Years ago, Eric Key, director of the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Arts Program, and artist Paul Reed agreed to put on a one-man show of Reed’s work at the university. Key had visited the painter, one of the founders of the Washington Color School, in his Virginia home to discuss the exhibit, and planning for the solo exhibit had begun. Then Reed called to tell Key that, unfortunately, he didn’t have time for the one-man show.
“Richmond has a totally different energy than it did five or six years ago,” said artist Hamilton Glass, who counts about 80 of his murals in the Richmond, Virginia, area. Glass, a Philadelphia native, was standing in the entrance to the new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University where a group of art lovers participating in a daylong University of Maryland University College (UMUC) art trip became the first adult group to tour the new museum, which opened to the public on April 21.
When asked to explain abstract painting, the kind of artwork that is often a punching bag for criticism along the lines of “My toddler could paint that,” Eric Key tells people that the work is already achieving its purpose.
“If you’re asking me that question, you’re already beginning to think, and that’s what education is about,” said Key, Arts Program director at University of Maryland University College (UMUC.)
If the person asking persists, Key recommends dwelling on a single painting. “Just stand there and look at one piece. If it triggers you to say why this, or what’s that, or any of those kinds of questions, you’re automatically beginning to understand what abstraction is.”
A walk through the exhibition “Joseph Sheppard: Highlights from the UMUC Collection” at the Leroy Merritt Center for the Art of Joseph Sheppard at University of Maryland University College is almost like experiencing a comprehensive articulation of the history of art.
When organizers from University of Maryland University College (UMUC), University System of Maryland William E. Kirwan Center For Academic Innovation, and MarylandOnline were planning the daylong “Advancing Postsecondary Student Success Through OER” summit, they anticipated that the event would draw, at most, a couple hundred educators. But they soon found themselves capping attendance for the Dec. 8 gathering at 500—the capacity of the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center where the event was held.
The image is at once comically absurd and sobering. Three young men sit on plastic patio chairs at a table in a rowboat, drinking through straws from fruit-colored cups. A mango tree grows out of one side of the boat as a packaged loaf of Sunbeam bread floats by. In the distance, other Sunbeam loaves bob on the water’s surface, and two figures also appear semi-submerged. One of them holds a rope tied to the boat, suggesting it won’t go very far.
“Andy was more interested in becoming a celebrity than the next Picasso,” explained Quaishawn Whitlock, an artist, and guide at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. He was leading half of the roughly 45 participants in the mid-June UMUC annual Arts Program trip and he explained that Pittsburgh-native Warhol (Andrew Warhola) grew up in an immigrant family, which had come from present-day Slovakia. The family was working class, but Warhol would go on to epitomize the American dream, Whitlock explained.
Seated alongside about a dozen other Baltimore artists at a UMUC Art Gallery exhibit opening in May, Donna Rose imagined an alternative reality as only an artist might. “I think that part of the insanity of our species is that we are divorced from nature,” she said. “Maybe we need to bring bears and puma and whatever back into our cities.”
Then, when you leave the house in the morning, she imagined, you might check an “LPS app” on your phone to see which threats registered on the “large predator scan.” It would be, she said, “a kind of rebalancing.”
Think of the word “Maya” and free associate. Does Mel Gibson’s 2006 film “Apocalypto” spring to mind? Unless you’re a Mayanist, you’re likely to think of ancient Peoples who had a taste for blood and writing skills that were ahead of their time.
A new book edited by a UMUC faculty member tells a very different story. First, Maya people exist today. And more than 6 million people speak Mayan languages, primarily in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras said Bethany Beyyette, assistant professor of anthropology and sociology at UMUC.
Between his doctoral studies, college teaching, his day job as director of the intelligence training department at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) Academy for Defense Intelligence, and spending time with his family, Jim Backus does a great deal of juggling.
“It’s one of my quirks. I’ve always been an exceptional time manager as far back as I can remember,” said Backus, an adjunct associate professor in UMUC’s Undergraduate School since 2008.