October 20, 2021


The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription



In this issue:

Golden Artist Colors is Now 100% Owned by Its Employees
DECOLONIZING DESIGN: RYE ALUM REIMAGINES OJIBWE JEWELRY
Searching for Frans Hals’s “Laughing Cavalier”
A year-long public art project takes over all four corners of Toronto as it reawakens from pandemic closures
Can Graphene, a One-Atom Thick ‘Wonder Material,’ Keep Precious Artworks From Fading? Scientists Say It Shows Promise
Covid 19: To say business is booming is 'an understatement' for craft stores
Hubert van Eyck, Jan’s older brother, painted parts of the Ghent Altarpiece
Italian mayor launches underwater excavation to find third Riace bronze
How to nurture creativity in your kids





 

 

Golden Artist Colors is Now 100% Owned by Its Employees
Golden Artist Colors employs over 200 workers in upstate New York.

Golden Artist Colors, an American manufacturer of professional artist paints best known for its acrylics, announced on Friday, October 1, that it has become fully owned by its employees.

The move marks the completion of a transition that began in 2002, when the company issued an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) for its staff. An ESOP is an employee benefit plan that provides company stock to employees as part of their retirement benefits. In May 2010, Golden crossed a major milestone when it became majority-owned by its employees. As of last week, all of the company’s stock is exclusively owned by the employees and held in a special ESOP trust.

Founded in 1980 by Sam Golden, and currently run by his son Mark, the eponymous company grew from a modest workshop in a barn in upstate New York to a globally recognized brand of high-quality artist paints. It now employs over 200 workers at three locations in New York’s Chenango county: its headquarters in New Berlin; a 100,000-square-foot facility in rural Columbus; and a 45,000-square-foot commercial warehouse and distribution center in Norwich.

“Implementing 100% ownership for staff is very unique and something our family has dreamt about since the company’s beginning,” said Mark Golden in a statement to Hyperallergic. “We began on the premise that ‘what you care about will grow’ and Golden Artist Colors has grown many times beyond the dreams we once had as we peered across the fields from my parent’s kitchen. It has been through the care and dedication of each of our staff that has joined us on this journey and made this place part of themselves.”

According to data by the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), a nonprofit that advocates for employee ownership, there were only about 6,500 companies in the US that share ownership with their employees as of 2018. ESOPs cover over 14 million workers, of whom 10.3 million are active participants, meaning currently employed and covered by an ESOP plan. Workers who are covered by an ESOP reported having more than twice the average total retirement balance of Americans nationally, according to a 2018 survey conducted by the NCEO and Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (ESCA).

“Time has demonstrated that companies with 100% employee ownership often see greater productivity, higher profitability, and increased revenue,” Mark Golden explained. “These successes tend to continue over time, as employees have a vested interest in the sustainability and overall success of the company.”

“Employee ownership, when done right, benefits all stakeholders and should be celebrated,” added Golden’s president and chief operating officer, Barbara Schindler. “It is a true win/win transaction for all parties involved.” Hyperallergic

 

DECOLONIZING DESIGN: RYE ALUM REIMAGINES OJIBWE JEWELRY

Edie Assinewe, a 2021 retail management graduate, is working to reclaim traditional Ojibwe beading through her family business, Assinewe Jewelry.

Assinewe collaborates with her twin sister Jacquelyn to make clay and beaded jewelry inspired by traditional Ojibwe designs. Through this, they hope to represent traditional language and teachings in their pieces.

According to Assinewe, joining Ryerson’s retail management bachelor of commerce program in 2016 was a perfect choice as it allowed her to combine her love for fashion and business. She said her time at school was “really helpful in getting to work toward building a brand and business.”

In August 2020, Assinewe and her sister started designing and making jewelry while she took one final fall semester of online school.

“I was able to work on making products while I was listening to courses, so I felt it really easy to balance,” she said.

Assinewe combined her beading skills with her sister’s clay working skills to make earrings out of these two materials. She learned how to bead in 2018 from local community members in Toronto, while her sister learned how to create clay pieces through online tutorials.

