Holly Barnet-Sanchez ’69 and her co-author, Tim Drescher, spent 12 years researching, writing, and editing Give Me Life: Iconography and Identity in East LA Murals (University of New Mexico Press, 2016). Chicanismo, the idea of what it means to be Chicano, was born in the 1970s, when grass-roots activists, academics, and artists joined forces in the civil rights movimiento that spread new ideas about Mexican American history and identity. The community murals those artists painted in the barrios of East Los Angeles were a powerful part of that cultural vitality, and these artworks have been an important feature of Los Angeles culture ever since. This book offers detailed analyses of individual East Los Angeles murals, sets them in social context, and explains how they were produced. The authors, leading experts on mural art, use a distinctive methodology, analyzing the art from aesthetic, political, and cultural perspectives to show how murals and graffiti reflected and influenced the Chicano civil rights movement.
Artists & Scholars
John Fisk ’65, professor emeritus at Southern Illinois University and retired pediatric orthopedic surgeon, was lead contributor to The Atlas of Spinal Orthotics (Exceed Worldwide, 2017). The atlas is an open learning (free-to-use) medical textbook covering the history and use of spinal orthotics in the treatment of many disorders and injuries and is a much-needed resource in underserved regions of the world. The textbook is available free online.
David Hechler ’72, an author and editor-in-chief of the legal magazine The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, published In Good Hands about a South Carolina day care in which two infants died under mysterious circumstances. His book was honored this year by the American Society of Journalists and Authors as the best work of general nonfiction published in 2016. He followed the twists and turns of what proved to be a medical and psychological mystery and also focused on the challenges parents face when trying to ensure that their children in day care are safe. The book is available as a Kindle book on Amazon.
Steve Abhaya Brooks ’64 has published a new book of poems, The Five-Headed Lizard & The Famous Death of a Firefly: American Zenku (CreateSpace, 2017).
Jackie Weissman ’92 wrote “Parenting Outside the Mainstream: Indie Rocker Moms,” a chapter in the anthology Music of Motherhood: History, Healing, and Activism (Demeter Press, 2017). She describes her work making Rock N Roll Mamas, a feature-length documentary about three indie rockers who strive to follow their creative dreams and raise their children. Weissman is also executive director of Oregon Doc Camp, a retreat for experienced documentary filmmakers. Doc Camp is currently embarking on its fifth year.
Noga Ashkenazi ’09 is co-writer and director of Saints Rest, a musical drama she shot in summer 2016 in Grinnell, including scenes in the actual Saints Rest coffee shop. Many Grinnellians were involved in the film’s making: Paul McCulley ’79, executive producer; Tyson Stock ’09, co-writer; Brian Cavanagh-Strong ’09, music director; Jaysen Wright ’09, actor; Jon Richardson ’10, actor; Sumana Shankar ’10, actress; Grace Lloyd ’16, makeup artist; Michael Kelley ’16, art department; and Melissa Fandos ’17, second assistant director. See the film’s website to preview a trailer.
Lee Running, associate professor of art, won a monthlong artist residency at Jentel Arts, a private family foundation in Sheridan County, Wyo. She was one of six people selected from more than 100 applicants.
Robert Vas Dias ’53 authored Black Book: An Assemblage of the Fragmentary (Shearsman Books, 2016) with British artist Julia Farrer. It’s the first major collaboration between a poet and artist reacting to the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.
Laura Ruth Johnson ’92 wrote Community-Based Qualitative Research: Approaches for Education and the Social Sciences (SAGE Publications, Inc., 2017).
A group of Grinnellians attended the annual conference Feb. 3–4, 2017, hosted by the Iowa-Illinois-Nebraska Stem Partnership for Innovation in Research and Education, part of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, at Iowa State University. Alfredo Colina ’18 was recognized with the People’s Choice Award for his research poster, “Bacterial characterization of a hog confinement located in Poweshiek County and a potential source of antibiotic resistance bacteria discovered.” Glorianne Dorce ’17 received second place for best research poster, “Detecting concentrations of steroidal hormones in water samples through optimized SPE/UHPLC/MS method.” Queenster Nartey ’16 was recognized with the Outstanding Alumni Award. Nartey moderated a discussion panel on student STEM identity.