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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Printing Press Project at Middle Tennessee State University

The Printing Press Project at Middle Tennessee State University

One of only a handful of operational, reproduction 18th century printing presses in the U.S., the Printing Press Project provides experiential learning opportunities on the MTSU campus, and in the K-12 school system.

Constructed in 2004 the press is based upon the English Common Press used by Benjamin Franklin when he worked as a journeyman printer in London in the 1720s. It was constructed of hand-hewn chestnut and white oak nearly 100 years old by two craftsmen on campus. 

Since that time it has been used in school and community demonstrations and workshops to illustrate the tremendous impact the press had on the development of our nation and the importance of care in designing and producing documents.
After learning about the press, students understand a little bit better what it feels like to be an eighteenth century printer.

The press project currently operates out of a room on the fourth floor of the library where classes receive instruction, visiting artists experience the rare opportunity to use an reproduction 18th century press, and school children can see history come alive.

The press project offers students and the community a dramatic and unforgettable experience through activities that integrate history, writing and letterpress printing. Activities include lectures to university and school students about historical printing, a visiting artist each semester, community print nights, and printing demonstrations for community groups.
The construction of the press was made possible with grant money awarded to Walker Library faculty members Dr. Alan Boehm, Director of Special Collections, and William Black, Administrative Services Librarian, and Janet Higgins, Department of Art.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bird Girl

Bird Girl is a sculpture made in 1936 by Sylvia Shaw Judson in Lake Forest, Illinois. It achieved fame when it was featured on the cover of the 1994 novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It was sculpted at Ragdale, the summer home of her family.

Bird Girl is cast in bronze and stands 50 inches tall. She is the image of a young girl wearing a simple dress and a sad or contemplative expression, with her head tilted to the left. She stands straight, her elbows propped against her waist as she holds up two bowls out from her sides. The bowls are often described by viewers as "bird feeders."

The sculpture was commissioned as a garden sculpture for a family in Massachusetts. A slight, 8-year-old model named Lorraine Greenman (now Lorraine Ganz) posed for the piece.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Police Accountability

Cop Block is a decentralized project supported by a diverse group of individuals united by their shared goals of police accountability, education of individual rights and the dissemination of effective tactics to utilize while filming police.
We seek to highlight the double standard that some grant to those with badges. By documenting police actions – whether they are illegal, immoral or just a waste of time and resources – then calling the police stations involved (ideally while recording and then later sharing your conversation), we can work together to bring about transparency and have a real impact.

In addition to this direct pressure on police departments we want to be an educational resource on institutional changes that would curtail the common rights-violations and unaccountability today by those with badges and a place to showcase different techniques, viewpoints and courses of action.

"To Protect and Observe"

Orlando Copwatch Goals

1) Reduce police violence by directly observing the police on the street, documenting incidents and keeping police accountable. We maintain principles of non-violence while asserting the rights of the detained person. We provide support to victims whenever possible. We also seek to educate the public about their rights, police conduct in the community and issues related to the role of police in our society.

2) Empower and unite the community to resist police abuse.

3) Encourage people to solve problems WITHOUT police intervention. We want to explore alternatives to calling the police.
4) Most importantly, we encourage people to exercise their right to observe the police and to advocate for one another.