Art in Focus

Art in Focus is an exploration of the arts through film, lecture and thoughtful dialogue. Art in Focus is for adult learners of all ages who are interested in the arts and their impact on the world.  Founded in 1996 by Rita M. Ray, South Shore Arts continues this series annually with a variety of topics and guest speakers. Several lectures will coincide with upcoming Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra concerts and South Shore Arts exhibits. An important aspect of the program is the thoughtful dialogue between the program facilitator, the guest speakers and the attendees to broaden views of the arts and individuals in our world. Our goal parallels that of the U.S. Department of Education, “Learning Never Ends.” Art in Focus is open to the public and, thanks to generous support from Community Healthcare System, it is always free.

2018–19 Schedule

September 10, 2018
Between the Bottomlands & the World
Artists Ryan Griffiths and Sarah Ross explore Beardstown, Illinois, a rural Midwestern town of 6,000 people—a place of global exchange international mobility, inscribed by post-NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) realities. It consists of a series of videos, photographs and narrative writing. The video series tells a story of Beardstown in three acts.

September 24, 2018
The Teaching Artists of South Shore Arts

South Shore Arts offers quality arts instruction to students of all ages. The people who are responsible for teaching classes at South Shore Arts are not only wonderful instructors, but they are also working artists. Please join us for the opportunity to meet two of our teaching artists and to see examples of the art they make when they are in their studios. 

October 8, 2018
Building Big
Anchored by the two-part exhibition series Urban Legends that South Shore Arts will be presenting later this year, the Art in Focus series will feature several films that examine architecture and the built environment—from experiments in utopian design to acts of architectural activism to explorations of structural decay. This is the first film screening of the season that relates to this theme and will look at the life of iconic 20th century architect Louis Kahn. 

October 22, 2018
Tiny Homes & Acts of Architectural Activism
Join us for a mini film festival featuring shorts and excerpts from films that question the dominant norms of domestic living spaces and consider the barriers that prevent access to thoughtfully designed homes. The films will be accompanied by a brief survey of contemporary artists engaged in creative approaches to designing and building shelter.

November 12, 2018
The Ordinary and the Domestic

Elizabeth M. Claffey is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Indiana University in Bloomington. Elizabeth’s work focuses on the way personal and familial narratives are shaped by interactions with both domestic and institutional structures and spaces. Her work has been recognized by PDN Magazine, Project Basho Gallery, Abecedarian Gallery, and various other galleries and publications. 

November 26, 2018
From the Page to the Stage: A Visit from The Theatre at the Center

Art in Focus welcomes special guests Ann Davis, Head of Production, and Caitlin R. Dalton, Costume Shop Manager, from the Theatre at the Center. Join us as they describe the process of what it takes to stage a theatrical production—from the idea on the page to the production on the stage.

December 10, 2018
City as a Canvas

Join us for a viewing of a documentary that captures the burgeoning hip hop and graffiti culture of the late 1970s and early 1980s in New York. Hear the stories from the practitioners of these then new art forms, as they provide firsthand accounts of what motivated them to make their art.

January 14, 2019
Indy Windy: A Love Story
Join curator Ish Muhammad, self-taught artist and Indiana resident, for a presentation and gallery tour of the South Shore Arts exhibition Indy Windy: A Love Story. The exhibit will feature artists from Indiana and Chicago who execute large public works. The morning will conclude with a guided tour of the exhibition in the South Shore Arts gallery. Indy Windy: A Love Story runs from November 13, 2018 to January 29, 2019.

January 28, 2019
Leaving a Mark: A Mini Film Festival

The architecture around us is not static. Facades are painted. Structures crumble. Buildings are erected for one purpose but sometimes outlive their intended use. Join us for a mini-festival of short films that explore what happens to objects and buildings once released into the wild. 

February 11, 2019
Urban Legends: Haunts 
Join members of the Decay Devils, a local collective of artists who travel the world engaging in conversations about building preservation and restoration through photographic documentation of neglected spaces, as they present examples of their work and describe the mission behind their images. The presentation will be followed by a gallery tour of the Urban Legends: Haunts exhibit in the South Shore Arts gallery. The exhibit runs from February 8, 2019 through April 21, 2019.

February 25, 2019
The Making of Shep: A Filmmaker’s Process

Nick Mantis, local filmmaker and children’s book author, will discuss his documentary in progress, Shep, about Hammond native Jean Shepherd. Nick has traveled the country collecting interviews and source material for his film. Along the way, he has also gathered more than a few amusing anecdotes. Join us for what promises to be an entertaining morning.

March 11, 2019
Maestro Kirk Muspratt on The Keys to France
Join Maestro Kirk Muspratt with special guests pianist Winston Choi and organist John W.W. Sherer, as they talk about and play a bit of the music that will be preformed at The Keys to France concert on Friday, April 5 at the Auditorium at Living Hope Church in Merrillville.

March 25, 2019
Textiles at the Art Institute of Chicago
Join guests from the Art Institute of Chicago’s textile conservation department for an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at caring for the textile collection at a major arts institution. Kathleen Kiefer, Conservator of Textiles, Erica Warren, Assistant Curator of Textiles and Isaac Facio, Conservator of Textiles, will share their expert knowledge and a few examples of their work. 

April 8, 2019
Seriously Unserious Millinery

Originally a Pastry Chef, Amanda Joyner put down her whisk for a sewing needle and never looked back. Her hats have been worn all over the world and have been featured on television, major magazines, red carpets, runways and more! Amanda’s Art in Focus presentation will include examples of her work, as well as a blocking demonstration. Attendees are strongly encouraged to wear fancy hats to the event!

April 22, 2019
Celebrating Birds
Artists Kimberly Beck and Kristina Knowski will deliver a presentation on their work as part of the Celebrating Birds exhibition in the Atrium Gallery at the Center for Visual & Performing Arts. Following the presentation, the artists will lead the group through a tour of the Atrium Gallery.

May 13, 2019
Traditional Crafting / Extraordinary Art

On the last Art in Focus of the 2018-19 season, please join us for a fun movie that shows the myriad possibilities of a humble material—yarn. It’s not just for winter sweaters and knit socks. See how traditional crafting practices can be redeployed to make shockingly contemporary art.

*Lectures are held on the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month, September 10th through May 13th.
*There will be no December 24th session. 
Lecture topics are subject to change. 
Cancellations may occur due to inclement weather.