Randi Plake

Randi Plake works for the Office of University Communications at Wesleyan University.

Wesleyan Joins the Northeast Small College Art Museum Association in Statement in Support of Major Arts Agencies

With the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), one representative of the arts community at Wesleyan has petitioned against these cuts alongside the Northeast Small College Art Museum Association (NESCAMA).

Clare Rogan, curator of the Davison Art Center at Wesleyan University, joined the initiative on behalf of Wesleyan.

In 2014, the Davison Art Center was the recipient of a three-year IMLS grant in the amount of $111,000 to further the digital imaging of works on paper in the art center’s permanent collection.

Rogan explained, “The Institute of Museum and Library Services has been transformative in the ways people can study the Davison Art Center’s internationally renowned collection. The ability for anyone on campus, or even on the other side of the world, to download high quality images and study these rare works of art is something that can’t be accomplished without this kind of funding.”

The statement, signed by 18 institutions affiliated with NESCAMA, explains how college art museums rely on funding from these sources.

With small operational budgets, college and university art museums are particularly reliant on funding from the NEH, NEA, and IMLS. This funding preserves artistic, ethnographic, scientific, and historic collections, and creates access to cultural heritage unique to our respective diverse communities. This funding not only supports essential infrastructure, it enables us to pursue transformative programs that provide employment for emerging and young professionals. This funding ensures that our collections are interpreted, understood, and valued.

The statement encourages members of Congress “to recognize that the resilience of the NEH, NEA, and IMLS, despite opposition over the years, is a testament to their enduring value.”

CFA Performing Arts Series Concert to Feature Italian Baroque Chamber Music

Photo by Andy Kahl

Tempesta di Mare will perform on March 31, concluding the 2016-2017 season of the Center for the Arts’ Performing Arts Series. (Photo by Andy Kahl)

Members of the Philadelphia-based ensemble Tempesta di Mare will perform baroque chamber music from Venice and Naples on period instruments for the Connecticut premiere of A Tale of Two Italian Cities in Crowell Concert Hall at 8 p.m., Friday, March 31.

This performance by Tempesta di Mare is part of the Performing Arts Series at the Center for the Arts, and the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season.

“These performances feature a wide array of world-class musicians, cutting-edge choreography, and groundbreaking theater,” explained Sarah Curran, director of the Center for the Arts. “We’re excited to include a baroque chamber orchestra this year and we think the audience will love experiencing the sounds and culture of Italy.”

The audience can expect to hear music that reflects the two cities’ different cultures, explained Richard Stone, co-director of Tempesta di Mare. “Venice was Italy’s party town, while Naples was where you’d go to university or, if you were a musician, to conservatory,” said Stone. “Neapolitan music grabs its listeners with a heady intensity, while the Venetian music catches you with technical brilliance. That’s the generalization though. Naples’ music could get pretty wild, and Venetian music can get pretty cerebral. They’re both great musical worlds to dive into.”

Celebrating their 15th anniversary season, the members of the ensemble performing at Wesleyan will play recorder, violin, cello, lute and harpsichord on trios, quartets and concerti written by Antonio Vivaldi, Alessandro Scarlatti, Dario Castello, Andrea Falconieri, Francesco Mancini and Giovanni Legrenzi.

Tickets can be purchased through the Wesleyan University Box Office. Tickets are $28 for the general public; $26 for senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni, and non-Wesleyan students; and $6 for Wesleyan students and youth under 18.

Fry to Be Honored at Electrochemical Symposium in May

Albert J. Fry will be honored at a symposium for the Electrochemical Society.

Albert Fry will be honored at a symposium for the Electrochemical Society.

Albert Fry, the E.B. Nye Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, will be honored at the Electrochemical Society National Meeting in New Orleans in May.

The symposium, aptly titled, “The 80th Birthday Trifecta in Organic Electrochemistry,” celebrates Fry, and his two colleagues, Professor Jean Lessard of Sherbrooke University and Professor Denis Peters of Indiana University, who will all be celebrating their 80th birthdays.

“Besides having carried on research in organic electrochemistry for many years, each of us has served as chair of the organic and biological electrochemistry division of the Society, and Peters and I received the Baizer Award in organic electrochemistry,” explained Fry. “Although I retired in January, I’m still carrying computational research in electrochemistry and will present a lecture on recent results of this computational work at the New Orleans meeting.”