Assinewe and her sister are members of the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation. On her journey of learning how to do beadwork, she took an interest in learning the history behind traditional Ojibwe beadwork.

“A lot of our products are influenced by traditional Ojibwe motifs, such as moons and flowers, which are really important in Ojibwe culture,” she said.

According to an article by CBC, at least 8,000 years before settlers came to Canada, Indigenous communities were using beading practices for trade.

Assinewe said there are technical ways to do beadwork, “an Ojibwe way.” Different beading styles include lazy or lane stitch, a way to cover a large amount of surface quickly; loom beading, using a loom to weave and bead; and brick stitch, a method most traditionally used for earrings.

According to a 2019 article by Vogue, pre-colonization, Indigenous Peoples also adorned themselves with versions of their own beading.

The beadwork pieces featured are named in Anishinaabemowin, the Ojibwe language. For example, the ‘Manidoo’ beaded floral earrings on their website means “Spirit.” The ‘Medicine Stud’ series of earrings are infused with sacred medicines and named in Anishinaabemowin. The ‘Wiingashk’ stud earrings translates to “sweet grass.”

“Whenever people make the order, I just make them,” explained Assinewe. “We always have them done within 14 days after an order is placed.”

Assinewe said starting a business in the middle of the pandemic was no easy feat. The biggest challenge she faced was not being able to go into stores to see the materials, which forced her to order everything online.

“It was especially hard for the beading products, because colours online can look different than in person. So, if something didn’t work out, there wasn’t anything we could really do about it,” she said.

However, their number one priority was to make their products accessible to people with lower incomes, according to Assinewe. This is why she also introduced the polymer clay line, as they are less expensive to buy than the beads. Many of these products are showcased on their growing Instagram page.

“We wanted to really focus on bringing the community together. That’s kind of prevailing in our social media strategy, where we share a lot of photos from our customers and from the community,” she said.

When thinking about their business and deciding what was important for it, Assinewe said they took several factors into account.

“We wanted to infuse traditional knowledge, cultural resurgence and language into everything that we do.” the Eyeopener

 

Searching for Frans Hals’s “Laughing Cavalier”
So many of us have seen this painting too often in reproduction, without perhaps ever having really seen it at all.

If you are culture hungry in London, and one of your life’s greatest wishes is to avoid the vulgar yawp and bustle of shoppers on Oxford Street, there is a ready answer. A couple of streets back from the Bond Street Underground station there is a lovely, sequestered spot called Manchester Square. You will find it by taking a turn off the north side of Oxford Street onto Duke Street, and then walking for a relatively short distance, having first passed by a house once lived in by Simón Bolívar.

What better place to scheme and to plot if you are a South American liberationist than a quiet, 18th-century residence in Mayfair?

At the back of the square you will spot a rather ugly Victorian townhouse of grandiose pretensions. This building, known back then as Hertford House, was once the home of Sir Richard and Lady Wallace, and it is now known as the Wallace Collection. Its entrance is flanked by a pair of Grecian urns. Once through the gate, you will see that the COVID-19 rules, displayed on a shrieking yellow sign board, are very particular to this place. Here is the one to which you need to pay attention: “If you need to cough or sneeze, use a tissue or the crook of your arm.” Have your arm crooked in readiness.

The house itself has been preserved in aspic, beginning with the Front State Room circa 1890: what a nonstop display of opulent clutter we have here! Admire the chandelier, the gilded, coffered doors, the portraiture, the busts on their elegant marble plinths, and, just outside the door, the grand flourish of the house’s main staircase — and, of course, the mild-mannered, ever-so-polite security guard who may be blocking your way as he gently rises and falls on the heels of his high-polished black shoes. In short, this place is almost entirely a journey back in time …

Except for the new gallery in the basement, where the exhibition under review is to be found. Has this gallery been created from some featureless understairs world where the servants might once have passed dutifully to and fro? In all its overstretched, box-like plainness, it rather resembles a very long, dingily lit ship’s container. Today it has been tricked out to welcome an exhibition by a master of the Dutch Golden Age. Quite oddly tricked out, though, it has to be said. The walls are painted a deep maroon for the most part, but sometimes the maroon is edged with — or fuzzily interrupted by — passages of gray, as if the walls are making a stab at recreating a Rothko. Why? Why? Ask me another.

