When do you suppose Howard or I will have anything to say about sport? Eight years of grade school; four years of high school; seven more to achieve an undergraduate degree at the University of Oklahoma. Columbia University doesn’t count; I don’t know if they even have a football team. And then forty-two years among the Bison at NDSU. With apologies to all my friends and colleagues and to students, both current and former, I have no interest whatsoever in sports, college or professional. Please disregard the two Redhawks games I attended with Milton and Steve.
The bottom line? Who will tell the story of Agincourt’s athletic achievements. Leave it to me and you know what you’ll get. I can imagine people who paint and prune and potter; conceivers, composers, healers and the holy; writers of fact and fiction. But I cannot get inside the mind of sport, neither those who sweat, nor especially those who watch them.
Walt Disney coined the word “imagineer” to bind the prescient with the practical. Now that I think of it—looking back on seven years’ effort on this project—I see that some of Agincourt’s characters are poet-plumbers of the imagineering sort.
Take Reinhold Kölb, for example, our resident psychotherapist from the mid-20s until his death. Kölb introduced art therapy to the repertoire of health care in the community. And, in the remarkable way the one generation passes its torch to the next, Kölb transfered his non-traditional healing techniques to Seamus Tierney. Kölb adapted the therapeutic methods of his Viennese friend Jacob Levy Moreno, “drama therapy”, for the smaller scale of puppet theater, and those productions went pubic as Saturday afternoon events in The Commons. And there, on a Saturday afternoon when his parents shopped and transacted business, a twelve-year-old James Tierney attended one of Kölb’s last puppet shows. Tierney matured to be the founding director of Agincourt’s Prairie Playhouse, and who can tell what inspiration grew from that place.
I’m a great believer in torch-passing, which accounts I suppose for much of my own behavior: the hope that I, too, could be a Kölb or a Tierney. I’ll get over it.
Which brings me—never soon enough—to the point. I visited Molly Yergens show at the Rourke Art Museum again this afternoon and was inspired by three of her latest works: shadow boxes with intermediate stages in some of her thinking. Beginning with collages of magazine clippings, shards of color really, Molly has crafter three-dimensional iterations in light boxes. And those, in turn, have become large paintings, returning the imagery to a two-dimensional surface. It’s the intermediate step that caught my imagination.
The next Agincourt show wants to tell the Kölb-Tierney tale, and to do it we need the puppet theater that linked them; the physical object that represents the passing of that creative torch. Molly’s 3-D works seem to ripe to become the artistic frame for Kölb’s puppet action.