Labor of Sleep” 2017).

On each day, a bell rings and echoes. White text on a bright pink screen accented with yellow and green indicates which day it is. The program initially seems fun and inviting, but as each recording begins, the mood changes. A computer-generated voice instructs a user to improve his or her sleep through various commands, mimicking popular mobile apps deigned to make users’ lives more efficient. At the beginning of each day, the automated voice says, “A new sleep assessment is available for you today. Would you like to move on?” It either goes unanswered, such as in the second video, or moves on to a message such as “Before you sleep, give yourself permission to enter stillness. Allow yourself to enter quietness,” as in video three.

There is often imagery of a faceless human form in a white room along with indoor props, such as white tiles and walls, blue exercise bands, and potted plants. Sometimes only certain body parts—such as legs or arms—are visible. In the first scene, only the figure’s hair is visible as it runs through faucet (Lucky Charms 2017). I think scenes involving both the faucet and bands were designed to make the viewer feel inhibited by the industrial world.

Other times there is no figure at all. In these shots, the voice asks if the user has been able to change his or her habits. The camera faces the floor and captures a robotic vacuum cleaner attempting to pick up leaves or other plant material. It tries after much effort but fails, eventually driving away and leaving more of a mess than it intended to pick up. Afterward, a computer- generated face laughs as if to mock the app (“Labor of Sleep, Have you been able to change your habits??” 2017).

Papa incorporates numerous aspects of life into her art—from people to plants to digital devices—in order to show that attempts to change are part of a larger process. There are other patterns all around us, such as in the natural and technological world (“Labor of Sleep” 2017).

I believe this piece is successful for multiple reasons, the first being that it is original. Originality is important because it can communicate a message in a way that makes many people want to listen. It captivates viewers and makes them think deeply about what they are seeing (Bonnell). Papa constructed each scene down to the last detail. She chose specific sounds, texts, colors, and props, and lighting environment. She created her own animation as well. Even elements that have been designed and manufactured by someone else—such as the vacuum cleaner—are used in thoughtful, intentional ways.

By comparison, Riccardo Uncut is a work of art by Eva and Franco Mattes. The two offered $1,000 for someone to reveal the full contents of their cell phone’s photo gallery. The person they chose was Riccardo, and his 3,000 photos taken over more than a decade were made into a slideshow. This piece is not as admirable as Papa’s because it takes someone else’s pictures and simply puts them together. There are no extra elements that make the Mattes’ work very interesting or unique; the couple has not taken advantage of the vast array of digital programs and techniques at their fingertips. There is no experimentation other than timing in the transitions between photos (“Labor of Sleep” 2017).

I will also compare Papa’s work with The World’s First Collaborative Sentence. This is similar to Ricardo Uncut because it requires input from an audience. In this case, the audience is made up of many people who contribute their own thoughts through writing. However, there is little that the artist, Douglas Davis, has done to interpret their sentences in a meaningful way. He chose their font and background, as well as their colors, but did not make much of a creative contribution to the piece (“Labor of Sleep” 2017).

I also think Labor of Sleep is successful because it is interactive, allowing viewers to click on each video when they are ready to progress to a different day. Because of this, viewers can have some sense of control throughout a piece that is confusing and, at times, disturbing. One thing I admire about The World’s First Collaborative Sentence is that it offers even more interaction. Its audience has literally been a part of its creation; they can change the way it will be viewed forever. This is an exciting idea and a great way to engage an audience.

Riccardo Uncut, however, is not split into multiple segments and does not involve user input, other than that of Riccardo himself. It is a single video that can be watched after its play button has been clicked only once. If Eva and Franco Mattes had made the film more collaborative, they would viewers’ desire for inclusion. According to Meg Floryan of Art21 Magazine, “Ours is a culture that has grown to expect instant gratification and an all-access pass; we are constantly ‘plugged in’ and busy narrating our lives by posting feedback and opinions online. We are wholly accustomed to interactivity, and art that reflects such reciprocation and proactive involvement resonates deeply with us” (Floryan).

Similarly, viewers often appreciate when a work of art contains more than one type of medium. An article in The Atlantic references a TED Talk in which Jinsop Lee, an industrial designer, explains that people tend to respond to and remember events that stimulate all of their senses.

Papa’s work engages both sight and hearing. The World’s First Collaborative Sentence is at a disadvantage because it is merely visual. Riccardo Uncut plays a song in addition to its visuals, but it is still not as memorable as the former artist’s work. Labor of Sleep’s sounds, such as bells, wind, or water, are unexpected. Their strangeness is likely to provoke the viewer’s curiosity and keep them interested throughout the piece.

Labor of Sleep, Have you been able to change your habits?? is original, interactive, and multi-sensory. It is a peculiar, thought-provoking work of art that has caused many to think about their use of technology. It has the ability to gain attention even in the digital age, where immersive experiences matter more than ever.

N.a. “Labor of Sleep.” Whitney, The Whitney Museum of American Art, 2017, https://whitney.org/Exhibitions/ElisaGiardinaPapa.

Papa, Elisa G. “Cover/CV.” Elisa Giardina Papa, N.p., 2018, http://www.elisagiardinapapa.com/EGP-contact-CV.html.

N.a. “Labor of Sleep, Have you been able to change your habits??” Lucky Charms for Dinner, N.p., 2017, http://luckycharmsfordinner.com/elisagiardinapapa.html.

Forbes Agency Council. “Why Originality is a Creative’s Greatest Weapon.” Forbes, Forbes, Inc., 22 March 2016, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2016/03/22/why-originality-is-a- creatives-greatest-weapon/#3890517b7b5d.

N.a. “Riccardo Uncut.” Whitney. The Whitney Museum of American Art, 2018, https://whitney.org/exhibitions/riccardo-uncut.

N.a. “The World’s First Collaborative Sentence.” Whitney. The Whitney Museum of American Art, 2012, https://whitney.org/Exhibitions/Artport/DouglasDavis.

Floryan, M. “Interactive and Participatory Art.” Art21. PBS, n.d., http://magazine.art21.org/2010/06/03/interactive-and-participatory- art/#.Wx9td1MvzR0.

N.a. “The Art and Science of Our Senses.” The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly, n.d., https://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/lincoln-mkc-moment-to- think/the-art-and-science-of-our-senses/153/.

Are you interested in visual media too?