Frans Hals: The Male Portrait brings together 13 of Hals’s greatest paintings of the movers and shakers (all male) of the Dutch port city of Haarlem, from the 1620s onward. Its central talking point is a very well known painting called “The Laughing Cavalier” (1624), which hangs pridefully on its own on an end wall. This painting was acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford (the main founder of the Wallace Collection) in 1865, and it has lived in this house ever since. What is more, its purchase and display helped to wrest Hals from obscurity. The name of the painting is a Victorian invention, too. This man is not a cavalier. He is not on horseback at all. There are no horsy accoutrements. There is a not a whiff of horse reek about it. And though the man could in a pinch be said to be smirking, no one in their right mind could ever claim that he was laughing.

It’s worth spending more than a little time in the company of this painting, and one of the reasons is because we know it too well, and we need to reflect upon some of the issues that arise from the curse (or the blessings) of overfamiliarity. Yes, so many of us have seen it too often, a thousand times over, in reproduction, without perhaps ever having really seen it at all. That is the curse of overexposure. “The Laughing Cavalier” is like an old, well-worn armchair into which we sink once again, breathing a sigh of mild pleasure without giving it more than a second’s thought.

What is more, this painting is Frans Hals. It is his representative. We know him by no other. Is it a good painting? Is it a bad painting? Is it a profound piece of work or not? Is its appeal mainly decorative? Could the hat be regarded as ridiculous or not? Is it on the way to becoming that “Quangle Wangle’s Hat” of which Edward Lear wrote so compellingly, in which all the birds of the air nested to their hearts’ content? Sweep all such questions away! They are irrelevant. We are beyond all such poker-faced piffle. “The Laughing Cavalier” is here, among us, as deeply embedded in our English soil as an ancient tomb, and he has always been here. Or at the very least since 1865.

Today is rather special though. Today we can see him in all his breathing likeness. Likeness to whom though? No one knows. Least of all the 4th Marquess of Hertford. Least of all he who blithely decided to call it “The Laughing Cavalier” in 1888 or so, more than 250 years after it was painted. So let us consider this question of entitlement a little more. There is no evidence from the painting that this man is a horseman. He is not, as we have already pointed out, laughing. The look is sidelong, slightly rakish, and nowhere near to being a rip-roaring, full-bellied outburst of laughter. This man is too restrained by all his fancy costuming to indulge in laughter. He is too intent on posing, you might say, in all that fancy lacework about the neck and the wrist, arm akimbo.

But, but … to be a Cavalier with a capital C is slightly different from being a cavalier with a small c. The title seems to suggest that this man should perhaps be regarded as an Englishman of the king’s party — and by that I mean one of those Cavaliers who fought in the English Civil War against the Cromwellians, who were, some may recall, known as the Roundheads. That Civil War was raging within 20 years of the making of this painting, and so it would not be at all preposterous to suggest that the circa 1888 title was a direct reference to the vanquished Cavaliers — after all, they lost, their king (Charles I) had his head deftly removed close to the top of Whitehall, and a glorious Commonwealth was declared. But is this Cavalier laughing because he has the gift of being able to foresee that the monarchy would rise again, that the republican experiment in England would be snuffed out within little more than a decade, and that a second Charles, a new and more dissolute cavalier altogether, would return from France in triumph?

Frans Hals: The Male Portrait continues at the Wallace Collection (Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, England) through January 30, 2022. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Lelia Packer. Hyperallergic

 

A year-long public art project takes over all four corners of Toronto as it reawakens from pandemic closures

After being hard hit by the pandemic, Toronto is looking to reawaken its cultural programming with a year of public art. “ArtworxTO is massive. It will delight, challenge, and invigorate Toronto’s cultural and economic recovery,” says Sara Diamond, the former Ontario College of Art & Design University president, who is now the co-chair of the mayor’s external Advisory Committee for the programme. “It initiates and illustrates the principles of a new 10-year public art strategy for Toronto that will place public art throughout the city in the spirit of creativity and community building.”

