Blogs Field Guide

Contemporary Art 101 When You Want It

The next time you’re in one of the Walker’s galleries, especially on a Thursday night, you might see a tour guide with an expression on her or his face that screams, “Talk to me.” Well, screams might be a bit strong. How about invitingly says? Art Chat is the next big thing in guided tours. […]

The next time you’re in one of the Walker’s galleries, especially on a Thursday night, you might see a tour guide with an expression on her or his face that screams, “Talk to me.” Well, screams might be a bit strong. How about invitingly says? Art Chat is the next big thing in guided tours. At least, we’re hoping it might be.  

On Target Free Thursday Nights and other bustling attendance moments Art Chat guides roam the galleries solo, approaching individuals or small groups to talk about whatever they’re encountering. Luanne Coleman, a 10-year tour guide veteran, was initially apprehensive about the looser format.  “I thought it would be akin to cold-calling visitors,” she says, “but it’s been a lot of fun.” She tailors her talking points to suit whomever she engages and when she can’t explain a piece, she tries to help visitors develop their own interpretations. It’s about spontaneous conversations that can go deep or stay simple, offering a taste rather than a five-course meal.

Curt Lund, a guide since 2003, appreciates the flexibility of the Art Chat format. He can talk with people anywhere in the gallery and is a fearless leader when it comes to “busting the Midwestern ‘personal space’ bubble,” as he puts it. Lund has found that once patrons know the guides are available and approachable, “they’ll often invite you in.”

We live in a society where, most of us, are accustomed to getting our questions answered almost immediately thanks to our smart phones, our friends’ smart phones (if you’re a dinosaur like me), or the neighborhood café’s free Wi-Fi. Consider Art Chat guides your Bing or Google but with a pulse, smile and ability and willingness to customize on the spot. Oh, and they rarely mysteriously go off-line.

Remembering a Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Favorite

Admit it. Whenever you set foot in the Garden you have a ritual. Some of you may slowly pore over the words on Jenny Holzer’s granite benches. Others of you may swing yourselves dizzy on Mark di Suvero’s giant Arikidea — a spider composed of a skyscraper. Many of you do your best to take […]

Admit it. Whenever you set foot in the Garden you have a ritual. Some of you may slowly pore over the words on Jenny Holzer’s granite benches.

Others of you may swing yourselves dizzy on Mark di Suvero’s giant Arikidea — a spider composed of a skyscraper.

Many of you do your best to take that perfect, illusionistic snapshot of a friend biting into Claes Oldenburg and Coosja von Bruggen’s giant, metal cherry.

Well, if any of you are like me you also make some time to frame our petite but pleasant skyline through David Nash’s Standing Frame. Nash’s sculpture with its animated legs and giant view finder is no longer a resident of the Garden. The piece was removed in November because, in its twenty-third year of existence, it reached its natural end. The timbers decomposed from the inside out making the work structurally unsound.

When this news was shared with the Walker tour guides many of them wanted to share farewells. Below are some highlights from those who knew the work well. Read their thoughts, then please share some of your own as a comment. We’d like to hear your goodbye to Standing Frame and learn about other works in the Garden that are  meaningful to you.

“I have no contained stories or memorable quotes about the standing frame, though it was, in some ways, a moving piece to tour. Thinking about the observation that we look at nature through windows these days and through car windows at that, people would focus on what images of nature the work helps us see instead.  How could we look at trees when the frame was so high?  Was Nash only interested in our looking at clouds and sky? From what vantage point could the work frame the Basilica? As we moved around it, the more-or-less geometric frame on a tripod morphed into a headless walking creature framing nothing; we’d wonder about heads, tree-made bodies and how we find the images we see.” –Christine McVay

“I have loved Nash’s ecological sensibility, which I like to share with tour participants of all ages. Kids have always enjoyed going into the trees, standing on the block of concrete, and seeing the framed view of Mpls.  I’ve also liked the fun of comparison/contrast with Woodrow—kids think Woodrow is made of wood, then we talk about why it needs to be of more durable material. Then when we get to Standing Frame, although it looks like wood, they think it probably isn’t! So that is always a fun twist. Now I guess I will just show a photo of Standing Frame to exemplify why Woodrow is made of bronze. That won’t be nearly as much fun, though.

