Posts tagged with "zoom"

Virtual Meeting illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Zoom Hits A Record High

Zoom Hit a Record High Quarterly Revenue of $882.5 Million, Almost a 370% Increase YoY

Zoom’s revenues skyrocketed last year as global demand for online meeting solutions soared amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Although the popular video conferencing platform generated impressive revenue through its fiscal year 2021, the year’s final quarter set a new record.

According to data presented by BuyShares, Zoom hit a record high quarterly revenue of $882.5 million in Q4 FY 2021, almost a 370% increase year-over-year.

Annual Revenue Soared by 700% in Two Years

Unlike many other sectors, the video conferencing platforms witnessed explosive growth amid the COVID-19 crisis, as millions of people started working from home. However, Zoom emerged as the most preferred platform for holding virtual meetings. As countries across the globe-imposed lockdowns, family members also turned to Zoom as a way of keeping in touch with each other. Museums, theatres, and schools chose the platform to maintain normal operations.

With the ban on social gatherings, Zoom also became a cultural phenomenon through hosting parties, concerts, church services, and art shows. The surge in the number of users led to a 700% revenue growth in two years.

In the fiscal year 2019, Zoom generated $330.5 million in revenue, revealed the company’s earnings report. Over the next twelve months, this figure jumped by more than 88% to $626.6 million. The two-digit increase was driven by a strong Q4 FY 2020, matching the period between January and March 2020, when the pandemic already struck. Zoom’s quarterly revenue jumped by 78% YoY in this three-month period and hit $188 million.

The strong increasing trend continued in the following months, with revenue rising to $328.1 million in the second quarter of the calendar year 2020. Statistics show this figure more than doubled in the next three-month period and hit $663.5 million.

However, the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2021, matching the period between January and March 2021, delivered the highest quarterly revenue in Zoom`s history, causing annual revenues to rise above the expectations to $2.65bn.

Almost 70% of that value, or $1.83bn, was generated in the Americas as the largest Zoom market. Users from the EMEA region, as the second-largest market, generated $486 million in revenue. Asia followed with $332.8 million, respectively.

Market Cap Soared by 357% Year-Over-Year

While the Zoom stock price has increased steadily throughout 2020, a positive announcement regarding the efficiency of a COVID-19 vaccine in November last year resulted in the price falling by more than 30% by the end of the year.

Since then, the share price has been fluctuating and in recent months saw even more of a downturn, reaching $328.95 last week.

In December 2020, the combined value of Zoom shares stood at $115.5bn, revealed the MacroTrends data. Over the last four months, this figure dropped to $96.6bn, still a 357% increase year-over-year.

The full story can be read here

Book illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Education Tips For Children

7 Ways to Ensure Your Child Gets a Good Education

The Oxford Method, a tutoring community, offers tips to help your child be successful in school

Over the last year, during the pandemic, there have been many kids who have struggled academically. This is in part due to the millions who have had to do online learning and find the setup difficult. Whether children are learning online, in person, via classroom, or through a combination of the three, there are things that parents can do to help them be more successful. Knowing what to do can help make a world a difference and reduce the struggling.

“Many parents are aware of the way their kids are struggling with school over this school year,” explains David Florence, professor and founder of The Oxford Method, a community that offers tutoring services around the country. “Rather than let them fall behind, it’s a good idea to take action and do what you can to help them keep up and even pull ahead.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 93% of households with school-age children report that their kids have engaged in some sort of distance learning during the pandemic. They also report that the vast shift in the way kids are learning has also caused digital inequality because some kids don’t have access to computers and/or the Internet. Whether students are learning online or in class, there are things parents can do to help them get a good education.

Here 7 ways to help ensure your child gets a good education:

  1. Sleep. It’s crucial for a child to get enough sleep each night, which will help them to be more focused, as well as improve their behavior, quality of life, and mental and physical health. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children ages 6-12 should get 9-12 hours of sleep per night, and teens ages 13-18 should get 8-10 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Teach value. It usually starts at home whether or not a child values an education. Parents who want their kids to get a good education should instill a love of learning in their children and teach them to value the education they are getting.
  3. Get them help. If your child is struggling, you may be able to help them, but there also comes a time when kids need a tutor to step in. A good tutor can make a world of difference in ensuring that a child gets a good education. They can help ensure that students will not fall behind and that they will get the foundation they need to move on in a subject.
  4. Show them how. Oftentimes, kids don’t know how to effectively study for a test or to take notes when they are in class. Take the time to show them how to do it effectively, as well as how to stay organized with their schooling. When students are organized, they are more likely to succeed.
  5. Ask them questions. Be sure to ask your kids how it is going, if they got their homework done, if they need any help, or if there’s anything they need to be more successful. They like to know that you are interested in how they are doing, so it’s good to show an active interest.
  6. Get involved. It’s always a good idea if you can get involved with the school and have good communication with the teacher. That way you will be aware of what is going on and know how to help your child more. Teachers love it when parents take an active interest in their child’s education.
  7. Praise your kids. Help kids to know what they are doing is right or what they are doing is wrong. Praising and encouraging the kids builds their confidence and helps them to succeed as they grow.

