Nonstop on higher ed plight

Jan 29th, 2010

Nonstop begins an exploration of alternative higher-educational possibility this Friday afternoon in the form of our Education and Public Intellectual Practice Reading Group, which we intend as a small step in our efforts at liberal education engagement and practice. Many of us here in Yellow Springs already hold some appreciation of the precarious circumstances facing higher education today. Certainly in recent years members of this community have moved to reject those ever-present but bleak promises for more-of-the-same to somehow produce better results, and instead have directed energies to the pursuit of creative paths outside tired orthodoxies. In these respects our suggestion that the pursuit of higher educational alternatives might prove useful, necessary, or worthwhile is hardly a new idea but it is a timely one.

Taking-up this proposed practice of shared reading, we believe, recommends itself for the production of informed action. Significant traditions of educational thinking precede this moment, and the opportunity to situate ourselves in relation to dialogues started by others across varied institutional and historical circumstances both complicates and enriches the questions we might pursue. Particularly in relation to our intended focus on the dynamic potential of reading, our hopes for this project are to approach these engagements of word and world with the aim in mind of our mutual empowerment.

While both public media and professional academic literature today provide abundant representation for apologist of the status quo, we instead intend to favor the critical and creative voices that challenge established orders. Along with a growing number of similarly concerned colleagues in higher education, we feel that we have had more than enough of that brand of current-day ‘leadership’ fixated in its mercantile preoccupation and incapable of recollecting its own complicity in the creation of the puffed-up economic mirages that have put present and future public well-being in such serious jeopardy. The present-day widespread neo-liberal predilection to frame the current circumstances in higher education by implementing draconian measures with exigency as cover for the pursuit of selfish ends recommends our closer attention to both history and detail. After all, despite the media’s preference for the dramatic, very few of life’s significant socio-culturally situated occurrences fall unexpectedly from the sky. Rather, our social practices and institutional forms have histories of influences and causes that beg understanding in finding meaningful alternatives and solutions.

Our January 29th meeting focuses its attention on the first three chapters of Bill Readings’ oft cited 1996 classic, The University in Ruins . Readings insightfully identifies and engages a number of troubling developments for the situation and practice of the University, which have by and large only intensified in the decade and a half since. But aside from finding many of the author’s rather dire assessments holding-up persuasively, Readings takes all of this not as a signal for retreat but rather as a call for imaginative reconsideration outside the lines of prevailing preconceptions concerning both institutional purpose and socio-cultural necessity. The ‘ruins’ Readings speaks of are not so much a declaration about wreckage as they are a reference to certain Western modern ways of seeing tied up in our habits of understanding and expressing expectations about the world. The University is a child of these habits, and the question ahead of us turns on how we might creatively and constructively inhabit and maintain the space of social discourse in a time when old rationales and public will have been problematized and derailed, not simply as badly damaged but perhaps as founded in contradiction to begin with.

The Education and Public Intellectual Practice Reading Group, as a liberal learning initiative of Nonstop, welcomes participants from YS and surrounding communities who maintain an interest in progressive, socially conscientious educational possibility to join us this Friday (and on alternating Friday afternoons) for reading-based discussion. Advance information on schedule and selected texts will be posted on our “Reading” link at nonstopinstitue.org/nonstop-reading/, or for more information feel free to contact dan.reyes@nonstopinstitute.org.

originally apparing in 1/28/10 YSN  “Other voices”

Feature photo: Unstoppable Nonstop

Jan 28th, 2010

Feature photo: Unstoppable Nonstop

By the Yellow Springs News

See the Yellow Springs News’ front page feature photos of the January 2009 Nonstop Gala.

Nonstop creatively evolves, again

Jan 21st, 2010

By Diane Chiddister, Yellow Springs News — read the original article here.

In autumn of 2008 a group of former Antioch College faculty, staff and students launched Nonstop Antioch, a radical educational experiment aimed at preserving the traditions and values of the college even after the campus was closed. The effort, supported by the college alumni board, offered classes and workshops to both traditional and non-traditional students in village churches, homes and cafés.

A little more than a year later, the college is back. But the creative thinkers behind what became known as the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute see their mission as continuing, having evolved into a nonprofit group that offers educational and cultural enrichment to the village of Yellow Springs.

“Nonstop is a small boat that can turn fast and move fast,” said Brian Springer, one of the three-member Nonstop Institute executive collective, in a recent interview. “There’s been lots of discussion about an arts center in town and we thought, let’s enact that. Let’s provide a grounded example of what kind of arts can take place.”

The newest Nonstop project, an artist residency called “Open Village/Open Spaces” will kick off with a gala and fundraiser this Saturday, Jan. 23, 7 p.m. with an evening of music, dance and performance at the Nonstop space at 305 N. Walnut.

The evening, which is free and open to the public, will also include a silent auction. Organizers, who are also seeking grant funding, hope the event raises funds necessary to enable Nonstop to plan ahead for future projects.

The event will include dancing by Jill Becker and Colleen Leonardi, who will be improvising with local soprano Jennifer Gilchrist and photographer Dennie Eagleson; a reading of new work by Louise Smith; music by the local band MINK; and drawings by Wesley Berg.

Also on display will be installations by Orion Barrett, Linda Diec and Amy Koenig, the three Columbus artists selected for the “Open Village/Open Spaces” residencies.

