Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Holidays from Art+Practice

Art+Practice prop master, Richard Johnson, holds up a mysterious prop created specifically for "These Are Mysteries": episode #15 of The Amerikans, scheduled to debut in mid-January, 2014. The new episode relates the mystical tale of Parnell Necklace: a Yankton Sioux drum maker, musician and storyteller, who shares stories of extraordinary encounters—with UFOs, shape shifters, Bigfoot—that are vividly recreated. Told in a slyly disarming style, Parnell’s tales make one laugh but also suggest that another level of meaning is available to viewers. Stay tuned in January for the official release.

Monday, December 9, 2013

"The Amerikans in China" goes viral

     Left to right: Yingran Zhang, Lang Xu, Shi Shi, Qianhui Zhou, Yinyu Zhan, Mengchen Xu, Jun Li, Zhou Zhou

"The Amerikans in China" is a collaboration between eight Oberlin College students, all from China, and Art+Practice. The project began several months ago to help spread several episodes of "The Amerikans", in translation, to and, China’s two most popular video hosting services. On Monday morning,  December 9th, the group launched a social media campaign on Sina, China's version of Twitter, and a blog on Douban. Within twelve hours, "The Amerikans" went viral, generating over 50,000 views. As a project, "The Amerikans in China" is part of an ongoing mission, modeled by Art+Practice, that illustrates the ways in which art made locally can generate a worldwide audience. 

    Episode #13, "Love & Venom", featured on the main page of, China's version of youtube.

Check out "The Amerikans in China" here:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

"The Amerikans" family portrait

Illustration for "Cinema + Conversation = Community" event invitation Card

Art+Practice would like to say a special thank you to Wally Lanci and Consolidated Graphics Group, in Cleveland, Ohio, for donating the printing costs for our beautiful invitation, by illustrator Kaori Mitsushima, for our November 21st event: "Cinema + Conversation = Community". This image appeared on the front and back of our invitation. It includes a giant paw paw, Ohio's state fruit, and all fifteen of The Amerikans.  Yet to be released, episode #15, titled "These Are Mysteries", stars Parnell Necklace of Peebles, Ohio.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cinema + Conversation = Community

On November 21st, the Community Foundation of Lorain County, Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music and the Nord Family Foundation sponsored a dinner and a movie paired with a community conversation called "Cinema + Conversation = Community".

Moderated by Dan Moulthrop and facilitated by Noelle Celeste, over fifty participants watched six episodes of The Amerikans and engaged in discussions on ways in which each of us can get to know our neighbors. 

"Cinema + Conversation = Community" was an outgrowth of a $30,000 grant, made in 2012, to Art+Practice from the Community Foundation of Lorain County. That grant made possible the last three episodes of The Amerikans - "Walter", "Love & Venom", and "Who Lives There" - and reflected the mutual understanding that local and sustainable media making can contribute to the revitalization of community identity. Art+Practice is proud to be the recipient of the first-ever grant by the foundation for an arts and media project.  

Alana Youssefian, Rachel Iba, Luke Adamson, Carrie Frey
During the event, a quartet from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music performed music by Phillip Glass and Terry Riley.

Art+Practice team: Jeffrey Pence, Micha Hilliard, Mika Johnson
Art+Practice would especially like to thank Brian Frederick, of the Community Foundation of Lorain County, and John Mullaney, of the Nord Family Foundation, for making this event possible. They would also like to thank Dan Moulthrop and Noelle Celeste for making the evening a rewarding experience for all involved. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Revisit an Amerikan classic with LaserBoy, episode 11 of The Amerikans. LaserBoy is the story of James Lehman: artist, computer programmer, and inventor from Akron, Ohio. 

James Lehman
From childhood, certain things preoccupied James: math, science, audio and visual art.  All these things would come together beautifully in his creation of LaserBoy: a software application and hardware technology, adaptable to all computer operating systems, for designing and displaying stunning laser shows. Available at, this free platform gives artists around the globe the opportunity to create unique laser shows.

The soundtrack of "LaserBoy" features music by Tomáš Dvořák, a clarinetist, composer, and artist from Prague, Czech Republic. With roots in electronic music, Dvořák is also influenced by minimalist composers like Steve Reich.

