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Last Friday, we read When the Emperor was Divine, a story about a family’s experience during and after the Incarceration of Japanese peoples in America. By reading the story, it became more understandable as why so many internees were quiet about what happened to them. It wasn’t so much the time they spent in the internment (though this definitely had seriously detrimental effects), but what came after. The family in the story were ostracized and ridiculed for something they can not change; their identity. It is possible to change your name, the color of your hair, but this family could not change the fact that they were Japanese. And what’s worse, they too hated themselves for being Japanese. The children would apologize for any slightly mistake, regardless off whether or not it was their fault, and what was possibly the most painful to read, was the mother’s fear of being alone as it might cause her identity as Japanese might become more transparent (196).

In Pilgrimage, the children of the internees are seen taking a stand and protesting the internment. They frustrated that they didn’t know such a big part of their families’ history and when I first saw this, I understood that anger. However, as time goes on, it feels difficult not to also understand their parents’ silence. How are you supposed to talk about a time where the entire country hated you to your children? Do you risk passing on trauma to them for the sake of honesty or stay silent? For the next generation, it was a time to figure out their history and ask for redress and although that may have been difficult, it would have been more difficult to protest if they were carrying memories from that time like their parents were.

Reading the story was hard because it made me confront my own anger towards my parents. I was so upset for so long because they had left me in the dark about their history, even now I don’t know the full story of their experiences. I blamed them for their silence, but I completely forgot to take their feelings into consideration.

I am still curious about their history, but I know now to have more patience.

Week 2: Women Auteurs Moving Beyond Transnational Boundaries

Our focus for week two was looking at women auteurs, or women film creators who are considered the authors of their films and have injected their style into the works, whose films have moved beyond transnational boundaries. Our primary films for this week were Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Věra Chytilová’s Daisies, Agnès Varda’s Faces Places, and Nadine Labaki’s Caramel. Each one of these films was created by a female auteur who not only managed to push their films beyond transnational boundaries but reached elite status within the film industry. By analyzing these films and the statuses of their creators, we began to unpack questions surrounding why they are considered anomalies within their home countries and strategies these women use to share their films and work against gender norms and stereotypes. We also broke down some of the ways in which the auteur model helps directors, like granting successful creators a wide-reaching platform to reach larger audiences, and hurts the film industry by making it difficult for new creators to enter film spheres and for well-known directors to become separated from past identities, styles, and works.

One characteristic of the films that stood out to me most was that, despite employing completely different stylistic elements, each film shared a number of similar thematic concerns. It pushed me to think about how truly wide-reaching a number of social issues are. We are able to connect to thousands of others because we all must deal with specific social, political, or economic issues because of our gender, sexuality, race, nationality or economic status. One of the places where we begin to differ from one another is in our responses to these issues and the art we create as a personal reflection.


Image source: Film Inquiry

Looking Back on Block 6

Hi Everyone! This past week has been pretty hectic given all the coronavirus news, but I wanted to recap the end of my block. The last few days in Gothic were packed. We finally finished our quinzhee and carved it all out so it could fit 5 to 6 people comfortably. We also hiked to the the top of Judd falls and noticed a pretty start difference between the north and south facing slopes of the ravine. This is actually what inspired my final research project; how to different factors like aspect and elevation effect the types of tree and how much they grow. After taking a group photo on the top of Judd Falls, we hiked back down to the townsite and had some flexibility with our afternoon, one of the many great parts of the block plan.

We read a scientific journal on the effects of climate change and snowpack on bee populations at RMBL. The trends have been for snow to melt earlier in the season, which increases the floral abundance, but not the number of flowering days, with flowering days having a larger effect on bee populations. We also engaged in two hours of zen ecology. Our task was to go out and observe different parts of gothic and see what we could continue to research for our final research project. My partner and I ventured towards billy barr’s house and we noticed a lot of tracks closer to the base of Gothic — potentially a fox hunting a snowshoe hare. We also saw fox scat along the skin tracks, where we encountered billy and he encouraged us finally use the sleds we had been towing around. We built an awesome jump; I felt like a kid again. 