Nonstop chose to sponsor six-week artist residencies in order to provide a more in-depth experience than those most often available in the arts community, according to organizers.

“This is relationship building rather than a one-time event,” said Nonstop member Migiwa Orimo. “This is an organization that adds depth to what’s already going on. That’s what excites me.”

Organizers also are excited about the networking opportunities provided by bringing Columbus artists to town. They hope the event will provide opportunities for local artists to meet those from outside the community, as well as bring to town the Columbus friends and colleagues of the featured artists, several of whom plan to attend Saturday night.

The project also provides an opportunity to make use of the Nonstop space, a large, formerly unused area in Millworks. Last year, guided by former New York City set designer and Nonstop member Michael Casselli, Nonstop participants spent several months working to transform the area into usable offices, a library and meeting rooms. Now that the college is back, the use of the space has changed, and continues to evolve.

“We wanted to keep the space lively,” said Nonstop executive collective member Chris Hill. “This is a creative solution to wanting to share the space.”

What direction Nonstop would take was not clear when the alumni board stopped funding the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute last summer, when, after plans for a revived college were finalized, the initial purpose for the group diminished. However, Nonstop members still saw a need for the sort of intellectual and cultural enrichment in the village that Nonstop Presents!, a series of events in 2009, had provided. And Nonstop members, who had worked intensely together to launch and maintain the initial effort, wanted to continue their collaboration.

“Over the last two years I learned this is a group of people who are do-ers,” Orimo said. “That builds trust.”

In August 2009 the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute became the Nonstop Institute incorporated as a nonprofit group. They have applied for, but not yet received, their IRS 501(c)3 status.

The group chose to continue its former leadership model of a three-person collective, composed now of Springer, Hill and Casselli. Board members are Otha Davenport, president; Joan Horn, vice president; Don Wallace, treasurer; Carole Braun, secretary; and Orimo. Working members are Jill Becker, C.T. Chen, Iveta Jusova, Tim Noble, Nevin Mercede and Dan Reyes, along with the collective members.

The “Open Spaces” gala is the formal launch of Nonstop, which has already sponsored a variety of cultural events in the village. In December, the group presented environmentalist and performance artist Mike Bonano of the Yes Men, who dialogued with the group via Skype. It has also launched a series of Sunday evening salons on current topics, the most recent a discussion of open source software by Noble and Chen. And Nonstop offers to any interested persons a reading group, which will focus on “Education and Public Intellectual Practice,” which will meet biweekly beginning on Friday, Jan. 29, at 4 p.m. They also plan an upcoming film series, along with a photography workshop.

For more information about the reading group and other events, log on to www.nonstopinstitute.org.

Nonstop organizers see themselves as complementing the efforts of the newly-revived Antioch College, and they hope to collaborate with the college, and potentially with Antioch University McGregor, on future efforts. They also see themselves as offering opportunities for future Antioch College students to interact with villagers, continuing the Nonstop tradition of building bridges between campus and community.

Most of all, the group of artists, educators and cultural workers want to keep stirring the pot of intellectual and artistic stimulation that they believe both feeds the village and themselves.

“We want to stay in Yellow Springs, and in order to do that, we need to feel nourished,” Hill said. “This is a way to do that.”

Gala Poster – Print-n-Share

Jan 14th, 2010

Download the Nonstop January 23 Gala Poster and print-n-share it to get the good word out.

NS Gala Poster

Nonstop Gala Opening & Fundraiser

Jan 9th, 2010

Saturday, January 23
7:00 PM to midnight
305 N. Walnut St., Yellow Springs
free admission

Nonstop Institute will host the Opening Exhibition of their inaugural Open Village/Open Spaces artist-residencies along with an exciting evening of dance, music and performance on Saturday, January 23 starting at 7 PM at 305 N. Walnut St (Millworks) in Yellow Springs. Installations using various materials by Columbus artists Orion Barrett, Linda Diec, and Amy Koenig have transformed former office spaces during their 6-week residencies. Sharing the stage that evening will be dance by Jill Becker, Colleen Leonardi, and Melissa Heston, improvising with soprano Jennifer Gilchrist and photographer Dennie Eagleson; a reading of new work by writer and performer Louise Smith; music by the Yellow Springs band MINK; and drawings by Cincinnati artist Wesley Berg. Throughout the evening a silent auction will be held, soliciting bids on artists’ work and collaborations to raise money for Nonstop Institute, a new non-profit cultural and educational organization. Nonstop welcomes this opportunity to bring together and celebrate new work by artists and performers from Columbus, Cincinnati, and Yellow Springs.

More about the Open Village/Open Spaces artist residents: Columbus artist Orion Barrett received his MFA (2006) from Ohio State and recent work has included quirky landscapes and machines using various materials and floods of hot glue. Linda Diec’s recent architectonic environments have used glass, matches, sugar, and ice as structuring elements. She received a BFA (2007) from OSU and has studied with glass artists in Turkey, Japan, and at Pilchuk (Washington). Amy Koenig received her BFA (2009) at OSU and recent work complicates private and public spaces using suitcases found in thrift stores, satellite images and photographs.

For further information:

Contact:  chris.hill@nonstopinstitute.org (937-767-2327) (Chris Hill)