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Everson Museum presents ‘Sitting Still’ video project, led by VPA faculty member Anne Beffel, beginning Oct. 4
Everson Museum presents ‘Sitting Still’ video project, led by VPA faculty member Anne Beffel, beginning Oct. 4September 29, 2008Erica Blustesblust@syr.edu
The Everson Museum of Art will present “Sitting Still,” a contemplative video project focused on nonviolence led by Anne Beffel, associate professor of foundation in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, beginning on Saturday, Oct. 4. The project will culminate in an exhibition in June 2009 at the museum at 401 Harrison St., Syracuse.
“This project addresses the question of what the world would look like from a nonviolent point of view,” says Pam McLaughlin, curator of education and public programs at the Everson. “‘Sitting Still’ looks at would happen if Syracuse city youth and Syracuse University joined together to explore this concept.”
Beffel and McLaughlin have worked for more than a year to put video cameras in the hands of Syracuse youth throughout October 2008 so that they will stop, look and listen as scenes, ranging from those that inspire awe to those that compel participation and intervention, unfold before them. Students from Central Tech, Henninger, Corcoran and Nottingham high schools in the Syracuse City School District have been invited to participate.
During four Saturday workshops in the Everson’s e-tags studio at The Warehouse on 350 W. Fayette St., students will engage in making video art from a perfectly still point of view and then use their art works as the basis for sharing their diverse visions.
Beffel initiated the “Sitting Still” project last spring in collaboration with University of Memphis and Overton High School students at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis.
“Participants experience something attuned because the youth encounter something unusual with the cameras-they concentrate completely on being right here, right now, moment by moment. The video camera becomes a focusing tool,” says Beffel. “The atmosphere is collaborative, and students often tell me after the workshops that they walk around noticing small things they had overlooked previously. They seem to open up to one another.”
Beffel drew inspiration for “Sitting Still” from a variety of sources, including her interest in the sit-ins at a Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., and the Nashville sit-ins of 1960. She was also inspired by the Dalai Lama and Rosa Parks. Although these individuals come from very different environments and positions, they have drawn strength and courage from stillness, which has impacted the world in profound ways.
“Sitting Still” is funded by a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts. The project is also supported by a grant from Enitiative (the Syracuse Campus-Community Entrepreneurship Initiative) and an academic fellowship from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.
The Everson is open to the public Tuesday-Friday and Sunday, noon-5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5 per person. For more information, visit http://www.everson.org.