I also thought it made an interesting pair with Turrell’s Sky Pesher. Both framed sky, but the standing frame included the tops of trees and buildings and you could see things around the frame whereas Sky Pesher isolates the sky. It made for an interesting compare and contrast.” –Nancy Beach

Standing Frame has been one of my favorite pieces.  We all know it frames the Basilica, but children also think it looks like a TV set or a camera (it has knobs and also legs). I love to have the children imagine the sculptures coming alive at night and our frame taking pictures. It is fascinating to think of the Di Suvero’s Arikidea walking about and Woodrow galloping through the Garden with the frame capturing all the action.  Just think of the ways the sculptures would move about. I will miss the piece.” –Carol Bossman

“I love the arguments as to which is the best spot to stand on to look through the frame.  As with all art, it’s all in your personal perspective.” –Jenny Skinner

“Nash’s Standing Frame is always on my tour of the garden, and I grieve its departure. 

His premise that nature frames our viewpoint is so welcome. Indeed it is all we have, in spite of our contrivances.

I loved watching everyone look at it from both sides, with the taller people insisting they could see the Cathedral.  It created lots of jumping…sometimes from greyhairs like me. 

My friend Odell, noticed that the tree trunks were upside down. 

And I liked it because it came from Taylor’s Falls, where I had learned to climb sheer faces. 

And it cast a shadow on our broader view of the world.

Love to the decay of the Standing Frame.  It has made an important impact.

Let it rest.”
–Lauri Rockne

“ … A great piece to tour and so well received given its local materials, brilliant design and concept. Its fragility is part of its beauty. –Sandy Boss Febbo

What’s your ode to Standing Frame?

Yves Klein: the Judoka

In judo there are 67 recognized throws for bringing someone to the ground. Last Thursday, during the École de Klein judo demonstrations, Dominique Tobbell and Danny Hutchinson–2nd degree black belt instructors from St. Paul’s Midway Judo Club must have shown at least 20 of them. In the spirit of École de Klein, whose goal is […]

In judo there are 67 recognized throws for bringing someone to the ground. Last Thursday, during the École de Klein judo demonstrations, Dominique Tobbell and Danny Hutchinson–2nd degree black belt instructors from St. Paul’s Midway Judo Club must have shown at least 20 of them.

Dominique Tobbell and Danny Hutchinson Photo by Cameron Wittig

In the spirit of École de Klein, whose goal is to provide visitors with a better understanding of artist Yves Klein’s work and curiosities, it seemed necessary to have judo represented. Klein was a dedicated student of the martial art form– he earned his black belt from the Kôdôkan Institute in Tokyo in 1952 at the age of  24 and went on to teach at the Spanish Federation of Judo in Madrid, wrote the book Le Fondements du Judo (The Foundations of Judo), and opened his own judo school in Paris.

Yves Klein with a judo partner at the American Students and Artists Centre, Bd. Raspail, Paris, c. 1955

If there is one central fear that must be overcome to become a judoka, it’s falling. Would Klein have been prepared to take his Leap Into the Void without his judo training?

ArtsConnectEd + iPads = win-win for teachers

It was a win-win situation for Therese Cacek, the winner of the first ArtsConnectEd iPad Challenge. She had been trying to come up with a lesson that would inspire her 6th grade art students at Holdingford Elementary, a little less than 2-hour’s drive northeast of Minneapolis, to use the ArtsConnectEd website as part of an […]

It was a win-win situation for Therese Cacek, the winner of the first ArtsConnectEd iPad Challenge. She had been trying to come up with a lesson that would inspire her 6th grade art students at Holdingford Elementary, a little less than 2-hour’s drive northeast of Minneapolis, to use the ArtsConnectEd website as part of an assignment to learn to use Photoshop Elements.

“In past years I had taken the students to the ArtsConnectEd site and encouraged them to find an image that they could manipulate and then digitally put something about themselves into the artwork. One frustration was that the students did not seem to ‘look deeper’ into the website. … That’s when I saw the ‘iPad Challenge’ with the direction to create a set as an introduction to the museums. It was a perfect. It was exactly what I wanted the students to do—become familiar with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Walker Art Center as museums and then compare and make choices about the works. The creation of the art set worked as a perfect teaching tool to guide my students into deeper consideration of a choice for their digital manipulation project.”