Charles Glanders
Adding on to Dvořák's score is the work of composer and sound designer Charles Glanders, a TIMARA music major at Oberlin College who uses beats and audio effects to create a dynamic field of sound for the video. Listen for Charles original score and sound design on the next episode of The Amerikans, "These Are Mysteries", which will be out in the next month. Check out his website at

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

"I’m a patriotic former Marine, always was always will be” –  Lenny Rumph

On this day, Art+Practice thanks all of our Veterans from all of our wars, not just for your service to this country, but for reminding us that such sacrifices should never be taken for granted. We also hope for the healing of those still suffering from the wounds of war, be they emotional, physical, or spiritual.

In March 2011, we released "Semper Fi": a story on Lenny Rumph, a former US Marine from Elyria, Ohio, who served in Vietnam and Desert Storm. As filmmakers who learn from our subjects, we thank Rumph for both his service to our country and for sharing his story about Vietnam. Of the Ohioans who served alongside him, nearly three thousand died while another twenty thousand suffered wounds. Rumph was among the latter. Watch his powerful story below.

“Believe me real combat is not like the movies. When you get shot it, you definitely know it. The adrenaline is pumping. The only thing you want to do is either return the gunfire, mainly it’s to get your butt out of there in one piece.” 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Coming Soon: "These Are Mysteries"

This week Art+Practice began production on "These Are Mysteries" - episode #15 of The Amerikans - which shares the stories of Parnell Necklace (Wanapin Gagà Hoksina) of the Ihanktonwan Nakota (Yankton Sioux). 

Assisting Art+Practice on the production are Richard Johnson and Brad Charlton, of Amherst, Ohio. Brad is seated on his 1974 Harley Davidson Electra Glide, Police Special, the same bikes featured in the 1973 cult classic "Electra Glide Blue".

Monday, September 30, 2013

Art+Practice Recommendation: "Lucid Inc."

This week Art+Practice recommends a collection of award-winning short documentaries and an ongoing web series, from Lucid Inc., that showcase fascinating people and places in America.
Probably the group's most popular, The Roper” is a six-minute portrait of Kendrick Domingue: an African-American calf-roper trying to qualify for the Las Vegas National Rodeo Finals. Artfully shot, edited, and scored “The Roper” is a must see for fans of short films that delve into the lives of interesting people.

Lucid’s films are even more impressive when one learns that they are self-financed by Anna Sandilands and Ewan McNicol, the films’ co-directors. To do this, the pair run a successful ad agency that works with high-profile clients like Nike, Nokia, Dentsu, and Blackberry. However, unlike most ad agencies, which put profit before passion, Lucid continues to make both interesting ads and beautiful films that are truly inspired. 
Another example is Lucid's portrait of "Harrold Little": owner of a model train museum in Tyler, Texas, with over 2,500 items that can be seen behind glass cases or inside miniature villages where the trains whistle their way through tunnels, over bridges, and around the miniature landscapes created by Little.

Or check out our personal favorite, "Bavarianism": a short film on Leavenworth, Washington, with a population of around 2,000 people. To save the once busy logging town from economic disaster, Leavenworth transformed itself into a unique tourist destination by modeling its town center on a Bavarian Village. The people, so it seems, then followed suit.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Revisit an Amerikan Classic

Revisit an Amerikan classic: "Napkin Tales", episode #7 of The Amerikans. Written by Ethel Moyers, who also acted as the Art Director, "Napkin Tales" is a great example of Art+Practice's unique model, which relies on co-authorship and community partnerships. Pictured behind Moyers, and featured in her documentary, is an aluminum étagère, decorated in autumnal colors and various ornaments.

Like a traditional Japanese home, where hanging scrolls are changed in relation to the season, Moyer's étagère also reflects the passage of time, changing to reflect Christmas, Valentine's Day, spring, summer, and fall.

