'Turn and Face the Strange: Creative Activity as a Catalyst for Change'

The lyrics of David Bowie say to "turn and face the strange," and in a troubled and violent world there is plenty of strangeness which can be hard to face. David Kamm, Luther College assistant professor of art and art gallery coordinator, and Lise Kildegaard, professor of English, will discuss strangeness and art in the final Paideia Texts and Issues lecture of the 2017-18 series at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, in the Center for Faith and Life Recital Hall on the Luther campus.

The event is open to the public with no charge for admission. A reception will follow in Qualley Lounge.

Kamm and Kildegaard will discuss how works of art can help to confront and address challenges of violence, hatred and racism. Kamm created a series of pieces, using re-purposed materials such as hate literature and bullet shells, that encompass the tragedy and horror that seems to be a constant in daily news while leaving room for beauty. As an interactive event, Kamm and Kildegaard will explore how art can further the progress of change.

Kamm's pieces are on display from through April 6 on the top floor of Luther's Center for Faith and Life.

Kamm grew up with guns. Much of his youth was spent hunting in the hills and fields of northeast Iowa, and he still has the trophy he won in 1964 as "Outstanding Rifle Student" in a program sponsored by the NRA. While in high school he helped organize a silent armband protest against the violence in Vietnam, so he shouldn't have been surprised (but he was) to discover that somewhere along the line he had begun creating art that responded to issues of hate and violence. As gallery coordinator at Luther, he has brought a diverse range of issues to campus, including those that tackle difficult issues. In the classroom, he has offered opportunities for students to develop creative responses to persistent problems, without denying the need for sheer beauty in our lives.

Kildegaard grew up attending peace rallies and protest marches. After college, she spent a year studying at a Danish Folk School. It was not lost on her that the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee is where Rosa Parks trained and the song "We Shall Overcome" was written. In graduate school, she co-chaired the Forum for Feminist Scholarship and met a lot of famous feminist people. She once saw David Bowie perform live, not in concert, but onstage as the lead actor in "The Elephant Man." At Luther, she has tried in every class to teach students to see how the imaginations of novelists and poets can open up new worlds and new possibilities. She is hopeful that collective and personal action can bring about "ch-ch-ch-changes."

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.