“Just about every parent has the ability to help kids succeed with their academics, even if it’s ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed,” added Florence. “We help parents be successful, even those who don’t have the funds to pay for a tutor. Our mission is to help as many students to achieve as we can.”

The Oxford Method has over 100 tutors around the country, covering all subject areas. They offer online tutoring, as well as in-person and in-classroom options. Their tutoring services are available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Instructors have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with many of them having a master’s degree, Ph.D., and at least four years of teaching experience. The Oxford Method works with their nonprofit, Social Actualization, Inc., by giving them 10% of all profits. The funds are used to provide free computers, high-speed internet, and instruction to underprivileged families in urban and rural America. Plus, 40% of their instructors are PhDs, 40% have a master’s degree, and 20% have only a bachelor’s degree.

The Oxford Method believes that education is the great equalizer and the best gift you can give the next generation. Subject areas include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as business, social studies, psychology, English, history, public speaking, study methods, test-taking, and more. To get more information about The Oxford Method, visit the website.

Digital Divide illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digitally Disconnected

DIGITALLY DISCONNECTED

13 TIPS FOR HELPING BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR CHILDREN DURING COVID-19

While social, racial, and economic disparities have always existed within the educational system, the COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating these inequities and widening gaps between students at a drastic rate. For families who can’t afford home computers, laptops, or high-speed internet access, remote learning is nearly impossible, and for students who already found themselves struggling before the pandemic, the prospect of more than a year of lost classroom time is a devastating blow. However, there are steps parents can take to shrink this digital divide, and there are resources available via schools, non-profits, and government initiatives that can help children access the technological tools they need to succeed. Indeed, Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens, notes that “the inclusion of 17.2 billion dollars for closing the ‘homework gap’ in the recently passed American Rescue Plan is a watershed moment for digital equity.”   
 
Several of the leading figures in the fields of public health, education, psychology, and parenting have weighed in with their suggestions on the best ways to combat the digital divide, and many will participate in an interdisciplinary conversation and Q&A hosted by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development on Wednesday, March 24, at 12pm ET via Zoom. Moderated by the Director of Internet and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center Lee Rainie, the panel will engage in an in-depth discussion about the digital divide and actionable steps we can all take to bridge the gap. RSVP here.
 
1. DON’T WAIT, ADVOCATE 

While schools across the country are doing everything they can to make sure that children have access to the technology and connectivity they need for remote learning, the unfortunate reality is that many families still lack adequate resources. If your family is among them, says author and MIT Assistant Professor of Digital Media Justin Reich, know that you’re not alone and that there are steps you can take to advocate for what your children need. “Start with your school staff,” Reich recommends. “They’re often overwhelmed during this challenging time but be polite and persistent. If you run into a dead-end with your school system, consider reaching out to school libraries and youth organizations like The Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA to see what kind of support they might be able to offer.”
 
2. SCALE DOWN 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Professor Dr. Wayne Journell agrees, pointing out that sometimes, despite their best efforts, teachers and administrators may not always know which students are struggling with connectivity issues. “Let teachers know if you have slow internet at home,” says Journell. “Sometimes detailed graphics and animations that look cute but have little relevance to the actual lessons being delivered can cause problems for students with unreliable internet. If teachers are aware, then they can scale down the ‘frilly’ stuff and still get the important content across.”
 
3. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF  

While it’s important for parents to speak up on behalf of their children, RAND Senior Policy Researcher Julia Kaufman, Ph.D., highlights the importance of encouraging children to express their needs, as well. “If your child does not have access to technology at home and is falling behind, make sure your child’s teacher knows the obstacles they’re facing and ask what accommodations will make it easier for your child to do assignments offline,” says Rand. “At the same time, help your child feel comfortable expressing any technology concerns or confusion to their teachers, including cases where they have the technology but cannot use it well.”
 
4. CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS 

One critical step that educators and policymakers can take in addressing the digital divide is to check their assumptions. They cannot – and should not – assume that students do or do not have access based solely on demographics such as family income level. “In addition, they cannot assume that providing access alone creates equity,” adds Dr. Beth Holland, a Partner at The Learning Accelerator (TLA) and Digital Equity Advisor to the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN). “This is a complex and nuanced challenge that needs both a technical and a human solution to ensure that students not only have access to sufficient high-speed internet and devices but also accessible systems and structures to support their learning.”

5. SURVEY AND MODIFY  

For teachers who are on the ground and in the classroom, checking your assumptions can be as simple as asking a few basic questions at the start of the term. “Survey students to determine the percentage of your population that doesn’t have home Internet access,” recommends former AAP President Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Once you know the divide, you can address it,” adding, “When planning 1:1 projects and choosing devices, for example, you can consider a device’s capacity for offline use. For those without Wi-Fi, a public library in the child’s neighborhood can also be an excellent resource.”

6. VOTE FOR CHANGE 

That parents and teachers need to worry about the digital divide at all is a failure on the part of our elected leaders, says Bates College Associate Professor of Education Mara Casey Tieken. “Contact your elected officials—local, state, and federal—and complain,” she suggests. “Write letters, call their offices, attend their legislative sessions, and make your voice heard. Join with other families whose children are impacted by this divide to amplify your message and use your vote to support lawmakers who understand the impacts of this divide, have a clear plan to address it and are willing to take action.”
 
