Giving Where It Matters: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Marks Unprecedented Milestone

Parton’s Imagination Library Reaches One Million Books Distributed Each Month

You can never get enough books into the hands of enough children.” – Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which began as a small community outreach in Parton’s native Sevier County, Tennessee, has evolved to become the largest literacy program in the world. In December, the “little literacy program that could” will mark another impressive milestone—ONE MILLION BOOKS GIFTED TO CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD EACH MONTH.dolly_logos-ilibrary

Founded in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting organization that has, to date, mailed more than 85 million books to children in Australia, Belize, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States. Each month, the program currently mails more than one million specially selected, high-quality, age-appropriate books to registered children from birth until they start Kindergarten in participating communities. Parton envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading in children, preparing them for school and inspiring them to dream. Recent studies suggest participation in the Imagination Library program is positively and significantly associated with higher measures of early language and math development. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

To celebrate the unprecedented success, Evey Johns, a two-year-old from Conway, Arkansas who just enrolled in the Imagination Library, has been randomly selected to receive a $30,000 college scholarship. The announcement was made by Parton during her Pure & Simple concert tour stop in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on Nov. 15. The concert raised $500,000 to benefit the Imagination Library.

dolly-partons-pure-and-simple-concert-in-pigeon-forge-tennessee-raised-500000-for-her-imagination-library-photo-business-wire

Dolly Parton’s Pure and Simple concert in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee raised $500,000 for her Imagination Library. (Photo: Business Wire)

I thought long and hard about the best way to honor our achievement of reaching a million children a month,” Parton said. “The Imagination Library is all about inspiring dreams, so what better way to pay tribute to this moment than by helping one special child pursue her college degree. I’m thrilled that today I can let the world know that precious little Evey Johns from Conway, Arkansas will receive a $30,000 scholarship for the college of her choice.”

evey-johns-from-conway-arkansas-received-a-30000-scholarship-from-dolly-partons-imagination-library-in-honor-of-the-program-reaching-1-million-books-distributed-each-month-photo-business-wire

Evey Johns from Conway, Arkansas received a $30,000 scholarship from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in honor of the program reaching 1 million books distributed each month. (Photo: Business Wire)

The thought of our daughter Evey going to college has been just that—a thought,” explained Evey’s mother, Connie. “Due to the enormous kindness and generosity of the Dollywood Foundation, that thought has now become a reality. Our family now has the means to develop a solid plan for our daughter’s future education. Thank you all so much for this unbelievable opportunity for our daughter.chromelogodp-star

The scholarship will be held in a special account and distributed to Johns when she enrolls in college. Over the next 16 years, the amount of scholarship should grow to nearly approximately $50,000. Johns is enrolled in the Imagination Library in Conway thanks to the local affiliate in her area, Arkansas Preschool Plus. Continue reading

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Presents New Art from Greater China That Explores the Concept of Place through Storytelling

Second Exhibition of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative Features Works Commissioned for Guggenheim Collection

Exhibition: Tales of Our Time

Venue: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York

Location: Tower Levels 4 and 5

Dates: Now through March 10, 2017

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents Tales of Our Time, an exhibition featuring nine newly commissioned works by artists born in mainland China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan. This is the second exhibition of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative, a long-term research, curatorial, and collections-building program at the Guggenheim Museum.

The exhibition’s title refers to the 1936 book Gushi xin bian (Old Tales Retold) by the influential Chinese modernist, social activist, and literary giant Lu Xun. In the book, Lu reinvents Chinese legends, as he considers these tales to be not only a literary genre, but also a strategy for critiquing social conditions and reconstructing history through storytelling.guggenheim-museum-logo

Though diverse in subjects and strategies, the works are united by the artists’ use of storytelling to propose alternative ways of looking at place. Working in drawing, animation, video, photography, sculpture, installation, and participatory intervention, the artists in the exhibition address the concept of geography and territory in ways as specific as where they are based or as big as China itself, which they see as a concept constantly being questioned and reinvented. These artists freely cross divides to examine the tensions between past and present, myth and fact, reality and dreams, rationality and absurdity, and individuality and collectivity.

The artists represented in Tales of Our Time are Chia-En Jao, Kan Xuan, Sun Xun, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, Tsang Kin-Wah, Yangjiang Group, and Zhou Tao.

Tales of Our Time is organized by Xiaoyu Weng, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Associate Curator of Chinese Art, and Hou Hanru, Consulting Curator, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative. Kyung An, Assistant Curator, Asian Art, provides curatorial support. The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative is part of the Guggenheim’s Asian Art Initiative, directed by Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art and Senior Advisor, Global Arts. All commissioned works will enter the Guggenheim’s collection.

Curators Xiaoyu Weng and Hou Hanru have taken a dynamic and collaborative approach, as they worked closely with the commissioned artists to explore the questions and insights that drive these art practices. We hope that these works will inform new understanding of global contemporary art through the lens of Chinese culture today,” stated Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “The Guggenheim is grateful to The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation for its sustained commitment to this effort.”

