Somali Music and Dance, Rehanna Khesghi (MUSIC 345)
When civil war broke out in Somalia in 1991, thousands of refugees fled to camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, and some were eventually resettled in the US and Canada. Many Somali refugees ended up in Minnesota not by choice, but because resettlement agencies in Minnesota worked with the US government to support new arrivals. As extended family members joined their relatives, Somali diasporic culture became an important visible, and audible, part of the cultural landscape of Minnesota. As part of this course, students will go beyond studying Somali history, culture, literature, and performance. As a class, we will pursue a community engaged model of learning, connecting with community partners in order to begin building relationships. Students will reflect on and seek out connections between the skills and interests they bring to the course and the needs and desires of Somali community partners in Minnesota.
ACE Component: Students will work on developing relationships with culture bearers, artists, and musicians from Waano and the Somali community in the Twin Cities and Faribault.
Music and Social Justice (MUSIC 245)
Students study how music can engage and advocate for those on the margins of society, inspiring social justice movements. Analyzing historical and current events, class members design a musical project that can empower a people, group or organization in addressing moral and social problems such as racial inequality, rural or urban violence, or prison reform. A Christian normative framework, along with religious and secular alternatives, help guide the ethics implications pertaining to this subject.
ACE Component: In 2018 under Mark Stover, students conducted four evening visits the Women’s Correctional Facility in Shakopee, MN to work with their women’s choir, plus generating musical advocacy program/project ideas in conjunction with Northfield area nonprofits (Northfield Arts Guild, Union of Youth/The Key, Greenvale Park Community School, Cannon River Watershed Partnership). In 2019 and 2020 under Tesfa Wondemagagnehu, students worked with MPR to create music and storytelling podcasts. In 2021 and 2022 under Emery Stephens and David Carter, students worked to create playlist for and participate in activities for the on-campus MLK Jr. Day celebration.
Advanced Acting for the Lyric Stage, James McKeel (MUSIC 267)
This studio course focuses on advanced techniques of acting and singing for the musical stage with emphasis on opera. Students explore voice, movement, improvisation, and characterization at an advanced level. Participants receive coaching in musical and dramatic style through solo and small ensemble literature and prepare scenes for class performance. The course culminates with public performances of a fully staged and costumed lyric theater work. St. Olaf students in the course, “Acting for the Lyrical Stage” performed in full Commedia dell Arte costumes for students in local elementary schools. The performance included singing, dancing, and improvising to involve the younger students. This course is part of the Music department’s school outreach program. See photos from the event.
Music Opera Workshop, Dale Kruse (MUSIC 269)
The Mozart Experiment: This class will research, interpret, compare, rehearse, and perform a variety of ensembles and recitative scenes from Mozart’s operas in order to develop a sensitivity and ease with the collaborative dynamic of effective lyric communication in an ensemble setting. Performances by the class will be offered to the public free of charge.
In 2016, St. Olaf students devised and created an opera about immigration with students from Prairie Creek Charter School. The class has worked with Prairie Creek again in 2019, 2022, and 2024 (forthcoming).
Arts Management, Sian Muir (MGMT 229)
This course provides an overview of the key issues that face arts administrators. Topics addressed include strategic planning, budgeting, fund raising, audience development, and human resource management as each relates to the unique setting of the arts. Case analysis and guest speakers provide opportunities to explore application of key concepts. Teams of students will research and write grants for various local arts organizations and present their projects to the community partners at the end of the semester.
African-American Art, Hannah Ryan (ART 265)
This course is a survey of African-American art, from folk and decorative arts of the 19th century, to Modernist painting and sculpture in the 20th, to the multi-media productions of today. Issues of race and identity are explored through examinations of the visual productions of African American artists.
ACE Component: Students will work with the Flaten Art Museum on an acquisition project to further the development of the Flaten collection in conjunction with their collecting priorities.
Graphic Design, Peter Nelson (ART 236)
For the ACE component of this course, students will plan, research, and develop graphic design projects for local non-profit organizations.
Intermediate Photography, Meg Ojala (ART 238)
In this intermediate photography course, students explore a variety of techniques and topics. Techniques include historic processes such as cyanotype and salted paper printing, digital photography, large-scale color printing, and traditional black and white photography. Students investigate experimental approaches and nontraditional forms for presentation, and they investigate photography from broad historical, aesthetic, and social perspectives. This course includes field trips, readings, discussion, and slide presentations. For the ACE portion of this course in 2014-15, students photographed Rice Creek watershed during the winter and spring thaw in order to study nature photography as well as to document the hydrologic patterns for the benefit of the local management unit for the watershed. For the ACE portion of this course in 2018, students captured images of the various spaces being utilized for Stephen Koplowitz’s The Northfield Experience. Select photos were then showcased in “The Northfield Experience” gallery exhibition at the Northfield Arts Guild.
Projects in Public Art, Michon Weeks (ART 340)
This course enables the advanced studio art student to pursue further work in any chosen two or three dimensional medium or combination of media including performance, installation, and collaborative ways of working. This course is organized around an interdisciplinary theme set each year by the instructor. Within a seminar format, students read, discuss, and write on the selected topic in conjunction with topic-driven individual studio work and critiques.
Students engaged in numerous public art projects as part of this course.
- Students created temporary public art sculptures at Way Park in the first week of class. Students rearranged nature to create the pieces. This project was inspired by the work of Andy Goldsworthy.
- Students toured Public Art in Minneapolis and St. Paul with Jack Becker of Forecast Public Art.
- St. Paul Public Artist-in-residence, Amada Lovelee, visited the class to share her work and to engage students in a short workshop.
- The course instructor and Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, Michon Weeks, shared about her recent showing of 36 of her new paintings in a public art event in Indianapolis. The event was called “Art in Odd Places.”
- Students researched a range of topics related to public art including: public art controversies; temporary vs. permanent; monuments & memorials; relational aesthetics & public practice; the business of public art; and site specificity.
- Students proposed designs to a set of community stakeholders for painting the warming house at Way Park. The class painted the warming house based on the winning design.
- Students invited kids and adults from the Way Park neighborhood to create drawings for a pop-up gallery in the warming house. They shared candy, played music, and created a well-attended casual art show opening within the warming house.
- Students created individual mock public art grant proposals. The proposals were exhibited in the Groot Gallery Opening on Dec. 4th.
Community Dance, Anne Von Bibra (DANCE 280/281)
For some “community dance” encompasses the dances that are part of a community’s social life. For others it refers specifically to a movement with the motto “dance is for everyone” that has sought to bring participation in dance to all, particularly underserved communities.
ACE Component: Students will facilitate community dance events with older adults from FiftyNorth.