C    H    A    N    G    E   Agents
C   U   L   T   U   R    E

        Since the time of the founding of the United States of America less than 250 years ago, the people of the nation have accomplished original and important undertakings that have reaped benefits for the whole society, far beyond the immediate scope of their achievements, of chosen goals at which they worked very hard and were successful.

Constitution of the United States

I composed the work and completed the final monochrome painting using black watercolor, in 1991. The size of the work is 37 x 49 inches, framed

        Many of these people were inventors and explorers who applied their talents in the sciences of the physical universe. Other persons applied their talents as builders, architects, engineers, and business leaders, even while other individuals explored with imagination and ingenuity to create unique work in the arts and humanities.


...something like a meditation
upon the question: what does it mean 'to explore'? What value has come from exploration of elemental stuff---matter and energy---in all of its molecular manifestations? Who are the explorers of the places inhabited by human beings---or not, and, all other living and non-living creatures on earth, in outer space, the universe?

Exploration was created as in final art form as a monochrome painting using black watercolor, in 1991. The work measures 36 x 44 inches, framed

        My paintings are about adventurous enterprises within American society that operate by means of creation + invention. They portray highly productive spheres of achievement through the arts, the sciences, business industry, sports, and personal insight.


        Let us enjoy our time, tonight! Our day's work is done, and we are here among friends and neighbors. So much is here to experience! It's city time at night with dark skies overhead, but our public square shines brightly beneath the moonlight towers. Musicians have come out to jam, yeah, eager to perform again on precious instruments which they brought from the old country. We've got surround sound! Glorious rhythms and a marvelous melody---nearly everyone is dancing! There's more music coming from a phonograph machine that sits atop the soda shop next to the motion picture screen. Some folks are enjoying singing along with pre-recorded songs, while others prefer the jukebox tunes, over there, at the corner of the street. What else is Hot!? Motion pictures projected on film are being shown in vaudeville houses, penny arcades, picture palace theatres, and here, outside in the open air. One thing more, see, that department store's rooftop radio, now broadcasting the "live audio" of a slapstick comedy show---transmitted from far away.

        Cities reflect their times. Each is an emblematic place where people, inventions and new technologies mingle and merge creatively. How cool is that for the country, USA? Until the 1860s, most people in the United States of America lived within a country landscape on family farms that functioned as rural factories. Native born citizens and immigrants engaged primarily in local activities with each community making, growing and manufacturing most of what they needed. Businesses also drew from abundant, local natural resources to produce lumber, shipbuilding, furniture, grains, and textiles to sell in the markets. By the time the Civil War began in 1860, farmers had developed agriculture on a massive scale in Midwestern metropolises suchlike Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis and Michigan City, Indiana, and Chicago, Illinois. As the War was being prosecuted, entrepreneurs in other spheres were churning out military weapons and supplies even as they kept up with escalating civilian customer demands for farm machinery, specialized tools,

ready-made clothing, and domestic goods--particularly, processed meats and canned foods. America was growing!

        The number of inhabitants increased by 67.5 million, and eleven states entered the Union from 1876 to 1912. Then as now, forty-eight contiguous States span from the Eastern seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. Pioneers in the tens of thousands moved to the West to settle and farm the lands. Adventurers went in search of gold and, then, chose to stay and become miners of silver, copper, and tin. But, most men and women moved off their farms to take jobs in the cities. They worked beside colleagues who recently emigrated from Europe, Canada, and Asia. Their labors were mutual and purpose-driven to better their lives by every sort of job in every kind of enterprise.

        Across the urban scene, electric power supplanted steam as the dominant energy for industrial activity. Electric incandescent lamps were everywhere, in homes, shops, and factories. Municipalities used arc lamps in locations where it would be too costly or impractical to use sidewalk street lamps. The giant-sized arc lamps stood atop very tall platform rigs and illuminated several city blocks simultaneously---they glowed like "moonlight towers." Tall buildings, too, lit up the horizon with electric-powered elevators, central heating, electric plumbing pumps, and the telephone. The first skyscrapers reached a mere ten to twenty stories high, yet, were different at their core. An internal skeleton was part of their design, a "cage," built with cast iron in the early days, and later, with steel---strong, light, affordable, plentiful steel. Rather than the outer walls, the skeleton supported the weight of the edifice. That allowed for buildings with higher ceilings and wider space to accommodate, say, people passing through a corporation's ground floor lobby, or the main commercial floor in a department store.

After work, what entertaining things did people do? Imagination led the way, then as now.

          Hot! was composed in regard of six seminal scientific inventions:  the electric light bulb; wireless telegraphy;
the motion picture projection camera;  the phonograph recording;  the automobile production assembly line;

                      engineering and construction of the skyscraper.     All of these inventions became viable commercial successes

                 during the second half of the 19th century. I completed the painting in monochrome, using black watercolor, in 1993.

                                                               The work measures 52 x 39 inches, framed

        Blues and early jazz music are the wellspring of America's dance forms. Sound in movement art  like dance as performed with hard-sole shoes on feet that are tapping the floor in unlimited repeats of a flat-pitched sound---and the tonal effect is an intoxicating, dramatic rhythmic beat.