We noticed a difference in tree growth depending on the ordinal direction the slope was facing. We ended the day with a book-club like discussion on the journal article, which prepared us to write our own scientific reports. The next morning, we shared our zen ecology observations and solidified our research question and how we were going to collect data. For my specific project, we walked up towards White Rock Mountain, the mountain opposite to Gothic, and took samples from 8 different sites. We recorded snow depth, slope angle, slope aspect, tree type, tree density, elevation, and relevant observations on the area such as how much sun it got, proximity to water, and other topographical features. While writing up our report, we found that slope angle and snow depth were two variables that produced significant and insightful information. We found that aspect and elevation had the largest effect on both tree type and density. North facing slopes were a favorite of conifers due to the shade from the low angled sun and the moisture content. Snowpack is better conserved on these slopes and can last until late spring. Conifers also frequented higher elevations, defining treeline. Meanwhile, aspens favor the sunnier, south facing slopes. We had 3 pairs of sites where elevation was the same, aspect switched from north to south, and tree type changed dramatically from coniferous to deciduous. We were able to display these results on a satellite map, which showed the dramatic distinctions we noticed on the ground.

After collecting data and some extra research, we were curious how factors were impacted by climate change. We learned that snow pack and melt has an impact on soil pH, making an area more or less hospitable to different types of vegetation. The next day, it was time to leave magical gothic. We got an early start and had a really pleasant hike out. Unfortunately for us, during our nighttime sledding adventures, we broke a sled. We got crafty with our new care-taker friend, some recycling, and masking tape and were able to put the sled back together to haul out all of our trash.

Next week back on campus, we wrapped up with a cumulative exam: half on snow science and on half winter ecology. We also submitted our finalized species ID list, detailing common name, scientific name, description, life history, and other revenant and interesting facts about where, when, and what we saw. Additionally, we submitted our written reports with tables and graphs and gave a presentation to the rest of class. While fourth week was pretty crazy given the news and change in end of year plans, it felt good to finish the block together on a strong note.

I am really grateful for all the amazing field trips I have gotten to go while a student at Colorado College,  and this trip to Gothic was one of the best. I hope pursue a summer research position in Gothic in the near future. In adventures since the block has ended, I cannot help but shake a tree’s hand and see if its needles are flat and friendly firs, or square and spikes spruces. I find myself fascinated by the diverse amount of birds, ranging from a cheery chickadee to the magnificent magpie to the regal red hawk Thank you so much to the OBE and outdoor education departments and Colorado College. I hope to see you all again soon.

Boston Day 3: Yet Another Jam-packed, Clam-packed, Dan-packed Day!

A cheery, Wednesday, Bostonian HELLO from the EC 348 innovation pals! I am once again pleased to report that we had yet another jam-packed, clam-packed, Dan-packed day! (Fun Fact of the Day: We have not one, but TWO Dan’s in this class: Professor Dan from Canada and Student Dan from Moldova). That is the only way we tell them apart.

Be sure to check out their “Dan Photo” below … and Go Dan’s!

Led by Professor Dan from Canada, we began the day with a tour of the Boston Public Library before making our way to Symphony Hall … and that’s where we spotted the very FIRST YMCA chapter! So naturally we did the YMCA dance and eventually took the classic YMCA picture (see below!).

In addition to our YMCAing, we had the incredible opportunity to tour MassChallenge, an entrepreneurial accelerator and innovation hub in the Seaport District. There, we met with three inspiring entrepreneurs who have catapulted their ideas into sustainable and socially impactful businesses: Kristin van Busum of Project Alianza, Will Nitze of IQ Bar, and Pat Hubbell of Candorful.

Though I LOVED meeting with all three of them (and strongly encourage you to give those links a cool quick click!), I especially appreciated our Q&A with Pat because she challenged my view of who an entrepreneur is. When I think ‘start-up vibes,’ I picture a young, lanky, hoodie-clad, college drop-out-type dude with a bike lock poking through his heavily worn messenger bag.

Instead, Pat is an ex-management consultant, turned stay-at-home-mom, turned College Career Counselor, turned social activist and entrepreneur.

Her organization, Candorful, virtually connects veterans with interview prep services in order to prime them for successful job interviews in the civilian sector. Pat’s story is one of resilience and persistence to regain her confidence and sense of place after returning to the workforce later in life. For me, Pat’s success highlights the notion that innovation is truly for everyone, and moreover, a large part of innovation seems to be about building the confidence, brazenness, and gusto to put yourself and your ideas out on the line — which is exactly what we will be doing on fourth week when we present our final projects for this class to all of you! More details to come!

… And as always, stay tuned for our adventures tomorrow!

The Big Test Before Our Innovation Quest!

On the Block Plan, final exams usually fall to fourth week, but since we’re leaving for Boston on Sunday, we did something a little different and took our final exam today! Me and a few other classmates were a tiny bit jittery before the test, but with the promise of Boston (and CHOWDER!) looming in the foreground, we absolutely killed it … fingers crossed!

