News - Friends of Waterford
For many years now, the Waterford School department of Visual Arts has invited artists of local, national, and international acclaim to our campus. Some notable artists who have lectured, run workshops, and collaborated on artwork with our students include: Valoy Eaton, Gary Max Collins, Walter Rane, Brian Kershisnik, Sheila Pepe, Brian Christensen, Alexandra Grant, Audrey Flack, and Meg Brown Payson.
We believe our young artists gain much from listening to and working with artists of great talent and diverse backgrounds.
This March during Arts Week we had the pleasure of welcoming Leighton Pierce. We thought you would enjoy a chance to learn more about him, and to hear some of his impressions of our school.
A brief artist bio: Leighton Pierce, former chair of the Film & Video Department, and current acting Dean of Art and Design at NYC’s Pratt Institute, is one of America’s major avant-garde filmmakers. For over 30 years, he has explored memory and perception in a series of stunningly shot, impressionistic short films and videos that exploit cinematic space and time and expand the interplay between sound and image. His work has been exhibited in major art museums and film festivals including the Whitney Biennial and the San Francisco, New York and Rotterdam Film Festivals. He has been the subject of retrospectives at Lincoln Center in New York, the Pompidou Center in Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Lisboa Bienal of Contemporary Art, among others. Pierce has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and The Camargo Foundation.
We sat down with him on a Friday afternoon, after a whirlwind schedule of lectures, critiques, and an intensive workshop with students in Mr. Brewer’s Video Art class.
[Our most recent guest in the Waterford Lecture Series was Prof. Lisa Miller of Columbia University. We asked Brandon Bennett, our Academic Dean, to share some thoughts on her visit.]
A few weeks ago, Waterford students, parents, and faculty had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Lisa Miller present ideas from her research on adolescent spirituality. A professor of clinical psychology on the teaching faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University, Dr. Miller has become a leading authority on the positive role spirituality plays in the lives of adolescents. The general thesis of Dr. Miller’s research is that spiritual beliefs and practices are protective against depression, self harm, drug/alcohol abuse, and risk-taking behavior — all the most common forms of adolescent pathology. Given the strength of the correlation between spiritual practice and lower incidence of adolescent pathology, Dr. Miller suggests that parents and educators should look for ways to support the spiritual development of their children and students.
Dr. Miller delivered presentations about her research to three different audiences during her visit to the Waterford campus — parents, students, and faculty. I listened with great interest to all three presentations, and tried to reflect on her ideas from the multiple perspectives I bring as the Academic Dean, as a teacher, and as a parent of Waterford students.
The NPR program From the Top recently spent an afternoon at the Waterford School (see photo). Follow the link to the radio show’s website to read the whole story. The episode of From the Top recorded at Gardner Hall with Utah Chamber Artists will air on Classical 89, KBYU-FM on Saturday, November 28 at 6pm.
James Holbrook, Professor of Law at the University of Utah, presented an Upper School Lunch Lecture about his time in Baghdad as a legal adviser to the Iraqi government. About 60 members of the Waterford community were present to hear Professor Holbrook’s deeply affecting stories.
Already this school year, Waterford has hosted a number of prominent thinkers. Some highlights:
Dr. Cole Durham (see photo), is a Professor of Law at BYU and Director of the Center for Law and Religion Studies. He is an internationally recognized legal scholar. Dr. Durham presented a fascinating Upper School Lunch Lecture about international human rights and religious freedom law.
Dr. Andrew Biemiller is Professor Emeritus of Developmental Psychology at the University of Toronto and Associate Editor of the Journal of Educational Psychology. He is a widely respected expert in child vocabulary development and instruction. Dr. Biemiller spoke to Waterford faculty about his ongoing research promoting vocabulary and language development in elementary school.
Dr. Peter Fairweather is a Research Staff Member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. He has a doctorate in psycholinguistics, and has served on the faculty at Northwestern University and the University of Texas. His current research involves matching the interaction demands of computers to the different abilities of their users. Dr. Fairweather met with Waterford faculty to share his expertise on conditions that affect teaching and learning.