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Art+History+Engagement Workshop Series: Pruning the Elephant: Changing Seasons & the Art of Reflection, with Artist Ben Volta

Saturday, July 9, 2016 10am-12pm
at Awbury Arboretum

Like the natural world and its seasons of change, personal transformation works in cycles and shifting points of view. Join artist BEN VOLTA at the Awbury Arboretum for a mindful walk through the woods of your own memory. Revisit moments of acceptance and achievement, pride and joy, loss and loneliness through writing exercises and hands-on art making inspired by the wise, old trees of Awbury that have been silently watching over the Germantown community for over 200 years. The stone wall that surrounds the arboretum also has a story —a complicated one—with conflicting themes of Inclusion/Exclusion, Public/Private, Natural/Man-Made reflected within its architecture. Workshop participants will engage in small group dialogue exploring the different “walls” and “boundaries” that can hold us back from growth. We will also consider the obstacles that inspire us to not only overcome limitations, but strive for acceptance, tolerance and growth within our community. Come create your own Reflection Branch keepsake to hang in your window or adorn your porch! This artful mediation will lead into a larger artwork created in 2017 and serve as a luminous reminder of the ever-evolving relationship between humanity and nature and the memories that can transform us from the inside out.

BENJAMIN VOLTA creates intricate public murals and sculptures, working within the fields of education, restorative justice, and urban planning. He creates participatory art rooted in an exploratory and educational process. His practice stands on the belief that art can be a catalyst for change, within individuals as well as the institutional structures that surround them. Ben is a 2015 Pew Fellow.

Ben Volta collaborates with historian Molefi Asante.

DR. MOLEFI ASANTE is currently professor and Chair of the African American Studies Department at Temple University. He is an internationally acclaimed historian and author of over 74 books in Black studies, race and identity and African culture and traditions. Asante is President of the Molefi Kete Asante Institute (MKA Institute) on Germantown Avenue, founded on the basis of Asante's extensive research and the Afrocentric philosophy---the study of history and the human experience from the African perspective.

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