Beautiful Santa Fe
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Beautiful Santa Fe

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There’s a friend to whom I used to send lengthy missives about my life. I fear I trespassed against my friend’s great kindness with these long notes. I have promised myself to stop.

But as George Orwell said, writing is thinking, and in the process of writing, I clarified things in my mind. My thoughts opened and organized themselves. It wasn’t so much self-expression as self-understanding. It was a useful process.

I caught myself contemplating how to explain to my friend about the enchantment of Santa Fe, as I drove out of Albuquerque toward this beautiful town.

As I left the airport city, the sky expanded. The blue deepened in intensity. My spirits rose of their own accord, responding to the unfettered freedom of that great expanse of the heavens.

It’s not just the sky—it’s the light of Santa Fe that’s so compelling. I love Cape Cod, too, for the light. In Truro, there’s a honeyed quality to the light, a lavender richness underlying the brilliance. In Santa Fe, the light is crystalline. The absolute clarity of luminosity is breath-taking.

Then there’s the landscape: the mountains, the rich red-brown of the earth, the piñon trees and the rocks and the desert and the forests.

Last time I was in Santa Fe, we saw a bear alongside the road. It was a medium-sized animal, maybe an adolescent, a grayish streak hurtling alongside the cars. I never knew bears could move so fast. I also saw a roadrunner streaking across the road: it looked like a tiny dinosaur.

Yesterday a friend took me hiking on Mt. Ataleya. She lent me open-toed Teva sandals because I hadn’t packed sneakers, and I went to lengths to avoid the cactus while scrambling up the trails.

Earlier in the day, I went to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, which I recommend. The gift shop is emblazoned with one of O’Keeffe’s wise sayings, which put me in mind of my own Sabin, who says the same thing: “Nothing is less real than realism.” It is magical here.

Georgia O'Keeffe

 

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James Cooper’s Article in American Arts Quarterly noting Sabin Howard & Traci L. Slatton
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James Cooper’s Article in American Arts Quarterly noting Sabin Howard & Traci L. Slatton

My husband classical figurative sculptor Sabin Howard and I have been acquainted with Jim Cooper for many years. Jim is the editor and publisher of American Arts Quarterly, a quarterly arts magazine published by the Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center. The magazine has published several articles about Sabin through the years, my favorite of which is “Recovering Beauty in Bronze,” in which Jim writes,

Howard’s sculptures have content as well as exquisite form. All art is about art, even with a recognizable subject, and Howard clearly states the importance of Michelangelo to him. Each of the bronze sculptures in his studio has a theme; many are inspired by Greco-Roman mythology. Others are intense psychological portraits. He subscribes to the literal translation of psyche logos, which means the study of the soul, psyche and anima.

Jim Cooper is an art critic who holds my husband in high esteem, for which I am grateful. To be candid, I think Sabin deserves it. In my opinion, Sabin is the finest figurative sculptor in centuries. I believe in Sabin and so I have supported him in his work, building his websites, providing tech support for his webinars, and writing books with him; Sabin and I have a partnership. I am grateful to say that Jim respects this partnership and, moreover, he’s willing to acknowledge it. Cooper wrote in that same article, “He [Sabin] credits his wife, writer Traci Slatton, for giving him the language and ideas to understand the deeper implications of his art: “She gave me a vocabulary to be able to talk about issues of closed energy systems, which is basically a modernist system, and an open energy system.””

So Jim and I keep in touch. A few months ago, I emailed to tell Jim about how Facebook wouldn’t let Sabin ‘boost’ an advertisement about our sculpture book, The Art of Life, because of the nudity on the cover of the book. Jim was intrigued and we exchange emails and a phone call. Our discussion resulted in Jim’s splendid new article, “The Classical Nude, Pornography and the New Philistines.”

Check out the Spring 2016 issue of American Arts Quarterly, Jim’s article is beautifully written and thought-provoking. I especially appreciate the nod Jim gives to me, calling our book “superb” and later on, noting that “Traci is a historian, a graduate of Columbia and Yale, and has written several novels, while covering cultural issues for The Huffington Post.” This business of making art and of being married to an artist in today’s world is fraught, and I’m grateful when an art critic of Jim’s standing honors the work we do.

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Modern Masters: Sabin Howard, Sculptor, on Fox TV
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Modern Masters: Sabin Howard, Sculptor, on Fox TV

I am so delighted to announce that my husband, classical figurative sculptor Sabin Howard, was profiled on Fox Television in their beautiful Modern Masters series. Modern Masters: Sabin Howard, Sculptor aired on Friday, March 11.