        Modern Dance expresses contemporary life through fragmentary impressions of a subject or theme. A storyline may or may not be present; yet, the choreography and music integrate seemlessly in physicality and emotion of the two arts.


I composed the work as a drawing, in 1990, and created final art as a monochrome painting, in 1992, using black watercolor. The size is 39 x 53 inches, framed


of the

        Theatrical and musical stage performance settings for works of art by playwrights,
opera composers, lyricists, musicians, "twentieth century popular" singer-songwriters, choreographers, dancers, actors, and authors...

I composed the painting in 1996,
of watercolor; the size is
38 x 54 inches, framed

        I decided to look at several spheres of creation and invention where people have been searching into areas of the unknown.
The time period in my artwork, of reflection upon these chosen subjects, is from 1860 through the end of the twentieth century.

i.e. wireless telegraphy, is
a 19th century invention, used for
long distance communication, from point-to-point, between persons.
It operates in like manner to the telegraph and telephone.

is the technology which allows sound (audio) to be transmitted by radio waves by means of amplitude modulation.
"AM radio" was developed around 1914, and thus, ushered in the new phenomenon of "broadcasting" into American society. Broadcast radio pioneers provided a "one-to-many" mode of distribution of audio content, and by the 1930's---video content---sending it all, over the airwaves, to be "received" by multitudes of persons in geographically dispersed locations.

Public Airwaves

I composed this painting
using black watercolor, in 1992;the size of the work is
38 x 51 inches, framed


        How do we get from one place to another, other than by walking, or being carried...

        In the early years of the United States of America, people conveyed their goods and themselves using horse power and other carriage pack animals. Riverboats carried freight across the waterways and steered through man-made canals, while ocean going vessels traveled to ports of call on other continents.

I composed the painting as a monochrome work of black watercolor. Created in 1992,
my work measures
34.5 x 46 inches, framed

     In the eighteenth century, British inventors harnessed water's power in the form of "steam pressure force," and applied the "steam engines" to textile machinery, shipbuilding, and blast furnaces for iron production. In America, entrepreneurs relied upon water wheels to power the simple mechanical steps of manufacturing textiles and grains from raw materials.

     By the 1850s, steam-driven technologies had quickened the pace of production and freed businesses from having to locate their plants along water routes. Innovations hastened new industry growth in environs that offered resource rich harvests in cotton, wheat, and timber; and mineral deposits, including coal, were discovered and developed. Improved transportation was vital for bringing the raw materials to mill towns for processing and moving finished goods to the markets.

     A construction boom was underway throughout the country to re-build the old, worn down roads and canals into interconnected transport structure-and-vehicular networks to serve a much higher volume of traffic. New canals, steamships, transoceanic ships of sail, roads, bridges, and railroads met the criteria.

          The Erie Canal was renovated for
                enlargement over a thirty year period.

          The U.S. transcontinental railroad
                was completed in 1869.

          Steel rails were desired for strength and
                durability, and low costs of fabrication by
                the revolutionary Bessemer process helped
                to make steel a mass production business.

          More than 2,000 turnpike roads served as
                inter-connectors to other means of transport.

     American cities invested in public transit to alleviate
ever-increasing distances between workplace and residence.
Inter-urban and long-distance railways provided carriage service to workforce commuters and the traveling public in addition to moving freight to-and-from the industrial towns and cities. Steam-driven elevated trains came into wide use, followed by electric powered cable cars, streetcars, trolleys, and trains. Boston introduced the "T" underground subway in 1897, and New York City followed in October 1904, with nine miles of subway track, open to all comers.

     Electrical energy + internal combustion engines + metal alloys, were the leading transportation technologies in the 20th century. Gasoline-fueled engines operating on "intermittent combustion” cycles were the dominant power supply of cars, aircraft, and boats. Starting in 1901, such engines were fitted to custom frames, and sold by car makers as automobile machines for personal transport.

     The age of flight was initiated with the 1903 Flyer
---a hand-built invention by Wilbur and Orville Wright, that was made of spruce wood, bolted to a gasoline fueled engine, and launched 120 feet in the air. Science and engineering advances brought the more powerful "continuous combustion" engines into production: gas turbines, jet engines, and rockets.

     By 1946, the U. S. X-Plane Program successfully flight-tested rocket engines; and, within a year, a rocket powered X1 aircraft broke the sound barrier. Explorer I, a satellite, launched into Earth's orbit in 1958; a few years later, the spacecraft,
Apollo 11, blasted from a Saturn V rocket into outer space, into the moon's orbit, with three American astronauts aboard. On July 20, 1969, two of the astronauts descended to the moon's surface in a lunar craft. America's transportation odyssey in space was furthered by the Space Shuttle missions. Enterprise was the first test orbiter (it flew only within Earth's atmosphere). Space Shuttle Columbia flew 28 missions from 1981 to 2003.

of Communications

...an imaginative expression
in regard of changing tools
and methods that expand the reach of person-to person correspondence, even as more new mass communications technologies are put in place across the earth and beyond
---far beyond this world and
high into the heavens

I completed this watercolor painting in 1994. The size of my work is 39 x 50 inches, framed


     O! Why do words
matter? What quality of meaning does a single word have if it is always strung alongside others to import the statement? Those who know why, know, because they speak and write with understanding of what is unfolding or developing through the sequence of the words as stated.