Also featured in "Napkin Tales" is a napkin from Wales, which pairs English words with their Welsh counterpart. As a memory, this napkin reminds Moyers of her Welsh heritage and her grandparents who taught her how to count to ten in Welsh. See more at

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Art+Practice Recommendation: "Interview Project"

This week Art+Practice recommends "Interview Project": an online series of mini-documentaries that began in 2009 with a 20,000 mile road trip across the United States. On a 70 day drive, filmmakers Austin Lynch and Jason S. completed 121 interviews with people they randomly encountered along the way, asking questions like “What were your dreams as a child?” and “When did you first experience death?” 

According to filmmaker Jason S. “We hope that people will see that even though we are all different we are all also the same…The people that we interviewed are not celebrities, they are ordinary people who when given a chance, prove that they are quite extraordinary.”

Produced by David Lynch, who introduces each episode, The Interview Project's next phase was a road trip across Germany, which led to a new website and 50 interviews, this time in translation. Simply titled "Interview Project Germany", both sites include immaculately designed maps that trace their separate routes and successfully merge independent cinema with an interactive web-based platform. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Meet Yinyu Zhan

Meet Yinyu Zhan, a student from Canton, China, majoring in  Psychology and Economics at Oberlin College. Yinyu is the manager of The Amerikans in China, a project by Art+Practice in which select episodes of The Amerikans are being be uploaded, in translation, to and China’s two most popular video hosting services. According to Yinyu "My goal is to promote the community spirit of The Amerikans in China, which I see as a way to encourage people to be curious about the communities they live in."

Help support The Amerikans in China by watching “Love & Venom” on at:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dolls and Minis

Twenty-eight pieces of shrimp, caviar, sprouts, lemon slices and a bowl of cocktail sauce rest gently on a jade colored bed of lettuce. This piece of art is one of twenty-thousand plus miniatures found at Dolls and Minis, a shop owned by Dawn Reese: the subject of episode #14 of The Amerikans. Dolls and Minis is a place where the fantastic and real blur: a parallel universe where childhood memories, dreams and imagined spaces co-exist amongst the tiny furniture and hand-made objects, most of which are one inch scale, which equates to one foot in real life. For a closer look, watch Who Lives There.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Art+Practice releases episode #14 of "The Amerikans"

Art+Practice announces the release of Who Lives There, episode #14 of The Amerikans. The new episode is a portrait of Dawn Reese, owner of Dolls and Minis: a full service dollhouse and miniature store that recently relocated to Olmsted Falls, Ohio. Talking about the move, Reese said that "Even though they're only miniatures, when you have over 20,000 of them, it's a big move." Reese also runs a miniature club, with over forty members, that meets once a month and is featured in the video. Who Lives There has an original score by Alexander Overington and sound design by Isaac Jones. We are especially thankful to the Community Foundation of Lorain County for making this episode possible. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Local Premier of "Who Lives There"

Art+Practice would like to thank The Community Foundation of Lorain and Oberlin College for sponsoring the local premier of Who Lives There, on Sunday the 25th, at the Apollo Theater in Oberlin, Ohio. Who Lives There is episode # 14 of The Amerikans. After the screening and a short discussion with Dawn Reese, the new star posed for photos outside the  historic Apollo Theater, which was built in 1913 and used to host live musicals and vaudeville acts. Also at Sunday's screening were the stars of episode's #12 & 13, Walter A. Frey, Jr. and Kaori Mitsushima. Photos below from Saturday's screening.

Dawn Reese outside Apollo Theater in Oberlin, Ohio.

Amerikans Kaori Mitsushima (#3), Walter A. Frey, Jr. (#12) and Dawn Reese (#14) at premier of "Who Lives There".

Friday, August 30, 2013

Art+Practice recommendation: "Hollow"

This week Art+Practice recommends "Hollow": a hybrid community participatory project and interactive documentary where content is created “for the community, by the community" - in this case, by and with residents of McDowell County, West Virginia. By using a variety of media, "Hollow" is building engagement and social trust and empowering a community to work together for a better future in a region that suffered the boom and bust economy of coal: an industry that left behind dwindling populations, broken economies, and environmentally decimated landscapes. Unlike any project we have seen, "Hollow" is a fascinating portrait of the possibilities of new media and community engagement. Go to