The Willow Run Project

by The Willow Run Project

Impact Area: Arts, Music

Campus Area: Arts and Sciences

Funding for this Project ended on 2015-10-09


Raised out of $18,149




Days Remaining

How will your project impact Oberlin?

Willow Run was once the largest industrial space under one roof in the world. Known for the rapid production of B-24 bombers, it also was significant for its employment of African-Americans and women. Designed and constructed by Albert Kahn in the early 1940s, Willow Run is no more, most of it being demolished in 2013.

Ernestine Ruben, granddaughter of Albert Kahn, visited Willow Run several years ago and was stunned by the emptiness, loneliness, and lack of life in a building that was once known for its productivity and glory. She felt challenged to keep its spirit alive, and has sought ways to honor its legacy through contemporary art. She is joined by Oberlin Professor Stephen Hartke, musician Noah Getz, and videographer Seth Bernstein.

The final project will be a two dimensional installation consisting of photographic images by Ruben, recorded original music by Hartke, and video art created by Bernstein. Hartke's surround-sound score will be realized through Oberlin's Technology in Music and Related Arts (TIMARA) program using student performers.

Ruben has completed the photographic portfolio of images and assembled a team of artists and musicians to pursue the project. At this stage, 40% of the total budget needed to complete the project has been raised, exhibition dates have been scheduled for 2016, a short video has been filmed, and the musical score accompanying the video is being written.

The completed project will be accessible to Oberlin students and faculty as well as the public. 

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    Ernestine Ruben


    Ernestine Ruben is known through extensive exhibitions, private collections, publications, and workshops in the United States and internationally. She has had retrospective exhibits at La Maison Europeene de la Photographie in Paris, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Rutgers University Mason Gross Galleries, and one-woman exhibits in St. Petersburg, Russia, China, International Center of Photography in New York, Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts, University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Houston Fotofest, the Philadelphia Museum, Museum of Modern Art and Baudoin Lebon Galery in Paris and Stanford University Art Museum, Princeton University, and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Her work has been widely published and In Human Touch published by Nazraeli Press, received the highest award for a Photography book by the International Press Association. She is the recipient of a New Jersey State Arts Council fellowship. She has had 8 monographs published. Her life has been focused on art: growing up in an active art environment, and studying the history of art. Her workshops take place internationally and address issues connected to the development of careers in the arts. Ruben’s constant challenge is to apply concepts that are unique to photography to other art forms She aims to convert her photographic images into three dimensions, sound and movement. She is currently studying the relationships between architectural construction and space, sound and the visual image. Her multi media works have been performed and installed in Lausanne, Toulon, New York, Washington, DC, The American Dance Festival, Princeton, SPE Conference, Paris for the Month of Photography, and Arles at Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie.

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    Stephen Hartke


    Winner of the 2013 GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, Stephen Hartke is widely recognized as one of the leading composers of his generation, whose work has been hailed for both its singularity of voice and the inclusive breadth of its inspiration. Born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1952, Hartke grew up in Manhattan where he began his musical career as a professional boy chorister. Hartke's output is extremely varied, from the medieval-inspired piano quartet, The King of the Sun, and Wulfstan at the Millennium, an abstract liturgy for ten instruments, the blues-inflected violin duo, Oh Them Rats Is Mean in My Kitchen, and the surreal trio, The Horse with the Lavender Eye, to the Biblical satire, Sons of Noah, for soprano, four flutes, four guitars and four bassoons, and his acclaimed full-length opera, The Greater Good. Major commissions have come from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Harvard Musical Association, eighth blackbird, the Fromm Foundation, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, the Library of Congress, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Meet The Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, among others. Most of Hartke's music is available on commercial CDs released by Albany, Bridge, Cedille, Chandos, CRI, Delos, ECM New Series, EMI Classics, Naxos American Classics, New World Records, and Soundbrush Records.

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    Seth Bernstein


    Seth Bernstein is a lighting and video artist/designer based in New York. His longtime collaborations with visual artist Mary Hamill have been shown at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Danforth Museum, Harvard University, Brandeis University and other venues. Commercially, Seth works with brands such as Nike, Calvin Klein, Christian Louboutin and others to design large scare installations at major events and venues such as The Superbowl, Basketball All-Star Game, World Cup and New York Fashion week. Seth lives in Brooklyn with his partner Michael and dog Bruno.

