AU Archives reached a milestone earlier this year when we finished cataloging the images in the Herbert E. Striner Collection. The over 9,000 negatives, prints, and slides display his interest in people and architecture. Striner’s passion for photography began at the end of World War II, when he received his first camera while waiting to return home from the China-Burma-India Theater. Striner regularly photographed his family and friends and his favorite places in the Washington, DC area including the National Cathedral and Glen Echo Park. Striner took his camera with him on his personal and professional travels depicting the people he met and the places he visited in Asia, the Caribbean and Europe. His camera captured buildings, flora and fauna, and people. He was fascinated by light and took multiple pictures of everything from mushrooms to Navajo elders Featured subjects include Islamic and Jewish sites in Washington, DC including the Embassy of Israel and the Islamic Center. Of note are images of the Chinese table-tennis delegation visit to the United States in April 1972. Striner traveled with the delegation in New York City and in and around Washington, DC. He captured both matches as well as the delegations visits to public schools and performances.
Photograph of Pueblo Bonito taken from an airplane by Herbert E. Striner
Photograph of the Matterhorn taken by Herbert E. Striner
The Wolf Trap/AU Academy for the Performing Arts was a summer program jointly sponsored by the National Park Service and AU. The program drew high school and college students from across the country to study dance and orchestra and featured intensive workshops led by distinguished professional performing artists including Merce Cunningham, Erik Hawkins, Jose Limon, Paul Sanasardo and Twyla Tharp. In addition to three to four weeks of concentrated study, the students got free passes to Filene Center shows and got to see a variety of professional productions.
The Academy received grants from the Rockefeller and Myer Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts to support the program. The National Federation of Music Clubs held nationwide auditions for the orchestra. A theatre program launched in the summer of 1974. American University took over full management of the Academy in 1974 and officially changed the name to the AU Academy of Performing Arts.
The Academy Orchestra held most of its concerts at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap. The first orchestra performance occurred on July 4, 1971 at the Filene Center. Other performance venues included Lisner Auditorium and the Washington National Cathedral. The dance students gave public performances in a variety of locations such as AU’s quadrangle and on the National Mall.
The Academy’s offerings varied over the years. For example, AU collaborated with the International Festival of Mime to offer mime courses. One workshop assisted budding playwrights in preparing their works for the stage. The Academy also offered courses for teachers such as the Orff Schulwerk workshop. Gertrude Orff and her colleagues taught their approach to music education for children for several years.
Students and faculty from the AU Academy for the Performing Arts in AU’s amphitheater