Ted Lipman, CEO of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, congratulated the commissioned artists and noted, “Contemporary Chinese art, along with the dialogue around it, is a dynamic and increasingly important force shaping the global cultural landscape. The Chinese Art Initiative at the Guggenheim is designed to offer a fresh perspective on Chinese culture and its relationship with contemporary society. The Foundation hopes the impact of this initiative will be a lasting one.”

Tales of Our Time

Chia-En Jao (b. 1976, Taichung, Taiwan). Arms no. 31, 2016. Cast aluminum, textile patchwork, display case with fabric swatches, and paper handout with text. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Collection. © Chia-En Jao. Installation View: Tales of Our Time. Photo: David Heald

The artists represented in Tales of Our Time vary greatly in their practices and viewpoints,” says Xiaoyu Weng. “But they share a broad perspective, one that places China’s culture, history, and social reality in the context of the wider world. And like so many artists today, they register acute discomfort with the tension between the personal experiences of regular people and the dominant narratives and conventions of power.

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Sun Xun (b. 1980, Fuxin, Liaoning Province), Mythological Time, 2016 (details). Two-channel color HD animated video, with sound, and ink, graphite and acrylic on mulberry bark paper. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Collection. © Sun Xun

Tales of Our Time is installed on two Tower Levels of the museum. Visitors may enter Tower Level 4 through a passageway lined with fantastic visions inspired by the natural world, drawn in the classical Chinese style on traditional bark paper by Sun Xun (b. 1980). Sun’s installation Mythological Time (2016) centers on his hometown of Fuxin in northeastern China, a coal-mining town that was once the pride of modern-era Chinese industrialization, but which the artist portrays as merely a fleeting scene over many millennia. A second monumental wall-size painting by Sun Xun depicting a surreal prehistoric landscape is also on view. Two video streams are projected onto its surface, sending animated creatures cavorting next to those drawn on paper with ink and acrylics.

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Chia-En Jao (b. 1976, Taichung, Taiwan), Taxi, 2016, Color UHD video, with sound. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Collection. © Chia-En Jao

Taxi (2016), a video installation, presents conversations conducted by the artist Chia-En Jao (b. 1976) with taxi drivers in Taipei. The artist asked drivers to take him to historically contested destinations in the city, such as a branch of Chang Hwa Bank where a mass protest was suppressed by Chiang Kai-shek’s military regime in 1947, the Presidential Office Building, the Grand Hotel, or the National Taiwan Museum. Recorded documentary style, the conversations meander through difficult memories of the Japanese occupation and martial law to present-day concerns. The artist has also created a flag for the installation, a traditional coat of arms representing many aspects of Taiwanese society, including its aboriginal communities. Through this investigation into the powerful connection between history and storytelling, Jao creates a mental map of Taipei that honors individual memory and experience.

Zhou Tao

Zhou Tao (b. 1976, Changsha, Hunan Province), Land of the Throat, 2016 Installation with two-channel color HD video, with sound. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Collection. © Zhou Tao

Nearby Taxi on Tower Level 4 is a futuristic, pod-like video installation by Zhou Tao (b. 1976). Land of the Throat (2016) evokes a phenomenon characteristic of China’s urbanization today: the construction of the new and the consequential transformation of the land. Two synchronized videos composed of footage recorded in Guangdong, China and Arizona are projected onto opposite sides of an enclosed structure in the gallery space. A cow chained to an abandoned industrial washing machine moos in an otherwise silent, desolate landscape; workers pour out of construction sites; children play aimlessly; dogs and rats roam near fishing holes; and rescue workers in Shenzhen care for survivors injured in the city’s 2015 landslide. Continue reading

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces “Shakespeare 400 Chicago,” The Largest Global Celebration Of Playwright’s 400-Year Legacy In 2016

Celebration Will Engage Top Chicago Cultural Institutions in Yearlong International Festivalslide4

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was joined by Chicago Shakespeare Theater Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, Executive Director Criss Henderson, and leaders of the City’s cultural institutions today to announce Shakespeare 400 Chicago, a yearlong international arts festival in 2016 celebrating the vibrancy, relevance and reach of Shakespeare. As the world commemorates the four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death in 1616, Shakespeare 400 Chicago brings together the city’s resident world-class institutions across disciplines, and welcomes leading artists from around the globe to make Chicago their stage. Anticipated to be the world’s largest and most comprehensive celebration of Shakespeare’s enduring legacy, Shakespeare 400 Chicago is making “no small plans.”Shakespeare 400 Chicago logo

Chicago will take center stage in 2016, as more than 1,000 local and international artists will create a global celebration of Shakespeare like no other in the world,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “During this landmark year, Shakespeare will be alive on our stages, in our schools and across our neighborhoods. The power of our world-class cultural institutions uniting behind one theme serves to amplify Chicago’s role as a global destination for cultural tourism.”

Spearheaded by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, this yearlong Quadricentennial festival will engage more than 500,000 Chicagoans and visitors to the City through 850 events exploring how Shakespeare’s words continue to live in Chicago and throughout the world’s great theater, dance, literature, music, cuisine and spectacle.

 Shanghai Peking Opera’s The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan based on Hamlet, featured at the Harris Theater of Music and Dance as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago in 2016. Photo by EFE/Leopoldo Smith Murillo.