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    Noah Getz


    Hailed as a “highly skillful and an even more highly adventurous player” (Washington City Paper) with “virtuosity, sensitivity, and beauty of tone” (Fanfare), Noah Getz has performed and lectured worldwide, including appearances at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Carnegie Hall, Zilkha Hall, The Phillips Collection and the 2012 Polish Woodwind Festival in Wolsztyn, Poland. An avid chamber musician, Getz received a first-round Grammy nomination with the New Hudson Saxophone Quartet and has performed with the National Gallery New Music Ensemble, The 21st Century Consort, and the Empyrean Ensemble. His albums Crosscurrents, exploring the intersection of jazz and contemporary classical music, and Still Life were released to rave reviews and are available through Albany Records. Getz is committed to commissioning and premiering new works for saxophone, including recent collaborations with Aaron Jay Kernis, David Amram and Ken Ueno. His premiere of in every way I remember you in 2011 at the National Gallery of Art was acclaimed as “spectacular and wonderfully provocative” (Washington Post). He has presented masterclasses, recitals, and lectures at universities and events across the country, including at Peabody Conservatory, Mannes-The New School of Music, and the Aaron Copland School of Music. He is a Musician-In-Residence at American University in Washington, DC.

$ 25

Mary Alice Bankert

$ 100

Wendy E. Ormond

$ 10

John dodge

great video! Somebody had to represent the $10 group

$ 50

Suzanne H Halle

Go Mrs Ruben!!! XoSooze

$ 25

charles gross

$ 250

Sarah J Brezavar

$ 250

Mary H Mahle

$ 100

Jeffrey Yuan

$ 250

Robert Kahn

$ 100

Terrance L. Murtaugh

Best of luck on the Willow Run project. You always do amazing work! With our good wishes and love, Terry and Rita

$ 50

Janet Eilber

Love this project!

$ 50

Marcia Doerr

$ 50

Dan Burkholder

So thrilled to see such innovative and captivating work.

$ 100

Harry L Winston

$ 100

Leslie DeBauche

Hello Ernestine, I am so happy to be able to contribute to this project. Your images are beautiful, luminous. I am still working on the research project involving your mother and the Liggett School, all the best, Lesie

$ 100

Xanthi Karloutsos

in honor of Carla and Poulia Father Alex and Xanthi

$ 25

Suzanne E. Farkas

$ 25


$ 25

Lauren merkin

$ 1,000

Carla Ruben

$ 250


So proud of you Ernie, this is brilliant!

$ 1,000

Jill G Bishop

What an exciting project! We are honored to contribute. Jill and John C. Bishop, Jr.

$ 250

Albert Butzel

I hope you raise a million dollars. Good luck on this great project.

$ 25


To get things rolling!

Day 1 SUCCESS !!

September 9, 2015

Thanks to our amazing supporters we have reached 14% of our goal within the first day!  

Let's keep going!  Make your donation today, share with your friends and let them know about the incredible project you are supporting.  Please feel free to add a link to your facebook, twitter, instagram, tumblr, or pinterest page - you can find a link on our facebook page, or on the website:


September 24, 2015

There are only 15 days left for you to help The Willow Run Project hit it's goal, and the time to donate is NOW!

To help increase our donations this week we are offering an extra perk to all donors on Thursday September 24th, and Friday September 25th.  For all donations $10.00 and over (in addition to your regular perk) you will receive a copy of the cd "Voyage" by Noah Gets and Jacqueline Polluaf. 

"The CD includes original works with musical influences from around the world including tango, Lithuanian folk music, and French Impressionism." - Noah Getz

DONATE today and get your copy!

Extra Perk Extended Through Today!

September 18, 2015

We are extending our extra bonus perk from Tuesday! Donate before midnight tonight (9/18/15) and you will receive the perk for your donation level as well as two postcard prints ( 4"x 6") of "Cathedral" by Ernestine Ruben from The Willow Run Project.  

Minimum donation of $10.00 or more is eligible for this extra giveaway.  

Please donate now and share with a friend! 

Extra perk for all donations today and tomorrow only!

September 15, 2015

It's DAY 7

We have 24 days left to raise the remaining $15,349.00 and hit our goal.  

To stay on track, we have decided to set a mini-goal and try to raise a total of $4,538.00 by the end of the day tomorrow (9/16/15).  Any donations made today and tomorrow will receive EXTRA SWAG!!!  That's right, not only will you receive the perk in your price level, but you will also receive two small 4"x 6" prints of "Cathedral" by Ernestine Ruben from The Willow Run Project ... one for you and one for a friend! Any donation of $10.00 or more is eligible for this extra giveaway!  

Please donate now and share with a friend! 

Can I still give to this project?

November 30, 2015

Once funding has ended, can I still give to this project? 

Yes! Visit, select "other" as the designation, and then specify which project in the space below.