Garnet Fourth-Graders Open Exhibit Dec. 4-9 at WC’s Kohl Gallery

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A whole new kind of exhibit opened at Washington College’s Kohl Gallery this week, when local fourth-graders invited their families to see their work on display in Gibson Center for the Arts. The exhibit, “Artworks by Fourth Grade Students at Henry Highland Garnet Elementary, inspired by the collage works of Jo Smail,” will be up Dec. 4-9 in conjunction with the final week of “Clippings, Voids & Banana Curry,” featuring work by Smail, who teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

At the exhibit opening on Tuesday, Dec. 4, students and their families joined Julie Wills, assistant professor of studio art and Kohl Gallery’s interim director, Benjamin Tilghman, assistant professor of art history, and Sara Clarke-Vivier, assistant professor of education, for a reception and showing. Students excitedly pointed out their work for their moms, dads, and siblings, posing for photos and snacking on cookies and veggies.

“This is really exciting,” Tony Hicks, whose daughter Seiauna Thompson showed her work to her family. “It’s awesome.”

Seiauna Thompson shows her work to her father, Tony Hicks, while her little sister Takayla Hicks, watches.

The exhibit is the result of a collaboration between Clarke-Vivier, Tilghman, and Garnet teachers that began last year, when two classes from the second and third grades came to Kohl Gallery to create art in response to an exhibition of works inspired by Islamic art. This year, the entire fourth-grade art class—45 students—studied Smail’s collage art, which addresses the racism and social violence she witnessed as a child in South Africa through collages that combine family recipes with newspaper clippings and other material.

Students learned about Smail’s art in class, then traveled to the Kohl Gallery to see it in person and engage in a conversation facilitated by Tilghman. Then, Clarke-Vivier and several Washington College students, some of them majoring in art or education, helped the students create their collages using their own family recipes, assorted newspaper clippings from the present day, and other materials.

Clarke-Vivier and Tilghman, whose children attend Garnet, came up with the concept to help to bring more art into the lives of local kids, and to bring them to the campus and introduce them to the Kohl Gallery—for some, one of their first art museum experiences. Clarke-Vivier also wants to give her students a hands-on opportunity to see the challenges and rewards of teaching in an informal education environment, such as a museum. And together, as parents and as College faculty members, they wanted to show direct support for Kent County schools.

“We want them to know that both art and the College are available to them, and they are there for everyone, and they can have both those experiences here,” Clarke-Vivier says. “We reinforce to students that it’s free and it’s open and they can bring their families back.”

WC students Noah Smith ’22, Holly Shaffer ’21 and Anna Watts ’19 (center) help the fourth-graders with their collages.

Both professors have backgrounds in museum-related work. Clarke-Vivier’s research relates to school-museum partnerships for learning (some of this research led her to help create a new cultural museum in Belize.) Tilghman worked at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore for four years, and worked in children’s museums throughout high school—a touchstone for his understanding of museums as welcoming, joyful places.

“That has always been a part of how I think about museums, that it’s not just a repository for old beautiful things you can’t touch, but that it should be flexible and lively,” he says. He and Wills hope projects like this will broaden the purpose and popularity of Kohl Gallery.

“One of the barriers to entry to museums is people think they are stuffy places,” Clarke-Vivier says. “We want [students] to know they can talk, and ask questions, and interact, it’s not like a library where they have to be quiet. And those preconditions allow for pleasurable learning experiences related to art. That’s really important too, to helping people feel like it’s something for them.”

Clarke-Vivier says the project is already yielding results that she and Tilghman had hoped in terms of forming new bonds between the College and Garnet.

“Now when I walk to Garnet there are kids who are like, ‘Dr. C-V, from the art museum! Hey, remember me?’ They’ve made a connection with us as part of the people they know in their existing community at Garnet, but also transition people between the College and the school,” she says. “I think there’s something really important about that in terms of creating this sense of accessibility.”

Washington College’s Phi Delta Theta Raises $10K for ALS Research

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Brothers from Washington College’s Phi Delta Theta today presented a check for $10,000 to representatives of the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins, matching for the second year in a row the highest donation the fraternity has raised with its annual crab feast.

