Written by Lisa Gomez, Images by Jennifer Chess
The mini masterpieces of tiny art showcased during USMA Library's Magnificent Miniatures Exhibition last fall had a renaissance on Friday, April 21st, 2023. A pop-up display with the small canvases depicting art inspired by West Point or any subject of the artist's choosing, was featured during the 8th Annual John Calabro Night of the Arts hosted by the Department of English and Philosophy and the Center for Humanities.
CPT Philip Tarvainen, Instructor for DEP, had the idea to include the tiny art in CNOTA one day while viewing the Magnificent Miniatures Exhibition during its original run. He contacted the tiny art program creator, USMA Events and Programming Librarian Lori Mullooly, who enthusiastically agreed that CNOTA's mission to honor Colonel John Calabro's lifelong commitment to the arts, specifically supporting cadet creativity at West Point was the perfect platform to present the cadet's artwork.
The United States Military Academy's Tiny Art program was a highly successful passive program that resulted in the most original cadet artwork the library has ever exhibited at 95 canvases. Creating a pop-up display from the original cadet artwork provided a second opportunity for cadets and the greater West Point community to engage with the exhibit and for external visitors at CNOTA to have the chance to view the art and interact with the personal expressions of experience the cadets conveyed with their individual voices within the broader story of life at West Point. As exhibit designers, it was a pleasure to tap into our creativity and aesthetic sensibilities to arrange a display in a new space with accessibility considerations that would maximize the artwork's shape and size while also being visually pleasing.
What was particularly fun about the curation of this display was that we could showcase the winners and the runners-up of the Tiny Art Program that was voted on by USMA cadets, faculty, and staff. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with the Department of English and Philosophy and the Center for Humanities on this fantastic annual event and look forward to participating again in the years to come!
First Annual Evening at the Haig highlights cadet spoken word and musical artistry
Written by Lori Mullooly, Images by Jennifer Chess
Cadets, faculty, staff, and guests gathered for the First Annual Evening at the Haig on April 7th in the Haig Room at the USMA Library. The open mic event, which was hosted by the USMA Library, the USMA Department of English and Philosophy, and the Cadet Humanities Forum included music by the Jazz Forum.
The event was an opportunity for cadets to celebrate their peers’ artistic talents and share their own. Cadets performed original works to music, shared thought-provoking and reflective poems, sang with the Jazz Forum, and more. Many cadets took the mic and the show lasted over two hours.
A special Audience Appreciation Award went to CDT William Lopez, who performed three original numbers. Dr. Matthew Salyer (DEP) served as MC for the evening. Panelists MAJ Haleigh Kirchenheiter (DEP), Ms. Celeste Evans (USMA Library), and Ms. Susan Lintelmann (USMA Library) provided comments to the performers.
Open mics are a way for cadets to engage in interests outside their usual academic pursuits and provide an outlet to speak out, educate, and explore with their peers. For the Library, the event was a way to provide a safe environment for cadets to share their creative works. “Events like these speak directly to our mission statement, which is to provide a place for cadets to engage with knowledge, ideas, and one another,” said Lori Mullooly, Events, and Programming Librarian. “I was so moved by the level of support each performer received from the audience,” she said.
CDT Cora Haefner, CIC of the Creative Writing Forum Club, echoed this sentiment. CDT Haefner, who helped to plan the event, performed her own work and said “I was overwhelmed by tonight’s response, and not just their response to my piece, but the sheer number of audience members who raised their hands at the end to share - a yearling’s poem about academic life, a female plebe’s song about her grandfather, and an old grad’s tribute to the fallen, and so many more. So I’ll admit I shed a few tears, but not without many laughs among friends, old and new.”
For the event, Exhibition Librarian Lisa Gomez displayed original historical poetry, notebooks, personal narratives and papers, and books of published war poetry from the USMA Library Archives and Special Collections. This exhibit highlighted the unique experience of being a cadet and soldier through poignant prose and introspective fragments of poetry.
Cadet reaction to the event was so positive that there are plans to offer the Evening at the Haig Open Mic every semester moving forward.
Photo one: CDT Cora Haefner, CIC of the Creative Writing Forum Club
Photo two: Winner of the Audience Appreciation Award, CDT William Lopez
Photo three: CDT Nicole Wanga performing her own original music