Shanghai Peking Opera’s The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan based on Hamlet, featured at the Harris Theater of Music and Dance as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago in 2016. Photo by EFE/Leopoldo Smith Murillo.

With leading support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, a diverse array of work across artistic disciplines will highlight Shakespeare’s timeless inspiration of playwrights, painters and poets, composers and choreographers. Among the more than 60 Chicago institutions joining Chicago Shakespeare in offering performances, events and exhibitions are: the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Humanities Festival, Chicago Mariachi Project, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Libraries, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Illinois Humanities, Joffrey Ballet, Logan Center for the Arts, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Negaunee Music Institute, Newberry Library and WTTW.

Jonathan Pryce as Shylock in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s production of The Merchant of Venice, featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago in 2016. Photo by Manuel Harlan.

Jonathan Pryce as Shylock in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s production of The Merchant of Venice, featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago in 2016. Photo by Manuel Harlan.

Highlights from Chicago partners include: Lyric Opera of Chicago presents Charles Gounod‘s soaring Romeo and Juliet; Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Maestro Riccardo Muti culminates his cycle of Verdi‘s Shakespeare operas with Falstaff; Art Institute of Chicago highlights Shakespeare-inspired visual art in a special exhibition; Chicago chefs and restaurateurs, including Rick Bayless, Alpana Singh and Ryan McCaskey, will create a culinary “Complete Works” in restaurants across the city; and Newberry Library’s “Creating Shakespeare” exhibition will bring together treasures from the British Library and the Folger Shakespeare Library alongside the Newberry’s own renowned Shakespeare collection.

 Back from L to R: Jackson Doran (Cassio), GQ (Iago), JQ (Loco Vito) and Postell Pringle (Othello) in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Othello: The Remix, featured as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago in 2016. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Back from L to R: Jackson Doran (Cassio), GQ (Iago), JQ (Loco Vito) and Postell Pringle (Othello) in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Othello: The Remix, featured as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago in 2016. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Chicago Shakespeare‘s centerpiece of the celebration is Barbara Gaines’ electrifying six-play history cycle, Tug of War, including Edward III, Henry V, Henry VI, Parts 1, 2 and 3, and Richard III. Two action-packed dramas in the spring and fall of 2016 trace the rise and fall of kings—and the uncommon courage of common men.

Belarus Free Theatre’s King Lear, featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago. Photo by Nicolai Khalezin.

Belarus Free Theatre’s King Lear, featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago. Photo by Nicolai Khalezin.

 The company of the Company Theatre of Mumbai’s Piya Behrupiya, a Hindi version of Twelfth Night, featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago. Photo courtesy of Company Theatre.

The company of the Company Theatre of Mumbai’s Piya Behrupiya, a Hindi version of Twelfth Night, featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago. Photo courtesy of Company Theatre.

Chicago Shakespeare has been honored to serve as a cultural ambassador for our city—importing astonishing work from around the world and exporting our work to leading international festivals,” reflected CST Executive Director Criss Henderson. “Shakespeare 400 Chicago deepens our role as a global theater reflective of our global city—and demonstrates how Shakespeare’s timeless words continue to inspire artists across disciplines and across cultures.”

Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Maestro Riccardo Muti culminates his cycle of Verdi's Shakespeare operas with Falstaff.  featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Maestro Riccardo Muti culminates his cycle of Verdi’s Shakespeare operas with Falstaff. featured at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago.

International artists participating in Shakespeare 400 Chicago will hail from Australia, Belarus, Belgium, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and beyond. International highlights include: Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre‘s The Merchant of Venice, starring Jonathan Pryce at Chicago Shakespeare; Shanghai Peking Opera‘s The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan (based on Hamlet) and the Hamburg Ballet‘s Othello at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance; (In)Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare from Forced Entertainment at the Museum of Contemporary Art; Also, the Cheek by Jowl/Pushkin Theatre of Moscow production of Declan Donnellan‘s Measure for Measure; Belarus Free Theatre‘s King Lear; National Theatre Studio‘s Sancho: An Act of Remembrance, written by and starring Paterson Joseph; The Company Theatre of Mumbai‘s Hindi translation of Twelfth NightPiya Behrupiya; Songs of Lear from Poland’s Song of the Goat; and Filter and the Royal Shakespeare Company‘s music-infused Twelfth Night—all at Chicago Shakespeare. Continue reading

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC

A Riveting New Exhibition Presented by Food Bank For New York City & Brooklyn Historical Society by Photojournalist Joey O’Loughlin

As you look at the pictures, please consider: What would you do if you couldn’t feed your family?” – Joey O’Loughlin

Jewish families in Brooklyn lines up each Friday for bread for Sabbath dinner. Keeping kosher is hard for families who live in poverty. The food tends to be expensive and the number of kosher pantries is limited. the majority of poor Jewish families who live in NYC live sin Brooklyn. Photo Credit: Joey O'Loughlin

Jewish families in Brooklyn lines up each Friday for bread for Sabbath dinner. Keeping kosher is hard for families who live in poverty. The food tends to be expensive and the number of kosher pantries is limited. The majority of poor Jewish families who live in NYC lives in Brooklyn. Photo Credit: Joey O’Loughlin

Food Bank For New York City and the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) is co-presenting a joint exhibition Hidden In Plain Sight: Portraits of Hunger in NYC. The exhibition, which open to the public on November 6, 2015 and be presented at the Brooklyn Historical Society‘s 1881 landmark building, will feature the photographs of Brooklyn-based photojournalist Joey O’Loughlin. The exhibit reflects the extraordinary diversity of location, population, and experience in food pantries throughout New York City, where hundreds line up to receive free groceries and is designed to raise awareness of the causes and impact of food poverty as a devastating reality of contemporary urban life.