     Authors convey their thoughts about all kind of subject matter by speech and by their writings, from the beginning of mankind's invention of these human, rational skills---through the millennia and into the future...

I wrote each quotation using my own variations in style of a few old world calligraphy scripts. The ink was ground from a Korean sumi ink stick. The soft tones of some initial capitals were made with black watercolor. I composed this calligraphy-painting in 1992; and the work's size is 39 x 55 inches, framed

Nature In Art

     We live in the natural world, on the earth and under the heavens, alongside all of the other living creatures and non-living objects. The beauty of nature has been the source of inspiration for works of art, created within many different realms---stone sculpture, clay sculpture and painted ceramics, woven rugs, draperies, clothing fabrics, jewelry design, architectural ornamentation, painted tiles and mosaic art works, needlework art, culinary presentations drawings and paintings....

"In the Eye of a Needle"
is my work of calligraphy art, written on paper using India ink and pointed pen; approximate size, 18 x 8 inches

I embroidered this royal blue satin gown that was hand-made for me by my Mother.
Then, I composed this modern illumination of the letter N using black watercolor,
and mounted the custom duotone-photograph, of one section of my embroidered dress,
onto the watercolor paper. My work was completed in 1989.
The size of the work is 34 x 35 inches, framed


in a visual way, the reality that
each person, through his or her time of years of living in the
world, manifests his or her life
as a unique reflexion upon
the meaning of it all...

     Every person's treasury
is full with experiences, thoughts, behaviors, possessions, and memories---so many memories, especially! And, those of one individual are distinctive in actuality from those of every other person.

My painting is a monochrome
black watercolor, created in 1991.
The size of this work is
35 x 41 inches, framed


was composed
from the vantage point of
libraries being repositories of knowledge that are situated in our own communities throughout the United States of America.

     Excepting the obvious Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, in Washington, DC, I have depicted imaginary settings where the reading domains are shown to be wonder-filled places of safe haven for enquiring minds.

     These havens are a reflection upon various early library abodes that were transitioned into modernity yet carry on as treasured reading spaces. They enliven one's spirit toward discovery and contribute delight in the pursuit of learning about whatever is of interest to him or her.

Library  is a part of
Change Agents of American Culture, an alphabet series in regard of creativity and invention in American society from the late nineteenth through the twentieth century.

This watercolor painting is a modern illumination of “L,” measuring 41 x 50 inches, framed

        (section: detail)

...an expression of the idea of enjoyment, which so many persons, including myself, experience while at a library, having gone there to find out more---about the subject of interest at the time---from the plenitude of books, and printed forms of documentation, and other information forms


     Freedom to imagine, to think and reason---how does one learn to use their mind to do that?

     Wonderful is everything that a child sees, the whole wide world is open, and filled with unknown curiosities that he/she wants to explore...and learn to do...an be inspired by...

My painting was composed using black watercolor, in 1991; the work measures 38 x 48 inches, framed


     The athleticism and artistry of baseball players' in the action of a ballgame taking place, everywhere, in the U. S. A.

My composition is a monochrome work, in black watercolor. I created the painting in 1989, of the size
33 x 44 inches, framed

U. S. Olympic Teams

bring to life, with great beauty
the sport of his or her choice
---all the while demonstrating excellence, creativity, and artistic invention-in-action

In 1988,
I composed this work,
a monochrome painting
using black watercolor.
The size of my is
38 x 44 inches, framed


     My concept for the painting came about as I was considering the meaning of
visual art

     It is a modernist term, refering to various artistic practices that result in works of art, which viewers experience through their perceptive sense of sight---
seeing with their own eyes

     Some expressions, herein, of traditional realms of art creation: manuscript book arts; figurative + representational drawing + painting; sculpture; textile + needlework arts; landscape photography; pottery + ceramics; mosaic art; stained glass + hand blown glass art...

I composed Art in 1993.
It is a watercolor painting of the size
39 x 53 inches, framed


     With reverence for the African American heritage-artistry of creating unique song
and instrumental music

...the mingling of poetry with historical memory

I composed the painting
using black watercolor, in 1988.
The size of the work is
33 x 50 inches, framed

Rock 'n Roll

     Starting in the 1940s
and 1950s' era, the musical and cultural creations of contemorary popular music...

...lyric tempos quickened
by improvisation

...weaving into the existing styles
of folk-singing

...individualistic forms of poetry
and story verse

My work, created in 1989,
is a monochrome painting
using black watercolor.
The size of the work is
35 x 40 inches, framed

Joanne C. Wasserman