Tag Archives: community

Dr. Kenneth Pobo’s Loplop in a Red City Engages Audience at Widener University

For those who have an appreciation for the arts, it can often be hard to choose just one form, let alone one single work of art to showcase. The world of artist expression is vast and constantly changing. Fortunately, we do not have to choose. We can praise all art and even weave it together as our own, which Widener professor, Dr. Kenneth Pobo demonstrates in his newest book, Loplop in a Red City.

Released on May 15, Loplop in a Red City is a collection of ekphrastic poetry inspired by artworks old and new, figurative to abstract, Vincent Van Gogh to Leonora Carrington to Max Ernst. The poems are agonized and idyllic, uneasily at home in the surreal, animated, beautiful, and complex.

A large group of students, fellow faculty, and more gathered in the Widener University Art Gallery on October 5 to hear Pobo read from this book of ekphrastic poetry. Anybody who has ever heard Pobo read poetry before can agree there was a draw to be in that room and share in the experience.

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Dr. Kenneth Pobo shares his latest ekphrastic poetry at the Widener University Art Gallery

In Dr. Michael Cocchiarale’s introduction, he mentioned that Pobo became interested in poetry through a love of music. How fitting that someone so impacted by writing would also be impacted by music, painting, and any other artform. When one person has such a passion for art, it can become contagious and that is what happened that day at the reading. By the time Pobo got to the poem “Georgia O’Keefe’s Flowers”, his audience was so engrossed that most of us felt we were indeed collapsing into this magnificent flower that he described

I think a good way to sum up the theme of the experience is with Pobo’s response to the question, “What is your favorite painting?” After some thought, he simply said, “I don’t know.” I think for any true artist that is the only answer. Art can affect all different parts of us and for all different reasons. Though we might be driven, for a moment, to appreciate one work of art above others, the nature of art makes it impossible for any one piece to stand alone as the best.

Loplop in a Red City is published by Circling Rivers and is available for purchase on Amazon.

by Nicole Gray

Community Bridge Bridges Community

Lately, there’s been a huge push on our campus to connect the city of Chester and Widener University through art…we love it! Staff member Kelsey Styles tells more about the latest of such events, Boundaries and Bridges, which seeks to both strengthen the art and cultural presence in the city, as well as connect the university to the city.

On November 13, students, faculty, and professors of Widener University meshed with members of the community on the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge as part of the much larger Boundaries and Bridges project.

John Carr performs a song for Devon Walls' promotional Boundaries and Bridges video.

John Carr performs a song for Devon Walls’ promotional Boundaries and Bridges video.

The hum of engines pulsed in the background, but that did little to deter performers as they stood in front of Devon Walls’ camera and read their work or talked about their projects or sang songs inviting change. Some cars honked up at them, but that only encouraged the crowd. To Walls, a Chester artist, their noise promotes notice. It means people are wondering why so many individuals are hanging out over Interstate 95.

At the end of the event, attendees dance and have fun as part of a larger celebration.

At the end of the event, attendees dance and have fun as part of a larger celebration.

The Walnut Street Bridge doesn’t connect the communities between Widener and Chester—it separates them. The highway whirring underneath acts as a wall between one group and another. The goal of Boundaries and Bridges is to mend these two broken worlds through art, because art is the medium connecting all living things.

Artists collectively share canvases to create a joint masterpiece as a symbol of what the Boundaries and Bridges program aims to do.

Artists collectively share canvases to create a joint masterpiece as a symbol of what the Boundaries and Bridges program aims to do.

The program truly kicked off the Friday previous when an information session was held discussing what the program planned to do after it received a Catalyst Grant from the Barra Foundation, which “works to advance Greater Philadelphia’s culture of innovation.” The goal of Boundaries and Bridges is to both strengthen the art and cultural presence in the city, as well as connect the university to the city.

Blue Route staff member Kim Roberts takes her turn with a brush.

Blue Route staff member Kim Roberts takes her turn with a brush.

Widener students, children, and members of the community all worked to create a new piece of art.

Widener student, children, and members of the community all worked to create a new piece of art.

To find out more, like the Boundaries and Bridges page on Facebook, or visit The Artists Warehouse on 515 Avenue of the States in Chester. It’s time to move with the movement, cross that boundary, and build a bridge. What is your university doing to spread the arts around your community? Comment and let us know!

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By Kelsey Styles ’17, originally published on The Blue&Gold