Briefly in the Arts

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Greater Denton Arts Council seeks docents

The Greater Denton Arts Council will host an informational meeting for people interested in docent training at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Center for Visual Arts, 400 E. Hickory St.

Council docents lead tours for selected exhibitions through the year. Docents do research on the artists and art included in the Meadows and Gough galleries at the art center. They present their research during gallery tours and prepare to answer questions for visitors who attend exhibits on their own. Each December, the fourth-grade students of the Denton school district go through the center’s galleries.

A light lunch will be served during the Aug. 6 meeting. Those interested in learning more are asked to make reservations by calling the council offices at 940-382-2787, or by visiting the center during gallery hours between 1 and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

 

UNT graduate to have solo exhibit in Oak Cliff

A graduate of the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design will have a solo show of new work opening Sept. 14 at Mighty Fine Arts in Dallas’ Oak Cliff area.

Dallas-based watercolor artist Rosemary Meza-DesPlas’ show, “Armas Desnudas — Spanish for “naked guns” — explores the link between violence, sexiness and femininity through hair drawings, an installation and watercolor paintings.

Meza-DesPlas earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at UNT, where she studied with Vernon Fisher. She received her Master of Fine Arts in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art, where she studied under the abstract expressionist Grace Hartigan, director of the Hoffberger School of Painting.

Meza-DesPlas received the Arch and Anne Giles Kimbrough Fund Award from the Dallas Museum of Art in 1995.

The opening reception will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 14. The exhibit runs through Oct. 27.

Mighty Fine Arts is located at 409A N. Tyler St. in Dallas. For more information, call 214-942-5241.

 

Book brings Sam Bass to new generation

Today marks the 135th anniversary of the death of outlaw Sam Bass.

Late author Duane DeMello brought the tale of Sam Bass to life in a book titled The Denton Mare. Readers can relive the story of the largest-ever gold heist from the Union Pacific express and the faceoff between Bass and the Texas Rangers.

The Denton Mare follows Bass as he eludes his pursuers and shares his haul without restraint, a real-life, Western-style Robin Hood. Bass didn’t kill until his last gunfight, when he was betrayed by one of his closest friends. This led to his dramatic final confrontation with the Rangers, ending his spree on his 27th birthday.

DeMello died in 2006. His wife, Beverly DeMello, published The Denton Mare in 2008. It has won multiple literary awards, including the Houston Area Booksellers Award. Duane DeMello was named one of eight finalists for the University of Pittsburgh Press’ Drue Heinz Literature Prize.

“It’s the story of lost dreams and of an existence held together only by the uncommon will of the human spirit,” Beverly DeMello said. “And that’s what keeps our dreams alive. I believe that’s why the story of Sam Bass resonated so much with my husband. Love and the human spirit transcend death.”

For more information about the book or to buy a copy, visit www.dentonmare.com .

 

Professor publishes book about drum language

A University of North Texas music professor has just released a book about the “language” of African drums.

A drum does more than make a sound, said Gideon Foli Alorwoyie, who teaches African percussion in the UNT College of Music. In the book, Agbadza: Songs, Drum Language of the Ewes, Alorwoyie explains the deeper meaning behind the music, lyrics and the language of the drums that the Ewes in Africa have developed for centuries.

The book came out Monday, along with a CD of songs that can be regarded as one long work in 25 sections. The style of music traditional to the Ewe people from Ghana, Togo and Benin in West Africa is detailed in the book, along with a discussion of Agbadza musical instruments, song structure and drumming style.

Alorwoyie transcribed the 25 songs into Western notation and translated the lyrics into English. The book contains commentary by the professor about the content and context of the songs in regard to Agbadza tradition.

“These songs started as war songs, but they are much more now,” said Alorwoyie. “In olden days, you could sit around and ask questions through drumming and singing — and another person could drum and sing a response. It was like having a conversation.”

Alorwoyie is a high priest of the Yewe religion. Funding from UNT and the USA-Africa Artists Exchange Fund made the book possible. For more information or to buy the book and CD, call the UNT College of Music at 940-565-2791.

— Staff reports

 


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