Skip to comments.Yoko Ono screams before delivering the commencement address to the Maine College of Art (CAPTION)
Posted on 05/25/2003 11:44:36 AM PDT by TLBSHOW
Yoko Ono screams before delivering the commencement address to the graduating class of the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine, May 18, 2003. Ono is the widow of former Beatles singer and songwriter John Lennon. REUTERS/Herb Swanson
Yoko Ono to graduates: 'Art is love'
By JOSHUA L. WEINSTEIN, Portland Press Herald Writer
Yoko Ono provided the star power, but at the Maine College of Art's graduation Sunday, students, faculty - even the chairman of the board of trustees - provided the razzle-dazzle.
Ono's commencement address was not an ordinary college oration - it began with a 10-second stylized shriek - but MECA's ceremony is not the standard cap-and-gown affair.
Ono, an artist who was married to John Lennon of the Beatles, offered some standard graduation talk - congratulating the graduates, and encouraging them to practice their passion.
"Art is love," she told the 84 graduates. "What we artists give to society is love. Right now, love is what is most needed in our society."
At a news conference before the ceremony, Ono said she was "very thrilled to be here today," and that although she frequently is invited to speak, "I really felt it was exciting to speak to the young artists."
It was reciprocal.
Before Ono uttered a word, she received a standing ovation from the graduates. She got another one 10 minutes later, when she finished.
In her address, Ono quoted Nelson Mandela, who said it is light, not darkness, that is to be feared, and Mother Teresa, who urged people to give the world the best they have.
"I say," she said, "you can't dance if you've got too much muck in your head."
Phillip Tuttrow, a 2002 graduate who works at the college, said he was delighted with the address.
"I thought the graduation was excellent," he said. "Yoko, I thought, was the perfect choice."
Tuttrow said that "for me, the central message was that art is more a way of living than a way of doing things. . . . Impacting the world in the attempt to make it better."
Francesca Maddaluno, who received a master's degree, said Ono "was great. A lot of what she's talking about is really important at this time."
Despite the fairly heavy message, it was a joyous, unconventional ceremony, without a mortarboard to be found.
The invocation, delivered by Harold Philbrook III, who received degrees from the school in 1995 and in 2001, began with Philbrook and two other men doing a sort of break dance on the Merrill Auditorium stage.
Dana Sawyer, an associate professor of religion and philosophy, offered greetings on behalf of the faculty.
He told the graduates that they "are our life's work," and quoted Ken Kesey from the 1994 Paris Review, saying that "the answer is never the answer. What's really interesting is the mystery."
Then he called Professor Joel Eckhaus to the stage. Eckhaus strummed a ukulele while Sawyer's fiancee danced to a song apparently about the expanding nature of the universe that Sawyer sang.
The chairman of the board of trustees, Thomas Saliba, sang as well - an a capella rendition of his own take on Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up." http://www.pressherald.com/news/local/030519ono.shtml
Or maybe "give peace a chance".
Especially when it is the light of truth that shows their true intentions.
Sorry Yoko Ono. What we need more of is always what we need most of: Food and Water, Safety, then Love, and so on. Art is one of the last things we need.
Yoko Ono, an artist who was married to John Lennon ...
Has anyone ever seen any of Yokos art and felt inspired?
In her address, Ono quoted Nelson Mandela, who said it is light, not darkness, that is to be feared
You have to be kidding.
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