Food Bank For New York City Logo (PRNewsFoto/Food Bank For New York City)

Food Bank For New York City Logo (PRNewsFoto/Food Bank For New York City)

Food Bank For New York City has been the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end hunger throughout the five boroughs for more than 30 years. Nearly one in five New Yorkers relies on Food Bank for food and other resources. It takes a strategic, multifaceted approach that provides meals and builds capacity in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among all New Yorkers. Through its network of more than 1,000 charities and schools citywide, Food Bank provides food for more than 64 million free meals for New Yorkers in need. Food Bank For New York City‘s income support services, including SNAP (food stamp) screening and free tax assistance for the working poor, put more than $150 million each year into the pockets of New Yorkers, helping them to afford food and live with greater dignity and independence. In addition, Food Bank’s nutrition education programs and services empower more than 275,000 children, teens and adults to sustain healthy diets on very limited budgets. Working toward long-term solutions to food poverty, Food Bank develops policy and conducts research to inform community and government efforts. (Learn how you can help at www.foodbanknyc.org.)

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC. Photo Credit: Joey O'Loughlin

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC. Photo Credit: Joey O’Loughlin

Nearly one in five New Yorkers relies on Food Bank For New York City‘s programs and services. During the past year, the organization has seen the need for emergency food in New York City increase while the resources required to combat hunger and poverty have decreased. The number of meals that vulnerable New Yorkers are missing due to lack of sufficient resources tops a staggering 241 million, representing an enormous Meal Gap. The Meal Gap, adapted as the City’s official measure of food insecurity, has now been geographically mapped to reveal where hunger lives – enabling Food Bank to allocate resources to areas with the highest need across New York City.

"What would you be willing to do if you couldn't afford to feed your children?" Image from the exhibit, HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC by Photojournalist Joey O'Loughlin

What would you be willing to do if you couldn’t afford to feed your children?
Image from the exhibit, HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC by Photojournalist Joey O’Loughlin

For nearly three years, Ms. O’Loughlin documented the people behind the statistics by photographing and interviewing clients at Food Bank For New York City‘s citywide network of food pantries– the last line of defense against hunger for New Yorkers in need — to reveal the people who run them, and the people who wait on their lines. Through these images, Ms. O’Loughlin asks the question, “What would you be willing to do if you couldn’t afford to feed your children?

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC. Photo by Joey O'Loughlin

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC. Photo by Joey O’Loughlin

People are always shocked to learn that one in five people on our pantry lines has a job,” said Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. “No one wants to believe that you can work your entire life and still not be able to afford food. The myth is, they did something wrong. The fact is, they didn’t. Children, the working poor and the elderly on fixed income are the most severely affected by hunger. These are the faces highlighted in this exhibit in order to combat the myths about hunger. We hope that this exhibit and related programming will foster empathy and awareness among New Yorkers, and inspire them to advocate for hunger-relief resources and opportunities that so many of us now need to survive in this challenging economy.

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC. Photo by Joey O'Loughlin

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC. Photo by Joey O’Loughlin

The exhibit takes viewers from food pantry line to the home pantry. While most food pantries work hard to ease the experience, lining up for food can be dehumanizing. On the line, you’re both on display and socially invisible, but at home, you’re like everyone else. By juxtaposing images of food lines with those taken inside people’s homes, this exhibit puts a face on the everyday New Yorkers–often strong mothers and grandmothers–who must participate in the complicated economic balancing act that allows them to stay in their homes, and retain their family dignity. As family dinner is a universal point of connection, the exhibit will also feature images of home-cooked meals made from pantry groceries. Family history and personality are revealed in images of meals and around the table.

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC. Photo by Joey O'Loughlin

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC. Patrick is 46 and disabled by AIDS. He was outed in the military, less than honorably discharged and never completely regained his footing. He worked for Housing Works for years and lives in subsidized housing on Staten Island. Patrick depends on food pantries to get by, and can offer a remarkable accounting of his living expenses, balanced down to the penny.  Photo by Joey O’Loughlin

Through interpretive materials in the exhibition, and a focus on people and places throughout New York City, it is hoped that the exhibit will provoke thoughtful discussion on both cross-cultural and cross-generational experiences. Public programming around the exhibition will include panel discussions featuring historians and food justice advocates, among others. Programs will engage visitors in questions about hunger and poverty, raising awareness about this increasingly pervasive issue. The exhibition will be on view at BHS from November 6, 2015 November 13, 2016.Food Bank For New York City

We are proud to exhibit the thought-provoking images in “Hidden in Plain Sight,“‘ said Deborah Schwartz, President of Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS). “O’Loughlin’s photo essay continues the mission of BHS to tell stories which have been overlooked, yet are part of our collective experience and living history. Our hope is that this exhibition sparks a conversation about the inequalities in food access that affect us all, and the solutions we can work on together to overcome them.”