Modern Masters: Sabin Howard

In this wonderful segment, Sabin relates the story of his origins and being influenced by the powerful and gorgeous architecture of Torino and Italy. He talks about how he dropped out of college and then decided, at age 19, that he wanted to go to art school. He laughs at how his parents, who are both PhDs, wanted him to go somewhere like Harvard. “That wasn’t going to go down,” he says.

He was filmed sculpting, showing his process of breaking the body into cubes. The camera pans over him drawing. He speaks of the importance of the figure, and how it shows us as we can be. “Art has the ability to transform and elevate your spirit,” he states.

The World War 1 Memorial also came up. “World War 1 is a war that needs to be remembered because it changed the course of history,” Sabin says. He talks about how the figures in his design concept are relational and taking care of each other–the glorification of the human spirit.

Watch the piece, it’s amazing!

Modern Masters: Sabin Howard

Vice Chair Edwin Fountain of WW1 Memorial Commission Unveiling Design
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Vice Chair Edwin Fountain of WW1 Memorial Commission Unveiling Design

A video showing the unveiling of the winning WW1 Memorial design.

I’m so proud of my husband Sabin Howard and his design partner architect-in-training Joe Weishaar for winning the World War 1 Memorial Design Competition.

Here is Vice Chair Edwin Fountain unveiling their winning design. Mr. Fountain spoke of the jury convening and reaching a unanimous decision on the design that they would recommend to the committee.

Mr. Fountain said, “Sabin Howard…is considered one of the country’s leading classical sculptors. His works have been shown in more than 50 shows nationally and internationally, he has worked with the late, renowned architect Michael Graves, and the New York Times said of him, quote “When viewing his works, visitors may be reminded of the time Donatello and Rodin walked the earth.” That’s the kind of phrase I’d like to get someday.”

He spoke of the elegant simplicity of the design and the simple contained space reminiscent of the current park–an enclave for both contemplation and active recreation. The park will remain a park for people who just want to have their lunch there; this space always had to serve the dual purpose of remaining a park as well as hosting the memorial.

Weishaar and Howard met the design challenges, said Fountain. “It’s done in a classical sculptural style that would have been recognizable in the era of the war, yet will also stand up over time, yet will also be recognizable 100 years from now.”

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Sculptor Sabin Howard and Architect Joe Weishaar win WW1 Memorial Commission
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Sculptor Sabin Howard and Architect Joe Weishaar win WW1 Memorial Commission

I am overjoyed to announce that my husband classical figurative sculptor Sabin Howard and his partner architect Joe Weishaar won the WW1 Memorial Commission.

There will be more on the World War 1 Memorial Commission website.

Vice Chair Edwin Fountain spoke beautifully about the team and their design and a few minutes was captured on Periscope. Watch for yourself!

I am the first to acknowledge Joe Weishaar’s unusual brilliance. His design conception has an extraordinarily graceful simplicity and elegance that bespeak his genius. However, I am Sabin Howard‘s wife, and I am incredibly proud of him. Here’s a quote from the Chicago Tribune:

Officials of the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, which approved his team’s design on an 8-1 vote, said Weishaar’s decision to include on his team Sabin Howard, an experienced classical sculptor from New York City, was pivotal to the win. The commission voted after an independent jury of seven experts earlier this month unanimously picked the team’s design.

The story was picked up by news organizations around the country, indeed, around the globe. Articles appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Reuters, and Curbed. The Twitterverse was alive with the news. By the way, if you’re on Twitter, Follow @SabinHoward and @WW1CC The WW1 Centennial Commission!

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Sabin Howard presenting to the WW1 Memorial Committee
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Sabin Howard presenting to the WW1 Memorial Committee

A Youtube video of Sabin Howard presenting to the WW1 Memorial Committee.

I’m so proud of my husband and his partner, architect Joe Weishaar, for their proposal to the WW1 Memorial Committee. Sabin and Joe put together a beautiful proposal for a memorial to the Great War in Pershing Park in Washington DC. Joe Weishaar did the wonderful design and Sabin created the sculpture, the beautiful reliefs and sculpture in the round. Their proposal is called WEIGHT OF REMEMBRANCE.

Some enterprising member of the audience streamed about 8 minutes of Sabin’s speech on Periscope. I was able to get the video from Periscope and upload it into Youtube.

Sabin said, in part, “”Ambition in balance, coupled with humbleness is an open heart. This is where energy flows. This is where we create as human beings.”

Sabin Howard WW1 Memorial