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Milton Mural

Sarah Colt ’88 Director, The Gilded Age

Sarah Colt ’88
Director, The Gilded Age

The Gilded Age is a two-hour program for PBS’ award- winning series American Experience that explores the dynamic and fluid final decades of the 19th century. The narrative depends largely on the hopes and dreams, and the triumphs and failures, of men and women who took big personal risks to change the direction of the United States. They shared a belief in the promise of the American future, faith in the technological wonders of the age, and confidence that their country could reach for its economic potential while holding onto its most cherished democratic ideals. They were all bullish on America.

The industrialist steel maker and champion of laissez faire capitalism Andrew Carnegie; trend-setting socialite Alva Vanderbilt; white-shoe banker J.P. Morgan; political activist Henry George; and Populist leader Mary Elizabeth Lease all wanted particular outcomes, both for themselves and for their country. Coming up short of their goals, they refused to resign themselves to failure. It is their personal and heartfelt efforts that animate this compelling, complex and urgently relevant story of one of the most convulsive and transformative eras in American history. National broadcast of The Gilded Age is slated for winter 2018.

Bill Hilgendorf ’98
Co-founder, Uhuru Design

Uhuru Design, a multidisciplinary design firm based in Red Hook, Brooklyn, was founded in 2004 by Bill Hilgendorf and his business partner, Jason Horvath. Uhuru began as a high-end custom furniture design and build company with a focus on timeless, sustainable design. Over the past 10 years, the company has built a full interior-design division with high-profile projects in the commercial, residential and hospitality sectors.

A leading innovator in New American Design, Uhuru has pieces selected for display in the Smithsonian’s and Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collections. Uhuru offers clients and partners access to an influential global audience seeking a deeper connection with the products they use and the spaces they inhabit. This is evident in their creative reuse and repurpose in the creation of fine furniture and interior spaces.

Bill and Jason were recognized by the Smithsonian, featured as part of the museum’s 40 Under 40: Craft Futures for innovation in their field. Uhuru’s original Cyclone Lounger, fabricated from reclaimed Coney Island Boardwalk ipe, was acquired by the Smithsonian for its permanent collection. The company was featured in a 2016 New York Times piece titled “The Rise of the Locavore Designer.” Bill’s designs will be featured on campus in Milton’s Nesto Gallery in spring 2018.

Murray “Mac” Dewart ’66
Editor, Poems About Sculpture

Poems About Sculpture is an anthology of poetry—from around the world and across the ages—about humanity’s most enduring art form. Inspired by the ideas embodied in monumental temples and fragmented statues of ancient civilizations, poets over the centuries have converted their reactions to physical materials—clay, wood, glass, marble, granite, bronze—into poetic verse. This anthology, with foreword by Robert Pinsky, ranges from Keats’ Grecian urn and Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” to contemporary works about Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Janet Echelman’s wind-borne hovering nets. Sculptures commemorating love or war, objects or apparitions, forms human or divine, have evoked responses from poets, including Homer, Ovid, Shakespeare, Baudelaire, Rilke, Dickinson, Yeats, Auden and Plath. A compendium of one art form reflecting on another, Poems About Sculpture is a treat for art lovers of all kinds.

Mac Dewart has been creating sculptures for decades. His large-scale works have been on display in museums and exhibition spaces from as nearby as Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, to places as far as China, Peru and Russia.

Jenny Slate ’00
Actress, Landline

Landline follows the lives and relationships of the Jacobs family—played by Jenny Slate, Edie Falco, Abby Quinn and John Turturro—in 1995 Manhattan. The film is set in an era when people called from pay phones, relied on answering machines, made mix tapes for their friends, and shared one family PC connected to a dot-matrix printer. Technology is a focal point when sisters Dana and Ali Jacobs discover a floppy disk containing erotic poetry written by their father and intended for someone other than his wife. Infidelity seems a family trait, bemoans Ali, as she learns about her father’s extramarital transgressions and watches her older sister cheat on her live-in fiancé with a guy she knew in college. Dana and Ali’s relationship—and its evolution—is a central thread in the film.

