Susan Kaplar conceived of the new exhibit, "Tempos: Muse and Motion," featured in the lobby of the Brooks Center.

Susan Kaplar conceived of the new exhibit, “Tempos: Muse and Motion,” featured in the lobby of the Brooks Center.

CLEMSON — Susan Kaplar, business manager for the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts at Clemson University, long had a dream to merge her interest in the visual arts with her love of the performing arts. Her idea was to present visual artwork accompanied by interpretations of that art in the forms of music and movement theater.

That now is an exhibit called “Tempos: Muse and Motion” that will be in the Brooks Center lobby until March 14. It is being presented by the Brooks Center and the Center for Visual Arts.

Two performances will accompany the exhibit: on Tuesday, March 11, and Thursday, March 13. Both begin at 6:30 p.m.

A painter in her spare time, one of Kaplar’s personal goals was to volunteer at Lee Gallery to learn how to present an art exhibit, but found an opportunity when she spoke with Denise Woodward-Detrich, its director.

“When I started talking to Denise, she quickly told me that volunteering and interning go hand in hand,” Kaplar wrote on her blog, Muse and Motion, with is devoted to the project. “What better way to learn what goes into putting an exhibition together than by working together to create one? I told her about my vision, and she suggested presenting it in the lobby of the Brooks Center.

“I came up with the idea of ‘tempos’ as the main theme and chose several musical terms that are associated with the speed at which a piece of music is played,” she said.

The 15 pieces in the exhibit are the work of undergraduate and graduate students and begin with pieces that visually convey slow tempos (in musical terms, “grave” or “adagio”), before moving to those with moderate (“andante,” “moderato”) and fast tempos (“vivace,” “presto”).

Woodward-Detrich says that a partnership between the visual and performing arts is a natural fit. “There are a lot of similarities in the language we use to describe visual and performing arts. The pieces we chose represented that overlap.”

The project’s organizers have planned two evenings in which the performing arts will respond to the visual arts.

On Tuesday, March 11, before the performance of dance ensemble “Flamenco Vivo,” Clemson University Symphony Orchestra conductor Andrew Levin will lead a string trio that will perform a variety of musical selections that mirror these tempo markings. On Thursday, March 13, before the performance of “Driving Miss Daisy,” Brooks Center director Lillian Harder will do the same, but this time with piano instead of strings. On both occasions, acting professor Kerrie Seymour will lead a group of students who will perform movement pieces in reaction to both the displayed artwork and the live music.

“If this somehow inspires somebody to start moving, start creating, start feeling free to ‘respond’ in some way to the art, then I have accomplished my goal,” Kaplar said. “I know how art makes me feel. I guess I want to share that opportunity with someone who may not know that art can inspire them, too.”

The exhibit also is open 1-5 p.m. weekdays. Some artworks are available for purchase by visiting the marketplace website. Evening performances and viewings are free to the public and do not require paid admission to Brooks Center performances.

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