Morgan Appointed Honorary Professor at Queen’s University

Foss Professor of Physics Thomas J. Morgan

Tom Morgan

Foss Professor of Physics Thomas Morgan has been appointed as honorary professor at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He will hold this title for the next three years.

Morgan was recognized for this honor for his broad research contributions to the fields of atomic and molecular physics and plasma physics. He has published over 90 research papers, including many with international collaborators from Germany, France, Mexico and Japan.

Morgan will continue his research work at Wesleyan on highly excited states of diatomic molecules, and, as an honorary professor title holder, he will have access to Queen’s University’s resources for his research in the area of low temperature plasma physics. The appointment provides him an opportunity to concentrate on specific research projects in this area with collaborators at Queen’s University.

Architecture Firm, Owned by Rich ’02, Praised for Innovative Design

Nathan Rich '02, contributed photo

Nathan Rich ’02

Architects Newspaper praised Nathan Rich ’02 and his firm, Peterson Rich Office (PRO) for the design of a new gallery-residential building at 282 Grand Street in New York City.

The building, which is located in the Lower East Side, covers 20,000 square feet and will house 20 condos, climbing to 80 feet. Aside from the two penthouses at the top level, the rest of the dwellings are 550 square-foot one-bedroom condos. The gallery space is larger than most galleries in the area, spanning 45 feet wide.

Each space is highly efficient and the building features an innovative perforated aluminum rain-screen façade, which doubles as a shading device and a panel for air exchange.

Rich and his firm were commended for keeping the design true to the area’s history. In an interview with The Wesleyan Connection, Rich said, “We love working on the Lower East Side. It’s the most dynamic residential neighborhood in New York City, and there is a deep history stored in every block. Our design draws from this history to create a contemporary and forward-thinking building that feels rooted in its site.”

Additionally, PRO has connections to Wesleyan. Rich explained, “Our first project as an office was to design a painting studio for Tula Telfair [professor of art] in Lyme, Conn. “My wife and business partner, Miriam Peterson, managed construction on the job while teaching in the Wesleyan architecture studio.”

The project will break ground on 228 Grand Street this spring and is scheduled to be finished in fall 2018.

Creative Campus Fellow’s Performance Explores Personal Communication

Pamela Z will perform in Ring Family Hall on March 9, 2017.

Pamela Z will perform in Ring Family Performing Arts Hall on March 9.

Wesleyan’s 2016-2017 Creative Campus Fellow in Music Pamela Z, a composer and performer, is performing Correspondence, a work in progress, tonight (March 9). Her ensemble performance includes voices, electronic processing, sampled speech sounds, gesture-controlled MIDI instruments, projected image, and an array of mechanical and digital communication gadgetry.

Ms. Z’s performance looks at the history of personal communication from hand-written letters and telegraphs to electronic messaging and video chats in Correspondence, a sonic and visual exploration of the ever-evolving modes of personal communication.

More than 20 students are involved in the performance as members of the chorus, playing viola, bassoon, percussion, and operating typewriters.

As a Creative Campus Fellow, Ms. Z is commissioned by Wesleyan to create new works in collaboration with faculty and students across disciplines and conducts substantive research on campus for creative development. The Creative Campus Fellowship is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The performance is free and open to the public, and will take place on Thursday, March 9 at 8pm in the Ring Family Performing Arts Hall.

Ms. Z is a composer/performer and media artist who makes solo works combining a wide range of vocal techniques with electronic processing, samples, gesture activated MIDI controllers, and video. She has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Her work has been presented at venues and exhibitions including Bang on a Can (New York), the Japan Interlink Festival, Other Minds (San Francisco), the Venice Biennale, and the Dakar Biennale. She’s created installations and has composed scores for dance, film, and chamber ensembles. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Doris Duke Artist Impact Award, Creative Capital, the Herb Alpert Award, MAP, the ASCAP Award, an Ars Electronica honorable mention, the NEA/Japan-US Fellowship, and a Djerrassi Resident Artist Program residency.

STEM Zone 42 Learning Hub Opens in Science Library

A new teaching and learning space can be found on campus: STEM Zone 42.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Zone 42, located in the Science Library, is a collaborative project by the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the WesMaSS program and Academic Affairs.