“I’m so proud of these young men, whose hearts are so clearly in the right place,” said College President Kurt Landgraf, who took part in the presentation. “The effort and commitment they put into this event is substantial, and their support of this cause is something to celebrate.”

“We can’t thank Phi Delta Theta enough for their generous donation,” said Emily Baxi, Director of the Robert Packard Center. “Their energy, enthusiasm, and dedication to finding a cure for ALS is inspiring. We look forward to partnering with Phi Delta Theta and taking part in many future crab feasts.”

Photo: Members of WC’s Phi Delta Theta present an honorary check to Heather Culp ’00 of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Also attending the presentation are College President Kurt Landgraf, and (L to R upper right) Sarah Feyerherm, Dean of Students, and Gina Scalise and Laura Renaud of the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research.

Phi Delta Theta has been hosting its annual crab feast fundraiser for 28 years, raising money to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a motor neuron disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Two years ago, the fraternity began partnering with the Packard Center, which is the only international scientific operation dedicated solely to curing ALS. The Center is unique in its approach to fighting ALS, in that it combines and facilitates scientific collaboration and ALS research with fundraising for the development of new treatments and with a goal of finding a cure to the disease.

“We saw an opportunity to have an impact with an organization that we could have a more personal relationship with, and is nearby,” says Phi Delta Theta’s Jacob Yollof ’19. To date, the fraternity has raised $22,290 for the Packard Center.

As Phi Delta Theta’s biggest fundraiser, everyone in the fraternity pitches in to help make the event a success. Between 250 to 350 people come out during Fall Family Weekend to crack crabs and socialize on the waterfront at Lelia Hynson Pavilion.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

WC’s Caring for Kids Club Helps Local Youngsters Who Need Extra Food

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It’s Wednesday evening, and the Student Events Board resource room looks a little like a grocery store stockroom as about half a dozen students pull foodstuffs from cardboard boxes, stacking them neatly on the tables in the center of the room and counting as they go.

Sophomores Zachary Blackwell and Hanna Flowers count out cans of food.

Chicken noodle soup, tomato soup, ravioli, fruit cups, juice boxes, milk boxes, cereal, macaroni and cheese—all get stacked and counted. And then begins the coordinated ballet of bagging, as the students circle the table over and over, filling small back plastic bags with one of each item.

“It’s a pretty whirlwind kind of a thing,” says sophomore Hanna Flowers of the weekly job of the College’s Caring for Kids Club. “You just come in and get stuff done.”

On Friday morning, two of the club’s representatives will deliver the bags to Maureen Ranville, the guidance counselor at Garnett Elementary School, who will then distribute the packages to students from pre-K through fifth grade who qualify for the Weekend Backpack Program.

“Right now we have 65 students on the program,” Ranville says. “They are free- and reduced-lunch students or students who are homeless … who have a need for extra food on the weekends.”

: Sophomores Jada Aristilde and Hanna Flowers share a laugh as they fill food bags

For senior Courtney Vicisko, a biology major and French minor who is co-president of Caring for Kids, it’s something that she’d never even thought about until she joined the club as a freshman. Now, she says, “It’s become something I care so much about.”

“It really puts things into perspective for people,” she says. “It’s really hard to wrap your head around the idea that this could even be a problem, that there are kids in Chestertown without enough food to eat.”

Ranville says there’s definitely a need. Garnett has 370 students, and although 65 are signed up for the program this fall, that number is frequently higher. The limit the school can manage, she says, is 75.

“Most of the kids’ parents receive assistance for food stamps or food assistance, but this just helps give them extra for the weekend,” she says.

The club coordinates with the Maryland Food Pantry, which provides the food. The students meet to pack that week’s delivery, also stockpiling bags for the weeks when they are gone over winter break. Sometimes, the WC students throw a little something special into the bags, like cookies or notes.

“It may seem like a small thing,” Vicisko says of the backpack program, “but it’s a huge deal to the people it’s helping.”

