Tuesday, May 3, 2016

UNM-Gallup Professor Takes Sculpting Talents to China

University of New Mexico Associate Professor John Zimmerman will be taking his expertise in ceramic sculpture and his interest in landscapes and geological history to the Fuping Pottery Art Village in the Shaanxi Province of China as part of an international engagement project funded by the UNM Research Allocation Committee (RAC).  John is the first branch campus faculty member to have been awarded a RAC grant and he will utilize the funding to conceptualize, build, dry, glaze and fire original works of art which will be exhibited and may join three of his previous sculptures that are currently on display at the on-site museum in the Art Village. 
            Currently on a sabbatical, John is looking forward to his second trip to China and the enjoying the artistic inspiration he experienced on his previous trip.  “I have to technically figure out what makes sense.  I usually have a general idea of shape, but unintended things happen.  You have to go in the direction the material takes you.”   On his previous trip, John was commissioned by administrators of the Fuping Pottery Art Village to create an 8’ X 10’ sculpture that is currently displayed on the outside grounds of the Village. 
            In reflecting on the process of acquiring the RAC funding, John noted that the process of applying for the RAC grant was not that difficult and his application clearly detailed how his work will benefit the University.  Forty applications were submitted and only ten selected for these highly competitive grants.  “Awards are contingent on doing something different.  Many of my previous objects were based on a stratified style.  Some of my newer pieces use mountains, newer colors and pixelated stratifications. I enjoy taking something new and making it look old.”
            In one of John’s recent exhibits Stratified Series, he took items that exemplify current pop culture and combined them with his interest in geological timeframes.  By taking everyday items such as traffic cones, cinder blocks, and fire hydrants, and encasing them in multicolored rings of ceramic he created an exhibit that combined the landscape of the local area, historical depiction of changing geological eras, and the bringing together of earth and everyday society.
            His most recent exhibit, Scapes, continues to carry forward the relationship between prehistoric forces, climate phenomena and erosive landscape changes.  Branded by the frequent use of the color blue, Scapes hints at the presence of water in the once-arid desert ecology.  While the Stratified Series produced objects which were more life-sized, Scapes exhibits objects that are extremely large and symbolic of mountains and rock formations.
            John recognizes the benefits of his travel as it relates to his students at UNM-Gallup.  He hopes to either take students to China or bring Chinese students to New Mexico as part of an international exchange.  “When I was a student, I was inspired by faculty doing something new.  I want to be that source of inspiration for students that is different than what they are used to.”
            John will leave for China on Wednesday, May 4th and will return on Thursday, June 9th.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Heart of Education is Education of the Heart

The Heart of Education is Education of the Heart
Student Writing & Photo Exhibition at North Campus

By Laura Binah Jijon
With standardized testing, graduation rates, and fee hikes making the news, it’s easy to forget that education is truly about something much deeper. The word education has its roots in the concept  of “bringing out or drawing forth.” Our task as teachers is not to fill students with information or knowledge, but to encourage and inspire, to draw out or bring forth their deepest reserves of talent and wisdom experience, and hope.

Such is the foundation of The Roles We Play Exhibit, a collaboration between our friends at the international aid organization 4th World ATD (All Together in Dignity) and our students at UNM-G North Campus. Working together, our students creatively and courageously drew forth stories held in their hearts for years-- stories of which they felt ashamed,  fearful, or embarrassed. The writing itself became an alchemical process transmuting shame, fear, and embarrassment into pride, power, and beauty.

 On the grey and blustery afternoon of Friday, April 15, approximately 50 guests arrived at North Campus to hear the writers share the struggles and joys of the writing process, to view  narrative photos of each writer, as well as read the stories which were published by 4th World into a lovely and meaningful collection called “The Roles We Play,” and to share food and drink prepared by our students and our 4th World colleagues. Guests included  family members, a local pastor, case managers from New Mexico Aging and Long Term Services, and National Directors from 4th World.

The Roles We Play project began with 4th World workers in England and was designed to give honor and voice to those stories so often silenced by poverty and politics. The success of that venture encouraged the local 4th World staff to invite our Adult Education Students to participate. Not only are we offering this local exhibit, but the stories will also be shared globally through 4th World social media sites.

While it is important to learn academics, our students also said that this experience in our Adult Education Center taught them how to be brave,  how to belong to a family, how to trust themselves,  how to explore their history, and  how expand their vision of the world. . .in short, it taught them how to educate their hearts!

The Roles We Play Event Photos:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Skills USA Students take home the medals!

Our UNM-Gallup Chapter of Skills USA took home the medals this weekend at the statewide  competition in Albuquerque.  Below is a listing of medal winners.  More information on these individual students and their awards will follow.

Congratulations and GREAT JOB!!

Career Pathways Showcase/Health Sciences; CCTE Health Career students did a presentation on Diabetes Awareness – Gold Medal
            Matthew Warren/Miyamura HS
            Jacqueline Watchman/Gallup HS
            Kobe Natachu/Zuni HS

Career Pathways Showcase/Human Services; CCTE Criminal Justice students did a presentation on Active Shooters – Gold Medal
            Daniele Etsitty/Miyamura HS
            Andrea Begay/Miyamura HS
            Wyatt Cleveland/Gallup HS

Job Skill Demonstration A (Job Related); CCTE Construction Students
            Keenan Nez/Navajo Pine HS – demonstrated personal protective equipment – Silver Medal
            Keon Nez/Navajo Pine HS – demonstrated insulation techniques – Bronze Medal

Welding Fabrication; CCTE Welding Technology Students – Silver Medal
            Shania Yazzie/Miyamura HS
            Mateo Lee/Gallup HS
            Gabriel Begay/Rehoboth HS

Culinary Arts; CCTE Culinary Arts student – Bronze Medal
            Kobe Natachu/Zuni HS

Welding Fabrication; UNMG students (all CCTE “alumni”) – Bronze Medal
            Tyler Johnson
            Roman Thomas
            Donald Huffman.

Gold medal winners earned an automatic berth to the National Competition in Louisville, KY from June 20-25, 2016. 

Side note – One of the Health Careers students dropped out at the last minute; Kobe Natachu was “heavily recruited” to take her place.  He did and that team earned a gold medal.