7. MAKE BROADBAND A UTILITY  

Reich agrees, reminding those families who already have their needs met that they share in the responsibility to advocate for the less fortunate. “It’s our job as citizens to demand that we as a society give families and children the tools and resources that they need for remote learning now and in the future,” says Reich. “We need to advocate for a society where broadband is treated as a utility rather than a luxury good, and young people enrolled in schools and educational programs have access to computers for learning.”

8. CONCRETE INITIATIVES  

Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, advocates four concrete initiatives. “Establish a permanent broadband benefit, increase access to affordable computers, digital literacy and technical support, improve broadband mapping (including residential cost data), and support local and state digital inclusion planning.” By implementing these changes, Siefer says, policymakers can start to mitigate the digital divide. 

9. USE TECH FOR GOOD 

There are many reasons to consider equitable solutions along a “digital continuum” rather than the “digital divide;” a binary description leaves less room for nuanced and customized interventions. It may be imperative to fortify existing institutions, implement new governance structures and promulgate policies to confront disparities regarding working families. Antwuan Wallace, Managing Director at National Innovation Service, suggests that legislators consider a Safety and Thriving framework to increase family efficacy to support children with protective factors against the “homework gap” by utilizing technology to train critical skills for executive functioning, including planning, working memory, and prioritization. 
 
10. LEVEL THE FIELD 

Emma Garcia of the Economic Policy Institute emphasizes that guided technology education will be of great value after the pandemic. She says, “it will need be instituted as part of a very broad agenda that uses well-designed diagnostic tests to know where children are and what they need (in terms of knowledge, socioemotional development, and wellbeing), ensures the right number of highly credentialed professionals to teach and support students, and offers an array of targeted investments that will address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on children’s learning and development, especially for those who were most hit by the pandemic.”
 
11. APPLY FOR LIFELINE 

Research also shows that the digital divide disproportionately affects Latino, Black, and Native American students, with the expensive price of internet access serving as one of the main obstacles to families in these communities. “Eligible parents can apply for the Lifeline Program, which is a federal program that can reduce their monthly phone and internet cost,” suggests Greenlining Institute fellow Gissela Moya. “Parents can also ask their child’s school to support them by providing hotspots and computer devices to ensure their child has the tools they need to succeed.”
 
12. GET INVOLVED 

Learning remotely can be difficult for kids, even if they have access to all the technological tools they need. Research shows that parental encouragement is also an important aspect of learning for children, notes London School of Economics professor and author Sonia Livingstone. “Perhaps sit with them, and gently explain what’s required or work it out together.” She adds that working together is a great way that parents with fewer economic or digital resources can support their children. “And if you don’t know much about computers, your child can probably teach you something too!”
 
13. NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL 

When it comes to encouraging your children, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. “Reflect on the more nuanced ways your children learn and leverage accessible resources (digital and non-digital) to inspire their continued curiosity,” says University of Redlands Assistant Professor Nicol Howard. Leaning into your child’s strengths and interests will help them make the most of this challenging time.
 
While the move to remote learning may seem like an insurmountable obstacle for families that can’t afford reliable internet or dedicated devices for their kids, there are a variety of ways that parents can help connect their children with the tools they need. For those privileged enough to already have access to the necessary physical resources, it’s important to remember that emotional support is also an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to children’s educational success, especially during days as challenging as these. Lastly, it falls on all of us to use our time, energy, and voices to work towards a more just world where the educational playing field is level and all children have the same opportunity to thrive and succeed, regardless of their social, racial, or financial background.
 
About Children and Screens
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness. For more information, visit Children and Screens website or contact by email here.
 
The views and opinions that are expressed in this article belong to the experts to whom they are attributed, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, or its staff. 

Virtual Hangout illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Houseparty is Poppin!

It’s award show season, and just because many are still social distancing it does not mean you can’t have a viewing party with friends and family! The show can still go on with Houseparty.

Houseparty is a synchronous face-to-face social network that enables group video communication through mobile and desktop applications. A user opens the app, and their friends get a push notification that they are “in the house” and ready to chat. The app allows users to come online and be present and see who their friends are talking to and join their conversations. On average, users spend 60 minutes per day in the app chatting with friends.

Get dressed up, pour yourself a drink, open the Houseparty app, and get your friends “in the house” to watch this year’s award shows – and make sure to check out the Trivia categories dedicated to movies! Click on the dice icon on the top right to play all the games available on Houseparty Heads Up! Tap a game and you’ll then be asked to add friends to play with you. Wait for them to connect, then it’s game on!

Fortnite Mode

Fortnite Mode lets you cast your party into Fortnite so you can bring your friends with you while you play. You opt into this feature by linking your Houseparty and Epic Games accounts on the Houseparty app.

Houseparty is a great resource for people right now and that they don’t need to miss out on gathering this award season. Houseparty is secure. There have been no data breaches and no exposure to customer data or third-party accounts. You can read their full statement on data safety to learn more.

Houseparty is available on iOSAndroidMacPC, and as a Google Chrome extension.

Follow along @houseparty.

remote learning illustration by Kaelen Felix

Remote Learning Tips for Parents

While remote learning can negatively impact motivation, engagement, and curiosity, there are ways to help stressed out students.

