Volunteers in Ambridge assemble bicycles for foster children nearing independence

Photo by Emily Matthews

Link: http://www.timesonline.com/timestoday/volunteers-in-ambridge-assemble-bicycles-for-foster-children-nearing-independence/article_090fc6ce-68c4-11e7-9c4c-2f50feecb659.html

By Luke Furman for The Beaver County Times

AMBRIDGE — More than a dozen student volunteers grabbed the handlebars Friday morning and worked to assemble 50 bicycles for foster children about to reach self-independence.

The students, who belong to a University of Pittsburgh PittServes program called Jumpstart, broke into small teams at Allison Park Church in Ambridge with a stack of cardboard Huffy boxes scattered throughout the large room.

The nonprofit Together We Rise, which helps to improve the lives of children in foster care, donated the bikes to the church for one of its annual Serve Day outreach programs, but the charity left some manual assembly required.

Bethany Jarmul, who handles public relations for Allison Park Church, said it had never before held a bicycle assembly outreach program.

“Children are the future, and it’s important for us to have programs and give back to our communities,” Jarmul said. “Foster-care children usually can’t afford a car after emancipation and don’t have means of transportation.”

The church takes part in the annual Serve Day, formerly known as Servolution, with hundreds of other congregations nationwide. While talking about the meaning of the outreach project, Thomas Manning, director of Allison Park Church’s Ambridge campus, paraphrased part of Matthew 20:28 that reads, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”

“In the past, we’ve given backpacks to children, paid for customers’ ice cream at an ice cream shop, brought people groceries and served people breakfast at a bus stop,” Manning said. “We’re happy PittServes students came to partner with us.”

PittServe’s Jumpstart discovered Allison Park Church’s Serve Day project from a grant application by the Network of Hope and decided to take part, said Christine Chua, a student executive of Jumpstart.

Network of Hope functions as a nonprofit connected to Allison Park Church’s main campus, Ambridge campus, Deer Lakes campus and its soon-to-be-opened Butler campus.

Julie Mikus, who serves as director for the decades-old entity, said this year’s Serve Day consists of more than 30 outreach projects, which range from lot beautification in Homewood to working on a garden that feeds local refugees in Troy Hill.

“The vision of Serve Day is to communicate the love of God in a real and tangible way and to reach those who are hurting or lost,” Mikus said.

Mikus estimated that 1,000 volunteers would turn out for the projects over the weekend, and the Pitt students in Jumpstart ranked among the first of them, beginning their work at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

“We usually work with kids in low-income areas,” Chau said. “We can only do service projects on Friday because we work with preschoolers from Monday to Thursday for kindergarten preparedness.”

However, not everyone in Jumpstart volunteers on the basis of being an education major. Several volunteers major in the sciences and other nonpedagogical studies.

“A lot of it is helping people from low-income areas,” said Sid Dash, who studies biology at Pitt.

The project presented many of the student volunteers with their first opportunity to assemble a bike straight from the box. Unlike home assembly, instruction manuals proved a must, at least for the first one.

“It’s my first time assembling a whole bike, but not the first time putting on a wheel,” Pitt student Robert Brown-Gartei said.

“We haven’t really had experience with assembling bikes, but we are happy to learn,” Chau said.

The bicycles came in two styles: a white street bicycle with sea-foam-green accented tires and a black mountain bike with streaks of an intense forest green.

Manning said he expected the bikes to be completed and donated to a local foster home on Saturday.

Open arts studio in Beaver Falls allows children, adults to follow artistic passions

Photo by Emily Matthews

Link: http://www.timesonline.com/community/news/open-arts-studio-in-beaver-falls-allows-children-adults-to/article_cc7e537c-6276-11e7-9853-e36c23d60b50.html

By Luke Furman for The Beaver County Times

BEAVER FALLS — An open arts studio in Beaver Falls allows residents of all ages to express imagination and creativity long after the school dismissal bell rings.

For over a decade, the Center for Creative Arts Expression has provided children and adults of Beaver Falls the opportunity to channel creative energy into artwork.

Geraldine Jackson McCorr, 61, of Beaver Falls, founded the center, or CCAE, in 2006 in addition to her job as an art teacher at Beaver Falls High School.

Now the nonprofit’s executive director, McCorr first encountered the idea of an open arts studio when visiting one in Chicago during her studies for a graduate degree in arts therapy at Seton Hill University in Greensburg.