Over the next year, more than 350 new murals, installations, exhibitions, art events, art-inspired dance works, and performances are due to be produced through the project. It will also provide funding to nearly 100 organisations.

“ArtworxTO is an opportunity for residents across the city to learn more about the vibrant and diverse public art in our city and the talented artists who have created it,” said Toronto mayor John Tory during the event’s launch in late September at Cloverdale Common, the Western hub for the city-wide project. The site features HOME(LAND), a multimedia exhibition series curated by Claudia Arana that examines how concepts of land and its different natural elements intersect with the fluid and shifting characteristics of identity, kinship, belonging and home.

The Northern hub in Downsview Park, meanwhile, opened with All City Shine, an exhibition curated by Danilo Deluxo McCallum that showcases Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian and BIPOC artists. It will also host exhibitions by the organisations Jane Street Speaks, North York Arts, Black Speculative Arts Movement and Zahra Siddiqui. The Eastern hub in Scarborough Town Centre is highlighted by Scarborough: The Backbone, a dynamic celebration curated by The Spoken Soul Collective. And the Southern hub at Union Station, which opens in late October, features I Am Land, a three-part exhibition curated by Maya Wilson-Sanchez that explores the role of the artist as a chronicler.

There will also be pop-up shows scattered about the city. Currently up and running are Raji Kaur Aujla’s chashm-e-bulbul at Bayview Village and Taking Space for Self Care in Urban Centres at the Collision Gallery.

There is much more in progress or still to come, including Jordan Bennett’s mural at the Ontario College of Art & Design’s revitalised Butterfield Park, Esmaa Mohamoud’s mural The Brotherhood FUBU (For Us, By Us), and a commentary on the Anthropocene era by John Notten coming to Humber Park East.

“It is so wonderful to get out into the city and experience art again,” Diamond says of the busy slate of programming. “The shows are exquisitely curated, surprisingly intimate, and visually compelling.” The Art Newspaper

 

Can Graphene, a One-Atom Thick ‘Wonder Material,’ Keep Precious Artworks From Fading? Scientists Say It Shows Promise
A transparent layer can retard UV rays and moisture, but some conservators worry about application and suitability for aging oil paint.

For non-chemical engineers, a one-atom thick, invisible protective cloak that blocks oxygen may sound like science fiction—the sort of weapon a supervillain would brandish to hold earth ransom for nefarious purposes. But new research published in Nature Nanotechnology confirms that graphene, which is very real, can protect certain artworks from fading.

Graphene is a two-dimensional carbon allotrope whose molecules bind together through a phenomenon called Van der Waals forces. It is invisible to the eye but forms a honeycomb pattern under a microscope, and can be extracted from the surface of graphite using a piece of tape. Hailed as a “wonder material” since its isolation in a single-layer form in 2004, graphene has many potential uses. China appears convinced of its military and aerospace promise, and it is being used to protect roads in the U.K. Graphene is also being used for everything from filtering toxins from water to creating a “camera” to capture heart cell activity. It has also been used in paint.

“It’s super-strong and stiff, amazingly thin, almost completely transparent, extremely light, and an amazing conductor of electricity and heat,” says Costas Galiotis, a chemical engineering professor at University of Patras in Greece. “It could be likened to an invisible veil that has the ability to adhere to any clean surface.”

Galiotis—a member of the executive board of the European Union’s Graphene Flagship research initiative—and colleagues studied the museum and gallery utility of graphene, whose properties he calls “remarkable and exciting.”

Graphene offers several material advantages: it can be produced in large, thin sheets; it blocks ultraviolet light; and it is impermeable to oxygen, moisture, and other corrosive agents. Layered overtop an artwork, the researchers posited that graphene can retard irreversible color fading due to light exposure and oxidizing agents (like air). Their findings revealed graphene can prevent color fading by up to 70 percent.