Just in case you’re feeling sad that you couldn’t join us for the test, let me fill you in! It was three hours long with six short answer essays and three quick-question responses at the end. Halfway through the exam, Professor Johnson walked in with candy for everyone, which was certainly the sweet point of the morning!

Though each professor has slightly different testing guidelines (and candy distribution tendencies), all exams on our campus are alike in that we always promise to uphold the Colorado College Honor Code. This means that we abide by the values of honesty, integrity, and fairness in all facets of our academic experience — when we’re taking tests, writing research papers, completing problem sets, and participating in class discussions.

Colorado College is incredibly unique in that we have an entirely student-run Honor Council (which I am a proud member!) responsible for cultivating an academic environment of trust and collaboration among students and professors. Because we, as a community, hold ourselves to high standards of academic integrity, there are some really sweet perks!

For one, our tests are never proctored. Some professors will require that we take exams in the classroom, but I’ve also taken midterms in my hammock! This flexibility does wonders for easing test anxiety. Additionally, the Honor Code builds camaraderie in the classroom. There’s a mutual understanding that we can all study for exams as a group, as well as share research and ideas for our final Innovation Projects, but we will turn in our own honest work in the end. As such, the classroom community that we have built in this class is truly special and will undoubtedly grow stronger throughout our time in Boston!

Stay tuned for our Boston adventures! I can hardly wait!








Looking at my Grandfather’s Art Through New Eyes

Taking art history really opens your eyes to what is right in front of you. This includes everything from the art everywhere on campus to the art in your own home. I was home for a weekend and was able to look at all of the pieces hanging around my home, and I thought it would be interesting to try and analyze a few.

Although I don’t know very much about most of these works, there are three wood blocks prints done by my grandfather. My grandparents have lived in Corrales, New Mexico, and most of the prints made by Grandpa Paul are either images from his life there or inspired by Japan, where he traveled to learn how to do this style of printing.

Barranca de Corrales by Paul Davis

In this first print, Barranca de Corrales, you can see the Japanese influence in the flatter perspective and more simplified shapes, even though this is a depiction of the hill on which my grandparents live. The majority of the piece is black, white, or tan, with the only color being the sky and the figures going up the hill. The effect is to make the blue and the yellow of the sky seem even more vibrant, and makes the viewer wonder if the sun is just rising or setting to have such a bright, yellow horizon. The red and blue of the group climbing the hill draw your eye to them, but they are so small and indistinct that the focus of the piece is still on the skyline.

Hokusai’s World by Paul Davis

In the piece just to the left of this, Hokusai’s World, the Japanese influence is clear. With the iconic wave image from The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai in the foreground, bamboo and a bonsai tree in the mid-ground, and what looks like Mount Fuji in the background, this entire work seems like a dedication to Japanese culture and art. All of these environmental additions frame two figures fighting in the middle of the print with what seems to be bo staffs, a traditional Japanese weapon. The color palette is again very basic and shows off the details of the bonsai tree and wave. The patterns around the edge frame the central images, and are a unique addition to the print, unusual in both my grandfather’s work and in Japanese-style printing in general. This homage to Japan and the printing style is both simple and beautiful (although I may be a little biased).

Tiffany Hill: Dawn by Paul Davis

In the third and final piece of the three of Grandpa Paul’s prints we have hanging on our wall, Tiffany Hill: Dawn, we are back in New Mexico. It is an image inspired by what my grandfather does every morning he can: walk his dogs. Although this does show an aspect of his day, this is not a self-portrait, but instead a depiction of the friends he walks his dogs with. The colors are muted, with most of the piece filled with tan, representing the sandy desert that most of Corrales is. But there is still foliage, which fills up the sides of the print, and a town that is in the distance and seems to be the goal of the dog walkers. The dog walkers themselves are simplified human figures, one having a backpack and the other a Harley Davidson jacket. The dogs are even more simplified, just focusing on the essentials. This simplicity is probably a combination of medium restrictions, personal preference, and aesthetics and is consistent through all of his works.

My grandfather is a simple, usually quiet man (except for the occasional pun) who has lived a rich life and learned a ridiculous amount about a ridiculous number of subjects. He spends his days reading, watching soccer matches, and making prints. I am so glad that we are able to have his art hanging in our home.

Iscariot Sculpture in Downtown Colorado Springs

On our daily commutes, the visuals around us are often the same day after day. We know what buildings are coming up, where everything is, and often just go through the motions; however, on one of my daily summer driving routes, there was something new. This massive metal sculpture had taken over what used to be a standard rooftop, providing me with a little bit of a shock.