Italian Culinary Institute Master Chef at WC’s Eastern Shore Food Lab

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Bringing traditional nose-to-tail cooking techniques from Calabria, Italy, to local residents and Washington College students, Italian Culinary Institute Master Chef John Nocita opened the College’s Eastern Shore Food Lab today with two delectable presentations focused on preparing ancestral meals while leaving nothing to waste.

“When we talk about no waste, it’s because traditional people could not afford to waste,” Nocita told some 50 people at the hours-long morning presentation. (He would follow it up with a second presentation to a packed house later in the afternoon.) “Living in a war-ravaged country [post World War II], not knowing if you’re going to find food, it’s one reason we don’t waste anything. And it’s not just a matter of being conscious of not throwing things away; it’s our creativity. We love to cook!”

Close-up of John Nocita speaking at the Eastern Shore Food Lab.

Nocita was the first chef to visit the brand-new Eastern Shore Food Lab (ESFL), an innovative, one-of-a-kind teaching, learning, and production space, led by Bill Schindler, associate professor of anthropology and a world expert on primitive technologies and ancient foodways. Drawing international chefs and food innovators to rethink our food systems by using ancestral food knowledge and technologies, the ESFL aims to create food for today’s palate that is more nutritious, meaningful, and sustainable. Schindler calls this “learning to eat like humans again.”

Schindler met Nocita two years ago when he traveled to Italy to take one of Nocita’s classes in charcuterie, and the two worked together again last year as Schindler was in Europe gathering information for the ESFL as part of his Food Evolutions project. As soon as he met Nocita, Schindler says, “I knew right away I had found a mentor … this was the information, the techniques, and the approach I wanted to bring back here.”

“John is always looking for understanding into traditional foodways,” Schindler said. “Our approach is the same, even though our backgrounds are very different.” He said that as soon as Nocita heard that the lab was ready to open, he offered to be its first guest chef.

“This is a beautiful town,” Nocita told the audience. “For us in Italy, it really personifies what we think about America. It seems a little more in touch with the earth and nature than some of the big cities.”

The pair and members of the ESFL team—which included Assistant Director Shane Brill, student intern Melia Greene, administrative coordinator Eden Kloetzli, students from Schindler’s Food, People, and the Planet class, and Schindler’s son Billy and wife Christina—had butchered a pig from Kent County’s Langenfelder Farm and created a series of dishes from every part. Nocita started with “bollito,” boiled meat served over stale focaccia with a sauce made of parsley, olive oil, lemon, and salt.

“It’s the worst cuts of the meat,” Nocita explained. “It’s peasant food. People did not have a lot of money, and the best cuts of meat went to wealthy people.” Students served the flavorful, tender dish in small bowls to the visitors as Nocita answered questions. He followed with a variety of other dishes, including seared tenderloin and a dish made with boiled nerves, fat, and parts of the head.

Nocita said the trendy buzzwords around food—local, sustainable, fresh, in-season, for example—are not trends in Italy.

“It’s what we live every day. In Italy, we are blessed with terrible distribution … we’re able to retain our regional identity,” something he says it seems much of the U.S. has lost as food has become more culturally homogenized. “When we identify with our cuisine, we identify with ourselves.”

John Nocita addresses the Eastern Shore Food Lab’s first audience.

Between courses, Schindler answered questions about the food lab, which he has been conceptualizing for about eight years. The fundamental goal, he says, is to reconnect people to their food. Although some of the lab’s work will be focused on more cutting-edge foods like insects as sustainable sources of protein, he initially wants to connect people to what they are already eating every day.

“You should know what you are eating, but the reality is, how many of us have eaten a hot dog? How many of us have actually made a hot dog? From scratch? From choosing the pig?”

While ultimately working for global food system change, the ESFL will be grounded in the local, propelled by the notion that environmental and cultural sustainability should be at the forefront in our approach to food. By researching the resources unique to the region based on weather, climate, soil chemistry, and microbial biology, and fusing ancient and historic foodways with modern technologies and methods, faculty, students, community members, and collaborative researchers will re-envision our food system, from how we define food to how we grow it and prepare it.