The authors cite the fading of color in Vincent van Gogh’s sunflower paintings, “in which crystals of red lead have turned into white plumbonacrite due to the reaction of paint impurities with light and carbon dioxide,” as a prime example of what they hope graphene can deter.

Galiotis’s team studied graphene’s protective effect over what they say is the equivalent of 200 years of exhibition. Using both mock-ups and real, artist-donated artworks with highly light-sensitive inks, they found it seems to work best on art with smoother surfaces, such as photographs and graphic arts. For flat works, the researchers used a “roll-to-roll” technique, which they modeled on commercial laminating, but depositing graphene “veils” on rough or embossed art, including paintings with uneven brushstrokes and very fragile works, can be difficult. For those, the scholars studied a contactless approach using graphene-enhanced glass, which doesn’t touch the art and which they say can protect against fading by 40 percent better than standard museum glass without stymieing transparency. And, in contrast to commercial polymeric coatings, such as archival varnishes or spray films with UV protection, it can be removed easily.

According to Galiotis, the European art preservation community has expressed interest in this approach; however, he allows, some are reluctant to lay graphene on old paintings “due to the element of risk which is always present when you deposit even an invisible cloak onto a work of art.” Contemporary artists can lay graphene membrane upon a painting before they frame and complete the work, he says.

Another sticking point for critics—or better, unsticking point—is the researchers’ claim that removing graphene is as easy as “using a soft rubber eraser without causing any damage to the artwork,” as they write in the paper. Galiotis says he and colleagues demonstrate that erasing in this manner doesn’t affect the art beneath the graphene. This was true for graphic art and ink drawings, but erasing graphene from atop a graphite drawing would, presumably, lose the baby with the bathwater.

Chris McGlinchey, a senior research scholar at New York University Institute of Fine Arts’ conservation center, who was not involved in this paper, says it is promising that graphene can be easily erased. “However, some works of art are so fragile they can’t be cleaned that way,” he says. “I’m sure the authors are thinking about these matters if they want to see graphene used more broadly for practical use.”

Preserving art for future generations is part of conservators’ mandate, so “demonstrating as a proof of principle that graphene can prevent light-induced damage suggests it may be a useful tool in their toolkit to help accomplish that for select works of art,” he says. But he worries that graphene’s barrier against oxygen and vapor could paradoxically cause problems for some traditional art materials.

“Oil paint changes over the decades well after the artist has considered the work to be finished, and these changes produce small molecules that would normally volatilize away,” he says. “If that process is suppressed, these degradation compounds could be trapped below the graphene layer and possibly cause a foggy appearance.”

Unanticipated warping and stress may also develop. “This could happen if only one side is coated with a moisture resistant layer, and the other is left to absorb and release moisture as humidity fluctuates,” McGlinchey adds.

Graphene may find more useful applications with modern artistic media, McGlinchey says. He also thinks researchers should study whether graphene could be applied to vintage electronic media to increase its longevity.

Only time will tell whether graphene will become a standard tool in every museum conservator’s kit. A supplemental video attached to the paper shows the Mona Lisa smiling as she is treated with graphene, while her twin, who receives no such coating, frowns as she fades over time. Artnet News

 

Covid 19: To say business is booming is 'an understatement' for craft stores

Craft stores across the country are being kept busy with lockdown orders as people pick up new hobbies, and resurrect old ones.

Lockdown is looking different around Aotearoa, depending on what island you’re in, but whatever the alert level, sewing supplies, needle crafts and balls of wool are flying out the doors of local businesses as people reach for a new way to busy themselves.

The Ribbon Rose speciality craft store in Auckland caters to all crafts including paper craft, embroidery, knitting, quilting and sewing. Shop floor manager Gina Smith said business was “out of control”.

“To call it a boom is an understatement. It’s been quite madness.

