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Archive for the ‘art’ Category

The Music Industry /Recording Arts (MIRA) program launched its Street Team at the Gasparilla Music Festival in Tampa in partnership with 88.5 WMNF Community Radio earlier this month.

The team includes student volunteers and was granted funding through an Innovation Grant from the St. Petersburg College Foundation. The goal is to expose students in the program to relevant events, professionals and networking opportunities with the potential to enhance their chances of employability.

As an extension of the festival’s mission to enhance music education, MIRA students will promote the program in their newly branded gear, network, and have the opportunity to partner with seasoned WMNF volunteers and staff.

The two-day event, March 8 and 9, was anticipated to attract 10,000 people to Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa. MIRA staff and students were sprinkled throughout the event with “I Love Music Education” stickers and MIRA Street Team t-shirts. WMNF is welcoming MIRA students to share a tent and promote the program and hand out branded stickers and sunglasses to those interested.

This was the Street Team’s first event with many more to come!

See photos from the Street Team’s Spring Break efforts on the college’s Facebook page.

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Child's Play

Kevin Grass
Child’s Play, 2013
Acrylic on panel, 60 x 44 in.

The new exhibition at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art celebrates the creative and wide-ranging talents and accomplishments of the St. Petersburg College art faculty.

The show demonstrates the commitment and dedication of the arts faculty to art education while also displaying high standards for their own artistic development.

One work in the exhibition showcases faculty members in another way. The painting Child’s Play by Kevin Grass, show here, features images of arts faculty members from the Clearwater Campus: Jonathan Barnes (on the ladder), Kim Kirchman (in the swing) and Frank Duffy (in the blue shirt). Kevin Grass’ wife Michaela Oberlaender (in the tree) teaches art history classes at the college.

The exhibition opened the week of March 6 and continues through April 20.

The exhibition features works by full-time art faculty members Jonathan Barnes, Barton Gilmore, Kevin Grass, Marjorie Greene and Kimberly Kirchman.

Participating adjunct faculty are Linda Berghoff, Frank Duffy, Ya La’Ford, Francesco Gillia, Barbara Hubbard, Elizabeth Indianos, Susan Johnson, Chris Otten, Rebecca Skelton, McKenzie Smith and Joseph Weinzettle.

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St. Petersburg College Early Childhood Education students, faculty and local professionals will attend an innovative workshop that trains teachers to use active, arts-based experiences to teach preschoolers about science, technology, engineering and math.

Funded by an SPC Innovation Grant, the workshops will have an immediate impact on the children in one local Head Start Center and continue to impact future teachers as SPC begins to implement the new method into their Early Childhood classes as early as this fall.

“We want to make sure everyone is aware of scholarly research on STEM to meet the unique needs of children in their setting,” said Anne Ryan, SPC professor and coordinator of Early Childhood A.S. degree program. “To me this is the incubator. We want to generate new ideas that get children excited to learn.”

Workshop for Professionals

On March 3-7, a Teaching Artist from the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts will spend the week with about 70 3-4 year olds and their teachers at a Tarpon Springs Head Start Center.

In anticipation of the art that these children will develop, highlights from the Wolf Trap program will be displayed at the Leepa-Rattner Museum during the month of September.

Workshop for SPC students and faculty

Students and faculty in SPC’s Early Childhood Education program can also learn about teaching STEM through the arts at a workshop on Thursday, March 6, 6-9 p.m. in the teaching auditorium at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. Contact Anne Ryan to reserve your spot as space is limited. If space is available, the program will also be open to local early childhood professionals seeking continuing education credit.

SPC Early Childhood Education Program

SPC’s Early Childhood Education program serves students currently working in the early childhood field or those preparing for a career. The program is designed to give students a smooth transition from certificate to associate degree to bachelors degree.

“Well meet them where they are in their early childhood career and help them reach their next goal,” said Ryan.

Other Upcoming Early Childhood events

Early Care and Education Conference – Preschool Track
Saturday, April 26, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus

SPC Week – Early Childhood Info Sessions
Wednesday, March 5, 4 and 6 p.m.
St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus

Related Links

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Dr. Shannon McQuaig works with bacteria samples

Dr. Shannon McQuaig works with some of the samples of bacteria.

In yellows, oranges and reds, the bacteria’s colors display as living art.

A curiosity about why some of those bacteria almost glow with color has led to an integration of science and art in St. Petersburg College labs.

It started when Shannon McQuaig, Associate Professor of Natural Science, was working in a microbiology teaching lab at the SPC Clearwater Campus. She noticed one of the agar petri dishes was contaminated with unknown bacteria. But what stood out as unusual about the contamination was that it was the bright color.