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC. Emily Diac, aged five years old, waited while her mother shopped at a food pantry. One in four New York City children doesn't have enough to eat. Photographed by Photojournalist Joey O'Loughlin

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: Portraits of Hunger in NYC. Emily Diac, aged five years old, waited while her mother shopped at a food pantry. One in four New York City children doesn’t have enough to eat. Times are especially hard for poor families in NYC and the family has since left NYC for Marietta, Georgia, where her mother works at a Sam’s Club and her father is a maintenance man. Photographed by Photojournalist Joey O’Loughlin

Joey O’Loughlin is a photojournalist, producer and writer with more than two decades of experience in news, informational and cultural programming. Her photographic work supports humanitarian efforts in the United States and around the world. In 2012, O’Loughlin worked with the Brooklyn Public Library to show how library experiences are woven into the fabric of people’s daily lives, and why libraries are valuable in challenging economic times. The resulting photographic multimedia project “Where Do the Books Go?” was installed at the Brooklyn Public Library, and was featured in the New York Daily News, as well as other publications Continue reading

Fall 2015 Travel: Michigan’s Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Celebrates Autumn with Chrysanthemum Exhibition

The “Chrysanthemums And More!” Exhibition Features Vibrant Chrysanthemum Displays, Family-Friendly Activities And More, Now Through To November 1.

Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World to Follow

The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is pleased to present the fall exhibition, “Chrysanthemums and More!” now opening to the public. This exhibition, the largest of its kind in Michigan, features expansive displays of chrysanthemums, fall foliage and family-friendly activities. The exhibition will be on display until November 1.

One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525) serves nearly 600,000 visitors annually. Meijer Gardens was recently ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news. The 158-acre grounds feature Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory (The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory); one of the largest children’s gardens (The Lena Meijer Children’s Garden) in the country; arid (Earl and Donnalee Holton Arid Garden) and Victorian (Earl and Donnalee Holton Victorian Garden) gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house (the Kenneth E. Nelson Carnivorous Plant House); outdoor gardens (The Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden, The Leslie E. Tassell English Perennial & Bulb Garden, and The New American Garden); and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater (The Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater), featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer.

The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Rodin, Oldenburg, Weiwei, Moore, Serra, Bourgeois and Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with recent exhibitions by Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky, Calder and Dine. In June 2015, the 8–acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened. Created by renowned designer Hoichi Kurisu, the garden features sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Zhang Huan and Guiseppe Penone, among others.'Chrysanthemums and More!' exhibition

Image provided by

Chrysanthemums in bloom at The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park fall exhibition, “Chrysanthemums and More!” now opening to the public. (Image provided by The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park)

Chrysanthemums in bloom at the

Chrysanthemums in bloom at The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park fall exhibition, “Chrysanthemums and More!” now opening to the public. (Image provided by The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park)

This year’s focus will be on the historical significance of the chrysanthemum to many cultures, including the Japanese people, which ties in with Meijer Garden’s 2015 theme: Welcoming the World. The Japanese prominently place images of bright, golden yellow blooms on the imperial seal of the emperor, and in honor of The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, yellow will be this season’s featured color. 

Chrysanthemums and More! is the largest of its kind in Michigan, featuring expansive chrysanthemum displays, fall foliage and family-friendly activities. Indoors, the Seasonal Display Greenhouse features a cascading chrysanthemum-covered wall as the main focal point. Presentations of chrysanthemum spheres, large disbuds and beds of colorful planting complement this display in the nearby Victorian Greenhouse. Outdoors, expansive beds of lush chrysanthemums are arranged in large sweeps of scarlet, purple, orange and gold.

Chrysanthemums & More has become a true fall tradition. Mums provide a bold impact of color that transforms Meijer Gardens,” explained Steve LaWarre, Director Of Horticulture, “We’re brushing landscapes with bursts of gold and yellow in honor of the Japanese tradition.”

Hundreds of mums for the exhibition are gathered in the growing greenhouses, pre-event.

Hundreds of mums for the exhibition are gathered in the growing greenhouses, pre-exhibit at The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (Image provided by The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park)

Butterfield, Cabin Creek, Hebert

Deborah Butterfield’s Cabin Creek, a sculpture in the permanent collection of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Known for her craftsmanship and creative use of materials, Butterfield portrays the essence of the creature’s spirit and energy, bringing equine sculpture into contemporary prominence. (Photo by William J. Herbert/Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park )

Visitors will be greeted with chrysanthemums throughout the Grand Entry Garden and Cook Entry Arbor, and delighted by abundant floral arrangements as they walk through the main building. Upon entering the Seasonal Display Greenhouse, a statuesque chrysanthemum column will present itself as the main focal point. Presentations of chrysanthemum spheres, a five-sphere topiary, large disbuds and beds of colorful planting will complement this feature in the nearby Victorian Greenhouse.