The possibility of winning an iPad was interesting to Cacek as well because of her growing passion for bringing technology into her art classroom. She muses,

“Technology has added a whole new dimension to teaching in the art room. Like paint, clay or pastels, technology also offers another avenue of creative expression. Today students are less intimidated and more willing to experiment with computer software used to create and manipulate digital imagery. The emergence of YouTube brings a keen awareness to the need to teach and understand media’s power and influence. Technology is exciting. It challenges and is continually changing.”

You can view Therese’s winning Set “Minnesota Museums Tour” on ArtsConnectEd.

While you are at it, take a look at the honorable mention Set “Photograms: A Cameraless Image” by Edina High School photography teacher Kim Raskin.

With ArtsConnectEd, users can not only access over 20,000 works of art and resources from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker, they can use the materials they find to build customized Art Collector Sets, save them, and share their work with others. Building an Art Collector Set is fun, but it is also a perfect lesson planning tool for teachers. The iPad Challenges are incentives for teachers and other users to produce outstanding Sets and share them with all ArtsConnectEd users.

iPad Challenge #2!
The next round of the
ArtsConnectEd iPad Challenge is underway. Any K–12 teacher, active substitute teacher, home school educator, teaching artist, student teacher, and college education major is eligible to win an iPad. Just submit an original Art Collector Set that is relevant to a lesson plan by midnight January 7, 2011.

You could be the next ArtsConnectEd iPad Challenge winner!

ArtsConnectEd iPad Challenge #1 winners Therese Cacek (center) and Kim Raskin (right) with Susan Rotilie at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Educators’ Evening October 21, 2010.


Writer to Writer: John Yau on Yves Klein

You may know John Yau as the arts editor for The Brooklyn Rail, for his books on artists–A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns (D.A.P., 2009), The United States of Jasper Johns (1996) and In the Realm of Appearances: The Art of Andy Warhol (1993), or his collections on poetry Paradiso Diaspora (Penguin, […]

You may know John Yau as the arts editor for The Brooklyn Rail, for his books on artists–A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns (D.A.P., 2009), The United States of Jasper Johns (1996) and In the Realm of Appearances: The Art of Andy Warhol (1993), or his collections on poetry Paradiso Diaspora (Penguin, 2006), Ing Grish, with Paintings by Thomas Nozkowski (Saturnalia, 2005), Borrowed Love Poems (Penguin, 2002), Forbidden Entries (Black Sparrow, 1996), Berlin Diptychon with Photographs by Bill Barrette (Timken, 1995), Edificio Sayonara (Black Sparrow, 1992), Corpse and Mirror (Holt & Rinehardt, 1983) to name a few. This list doesn’t include his novels or artists’ books, but the point is that Yau is a prolific writer who’s work isn’t limited to one genre. Same is true of the artist Yves Klein, who Yau will be “channeling” in his talk this Thursday as part of a Free Verse/École de Klein program copresented by Rain Taxi Review of Books. If you’re curious to know more about the Klein-Yau connection come to the talk. Below is an interview to whet your appetite.

Portrait of John Yau. Pencil on paper by Phong Bui.

What is it about Yves Klein that you admire?

The particularities of the dance between eye and mind his work starts.

How and when did you first get into writing?

I started writing in high school and so far I haven’t stopped.

You write art criticism, poetry, prose, and fiction–can you speak to how you balance your many-sided practice and how one type of writing informs another?

I don’t know that I balance them. It seems that each calls to me in a different way, and it is my responsibility to pay attention to the questions that are being asked.

The critic Pierre Restany was a champion of Klein’s work and helped bring him notoriety in the art world. How has the role of critic changed or stayed the same since the Restany/Greenberg era? How has your own relationship/attitude to criticism changed over the years?

It has often been repeated that critics have no power, meaning they don’t effect what takes in the marketplace of art. I am not interested in that reality. I am interested in the conversation that art engenders, and I participate in that. I am interested in the history of art that is submerged by the story that is being told. Even when an artist is well-known, the story that is being told about his or her work often submerges another story.

Can you talk about what was happening in the avant-garde literary circles of Klein’s era?