The family business, unable to open in level 3, offers click and collect and an online presence that attracts crafters from all over the country. Smith said she even received a call from a woman in Australia wanting to buy supplies.

The most popular new craft people were embracing was knitting, she said, and the discipline was appealing to all ages.

And unlike sourdough bakers who took up the baking only to let their bug die after lockdown, knitters who took it up last year, have stuck with it, she said.

The benefits aren’t just in the pride taken in a finished product.

Smith said it was good for “wellness and mental health, that’s the other aspect of it.

“People think it’s a dying art, but it certainly isn’t. It hasn't ever been dying.”

In Nelson, locally-owned Cruella’s natural fibre boutique has also been sending online knitting and crochet orders all over the country, owner Keren Eggers said.

There was definitely a surge in people taking up all sorts of handcrafts, she said.

“A lot of them don’t want to be caught at home with nothing to do again.”

And she said there was a “feel good factor, something to occupy your hands with, and it relaxes your mind”.

The sustainability movement also played a part in DIY, Eggers said. “People wanting to make more lasting products” and not purchase mass-produced items.

And while knitting seems to be the craft to take up, the need for a new accessory is seeing many pick up a needle and thread.

Stitchcraft owner Tanya Carney said she had “definitely seen an increase in fabric and mask related activity”.

“Masks are going to be the new fashion statement going forward I think.”

The most asked question at the Richmond store was “How many masks will I get out of that fabric?”, Carney said, with many asking for mask sewing advice.

And while Stitchcraft didn't stock sewing machines, she said a rep had told her home sewing machine sales had gone through the roof because of “every Tom, Dick and Harry wanting to have a crack at sewing”.

Big craft chainstore giants were also busy, but Carney said it was good to see people supporting local.

“A lot of us little shops have battled online giants that undersell us, but now shipping has become a headache, so people aren’t getting their stuff in a timely fashion.”

Carney said customers had now “bitten the bullet” and were now visiting their local shops.

North Canterbury’s Willoughby’s craft and wool shop owner Katherine McLeod said her businesses could offer a “personal touch” and greater expertise than the chain stores, including Spotlight and Lincraft.

“All our staff here can advise everyone on what they’re knitting, what wool, what pattern” whereas the big stores, “they don’t have time to give one-on-one advice”.

She said customers travelled to the Rangiora store from Christchurch, nearly 30 kilometres away, while one woman drove from Governor’s Bay, more than 40km away.

“She calls us her local yarn store.” stuff

 

Hubert van Eyck, Jan’s older brother, painted parts of the Ghent Altarpiece
New research indicates Hubert started the work but had to stop, so Jan took over

New research into Hubert van Eyck’s contribution to the Ghent Altarpiece (1432) is helping a painter about whom little is known to emerge from obscurity and the shadow of his talented younger brother, Jan.

Hubert died in 1426, before the altarpiece was completed. No other paintings by him are known, but it has long been acknowledged that he contributed to the Mystic Lamb, which was made for St. Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent.

In 1823, a Latin quatrain was found under overpaint on the frame. It read: “The painter Hubert van Eyck, a greater man was never found, started this work. His brother Jan, second in art, completed this arduous task at the request of Joos Vijd. He invites you, on 6 May [1432], with this verse to behold what was done.”

The altarpiece is undergoing research and restoration initiated by Belgium's Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in 2012. The work has so far focussed on the lower register of the altarpiece, including the Adoration of the Lamb and side panels.

It has yielded a number of important findings, such as the discovery that under many layers of varnish applied over the centuries, there was also a layer of overpainting dating from the 16th century that obscured much of Jan van Eyck’s work. And in 2020, restorers confirmed that the quatrain inscription on the frame was original, which had long been in doubt.

Now scholars have identified an elaborate underlying painting that they have attributed to Hubert van Eyck. It has compositional differences to the final painting: a natural spring in the middle panel, for instance, was later painted over by his brother with the Fountain of Life.