Outdoors, expansive beds of lush chrysanthemums will be arranged in large sweeps of orange, purple and gold and will be balanced by ornamental cabbage and kale.

Activities, such as the Fall Bonsai Show, Giant Pumpkins and Hallowee-Ones, are full of family fun throughout the exhibition. Mum Day on October 18 will give visitors a chance to take a walking tour lead by horticulture staff, enjoy informational demonstrations and learn more about the chrysanthemum.

The Taste of the Gardens Café will feature seasonal daily dinner specials on Tuesday evenings, with some seasonal ingredients coming from Meijer Gardens’ own Michigan’s Farm Garden.

Exhibition Programming

Herb & Gourd Fest

Herb & Gourd Fest

Herb & Gourd Fest

Saturday, September 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, September 20, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Be inspired with new ways to use herbs and gourds at this year’s Herb & Gourd Fest. Discover a variety of ways to use chives, oregano, turmeric and lemon verbena, and sample foods made with them. Discover this year’s “Herb of the Year,” savory, and learn about the many different types and uses. This event is included with admission to Meijer Gardens.Pumpkins_Hebert

Fall Bonsai Show

Saturday, October 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, October 4, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

See a variety of bonsai, from trees in the early stages of training to lovely older trees, displayed by members from the West Michigan Bonsai Club. Shop for bonsai supplies and trees. Learn about materials and techniques used and vote for your favorite tree. This event is complimentary.

Fall Family Days

Sunday, October 10 and 11, 1 to 4 p.m.

The Lena Meijer Children's Garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. (Photo Credit: Michael Barera)

The Lena Meijer Children’s Garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. (Photo Credit: Michael Barera)

Visit the Children’s Garden for fall family fun. Activities include something for each of the senses: flower prints in the Kid-Sense Garden, weaving autumn tales in the Storytelling Garden and old-fashioned games in the Log Cabin. This event is included with admission to Meijer Gardens. 

The Lena Meijer Children’s Garden is one of the most interactive children’s gardens in the country. Here children can look through viewing ports to answer questions about sculpture, dig into the sand quarry to uncover information about fossils and build bridges over the Great Lakes water feature. They can explore tree houses, a log cabin, a butterfly labyrinth, a sense garden and a child-sized beaver lodge. Highlighting hundreds of plants as well as whimsical, child-oriented sculptures, it is perhaps the only children’s garden in the United States with natural wetlands running right through the middle of it.

Giant Pumpkins at Michigan’s Farm Garden

Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18, 1 to 4 p.m.

Michigan's Farm Garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. (Photo Credit: Michael Barera)

Michigan’s Farm Garden at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. (Photo Credit: Michael Barera)

Weighing in at hundreds of pounds, these pumpkins will amaze kids and adults alike. Enjoy a cooking demonstration (1:30 and 3 p.m.) that will highlight the versatile use of this popular fall gourd. This event is included with admission to Meijer Gardens. Continue reading

National Geographic Live Announces Fall 2015 Season Lineup. Season Includes First Ever National Geographic Photo Fest

Hear explorers’ thrilling reports from the field, be inspired by National Geographic photographers, go on assignment with a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and experience the excitement of Telluride Mountainfilm, all without leaving Washington.

National Geographic Live announced its 2015 fall season lineup of events at National Geographic’s downtown Washington, D.C., headquarters. The fall schedule features 11 fascinating events that reflect National Geographic’s belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world, including presentations by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario and renowned climber Jimmy Chin. Tickets go on sale Aug. 10 and may be purchased online at natgeolive.org/dc, via telephone at (202) 857-7700 or in person at the National Geographic Museum ticket desk between 10 am. and 6 pm. All events take place in National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium. Free parking is available in the National Geographic underground garage for programs that begin after 6 pm.

National Geographic Live is the live events division of the National Geographic Society, a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Drawing from a broad roster of talent including renowned photographers, scientists, authors, filmmakers and adventurers, National Geographic Live’s critically acclaimed programs have connected with audiences worldwide for over a century.

We look forward to providing Washingtonians with another season of illuminating programming that offers inspiration and entertainment to audiences of all ages. They will have the opportunity to see, hear and, in some cases, even taste the experiences our incredible explorers and storytellers have to share,” said Andy van Duym, National Geographic’s vice president for National Geographic Live.

The fall season kicks off on Sept. 16 with “Pope Francis and the New Vatican,” a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the August 2015 National Geographic magazine cover story and corresponding book, with National Geographic magazine Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg, writer Robert Draper, photographer Dave Yoder and special guest Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl. The season closes on Jan. 16 with the first ever National Geographic Photo Fest, where the audience will have the opportunity to meet and be inspired by renowned National Geographic photographers on the heels of the annual invitation-only National Geographic Photography Seminar.