“I thought, ‘that would be something I would want to do,’” McCorr said. “The goal is to contribute something positive to the community.”

The CCAE operates in a building previously owned by Reeves Bank. McCorr said on opening day of the CCAE, she briefly locked herself in the vault that now serves as a very secure pottery studio.

Along with pottery wheels and a kiln, the CCAE also includes several desks and tables with arts and crafts supplies for open studio time and the many classes and summer camps it offers. Already, the center has held two camps that conclude with a field trip either to The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington or Gateway to the Arts in Pittsburgh. McCorr said these trips act as “a nice bonding experience for families.”

The CCAE also has a music annex two doors down with several keyboards, a piano and a drum set. The annex provides a performance space and the center offers piano lessons there.

“We have different teachers for different things and we create new classes whenever we need,” McCorr said.

Vickie Gant, of Beaver Falls, who volunteers at the center and attended high school with McCorr, expressed her admiration for the center’s contribution to the community.

“I think it’s beautiful,” she said. “There are all different crafts and it gives the kids something to do.”

Betty Kirkland, of Beaver Falls, also volunteers by leading “one or two” arts and craft classes per week, like one that involved transforming soup cans into Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax-themed pencil holders during open studio time from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

McCorr stressed the community aspect of CCAE with most of the work there being undertaken by volunteers. In 2015, WQED awarded McCorr with a Volunteer in the Arts (VITA) award for her work.

The center has only one paid employee, Anita Underwood, who has worked as the center’s receptionist for three years. Underwood said the center “is a wonderful place and everyone should take advantage of it.”

CCAE runs on $15 and $20 membership fees, donations and allotted money from the county. McCorr said she has a core of around 15 frequent visitors, but camps, classes and events like “Art in the Park” draw in around 40 or more participants. Seasonal sports causes enrollment to fluctuate, however.

“We didn’t want cost to be a deterrent, but we need to keep the lights on,” McCorr said.

“There’s part of me that doesn’t want grants. Everybody has a stake in it and you should have to give something so you can appreciate it.”

McCorr grew up in Beaver Falls and her family owned both Jackson’s Barber Shop, founded by her grandfather in 1923, and Jackson Transport.

Her husband, Walter McCorr, died in March. She said he believed in her and helped run the center every step of the way.

“A lot of people helped and supported me and I couldn’t do it without volunteers,” McCorr said. “Everybody pitches in and works to give back to the community.”

Mary Beth Leeman, principal of Beaver Falls High School where McCorr has taught general and fine arts for the last 18 years, said McCorr is a “phenomenal” teacher with “great rapport among students and staff.”

McCorr has scheduled educational field trips for art students, including one to Europe in 2015 and one to China in 2016.

Leeman said some of McCorr’s students volunteer at CCAE, and faculty at Beaver Falls High School have helped the center by donating art supplies.

“Whether it’s pottery or drawing, she gets the kids interested,” Leeman said.

Along with a fluid relationship with the high school, the center has collaborated with nearby Geneva College holding “Crafternoon” events from 2011 to 2015. McCorr said she looks to work with the college again in the future.

She said she plans to make efforts to make more arts and craft supplies available in the community to spark interest in art. Two of her students at Beaver Falls High School will help with the enterprise.

Beaver Falls senior Maddi Frishkorn and junior Ethan Funkhauser will assist McCorr for the rest of the summer as part of a job-training program for non-profit. Their tasks include organizing, helping children make crafts and participating in community outreach programs like the new “Art on the Move,” which looks to bring art supplies to area parks and playgrounds.

“I think it’s nice to see people engaging in the creative aspects of their lives,” Frishkorn said.

In addition to the job-training students, Liz Pagley and her son, Cameron, a sophomore at Beaver Falls, often volunteer their time at the center. Cameron took one of McCorr’s general arts classes at the school and helps at the center during summer and fall.

“(Ms. McCorr) makes sure you’re on task but also lets you go your own direction creatively,” Cameron said.

The center will continues its “Art in the Park” series throughout the summer and continue to incite creativity among the city’s residents.

“Art is for everyone,” McCorr said. “Everyone has some kind of creativity in them. I think that’s what we are about here, creating a safe place for people to express themselves.”

