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The Dutch Royal Academy of Fine Art graduated 204 this past month, 37 in photography and more than 50 in Fine Arts. All kinds of programs including postgraduate Master's degrees. It's roughly comparable to a four-year college in the USA with curricula specializing in art.

Some of the kids graduating in photography are friends of mine, who exhibited work as third-year students in an abandoned automobile dealer-repair shop they'd found and taken over for a week to establish their own gallery in, just up the street from the hostel, in January 2009.

Last week, this is what you saw when you came through the front door of the Academy complex. A symphony of pieces of quartz mounted in front of a searchlight, and more across the floor behind you. I think it looks like an exploding traffic light, giant-size {I could easily fit under the hood of the shattering lens, the whole sculpture climbs about four meters off the floor} but the artist Uri Ruff prefers to call it "Song of Love"

Inger Koerselman works with building large pieces of wool into fantasy shapes: here is a jungle she created with mythical creatures, which eventually is going to be the set for a performance piece, maybe dance:

Amber Isabel is a photographer-artist who creates entire environments with her art displays; the first of these adds sunlight through a white diffusion cloth to create shadow dragon's teeth around the head of her model, while her cord curtains [which are real] enclose her in a prison. The second of these is a view of two of her three photographs she displays this way [she took a whole series but didn't have space to show more]:

Tobias Groenwald experiments with light and composed this image of multiple light beams refracted through prisms and masked with black screens to create the beauty of a flying angel:

The angel reminded me immediately of Kiota, as much of the photography I see often does, in one way or another...

And from a completely different direction, this does too, from a story in the current Jerusalem Post:

"Our dedicated team of instructors are crazy about teaching, and know how important it is to develop creative thinking. Israeli pupils are creative by definition, and you've got to cultivate that and get them to believe in themselves."

That's the director of the Physics Dept. talking, who runs a unit of Ben-Gurion University's Ilan Ramon Center in the Negev desert, in southern Israel. For the third year in a row his advanced high-school students have taken first prizes at an international physics competition in Warsaw, where their work is judged for "öriginality and academic excellence" by college profs. Many of them are girls and two sisters, both from Beer-Sheva, have won firsts two years in a row.

When I met with the staff at Lachan Center, and the kids, and especially one of its Directors, I saw how important that principle was. Lachan is where Ki prepared to take her college entrance exams to come to America; it's just down the hill from her home and it's residential, too, so she lived there at times while she was studying.

And the kids at the Dutch Academy are excited about their work because their instructors encourage that to happen. Not for only one day or one week, but year in and year out.

Enitrely a good thing. My own small part in this now is to critique some work I saw at the art exhibition that got me as excited as the creators were. And to share my impressions with them.

And, got me as excited as they are, now.



kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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