Emily Greene suggests 5 things that parents can proactively do at home to help their kids better manage the challenges of the disruption to schooling, and for some, the partial return to in-person learning.

As she writes in her book, “School, Disrupted”, parents can help to uplift and inspire their kids by trying these things, which in turn will also help teachers!

1) Make sure your child has free time/down time every day. This is necessary to activate an important brain network called the Default Mode Network (DMN). Scientists know that the DMN is intricately tied to curiosity, creativity, and imagination which can help boost engagement and motivation in these challenging times.

2) Curate their curiosity. Asking questions stimulates curiosity, which is directly tied to engagement and joy in learning.  Parents can help jostle our children out of the “circle the correct choice” mindset and make way for open-ended questions that are vital to learning. As parents, we can be too quick to provide advice, opinions, and answers. To foster curiosity, try to hold back, ask questions, and listen. In an article for the Harvard Educational Review, Susan Engel of Williams College argues for the promotion of curiosity in schools, calling for a “shift in the way we see the traditional role of a teacher from one who answers questions to one who elicits them.”  Let this be your guiding principle–eliciting questions will uncover a treasure trove of curiosity.

3) Encourage kids to get hands-on. Ask them what they want to create, make, or build. Doing activities that are off the computer and are hands-on engage them in learning in new ways. Other ways to get hands-on are to go outside. Or, take a virtual field trip!

4) As parents, we can also help teachers come up with ideas to integrate more fun and engagement into Zoom-based lessons. Teachers have a tough job right now trying to engage both in-person and remote learners. Sharing Zoom Boosters, (found in Emily’s book) shows that you care and are engaged in being part of the solution.

5) Encourage your child to get creative with their assignments–for example, by self-advocating for choice in projects. If the teacher plans to give a multiple-choice unit test, urge your child to ask if they can make a poster, a brochure, or a podcast covering the subject matter instead. If they are uninspired by the list of writing prompts for a class paper, encourage them to ask the teacher about selecting a personalized prompt that they are more excited to write about. When they are given an assignment, encourage them to ask the teacher, “Can I make a short film for my final? Can I write a short story? Can I put on a play? Can I build a contraption that would demonstrate this principle of physics?” The worst that can happen is the teacher says no—but more often than not, teachers appreciate the initiative because they know it shows a passion for learning during a very tough time due to the pandemic.

Emily Greene (www.emilygreene.com) is author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World in which she shares her experience educating her children inside and outside of traditional schools. She developed the Kiddovate program, working with hundreds of teachers and students. She also is cofounder of VIVA Creative, where she and her team create live and digital experiences. When the pandemic shut down the event industry, Greene co-led VIVA in rethinking how to bring people together in a global pandemic. In 2020, she received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® award recognizing innovation during adversity.

Glastress illustration done by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

2021 U.S. Premiere of Glasstress

Some of the world’s leading contemporary artists are invited to breathe new life into centuries-old glassmaking in Venice ― maestros of glassblowing from the legendary Berengo Studio residency help artists manifest their visions.

Among the 34 artists: Ai Weiwei, Fred Wilson, Joyce J. Scott, Jimmie Durham, Ugo Rondinone, Fiona Banner, Vik Muniz, Monica Bonvicini, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Laure Prouvost, Renate Bertlmann, Thomas Schütte, Loris Gréaud, and Erwin Wurm.

  • There is every reason this year to have a world view,” says Irvin Lippman, the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s Executive Director, as South Florida boldly ushers in the new year with the national premiere of Glasstress 2021 Boca Raton.
  • Three years in the making, with 2020 being such a challenging year to coordinate an international exhibition of this size and scope, the effort serves as an important reassurance that art is an essential and enduring part of humanity.”
  • “This is also a tribute to the resilience of Venice’s surviving the floods and continuing to make art through the pandemic,” adds Irvin Lippman.

The new exhibition runs January 27 through September 5, 2021 and the Museum will feature online initiatives for virtual viewing. Watch the video here featuring interviews with some of the artists in the new exhibition. The 34 artists in this new, never before seen edition of Glasstress were all invited by Adriano Berengo to work alongside his master glass artisans at the Berengo Studio on the island of Murano in the Venetian lagoon. Most of these works in glass have never been seen elsewhere, and were handpicked by Kathleen Goncharov, the Museum’s Senior Curator who traveled to Italy in 2019.

With incredible energy, the Studio has brought a new vision on how to stimulate today’s leading artists into thinking how the medium of glass can be made into dramatic and provocative works of contemporary art. Most of these artists have, during their careers, been invited to participate in the Venice Biennale. Some of the works were created during the pandemic lockdowns, with artists collaborating remotely via Zoom with their glass artisan partners after initial on-site work at the studio in Venice.

“Unlike the past and the present, what comes next for our world presents itself as constant possibility, always transforming as we move forward in time,” says Adriano Berengo. This concept of transformation has always held an affinity with glass, a medium which – as the name Glasstress suggests – exists in a state of constant tension. Life needs tension, it needs energy, and a vibrant exchange of ideas.”

