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The Suburbanite
A look at the arts scene in Tuscarawas County, written by Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts Director and retired Dover City Schools art teacher Jeannine Kennedy.
Mandela Inspired Artists
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About this blog
By Jeannine Kennedy
The arts have played a major role in Jeannine Kennedy’s life. Now executive director of the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts in New Philadelphia, from 1973 to 2003, she was a teacher and chairperson of the Arts Department for the Dover City ...
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Arts Beat
The arts have played a major role in Jeannine Kennedy’s life. Now executive director of the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts in New Philadelphia, from 1973 to 2003, she was a teacher and chairperson of the Arts Department for the Dover City Schools. A resident of Dover, she is an adjunct Kent State University faculty members. She served as regional director of the Ohio Governor's Youth Art Exhibition from 1986 to 2004. Her professional affiliations include the Ohio Art Education Association, the Ohio and Tuscarawas County Retired Teachers associations and the Ohio School Board Association. She is a member and past president of the Dover Board of Education. Her involvement in the community also include the Dover Education Foundation, of which she is a trustee; College Club of Tuscarawas County; Rotary International, of which she is president elect; and a member of the steering committee of the Performing Arts Center at Kent State University at Tuscarawas. She also is an active member of St. Joseph Church in Dover. Among the awards she has received are the Kent State Tuscarawas Distinguished Career Award 2005, the Kent State Tuscarawas Community Service Award 2010, the Community Arts Council’s “Friend of the Arts” Award 2010, and the Ohio Art Education Association Outstanding Art Educator Award, 1980. She also was a winner of the Ohio Governor's Award of Excellence in Teaching in 1979, 1987, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000 and 2003; and the Scholastic's National Award of Excellence in Teaching in 1979, 1996 and 2001. She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, and did post-baccalaureate work at Kent State University (including two semesters of study abroad), The University of Akron, Ashland University, University of Dayton, Savannah College of Art and Design and LaSalle University.
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[caption id="attachment_21" align="alignnone" width="460"]South African Artist John Adams works on his large portrait. South African Artist John Adams works on his large portrait.[/caption]



As the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing from one life to the next spread across the globe, it got me thinking about the impact that such a great example of forgiveness and strength has had on the entire world. Not only did he provide inspiration in the political arena but he was often a catalyst for the creation art. Poems, novels, paintings, sculptures, stage plays…all celebrated the spirit of this amazing man.

Visual artists and graphic designers from around the world played a huge role in honoring Mandela last July on his 95th birthday by creating artworks which were displayed around Johannesburg. One of the largest works was an acrylic on canvas by South African Artist John Adams. The artist said the work had to be large (16 X 15 feet) to show the impact that the “father of our nation” had on the artist and all who lived during the time of Mandela’s release from prison.

"The moment he was released, schools were opened to everybody," said Adams, who is of mixed race and got new educational opportunities with the end of apartheid. "It was momentous to me because the extra bit of education really impacted my life dramatically ... I started really understanding what art is and the degrees to which you can really extend and improve yourself as an individual."

The painting features a waiving Mandela with the African continent in the palm of his hand. Surrounding the continent are celebrating, stylized figures rejoicing over his achievements. The painting was exhibited until July 24, and then auctioned off with the proceeds being donated to charity.

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