“When I took a closer look, the contaminating bacteria had a bright yellow color,” McQuaig said. Intrigued, she set it aside for further study. She noticed a similar contamination on another petri dish on another day, only that time it was bright orange.

With her curiosity in full swing, McQuaig did some research and discovered a variety of bacteria that produce certain pigments.

The colors of the bacteria depend on many factors including nutrients, light and temperature. In some cases, those pigments may be extracted and then used to write, draw or paint. Some bacteria even release compounds that glow under ultraviolet light when the microorganisms become stressed.

“I thought, ‘those are really pretty. I have some time – I’m just going to streak these out and let them grow,’” said McQuaig, who is working to sequence the DNA of the bacteria to identify it. “So that’s basically what started it. I got really interested in looking for the rainbow of colors.”

This project led her to apply for her third SPC Foundation Innovation Grant for an interdisciplinary project called Creative Integration of Art and Science. She shares this grant with three other science instructors at the Clearwater Campus who are implementing science projects to encourage students to explore the ways science and art intersect, as well as develop critical thinking skills and exercise creativity.

Some of the bacteria samples for the project.

Some of the bacteria samples for the project.

With a portion of the funding from the $3,477.80 combined innovation grant, McQuaig plans to host a mini workshop for a limited number of students. They will study and grow microbes in the lab from the soil and water samples they collect out in the field.

“From there, we’ll isolate the bacteria or fungus and try to extract pigments, after which I’ll host a ‘painting party’ with the microbe-derived pigments,” she said. Students with microbiology experience will sequence the DNA of the bacteria or fungus to identify it. They also will be able to create “living art” by inoculating agar petri plates with a variety of pigmented microbes.

Her goal is to display the art in a combined art exhibition in January, which will allow students from all the innovation grant’s projects to showcase their work.

“Art and science are very closely related, and so the pigmented bacteria allow us to reach broader populations of people,” said Courtney Cain, a bachelor’s degree biology student at the Clearwater Campus.

Cain was working on an independent project that involves swabbing casino slot machines buttons for bacteria. She then uses DNA sequencing to classify and identify the bacteria on these frequently-touched surfaces.

Courtney Cain, a biology student at the Clearwater Campus, works with samples from her casino project.

Courtney Cain, a biology student at the Clearwater Campus, works with samples from her casino bacteria project.

When she heard about McQuaig’s project, she took a closer look at her own bacteria samples and realized that some contained similar pigmentations.

As someone with a penchant for art, Cain wants to combine her love for science and art to create some artwork for the upcoming art show.

Originally an art education major when she started attending the college in 2002, she had always enjoyed science but never felt encouraged to pursue her interest. Years later when she came back to SPC, Cain got into the science field due to the encouragement of several female SPC Natural Science instructors.

“I felt empowered by SPC’s female staff,” said Cain, who had taken an Intro to Chemistry class and fell in love with the process. “My teacher made it seem achievable to be a successful in science.”

According to the Association for Women in Science, women represent only 24 percent of the workforce in STEM fields. At SPC, the female to male instructor ratio skews higher. Of the 1,404 individual STEM courses taught in fall 2013, 649 were taught by the college’s 204 full-time and part-time female faculty members.

“Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Lara and Dr. McQuaig have been very influential on just pushing me to further my education, to do research and to get a more well-rounded education,” she said. “Their influence is one of the major reasons I’ve decided to stay for my baccalaureate degree at SPC. The fact that we have this kind of research available is so incredible and it’s just a huge opportunity.”

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A learning partnership between St. Petersburg College’s Music Industry Recording Arts program and guitar manufacturer Dean Guitars will allow students to learn on the company’s guitars and basses and impact the future of the company’s guitar designs.  dean-page1

The MIRA program has procured new space or “vault” within the college to showcase the proprietary and innovative instruments from the Tampa-based guitar manufacturer. And, as a learning partner, Dean Guitars will provide the program’s students with the opportunity to learn on the same professional guitars and basses being used in the fields they will be moving into.

The partnership also will also provide feedback from tomorrow’s guitarist on what is important to them, impacting the manufacturer’s future designs.

Organizers described the partnership as an exciting two-way street relationship where everyone benefits, especially the students who will be tomorrow’s guitarists and bassists.

“At MIRA, we see a tremendous opportunity to work directly with students in a hands-on way,” said Dean Guitars CEO Elliott Rubinson. “All of us at Dean are anxious to get started and to be a part of helping the guitarists and assists of tomorrow.  Through MIRA, we also get to learn what the next generation of our customers will want.”

Mark Matthews, academic department chair of the MIRA program, said, “Dean is the perfect partner for how we will do this. We are very excited that we share this vision together of how to guide students towards careers, with their guitar knowledge, by using the best guitars and basses available.”