Hubert painted the sky, a hilly landscape with a few buildings, cities on the horizon and a meadow. Jan painted over the landscape and added recognisable motifs to the cities on the horizon, such as the tower of Utrecht Cathedral and the Church of Our Lady in Bruges. Some of the figures in the work were painted by Hubert and left untouched by Jan: others are recognisably by Jan’s hand.

“We actually think that Hubert made the underdrawing, had already started working on it in paint, but that he had to stop the work at a certain point,” says Griet Steyaert, a restorer and art historian at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage. “Jan then finished it off.”

The research, according to the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, “brings clarity to an old enigma and opens the door to a new chapter in the study of the Flemish Primitives—the search for other paintings by Hubert van Eyck.” The artist, it said, “could be the missing link between pre-Eyckian painting and the radically innovative Ars Nova of his younger brother Jan van Eyck.”

The findings will also inform investigations of the upper register of the Ghent Altarpiece, which is to be restored and analysed starting next year, with funding from the Flemish Department of Culture, the Flanders Heritage Agency and the Baillet Latour Fund. The Art Newspaper

 

Italian mayor launches underwater excavation to find third Riace bronze
Town of Riace is planning a museum, while a new investigation hopes to confirm whether there are more ancient Greek statues to be found

In a sensational discovery almost 50 years ago, Italian Carabinieri hauled two exceptionally well preserved ancient Greek bronze warriors out of the sea near Riace in Calabria. Now, Antonio Trifoli, the town’s mayor, is organising a major underwater excavation in a bid to find a third bronze. The search is one of several initiatives planned in Riace to mark the golden anniversary of the discovery next year, with a new museum, international conferences and a newly commissioned bronze statue all in the pipeline.

Discovered by chance by an amateur scuba diver, Stefano Mariottini, in 1972, the two fifth-century BC bronzes are now housed in a climate-controlled room at the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria. To date, there have been only two minor excavations of the site, and it remains unclear how the bronzes arrived at the Riace coast. One of several theories is that a Roman ship sank while transporting the statues from Greece.

Giuseppe Braghò, a Calabrian investigative journalist, is convinced that there are further clues, if not another statue, waiting to be discovered. In official statements in 1972, Mariottini told Carabinieri he had spotted “a group” of bronzes, adding that one had “open arms and one leg in front of the other”—a description that does not correspond with the two bronzes now displayed in Reggio Calabria. Furthermore, sonar inspections by researchers on a US ship in 2004 indicate there could be further substantial metallic objects near the site of the original discovery.

Braghò and Trifoli have assembled a ten-person scientific committee led by the leading underwater archaeologist Luigi Fozzati to conduct a fresh investigation of the site. Excavations are planned to take place before next summer in three phases, lasting at least nine weeks in total. They will focus on the locations where the US researchers detected metallic objects, an extended area surrounding the site of a 1973 excavation by archaeologist Nino Lamboglia, and an underwater medieval archaeological site. “One theory is that a ship carrying the bronzes sank in the 1500s rather than in the Roman era, so we want to check whether that could be true,” Braghò says. The project is expected to cost more than €350,000.

Trifoli also hopes to create a multimedia museum in Riace devoted to the 1972 discovery. Though the original statues remain in Reggio Calabria, the new museum would display 3D images of the bronzes in “stunning” detail, he tells The Art Newspaper. With an initial budget of around €500,000, it could be housed in a building near the coast that was recently confiscated from the ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabrian mafia. The mayor says he is also in talks to establish a school of underwater archaeology at the venue with Fozzati’s support.

Further proposals for the anniversary include a literature prize, a new statue marking the point where the Greek artefacts were found, and two days of conferences with contributions from international archaeology and cultural heritage experts.

However, it is not yet clear how the town will foot the bill for its ambitious celebrations, which are estimated to cost €2.5m in total. Riace has requested financial support from the regional government of Calabria but may not receive a decision until after regional elections on 3-4 October, Trifoli says.

