Of Art and Artists

Devised by Cindy Polich

Of Art and Artists is a celebration of art and the artists who create it.  Using the poetry and words of Pulitzer-prize winning poet Amy Lowell combined with the music and artwork of several brilliant (and predominantly female) contemporary composers and artists, this production takes the audience on a journey exploring poetry, writing, music, theater, dance, visual art, nature, and the artists themselves.

 

This 75-minute performance is presented with no intermission.

~ April 2018 ~

Performing Arts of Minnesota Arts High School

7255 Flying Cloud Drive

Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55344

REVIEW:  "Of Art and Artists is a dynamic, innovative, and interesting way of presenting poetry through multiple mediums. . .For a program focused primarily on a single poet from Brookline, Massachusetts, the musical and other variety is impressive."

~ Basil Considine - Twin Cities.Arts Reader

Amy Lowell

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By all accounts, Amy Lowell was a force.  But accounts differ on whether to view that as a compliment.  She was a poet – a prolific poet – publishing over 650 poems. She was privileged.  The Lowell family was among the wealthy Boston elite. Her father was a prominent Harvard-educated cotton manufacturer.  Her mother came from a similar old and established family, spoke seven languages, and played five musical instruments.  Their estate in Brookline, Sevenels, remained Amy’s home her entire life. Her brother became Harvard’s President (and even after finding her own success, she was quite often introduced as his sister).  

 

She had the wealth and intellect to do as she pleased, and she did.  She was large – in personality and size.  Standing only five feet and weighing 250 pounds, she smoked cigars, cursed, spoke her mind, and challenged convention in her own unique way.  She was an innovator.  She was a founding member of the “imagist” group of poets and embraced the freedom of poetry unconstrained by rhyme and meter.  She was a business woman, working tirelessly to promote her work.  She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize posthumously in 1926.

 

Yet, Amy Lowell was ridiculed and maligned, especially by T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.  They called her the “demon saleswoman” and demeaned her as an inferior poet who made a spectacle of herself traveling the country giving lectures that were viewed more as entertainment.  Her critics (nearly all male) suggested that her admitted intelligence, personality and “thumping of her drum” allowed success despite her lack of “genius”.  Most predicted that her writings would soon be forgotten.

 

She never married, so was also disparaged as an obese, wounded, sex-starved, lovelorn spinster. It wasn’t until the 1980s that her biographers would openly disclose her full and loving partnership with Ada Russell, as well as the support and inspiration this relationship provided.

 

She was criticized for her “common” approach to poetry but was passionate about bringing poetry to a broad audience and making it relevant to their daily lives.  Of one lecture appearance she wrote: “Had I followed my inclination, I should have burst into tears when the audience stood up that night.  One goes on writing and writing and writing and wears one’s self out trying to give one’s visions to the world, but it is only occasionally that one realizes that other people have seen those visions and have understood what one was trying to do.”

Gallery
 
Photos by Jessica Holleque
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Composers
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Mog Fry

Beech Tree

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Jennifer Higdon

Wissahickon PoeTrees: Clock

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Libby Larsen

Jack's Valentine

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Missy Mazzoli

Vesper Sparrow

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Marilyn Mazur

Junkyard Entrance

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   Meredith Monk                 Agnes Obel

    Windows in 7s                      Tokka

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Ben Moore

So Free Am I

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Nkeiru Okoye

Dancing Barefoot

in the Rain

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Steve Reich

Clapping Music

Caroline Shaw

Partita for Eight Voices:

Movement I. Allemande and

Movement II. Sarabande

Ivan Trevino

Empathy

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Harrison Wade

Eleonora Duse

and Summer

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Julia Wolfe

Earring

Artists

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Ida Bagus Alit

Friendship

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Linda Carmel

Dancing Queens

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Aliaa Essam

Old Women in the Summer

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Sevada Grigoryan

Tonri Lavash

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Marietjie Henning

The Women's March

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Terry Taylor

Rainbow on the Wall

Mila Supinskaya Glashenko

                   Alive

Performers

Jim Ahrens

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Brianna Belland

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Maggie Burr

Thomas Friebe

Zach Garcia

Daniel Greco

Anna Hashizume

Krin McMillen

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Erik Schee

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Christine Wade

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Harrison Wade

Production Team

Director:                     Lindsay Fitzgerald

Stage Manager:         Megan Gooden      Music Director:          Harrison Wade

Vocal Director:           Christine Wade

Choral Director:         Kellen McMillen