Arts History Update for mid September 2014

7 Sep

Arts History Update for mid September 2014 by David Cummins

Texas Rising (2014) by Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock was dedicated on August 29, 2014 at the West Village Residential Hall west and south of Texas Tech Parkway at 18th Street. O’Connell’s website is and Blessing Hancock’s website is but they collaborate on public art projects including one in San Antonio under a freeway Ballroom Luminoso (2013) , another in San Marcos on the campus of Texas State University Fish Bellies (2013) and one in The Woodlands Texas north of Houston Seedpods (2011). Their separate studios are in Tuscon Arizona.

It consists of seven multi-dimensional star sculptures laser-cut in stainless steel and etched patterns that are not graphics. Four stars are partially formed on the ground and the largest in front of the main entrance to the Residence Hall is 18 feet tall and 21 feet wide and fully formed on top of the ground. Two stars are hanging in portals ten feet above a walking area. The stars on the ground are illuminated from within by LED lights that gradually change colors and are dramatic in the evening. The largest fully formed star’s lights are interactive so people can press a button and interrupt the computerized lighting program and cause shifts to whatever color the controller wishes. The lights and colors from within five stars are interesting and subtle during daylight, but once dusk arrives they take on an aura, and at dark they are a dynamic and dramatic display. Better yet, residents of the Hall say that when viewed from above on the second third or fourth floors of the Hall, the stars are especially dramatic.

The moorings for the five stars on the ground, are hidden from view underground in reinforced concrete pads using steel reinforcing bars (rebar). Concrete is strong in compression but weak in tension so the steel bars supply the tensile strength.

West Village Residential Hall is an upperclasswomen and men and graduate student residence.

Here is the brochure of commissions that O’Connell and Hancock have performed


El Grito or El Grito de Dolores “The Cry” or “The Shout” by father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a parish priest in Dolores Mexico on September 16, 1810, recalls that he rang the parish bell and called on Mexicans to rise against the Spanish crown and fight for independence. That was achieved by a long struggle in 1821. Many people celebrate El Grito on September 15 by ringing bells and shouting, and celebrate Mexican Independence Day as September 16. At Texas Tech University El Grito will be celebrated in the evening of September 15 at 9:45 – 11:00 pm in the Texas Tech North Plaza between the Student Union Building and the Main Library.

Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador and Costa Rica all celebrate their independence from Spain on either September 15 or 16 so Central American independence celebrations are often aligned with Mexican independence celebrations.

In Lubbock there is often a Fiestas Patrias Parade and Celebration on a weekend in mid-September. is the schedule this year beginning Thursday September 11 ending Sunday September 14 with a pageant at Estacado High School on Thursday evening at 7:30 pm $5, a parade on Saturday morning at 10:00 am on Broadway Street and Avenue V marching east to the Civic Center, and musical events on Friday Saturday and Sunday at Lone Star Amphitheater 602 E. 19th Street. All are welcome to participate.


Michael Singer Studio in Vermont is the artist for Uplifted Ground that connects the airline terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at Austin Texas with a new building for renting cars to travelers. In essence the space is a 300 foot walkway through a current parking building to the new car rental building It’s a $1.6 million public art project. A suspended and grounded series of plinths referencing natural geological formations, at different sizes for the cubes, provide the traveler with the feeling of an uplift as one walks forward. A public bond issue is financing the construction of the new building and this public art project.


Upcoming book festivals are:

14th Annual West Texas Book Festival in Abilene September 22-27

Books in the Basin in Midland and Odessa October 10-11

Texas Book Festival in Austin October 24-26


Cher is coming to Lubbock in her nationwide Dressed To Kill Tour or D2K Sunday November 9 at 7:30 pm at United Supermarkets Arena [formerly known as United Spirit Arena]. She was last here on February 7, 2003 at the same venue performing to a sold out crowd for her Living Proof Farewell Tour. Tickets went on sale Friday September 5 at 10:00 am at $152 for the best seat through Select A Seat. pre-sale online at this web site one day early on September 4.

Her 25th CD Album is Closer To The Truth (2013) so you can purchase it for $14 and hear her but not see her, the costumes, and extravaganza on offer in November.


An exhibit Texas Moderns: George Grammer is at The Old Jail Art Center in Albany Texas September 20 – January 4, 2015. The website displays Grammer’s Off Shore (1953) a blend of Cubist, American and Italian Futurist, and Surrealist abstraction. He is a Fort Worth Circle artist post World War II. Here is Gull Roost (1951) and here is Oil Wells at Night and Winter Night (Derrick in the Snow) (1959) Here is a biography of Grammer living for the past forty years in New York


In this election year we’ve all been listening to candidates and their advertisements. One of the themes in Texas is “border security” heightened by Governor Perry’s recent deployment of Army National Guard troops to the border in the Rio Grande Valley. This of course is a federal issue not a state issue so one wonders why state legislature candidates are talking about it so much.

Maybe singing would be better. Butch Hancock wrote Borderless Love and the Flatlanders sang it on their album Hills and Valleys (2009). It says a great deal for me about “border security”. Here is a three minute video of the Flatlanders singing it the first time at Waterloo Records in Austin. Here is another event at which they sang it in DFW and here are the lyrics including

A wall is a mirror that can only reveal
One side of a story that passes for real
But break it all down, it all becomes clear
It’s the fearless who love and the loveless who fear

Borderless love, the land of the free
Borderless love, how far can you see?
Borderless love, there’s no fear at all
In a borderless love there’s no need for a wall

I’m a fan of the Flatlanders Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock and they are in Lubbock Friday September 26 at the Cactus Theater at 7:30 pm $35 for a seat. The Cactus opened as a suburban style movie theater and operated for twenty years 1938-1958 then lay dormant, and was renovated by Don Caldwell Entertainment in 1993 as a live performance venue. It is on the National Register of Historic Places since May 8, 1998,_Texas


Robert Vijay Gupta made his violinist debut at age 11 with the Israel Philharmonic. He is now an adult age 26 and virtuoso violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He is passionate about music and despairs at how music education is only sparingly available to the masses. He will be in Lubbock on Thursday September 18 and will speak on Why Music Education Is Essential at the International Cultural Center Auditorium at 6:00 pm. A free event. Public invited.

Gupta is a passionate and dedicated advocate for the presence of music in ostracized communities. He founded and serves as Artistic Director for Street Symphony, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing free, live music to men, women and youth living in homelessness and incarceration. A gifted spokesperson for human and mental health advocacy through a musical medium, Gupta is a TED Speaker, and a 2011 TED Senior Fellow.

Not familiar with TED? The verb ted means to turn over and spread out. The organization was founded in 1984 and is currently managed by the Sapling Foundation as TED Ideas Worth Spreading and features a wide array of short videos on matters not currently known by large numbers of people. TED is basically a platform for spreading out ideas across the planet.

Gupta next appears in concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on October 28 at Walt Disney Concert Hall.


Virginia Quilt Museum is in Harrisonburg Virginia in the Shenandoah Mountains near James Madison University Eastern Mennonite University Massanutten Resort Grand Caverns and Skyline Drive It’s just a couple of blocks south of Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint. It’s 61 miles west of Charlo
ttesville Virginia and to the west of Harrisonburg is West Virginia and rugged country. The exhibits are unusual and cultural including an exhibit Men Who Quilt and bring their engineering aptitude to the art form


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