Despite the uncertainty, Braghò vows that Riace will secure alternative funding sources if necessary. “We have a lot of interest from private sponsors,” he says. “The bronzes are famous all over the world and many people would love to help us find another.” The Art Newspaper

 

How to nurture creativity in your kids

Parents who want their kids to be more creative may be tempted to enroll them in arts classes or splurge on STEM-themed toys. Those things certainly can help, but as a professor of educational psychology who has written extensively about creativity, I can draw on more than 70 years of creativity research to make additional suggestions that are more likely to be effective – and won’t break your budget.

1. Be cautious with rewards

Some parents may be tempted to reward their children for being creative, which is traditionally defined as producing something that is both new and useful. However, rewards and praise may actually dissuade your child’s intrinsic interest in being creative. That’s because the activity may become associated with the reward and not the fun the child naturally has doing it.

Of course, I am not saying you should not place your child’s artwork on your fridge. But avoid being too general – “I love every bit of it!” – or too focused on their innate traits – “You are so creative!” Instead, praise specific aspects that you like in your child’s artwork – “I love the way you made such a cute tail on that dog!” or “The way you combined colors here is pretty!”

Some rewards can be helpful. For example, for a child who loves to draw, giving them materials that they might use in their artwork is an example of a reward that will help them stay creative.

It is also important to note that there are many activities – creative or otherwise – for which a child may not have a particular interest. There is no harm – and much potential benefit – in using rewards in these cases. If a child has an assignment for a creative school activity and hates doing it, there may not be any inherent passion to be dampened in the first place.

2. Encourage curiosity and new experiences

Research shows that people who are open to new experiences and ideas are more creative than those who are more closed off. Many parents have children who naturally seek new things, such as food, activities, games or playmates. In these cases, simply continue to offer opportunities and encouragement.

For those whose children may be more reticent, there are options. Although personality is theoretically stable, it is possible to change it in subtle ways. For example, a study – although it was on older adults – found that crossword or sudoku puzzles can help increase openness. Childhood and adolescence is a natural period for openness to grow. Encouraging curiosity and intellectual engagement is one way. Other ways might include encouraging sensible risk-taking – such as trying a new sport for a less athletic child or a new instrument for one less musically inclined – or interest in other cultures. Even very simple variations on an evening routine, whether trying a new craft or board game or helping cook dinner, can help normalize novelty.

3. Help them evaluate their best ideas

What about when children are actually being creative? Most people have heard of brainstorming or other activities where many different ideas are generated. Yet it is equally important to be able to evaluate and select one’s best idea.

Your child might think of 30 possible solutions to a problem, but their creativity will not be expressed if they select the one that’s least interesting – or least actionable. If giving praise can be tricky, feedback can be even tougher. If you are too harsh, you risk squashing your child’s passion for being creative. Yet if you are too soft, your child may not develop their creativity to the fullest extent possible.

If your child seeks out your input – which in adults can be a good indicator of creativity – make sure to give feedback after they have already brainstormed many possible ideas. Ideally, you can ensure your child still feels competent and focus on feedback that connects to their past efforts: “I like the imagery you used in your poem; you are getting better! What other metaphors might you use in this last line?”

4. Teach them when not to be creative

Finally, creativity isn’t always the best option. Sometimes, straightforward solutions simply work best. If the toilet is clogged and you have a plunger, you don’t need to make your own from a coat hanger and bisected rubber duck.

More notably, some people, including teachers, say they like creative people but actually have negative views of creative kids without even realizing it.

If your child is in a class where their creativity is causing some blowback, such as discipline issues or lowered grades, you may want to work with your child to help them understand the best course of action. For example, if your child is prone to blurt out their ideas regardless of whether they are related to the discussion at hand, emphasize that they should share thoughts that are directly relevant to the class topic.

If, however, you get the feeling that the teacher simply does not appreciate or like your child’s creativity, you may want to suggest that your child keep an “idea parking lot” where they write down their creative thoughts and share them with you – or a different teacher – later in the day.

Creativity has a host of academic, professional and personal benefits. With some gentle nudges, you can help your child grow and use their imagination to their heart’s content. Midland Daily News

 

 




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