Last week the Samek Art Gallery in tandem with the Weis Center for Performing Arts presented a three-day residency program with musician, Rob Schwimmer. The concept was simple: an intervention of the performing and visual arts to active the gallery in a new way. The results sparked new energy for the gallery and a constant flow of students, local community members and curious young minds. Director Richard Rinehart and Weis Center Director Kathryn Maguet successfully created residency that challenged how the Arts reach beyond the “Bucknell bubble.”
Schwimmer’s residency kicked off with the coming of hurricane Sandy. Despite the wind and rain Sally Koutsoliotas, Associate Professor of Physics, gathering her Physics and Anatomy students for a lunchtime talk. The mood was very casual- a group of twenty students sharing pizza with Rob as he discussed how the Theremin works. Students were invited to try out the instrument (for video, click here!) in between Rob’s comical faces and antidotes.
Schwimmer performed a free, live show in the Weis Center lobby on Tuesday evening. Despite the storm, local community gathered for an evening of music. Director for the Weis Center, Kathryn Maguet reflected on the residency as, “An ideal engagement with such a multifaceted musician. He [Schwimmer] was the perfect fit to illuminate and explore the connections between performance and the aesthetics of the Samek exhibition.” Maguet continued, “A personal highlight for me was the unrehearsed, improv collaboration between Rob and Paul Botehlo, Assistant Professional of Music. It truely was a masterful collaboration.”
Another highlight of the Schwimmer residency focused on Bucknell’s FYIS Series, a program designed by the university to help first year students explore interdisciplinary fields and the ways in which two seemingly different fields add up to one fun afternoon. Rinehart and Maguet teamed up again for this class, first by giving a curatorial walk-through of the Dusk to Dusk exhibition, followed by an introduction to the music and performing arts. Schwimmer once again stole the stage as he pulled out exotic instruments such as the water phone and Haken Continuum.
The final visitors of the residency came from an after school program in Milton. About fifteen students of varying ages gathered in the gallery. They chatted with Rinehart about ” found on the surface of CHIPS-TEUFEL a sculpture by Jonathan Meese. The nose, made of a Pringles can, sparked a charming debate in which the students called out the “hidden characters” they observed (pictured right). Some argued for Goldfish, while one student pointed out the artist’s signature on the near 400 pound piece. It was rewarding to see regional youth engaging with a higher education institution. The residency was a way to present advanced methods of learning at a more approachable level.
The Rob Schwimmer Residency was capped off by a Halloween Happy Hour, led by the Samek Art Gallery. Rob Schwimmer gave his final performance in an intimate setting with guest vocalist, Paul Botehlo, Assistant Professional of Music. This event served as the public reception for Dusk to Dusk, unearthing one more time the connections between art of the uncanny and the haunting beauty sound of the Theremin.
The Samek Art Gallery and the Weis Center for Perofmring Arts would like to thank the following classes and individuals for participating in this residency program:
Paul Botehlo, Assistant Professional of Music; Sally Koutsoliotas, Associate Professor of Physics; The Milton Middle School Program lead by Bryan Black; First Year Integration Seminar (FYIS) lead by Richard Rinehart and Kathryn Maguet; Rob Schwimmer, Musican.