Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reflection of the culture- Art and WIne Festival

Mountain View Art and Wine Festival

Couple of weeks ago, I hung out with my friend in downtown Mountain View, California, for 40th Annual Mountain View Art & Wine Festival.  Yes, as the name indicates, it exhibits and sells art and craft works of over 600 artists and also it introduces, promotes and sells wines. I spent a whole day strolling around with a glass of wine in hand, enjoying beautiful art, craft and so many other things. But what I realized that this event was much more than art and wine.

I was attending this event after three years so I noticed changes in the types of art and craft objects. Generally, art and craft evokes emotions by its beauty or symbols, and it does reflect culture or perception of the artists. This is not for all artworks but many of the artworks/craftworks depict tradition, culture, religion or/and faith of the society. I saw the works of the artists crossing traditional boundaries of classical art. Many of them used  innovative materials such as Aluminum and plastic instead of canvass, techniques and ideas.
Few of them are cited below-
Of course the booth selling Tie-dye apparels appeared like new improved comeback as non-toxic dyes and carefully designed patterns. They were ready to be purchased by the environmentally conscious baby boomers creating notalgic feelings of rock/roll music.

Look at the Magnetic healing Bracelets booth, even sun lights creating these mystical properties of products. Many residents of this city and surrounding area are health conscious and believe in  eastern practice of Yoga(Check out an another event of  peace-EarthDance in the area), Meditation, Acupuncture and so on. They are perfect consumers for these products.

Another craft object, "Celtic Medallion", a perfect example of reflection of Irish cultures. As shown in the photo you follow the lines of Celtic symbols printed on wooden circle with a wooden stick. They are supposed to take you in a peaceful state of mind. Everybody was stopping to try it out and I wondered about it.

The music bands had various ethnic flavor. As shown in the photo, a young boy (Look carefully, he is so short that you may not see him) on a drums playing in a live band definitely depicted the enterprising spirit of Silicone valley. Many food artisans were focusing on organic and green products. The wine tastings included wines from Napa, Sonoma, Chillin regions and Italian regions. 

The community-oriented event like this encourages people to interact with each other and bridges boundaries between the artisans and the users. And of course wine, good food, music and connecting with friends are additional fun.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back to School Night

Back-To-School Night

This post is little unusual but, I decided to share.
 Visiting to children's school event  “Back to School” night took me back to my high school years in Ahmedabad, India. All parents will agree with me on this being very important and crucial event in terms of participating in the kids’ academic life. At least for me, it always is. When they are talking about their teachers, I could put face and personality behind the names.

“Back-to-School Night” happens in the second week of the school year and Parents are invited to experience their child’s academic life in two hours. Now you know why I did not want to miss it. The whole idea behind this is to meet the teachers and learn their teaching methods and the materials. Normally, parents follow their child’s day class schedule and spend 15 minutes in one class and go to the next class in 3 minutes and spend 15 minutes there. Having both children (Praniti and Curran) in 11th grade and taking different classes, I had two schedules of 7 periods. So I chose 7 subjects from both the schedules and made my own schedule and I was prepared with school campus map, my routes drawn over (check it out), a torch and a comfortable pair of shoes.

The Gunn high school is clustered in separate one story wings/buildings encompassing small classrooms. These classrooms are flanked with corridors on both sides. Of course, there are trees and shrubs along the buildings. The teachers have their classrooms and the students go from one class to another class unlike in the school, I studied the students stay in one room for all the classes , the teachers come to your class.All parents started this tour at 7.00PM from the Spannenbeg Stadium and we completed at 9.00PM. I move to the next class when the bell rings and I followed the routes and two times, I had to almost run. The decision of wearing comfortable shoes proved right and I could reach to the class in 3 minutes. Of course, I had to be disciplined and not look up to say hi or smile to other parents. I was pleased with almost all the teachers and amazed with few due to their teaching styles and credentials. What impressed me was different approaches of communications our children experience.  Along with traditional materials, the classrooms had digital smart boards, livescribes and the teachers used latest presentation techniques. One younger teacher used "Hands On" method to communicate with the parents. He made us do experiment of lighting a bulb in four ways with one battery. At the same time, he projected his bio-data and the study materials on two walls, very  glamorous and entertaining. Few teachers have their websites to deliver current study materials along with the school portal. I could not believe that my son will have access to lab equipment to do his own gene research in the Advanced Biology class. At 15, I did not have all these things and facilities.  I also loved the reading and study materials of  English and Mythology (Odysse by Homer, Hamlet, and many "classics").  The Law class is University of California recognized  and focuses on Criminal Justice system. These teachers were diverse and impressive, they loved their subjects and had ambitious teaching goals. My children are fortunate to have these resources.

I copied few quotes hung over the walls of  couple of classes, I have to share few here-
"Never buy a Beige Car"-  (The teacher had regret of buying a gray car.)
"Beware of a person who has nothing to loose".
"Forget Committees : Great Ideas usually come from one person, working alone". (inspiring)
And I really love this one- Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.