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Featured Artist: Aaron Meyer

11 Dec
Concert Rock Violinist Aaron

Concert Rock Violinist Aaron

Who says sweets aren’t good for you? Motivated by a violin shaped cake, Aaron Meyer took up the instrument at age 5, performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 11, and has been wowing audiences across the world ever since. As a Concert Rock violinist, Aaron combines the energy of contemporary music with the technical skill of a clasically trained performer, and has shared stages and recorded with Pink Martini, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and Everclear. The son of a violin teacher, Aaron is committed to music education and has been teaching with Young Audiences for the last 10 years. Portlanders can catch Aaron’s annual Holiday Concert December 21 and 22 and youngsters can participate in a FREE Music Education Workshop on Dec 22 at noon (click here to register).

What is your art practice outside of teaching? I am a concert rock violinist….I compose, record, and perform my own original music and arrangements with my 6 piece band.

How does Oregon inspire your art making? Oregonians in general are very supportive of anything local and unique to their area from beverages and food to art and music.  Portland and Oregon is a great place for an independent artists to thrive creatively and make a living.  The audiences in Oregon expect something different and unique.  This is a perfect place for me to have a home base. Continue reading

Featured Artist: Gideon Freudmann

26 Nov
Gideon Freudmann with cellos

Gideon Freudmann in his studio with a few cellos.

Hometown hero Gideon Freudmann has been teaching with Young Audiences for 11 years (first on the YA roster in Massachusetts then in Connecticut – he still teaches regularly on the east coast – and in Oregon for the last seven year) and blowing up the inter/national circuit with his electric cello compositions and performances. Portlanders can hear (and see) Gideon with The Portland Cello Project (December 13 & 14 – Aladdin Theatre), Caravan Gogh, and as a soloist playing live accompaniment to silent films (December 8 – The General at TaborSpace). Everyone else can catch Gideon on NPR’s All Things Considered, in the soundtrack to Weeds, or on one of his 17 CDs. And for that special little someone in your life, you might consider Gideon’s CD CelloTales (with story teller Leeny Del Seamonds) which won a Parents Choice award in 2005.

What is your art practice outside of teaching?  Composer, Recording artist, performer. As a composer I write mostly for solo electric cello and (acoustic) cello ensembles that bring out the best in traditional and modern music. I perform many of my ensembles with the Portland Cello Project.

In my recordings and live performances I employ electronic technology to create layered textures, pushing the boundaries of traditional cello music. I play the electric cello and use delays, loopers and other “toys” to take the cello well out of the classical realm. Here’s a video of a live solo performance of “Robin Hood Changes His Oil:”

Here is a video of a piece I wrote called, “Denmark”. This short film made made by Two Penguins Productions, won awards at numerous international film festivals:

How does Oregon inspire your art making?  I love nature. The beauty of the mountains, coast and everything in between are an endless source of joy and inspiration for me. Portland in particular is home to a tremendously talented and diverse collection of musicians. There is a sense of community among them and a very supportive environment. Also, all that rain makes it easier to stay indoors and get some work done! Continue reading

Featured Artist: Peggy Ross

12 Nov

Visual artist Peggy Ross with students and their creations.

Textile artist Peggy Ross has been teaching in schools for 18 years and working with Young Audiences for 15. A native of Brookings, OR and a 2005 Sunburst Artist of the Year Award Winner, Peggy has made her way as an artist and teacher through an ever evolving exploration of art media.

In addition to teaching young artists, Peggy offers classes for adults as part of PCC’s Community Education Department. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at weaving, sewing, or “up-cylcing” your old clothes, Peggy is the one for you.

What is your art practice outside of teaching? I create with paint, textiles and collage. I began as a weaver and seamstress. Then I moved to surface design, painting and piecing fabrics to create textiles for interiors: table runners, placemats, pillows, wall hangings, etc. All of this has morphed into recent new work where I‘m painting, printing and piecing papers then using them to create stitched collages. Continue reading

Featured Artist: Sarah Nagy

29 Oct

Filmmaker and animator Sarah Nagy

A near native of Portland (born in Michigan but in Oregon since age 2), Sarah Nagy‘s work as an independent filmmaker has been shown in festivals around the world, broadcast on PBS, and presented locally as part of PICA‘s Tiny TBA (TBA Festival for the junior set). She was graced with a “Best Narrative” award by fellow hometown hero Todd Haynes at the 27th Northwest Films and Video Festival.

