Don’t Miss These Conferences!

September 15th, 2011

Email This Blog Post Email This Blog Post Filed under: New Village Commons— Laura Leone @ 3:10 pm

At New Village Press we sometimes find ourselves inundated with amazing activities outside of the office. Yesterday marked the beginning of a whirlwind of conferences and events that New Village will be participating in and even co-hosting! These events provide wonderful opportunities to support and learn about exceptional people and positive movements that are taking place right now all over the world.  Many will feature some of our talented authors, including Sharon Danks (Asphalt to Ecosystems), William Reichard (American Tensions), Lily Yeh (Awakening Creativity), Arlene Goldbard (New Creative Community), and Linda Frye Burnham (Performing Communities).  Each of these events promises to provide inspiration, and hopefully we will see some of you there – there’s still just enough time to register!

Yesterday New Village director Lynne Elizabeth attended the resource fair portion of “Transforming Urban School Systems Through the Arts,” a two-day national forum hosted by Arts Education Partnership and coinciding with the National Arts in Education Week (September 11-17) in San Francisco.  She reports being truly inspired by Charles Chip McNeal, the director of education at the San Francisco Ballet, and by a performance by the UC Berkeley’s Young Musicians Program.

Of course we’re practically sleepless with excitement about Engaging Our Grounds, which starts tomorrow, Friday, September 16th! The 2011 International Green Schoolyard Conference runs until Sunday and is co-hosted by New Village.  We have been hard at work with Sharon Danks of Bay Tree Design and author of Asphalt to Ecosystems to make this an amazing experience: the conference will showcase how the green schoolyard movement is growing rapidly and flourishing around the world. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit local schools and hear from visionary leaders of the school ground movement from Europe, North America, and Japan who will share their experiences, case studies, and best practices.

The moment Engaging Our Grounds ends, Lynne will hop on a plane to Minneapolis-St. Paul for the Imagining America Conference.  In San Francisco yesterday we connected with local primary, secondary, and high school teachers, and in Minnesota New Village will have the opportunity to establish and reconnect with existing allies in higher education. Imagining America seeks “To realize the democratic, public and civic purposes of American higher education,” and many of our books strive to reorient education towards a more holistic, worldly outlook. Historically we’ve found Imagining America conferences to be exhilarating meetings of the minds – this year promises to be even more special as William Reichard, editor of American Tensions, will be presenting! And Linda Frye Burnham, editor of Performing Communities, will be honored for three decades of “democratic arts journalism.”

We will have a moment to catch our breath before Arlene Goldbard (New Creative Community) and Lily Yeh (Awakening Creativity) appear at Bioneers in Marin in October, but we’ve been working behind the scenes to make sure that those not attending the conference will have other opportunities to catch Lily Yeh on one of her rare extended stays in the United States.  Like Imagining America, Bioneers is a chance for thinkers, artists, and educators to come together and look forward with a “‘solve-the-whole-problem’ approach.” At New Village we feel honored to be part of the extended Bioneers family through Arlene Goldbard and Lily Yeh and can’t wait to attend the conference. Don’t forget, friends of NVP can use the above Bioneers link for a 20% discount!

There are a lot more fun things on the horizon, but right now our horizon is looking pretty packed with these events, and we’ll leave you with this. Hopefully we’ll see you at one or all of these events, and we look forward to hearing your feedback!

Between Grace and Fear: A New Arrival at New Village

September 12th, 2011

Email This Blog Post Email This Blog Post Filed under: New Village Commons— New Village Press Team @ 10:17 am

New Village Press is proud to be the distributor of William Cleveland’s newest book, Between Grace and Fear: The Role of the Arts in a Time of Change. William Cleveland, who co-authored Between Grace and Fear with Patricia Shifferd, previously published Art and Upheaval: Artists on the World’s Frontlines with New Village Press. In Art and Upheaval, Cleveland tells stories of artists all over the world, particularly in conflict zones, using art as a tool for individual, institutional, and community change. Primarily in his words, Cleveland visits six communities and details “human potential in the face of evil.”

The new book, which serves as a beautiful complement to the first, allows artists working with communities to speak in their own words, addressing the questions “How can the arts help build caring and capable communities?” and “If a major shift in worldview is taking place, what role might society’s arts and cultural resources (artists, arts institutions, and cultural creatives) play?” Artists like Lily Yeh (Awakening Creativity), Arlene Goldbard (New Creative Community), and Linda Burnham (Performing Communities) share their experiences and hopefully inspire “people concerned about the future to engage their creativity and to learn through grace.”