A lot was going in America between 1950 and 1962, much of the effort focusing on how to make the poem modern and responsive to the world after World War II. There were older poets such as William Carlos William; poets associated with Black Mountain College (Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Ed Dorn); independent figures (Philip Lamantia, Denise Levertov); poets associated with the New York painters (John Ashbery, Frank OHara, James Schuyler, Barbara Guest); poets in and around San Francisco (Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, Robin Blaser); Allen Ginsberg. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

How does this experimental poetry connect with Klein’s work and your own?

They were all trying to get beyond the habits of thinking that were pervasive and repressive.

What artists and poets have been most influential to you and your writing?

The list is so long I wouldn’t know where to begin.

Can you give any teasers for what you might read next Thursday?

So far—and this of course may change—I am thinking of reading a new piece that is neither an essay nor a poem. It is a monologue and/or daydream in which Yves Klein talks to someone (you, whoever you are) (thinks to himself) about art and life.

Given your history of working collaboratively on artists books, is there someone you’d like to collaborate with on a future project?

There are many artists I would love to work with.

A new limited edition artist's book written by John Yau, artwork by Max Gimblett abd published by Granary Press, New York in 2010 left: Max and John Yau at Max's Bowery Studio (December 2008) photo: Matt Jones, NY

Children’s Films: The End

The final day was the hardest. I was bit tired and movies were starting to blur together. I was also bit distracted by trying to time movie watching, then a cab ride, and getting through airport security. Even so, I managed to watch 7 short films, one animated short, and a feature film. What is truly hard about the […]

The final day was the hardest. I was bit tired and movies were starting to blur together. I was also bit distracted by trying to time movie watching, then a cab ride, and getting through airport security. Even so, I managed to watch 7 short films, one animated short, and a feature film.

What is truly hard about the last day is realizing that every film you watch is choice to not watch something else. As I go through the program book, small descriptions with a film still is all have to guide me. So for the close I thought I would share a smattering of film stills. Which would you choose to watch?

Here are the totals: 82 animated short films, 38 live action shorts, 4 feature films.  Now I just have to wait and see which ones I will choose for future programs. That’s when my job gets hard.

Children’s Films: Day 3

It’s my penultimate day at the film festival, which makes me nervous because there are still many films that need to be checked off on my list. However, I purposely pace myself and take it easy, otherwise I would lose all objectivity. So today I walked to the venue, made sure to have lunch off […]

It’s my penultimate day at the film festival, which makes me nervous because there are still many films that need to be checked off on my list. However, I purposely pace myself and take it easy, otherwise I would lose all objectivity. So today I walked to the venue, made sure to have lunch off site, snacked on health food, and added some feature length films to my list.

Today included some tears, well as laughs, 3 feature films, 12 live-action shorts, and 3 animated shorts.

The Norwegian Film Twigson was filled with creative new uses for pantyhose. See if you can spot them all in the trailer.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmYjyZ4Q1_Q[/youtube]

There are always a good number of films about racial tension, and this year is not an exception. The Road Home was about a boy who wanted to reject his ethnic heritage, while The Indian was about another young boy desperately trying to connect with his. 11 weeks was a more subtle story of reconciliation that caused me to pull out the tissues.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/3405046[/vimeo]

El Tux was nice pick me up.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt9QcaWzzeo[/youtube]

Every year I have attended the festival I am surprised by the number of Latvian animated shorts. On the rare occasion when I leave my screening room and pop down to the actual theater, the kids go nuts for these films.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/1138176[/vimeo]

Also, I have been asking around for opinions about what to watch, but I aways have to remind myself that every program has an individuals flavor and style. I had a conversation with another programmer about a film this year that reminded us of film from last year.  We were of very different opinions. I am curious about your thoughts. Leave me a comment.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aM0vTPQXt8[/youtube]

Just a few hours left tomorrow. I have to carefully study my program book tonight too see which will be the last few I squeeze in before heading to the airport.

