Since recently we had our first big snow I wanted to take us a few weeks back to when Michigan was one of the most colorful places in the world 🙂
When I was a little kid I always thought that I would one day wake up and be able to fly. It was just a superpower I always wanted to have. Sure, we have airplanes, but they fly so high you can barely see anything. That’s why after I grew up I was happy to discover that I could in fact fly and see the world from above – and last week I got to.
So drones were always cool but I never realized how cool. Last weekend I got to fly above Ann Arbor, I had to get an FAA LAANC authorization for it and fly in a specific zone, it was also very windy and not so colorful anymore. However, we got some pretty nice photos and I thought it would be nice to post something different. I really like the patterns that the landscape and different man-made objects create.
So, technically the photos aren’t even mine, they are Steven the Drone’s .
Partial credit to Linus Hoeller who brought Steven the Drone and put enough faith in me to let me use it.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments!
My Instagram: @akilian.jpg (I promise to post more soon)
Linus’ Instagram: @linus_at (check it out he has more cool drone photos)
This week’s series is short: it’s simply a photo series from my first week on campus. Not every photograph here is my favorite and they do differ in subject and style, but I thought it would be interesting to show what I see when I just walk around without really looking for any specific subject.
I apologize for a late-night post! Stay tuned for next week’s dose of photography
you know where to find me:
email@example.com & IG @akilian.jpg
Happy Friday, arts, ink readers!
I hope that you’ve all been able to get out and enjoy the sunshine that we’ve had the past few days (at least if you’re in the Ann Arbor area). It’s been giving me just enough of a “light at the end of the tunnel” that Spring may be coming soon after all.
So far on Looking Forward, I’ve spoken with a lot of organizations that have had to pivot their typical operations due to the pandemic, with many moving traditions, rehearsals, and exhibitions online or finding ways to do them while socially distancing, pre-recording content to share with their members, getting creative with multi-media approaches to projects, and collaborating with other student organizations. But what if you don’t have any “typical operations” yet? How does a new organization pave its way through this overwhelming and complicated time?
This week I had the pleasure of chatting with Amira Rabbah, President of a new organization on campus called The Plush Project. Over the course of quarantine, Amira found herself looking for new ways to keep herself busy and learn new things — enter: crocheting. She had always loved to knit, and crocheting seemed like a fun, new challenge that was also a continuation of her passion for yarn arts. She was particularly interested in the style of crocheting called amigurumi, which involves crocheting and stuffing different characters, toys, and plushes.
After she had gotten a handle on the technique, she found herself building up quite the collection of handmade toys. Rather than leave them to collect dust on a shelf, she wanted to donate these toys to children who are going through difficult times. This was the beginning of The Plush Project. Soon, Amira realized that yarn arts lovers across campus could contribute to this group, building a sense of community and practicing the hobby while giving children who are in the foster care system or who are sick a sense of comfort.
After figuring out the administrative hoops of how to form a Voluntary Student Organization (VSO) on campus, Amira applied for a grant through Arts at Michigan to help provide materials to members. This way, she explained, the organization could be as inclusive as possible and not present barriers to potential members who would like to get involved but cannot afford to purchase yarn or needles, etc.
Since forming in the Fall semester, the organization has grown to about 15 members from a variety of experience levels.
“Mostly, we have some seasoned crochet there’s a couple of new crocheters, but they’ve all, like, been introduced to some sort of yarn or fabric art, at least one of them, so either they sew or knit, all those are good avenues for making plush toys, so it doesn’t have to be crochet but that has happened to be the supplies that we have to give out.”
Although growing and running the organization has perhaps been more difficult than it would be if in-person meetings were possible, Amira has done great work and already set up donation relationships with Orchard Children Services, with the hopes of expanding to other places like Motts hospital in the future. And they’re still growing! Amria welcomes anyone who is interested in crocheting or yarn arts to get in touch:
“We’d love to obviously have more regular members, so if you’re interested in coming to our Zoom, but hopefully later in-person, sessions to crochet, get materials, whatever, the best way would be to email me or find us on one Maize Pages… they’ll both give me an email notification, so both are great ways to, like, reach out. I’ll give you a whole spiel about our organization up the zoom links to our meetings and everything!”
I loved learning more about how a new organization has navigated this complicated year, and hearing how dedicated Amira is to this project was really inspiring. Definitely check them out!
That’s all from me today. Remember to take some time for yourself this weekend and decompress – students would typically be enjoying Spring Break right about now and I think a lot of us could use a break.
Take care and stay safe,
Happy Friday, arts, ink!
