Music & art go hand in hand

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Several students at Black Hawk College, along with the Art teacher, Zaiga Minka Thorson, were chosen to work on a fundraiser project for the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra called “100 Years, 100 Cellos.”

As the title predicts, there were 100 total cellos commissioned to be painted by artists of all ages throughout the Quad Cities. These works of art will be on stage during the season grand finale performance by superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma on May 14.

After that, they will be on display at the Figge Art Museum May 26 – 29 before being auctioned off to raise even more funds for the QCSO.

The artists were asked to come up with an artist statement telling why they designed their cello the way that they did.

Professor Zaiga Thorson gave this statement about her piece titled Under and Over a Goat Rodeo Moon:

“Three factors inspired my design, the first being the shape of the cello. I wanted to honor the beauty of the instrument, its graceful curves and the natural wood grain.

“Secondly, in listening to Yo Yo Ma’s music, I fell in love with The Goat Rodeo Sessions and his collaboration with these incredible folk musicians. I listened almost exclusively to this music while I painted the cello.

“I wanted the variety of tones and rhythms in the music to translate visually from layered colors of deep, rich tones to hues of lightness and luminosity. Rhythmic shapes float through an ethereal space.

Finally, the music brought back a fond memory: my first glimpse of the Smokey Mountains was against a moonlit and star-filled sky.”

Artist’s Biography:

Zaiga is a Professor of Art at Black Hawk College, teaching there since 1999. She holds a BFA in Painting, from Western Michigan University and an MFA in Painting from Northern Illinois University. She has won numerous awards for her graphic design and artwork, which she exhibits regionally and nationally.

She serves on the education committee for the Figge Art Museum and has served on the Rock Island Preservation Commission and the Visual Arts Committee, Quad City Arts. Her reverence for nature is rooted in her Latvian heritage and growing up in Michigan.

Zaiga and her husband John have two sons, Alex, a sophomore at the University of Iowa and Eric, a senior at RIHS. Her interests include research and travel to our National Parks and UNESCO World Heritage sites, with a particular focus on sacred sites.

She is represented by Iowa Artisans Gallery in Iowa City, Iowa.

  • Check the next issue of the Chieftain for information and pictures from the cello painted by the Art Collective (student group).