Shanghai Sonatas is a new UD musical based on the true story of Jewish refugees who founded a now-thriving culture of Western classical music in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, China, during World War II. Shanghai Sonatas premiered in early 2020 along with the free speaker series “The Shanghai Jewish Refugee During the Holocaust”, an educational outreach project to inform local communities about the Holocaust from a new perspective. This speaker series was hosted in partnership with UD departments and units, UD’s OLLI, local schools, libraries, senior centers, and community centers. This project extended the impact of an Introduction to Jewish Studies and Music co-listed course led by UD Professors Xiang Gao and David Winkler, with the support of UD Professors Joyce Hill Stoner and Polly Zavadivker.
Additionally, this project involved the launch of a new Master Players initiative: the “Backstage Pass” program. Through this program, Master Players is collaborating with UD professors and local high school teachers to increase student attendance at each concert. Registered students will receive free tickets, and they will receive extra credit with proof provided to the teacher or professor from Master Players after the concert. Teachers and their students will have the opportunity to bring one person to attend the concert and, at the conclusion, meet with the artists backstage over pizza and refreshments.
Public Art in Newark
The Newark Public Art GIS Story Map was developed collaboratively with campus-community partners. Partners were engaged to support the technical development of the GIS Story Map and to provide input on ways the interactivemap can be most accessible, informative, and engaging and meet varied interests. The project aimed to enhance the public’s access, understanding, and investment in public art; provide a basis for educational programs; advance the need for a Newark Public Art Plan3; and enable virtual or in-person public art tours.
Combining images and descriptions of each art piece, the story map serves as a virtual guide celebrating the wide variety of artistic contributions spread throughout the city and University campus. The story map also took second place out of thirteen submissions in the “Map App Gallery Contest” at the Delmarva GIS Conference this month.
Restoring Ancestral Wetland Forests & Watersheds in Delaware
This project involved working with the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware, University of Delaware students and participants in the new DE Master Naturalist program to identify native and non-native plants using the app iNaturalist and remove invasive plants on the Lenape Tribal land. The cohort of Lenape community members, UD Students and DE Master Naturalist trainees assisted in removing litter and old car parts that have been dumped over several years on the Lenape land. Any invasive trees larger than 3-inches in diameter were removed by a licensed tree company and treated to reduce the chance of the invasive trees growing back. The project goals included: building bridges between university students and Lenape youth; restoring the only piece of Lenape tribal land in Delaware, including a tribal cemetery, by first removing the invasive plants; and finally, replanting the property with native and traditional edible and medicinal plants. This project is a crucial component of an ongoing cultural mapping initiative recently funded by a 2019 Delaware Humanities Vision Grant and in 2018 by a Partnership for Arts and Culture (PAC) grant.
Knicoma Frederick Exhibition
The Creative Vision Factory coordinated an exhibition at the Chris White Gallery featuring a new body of paintings from the Creative Vision Factory’s most prolific artist, Knicoma Frederick. The Partnership of Arts and Culture grant enabled the production of an exhibition catalog featuring an essay by Dr. Yasser Payne. Dr. Payne’s scholarship frames the deep inequity and structural violence that has come to define the Streets of Wilmington. Knicoma Frederick, having spent most of his adult life navigating social services in Wilmington, has developed a creative practice that has become the source of his resilience in the face of disinvestment. The Creative Vision Factory has developed its conceptual frame around poverty in Wilmington through the vision of Knicoma’s artistic production and the sobering scholarship of Dr. Yasser Payne.
View the exhibition catalog here.
Don Sparks and Jason Fischel
Winterthur Art Conservation
This research used X-ray radiation techniques from the National Synchrotron Light Source II to instruct Winterthur Museum on how to restore the first full-length portrait painted in the United States. The portait (Fig. 1A) now resides at Winterthur Museum, which houses one of the most extensive Americana collections. Like many paintings from the turn of the 17th century, this portrait contains orpiment, an arsenic sulfide mineral, in the green paint pigment. This poisonous and ubiquitous arsenic mineral is not stable in aerobic environments, such as a painting exposed to oxygen and moisture. Over the past 250 years, the brilliant greens in most colonial-era paintings have faded as the arsenic and sulfide dissociated. As the freed arsenic and sulfide leach and move inside the painting, they can alter the chemical state of other pigments. As a soil chemist, I applied my mineralogical expertise based on how soils weather to quantify how the paint pigments morphed over time. To accomplish this, I used bright light X-ray sources generated at synchrotron facilities to examine the chemical state of the samples. This analysis pinpointed where the arsenic had changed within the layers of paint and guided Winterthur’s restoration efforts of this landmark American portrait. This collaboration is the first time synchrotron radiation directed the restoration of a painting in North America.