In a recent, three-part interview on Barry’s Blog, a blog for the arts provided by the Western States Arts Federation, Cleveland discusses his thoughts on the important role of the arts in a changing world: (more…)

A Letter of Thanks to Author Lily Yeh: Beauty That Lasts

September 7th, 2011

Email This Blog Post Email This Blog Post Filed under: New Village Commons— New Village Press Team @ 10:49 am

Lily Yeh, author of Awakening Creativity, sent along the following letter of thanks from a teacher at Darien High School in Darien, Connecticut, whose students recently visited the Dandelion School in Beijing China, the centerpiece of Awakening Creativity, and were moved and inspired by their experience.

Dear Lily,
Our students returned to school last week after the cleanup from Hurricane Irene.  Although teachers and students lament the end of summer, I believe everyone is genuinely glad to be back in the business of learning.  Our students, who visited the Dandelion School last April, continue to be inspired by your work.  They are meeting this week to design a mural for their own school in honor of the work you do and the creativity you ignited in them.
We teachers are busy preparing for a 10-year anniversary celebration of Darien High School’s US-China Exchange.  The celebration will be held on the evening of September 30th in Darien, CT when a delegation of students and teachers from the Shanghai #3 Girls’ School and the the #58 Qingdao School will be visiting us for a few weeks.  . . .
Your work has deeply moved my students; they returned to school last week with an avid interest in your work and the work of Dr. Hong at the Dandelion School.  What so utterly impressed them was the fact that you engaged the entire school community in the creative process.  They understand the value of the process you used to create a transformation at the Dandelion School; they have such respect for the work you do; they talk about you as their hero.  I know that they would like to return to the Dandelion School and help in some way.  Having spent some time there, they feel a personal connection to so many of the students they met.  I don’t know what will be possible, but the students hope to explore a sustainable relation with the Dandelion School.
I hope this e-mail finds you well, Lily.  On a personal note, I want to tell you that I just finished watching the video on the memorial in Rwanda.  I loved watching the villagers work with you as they placed small pieces of tile side by side.  The memorial, with its bright colors, seemed eternal and reverent and hopeful.  I have learned in my own life that a return through the memory of our loved ones, can lead us to a world that offers us more light, more hope.
I wish you the strength to keep doing the wonderful projects you are doing around the world.  One of  the first things my students said when they returned from the Dandelion School was, “Lily Yeh knows how to inspire beauty that lasts…not just like a sunset that vanishes…there is something from the murals at the Dandelion School that still lives in us even though we have returned home to Darien.”
Warm regards,
Darien High School
Awakening Creativity offers a first-hand account of Lily’s methodology at Dandelion School for teachers and community organizers who would like to incorporate community art into their programs and serves as a useful resource for teachers, students, libraries, and arts organizations. If you would like to schedule an event with Lily Yeh in your community, please contact Lauren at New Village Press. By the way, Lily will be visiting California twice this fall and presenting at Bioneers on October 15.

Acting Together Continues Worldwide

September 2nd, 2011

Email This Blog Post Email This Blog Post Filed under: New Village Commons— New Village Press Team @ 3:12 pm

New Village Press published Acting Together as part of a wider project that started in 2005, when a prestigious academic institution, Brandeis University, and the most prominent international organization of theatre artists, Theatre Without Borders, established a partnership that brought the Acting Together Project to life. The first volume of the two-book set focuses on the role theatre and ritual play in both the midst of and in the aftermath of violence. It highlights the stories of courageous artists and community leaders who create works of great power and beauty while telling truth to power and rebuilding severed relationships. Since theatre and ritual are very visual, the editors and folks felt a visual component was crucial to disseminating this important work, and last month the DVD Documentary and Toolkit, Acting Together on the World Stage debuted. This week, New Village Press sent off production copies of the second volume Acting Together: Building Just and Inclusive Communities, to our team of graphic designers. This means that Acting Together II is one step closer to fruition, and Acting Together one step closer to a complete set.

There’s a lot more going on here than “just” product development and production. Lorenzo Estébanez, the new Marketing and Publicity Apprentice at New Village Press, has been coordinating with Betsy Plumb at the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis for the official launch of the DVD this fall. Thanks to the dedication of this cross-country team, there will be screenings and lectures worldwide where viewers will be able to come together to appreciate the work that has been done in conflict resolution and strategize about more peacebuilding opportunities.  Please stay tuned to our events page, as we update as soon as each screening becomes settled.  If facebook is more your thing, you can also “like” the book on facebook and get updates from there.

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