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My dad's glasses: Seeing things differently through art and collaboration

September 18, 2015

Love Where You Live

From JoAnn Turnquist:  It is a joy to introduce our next guest blogger in our “Love Where You Live” series. Ed Madden is the inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of Columbia. He is also an associate professor of English and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina. Recently, Dr. Madden participated in the Identity show at Columbia Museum of Art. This art show was one of many community engagement activities tied to the Warhol exhibit at the museum and was funded through the Foundation’s Connected Communities Grants. I hope you enjoy his story of how he is giving back to Columbia through the arts.

Cheers!

 JoAnn

 

My dad’s glasses: seeing things differently through art and collaborationEd Madden

By Ed Madden

My dad held me up to the kitchen window.

I looked out. Then put on his glasses,

looked out again—a world with edges,

limits, each thing newly fixed

against the autumn sky.

- from “Solve for X,” collaborative poem by Ed Madden and Alexis Stratton, from Identity, in the Community Gallery at the Columbia Museum of Art, in conjunction with From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol’s Famous Faces

When I was a kid, I needed glasses.  I still remember vividly that moment my dad held me up to the kitchen window and let me look out with his glasses on. The world came into focus in a way I’d never known. I use that image in the poem I recently wrote for the Identity show at the Columbia Museum of Art. I like the image: someone helping me learn to see. I would, of course, get my own eyeglasses once my family realized I needed them, and I would come to see the world in my own ways, not just those of my parents. But there’s still something fundamental and moving for me in that memory: learning to see, helping someone else to see, seeing anew, seeing differently.

When Leslie Pierce asked me to participate in community engagement activities tied to the Warhol exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art, From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol’s Famous Faces, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. It wasn’t just because Leslie asked me, though it was unlikely I would ever say no to Leslie. She was such a delight to work with, such a light in our community, and her passing last summer was an extraordinary loss.

It wasn’t just the chance to work with the Warhol exhibit either, though that exhibit is pretty amazing. It wasn’t just the chance to be able respond to the show, though it was a treat to make those little Warhol-esque “screen tests,” to provide audio commentary for the gallery tour (I chose the Judy Garland photo), and to work alongside other local artists I admire—filmmaker Betsy Newman, painter Alejandro García-Lemos, visual artist Michaela Pilar Brown.

It wasn’t even really the opportunity to produce something ourselves in conversation with the exhibit, though I love this kind of project, connecting the historical to the present, art to the local context. No, more than all of that, it was Leslie’s explicit instruction that we all choose young local artists to work with, to mentor. So in the midst of so much to love—the sense of community and connection, the conversations about art and among artists—there was also the invitation to give back to the community by collaborating with young artists.

I worked with Alexis Stratton.  I knew her as student at USC, both in the MFA creative writing program and the graduate certificate program in Women’s and Gender Studies. I love her work, and I knew that if we went with the assigned theme of identity, she would be kindred spirit as well as interesting collaborator.  We decided to focus on gender and sexuality, responding in part to Warhol’s “Ladies and Gentlemen” series.  We met and talked through ideas, drafted poems and responded to each other’s poems. We settled on the idea of “solving for x”—thinking about how our society is so concerned about why we are who we are.  It was origins and variables, algebra and old movies (Madame X!), and chromosomes (XX or XY). How do we put poetry in a gallery with film and visual art? Alexis suggested a big X of poetry on the wall, suggested we collage our words and ideas together where the lines of the x, and the trajectories of our own poems, crossed. And we decided to invite others to join the discussion, to collaborate with us: chalkboard on either side asked people to write “what I was told” and “what I know.”

Alexis and I ended up with a little book of poems along with the big X.  I wrote another piece for our local arts magazine, Jasper, about the image of Jimmy Carter, the one image in the show that sent me back in memory to my farmboy roots: http://jaspercolumbia.net/on-andy-warhols-jimmy-carter-1-by-ed-madden/.

I sometimes think Columbia is really in an arts renaissance right now, and I love being a part of it. But I really love moments like this one, moments when people I love, an institution I love, work I love to do, and ideas I love to think about all come together in one rich and powerful combination—on the wall of the Community Gallery.

--

Ed Madden is an associate professor of English and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina. In January he was named the inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of Columbia, a position he holds for four years. He is the author of four books of poetry, including Signals, which won the SC Poetry Book Prize, and Ark, which will be published in March 2016, a book of poetry focused on the period he helped with his father’s home hospice care in his last few months with cancer.

