Daniel Kelly

Teaching Artist-in-Residence, Summer and Fall 2022

During his residency, award-winning pianist and composer Daniel Kelly will conduct a series of programs in the galleries and Greene Education Center, engaging with the works of art on view in Cycles of Nature. (February 11, 2022–February 12, 2023).

Participants will create individual responses to what they see and understand through artmaking, poetry, storytelling, and music, sharing and performing their works of art. Under the artist’s guidance, these creative encounters with powerful works of art will enable participants to explore and express their emotions. The final event of the residency will be a performance featuring Kelly and a special guest musician, inspired by Cycles of Nature, including musical improvisations and stories and poems created by the participants of the previous public workshops.

Music is important in deepening the appreciation and understanding of the works on view in Cycles of Nature. In particular, Lee Krasner’s Re-Echo and George Bellows’s Evening Swell, both on loan from Art Bridges, can elicit a synesthetic reaction in which the viewer experiences an auditory connection, “hearing” the image, whether in the bluesy beat of improvisatory jazz, or the powerful strains of a symphony. Similarly, there are strong narrative and dramatic elements in both paintings, some of which are immediately apparent, and others that reveal themselves through prolonged looking, analysis, discussion, and sharing of content. Kelly states:

“My artistic practice for the past several years has been as a social artist, deeply engaging with communities across the country to create interdisciplinary work that uplifts the stories and experiences of people from all walks of life. Since 2010, I have been commissioned by 13 performing art centers throughout the US to create concert-length works that have transformed stories of everyday people —farmers, immigrants, teachers, students, hurricane survivors, and seniors—into dramatic and compelling musical works celebrating our shared human experience. Using visual art, literature, and personal stories as direct inspiration for my original musical compositions is at the core of my creative process.”

Kelly’s music has been declared “powerfully moving” by Time Out New York, and he has brought his unique talent to performances with Grammy Award–winning jazz legends Michael Brecker and Joe Lovano, hip-hop star Lauryn Hill, and modern classical giants the Bang on a Can All-Stars, to name a few. Kelly has toured throughout Southeast Asia and India as a part of the Kennedy Center/U.S. State Department–sponsored Jazz Ambassadors program and has composed for chamber orchestra, string quartet, film, and multimedia theater works.

Kelly’s projects, which explore the meeting place of music with literature, visual art, and journalism, include Rakonto, a massive ongoing series of interview-based concerts; Shakespeare in Jazz, Kelly’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s words into fresh and dynamic jazz songs that have audiences singing along in sheer delight; and Blind Visionaries, his stunning multi-media collaboration with the pioneering group of visually-impaired photographers, the Seeing with Photography Collective.


Public Workshops

Musical Journeys: Image and Sound
Sunday, July 17, 1–3pm
Join Teaching Artist-in-Residence Daniel Kelly in the first of a series of programs that deeply engage with the works of art on view in Cycles of Nature. Respond to what you see through artmaking and music, while exploring connections between these artistic disciplines. Then share and discuss your new creations and collaborate with Daniel as he improvises a musical interpretation of your artwork!

Musical Journeys: Painting and Sound
Sunday, September 11, 1–3pm
Create spontaneous and abstract works of art, using microphones, digital effects, and your voice! Using Lee Krasner’s Re-Echo as inspiration, explore improvisation and make sound collages combining shapes and sounds, and sonic and visual gestures with Daniel Kelly.

Musical Journeys: Stories and Sound
Sunday, December 4, 1–3pm
Create works of art and poetry/creative writing inspired by stories from your life and the works of art exhibited in Cycles of Nature, with Daniel Kelly, who will improvise musical versions of your stories.

Musical Journeys: Culminating Performance
Sunday, February 12, 3pm
Join Daniel Kelly and a guest musician for a special performance inspired by Cycles of Nature. Highlights of the concert will include musical improvisations and stories and poems created by the participants of the previous three public workshops.


Family Studio Art Workshops

Painting Sound
Saturdays and Sundays in July, 1–4pm
Can you hear music in a painting? Explore the relationship between music and art by engaging with the works of art on view in Cycles of Nature and imagining what they sound like. In this workshop, designed by Daniel Kelly, participants will create their own works of art that express their feelings and reactions to selections of classical and jazz music, comparing and contrasting their creations.

Re-Echo Re-Mix
Saturdays and Sundays in October, 1–4pm
In this workshop, our Junior Docents will guide families in creating works of abstract art inspired by Lee Krasner’s Re-Echo. Fragments of Re-Echo—cut from copies of its painted shapes—will be the starting point for the puzzle pieces that will encourage an exploration in gesture, shape, and color.

Cycles of Nature: Your Life in Art
Saturdays and Sundays in January, 1–4pm
Transform memories from different stages of your life into art, using concepts from Cycles of Nature as inspiration. This workshop is led by Junior Docents.