The exhibition presents 34 new works that explore some of today’s pressing subjects, including human rights, climate change, racial justice, gender issues and politics. The Boca Raton Museum of Art has dedicated more than 6,500 square feet of exhibition space to this collection. A fully illustrated catalogue is also available.

The mission of Glasstress is to restore the visibility and reputation of Murano glass, after decades of closures of ancient, centuries-old glass furnaces. Instead of creating decorative objects with glass, these artists are invited to create original works, often on a massive scale. They collaborate with glass masters whose expertise has been developed over generations in Venice. Most of these artists have never worked with glass, so they unite their artistic ideas with the technical expertise of their skilled collaborators.

The results are breathtaking. The first installation visitors to the Museum will encounter is Sala Longhi by Fred Wilson. He created this series at Berengo Studio after the Biennale exhibited his work about Black residents of Venice from the Renaissance to the present. This installation features an ornate white chandelier with 29 glass panels that mirror 18th-century Venetian artist Pietro Longhi’s paintings. Instead of canvases, Wilson shows the viewer only the whites of the eyes of his Black subjects through cutouts in black reflective glass.

“We have brought Glasstress to countries around the world for ten years, seeking to expand and enliven international awareness of the variety and richness of contemporary artists using glass in their creative practices,” adds Adriano Berengo. “In the past, its place in the art world might have seemed uncertain. But now in this latest edition of Glasstress, the first after a global pandemic, one thing we know for certain: glass endures. Life is fragile, just as glass is fragile, yet in this fragility there is also strength.”

“It is in this spirit of experimentation that Glasstress Boca Raton 2021 explores the limitless potential of glassblowing. “We realize how far we have come as we approach the 60th anniversary of the American studio glass movement that launched in 1962 through the efforts of Harvey Littleton and Dominick Labino,” adds Irvin Lippman. “This presentation of Glasstress is also a tribute to them.”

This show also unveils the Museum’s new acquisition for its collection, created in the Berengo Studio – Glass Big Brother, a sculpture by Song Dong, one of contemporary Chinese art’s leading figures. The large-scale ceiling installation is 11 feet long and reaches all the way to the floor. Thirty surveillance cameras are ensconced from top to bottom, looking out at all directions around the chandelier.

The installation Rosemarie’s Divorce, by Renate Bertlmann, unites aspects from Rosemarie’s Baby (1983), her multi-part installation about the ambivalent relationship between mother and child, and Discordo Ergo Sum, a field of knife-roses she exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2019. The monstrously enlarged glass pacifier is an image she has used since the mid-1970s referencing sexuality and motherhood. It is flanked by two knife-roses made of deep black glass.

The Italian artist Monica Bonvicini’s deeply psychological work addresses themes of sexuality, power, and relationships in male-oriented domains. Her visits to sadomasochist nightclubs with Gay male friends are the inspiration for Bonded. She won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the 1999 Venice Biennale. DNA HAS NO COLOR is a new statement from Nancy Burson that is a powerful work about the illegitimacy of racism. This is a continuation of the project that Zaha Hadid commissioned Burson to develop for the London Millennium Dome. Burson is known for biology-related work, including her use of cutting edge facial morphing technology for art that shows what individuals would look like as a different race.

The Pandemic Oculus, (2020), by Tim Tate, whose work explores the worlds of loss, memory, recovery, and hope. As an HIV-positive man, he lived through the worst of the AIDS epidemic during the 1980s and 1990s, and now through the current pandemic. In the Museum’s exhibition catalogue, the artist states that Pandemic Oculus also honors the many unsung heroes around the world: nurses, teachers, essential employees, grandparents caring for children so that parents can work, and so many more. Tate is the co-founder of the Washington Glass Studio in Washington, DC. He is also the co-moderator, along with William Warmus, of the 21st Century Glass group on Facebook, which has shared and discussed over 10,000 images of sculptural glass from around the world.

Erwin Wurm’s wry sense of humor permeates his most famous works and has served him well in creating a poignant cultural commentary throughout his career. Wurm produced this triad in cold hard glass at the Berengo Studio. They are smaller versions of the massive bronze sculpture of a hot water bottle with legs, Big Mutter, that he created for the Venice Biennale in 2020. In the exhibition catalogue, the show’s curator Kathleen Goncharov describes these “mothers” as neither warm nor comforting . . . their stubby little legs imply flight when called upon to be caregivers.

At the Berengo Studio, Jimmie Durham created a series of eight giant cougar heads suspended on metal armatures. Caught in suspension as they gaze at one another, their collective roar remains frozen between them. The cougar is one of the most sacred animals in Cherokee mythology, and the influence of Native-American culture vs. Western rationalism is evident in his work. The artist’s long trajectory includes his work during the civil rights movement and as a political organizer for the American Indian Movement. In 2019, Durham was the recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement award at the 58th Venice Biennale.

In the Museum’s exhibition catalogue, curator Kathleen Goncharov describes Prune Nourry as no stranger to illness . . . her work always dealing with science and bioethics from a feminist perspective, a focus that has intensified since her breast cancer diagnosis in 2018. At the Berengo Studio, she created River Woman, a transparent skeletal sculpture based on an anatomical drawing of the human vascular system. While its form may be human, the arteries resemble rivers, streams and trees that suffer in their own way too, from human abuse rather than disease.

