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Polka Hour

.....sometimes I hear Tonda singing along with his polka music.....

it makes me think of home....Cedar Rapids, Iowa.....home to the largest Czech settlement in America...We still have Czech radio.     On Sundays, the tradition of Leo Greco\'s polka hour continues....   Recently, I gave a lecture in Brno at FaVU about my (319)Czech cultural project; documenting Czech-American communities in America through creative storytelling and artmaking that will culminate into a social sculpture.  This image ...

2015-05-28 - 11:01:00  by 319czech   more...

Lake effect

Part I

In preparation for this residency, I had a set of ideas on what I would potentially explore; leaving open spaces for the surroundings to impact my practice.  In some ways, you approach a residency blindly - you can never fully be prepared for what will happen or how it will impact you.  It gives you freedom to dig deep, open your ...

2015-01-26 - 16:57:00  by 319czech   more...

Artist in Residence - Sonya Darrow

          Dobrý den from the Mill!  

Before I discuss my projects, I want to introduce a bit of my art practice. I’m an Artist-Teacher, heirloom caretaker and community organizer.  I connect my practice to a folk tradition; use objects from your immediate environment as the main material for expression.  The objects I use range from debris on the ground to towels donated as an expression of one's ...

2014-12-09 - 20:37:00  by 319czech   more...

Live from Marrakesh!

    As the 3000 plus environmental educators poured into the Moroccan hotels, the energy level rose with the temperatures. Marrekesh, hosting the 10th anniversary World Environmental Education Congress this year, opened her arms with a smile, despite long lines, overbooked events, a paperless congress with attendant logistical confusion, and slow internet access. The organizers got 3 times the number of attendees than ...

"We are in a race between education and catastrophe". HG Wells

2013-06-14 - 20:04:00  by barbarabenish   more...

Art and Sustainability?

Students at the University of California are working this week on "sustainable sculptures". What does that mean?

It has been a delightful change for us to be here in California this winter, working at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the newly developed Social Practice Arts Research Center. ArtDialogue is here establishing the SS Palo Alto Project (see previous blogs), and I'm also teaching a sculpture class, based on ArtMill principles. The student's first assignment was to create ...

2013-01-30 - 18:42:00  by barbarabenish   more...

Dinner Time

Soup's on again at ArtMill! Daniel Munter, our beloved dinner cook has taken a vacation from his job in New York to feed the hungry mouths at ArtMill for the fourth time!  This is his 'guest blog post' which offers a glimpse into his experience here this summer.

  Cooking at ArtMill is great. There are about two dozen mouths to feed here, and after an afternoon of tearing around the lawn, hauling firewood and swimming in the lake, those mouths are pretty hungry. Some of the campers' palates are rather "refined," though -- meaning they're used to refined foods like potato chips, donuts and ketchup!   It's my job to convince ...

2012-07-11 - 14:04:00  by alexkatis   more...

Inspirational Presence

Martin Pastorek first came to ArtMill as a student in 2005 after having recovered from a severe auto accident.  He’s gone on to become an excellent musician and budding writer.  He returns every summer to liven up the campfire with his guitar playing and is an inspiration to us all.     

I came to ArtMill for the first time seven years ago.  Before that, I didn’t know what ArtMill was about.  It’s a place where I have met many new and wonderful friends.  ArtMill is to me a place where I have a rest and meet some new friends after the busy year.     Below is a photo collection of ...

2012-07-09 - 19:49:00  by alexkatis   more...

Seema Returns

This is a guest post written by Seema Seraj, a piano teacher who has returned to ArtMill Summer Camp for the first time since it began in 2005. This is a view of ArtMill through Seema's eyes. 

  Something in the combination of the historical landscape, the sustainable countryside living, and the artistic creativity that is infused into every activity and every corner, makes Art Mill magical. Two more students arrived today from Russia, completing our group and bringing the number of languages spoken at ArtMill up to a total of 10. I'm impressed and uplifted by how the ...

2012-07-09 - 10:12:00  by alexkatis   more...

Summer Camp:Movement

It's raining cats and dogs, so it must be time for summer camp! It's early morning here at the mill, and the place is full of sleeping bodies, just in last night from all corners of the planet. These dedicated teachers and young people have come to teach and nurture the children for ten days at our annual Summer Camp for ...