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St. Petersburg College instructor David Manson and the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival were featured in a blog post on Articulate: Creative Pinellas.

“Now in its sixth year, the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival is bigger and better than ever. First conceived in 2009 by trombonist, composer and college instructor David Manson as a St. Petersburg College event, the Festival has grown into a city-wide celebration,” according to the post. Several of the festival’s events are hosted at college locations – the Music Center at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus and the Palladium at St. Petersburg College.

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CB at Seminole

Clyde Butcher spoke to a full house at the Seminole Campus on Jan. 29.

By David Klement

Executive Director
Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions

Clyde Butcher is an original — a genuine Florida character who defies alligators and mosquitoes in the muck of swamps to capture his priceless images of pristine nature and who minces no words in telling anyone who listens how poorly the state has managed its natural resources.

Clyde shared some of those images — and insights about how he shoots and processes them — along with choice words about the pollution of the Everglades, the state’s natural springs and its rivers, in two presentations sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College on Jan. 29. The eccentric photographic artist, in full Florida cracker regalia of flowered shirt, straw hat, baggy pants, croc shoes and chest-length white beard, commanded the room as he highlighted his life and his art in separate presentations to a student forum in the afternoon and a Village Square dinner program in the evening.

Butcher, often referred to as “the Ansel Adams of Florida,” is a gentle giant of a man who morphs into a mystic when you get him talking about the connection between the human spirit and nature. In his Village Square talk, he spoke of a communication bond between trees and plants and a chemical reaction in humans when exposed to a forest — a positive reaction.

He speaks of wilderness as being “a sacred necessity,” and recounts how, after the tragic death of his son at the hands of a drunk driver in 1986, he went into the deep woods of the Big Cypress National Preserve where “the mysterious spiritual experience of being close to nature helped to restore my soul.”

There is similar tone of mysticism when he speaks about his art. “I make pictures large enough so that you can see them,” he says in reference to his large-scale — as big as 4-by-5-feet– black-and-white photos of nature. “You have to scan, and the mind puts together what you see. I want you to see the sky, and veins in the leaves.”

The unique perspective of his pictures, along with the scale, “make people feel like they want to walk into them. I want people to be drawn in and feel their way through the environment.”

Yet in his public talks he is plain-spoken, talking nonchalantly about wading in chest-high waters teeming with gators and water moccasins to set up his tripod for the perfect shot, and in giving a humorous account of helping President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter briefly elude the Secret Service on one of his frequent “swamp walks.”

DK and ClydeAnd he is blunt when talking about the greatest threat to the Everglades: “In plain English, its s—,” he says, using the four-letter word for human waste. The incursion of development to the very edge of the Glades — in some cases beyond the edge — and destructive forms of agriculture such as sugar cane fields to the immediate north have done immense damage to the quality and quantity of the watery expanse named the “River of Grass” by Marjory Stoneman Douglas in her landmark book about the Everglades.

Clyde bemoans that careless regard for pristine wilderness as he disdains the politicians who pay lip service to environmental protection even as they strip funding from restoration programs.

But he worries more about an even greater threat to the Everglades: sea level rise brought about by climate change. By 2025, the Glades will be under water, he told me after the evening lecture. Extraordinary tides are already inundating parts of the preserve, and they will only get worse in the next few years.

The only solace to be found in that gloomy prediction is his promise to continue photographing those doomed patches of Eden even into his eighth decade. At least we will have his pictures to remind us of what once was. And those lucky enough to have attended his lectures will have the memories of having rubbed elbows with a living legend.


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SPC WIND SYMPHONY: The first performance for the SPC Wind Symphony is 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg.

Nathan Muehl arrived at St. Petersburg College in fall 2012 with an ambitious idea.

The new band and orchestra director wanted more opportunities for his students to perform. He wanted to expose students to accomplished musicians from the community. And he wanted to give those classical musicians in the community a venue to play challenging, mature compositions.

His dream has now come together. The St. Petersburg College Wind Symphony — 44 members strong — takes the stage for the first time Thursday.

“The Wind Symphony is dedicated to performing the Masterworks of the great composers of the past and present generations,” Muehl said. The ensemble’s musical repertoire spans from classical to romantic to modern – all high quality, challenging compositions.

About two-thirds of the Wind Symphony’s members have a bachelor’s degree in music or higher.

A photo of Nathan Muehl, Director of Band and Orchestra at SPC.

Nathan Muehl, Director of Band and Orchestra at SPC.

“The idea of what we’re doing here came from a community college I was involved with as a participant,” Muehl said. Sinclair Community College, a large two-year school in Dayton, Ohio, developed a unique structure that involved both community members and the college’s music students. SCC’s Wind Symphony has been in existence for more than 30 years and has allowed these collaborating musicians to learn from one another and play music at a more advanced level.