According to Colorado artist Trace O’Connor, ”Iscariot depicts a mermaid gracefully leaving her perch to take flight.” This unique mermaid made from reclaimed metal weighs in at 4,200 pounds and is part of the Downtown areas partnership and their affiliates’ ongoing mission to create unique cultural experiences for Springs residents and visitors to the area.

Springs residents should definitely keep their heads up in the downtown area, not only to observe the eye-catching street art, but just in case a giant metal mermaid attacks you or your car!


McMichael, Jon. “Rise of the Octo-Maid, New Sculptures Hit Colorado Springs’ Rooftops.” August 30, 2018. Accessed October 17, 2018.

Photo from: “Colorado Springs, CO – Octo-Maid: Metal Mermaid.” Accessed October 17, 2018.

Colorado Springs Architecture: Shove Chapel

When I first came to campus, I identified Shove Chapel to be one of the more architecturally beautiful buildings on campus. If one were to ask me at the start of school why I found this building so beautiful, I couldn’t have said more than the fact that I thought the color and texture of the stone and wood was visually pleasing and the size and cost of materials made it stand out amongst the rest. After reaching the sixth week of Victoria Ehrlich’s Art History FYE course, I look at Shove Chapel with a new set of eyes.

In this course, we thoroughly covered Romanesque-style and Gothic-style architecture. Romanesque architecture, while not uniform across the board, can be characterized by buildings that are smaller than the heights they will reach in the Gothic era, and almost look like large homes. These buildings have thick walls and are held up by buttresses on the outside. There was often little natural light inside Romanesque buildings due to the lack of windows. Curved arches were common in this architectural style in addition to barrel vaults.

Now, as I walk by Shove Chapel, I see the building has many of the characteristics typically found in a Romanesque church. As you stand in front of the chapel and gaze at the front doors, the arches you see are all round, which differs from the pointed arches found in Gothic architecture. If you stand in the nave of the chapel, the middle section where the seating is, and look towards the apse, the curved area at the front of the church, you will notice a large window known as a rose window. This style of window is characteristic of Romanesque architecture, but later became an even more prominent feature in the Gothic style, and is made of stained glass. Many of the other windows in Shove chapel also feature stained glass, as did Gothic churches. Inside the chapel, you will see more rounded arches and a barrel vaulted ceiling towards the front of the church by the altarpiece, again pointing to a Romanesque influence. Not only has this Art History course made me appreciate the value of different forms of architecture more, but it also has allowed me to form a connection with buildings on our campus, around Colorado Springs, and the greater world around us by being able to appreciate and associate various architectural characteristics with a specific style and era of time.

My Chihuly Experience

My Chihuly Experience

Who is Chihuly?

Dale Chihuly is known around the world as an incredible glass artist. He was born in the state of Washington in 1941, where he grew DaleChihulyatPilchuck.jpgup and graduated high school years later. Chihuly did not think that he wanted to pursue further education after high school, but was talked into going to college (where he would study interior design) by his mother. He ended up getting bored and dropping his studies to travel. At this point in his life, he was able to study art in Florence and the Middle East, which was when he figured out what he wanted to do. When he returned home, he went back to school to get his Bachelor of Arts degree in interior design. Throughout his life, Chihuly had been interested in glass. He would incorporate it into most of the artwork that he did, like weaving, and he even learned to blow glass during his first years of college.

His Work:

Chihuly’s glass art can be seen in public places all around the globe. Because of his interest in glass art, Chihuly was able to build a career in the field. He has always been interested in architecture, too, which is why most of his works have an architectural feel or design. His work is more about making art for people instead of his own experience. One of his most famous quotes is, “I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in some way that they’ve never experienced.”

Glass art is quite unique because it encourages an interactive viewing experience. Like any other sculpture, glass art is 3-dimensional, but it also has an effect from light. When light hits Chihuly’s works, they shine and glimmer as the light is reflected to the walls and floor around it, making viewing the art work an immersive experience. Currently, this artist has exhibitions in France, Czech Republic, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Japan, and multiple locations throughout the United States of America, including one right here in Colorado Springs. The Fine Arts Center, located right next to the Colorado College campus, has a beautiful exhibit up with a few Chihuly pieces. The museum has created a memorable viewing experience for anyone who enters the exhibition by employing light in the display of Chihuly’s objects.