Sarah has been teaching stop motion animation and filmmaking with Young Audiences since 2009 and named the teaching wing of her art practice – Buckman Film Academy – after her Portland neighborhood. She dreams that “someday there will be a film teacher in every school.” With Sarah here, Portland is one step closer to that reality.

Sarah’s creation: a film school for kids

What is your art practice outside of teaching? I like to make short comedic films and am trying to develop a television series. I also occasionally write short essays and send them to the New Yorker with my fingers crossed.

How does Oregon inspire your art making? The rain is great for staying inside and drawing animation!

If you could be any animal, what would you be? A cat—they get lots of sleep and they are supreme yoga masters. However, I’d miss the opposable thumbs. [Julie’s note: please check out Sarah’s Catupuncture video for a very Portland take on back ache and cat ownership.]

What is one of your earliest art memories? When I was in fourth grade, a chalk mountain I drew was hung in the Childrens’ Art Museum.  It was like winning an Oscar. Continue reading

Featured Artist: Will Hornyak

22 Oct

Storyteller Will Hornyak.

Storyteller Will Hornyak, 2004 Sunburst Artist of the Year, has been a staple on our artist roster since 1996, and is this week’s featured artist. Hailing from San Carlos, CA, Will now makes his way in the world teaching through Young Audiences and others, performing at events, and sharing his talents with festival and groups including the Portland Storyteller’s Guild. You can catch some of Will’s spooky stories — just in time for Halloween — this Friday and Saturday at Stonehenge Studios.

What is your art practice outside of teaching? I relate strongly to the wandering, itinerant Irish storytellers known as “shanachies.” They were keepers of the old stories, but they were masters of the craft who adapted those stories to suit any occasion. They threaded their way across the landscape, stitching together as they did town and countryside, public house and private hearth. I am an omnivore of traditional stories and am inspired by everything from Mexican folk-tales and Greek myths to Native American legends and Russian fairy-tales. I am half Hungarian and half Irish and have recently developed a number of Irish myths into hour-long performances for adults during the Samhain (Halloween) and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. I love how stories and storytelling can open the door to work in schools and churches, prisons and pubs and beyond. Continue reading

Featured Artist: Andy Furgeson aka Red Yarn

15 Oct

Andy Furgeson aka Red Yarn

This week’s featured artist is none other than Andy Furgeson, aka Red Yarn: a one man (and sometimes band) of music, puppets, and forest creatures fun. An Austin, TX native and YA Roster artist since March 2011, this fall Red Yarn went full time as a teaching artist and can be found performing at schools, libraries, and community centers 5+ days a week.

(Look for his full schedule on the Red Yarn website and find his YA artist page here). In January 2010 Andy repurposed the Artclash Fun-A-Day project into Lomax-A-Day: choosing learn, record, and write about one song a day from Alan Lomax‘s 1960 Folk Songs of North America Anthology. Listen to and read from the archive of Andy’s writings and recording on Lomax-A-Day.

How does Oregon inspire your art making? In many ways. First, I’ve learned so much from the incredible community of musicians and artists I’ve found here, inspiring me to make my living by making art. Also, my creative process changes with Oregon’s seasons. In the winter and early spring I spend more time hunkered down, slowly generating new songs, puppets, and show ideas. In late spring, summer and early fall, I am out in the world, performing, collaborating, and letting the sunshine refuel my creative energy. Finally, Oregon’s natural landscape inspires my vision of the Deep Woods, the imagined world where all of my puppet characters live, where all of the animals from American folksongs coexist. Continue reading

Featured Artist: Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg

8 Oct

Just in case you forgot (not that you possibly could) Young Audiences has an incredible roster of teaching artists working in all sorts of media. Each week we will feature a different artist here on our blog and over on our Facebook page.

Self portrait by Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg.

Our first featured artist is (drumroll please…) cartoonist, illustrator, and comics maven Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg. Hailing from the Garden State, Lisa now calls the NW home. In addition to teaching, Lisa self-publishes the comic series I Cut My Hair, has appeared in the anthologies Papercutter, Bird Hurdler, and Bearfight!, and is a member of the studio Tranquility Base. Check out her Young Audiences artist page here.

Why do you choose to work with children? I believe that education can be an empowering experience for children, and I want to be a part of that. I love serving students by working with them in the artistic medium I love: comics.

Illustration by Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg.

In my residencies, I hope that the students learn… How to clearly and effectively communicate their ideas through comics. How to tell stories in a unique way by combining words and pictures, and that they *can* write and *can* draw.

My favorite part of working with kids is… Building relationships and learning more about their points of view. Continue reading

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