Director Gillian Robespierre and co-writer Elizabeth Holm collaborated on the 2014 film Obvious Child, also starring Jenny Slate. Landline premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017 and was purchased by Amazon Studios. One critic nods to the film’s talented cast and “a fast-paced approach from director and co-writer Gillian Robespierre” to developing this “charming, multi-generational dramedy.”

Jason Spingarn-Koff ’92
Executive Producer, Daughters of Destiny

Daughters of Destiny is a four-part Netflix original documentary series chronicling the lives of five girls raised at Shanti Bhavan, a unique coed residential school in Tamil Nadu, India. These girls are from families of the so-called “Dalit” caste and are among the most impoverished communities in the world. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth, the series witnesses the girls come of age at Shanti Bhavan, where the expectation is that they must grow up to support themselves, lift their families and communities out of poverty, and contribute to the larger world. The series highlights the struggle of students as they strive to define themselves, re-define gender and class, and create a new future for the generations that will come after them. The strength and power of the girls’ own storytelling and dramatic experiences over seven years of filming from the gates of Shanti Bhavan into their homes brings viewers through their stories of family, love, loss, hard work and courage. An original music score by Academy

Award- and Emmy Award-winning composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) punctuates the emotional journey. The series launched globally in July 2017.

For more information about the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project, visit shantibhavanchildren.org.

Claire Cheney ’02
Founder, Curio Spice Company

Founded in 2015, Curio Spice Company introduces customers to the rich world of organic spices from around the globe. Offering top-quality, flavorful spices sourced directly from farmers and producers, Curio Spice Co. uses the highest standards in organic and fair-trade agriculture. Whether you’re a professional chef, an adventurous home cook, or just trying to get something quick and tasty on the table, you’ll enjoy how these unique spice blends make familiar foods and drinks taste special. Spices are toasted whole, ground and packaged by hand to ensure maximum freshness and nutrition. The company also provides recipes and stories that introduce customers to the people, geography, and cultures behind the food. Claire Cheney founded and owns Curio Spice Co., a local, independent, Public Benefit Corporation working to provide a better life for farmers, protect the environment, and unite people around food. As a Public Benefit Corporation, Curio Spice Co. is focused on business that’s fair for all, as well as on sourcing many herbs and spices locally to save energy and improve the local economy.

To learn more, visit Claire’s blog, Aromatum, at aromatum.blogspot.com.

Tetsu Higuchi ’12 and Devaughn Holliday ’12
Co-founders, Cypher League Media

A Brooklyn-based media company and arts collective, Cypher League Media’s vision is to “create platforms for sharing the arts and ideas of our generation.” Today, Cypher League (established in 2012) runs a digital and physical publication; event production; a record label called Dojo; and a music-sharing and collaboration app. The company celebrates young creators—artists, activists, and entrepreneurs who embody the inventive, inclusive, and ambitious spirit of hip-hop. Cypher League, with several Milton alumni as founding members, employs students and recent graduates from universities, including New York University, Northeastern and Cornell. The company profiles individuals who are building by connecting—who seize and provide opportunities for education, expression, and expansion of consciousness. The company’s tagline is “Culture is Yours to Create”—which is also the name of their recent tour that promoted “free-expression, good music, and an empowering mindset” at universities like Middlebury, Wesleyan and Amherst. In the vanguard of a new movement in hip-hop music and culture, their goal is to provoke curious people into taking positive action, to invigorate a generation of youthful cultural participants, and to be the leading independent media platform for the millennial generation through a dedication to original and relevant content.

Learn more at cypherleague.com.

ART WORKS

Artists move mountains: shifting perspectives, opening hearts and minds, instructing us quietly, revealing difficult truths. Over the ages, we have been grateful to artists, or angry with them, or astounded, or affirmed. In the most difficult times, we rely on artists to wrestle with the most complicated issues, take us to unfamiliar places, and burrow into spaces that need light. They connect us powerfully to beauty and transcendence. Artists help us reach for our deepest selves and for each other.