Children’s Films: Day 2

The thing that is nice about day two at this film festival is I get into a groove.  A steady stream of burnt coffee kept me going for over eight straight hours. By midday, I got a feel for the festival.  As far as animation styles, there are some really creative uses of fabric, although computers […]

The thing that is nice about day two at this film festival is I get into a groove.  A steady stream of burnt coffee kept me going for over eight straight hours. By midday, I got a feel for the festival.  As far as animation styles, there are some really creative uses of fabric, although computers and clay are still going strong. And after a few films I could tell which animals are hot with the kids (it hippos and tigers, by the way). A big theme seems to be is family dynamics, including coping with death and divorce.

This is also the day I began watching live-action short film, which normally means a good number of tears. Some of the past films to make me leak buckets include Toyland, Angry Man, and Felix, just to name a few. So far this year, though I have been moved, I haven’t needed to pull out the tissues.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

So here is today’s wrap up: 43 animated shorts and 19 live-action shorts.

I was not sure if I was going to end up crying or laughing during Franswa Sharl. At one point I popped off my headphones and buried my face only to put them back on rewind it so I didn’t miss a second. You can see a few bits of it here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndqYjSoN5b8[/youtube]

If you feel like you’re trapped in dead-end job, but lacking the motivation to do something about it, this one is for you. The entire film is avalible on NFB website.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-qq187pgF8[/youtube]

Director Peter Baynton has a new cut-paper animation film this year called Save Our Bacon,  which is about a struggling pig farmer. Since its not available on the web I thought I would share his equally funny film from a few years ago call Over the Hill.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfHzS1_84-g[/youtube]

And here is a hippo.

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/12682999[/vimeo]

But next year, might the newest animal rage be The Gruffalo?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBZwy-7dvlc&feature=related[/youtube]

Chicago International Children’s Film Festival

Coming to the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival might be the best part of my job (outside of hugs from kids). I and a number of other museum educators, along with kids’ film producers, spend hours, day after day, sitting in a dark room wearing headphones, trying to get through as many films as possible. […]

Coming to the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival might be the best part of my job (outside of hugs from kids). I and a number of other museum educators, along with kids’ film producers, spend hours, day after day, sitting in a dark room wearing headphones, trying to get through as many films as possible. It is not traditionally what you might imagine when you think of someone attending a film festival, but all over Chicago, kids are enjoying a more traditional film festival and watching movies with with directors, producers, animators, and actors with an award ceremony at the end.

However, back in the dark screening room, I am cramming my brain with films, thinking of themes and exhibitions to connect them with, and considering what the Walker’s audience will enjoy. While we show about 20 films a year to our families, I watch a lot more than that, many which are wonderful but don’t connect well with our programs.  So I want to share vast variety of things I see during the festival which may or may not be in a future program.

So here is wrap-up for day 1.

Watched 35 short animated films ranging from 2 to 40 minutes from 12 different countries.

I laughed the hardest during Binn Bunny Goes Green. There is just something about an 8 year old talking about a woman taming a man that gets me going.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/8593626[/vimeo]

Since it’s almost Halloween, I had to watch 4D Dracula, an action-filled, but heartwarming, story about a teenage boy and his father.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCk1jN68SHE[/youtube]

If you are potty training a kid, or nearing that time, there is A Film About Poo that has a nice song to assist you in the process.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGcSn5-anmE[/youtube]

My favorite film of the day was The Lost Thing.  I admit I had an interest in this one going in because I have been reading Shaun Tan’s books to the Arty Pants crowd for a while. Sometimes it can be disappointing when a book you like is turned into a movie but this was a complete pleasure.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF7ip89yCjQ[/youtube]

Raising Creative Kids: Interview with Elizabeth Mitchell

Working with musicians and performers is one of my favorite parts of programming for Free First Saturday . The upcoming Free First Saturday, on November 6,  we have invited special musical guest Elizabeth Mitchell to join us for the day.  Her partner Daniel Littleton and their daughter Storey have been on the road for several months performing as […]

Elizabeth Mitchell performing at Free First Saturday in 2005

Working with musicians and performers is one of my favorite parts of programming for Free First Saturday . The upcoming Free First Saturday, on November 6,  we have invited special musical guest Elizabeth Mitchell to join us for the day.  Her partner Daniel Littleton and their daughter Storey have been on the road for several months performing as a family and promoting their new album Sunny Day.  Somewhere between New York and California Elizabeth took the time to answer a few questions about her childhood and what she is doing to raise her own kid creatively.