Ugo Rondinone represented his home country in the Swiss Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007). In this work, the twelve glass horses cast in beautiful shades of blue all face different directions, creating delicate light games with their reflections and shadows in continuous motion. In the context of this installation, the reappearing motif of a horse (which has a long tradition in the history of art), evokes alienation and a subversive twist emblematic of Rondinone’s works.

Ai Weiwei's

DNA HAS NO COLOR, Nancy Burson (2019) for 360 Magazine

Purchase our Glasstress issue HERE.

QxA with Akeem Mair

This holiday season, actor Akeem Mair took the time to speak with 360 Magazine about his craft, his inspirations, how his career has been impacted by COVID-19, and more. Movie star Akeem Mair is the entertainment industry’s up-and-coming icon. In his career as an artist, he has appeared in several movie productions including All About Money, A Wonderful World, Limbo, Life of a Villain, Red, Fine Line, Silent Love, The Kidnap, etc. He’s worked with many production companies, including the Columbia College of Hollywood Production.

Akeem has signed with two agencies: Commercial Talent Agency (under Sarah Angeli) and Minc Talent (under Mariko Ballentine). At 32, Akeem is in his prime. With his noteworthy work ethic and passion, he is destined for greater heights. In fact, he has over 5 million views for a single video alone – the time when he appeared for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which Ellen described as “the best episode she’s ever seen.”

Besides this feature with 360 Magazine, Akeem appears in many publications such as NY Wire’s Top 25 Individuals, US Reporter’s Top 15 Entrepreneurs, LA Wire’s Top 20 IG Accounts to Follow in 2020, and many more. Read on to hear 360’s interview with Akeem below.

What do you love most about being an actor?

I found a strong love of being in front of the camera with everybody watching. It’s like my escape from my own reality, which is refreshing to me. I get the opportunity to pour myself into different characters and experience that person’s life. How they see the world and how different their life experiences are from mines. I love to learn how they think, how they would react in certain situations, the way they talk and walk, the way they dress, etc. Then, you can take what you learn from playing that character and use it to make your own life more complete. Meaning if you like how that character approaches life, then copy and apply it. At first the camera scared me – I’m not gonna lie. But a director once told me that the fear I show in front of the camera robs the audience of their entertainment. Once I broke out of that, my understanding of my own craft changed. Acting is my life!

Did you always wanted to be an actor, or did you have other ambitions?

Actually, believe it or not, I wanted to be a financial banker. I watched Michael Douglas in the film called, “The Game,” and became hooked after that. I saw the 2000 BMW 740 I, the designer suits, the excitement of winning their clients’ money in the office, the personal maid that lives at his house, and I always loved crunching numbers in a calculator. But as I was working at Ralph’s grocery store when a loyal customer ending up changing my whole life. I was a cashier, and she came into my line with a sad demeanor. I could tell something was troubling her, so I tried to brighten up her day with my personality. I said “Hi, it’s good to see you again, did you find everything ok?” She said softly, “Yes I did, thank you!” I said, “Usually I see you smiling, but whatever you’re going through I know God will not give you more than you can handle! He has something better for you!” After the transaction I said, “Have a Blessed day! I hope to see you again soon.” Immediately she paused and finally looked up at me for the first time and I could tell she had been crying. She asked me, “Are you an actor?” I said, “No. Why do you ask?” She said, “Because your energy is filled with so much positive energy. You move people by it. You lifted up my spirits after I just lost my house in a foreclosure. Thank you!” Her reply shocked me. After she left, I went home that day and wondered, What would my life look like if I was a successful actor? I thought about how I would be able to help my family so much more and how I can infect millions of people with the same positive energy. That night, I searched ‘how to become an actor’ and it said most start as an extra on a movie set. The next day I reached out to Central Casting in Burbank for their free introduction and here I am today! I am more than satisfied and really love what I do!

How has COVID-19 impacted your industry?

My industry has changed a lot! At first, the acting classes I would attend would be at different acting studios across Los Angeles and held in person. Same as the auditions I would get. And I would have to deal with sitting in the heavy traffic, busy freeways, hoping to get to where I need to on time. Now it’s crazy to think everything is happening on my iPhone 11 Pro! My auditions are either through Zoom or I would have to submit a self-tape that would record off of my phone’s camera and be edited in the iMovie feature. All of my classes have been online through Zoom. So, the coaches now email you a link to jump on when class starts. The biggest issue now is not the heavy traffic, it’s the internet connection. If you have bad WiFi, it easily destroys your Zoom live audition and costs you the job. So, it is extremely important now to have amazing WiFi connection.

Do you have other passions besides acting?

I love writing poetry; it really soothes my soul. I like to write out all the emotions and experiences I go through like in poems and lyrics. 2pac was the one who really inspired me to use my pen as an outlet.

I appreciate Vaughn and 360 Magazine

For allowing me to tell my story

It was a journey to chase my dreams

And stayed away from things ain’t for me

I would sit in the movie theaters

And picture myself reaching glory

I knew could take care of my family

If I stop feeling sorry

By working hard building my legacy

It creates an attraction

Sending me blessings of opportunities

I would of never would of imagine

I had to escape from my reality

By following my passions

I can’t be worried about anybody else

I constantly take action

When I’m finished grinding everyday

I die as a legend

What is the biggest life lesson you learned?