Operating as a pilot program this semester, STEM Zone 42 is a space where students currently taking introductory biology and chemistry courses can receive academic support. Students can get help from course teaching assistants, course instructors, peer mentors and fellow students.

“We are hoping to reduce barriers students experience in seeking academic help and create and foster a STEM community at Wesleyan, in which we work together towards academic success,” explained Teshia Levy-Grant, interim dean for equity and inclusion. “By providing this academic resource to all students, we aim to improve student performance and increase overall retention in the sciences and math.”

Levy-Grant and her team hope to see STEM Zone 42 become a central location for student services, and double as a place where they can work, study and learn together. “This will be more of a one-stop model,” said Levy-Grant. “We now have the Career Center doing drop in hours in the space where students can learn about opportunities for summer internships and programs, but also get help with their resumes.”

And where does the number 42 come from? Levy-Grant explained, “The reference to 42 is inspired by Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s the ‘Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything,’ calculated by a supercomputer, Deep Thought, over a period of 7.5 million years.”

STEM Zone 42 operates on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 p.m., Saturdays at 3-5 p.m., and Sundays from 7-9 p.m.

Photos of STEM Zone’s opening are below:

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Weinstein ’17, Scruggs ’17 to Join Teach For America Following Graduation

Michael Weinstein ’17 will head to Milwaukee, Wis. to teach.

Michael Weinstein ’17 will head to Milwaukee, Wis. to teach.

Two members of the Class of 2017 and the Wesleyan athletic community have committed to join Teach For America after graduation: Michael Weinstein ’17 of Brookline, Mass. and Katie Scruggs ’17 of Vail, Colo. Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity.

Weinstein, who is the captain for both the men’s rugby team and ski team, will teach middle school special education in Milwaukee, Wis. This will be his first experience living in the Midwest.

“I think Wesleyan, as opposed to any other liberal arts school, put me into contact with a lot of people who are really smart and conscientious,” Weinstein said, reflecting on how Wesleyan is preparing him for this experience. “They care about each other and about injustices in America. Any liberal arts school can provide a ‘well-rounded’ education, but Wesleyan students generally try to apply what they learn to real life issue. Hopefully I can do the same!”

teach-for-americaScruggs, who is a member of the women’s cross country team, will teach high school science in Boston.

According to Teach for America, more than 16 million children are growing up in poverty in the U.S. By eighth grade, they are nearly three years behind higher-income peers in reading and math and are 1/10th as likely to graduate from college as students from affluent communities.

Teach For America seeks to combat this problem by enlisting promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence.

New Center for the Arts Exhibition Explores Duality

Multimedia artist Clarissa Tossin discusses her artwork at the IN STEREO event and artist walkthrough on February 7, 2017. Photo by Perceptions Photography.

Multimedia artist Clarissa Tossin discusses her artwork at the IN STEREO event and artist walkthrough on Feb. 7. (Photo by Perceptions Photography)

In the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery sits an old Volkswagen Brasília, surrounded by a sampling of artwork in all different mediums. This the Center for the Arts’ latest exhibition, Stereoscopic Vision, which fuses photography, sculpture, and video from different bodies of work by Brazilian-born artist, Clarissa Tossin. Stereoscopic Vision highlights the dualities between natural and manufactured; two and three-dimensions; co-dependent economies; intention and actuality; and the United States and Brazil.
tossinevent1  tossinevent2

For Tossin, who is based in Los Angeles, this is her first solo exhibition in the northeast. Tossin considers herself a multimedia artist. “I work with installation, video, photography and sculpture in an expansive way, which allows me to incorporate other mediums to the work and move freely among these disciplines” she explained. “I’m interested in looking at architecture, not only from its physical qualities, but the ways it signifies and is used.”

Besides this exhibition, Tossin is preparing to shoot a new film called Maya Blue, which will premiere in September at Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a Getty Foundation initiative that explores the connections between Los Angeles and Latin American art. “The film examines the influence of Mayan architecture on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, an important LA landmark,” she said. “The piece will document a performance responsive to the site, in which a woman engages with the house’s architectonic features with choreography drawn from ancient Mayan traditions.”The free

The free exhibition is on display through Sunday, March 5. The Zilkha Gallery is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Additionally, Wesleyan artists in music, poetry, and dance are participating in IN STEREO, a series of pop-up performances that are related to or inspired by Tossin’s work. The Feb. 21 performance spotlights dancers and choreographers.