Our various teachers will be introducing themselves to you here on our blog each day or so, as a new treat for our readers who can't make it to camp. Dedicating their time to help foster creativity in youth, these people are to be admired for their gumption to give up their own summertime to share with others. Arriving from Spain, ...

2012-07-04 - 06:32:00  by barbarabenish   more...

Subjects of Sustainable Developement?

Are the outcomes from the Rio+20 Summit sustainable?

As we prepared to leave Rio and reflect on all that has happened here this past week, some outstanding images and thoughts will follow me. First of all, it was an incredible privilege to be there. Not because of the sometimes monotonous, sometimes exciting plenaries, nor the government representatives, the heads of state, the dignitaries that each of us has had ...

2012-06-29 - 00:57:00  by barbara   more...

Rio+20

Report from Rio de Janiero, the United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development

Sitting in one more conference room in this beautiful city at the Rio+20 'Earth Summit', the energy of the people gathered here inspires. Despite the heavy clouds over the sea, the sleepless nights of negotiations and preparations, and the quickly evident feeling that absolutely nothing has been accomplished here by the world's nations gathering, it is the small acts and declarations ...

2012-06-23 - 15:50:00  by barbara   more...

May Days

Abundance surrounds us as the spring rolls out from the long winter here on the farm.

It's a time of merry-making at last weekend's full moon, when the May Poles were erected in all our local villages. This ancient symbol of fertility and lasciviousness is endemic for this time of year, when all the trees are in blossom with hope, and the garden is bursting in heady scents and brilliant color. It's also the time for planting ...

2012-05-07 - 20:50:00  by barbarabenish   more...

Nyepi - Balinese New Year

Today the streets of Bali are deserted.  The airport is closed.  No one is allowed to work, travel, light a fire, use electricity, nor engage in entertainment of any kind.  In fact, the only people allowed outside of their homes are Pacalong, small bands of traditional village guardsmen who patrol at crossroads to make sure that the prohibitions are being followed.  ...

  Today is Nyepi, the day of silence.  It is the Balinese New Year, falling on the new moon of the ninth month of the Balinese (Saka) calendar.  It is a day of reflection, fasting and meditation following a period of ritual cleansing and purification.  The silence, some say, is to trick the evil spirits into thinking that Bali is actually deserted ...

2012-03-23 - 17:38:00  by alexkatis   more...

planet Island

Recently back in Hawai'i for the launching of Safe Planet's new art contest with the Department of Education, I was reminded of the model mentality of traditional Island cultures around the planet. 

Spending time on a finite chunk of land (as I did in the 80's for my undergraduate work at UH), is a good education in limited resources and conservation. In ancient times, before the white man's occupation and take-over of the Hawaiian Islands, the culture was completely self-sufficient, practicing sustainable agriculture and aquaculture. Today, the islands would run out of food ...

2012-02-18 - 17:07:00  by barbara   more...

2012

Some interpretations of the ancient Mayan calendar claim that it's the end of a cosmic cycle on our planet. .

Let's hope so. The human condition as it stands is spiralling towards certain self-destruction if we don't change our way of life immediately, from consumers to stewards. Taking care of the earth that feeds us, the forests that give us the air we breath, and the oceans the water we drink (yup! remember evaporation and condensation?!) must ...

2012-01-14 - 07:25:00  by barbarabenish   more...

end of fall

The leaves are classic golden, covered in the morning with frost. Ice slowly covers the lake- the swans can walk across it. The ducks, an abundance of them this year, enjoy the last paddles in the water before it becomes a 13 solid hectare cube of ice. There is always a bit of melancholy this time of year, as the season ...

So now it's time to butcher the rabbits and get ready for Thanksgiving! Next week: rabbit stew recipes and homemade pumpkin pie, Mill style.

2011-11-18 - 06:32:00  by root   more...

end of summer

ArtMill's energy is slowly dropping with the ripe tomatoes on the garden ground. The summer season winds down, and we get the fires on for fall. 

It seems each year we say "this was the best summer camp ever", so cliche, but sorry, this one WAS. The group of teachers and counselors who graced us this year was unbelievable. It was a nearly one-on-one ratio of teachers to kids. Everyone worked hard to make it happen, and I am so grateful to all those who made the ...