 

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Cherise Arrendale

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Cherise implements and monitors all marketing, communications and public relations efforts by the Foundation. She also develops strategies to build brand awareness, manages the Foundation’s online presence, and oversees Midlands Gives, the Foundation’s 24-hour annual giving day.

An Atlanta native, Cherise has a Master of Business Administration degree from USC's Moore School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in music from Furman University. She previously worked for the Peace Center for the Performing Arts and the SC Governor's School for Arts and Humanities. In her spare time, she enjoys running, reading, playing in a local community band and spending time with her husband and their fluffy Maine Coon cat.

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Cortney comes to the Foundation with seven years of prior nonprofit experience. She earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and enjoys spending her free time with her two wonderful daughters. Her hobbies include woodworking, pottery and relaxing at the beach.

Looking to recommend a grant from your donor advised fund? Or seeking information about competitive grants for Aflac, Sonoco, or Hootie & the Blowfish? Reach out to Cortney.

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Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Jamie attended college at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky and moved to Columbia in Spring of 2017. Jamie enjoys walking her German Shepherd mix dog, spending time with family, and playing sand volleyball.

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Brooke is a native of Douglasville, Georgia. She comes to the Community Foundation with previous administrative experience both in Georgia and for a nonprofit in Rochester, New York. Brooke volunteers with youth at the Department of Juvenile Justice. In her spare time, she can be found spending time with family and friends, joining them in cheering for her favorite baseball and college football teams.

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Erin E. Johnson

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Erin leads the Foundation’s efforts to increase our impact in the Midlands. She oversees competitive grantmaking, scholarship programs, and program-related initiatives, such as Connected Communities. She also implements community engagement strategies that help connect community needs and opportunities with available resources.

Erin previously served as the Chief Community Investment Officer for South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.  She is a proud alumni of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and  University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. In her spare time, Erin enjoys watching the Tar Heels and Carolina Panthers, reading and spending time with her husband Shawn and daughters Maya and Nina.

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James Mercado, II

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A Northern Virginia native, James earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Radford University and has several years of marketing and nonprofit experience.  In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife, Haylee, and their three kids, Hayden, James III, and Harper.

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Kevin earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. He is an avid sports fan and can frequently be found rooting for the Miami Hurricanes and spending time with his wife and four children.

Reach out to Kevin for more information about the Foundation’s investment policies, audit inquiries, securities, and other non-cash gifts.

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Jamesha Shackerford

Program Associate

Jamesha oversees the scholarship administrative process by working closely with scholarship fundholders and students. She also works with the Vice President for Community Investment to support the Connected Communities grant initiative and provides logistical support to the Community Impact Committee.

A South Carolina native, Jamesha earned a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Columbia College and minored in dance, an interest she still pursues. She enjoys spending her spare time with family and friends.

Contact Jamesha for information or help with scholarships, Connected Communities applications and reports or the Foundation’s due diligence process.

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Heather Sherwin

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Heather works with donors to set up charitable funds and collaborates with professional advisors and their clients to fulfill their philanthropic goals. She is responsible for promoting awareness and support for the Foundation among its varied constituencies. She leads the overall communication, public relations and donor relations strategy. Heather also serves as a resource for charitable planning in the Midlands community.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Heather held fundraising positions with Cleveland Museum of Art, Great Lakes Theater, American Red Cross, Hawken School and The Masters School. While living in Cleveland, Ohio, her hometown, Heather was the third generation to lead her family foundation, The Sherwick Fund, a fund of The Cleveland Foundation. In Columbia, Heather and her life partner, Buddy Register, are currently renovating an historic home in Elmwood.

Contact Heather about starting a fund at the Foundation or for information about planned giving.

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Kim Turnipseed

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She comes to the Foundation with over 20 years of accounting experience, earning her degree in Accounting from Columbia College.

In her free time, Kim enjoys spending time with her three children, seven grandchildren, family, and 1 dog.

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JoAnn M. Turnquist

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Named president and CEO in 2009, JoAnn works closely with her board of trustees and staff to develop and implement the vision and strategic direction of the Foundation.  She leads a team dedicated to helping individuals, families, businesses and nonprofit organizations establish charitable funds to support causes they care about and make a difference in the Midlands and beyond.

Before joining CCCF, JoAnn served as Vice President for Institutional Sales at The Clorox Company and Johnson Diversey. She is 2013 Riley Diversity Fellow.  JoAnn received the SC Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Community Diversity Award in 2014 and the Engenuity SC Vision Award in 2016. JoAnn enjoys cycling, swimming and reading. She and her husband Ernie are avid golfers and amateur chefs. They share their home and hearts with three dogs and two cats.

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