Story Preservation Initiative®

Preserving the Stories of Our Lives by capturing the voices, words, and meanderings of artists, scientists, writers, poets, musicians, and eyewitnesses to history. Listen, learn, and be amazed! WEB: www.storypreservation.org

Archive for ‘December, 2015’

Citizen Activist ⎥ American Landscape Painter Susan Swartz

Susan with Louis Psihoyos, Director of The Cove and Racing Extinction

Susan with Louis Psihoyos, Director of The Cove and Racing Extinction

RACING EXTINCTION

As taken from Susan’s website:  Environmental activist and landscape painter Susan Swartz explores the landscape through potent colors and richly layered abstract paintings. With her evocation of coastal splendor and mountain drama, Swartz follows in the tradition of the great German painters, 19th century Romantic sage Caspar David Friedrich, and 20th century icon Gerhard Richter. She is inspired by the intersection of art, nature and spirituality.

Swartz’s distinctive style has been recognized with solo exhibitions at the Kollegienkirche in Salzburg, Austria; the Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C in 2011; the Springville Museum of Art in Springville, Utah in 2010; and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2008. Her works are in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; the Springville Museum of Art; Utah Museum of Fine Arts; and the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In 2005, Swartz was published in the Gibbs Smith collectors book Painters of the Wasatch Mountains alongside Wasatch Mountain School artists Maynard Dixon, Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. The same year she was honored by the Harvard Divinity School for a career that continues to blend artistry and faith. Swartz was the Official Olympic Environmental Artist for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

Landscape of Resonances 009

The underlying energy and tension to Swartz’s work hints of her complex relationship with the natural world. Her decade long struggle with mercury poisoning and Lyme disease transformed her as an artist and as a citizen. She now works from a place of impassioned reverence for the earth, and of fierce determination to inform and educate.

Partnering with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Louie Psihoyos and Dr. Jane Goodall on a number of their environmental campaigns, Swartz also supports the vision and production of documentary films  that seek to shed light on social and environmental injustice.

Films touched by her include Academy Award-winners and nominees, as well as Sundance Film Festival award winners.

Swartz serves on the National Advisory Board of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Dean’s Council of the Harvard Divinity School and is the co-founder of charity-based The Christian Center of Park City  She is on the board of the Utah Film Center and a founding member of the documentary film organization Impact Partners.

The Science Behind SPI’s Learning Lab

willis-neuroscience-behind-stress-learning-ts-460x345We find ourselves at the intersection of common sense and science.  SPI engages students through story and involves them in projects that are relevant to their lives.

From Edutopia: The realities of standardized tests and increasingly structured, if not synchronized, curriculum continue to build classroom stress levels. Neuroimaging research reveals the disturbances in the brain’s learning circuits and neurotransmitters that accompany stressful learning environments. The neuroscientific research about learning has revealed the negative impact of stress and anxiety and the qualitative improvement of the brain circuitry involved in memory and executive function that accompanies positive motivation and engagement.

The Proven Effects of Positive Motivation

Thankfully, this information has led to the development of brain-compatible strategies to help students through the bleak terrain created by some of the current trends imposed by the Common Core State Standards and similar mandates. With brain-based teaching strategies that reduce classroom anxiety and increase student connection to their lessons, educators can help students learn more effectively.

In the past two decades, neuroimaging and brain-mapping research have provided objective support to the student-centered educational model. This brain research demonstrates that superior learning takes place when classroom experiences are relevant to students’ lives, interests, and experiences. Lessons can be stimulating and challenging without being intimidating, and the increasing curriculum requirements can be achieved without stress, anxiety, boredom, and alienation as the pervasive emotions of the school day.

Stories Matter