Since implementing the Sinclair model, SPC has experienced a 490 percent increase in wind ensemble participation since fall 2011. In addition to the new Wind Symphony, SPC’s Community Concert Band, a required ensemble for music majors in which community members also can participate, has grown from 19 to nearly 70 members.

Muehl hopes the Wind Symphony also will raise the profile of the college in the arts community, showcasing the skill of SPC students and the strength of its music programs.

Muehl loves to share his passion for music and promote the music programs at SPC. Besides his work with college students and community musicians, he has done outreach into the high schools, encouraging musicians there to continue their educations.

An accomplished flautist, he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in music education from The Ohio State University. Prior to his appointment at SPC, Muehl taught various instrumental studies for five years at Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia and also served as a high school band and choral instructor in Columbus, Ohio.

Muehl also worked with the director of the Philadelphia Wind Symphony, a volunteer ensemble formed in fall 2011 that now boasts 50 members.

The first performance for the SPC Wind Symphony is 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg.

The SPC Wind Symphony during its first rehearsal on Jan. 16 at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

The SPC Wind Symphony during its first rehearsal on Jan. 16 at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

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WSsmallJoin us this week at The Palladium at St. Petersburg College for the exciting debut performance of the college’s Wind Symphony.

The Wind Symphony is the premier level community wind ensemble in residence at SPC.

The group is comprised of accomplished volunteer area musicians who seek to rehearse and perform masterworks in a serious and rewarding setting.

The upcoming performance, Empowered Musicians, Excellent Music, Enhancing the Community, is Thursday, Feb. 6.

The 60-minute program includes Holst’s “First Suite,” Whitacre’s “October,” Ive’s “Variations on America,” Wagner’s “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral,” Grainger’s “Children’s March,” Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium” and de Meij’s Symphony No. 1 “The Lord of the Rings” -  Mvt 1 “Gandalf the Wizard”.

Event details:

  • Date: Thursday, Feb. 6
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Location: The Palladium, 253 5th Ave N, St. Petersburg
  • Admission: Free, donations accepted
  • Phone: 727-341-7984

Listen to samples of the group’s music and performances.

The Wind Symphony and The Community Concert Band at SPC also are currently seeking musicians. Get more information and an online application.

Visit the college’s website for more information about upcoming events.

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TC GROUP, the corporate parent of a collective of leading sound & audio technology brands, is using the National Association of Music Merchants show later this month as the stage to announce its unique relationship with the Music Industry Recording Arts program at St. Petersburg College.

The fast growing MIRA program was developed to offer an accredited Associate of Science degree in a well-integrated curriculum of audio sciences and business acumen. The successful program now has between 400 and 500 students per semester, and will be launching a four-year Bachelor of Science degree program in 2015.

The instructors of the MIRA program have already begun introducing TC Group’s proprietary and innovative products into multiple curriculums. As a powerful learning partner, TC Group products provide the program’s students with state-of-the-art products that offer them the opportunity to learn on the same equipment being used in the fields they will be moving into. In addition, the faculty and students of MIRA will be collaborating, in formal settings, to provide feedback on products, applications and performance. It’s an exciting two-way street relationship by which everyone benefits, especially the students who will be tomorrow’s professionals.

The NAMM show will be held Jan. 24 in Anaheim, Calif.

This mutually beneficial relationship between the college program and the group was summed up by Mark Matthews, Academic Department Chair of the MIRA program, and Marc Bertrand, CEO TC Group Americas.

“At MIRA, we approach learning about audio arts and the music industry in a hands-on way, and the TC Group is the ideal partner for how we go about that,” said Matthews. “One of the things that makes our partnership so exciting and it works so well, stems from the fact that individuals from the TC Group and MIRA come together as a result of us all being musicians and passionate ourselves about the entertainment industry. We share a vision of how to educate and guide students towards careers in the many segments of music and sound using the best products and technology available.”

Bertrand said, “Mark Matthews and his staff have pioneered a new and high profile educational Program that prepares students on how to enter into the industry’s workplace and how to sustain within the many segments throughout their careers. We are pleased that the TC Group and MIRA have moved rapidly to create such an innovative relationship. All of us from the TC Group are proud to be a part of helping the audio professionals of the future.  Through MIRA, we get to interface with the next generations of professionals entering into our industry.”

The MIRA program educates students by developing “real world” skills that musicians need to thrive in a diverse and competitive music industry. The program offers a well-rounded, technology-based educational experience to student musicians, composers, producers, DJs, live-sound reinforcement enthusiasts and post-production technologists. The program emphasizes creative processes, technical training, business practices and entrepreneurial skills in a collaborative environment.

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