Image result for chihuly art colorado springs fine art center

Image result for chihuly art colorado springs fine art center  Related image

My Experience:

My own experience working with Chihuly’s art was very interesting. Back in high school, my class studied glass art for a brief period of time. We reviewed many of Chihuly’s pieces and got to know his style and creative shapes. This made us want to attempt blowing glass, but because we did not have the resources to actually blow glass like Chihuly, my art teacher was creative and found a way for us to get a true Chihuly experience. Instead of using glass to create giant sculptures like Chihuly, we used tissue paper. My art teacher bought a large amount of colorful tissue paper for us, which we sculpted into strange shapes using glue. The glue would dry and the tissue paper would stay stiff in the designs we wanted. Using chicken wire, my art teacher set a base (in the shape of a sphere) for our sculptures and we attached our tissue paper designs all around the sphere. This experience was amazing. I enjoyed being able to make my own piece and put it together in a creative way like Chihuly would. It was fun to be inspired by his work and create our own “glass art.” –

Source: “Homepage.” Chihuly, 2018,



A Giant Leap for Womankind

We’re moving from two dimensions to three this week, from painting to sculpture! During the Renaissance, sculptures were a way to influence public perceptions and identity- a form of political propaganda. The sculpture that I fell most in love with is the Juno Fountain, by Bartolomeo Ammannati. The fountain was commissioned by Cosimo I of the Medici family in 1556. If you haven’t heard of the Medici, (or have heard of them a million times but don’t actually know what they were famous for), here’s a refresher. The Medici family basically invented money and banking. Before the Medici, bartering was the standard of trade, but the Medici realized that one way to make money really fast is to just make the money. The family’s riches gave them power and many Medici served in Florentine government.

Cosimo I was Duke of Florence at the time, and commissioned the fountain when he was able to connect Florence with a new water source. Though the fountain was intended to be the centerpiece of the Great Council Hall, it was never installed there; Cosimo I came into possession of a Michelangelo statue, and replaced the Juno Fountain with it. Newly homeless, the Juno Fountain was moved temporarily the royal gardens, before it’s component parts were (tragically) scattered around the park. It wasn’t until recently that the pieces of the fountain were reassembled at the Bargello Museum in Florence. To quote Peaches and Herb, “Reunited and it feels so good!”

I love this fountain because it so appropriately addresses the achievement it commemorates. The entire fountain is centered around the idea of the water cycle as it was understood by Aristotle. Aristotle believed that water was created from a combination of the elements: earth, air, water, and fire. Fittingly, the characters depicted in this fountain have allegorical significance, with each representing a natural element.

On top of the fountain, sits Juno, protector of the state, with a tambourine in her hand. The clap of her tambourine signifies thunder and lighting, indicating that the gods could strike down any misbehaving mortals. Juno sits atop a stone rainbow, the path of connection between heaven and earth. Beneath the rainbow, lie two bodies of water, personified as a man and a woman. On the left, is Arno, the river that still provides water to the city of Florence. On the right, is Parnassus, the spring that famously arose from  Mt. Helicon, providing poetic inspiration to all who drank from her waters.

Though each of these characters have their charm, the woman in the center of the fountain, Ceres (Roman goddess of Earth and agriculture), is the clear star of the show. Ceres stands with her hands on her breasts, squeezing the fountain water from them. Ironically, fountains that depict a urinating man are very common, yet fountains where women produce water from their breasts are rare. Ceres’ body shape is concave, with her shoulders rounded forward, as she seems to push the water out from within her. Her right cheek is turned to the viewer, an indication of authority and power. With her ocularis and zygomaticus muscles slightly contracted, she appears to be smiling softly, yet knowingly down at us.

Ceres is completely naked, and her body looks more feminine than most Renaissance statues. Because the Catholic Church was still very influential at the time, females were not allowed to pose nude for artists. As a result, early female nudes looked like female heads atop hulking male bodies. Ceres however, is distinctly female, with rounded features and an hourglass shape. Though females nudes existed before the Juno Fountain, women were depicted as sexual objects of the male gaze. In this piece however, Ceres’ comfort with touching her own body, in a totally non-sexual way, implies agency and self-ownership. Her naturalness suggests lack of self-consciousness and a confidence that is striking even in modern day.

Ceres also represents the feminine power to give and sustain life (by giving water in this sculpture, and by giving birth in real life). The idea of female autonomy, much less feminine power, was unheard of in the Renaissance; yet Ceres seems to sidestep cultural norms.This work may seem like a small step for women, but it’s a giant leap for mankind — or should I say womankind. Kudos to you, Ammannati.