The Nat Geo Live fall schedule also includes two student matinees featuring modified versions of the evening presentations geared toward students. Nat Geo Live’s student matinees are supported by education sponsor Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions. On Nov. 4, photographer and National Geographic Fellow Joel Sartore will present to students about Photo Ark, his ongoing quest to document biodiversity by photographing the world’s most endangered species before they disappear. A Photo Ark exhibition will be on display in the National Geographic Museum beginning Nov. 5. The fall student matinee schedule wraps up on Dec. 8 with photojournalist Ami Vitale and “Rhinos, Rickshaws & Revolutions.Nat Geo Live’s student matinees are open to school groups for $10 per student, which includes admission to the National Geographic Museum. For tickets or more information on the student matinees, call (202) 857-7281.

SEPTEMBER 2015

POPE FRANCIS AND THE NEW VATICAN

SEPT. 16, 7:30 PM

A week before the first papal visit to the United States since 2008, join National Geographic magazine Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg for a behind-the-scenes look at the August 2015 cover story of National Geographic magazine, “Will the Pope Change the Vatican?National Geographic was given special access to the pope and permission to document his daily life inside the Vatican for the story. Goldberg will moderate a conversation about this remarkable man with writer Robert Draper, photographer Dave Yoder and special guest Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl. A sale and signing of Draper and Yoder’s recently published book, POPE FRANCIS AND THE NEW VATICAN, will follow. The event is sponsored by The PNC Foundation.

OCTOBER 2015

WHEN TOUGH MEETS TECH: EXPLORATION’S NEW FRONTIER

OCT. 15, 7:30 PM

National Geographic explorer Mike Libecki is on a quest to conquer the world’s last unclimbed peaks. Follow Libecki as he tackles mud and mayhem on the massive Poumaka Tower in French Polynesia, encounters fear and friendship on the Bamiyan slopes of Afghanistan and dodges polar bears while exploring Greenland’s icy waters, all backed by the technology that helps his teams summit and bring the stories back to us. The event is sponsored by Dell.

THE DEFENDERS: INSIDE THE WILDLIFE TRADE

OCT. 22, 7:30 PM

Get an insider’s look at National Geographic’s new Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which was established to expose elephant poaching and combat the illegal wildlife trafficking that’s driving many animals to extinction. The unit’s director, investigative reporter and National Geographic Fellow Bryan Christy, will take the stage to share how the SIU is going undercover to report surprising stories that are making a difference around the globe.

NOVEMBER 2015

BUILDING THE PHOTO ARK

NOV. 4, 7:30 PM

Photographer and National Geographic Fellow Joel Sartore is on a mission to capture portraits of the world’s most endangered species before they disappear. With ingenuity, wit and a serious Midwestern work ethic, Sartore has created the Photo Ark project, the largest archive of its kind, with 5,000 images and counting. Hear about his comical mishaps, endearing encounters and personal stories to document a world worth saving. A Photo Ark exhibition will be on display in the National Geographic Museum beginning Nov. 5.

IT’S WHAT I DO: A PHOTOGRAPHER’S LIFE OF LOVE AND WAR

NOV. 11, 7:30 PM

Go on assignment with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario to the world’s most dangerous conflict zones. Addario has survived death threats and two kidnappings to bring back powerful images from hotspots such as Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan for National Geographic magazine and The New York Times. She’ll share the heart-pounding reality of working in war zones and explain what keeps her going back to places to which most of us would never venture.

TELLURIDE MOUNTAINFILM

NOV. 12-14, 7 PM

Over three unique evenings, enjoy a rich selection of films moderated by Telluride Mountainfilm’s director David Holbrooke and the unveiling of National Geographic’s 2016 Adventurer of the Year nominees. Since 1979, this festival held high in the Rockies has been one of the major events in the adventure film circuit, immersing audiences in issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving, adventures worth pursuing and conversations worth sustaining.

PRISTINE SEAS Continue reading

Macy’s Welcomes Back “American Icons” This Summer

Macy’s offers fashion from America’s favorite brands, early summer events and a partnership with Got Your 6 in support of America’s veterans

From May 13 to July 4, share photos using #AmericanSelfie for a chance to be included
in the national broadcast of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks®

Macy’s announces the return of “American Icons,” launching this week in celebration of America‘s Independence Day (July 4th) and the American landscape, the people, places and things that make this country great. The campaign will kick off with #AmericanSelfie, a social media initiative inspiring customers to share photos of what America means to them, as well as fashions from celebrated designers and icons, in-store events and a special program in support of America’s veterans.

(Image courtesy of Macy's)

(Image courtesy of Macy’s)

American Icons is a meaningful program that offers Macy’s a chance to connect with our customers in celebration of our great country,” said Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer. “With #AmericanSelfie, they can show us why they love America while supporting Got Your 6, a nonprofit organization that serves to empower veterans and strengthen communities. We are also rolling out the latest fashion from the country’s most beloved brands and hosting fun summertime events to make this year’s tribute to America more special than ever.”

From now to July 4, Macy’s is inviting customers to use #AmericanSelfie to share their favorite “selfie” photos that capture the faces, places and things they love on Instagram and Twitter, to show people nationwide what they enjoy most about this country. In support of America’s military veterans, with each use of #AmericanSelfie, macys_on_black_se_8540Macy’s will donate $1, up to $250,000, to Got Your 6, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping our returning service members make America stronger. Plus, #AmericanSelfie will be part of Macy’s annual 4th of July Fireworks show, the nation’s largest Independence Day display telecast nationally on NBC.

