FAVA Education and Outreach
Since January of 2007, James has served as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts (FAVA), an Oberlin, OH-based nonprofit organization. FAVA provides greater Lorain County with accessible, visual arts-related programming in the form of gallery exhibitions that feature local/regional contemporary artists, studio art classes for students of all ages, youth summer camps, free public workshops, and community art festivals.
James discovered his love for origami when a dear friend from college (Ray Schamp) taught him how to create corrugated paper sculptures. This began a life-long obsession with this eclectic art form. Once James became the Education Director for FAVA, he began developing a slate of different origami-related programs which emphasize the learning process and supports the origami artist community. This includes international origami exhibitions, public workshops, the creation of a community folding group (FAVAGAMI), and classroom visits to several different schools and outside groups. Since 2006, James has been studying and developing ways in which origami can be utilized to enhance the learning process of a variety of subjects, notably mathematics but also in fields of science, technology, ecology, story telling, history and literature. James has made efforts to develop school curriculum that employs origami as a hands-on approach to learning about basic mathematical concepts and processes that extends to geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and beyond.
Oberlin Big Parade
A parade for the fun of it! On the first Saturday of every May, members of the Oberlin community come together to celebrate life in a jubilant procession of the visual and performing arts. Conceived in 2001 by a small group of Oberlin-area artists and college students, the annual Big Parade has brought joy, excitement, and awe to tens of thousands of spectators from across Lorain County and beyond. From the very beginning of the creation process up until the main event, this jubilant procession fosters artistic expression and community engagement in a totally accessible format. Anyone can march in the parade! Just join in!
James has been active member of the Big Parade organizers committee since 2007, annually facilitating and instructing free public workshops at FAVA to help individuals and community groups alike get involved and materialize their creations.
The Big Parade has the capacity to empower participants, while giving its audience an opportunity to reflect upon the incredible gifts and talents of our vibrant, artistic community.
Oberlin Chalk Walk
The Oberlin Chalk Walk is a collaborative public arts festival that promotes the street painting tradition of the modenari. Every year, a slate of local master artists are commissioned to produce large scale works for the public to view, while free chalk pastels are passed out to any participants who want to help turn the city sidewalks into a canvas of vibrant, living art. FAVA’s collaborators in this event include the Allen Memorial Art Museum, the Oberlin Public Library, the Oberlin Main St. Chamber, the Oberlin Heritage Center, and the Ginko Gallery & Studios. On the day of Chalk Walk, James works alongside a group of artists on a collaborative mural piece on a wall outside of the Oberlin Public Library. The theme of the wall changes from year to year, and has included tributes to tropical rain forests, the oceans, and the Muybridge experiments that laid the groundwork for modern motion pictures. In the weeks leading up to Chalk Walk, FAVA and the AMAM team up to offer a series of educational chalk workshops for a variety of local child care facilities. Additionally students form the Oberlin High School Art Club are invited to participate in a master class and are sponsored as featured master artists at the main event.
James began playing music at the age of three years old when his grandmother had a family piano restored and moved to his family home. With 10 years of piano lessons under his belt, James began to teach himself how to play the guitar in his adolescence, taking cues from the alternative rock scene that was brewing in the early 90’s. James performed with a number of different bands throughout his high school and college years, eventually picking up his favorite instrument to date: the drums. James is currently the drummer of the punk avant garde art band, the Bits.
3 Door Studios Artist Collective
In 2010, James and a group of other Oberlin-area artists joined together to form a studio art collective in a dilapidated house, which they worked together to restore into a welcoming new workspace and venue. 3 Door Studios not only houses private art work spaces for resident artists, but is also provides space for small gallery showings, classes, demonstrations, art-themed parties, and most notably, musical performances by local and touring acts. The backyard features an outdoor performance space, an organic garden, as well as a white screen for bike-in movies.
Turn it On Oberlin Radio Show on WOBC
James is the producer of the radio show, “Turn it on, Oberlin”, which presents profiles of Oberlin-area artists who work in a variety of media. The show airs on WOBC 91.5FM, the Oberlin College and Community radio station, and serves as a platform for promoting the local arts scene and its numerous special events and showcases.