‘Queen Aliquippa’ returned to family of painter

Photo by Sylvester Washington

Link: http://www.timesonline.com/community/news/queen-aliquippa-returned-to-family-of-painter/article_4ae38868-578c-11e7-9e1c-8f990aed9f4d.html

By Luke Furman for The Beaver County Times

ALIQUIPPA — Alice Kirby never thought she would reunite with a particular painting her father created early in his life.

At 19 years old, Charles Williams, Kirby’s father, painted a portrait of Queen Aliquippa on a noncanvas pressboard and donated it to Aliquippa High School, his alma mater, in 1933.

The swirling painting depicts the eponymous Native American woman from the 18th century, who led a Seneca tribe in western Pennsylvania. Significant enough to have George Washington seek her company, Queen Aliquippa now primarily lives on through the town to which she gave her name.

Williams’ “Queen Aliquippa” remained on display in the school building’s entrance for the next 76 years.

During the painting’s extended exhibition, Williams worked at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, an art institution, during the Great Depression before returning to western Pennsylvania to work at J&L Steel Corp. as a roll grinder.

However, despite taking on a trade to support his family, he valued art and painting above all else, Kirby said.

Along with “Queen Aliquippa,” Williams created paintings of his daughter, his wife, also named Alice, and his father-in-law using charcoal, landscapes and still lifes. He partook in plein air, or outdoor, painting in scenic local spots, as well.

Williams died in 1972, with his paintings and sculptures going to his son and Kirby’s brother, Bill Williams, in Spokane, Wash.

Alice Kirby and her friend Rose John, whom she now travels here to visit from Atlanta, grew up in Center Township and attended Aliquippa High in the early 1960s, when they experienced the painting of the Native American leader firsthand each morning.

“As you walked in the main entrance, you could see it hanging on the wall. You were so used to seeing it that you almost didn’t notice it,” Kirby said.

Recently, Kirby traveled back to Pennsylvania and wanted to see if she could buy the painting from the school. She contacted the junior and high school building secretary, Kathleen Dulaney, to try to make an offer.

“She was trying to get a hold of it for years,” John said. “We didn’t know where it was.”

After the district razed the old high school building in 2009, it kept the painting in a storage room for eight years, Dulaney said. But after some searching, the painting resurfaced.

“She called up asking for the picture,” Dulaney said. “I asked the superintendent if she could buy it, and he said we could just donate it to her.”

After nearly 30 years of perseverance, Kirby finally gained ownership of her father’s painting from Aliquippa Principal Alvin B. Gipson on Tuesday.

“They were kind enough to donate it to us,” Kirby said. “Instead of throwing it away, they stored the picture for eight years, which is unusual since it was in bad shape. It’s really something.”

John, who will ship the painting to Georgia for Kirby, said it is in decent condition but is “rough around the edges with a couple of cracks.” Kirby said she plans to have it restored to recapture its former effect.

“I never thought I would get that painting back in my wildest dreams,” Kirby said. “I have a lot of paintings but none mean as much as this particular painting. It was my father’s past, and I just feel elated.”

In addition to Williams’ past, Kirby said the painting captures the cultural significance of its namesake town.

“To me, it resembles Aliquippa itself,” Kirby said. “It was the (school’s) mascot, and everybody knew the painting. It makes me proud, and it was a wonderful feeling to be given it.”

Shortly after the donation, “Queen Aliquippa” even drew immediate recognition from a former Aliquippa teacher.

“When I took the painting (to John’s house), (Rose LaSala), who was a music teacher at Aliquippa, came in and said, ‘That’s Queen Aliquippa. How’d you get that here?’” Kirby said.

Kirby said she plans to give the painting to her son, Chucky, so that it can pass down through a third and eventually a fourth generation in her family.

Couple arrives in Brighton Township to conclude 4,300-mile tandem bicycle trip

Link: http://www.timesonline.com/community/news/couple-arrives-in-brighton-township-to-conclude–mile-tandem/article_a1f5f9e0-7949-11e7-a31b-d771ee36cf21.html

Photo and story by Luke Furman for The Beaver County Times

BRIGHTON TWP. — Dutch Ridge Road hardly feels like a terminus to anything except maybe for a drive home.

But for two cross-country tandem bicyclists who covered 4,300 miles and 10 states over two months, a house near the three-way intersection before Bradys Run Park marked a destination.

Bob, 57, and Brenda Fletcher, 56, a husband and wife duo, pulled their red tandem bike and equipment trailer into the driveway of Bob’s parents’ home around 10:30 a.m. Friday.