1. How did you express creativity as a child?

I studied modern dance from the time i was six years old. My mother first took me to a ballet class when I was five, but I was not made for ballet! I remember my favorite part of the ballet class being the end, when the teacher would bring a bag of small plastic animals, and we could reach in blindly and choose an animal, then dance as that animal. The ballet teacher looked at my mother at the end of the term with a kind smile and said “maybe try modern with this one.” From that time on I went to class twice a week and loved every minute. I was not a technically “good” dancer, but that was not the point. I was moving my body and it was feeding my soul! And I was learning to express myself, in an abstract, nonlinear way. For me, that was the beginning of my life as an artist

2. What was your favorite book?

The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was fascinated by the idea of things being hidden, the little boy hidden away in the house, the garden hidden behind the tall stone walls. I think I found that very romantic and subsequently did a lot of excited imagining that there was much hidden beyond what I saw.

3. What kinds of music did your parents play around the house?

Equal parts Ella Fitzgerald interpreting the great American songbook and the acoustic folk music of the 1970s. Ella was my mother’s favorite singer, but she also loved Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King and James Taylor. We had those albums on vinyl. But then, come 1978, it was the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever all year long, and on an 8 track tape!

4. Were you encouraged early-on by your family or teachers?

Always, by both my family and teachers. My elementary school music teacher gave me a lot of love and encouragement, and was an enormous part of my musical path. She was a thing of radiant beauty to me, her wide eyes and smile, playing Beatles and Joni Mitchell songs on the piano while we all sang along, sitting on a masking taped circle on the floor. She was joyful and relaxed and made me love to sing. It was the 1970s and there was still a lot of support for the arts in public schools at the time. In my memory, we had music class everyday.

5. How would you describe the art that you made as a child? What kinds of materials did you use? Any unusual ones?

I remember constantly making collages. I loved cutting up and piecing found things together, to make something new. Newspaper, yarn, leaves, layering tissue paper, old photographs, seashells, fabric, anything. I think the music that I make today is a form of collage, taking bits of inspiration from many different sources and influences, juxtaposing moments of sound from entirely different eras, cultures and genres, and creating new conversations between generations of music.

6. What was the best gift you got as a child, and who gave it to you?

My grandmother had a best friend named Katie Minton. She was an elderly but very spirited woman who lived alone. We would go visit her and she would always give us something of hers when we left- an old postcard, a piece of costume jewelry, a little box. It taught me to love giving, to be generous and unattached to my things.

Elizabeth Mitchell and Daniel Littleton

7. What was your first job?

When I was a teenager I worked at a fruit stand at a local farm. I grew up in a suburb of New York City so it was a rare thing to have a working farm in our town. But it was my favorite place to be. I loved spending the day surrounded by basil, tomatoes, corn, peaches, it was sensory heaven for me.  The customers were funny though, women who would ask for a tomato that would be ripe in exactly three days! The woman who ran the farm became a second mother to me, she was from Sweden and worked harder than anyone I knew at the time.

8. What song did you —or do you —always include on mixed tapes?

Three songs- Cucurrucucu Paloma, by Caetano Veloso, Djorolen by Oumou Sangare and Bela Fleck, and Raccoon and Possum by the Seeger Family.

9. What’s the coolest thing about being on road? What’s the hardest?

The coolest part is meeting so many amazing and beautiful children and families everywhere we go. People often share stories with us of how our music has affected their lives, and those words truly keep us going. The hardest part is being away from home and trying to find healthy food in the USA!

10. What was the first instrument you learned to play?

I started studying piano at age 5. I had a year of music theory before I even started playing the instrument. I can still remember the light and the colors of that room where I had theory lessons.

11. What instruments do you still play?

A little piano, guitar, harmonium, and lots of percussion. If I could do it all over again, I would be a drummer! Drummers have the most fun.

12. What’s the family favorite bedtime story?

There is a story my husband Daniel and my daughter Storey made up, called “The Land of Blue Clouds.” All kinds of magical things happen there, it changes every night. Daniel wrote a song about it called “Blue Clouds”, that was featured in the HBO Family Documentary “A Family is A Family is A Family.” It came right before a Frank Sinatra song, so we got billing over Frank Sinatra, which was cool!

Elizabeth and Storey

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