You have to decide to go after your dreams because that’s what you want to do. There’s going to be so many people in your ear telling you different things and most of the time, it’s family because they want to protect you from failing. The only problem about that is it takes you away from doing what you love and moves you closer to a life of regret. So, take your time and really think about your dreams and how you want your life to be. Take out a piece of paper and write what you want out of life. I am an actor today because it’s my dream. I wrote it down, I proclaimed it in front of the mirror, and I tell my friends and family all the time what my dreams are and that I am going to achieve them.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

My biggest challenge is balancing my money and time. Because let me tell you, I’ve invested a lot of money to strive as an actor. Dreams come with lots of sacrifices. This is the one side of dreams that is not so glamorous. I can’t watch television when I get home because I have to practice, do auditions, or attend classes. Before I can even think about buying the latest technology, clothes, or shoes, I would have to also think about classes, camera equipment, printing, headshots, costumes, etc. You have to be willing at any moment to sacrifice for your dreams and it’s the hardest part. I’m giving up sleep most days because I’m so busy, but I love it!!

Who are the people who are your biggest influences and why?

Tupac Shakur, Denzel Washington and Eddie Murphy are my biggest influences. Everyone knows why Eddie Murphy is so big of an inspiration to me. It’s how I got my name! His character, Akeem, from Coming to America made my parents fall in love with the name due to his performance. As I’m older now and have watched it for myself, it’s crazy so much of my personality has rubbed off of him and into me. He possesses a sense of humor and radiates authority, yet he remains humble, practices kindness and self-sacrifices for the people around him. Denzel Washington is my next inspiration. I always love how Denzel approaches his game. The confidence, swag, fearlessness, and mental toughness he possesses in most of the characters he played, you can just feel his presence through your television. His Oscar performance character Alonzo Harris in Training Day was unbelievable. You felt the selfishness, greed, carelessness, ruthlessness, and his betrayal. I would love to ask him, “how do you get to that place in a character and stay there?” Finally, 2pac! His wisdom and his work ethic are what really blow my mind. I love how he was able to captivate a crowd of people and get everyone to follow him around. To be so young and so ahead of his time is crazy. He inspires me to think ahead always and to do more than what you think your capable of doing. And stop taking breaks! I remember how upset he got when his team took breaks and reminds them how time is short.

If you could change one thing you did at the beginning of your career, what would it be?

I would go back to tell the younger me to keep track of your day. Stop worrying about your yearly resolutions and worry about your daily resolutions. Because if you can’t take care of a simple day, how on earth are you going to conquer your year? It’s going to escape you every time. I always hear it in people’s voices when they talk about what they are going to be or going to have. I’m like, wait a minute, what are you going to do today? And people are usually confused or haven’t thought about it. See, it’s that’s answer right there that’s gonna kill everything you just told me.

IMDB

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

BACKSTAGE

LINKEDIN

TWITTER

YOUTUBE

ACTORSACCESS

CASTING FRONTIER

PINTEREST

Diwali light illustrated by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Diwali 2020

By: Elle Grant

Over the course of mid-November, the annual five-day festival, Diwali, took place from November 12th to November 16th. Known as the festival of lights, for those who follow Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, major religions in South Asia, this is one of the most important religious festivals of the year. It lasts the aforementioned five days, from the 13th day of the dark half of the lunar month Ashvina to the second day of the light half of the lunar month Karttika. (the corresponding dates in the Gregorian calendar usually fall in late October and November).

Diwali as a festival has deep meaning within the communities it is celebrated. Its name comes from the Sanskrit term dipavali, meaning “row of lights.” In turn, the lighting of Diwali candles is an essential part of the celebration. The festival generally symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. In this context, light symbolizes knowledge and wisdom, while darkness is a symbol for all negative forces including wickedness, destruction, violence, lust, envy, injustice, greed, oppression and suffering. The third day of Diwali is celebrated on Saturday, November 14, 2020. While it is widely celebrated by a vast proportion of the world’s population, precisely how Diwali is celebrated varies by culture.

Across, South Asia, different regions celebrate different deities first and foremost with the festival. Among Hindus the most widespread custom is the lighting of diyas (small earthenware lamps filled with oil) on the night of the new moon to invite the presence of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In Bengal the goddess Kali is worshipped with the event. In North India the festival additionally celebrates the royal homecoming of Rama to the city of Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, the 10-headed king of the demons, thus connecting the festival with the holiday of Dussehra. In South India the festival marks Krishna’s defeat of the demon Narakasura. The celebration of Diwali offers just a glimpse into how culture varies across South Asia.

Homes of those who celebrate reflect the importance of the day. Many begin the holiday with a deep cleaning of their home, from top to bottom. Floors inside and out are covered with rangoli, consisting of elaborate designs made of colored rice, sand, or flower petals. The doors and windows of houses are kept open in the hope that Lakshmi will find her way inside and bless the residents with wealth and success. Other ways Diwali is celebrated include visiting loved ones, exchanging gifts, wearing new clothes, feasting, feeding the poor, and setting off fireworks. Delicious food is a large part of the celebration. Yet how this holiday is specifically celebrated this year has been affected by the ongoing global pandemic caused by the spread of COVID-19.