The celebratory reunion with Bob’s parents, Patricia and Robert, completed the couple’s goal of tandem biking across the United States, which has taken them two years and two attempts to accomplish.

Prior to this summer’s trip, the couple had made an attempt to cross the country on a tandem bicycle the day after Bob retired from the Air Force last June. Brenda had already retired from her job as a math teacher in Fairfield, Calif.

Not long into the trip, however, they were forced to call it off in Sandpoint, Idaho, after a hernia hospitalized Bob for two weeks.

The couple owns seven tandem bicycles, with four built for mountainous terrain. Robert Fletcher was quick to say that Bob had custom-ordered the bike for the couple’s first attempt in 2016. The striking, red tandem finally fulfilled its purpose Friday after more than two months of pedaling.

Bob and Brenda started the redemption of their American odyssey June 1 from their home in Vacaville, Calif., and headed directly west to the Pacific Ocean. At the water, they took a northern route to continue their trip across the United States. They biked through Oregon and Idaho and spent two weeks crossing Montana.

The couple had been camping overnight through the western part of their journey, but after reaching Glacier National Park and its Going-to-the-Sun Road, they elected to switch to lodging.

“We stopped camping in Glacier,” Bob said. “It was 45 degrees one night, and the next day it was 105 degrees when we crossed into the desert part of Montana.”

The inspiration behind their attempt stemmed from seeing other people and couples biking cross-country, Brenda said.

“We just wanted to do it to do it,” Bob said.

The two have been biking since the 1980s and met in a California biking club. Brenda grew up in northern California while Bob graduated locally from Beaver High School in 1978 and moved to the Golden State, where he worked at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield as the chief engineer for Lockheed C-5’s for 38 years.

After leaving Big Sky Country, the couple wound through North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin before taking a ferry into Michigan. Bob said the couple averaged around 80 miles per day but had several days when they surpassed 100 miles.

Brenda joked that the biggest obstacle of the trip was “being nice to each other,” with two months and 4,300 miles creating a long period of togetherness.

“You just bike, eat and sleep,” Brenda said.

During the journey, the couple experienced problems with the back tire, Patricia Fletcher said. They reached a point where they bought a new, heavier back wheel and overnight shipped it from their hometown bike store.

Bob steered the way as the “captain” of the tandem while Brenda powered from the back as the “stoker.”

“When we got together, we had to get one,” Bob said about their tandem bikes. “We haven’t ridden a single bike since we’ve been married, so about 10 or 12 years.”

Bob said that climbing hills presented the most difficulty during the trip, to which any other biker could attest.

“The tandem doesn’t climb hills well, especially with a 130-pound trailer behind it,” Bob said.

After a brief period in Canada, the couple descended into New York and finally Pennsylvania in early August.

“We figured they would arrive more toward the end of the month,” Robert Fletcher said. “I didn’t see how they could make it before September.”

The pace of the couple also surprised Patricia, who said she started believing the couple would make the journey after the sixth week.

“We got a call from them, and they said they were only 15 miles from Pennsylvania in New York and I was like, ‘Oh no! We have to get ready,’” she said.

Bob’s parents had doubts about the couple’s trip, expressing worry about road rage and robbery, since the couple carried no weapons.

Despite creating a welcome-home banner and waiting for the couple’s arrival Friday, Robert still maintained a parental hesitance toward their trip.

“To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about them taking this trip,” he said, to which Bob swiftly quipped, “Nothing to it.”

Brenda said the people they met along the way were “really nice,” and some of them shared their ambitions to bike across the U.S.

“We met a single guy who was carrying more stuff than we were,” Bob said. “We also met a couple in Oregon who were 72 and 70 and also biking cross-country.”

Now that the trip has ended, Bob and Brenda will fly back to California, where they plan to embark on another bike trip in 2019 possibly covering every state in the lower 48.

“It’s bittersweet (it’s over),” Bob said. “We enjoyed every day of it.”

Oram’s Donuts owners recount 79 year history for Beaver Falls Historical Society

Link: http://www.timesonline.com/community/news/oram-s-donuts-owners-recount-year-history-for-beaver-falls/article_d34fa9c2-6cc5-11e7-9fa1-03ae2623d7e6.html

By Luke Furman for The Beaver County Times

People normally use words like “sprinkled,” “glazed” and “delicious” to describe doughnuts, but what about “historical?”

