Music and art—combined!

College students respond to artwork by creating musical compositions.

Hanna Haglund, Reporter

In the main lobby of McNally Smith College of Music, there are busy students, sounds of instruments tuning and art and collaborative music adorning the walls. On Feb 24, 2015, McNally Smith launched the Art-Inspired Music Project in its lobby to celebrate music and art working collaboratively together. With over 400 people in attendance, there were artists and composers performing and even demonstrating how they created their masterpieces. This is the second edition of this project, the first time being back in 2010. The Art-Inspired Music Project began as the brainchild of Billy Franklin, an artist and professor at McNally Smith. Franklin is well connected with the “art scene” in the Twin Cities and wanted to bring professional art and music together.

“In 2010, we got a very good response from the public. We only had about nine artists and composers. This time, four years later, we have 32. I wanted to bring a combination of well-established artists and new American talent together. The different levels of artistic abilities bring energy into the exhibit,” Franklin said.

The exhibit features works by McNally Smith students, alumni, local professional artists and professors. Mandolin player and McNally Smith student Aaron Jorgenson worked with visual artist Lisa Loudon to create a collaborative art and musical fusion. Jorgenson composed “Lagan’s Lament” to reflect the piece by Loudon, “Transmogrification.”

“When I looked at her piece, it reminded me of the bottom on the ocean so I played off of that. I wanted to compose something that sounded eerie and watery. Her piece is supposed to be read from left to right so I followed the contours of the work itself to compose the music,” Jorgenson said.

The Art-Inspired Music Project has many different kinds of visually stimulating pieces of art. Works vary from HD videos to hand blown glass. There are cement sculptures as well as oil canvases. The artwork gives the audience a visual while the music interprets what they are seeing.

“We let the composers choose the piece of art to add music to. It is amazing that a composer will gravitate to a specific piece of art instantly. It was so easy for composers to connect with the pieces they liked,” Franklin said.

Pieces to note include a mixed media piece called “Blue T-Rex” by Jan Elftmann, with music composed by Elijah Deaton-Berg, as well as a sculptural installation called “Empty Time” with music composed by Kian Dziak. “The Grid,” monoprints on paper by Elizabeth Black, is a beautifully ambiguous piece to soak in. With music composed by Lucas Boeser, the two work very well together.

“It’s important to have value in art. I used things that I found interesting and cut the photos up. I wanted people to take a line for a line. The point of this project is to show something you do not see every day,” Black said.

The Art-Inspired Music Project continues until April 30, 2015 and is open to the public. The exhibit is on display at McNally Smith College of Music in Saint Paul from Monday-Saturday until 8 p.m.

“It is important to cross boundaries and frontiers. This project offers crossovers with other art forms and literature. It is important to expand the mind; to think across rhythm and shape. These two things need to speak to each other. We will definitely try to do something like this again in the near future,” Franklin said.