Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rose Community Foundation…continued!

In 2012, VHC helped the Rose Community Foundation (RCF) in Denver, CO recognize its legacy donors with the Living Legacy Tapestry. Now, in 2015, RCF is commemorating its 20th year of community engagement by transporting the Tapestry to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

You can read the whole history of RCF here, but in short the Foundation was established in 1995 after the sale of Rose Medical Center, in order to further a legacy of community-centered philanthropy. RCF’s five program areas focus on grant-making to support the Greater Denver community’s aging members, child and family development, community education, health needs in the community, and a vibrant tradition of Jewish life.

Lynn and Leah will be speaking about their work with RCF and re-presenting the Tapestry at the commemoration of its 20th year of community-oriented philanthropy on Thursday.

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Wearable story-mixing

In his most recent work, California-based artist Jasko Begovic uses cloth and cultural symbolism to communicate his personal feelings about his own mixed history. Drawing on Bosnian, Croatian, German, and American influences, Begovic’s work is impossible to ascribe to one specific culture, which serves as a point of confusing intrigue as well as an example of the “common threads- literally and figuratively” between us all. His most recent show, FUTURE TO THE BACK, ended last month, but you can check out his work on his website.

Thank you to Browntourage magazine for doing an initial write-up about this artist.

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LaToya Ruby Frazier – visual historian

This VHC intern is inspired by the highly personal and intensely political visual history that is LaToya Ruby Frazier’s work. She works mainly with her own family history and the history of her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, “…to build visual archives that address industrialism, rustbelt revitalization, environmental justice, healthcare inequity, family and communal history” (from her Biography).

Frazier is a photographer, performance artist, and videographer; her first book, The Notion of Family (Aperture 2014), received the International Center for Photography Infinity Award this year. Specific and personal, magnetic and inspiring, this work is not to be missed, take a look!

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Returning to the virtual world!

It’s been a busy time for Lynn and Leah, who have moved and had twins, respectively, but VHC has officially returned to the blogosphere. Keep a lookout for updates on visual storytelling here, on Facebook, and on Instagram!

-Kylie, VHC intern


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The Museum of Innocence



We love how Orhan Parmuk, author of the novel…. The Museum of Innocence…. has articulated our vision. In his novel he uses objects to tell a story. As a companion piece to his novel he opened up a Museum, in Istanbul, of the same name that documents the objects in the novel. He now has published the Catalogue. Here is what Parmuk says…. ” let’s say in the pocket of one my coats I find an old movie ticket from years ago…once i see the ticket, not only do i remember that i saw this movie, but also scenes from this movie, which I think I have forgotten, come back to me, Objects have this power….”

Here is a link to todays New York Times article about him and his words about the meaning of objects and the stories they create.


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What a great story

I thought this was a great story and well worth the watch. What a legacy, what a wonderful donation Moth contributes to our culture.  This made me think about how the unpredictability of our stories lead us to places we could never imagine.




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Is Everything Fiction?

We, at VHC, think a lot about the stories of our lives…we, of course, work with people’s history, how they see their lives, what they choose to remember, what they learn & understand, what they believe, and what their legacy’s will be after their brief stay. I think often of what my Father said…he was 40 and then woke up the next day and he was 80…it really is that brief. But I digress….so…..I have heard it said that everything is fiction, we write our lives and impose what we have written on our memories. In light of that, I found this excerpt just wonderful. It is from the writer Keith Ridgway and excerpted from The New Yorker.  I love how he describes this idea.

“And I mean that—everything is fiction. When you tell yourself the story of your life, the story of your day, you edit and rewrite and weave a narrative out of a collection of random experiences and events. Your conversations are fiction. Your friends and loved ones—they are characters you have created. And your arguments with them are like meetings with an editor—please, they beseech you, you beseech them, rewrite me. You have a perception of the way things are, and you impose it on your memory, and in this way you think, in the same way that I think, that you are living something that is describable. When of course, what we actually live, what we actually experience—with our senses and our nerves—is a vast, absurd, beautiful, ridiculous chaos.

So I love hearing from people who have no time for fiction. Who read only biographies and popular science. I love hearing about the death of the novel. I love getting lectures about the triviality of fiction, the triviality of making things up. As if that wasn’t what all of us do, all day long, all life long. Fiction gives us everything. It gives us our memories, our understanding, our insight, our lives. We use it to invent ourselves and others. We use it to feel change and sadness and hope and love and to tell each other about ourselves. And we all, it turns out, know how to do it.”






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A few more Zippo’s

Here are a few more Zippo’s….Can’t you feel the stories in these?

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Zippo Lighters & Stories

I found this great website and blog called Accidental Mysteries.  I learned of these Zippo lighters on that blog.  Bradford Edwards spent many years searching for these lighters in Vietnam.  This collection of hand engraved Zippo lighters that he sourced , have now gone to auction, and have been documented in the book Vietnam Zippos: American Soldiers’ Engravings and Stories 1965-1973.

Zippo lighters were first sold in 1933. You see them being used in Mad Men thanks to Dan Draper and his suave style.  And yes, they were so suave and cool. I still remember  the flip and sound of these lighters as the flame appeared. In stainless steel, during the Vietnam War many soldiers had them engraved by the village street vendors.  It was one way that soldiers could express themselves and the toll that war was taking on their lives. These Zippo lighters reflect history and speak visually to a profound story. How many of these men lived, how many died, how many disappeared leaving these thoughts behind. I imagine a soldier late at night lighting a cigarette and seeing in the flickering light a reminder of the lives they were living in Vietnam, and the lives they had left at home.  The engravings speak to fear, love, anger, patriotism and all sorts of human emotions. These voices are still heard in the patina and words of these objects. It touches me to see this…reminders of the person who held these in their hands.

I wonder what I would have written.


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Visual History Collaborative thinks of dance

The American Dance Festival is held every year in Durham, NC. It made me think of an interview I heard with Wim Wenders , the filmaker best known in the US for ‘Paris, Texas’ and ‘Wings of Desire’. He never understood dance and had to be dragged to dance performances. He was taken to see Pina Bausch perform “and then I found myself on the edge of my seat, crying like a baby after five minutes, and crying through the entire thing,” he recalls, amazement still in his voice after 27 years. “I was hopelessly, helplessly crying, and didn’t know what was happening. It was like lightning struck me.”  He says it changed his life.  ”Pina Bausch showed me in 40 minutes more about men and women than the entire history of cinema.”

The idea that dance is a narrative,  a way of examining humanity’s identity and longing, was what I was thinking about as I watched Kyle Abraham and his company on stage performing ‘Radio Show’  In creating the piece  ”I was thinking about so many things,” Abraham says.  He had returned to live, briefly, in his hometown when his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  ”Driving by my high school, I remembered how my dad would pick me up from rehearsals. But I wouldn’t talk to him” because, of course, he was a teenager.  But they would listen silently to WAMO a black radio station. Years later, driving around Pittsburgh, he would cry wishing he could change that. (how many of us wish we could go back and change things especially with our parents?)   The music from the piece intersperses radio chatter, hip-hop and classic soul music, the dance itself goes from movement to halts, all a way to speak to the isolation of Alzheimers.

Don’t we create out of our stories and how we look at them.  As artists, we speak to our experiences of being human.  Dance is no exception.  As Pina Bursch said;  “To understand what I am saying, you have to believe that dance is something other than technique. We forget where the movements come from. They are born from life. When you create a new work, the point of departure must be contemporary life — not existing forms of dance.”.

Be sure to see Wim Wender’s recent documentary called “Pina”.


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