This week for Looking Forward we are learning about a student organization on campus: Creatives of Color! Tiffany Harris, president of the organization, shared with me a little more about what they’ve been up to, how she views the arts on campus right now, and how students can get involved.
Creatives of Color is a relatively new group on campus, starting in 2018 with the hopes of creating a space where people of color could come together to perform and meet other creatives on campus, regardless of their experience level. Collaboration is at the center of many of their programs, for instance, they have a yearly showcase where artists of different mediums – dancers, filmmakers, musicians, etc – are paired together and create something to perform. Artists who participate have complete creative control – something Tiffany emphasized as one of her favorite parts of Creatives of Color.
“It’s usually people that I have never met before across campus but it’s like a cool experience because you’re all, you know, black creatives creating something together and just really having the freedom to do whatever you want. You’re not being told by me as the president or by someone else in our E board what to do, you just have the freedom to kind of create whatever you want to. So I think that is what makes creatives of color so interesting.”
Of course, this semester they haven’t been able to perform for large crowds as they usually do, but that hasn’t stopped them from finding creative ways to spread the arts. Earlier this term, they streamed their “Creative Expo” from the basement of one of their board members. They limited those around to only the artists and essential filming crew, all of whom wore masks and maintained their distance, but they were able to stream the event on Twitch. They’re also currently working on their annual collaboration with EnspiRED, another student organization that focuses on fashion and modeling.
Tiffany also stressed the importance of the types of conversations Creatives of Color hopes to help grow on campus:
“I think for the future just bridging those gaps between orgs [of different racial makeups] and like, obviously Creatives of Color is going to be people of color, you know, that’s in the name. But I think that I really want to make everyone feel comfortable, even white people in our spaces. I want them to want to come to our events and feel like they can participate because they can. I think a lot of people get afraid you know, ‘this is the black space, I don’t want to come into that space,’ but I really want to open that up to more people, so that, you know, we can have more conversations with other orgs, we can partner with more people instead of just blackboards, and we can have conversations about race and not, you know, not be weird and we can have conversations about systemic racism and difficulties in the arts for black people specifically that a lot of people don’t really focus on. So like for example, black women in our industry being over-sexualized and black men maybe if they deviate from the typical version of, you know, rap and hip hop, then they’re seeing as not authentic. So that sort of thing is just like, what Creatives of Color does is we have a really good dialogue, and I hope that we partner up with more organizations like Maximize and other organizations that aren’t necessarily geared towards people of color so that they can understand our experiences. “
Having these types of open conversations, although they can be daunting or scary for some, is so necessary if we are going to move forward to a better world where we can understand and support each other’s experiences. Creatives of Color is doing amazing work here, and I cannot wait to see what types of creative programming they come up with for the Winter semester.
If you’re interested in joining Creatives of Color or participating in one of their events, be sure to follow them on Instagram @coc_umich. They often have a Google Form in their bio where you can sign up as a performer for future events or workshops, and they post about upcoming programs as well. If you have further questions or ideas for future events, you can also email Tiffany at firstname.lastname@example.org. They have virtual events every few weeks or so, so definitely keep an eye out for future programming!
That’s all for me this week! I hope you have a fun weekend – stay safe!
The beginning of the year is known in Hollywood as the award season. Where is seems like every week there is a new award show on TV. The most popular being the Emmys, Tony’s, Grammy’s, and the Oscars. Each of these four popular award shows are based on a different category of entertainment: Television, Broadway, Music, and Movies. There is more than one award show for each category, these are just the most popular and seen as the most prestigious.
The Oscars seems to be the biggest award show out of the four, with movie stars coming from all over just to be at movies biggest night. The Oscars gives awards for a large variety of categories from movie scores, to costumes, to the more common categories like best actress and actor. Most people only seem to know about the “bigger” categories because those are the only ones broadcasted on television. Most of the other awards are done beforehand and are not shown.
The Oscars also has awards for different types of films. There is the biggest award of the night, “Best Feature”, and there are also best animated film, best short, and best documentary just to name some examples.
Generally the public has not seen the majority of the films nominated for Oscars, but it seems that this has changed a little in recent years. For example “Black Panther” and “A Star is Born” are both nominated for best picture. “Black Panther” was one of the most successful movies of 2018. Most people still have not seen the best documentaries or the best shorts nominations. However, the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor is playing all of the Oscar nominated best shorts and best documentaries. This can give people a chance to go and see them before the Oscars, and it gives the opportunity to see something that most people would not have the chance to see otherwise.