Got Your 6 is a campaign that unites nonprofit, Hollywood, and government partners and believes that veterans are leaders, team builders, and problem solvers who have the unique potential to strengthen communities across the country. As a coalition, Got Your 6 works to integrate these perspectives into popular culture, engage veterans and civilians together to foster understanding, and empower veterans to lead in their communities. The organization also knows that most veterans leave the military seeking new challenges, and the campaign ensures that there are opportunities for them to continue their service.

In the military, “Got your six” means “I’ve got your back.” The saying originated with World War I fighter pilots referencing a pilot’s rear as the six o’clock position. It is now a ubiquitous term in the military that highlights the loyalty and cooperation found in military culture. The Got Your 6 campaign chose this term, because it is emblematic of the many skills that veterans bring back into their communities when they return home.

Through entertainment industry partners, Got Your 6 works to normalize the depictions of veterans on film and television to dispel common myths about the veteran population. Through nonprofit and government partners, Got Your 6 likewise ensures successful veteran reintegration and empowers veterans to lead here at home. Together, Got Your 6 and its partners are shifting public perceptions so that veterans’ leadership and skills are recognized and utilized at home to strengthen communities.

Each year, around a quarter-million service members exit the military and re-enter civilian life. It is essential that Americans see the potential for veterans to strengthen our communities. Got Your 6 works to ensure that veterans return home to be seen as leaders and civic assets. For the past decade, our country has framed “veteran reintegration” as a major societal problem or struggle. On the contrary, Got Your 6 believes that it is crucial for Americans to see veteran reintegration as an opportunity, because veterans are uniquely suited to solve some of our nation’s most difficult challenges.

The average American has little first-hand connection to the military and often believes that, in general, veterans are much more likely than civilians to experience unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, and various other issues. These notions are largely misconceptions. They paint a picture of veterans as “broken.” As a result, veterans often say they feel more pity than respect from the civilian population. When veterans fail to successfully reintegrate back into American society, it is often because their communities do not expect them to succeed or excel. Got Your 6 believes that if the country does not call upon returning veterans, then we will miss out on a generation of leaders.

Macy’s is continuing its partnership with Got Your 6 to help empower military veterans and families to make America stronger. In addition to the contribution made through the #AmericanSelfie initiative, Macy’s will host “Got Your 6 Saturday” on May 16, when customers can give $3 at any register and receive a savings pass, with 100 percent of the purchase price donated to Got Your 6. With this pass, shoppers will receive a 25 percent discount all day on purchases, exclusions and restrictions apply. Beyond “Got Your 6 Saturday,” Macy’s shoppers can still support America’s veterans from May 17 through May 25 by giving $3 for a 15 percent/20 percent discount savings pass to drive additional donations to Got Your 6 and its nonprofit partners.

Star-Studded Fashion
Macy’s has lined up an all-star cast of brands to offer shoppers the most covetable clothing and accessories – just in time for the warm weather season. Macy’s customers will be treated to collections by Calvin Klein, I.N.C. International Concepts, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Martha Stewart Collection, Locker Room Lids, Thalía Sodi, Ryan Seacrest Distinction and the lovable characters from PEANUTS®, among others, for the hottest trends in fashion all summer long. This year’s talent and brands will be featured in the new print, digital and in-store American Icons advertising campaign, as well as a 112-page direct mail book of curated merchandise, also available at macys.com/americanicons.

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Set against the ultra-modern backdrop of the new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, Calvin Klein continues its tradition of cutting-edge, minimal designs. Featuring sleek silhouettes and a black-and-white color palette, the range is crisp and contemporary. Spring’s athletic vibe manifests in a dynamic way with moto-jackets and slide sandals, allowing for both fit and function.

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I.N.C. International Concepts celebrates 30 years of fashion-forward designs, and has tapped world-renowned models Heidi Klum and Gabriel Aubry to lead the festivities. For women, the collection boasts eclecticism, featuring prints, colors, and details like fringe that give off a worldly vibe. For men, lightweight blazers, printed wovens and fitted jeans comprise a collection that emanates relaxed sophistication.

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American Icons - Coast to Coast  - Thalia Sodi

With a landmark Art Deco hotel in the heart of South Beach as a backdrop, the Thalía Sodi collection for American Icons exudes energy and excitement. Just in time for hot summer nights, Thalía Sodi offers customers a bold, vibrant collection of clothing, jewelry and footwear that is simply head-turning. Figure-flattering and feminine, the collection’s dresses and separates make women feel confident and beautiful. The use of bright colors and vivid prints reflects the vivacity of Thalía, and the use of gold throughout the statement footwear and jewelry highlight the glamour and opulence of the range.

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Ryan Seacrest

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Ryan Seacrest has proven to be a media powerhouse in broadcast and radio, all while impeccably dressed. Through his eponymous line, Seacrest brings the same polish and sophistication to men throughout the country. The Ryan Seacrest Distinction collection for American Icons features tailored suits, sport coats, trousers and shirting that are bold and clean. Ties, cufflinks and pocket squares provide the perfect finishing touches, creating undeniably stylish looks perfect for any occasion. Continue reading