|Centre grad selected to take part in Smithsonian Festival
RELEASED: June 20, 2002
DANVILLE, KY-Alysia Fischer, a 1993 graduate from Centre College, has been chosen to participate in the Smithsonian Institute's 36th annual Folklife Festival to be held June 26-30 and July 3-7 at National Mall in Washington, D.C. The summer event draws more than a million visitors each year.
The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage promotes the understanding and continuity of contemporary grassroots cultures in the United States and abroad. The Center produces the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, exhibitions, documentary films and videos, symposia and educational materials. The Center conducts ethnographic and cultural policy oriented research, maintains a documentary archival collection and provides educational and research opportunities.
For 2002, the Festival program is produced in collaboration with the Silk Road Project, Inc. an organization founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma (who has performed at Centre) and supporting concerts, activities, and educational programs across the United States, Europe and Asia on Silk Road themes. The "Silk Road" refers to a series of routes that crisscrossed Eurasia from the first millennium B.C. through the middle of the second millennium A.D. The best known segment of the Silk Road began in the Chinese capital of Chang'an. The purpose of the Silk Road Project is to illuminate the Silk Road's historical contribution to the diffusion of art and culture, identify current voices that best represent this cultural legacy and support new collaborations among artists.
Fischer will arrive early to work with a father-son glass-blowing team from Syria, Hasan and Mohamad Nazir al Kazzaz, who will begin building a glass furnace on the site this weekend. Fischer will document this process.
"It's a unique opportunity because none of the glass-blowers I studied in Egypt, Jordan or Turkey were actively building their furnace," said Fischer, who received a double-major in art and religion from Centre. "It's strange that one of my most elusive research interests should travel to me rather than vice versa."
Once the festival begins, Fischer will work with both the glass-blowers and the public, facilitating a dialogue between them. This will be only one of many attractions at the Festival, which includes craftspeople and performers from throughout the Silk Road.
"The Smithsonian requested my curriculum vitae and decided I'd fit in, so I'm off to D.C. I'm very excited about the festival and I hope that if any Centre folks are in the D.C. area they'll stop by," Fischer said.
She will be located in the Jewel Garden area across from the Venice Piazza.
Fischer, along with three other Centre graduates, assisted Centre Professor of Art Stephen Powell in performing a glass-blowing exhibition at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City this February.
For more on the Smithsonian Festival, visit http://www.folklife.si.edu/.
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