Before Diwali even took place, experts warned of the danger of gathering for the event, in the vein of warnings being made for the coming holidays of Christmas and Hannukah for Christian and Jewish populations of the world. International lockdowns in places like Europe have put a damper on the plans of many. Yet many are finding ways around the restriction of movement and celebration; many are planning calls with families across different continents, in which there will be singing, games, and tasty foods shared through screens. Some say it has even brought them closer as a family.

Like many holidays, Diwali assuredly looks different this year. Yet the resilience displayed by those celebrating, to find a way to connect with family and friends during this special spiritual time, again reflects some of the best of human ingenuity during the coronavirus pandemic.

John Legend illustration by Kaelen Felix for Sperry inside 360 MAGAZINE

The Legend Edit

By Althea Champion × Armon Hayes

“Giving the perfect gift is about finding something amazing and the element of surprise” — John Legend

Tonight, John Legend will perform at Sperry’s exclusive holiday concert for the press, influencers, and Sperry partners worldwide on Zoom.

“John Legend, multi-platinum artist and Sperry’s 2020 Global Brand Ambassador, shares his holiday footwear favorites for him, her, and the littles,” reads the collection’s website. From a refined, rainy day must-have to a cool classic weekend boot, winter weather doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style.

Take a look at The Legend Edit to see what he’s sporting – and gifting – this season. The concert will announce the launch of the new Sperry Legend Holiday Edit—a curation of Legend’s favorite Sperry shoes for the entire family.

Legend curated his favorite Sperry boat shoes, boots, and sneakers, and they will feature in the collection that is launching Nov. 4. It will be exclusively available on Sperry.com. The Sperry Legend Holiday Edit shoes are iconic and reflect Legend’s personal style—impeccably classic, with a hint of an edge.

“Simple, stylish, and suede… a great weekend boot,” says Legend about the new Men’s Bahama Storm Boot.

The collection is full of modern classics that promise warmth and style, a safe bank, and great gift opportunities for men, women, and children, assured to satisfy everyone on your list.

John Legend and Sperry

John Legend
American singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, film producer, theatre director, and philanthropist, Legend has had much success. He has made six albums, the most recent of which, Bigger Love, was released this year and features Jhene Aiko, Koffee, Rapsody, and Gary Clark Jr.

Twitter | Instagram | Website

Sperry
“Sperry is the story of an iconic American brand. Fashion and sustainability has been rooted within the brand since 1934, when Paul Sperry fell off the deck of his sailboat,” our Armon Hayes wrote of the brand. “He set out to design a non-slip boat shoe, which led to the birth of an array of styles that would accommodate lifestyles and seasons to come. For men, women, and children, he inspired everyone to find common ground.”

Twitter | Instagram | Website

Paint Splash illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Second Virtual Teens Take The Met!

Looking for a way to spice up your Friday? Join The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s second Virtual Teens Take The Met! on Friday, November 6, from 3 to 8 p.m. All activities, programs, and workshops will be held online, and teens will have the opportunity to digitally participate in hands-on experiences created by more than 20 NYC cultural and community organizations through Instagram, YouTube, Zoom, Twitch, and other social media platforms.

Teens Take The Met! has been held at the Museum bi-annually since 2014 and has become one of New York City’s most dynamic events for teens. The Met hosted the first virtual festival last spring while the Museum was temporarily closed due to COVID-19 and over 5,000 from New York City and around the world had the opportunity to participate.

This fall’s virtual event will offer new programming and activities every hour throughout the afternoon. Teens who preregister by noon on November 6 will gain access to a special VIP Zoom lounge, hosted by The Met, with activities and live DJs from Building Beats. Other highlights include:

  • Express Yourself: Self-Portraits with the Bronx Museum /  @bronxmuseum
  • Activism Poster Making with El Museo del Barrio / hosted on @metteens
  • Airheads: The Science of Flight with the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum / @intrepidmuseum
  • Original Songs from Remember Me: Hamlet Remix with Epic Theatre Ensemble / @epictheatr
  • Still Life Photography: Create Emotional Lighting with The Met’s Imaging Photo Studio / @metteens / Zoom (advance registration required)
  • Self-Care Art with Queens Museum / @thequeensteens

“Over the years, Teens Take The Met! has established itself as one of the most vibrant events at the Museum, where young people have an opportunity to carve out their own space and make their own connections to the collection and to one another,” said Heidi Holder, The Met’s Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education. “Like so many programs during this challenging time, Teens Take The Met! had to adapt, and last spring’s virtual event was a powerful opportunity to reach over 5,000 teens who tuned in from New York City’s five boroughs and around the globe, showing us their creativity and desire to thoughtfully engage with important issues. Join us for this fall’s Teens Take The Met! for special access to VIP content, workshops, and a Zoom party.”

Virtual Teens Take The Met! is open to all teens, ages 13-19. Visitors of all abilities are welcome to participate in any Museum program. For information about accessibility, programs, and services for visitors with disabilities at our two sites, visit metmuseum.org/access, email access@metmuseum.org, or call 212-650-2010.