Getting Getty…

Our first day in Malibu California, we decided to go to the Getty Villa.  We had to make reservations, even though it was free, because the state of California only allows them to have a certain number of visitors each day.  They opened at 10am, and we reserved our tickets for 10:30. The tickets stated that unless we printed out our reservations, we were going to be denied entry.  Since we didn’t have access to a printer I was a little concerned when we pulled up, however they were very accommodating and used our confirmation email.  I find it interesting when the rules state one thing but when you’re interacting with people they can choose which rules to enforce. It’s definitely a good lesson to learn, it’s all about who you know and how you talk to people.

The Getty Villa is BEAUTIFUL! What an amazing place to visit on our first day! The villa was created by Jean Paul Getty, who became a millionaire by the time he was 23, in 1915. By the 1960s, his company Getty Oil became one of the largest oil companies in the world. Getty was a self-avowed non-conformist. He was always suspicious of conventional wisdom in business, art, and life. Others described him as an eccentric, a playboy, a genius, and a tightwad. He was famously married five times and had five sons.

“He collected art with the same eye for underappreciated value that he had for a salt dome covering a rich pool of oil deep beneath it. Prizing beauty for its permanence, he preferred the art of royals and aristocrats from western history: Greek and Roman sculpture, paintings of Renaissance masters, and furniture of 18th century European monarchs. Though he delighted in the tax deductions that accrued when he donated his art to museums, he also demonstrated a genuine desire to share his art with the public.

For years Getty traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East in search of oil and art. He converted part of his Ranch House in Malibu, California (today, Pacific Palisades), into a museum so that he could share his art treasures with the public. After 1951, he never returned to California, though he continued to call it home for another 25 years.

Late in life Getty conceived the idea of building a major museum on his ranch property. He decided that it would be a near replica of the Roman Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy, which had been buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Critics derided the Villa as a gimmick when it opened in 1974, but the public loved it.

From his home outside London, Getty supervised its operations, approving every new acquisition. He proudly displayed the architectural model of the Villa but kept spending to a bare minimum, refusing even to pay for climate control for his works of art. Consistently, he cautioned the Museum’s staff that the institution would have to survive on the original $40 million endowment he had provided. He never revealed that in his will he had left virtually his entire estate to the institution in trust, giving it a greater endowment than any other museum in the world.”

When Getty’s will was opened in Los Angeles later that week, it stunned the art world. Contrary to what he had told the curators, Getty had left the vast bulk of his estate, worth nearly $700 million ($2.83 billion by today’s standards) to the J. Paul Getty Museum Trust.

The energy there was amazing. Each statue had a vibration to it that resonated a calmness. Hercules is the larges statue they had, and the most famous. I saw Venus, Aphrodite, Zeus, Nemesis, Hermes, Plato, Athena, and Apollo to name a few!

The floors in the villa were so intricate, and it was a joy to see sacred geometry everywhere! Each room took my breath away from floor to ceiling. I found myself just staring in admiration at all the amazing architecture!

The gardens were magnificent! They even allowed us to pick a few of the herbs from the garden to take back with us. I collected some Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Lavender and a few others. They had grape vines growing from trellis’, lemon trees, fig trees, and cumquat trees.

My favorite part of the Villa was the children’s interactive room.  Kids of all ages were able to draw on replicated greek vases made just for dry erase markers! This was a genius idea!! I had to play!

They also had a rubbings station with images of vases printed out, where you can choose an image and create a design.  There were raised and indented images which you created by placing your paper on top and rub a crayon over the image.

The most exciting part was this large velum screen that was lit up with a spot light behind it. They had foam props that you can choose from to create a silhouette play! I think I am going to use this idea in my classroom this year.  We could hang a large sheet and put on little plays based of certain themes.

Getty Villa was by far one of the most interesting and beautiful places I’ve visited. When I go back to Los Angeles I will make sure to visit the Getty Center Museum as well.


Dining in Malibu…

While I was in California, I visited three totally different restaurants… Moonshadows, Paradise Cove, and Dukes. Each had their own character and were great experiences! Amy, Matt and I went out exploring after our workshop on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Moonshadows was a semi-highclass restaurant with extremely high prices.  When we drove up we were directed to valet, apparently that’s the only kind of parking you can get if you drive to a restaurant in Malibu.  The atmosphere was calm and the décor was relaxing.  We decided on outdoor seating, which wasn’t too hard to find, however the majority of the seats were large ottomans and cushions.  The view totally made up for it though….having a drink right on the water, hearing the waves crash on the rocks was an experience I didn’t mind paying for; the margarita I ordered was $14, and it was only a small 7oz glass! Our only other complaint was the heating elements they had on the deck were turned up to scolding. So when another couple left we moved closer to the water and further from the heat to finish our drinks before we headed back to Pepperdine.