Marguerite Miller, who had taken a class with Nocita in Italy, drove from Washington, D.C., to attend the morning event. Nocita had told her about Schindler, knowing D.C. wasn’t far from Chestertown.

“I went to Italy to learn to make artisan cheese,” she said. “He said, ‘You gotta meet Bill,’ so here I am.’’

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

WC’s College Relations and Marketing has Won an Array of Awards

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The College Relations and Marketing team has won an array of awards from the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals (AMCP), including gold in the MarCom Awards for a new admissions campaign, and platinum in the dotCOMM Awards for virtual reality campus tours.

Both the MarCom and dotCOMM awards are sponsored annually by the AMCP, whose judges “look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.”

The MarCom Awards this year drew more than 6,000 entries from corporate marketing and communications departments, ad agencies, PR firms, production companies, and design shops. Winners included AARP, Hilton Worldwide, IBM, and Microsoft. Washington College won gold in strategic communications/marketing and promotion for the “Do You” campaign for prospective students, as well as honorable mention for The Academic Minute in strategic communications/media relations and publicity, and for strategic communications/ marketing and promotion for the Athey Athletic Club.

“The ‘Do You’ campaign takes the typical admissions viewbook to a new, more personal level for generation Z,” says Rolando Irizarry, Vice President of College Relations and Marketing. “It is physically designed to feel almost like a personal gift, with the message emphasized throughout that at Washington College, it’s possible for students to find their best, truest selves. From concept through writing, editing, and design, the deep pool of CRM’s talent and creativity really shines through on this project.”

The CRM team also won two platinum awards in the AMCP’s annual dotCOMM awards in website element/virtual reality, one for the 360 interactive virtual campus tour and one for the 360 interactive VR tour of the Rose O’Neill Literary House. An international competition honoring excellence in web creativity and digital communication, the dotCOMM Awards drew more than 2,000 entries this year.

“The print studio is one of the most unique things about Washington College; fewer than 10 colleges in our country have something like it,” says James Allen Hall, Director of the Rose O’ Neill Literary House. “I’m so glad that with the VR tour, now anyone from anywhere can experience the warm, special environs of the Lit House. I hope prospective students will take the tour and see what a fabulous home awaits them at WC.”

Irizarry also noted that because Chestertown is such an integral part of the student experience at Washington College, the virtual tours also include much of the town.

“In addition to documenting the campus, Google photographers shot seven local businesses, including Radcliffe Creek School, Kingstown Home and Garden, the Robert Ortiz Studios, and the Chester River Packet,” he says.“So these will also now be searchable as virtual tours within Google Maps, and hopefully when we expand these tours, we can also show more of Chestertown and Kent County.”

View the award-winning Campus Tour https://goo.gl/maps/Gr9Z1qcrnNo and Lit House tour https://goo.gl/maps/D2PmuGU39j42 .

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Jessica Asch to Speak at Washington College Nov. 16

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Jessica Asch, a creative arts therapist and drama therapist, will visit Washington College on Nov. 16 to talk about “Healing Collective Trauma Through Creative Arts Therapy.”

The talk at Norman James Theatre starts at 4:30 and is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the departments of Art &Art History, Education, Music, Sociology, and Theatre & Dance, the Gibson-Wagner Psychology Department Fund, and the offices of Intercultural Affairs and Prevention, Education, and Advocacy.

Asch focuses on the use of art and theater in her therapeutic work because she finds that trauma often “disconnects you from your body and your emotions and your heart.” Drama therapy is one approach that helps people reconnect with themselves and others in their communities.

Asch’s practice is based in New York City where she works with a variety of individuals and groups including Holocaust survivors, youth in the juvenile justice system, and veterans struggling with PTSD. Some of her recent work involves contributions to Camp Shine, a therapeutic summer camp for high school students who survived the 2018 school violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. More information about her work can be found at http://jessicaasch.com/about/

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Former Starr Center Fellow Wil Haygood at WC Nov. 15

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Critically acclaimed writer and journalist Wil Haygood, whose new book Tigerland is both an inspiring sports story and an illuminating social history, will return to Washington College on November 15 for a reading, book signing, and discussion of his work.