Wesleyan Athletics App Available for Download

wesleyanfrontrowWith spring sporting events right around the corner, now is the time to download Wesleyan Front Row, the Wesleyan Athletics new mobile app.

Launched in August and developed with PrestoSports, Wesleyan Front Row gives Cardinals fans the ability to enable notifications to access score updates, statistics, and game recaps. Fans can set sport preferences to see schedules, results, event recaps and photo galleries.

For some events, a live stream of the game is available through the app, giving unprecedented access to off-campus fans, including parents and alumni, who still want to cheer on their favorite athletes from afar.

“The mobile app allows fans, parents, alumni, prospective students and current students to get information about their favorite teams instantly,” said Mike O’Brien, director of athletic communication. “It’s an incredibly easy way to stay up-to-date on Wesleyan Athletics, and we are very excited to provide this accessibility to our fans.”

The mobile app is available for download for iPhone and Android.

Macomber ’96 Discusses Producing Comedy by Arteta ’89, White ’92

Bill Macomber '96

Bill Macomber ’96, contributed photo.

Beatriz at Dinner, a darkly comedic film directed by Miguel Arteta ’89, written by Mike White ’92, and co-produced by Bill Macomber ’96, world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22. The film premiered with positive reviews with magazines like Vanity Fair calling it “remarkable” with a “timely shiver to it.”

After acclaimed films such as Chuck & Buck (2000) and The Good Girl (2002), Arteta and White have reunited again for Beatriz, which starts Salma Hayek as a holistic therapist. She attends a wealthy client’s dinner party after her car breaks down and comes up against a real estate tycoon portrayed by John Lithgow.

“We are all very excited about this new film,” says Jeanine Basinger, Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies. “We hope to bring Miguel Arteta to Wesleyan this semester to show the film and we are all looking forward to it.”

Bill Macomber ’96, the primary post-producer of the film, said, “When I first read the script I loved it. Environmental issues are really close to my heart. The film is about many things, but it’s a proxy for what’s wrong with climate change deniers and big developers who don’t play by the rules.”

Macomber, whose first post-Wesleyan job was with Arteta after graduation on his first feature film, Star Maps, says, “Beatriz at Dinner is a reunion of sorts, although I was just a production assistant on Star Maps way back in the day.”

College connections are important, he notes, and not just when students are looking for their first job: “For me, the bond between Wesleyan graduates, especially Wesleyan filmmakers, is still as strong at age 43 when it was at age 23. People are as supportive of me now as they were then, and I try to be the same supportive person.”

When asked what advice Macomber has for graduates looking for their first big break, he reflected on advice that film industry veteran and Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger gave him. “Something Jeanine told me a long time ago is that you need to constantly reevaluate whether you enjoy what you’re doing in that moment,” he said. “After working in development, I noticed I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t productive. I switched to the more technical, collaborative work of post-production and my spirits and my careers lifted.”

How do you know if you’re doing what you should be doing? The answer is simple to Macomber: “Be aware if you’re enjoying what you’re doing and if you’re valued for doing that job. Opportunities come from hard work and doing a good job.”

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Watch the trailer for Beatriz at Dinner.

Tractenberg ’60 Heads New Nonprofit on Diversity and Equality in Education

Paul Tractenberg '60

Paul Tractenberg ’60.

After retiring from 46 years of teaching at Rutgers Law School, Paul Tractenberg ’60 has established a new nonprofit, the Center for Diversity and Equality in Education (CDEE), to continue pursuing major education reform projects.

Tractenberg, who studied history at Wesleyan and earned a JD from the University of Michigan, has devoted his professional life to improving the educational opportunities of low-income urban students and others with educational challenges.

The biggest reform project that CDEE is focusing on is the court-ordered integration effort of the Morris School District in New Jersey, which was the subject of a recent New York Times article, “As Other Districts Grapple With Segregation, This One Makes Integration Work,” outlining the success of the initiative.

Throughout his tenure at Rutgers and now as president of CDEE, Tractenberg has studied the major legal and policy issues involving public education, and has used the law to improve it. He is the author of numerous books, articles, and papers on education law and related subjects; a frequent lecturer; and consultant and adviser to many national, regional, and state organizations and agencies.