Brian Booth and Dave Bicksler, who co-own Oram’s Donuts in Beaver Falls, spoke to members of the Beaver Falls Historical Society in the Beaver Falls Carnegie Free Library on Wednesday, presenting the business’ history, its doughnut production and what the shop means to the local community.

The two purchased the business from its third owner, Jon George, in November 2014. Originally, they planned to license an Oram’s franchise location, but ended up buying the singular Beaver Falls shop, Bicksler said.

While Bicksler comes from Washington, D.C., Booth grew up a native to the region with his father and grandfather both teaching history and government in the Big Beaver Falls School District, adding to the local connection.

Betty Anderson, the director of the society’s museum and vice president of the society, said the presentation came about when Booth and Bicksler visited the museum to research their business’ background.

“We wanted to know the history of Oram’s and hopefully their secret recipe,” Anderson said. “Once you have an Oram’s doughnut, other doughnuts don’t compare.”

Anderson said that along with J’s News, Oram’s Donuts is one of two businesses in Beaver Falls that places donation jars for the historical society on its counter.

In the past, the Beaver Falls Historical Society, founded in 1944, has hosted Beaver Falls residents from all walks of life at its meetings, Anderson said.

On the third Wednesday of each month, the group holds a meeting in the downstairs of the library, where a portion of the 40 members meet. Over the 40 years worth of meetings, the society has learned about crocheting, bagpipes, tattooing, bluegrass music and much more.

“When I was growing up, I walked past Oram’s twice a day,” Tom Lesnick, a member of the society, said. “You always learn something new here.”

The members of the group learn about meetings through postcards that they place into a bag at the end and raffle off prizes. However, at this meeting, more people eyed up a table with two boxes of doughnuts than the table with prizes.

The two owners led a casual talk, chock-full of audience interjection, detailing how the business first opened 79 years ago in January 1938 as a doughnut wholesaler for other shops and bakeries. The store opened at 912 Seventh Ave. before relocated to its current building at 1406 Seventh Ave.

Booth said the large green “Oram’s” letters on the interior came from Schomer’s Bakery, long since closed.

The two credited the shop’s second owner, Tom Bradshaw, as “the father of the modern day Oram’s” and said he implemented a process to making the doughnuts. Booth and Bicksler updated the shop with modern technology like iPads instead of punch cards and an internet presence through a website and Facebook.

The shop employs about a dozen people full-time, Booth said, and uses 1,000 lbs. of dough each weekend with the most popular being cinnamon roll, the cream-filled doughnuts and the custard-filled doughnuts.

“Some people come in from out of town on the weekends to buy doughnuts and most of the feedback we get is that our staff is very friendly,” Bicksler said.

Booth and Bicksler said they take into account the historicity of the business they own and know residents have grown up eating extra large cinnamon rolls. The two have only created one new doughnut in their time owning the business, but plan to unveil a new doughnut with mango-flavored filling in the near future.

“We visit a lot of other doughnut stores to compare and I start to understand what makes this place special,” Bicksler said.

“Oram’s Donuts is larger than us. We are simply the caretakers,” Booth said.

Amplified Observations: New vinyl records, a luxury in college, sometimes worth the impulse

http://www.thepostathens.com/article/2017/02/vinyls-luxury-impulse

College students and luxury are often at ends. For everything wanted, there is something else needed.

As much as many of us consider music a need, some aspects of it unfortunately fall into the wide umbrella of want. And the best case to illustrate this problem is the internal debate of buying vinyl.

Undoubtedly, vinyl records have a certain charm and charisma attached to them. Hearing sound created when an intricate needle falls into their ridges not only looks cool, but will also give you credibility to guests who will “ooh” and “ahh” over the rare and magical sight.

But despite the spectacle, vinyl is inedible and will not propel a car to go forward nor pay the landlord. Coupled with the relative cost of records worth buying, people that have not started careers yet and find themselves weighed down by schoolwork rather than paid work hardly have the spare $20 for a new record.

Of course, with the possibility of used records, which nearly every record store carries, bargains come into play. A $3 Yes record might be plucked from the dusty back shelves with money left to buy accompanying beverages for the first spin on the turntable.

At the same time, bargains for well-known used albums usually trend in the opposite price direction. To buy a $60 press of Blonde on Blonde, Led Zeppelin’s IV or any post-1964 Beatles record is such a reckless indulgence on a college budget that a Spotify subscription almost seems like an objective responsibility. It’s cheaper, but not the same.