The free, public event begins at 5:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, and is cosponsored by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, Rose O’Neill Literary House, Sophie Kerr Committee, Black Student Union, Cleopatra’s Sisters, Washington College Athletics, American Studies and Black Studies Programs, and the Departments of English and History.

Haygood is the 2017 recipient of Washington College’s Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship, and Tigerland, 1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing, was written largely during his sojourn at the College’s Starr Center.

The book traces the difficult contours of America in the late 1960s, when race relations across the country were especially fraught. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy sparked public outcry. City neighborhoods burned. Black Olympic athletes protested from the medal stand. Citizens marched for civil and human rights. And, in racially segregated Columbus, Ohio, two athletic teams from a poor, black, high school set out to win baseball and basketball championships, against all odds. This is the powerful and inspirational story recounted in Tigerland.

While in Kent County, Haygood will also meet with Kent County High School students and instructors to hand out copies of Tigerland for the One School/One Book Program. As part of this initiative, the community has raised close to $10,000 to ensure that that every student in grades 8 through 12 receive a personal copy.

“The embrace of Tigerland by the campus, community, and public school system is a testament to this book’s beauty and relevance,” says Patrick Nugent, Deputy Director of the Starr Center. “Here is a civil rights narrative set in one community and one school, the story of how one locker room carried out the ideals of self-determination and self-definition in the face of de facto segregation.”

Since its debut in September, Kirkus Reviews has hailed it as “an engrossing tale of one shining moment in dark times.” Publishers Weekly praises the author: “Haygood is a passionate storyteller as he expertly captures this period of civil unrest in an American city.”The book has been recently named to the 2019 Longlist for the ALA’s Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence.

About the Patrick Henry Fellowship

Launched by the Starr Center in 2008, the Patrick Henry Fellowship aims to encourage reflection on the links between American history and contemporary culture, and to foster the literary art of historical writing. It is co-sponsored by the Rose O’Neill Literary House, Washington College’s center for literature and the literary arts. The Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship’s funding is permanently endowed by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, with further support provided by the Starr Foundation, the Hodson Trust, and other donors.

About the Starr Center

Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience explores the American experience in all its diversity and complexity, seeks creative approaches to illuminating the past, and inspires thoughtful conversation informed by history. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Poet Erika L. Sánchez at the Rose O’Neill Literary House Nov. 12

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The Rose O’Neill Literary House is proud to host a reading by Erika L. Sánchez on Monday, November 12, as part of the fall Literary House Series. The reading will be held at 5:00 p.m. at the Lit House, and will be followed by a book sale and signing. It is free and open to the public.

Erika L. Sánchez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and is a poet, novelist, and essayist living in Chicago. She is the author of a collection of poems, Lessons on Expulsion (Graywolf, 2017), as well as the young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2017), which was a New York Times Bestseller and a National Book Awards finalist.

Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many prestigious literary journals, including Pleiades, Copper Nickel, Vinyl Poetry, Guernica, Boston Review, the Paris Review, Gulf Coast, and POETRY Magazine. Her poetry has also been featured on “Latino USA” on NPR and published in Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Viking, 2015).

Sánchez graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from the University of Illinois at Chicago, then traveled to Madrid, Spain, on a Fulbright Scholarship. She received an MFA in creative writing from the University of New Mexico. Since graduate school, Sánchez has received a CantoMundo Fellowship, a Bread Loaf Scholarship, the 2013 “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize, and a 2015 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from The Poetry Foundation. She was recently named a 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellow.

For more information on these events or the Literary House, visit the website at www.washcoll.edu/centers/lithouse, or view the annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: www.washcoll.edu/live/files/7406-2017-2018.

WC Invites Local Trick-or-Treaters to the Hynson-Ringgold House

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Washington College’s Hynson-Ringgold House will be all decked out to welcome local trick-or-treaters on Halloween!

The house will be open for trick-or-treaters from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31. Members of the Campus Events staff and the Student Government Association will be in costume and happy to provide treats and warm beverages.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.