VENTURE ACADEMY V SUMMER 2018
Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts
321 East 3rd Street, Bethlehem
Wednesdays 6:15 – 8:00 pm
June 6, June 13, June 20
This session’s theme: ENCOUNTERING OUTSIDER ART IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
Your Guide: Norman Girardot, Professor Emeritus, Lehigh University
To Register: Download this form or call 610-868-2971 ext. 3185
What is Venture Academy?
Now in its fifth installment, this series of guided explorations is designed to promote provocative ideas, images, and sensations for venturesome adults seeking to cope with an increasingly complex, bewildering, exciting, wondrous, and sometimes scary world. “LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE: A pilgrim’s journey for the young of mind and heart.”
These sessions are open to the public as part of the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts’ Adult Enrichment Workshop Series. All proceeds benefit the school.
More about this session:
June 6 (In the Beginning was the Mark),
June 13 (An Angel of Art Cometh to Bethlehem),
June 20 (Saving Mr. Imagination’s Environmental Vision)
THEME & DESCRIPTION:
ENCOUNTERING OUTSIDER ART IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
A series of special guided explorations about the mysteries of human art-making (both visual and performative) and why art is not just what certain white men called “artists” (who learned how to draw representationally and perspectively) defined as the only “real” art. There is, in fact, a whole other universal and global tradition of skillfully and imaginatively “making visible” or “making/seeing/experiencing something hidden and special in the world.” This includes tribal art, children’s art, art of the insane, prison art, self-taught art, visionary art, folk art, and so on – or just about everything outside of what elite Western tradition presumptuously called fine or schooled art by excluding everything else. In the contemporary sense, to be an “outsider,” or in this case, an “outsider artist,” loosely means someone who in some fashion is marginal to mainstream culture, someone who does not depend on, or conform to, what is taken as the prevailing cultural norms. There can, of course, be a light and dark side to being an outsider in that real innovative forward-looking creativity, or a dark regressive demonology, can both flow from a culturally unmoored imagination. Be careful.Venture Academy V will explore some of these issues in a general and semi-traditional historical and academic way (lectures, films, discussion), but will focus primarily on a concrete case of outsider art as exemplified by Bethlehem’s own late great outsider “found object” artist Mr. Imagination (aka Gregory Warmack, 1948-2012; see among numerous other articles and videos, catalog essays, and book chapters, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO52kzGUgxk&t=6s ).
The academy will also include some volunteer opportunities for hands-on project-based creative activities in the recycled environmental art park on the Lehigh campus inspired by Mr. Imagination.
NOW IF YOU ARE UNDECIDED ABOUT PARTICIPATING IN THIS VERY SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY, PONDER THIS:
Did you know that our very own Christmas City, as well as our larger region in eastern Pennsylvania, actually harbors many strange and curiously refreshing secrets – not the least of which is a secret art park, sometimes also called the millennium folk arch, the outsider enclave, or Mr. Imagination’s numinous playground?
And did you know that during the first decade of the 21st century, our blessed post-industrial town, as well as the larger Lehigh Valley, was actually inhabited by a visiting angel of recycled art, religion, earth, stone, concrete, bottle caps, junk, and spirit? He was truly from another astral dimension by way of Chicago who came here to show us a way to a place of physical, spiritual, and artistic regeneration. And then he flew back to other worlds. He left his unfinished work on this benighted planet to us, his outsider inheritors.
The Question is then: will these vital secrets, the outsider’s path, perish from the earth? Not if you can help it, not if you open yourself to the wondrous and strange opportunity before you.