With the modern availability of music, any vinyl purchase over even $5 feels like an indulgence, an undeserving luxury that can be bypassed through other, more frugal methods.

Yet, like many material things, the authentic atmosphere that vinyl albums exude cannot be quantified in a given dollar amounts. The true nucleus of vinyl records’ likeability comes in the element of interactivity.

Clicking play on a computer is now such a mindless act with little significance, but taking a record out of its artistic gatefold, checking it for any scratches, adjusting the volume levels of speakers and watching the black, intelligent disc spin ad infinitum is something that can only be experienced firsthand. Not to mention, the carefully engineered and signal-processed bass reproduction sounds warm and feels unmatched in hearing it on anything else.

When buying vinyl, you don’t pay simply for the music like in the 1970s, you now pay for the process of exclusive enjoyment. Sometimes hearing the bleeps and bloops of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn is worth shelling out $30 on impulse. It all depends on where a limited amount of money means the most.

At some point in post-college financial stability, vinyl will most likely stop feeling like a luxury and more like a casual trip to the record shop. That day will both be welcomed and dreaded because it means the end of a certain sacred regard I hold for something that’s as simple as a grooved circle in a cardboard sleeve.

Luxury might become standard, but I suppose it’s all matter of perspective.

Amplified Observations: Music might soon require us to become listeners, readers and viewers at the same time

http://www.thepostathens.com/article/2017/02/music-combines-listening-viewing

Stephen King has hypothesized that his readers do not return to him for action but rather for a voice.

Artists, whether musical, visual or literary, function like a font that surfaces from underground streams of individualized and undiluted ideas. The clearest examples of these distinct voices also happen to be the easiest to name: Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Shakespeare, Richard Wagner, Bob Dylan, Jane Austen and Langston Hughes.

Despite some great artists focused solely only one type of artistic expression, others have expanded their voices into other mediums to present more comprehensive works that speak to the eyes, the ears and the psyche.

In 1849, Richard Wagner popularized a German aesthetic term called “Gesamtkunstwerk,” which translates to “total work of art” or “comprehensive artwork.” The phrase looked to blur the lines between different mediums and artistic tasks into one conceptual statement made up of all its parts.

The idea continues to float underneath the brim of pop culture with Jack-of-all-tradesmen like Phil Spector, Bob Dylan, who paired his music with his paintings, and David Bowie, whose final work Blackstar included an off-Broadway play titled “Lazarus” after one of the album’s songs. In every way, Bowie’s last release followed the carte blanche, combinative tradition Wagner pioneered in his operas.

In the present age of digital storage, more and more artists have released visual compositions about the creation of their albums or as a companion piece, such as artists like NothingMGMT and recently Flying Lotus. Musicians are no longer one-dimensional in their expression, and technology has facilitated their access to honing and mastering mediums other than their primary one.

Perhaps the two releases that have most mirrored Wagner’s method are Frank Ocean’s Blonde and Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Both 2016 albums arrived with visual stories interlinked with the music rather than added as an extra feature. At the same time, Ocean also published a magazine called “Boys Don’t Cry” featuring an explanatory project details and a silly, witty poem by Kanye West. 

Regardless of the quality of the albums, their use of mixed media, including print, is unprecedented in their professionalism and personally-crafted sheen. But full-length album films are not the only way to expand on an album’s meaning. Artists include things in releases that are often overlooked.

On my wall hangs a poster that came with the vinyl for Archy Marshall’s moody hip-hop album A New Place 2 Drown. Although the poster is only made up of different patterns of black and white lines and the album’s name, it provides another object to contemplate the deeper feelings behind abstract sounds. It gives the album a visual backdrop.

Prior to dropping the group’s ninth album, A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead sent cryptic postcards to its mailing list complete with appropriately-paranoid lyrics and a painting related to the album.

A gesture as simple as a poster or postcard that differs from the album’s mandatory cover artwork can give listeners a better idea of which stream of human emotion the artist filled his or her canteen.

An artistic concept should not be confined to one area of expertise but rather allowed to flourish in many different forms. Artists are moving forward in releasing more comprehensive works from the viewpoint of music rather than the traditional mixed medium of film.

And as long as the voice remains strong and present throughout the work, the listeners, readers and viewers will always return for more. And more and more, those three separate labels of consumption apply to one person engaged with one work of art.

New Music and Reviews