Taylor Vander Well (See Through Stories)

Taylor Vander Well (See Through Stories)

I heard about Taylor's project from a friend of mine and I had to learn more about it. She's combining art with medicine to create a beautiful hybrid of holistic creativity. Taylor's focus is on dementia and those suffering from it, but take note: her project doesn't paint them as victims. 

You'll see the term "art therapy" mentioned a few times throughout this piece. I know it sounds self-explanatory, but I asked Taylor to explain it for me. She says that it's similar to any other mental health professional, except that they incorporate art into the process. It's been found to work well with children or the elderly who may not be able to easily verbalize what they're thinking or feeling. Cool, right? 

Read my feature after the jump.

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Jami Milne (Artist-in-Residence with Ballet Des Moines)

Jami Milne (Artist-in-Residence with Ballet Des Moines)

Last winter, Jami Milne was the inaugural "artist in residence" with Ballet Des Moines. Jami was given space within the ballet studio, as well as access to staff and dancers. Over a six week period she documented their craft in a series of stunning, sometimes ethereal portraits. Read about her experience below.

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good and beautiful

good and beautiful

I've always liked New York. Maybe it's because of Billy Joel, Nora Ephron, and Shake Shack. Maybe it's something deeper. The City seems to symbolize so many different things to different people - dreams, achievement, progress. For whatever reason, New York has always remained in my line of vision and someday I hope to live there. Who doesn't have that dream? 

Over the next few months, we'll be having guest contributors here on the site and each will share a piece about life in New York for a series entitled 'Midwest to Manhattan.' First off is Erika Veurink, who recently moved back from Manhattan. Her thoughts are below.... 

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show the world all the love in your heart

Earlier this week I went to see Beautiful: the Carole King Musical and I was blown away. Shows are selling out fast for this weekend, but there are still some seats available. Find tickets and showtimes right here

Also if you're a student, they have a limited number of tickets for only $25. These tickets are made available two hours before each performance and you must have a student I.D. on hand. 

Okay, that's the info I have for you. Now you can read my review after the jump if you're interested.

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photography tips from liz brown

photography tips from liz brown

Liz Brown does most of the photography that you see here on the site and there's a reason why. Beyond her obvious talent, Liz cares for people and her photography style is almost hospitable in nature, creating a warmth that talent alone can't make happen. 

I respect Liz so much and I've asked her to share a few tips on photography. In true Liz Brown fashion, the advice you'll find below applies to both art and life. Thanks for sharing, Liz! Be sure to check out her blog here. And if you need some pictures anytime soon, she's a good pick. 

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RENT is Back!

RENT is Back!

Sitting in the audience last night, I was surrounded by people who'd obviously seen RENT several times. Halfway through the show, the woman next to me was crying and the couple behind me were quietly processing a death that had just occurred on stage. 

It was my first time seeing it and the whole experience was weirdly moving even for me. It's no mystery why this show has had such a lasting influence! I honestly can't think of another show that I've been to that elicited such a response from the audience, the people on stage felt like less actors and more like old friends we hadn't seen in a long time. The show's three hour production time flew by and I already want to go back. 

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Sam Fathallah (Filmmaker + Photographer)

Sam Fathallah (Filmmaker + Photographer)

With so much information at our fingertips, it can be difficult to stumble upon true creativity. We all know that it's super easy to find a topical meme or hysterical tweet, but art is a different story.

But when you do find it, you treasure it and share it with others. I've noticed that really good art doesn't drain you like so many other things online, but it challenges you and even deepens you.

Sam Fathallah's work made me feel all of those things. In particular, it was a video chronicling  adventures with his girlfriend, Mary, that really caught my eye. Watch the video after the jump and you'll understand. After the video, read my interview with Sam. He's one talented guy....

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Visiting the Vivian Maier Exhibit

Visiting the Vivian Maier Exhibit

Last week I was finally able to visit the Vivain Maier exhibit over at the Des Moines Art Center. I was a huge fan of the documentary concerning her life's work and I was very excited to see it all in person. 

My friend and photography wizard, Haverlee, was able to join me and snap a few shots as we wandered around. While it was a smaller exhibit than I would've hoped, it was still inspiring. More after the jump if you want to see...

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