2011-09-08 - 23:55:00  by barbara   more...

Mushrooms!

Excursion into the forest to collect mushrooms....the first of many for ArtMill Summer Camp 2011!

It's official - ArtMill Summer Camp 2011 has started!  19 campers from 4 countries, speaking 11 languages have embarked on a 10-day expedition to learn about and experience sustainable creativity! 

2011-07-31 - 21:15:00  by alexkatis   more...

the 4th of July @ ArtMill

from Europe to New York to Horaždovice, a Czech artist team shows at Califia

We don't celebrate many national holidays at the Mill, but rather prefer to mix and match. So this year we had Americans, Czechs, and Mexican food. Over 40 people, ranging from ages 15 to 81, joined us for an after opening party, celebrating the new show at Califia featuring two Czech-American artists. Based in New York City for over 15 years, ...

2011-07-08 - 10:55:00  by barbarabenish   more...

visiting artists

Martin Zet at ArtMill

We were lucky to have MK at Galerie Califia for a great show with Monika Brandmeier from Berlin. Hanging out with creative people is the fun part of our job, and makes all those hours sitting at the computers planning things worth it. Both of these incredible artists are teaching at various art academies (Brno and Berlin), so discussions around art ...

2011-06-21 - 09:15:00  by barbarabenish   more...

broccoli

the wonder vege

Broccoli's got a bad rap. "eat your broccoli" echoes in kid's ears until adulthood, recalling mushy tasteless green stuff on the plate that was better left in the fridge. But have you had the kind that grows fresh in the garden and doesn't come wrapped in plastic? An entirely different species of green, this. Our first bumper crop of broccoli is ...

2011-06-18 - 06:36:00  by barbarabenish   more...

Lawn Mowers

We have 4 horse-power mowers at the Mill

Everyone has a job around here. This is part of our team: Jirasek, Mari, Bara, and Linda.

2011-06-10 - 13:37:00  by barbarabenish   more...

First Strawberries

The taste of the season's first strawberry is heavenly. Or is it the scent of spring lilacs?

It's the time of year when we don't know what to do first outside, there is so much work. The garden is growing so fast we can't eat all the salad we've planted (thus any visitors take home a sack of fresh greens). The carrots are coming in, the radishes are edible, the chives already are flowering in sprightly purple pompoms. ...

2011-05-27 - 14:51:00  by barbarabenish   more...

Go Global/Buy Local

Returning from a quick trip to New York and Los Angeles for a Safe Planet event, I cringe at my carbon footprint but have a small victory on the airplane battling plastic consumption.

It's just after 7 a.m. and I've already connected with colleagues in India, Vancouver, Oregon, California, Samoa, Pakistan, Geneva, New York, Italy,  Nigeria and a special friend on the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. Thanks to globalization and the internet, we are able to communicate in seconds with friends and family around the world. It's exciting, as ArtMill is reaching out ...

2011-05-21 - 08:07:00  by    more...

eternal return

The swallows have returned from their winter sojourn in Italy, blessing the mill with their staccato esperanto, as well as the ubiquitous swallow poop on my parked car.

I did a piece a few years ago on the swallows, for a show in Italy, that referred them back to Central Europe and their incessant traveling skills. There was a story about how the St. Gotthard tunnel , 57 kilometers long, that goes through the Alps in Switzerland, is closed to cars each year when the swallows go back and ...

2011-04-17 - 09:49:00  by barbara   more...

new beginnings

April 5, 2011

It's spring, obviously, because even the Czechs are smiling. Or, to be specific, they are now complaining about the heat, instead of the bitter cold of three weeks ago. The heady scent of sweet hyacinth fills the air, the birds are singing like there is no tomorrow and Tonda's incesstant whistling has stepped up a beat. There is light now, when ...

2011-04-05 - 07:28:00  by barbara   more...

we work with

SAFE PLANET   UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA   CENTER FOR ART AS MK ČR PLZEŇSKÝ KRAJ  MĚSTO HORAŽĎOVICE MUZEUM HORAZDOVICE ROSA COMPUTERS    Youth in Action       Youth in Action       Mālama Hawaii       RECFAM

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