March 2014 Issue
March 2014 Digest
The Springfield Museum of Art presents Ansel Adams, David Giffels examines Rust Belt life in his new book, and Dublin does St. Patrick's Day right.
“Classic Images: Photographs by Ansel Adams” brings a collection of some of the famed wilderness artist’s works to the Springfield Museum of Art.
Since the day a 14-year-old Ansel Adams first saw the divine beauty of Yosemite National Park, his life was, as he once said, “colored and modulated by the great earth-gesture of the Sierra.” That family trip and the gift of a camera from his father changed the course of Adams’ life.
He was mesmerized by the quality of light and became focused on capturing it in photographs. Adams’ first photos were published in 1922, and he continued to use light to express the beauty and frailty of America for the entirety of his career.
The Springfield Museum of Art is featuring the famous photographer in a special exhibition titled “Classic Images: Photographs by Ansel Adams,” which runs through May 11. The collection of 72 black and white photos spans the course of Adams’ career and is dominated by landscapes.
“Whether it’s an up-close photo of a dogwood tree flower or ‘Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico,’ you can almost feel yourself stepping into the photograph,” says Ann Fortescue, executive director of the Springfield Museum of Art.
The photographs are on loan from the Peoria Riverfront Museum in Illinois. They were originally printed by Adams himself and given to his daughter, Anne Adams Helms.
The Springfield museum’s affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution helped bring the Adams exhibit to Ohio, according to Fortescue. She says this relationship will allow the museum to host additional “household name” artists in the future.
“[The museum] is known for its strong exhibition program of Ohio artists from the early 19th century to artists working today,” she says. “We will continue to focus on Ohio artists and balance that with exhibitions that have widespread name recognition and appeal.” — Kelsey Smith
For more information, visit springfieldart.museum.
Akronite David Giffels digs into the Rust Belt ethos for his new book,
The Hard Way on Purpose.
Growing up in a city where dreams died alongside the rubber industry that gave birth to them, David Giffels had a front row seat to the industrial devolution of Akron. Unlike some residents, Giffels never left the place where fumes from the smokestacks of Firestone and Quaker Oats hung over the epicenter of what would come to be known as the Rust Belt. “You can’t be an elitist here because we can’t afford to exclude anyone,” says the 49-year-old Giffels, whose new book The Hard Way on Purpose
(Scribner, $15) is a heartfelt collection of essays with a distinctly Midwestern touch. We asked the former Akron Beacon Journal columnist about his hometown, his home state and the importance of sports. — Barry Goodrich
You are an ardent supporter of the city of Akron, from its architecture to its hamburgers. What is the real appeal of your hometown?
A: Akron is like a three-legged dog. If you have a dog with four legs you love it, but if you have one with three legs you love it even more. When your hometown is embattled you feel even stronger about it. My commitment to Akron is strong because I understand that it is so misunderstood. I love the old buildings here. They have a patina I find attractive.
In 2004 you spent the presidential election season traveling around Ohio, chronicling how the nation looked at our state. What did you discover?
A: For six weeks I attempted to explain things from our perspective, how we perceived and defined ourselves. I found over and over again that the majority of the people I talked with didn’t want to be defined so narrowly. It was more complicated than being a red or blue state. The reality is that this state is so complex by regions. We have everything from Appalachia to urban to farmlands.
Several of the essays touch on sports, including LeBron James and your days as a Cleveland Cavaliers ball boy. How do our sports teams fit in with the Rust Belt image?
A: Sports is such an important metaphor for all of this. I would like to be able to say it’s a silly thing, but you can’t say that when so many people root for unwatchable, irrelevant teams that have never rewarded them. Your identity is either one of loss or one of hope. And hope is dangerous.
For more information, visit davidgiffels.com.
Fascinating Objects from our Past
Pottery from the “American Cities” series
Depicts Sandusky around 1840
Even before Moses Cleaveland and his surveyors undertook the task of mapping and platting the townships of the Western Reserve in 1806, Ohio had become a pivotal location for a budding United States. Its location on Lake Erie offered an efficient means of transportation, and developers recognized the region as critical to westward expansion. Ohio’s significance was solidified during the War of 1812, when American naval hero Oliver Hazard Perry won a now-iconic victory over the Royal Navy. When the war was over, tradespeople in England were delighted. Americans represented a robust audience for manufactured goods. Pottery makers seized the moment to produce wares emblazoned with significant events, locations and national heroes. The historical pottery produced in the Staffordshire region of England during the 19th century has become incredibly collectible today, with scenes from what was then the American West — including all of Ohio — commanding impressive prices. The platter shown here is from the English shops of James and Ralph Clews. It is part of their “American Cities“ series and depicts Sandusky as it existed around 1840. — Amelia Jeffers
Sold at Auction:
Amelia Jeffers is owner of Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers in Delaware.
Want to take in a huge parade, dine at an Italian restaurant gone Irish and see kilted men show a little leg? It’s time to visit Dublin, Ohio.
We know how it goes. St. Patrick’s Day nears and suddenly that great-great-great-grandfather whose name has slipped your memory becomes the focal point of your ancestral history. You feel compelled to grab a Guinness, don your best Irish accent and sing along to a band of fiddlers. Few places in Ohio embody Irishness quite like Dublin. The Columbus suburb sports a green tint year-round, but come St. Patrick’s Day, the celebration envelops the city. — Kara Kissell
Even Italians are a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. The upscale Dublin eatery Mezzo is planning its second annual March 17 menu takeover. Chef Joe Shonce serves up Italian fare with a distinctly Irish twist. Last year, he made bangers and mash made with Italian sausage and potatoes confit. “We [do] it our way,” says event coordinator Nichole Brown, “We kind of pull that Italian-Irish merge.” 12 W. Bridge St., Dublin, 614/889-6100, mezzoitalian.com
The night before the parade, 17 kilted men sashay down High Street to Brazenhead pub for the Best Legs in a Kilt Contest. “The contestants are judged according to how they walk and make the kilt sway, their overall appearance, their dramatic pose, their leg appeal and audience applause,” explains Anne Gleine, owner of Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland. Two years ago, one contestant even donned a pair of sparkly green Mary Jane pumps in order to properly show off the rainbow and pot of gold painted on his calves. March 14, 6 p.m., 56 N. High St.
Attracting 20,000 spectators each year the annual parade — set this year for Saturday, March 15 — is preceded by a 7 a.m.breakfast of shamrock-shaped pancakes. Afterward, folks gather to watch helium balloons grow at an Inflation Celebration, and Irish music fills the air before the parade begins its trip through town at 11 a.m. “We have marching bands, we have clowns, we have bagpipers,” says events administrator Mary Jo DiSalvo. “You’ll definitely see that our streets turn green.” Breakfast at Sells Middle School (150 W. Bridge St.), Inflation Celebration at Graeter’s Ice Cream (6255 Frantz Rd.), parade traverses Bridge Street through historic Dublin
For more information about Dublin’s St. Patrick’s day events, visit irishisanattitude.com.