The next night we decided on a place a little less classy and a bit more fun, Paradise Cove Beach Café.  This place was by far my favorite of the three because the atmosphere was so fun inside and their outside patio was right on the beach.  We literally ate with our feet in the sand.  The wait staff was also a lot friendlier.  As we watched meals being brought out to those around us we noticed the portion sizes were triple what a normal meal would be! We felt it was a little much for one person.  This would be an awesome place to take your family to eat while on vacation.  Wednesday nights are all you can eat shrimp, however the plate costs $29 for an enormous portion, and no sharing allowed.  I ordered their Parmesan Crusted shrimp appetizer for $19, which came with 8 shrimp stuffed with parmesan cheese and garlic butter sauce. They were rich but very delicious.  They also offer amazing mixed drinks served inside pineapples and watermelons! The pineapple-mango margarita I had was $13, served in a pineapple and oh so tasty. It was wonderful sitting on the beach enjoying our drinks while getting to know each other a bit better.

The last restaurant we had the pleasure to eat at was Dukes Malibu. Jeanne, Matt and I stopped to eat lunch on our way to our Los Angeles hotel after the workshop was over.  There were many different seating options, we went with window seats because the restaurant is located right on the edge of the coast overlooking the rocks and ocean.  Dukes food was the best out of the three restaurants, and the waitress we had was delightful.  We ordered steamed pork buns, Korean marinated pork, pickled vegetables, hoisin, cilantro, sriracha, steamed rice bun, and the hummus trio (gf) Edamame, macadamia nut, roasted red pepper, herb flatbread, seasonal vegetables, for our appetizers and let me tell you I would order them every time.

I ordered fish tacos for the first time in my life and I am glad that I waited to have them at Dukes.  The amount of fish they gave you in each taco was perfect and the Cajun grilled spices were just right.  Lunch was wonderful but the few was simply breathtaking…and it made my experience so relaxing.

Next time you find yourself in Malibu, I suggest you check out Dukes for Lunch and Paradise Cove for dinner…and if you’re into expensive drinks and people watching maybe head on over to Moonshadows.

Art Class Existence



IgniteU, is a week-long journalism camp held at Pepperdine University.  Many different schools attend and begin their yearbooks for the upcoming school year.  Usually schools bring a few students from their yearbook staff and begin planning their pages and designing their spreads.  There were also a few students and advisors who came solo to get ideas and experience with creating yearbooks in order to take back tips and tricks to make their production go smoother throughout the year.

I traveled to IgniteU with two other advisors, Amy and Matt, along with one student Zoe, thanks to our awesome representative Jeanne Unger.  We immediately hit it off and all became good friends! Amy is a communications director in Middleton MD, Matt is a first year teacher in Baltimore City MD, and Zoe is a sophomore at a school in Washington D.C..

Pepperdine University is in Malibu, California…one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.  The university is gorgeous, nestled in the valley of mountains right on the coast line.  Every morning it was a little chilly and breezy but by the afternoon the sun was directly ahead and shining so nicely on us.

Our sessions started on Monday after an exciting general session.  We played team building games and were able to network with other schools from all over the country.  We were the group from the furthest away. One of the games was a scavenger hunt which gave us a chance to really explore the campus!

After the general session, we were able to choose break-out sessions to attend which would benefit us the most.  I went to many Theme track sessions as I wasn’t yet sure what our theme was going to be. We have a lot of things happening new at our school this year, and I wanted something to cover each of them!  It was exciting to see schools with large groups of students working hard on beginning their yearbooks.  I was able to listen in and even get feedback from them in order to help find a great theme for our book.

Most of the schools there were high schools, I wished there were more middle schools that attend because it is different as you get into high school.  The books become more journalistic and less picture book style.  I am excited to bring back a few things to really step up our yearbooks game this year.  Make it a little more sophisticated and have more opportunities for the students to really build a book they will cherish forever.

The camp registration included a session with a cover artist to begin working on ideas for the cover.  We even created a final rough draft of a cover design.  Here is the one we came up with:

16-28208 Ridgely Middle School-01

The theme I choose was “Our Journey…” since this year we have a new principal, a new digital initiative (all 6th graders in our school will have devices to use) , as well as a new logo and mission statement.  We are really on a whole new adventure and we must journey through it all together in order to come out on top.

I had the opportunity to create a few layout spreads which will really assist me in teaching my students how to use the software Balfour Studioworks. We will really be focusing on taking our own candid and organizational photos and adding names to all of our images.  This is an exciting change, which will be more student centered rather than having Lifetouch come in and photograph for us. Students will also learn a little more about photography and how to take captivating photos instead of the just simple snapshots. I learned a new term called “iphonography” which is the use of your iPhone to take quality photos.

Pepperdine University did a wonderful job hosting us! A wide variety of choices were served for breakfast, lunch and dinner were delicious.  We stayed in the dorm rooms, which had no air conditioning, however the breeze from the ocean was more than enough to keep us cool all day and night.

Overall my experience was very rewarding and I am able to go back to school with new insight, plans, tips, and excitement for the upcoming school year and our new book.