Arts & Culture

Wesleyan Students Partner with City Water, Sewer Workers for Unique Show

Juliana Castro '19, Michael Edwards '16, and Melissa Leung '16 are among the students who have been working with the city's Water and Sewer Department to create a performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 9. (Photo courtesy of The Middletown Press).

Juliana Castro ’19, Michael Edwards ’16, and Melissa Leung ’16 are among the students who have been working with the city’s Water and Sewer Department to create a performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 7. (Photo courtesy of The Middletown Press).

This spring, Allison Orr, the Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment, is leading a group of Wesleyan students in partnering with the city of Middletown’s Water and Sewer Department to develop a unique performance that will debut at the Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter on May 7. The performance starts at noon at Harbor Park.

Allison Orr

Allison Orr

According to this story in The Middletown Press, Orr has long used “her choreography talent to expose the work of those who would otherwise go unnoticed.” She is the artistic director of Forklift Danceworks, and is known for “Trash Dance,” a 2012 documentary film that explored the work of the Austin, Texas Sanitation Department.

“What I do is I embed myself within these groups of employees over a period of time,” Orr said. “I convince them to come along with me and we create together performances that educate people about the work.”

Under her direction, eight Wesleyan students “joined” the city’s water department. Since February, they have been collecting interviews, shadowing employees and studying their movements to create a performance based on the workers’ daily lives, and raise awareness about how they keep Middletown’s waterfront clean.

For Gretchen LaMotte ’18, this performance is not only a way to bridge a gap between the Wesleyan community and Middletown, but is also an opportunity for her to bring the Water and Sewer Department’s work to the forefront.

“All of this is invisible work that is supporting the infrastructure of our daily lives. I’m excited about this performance because hopefully it will make that work more visible,” LaMotte said.

In March, Orr also taught movement classes to students at the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center.

“Wes Out-Loud” Theater Performance Takes Audience on Site-Specific Auditory Journey

During the "Wes Out-Loud" performance, audience members wore wireless headsets to listen to recorded stories of place created for various sites on campus.

During the “Wes Out-Loud” performance, audience members wore wireless headsets to listen to recorded stories of place created for various sites on campus.

The Theater Department presented “Wes Out-Loud: Stories of Place” April 28 on campus.

“Wes Out-Loud: Stories of Place” is a site-specific auditory journey conceived and created for the Wesleyan campus through a collaboration between theater students and Assistant Professor of Theater Marcela Oteíza. “Wes Out-Loud” invited the audience to experience Wesleyan as a scenographic space by inserting new narratives into everyday sites.

The juxtaposition of place and stories presented the richness and diversity of the students on campus and promoted inclusiveness.

Audience members wore wireless headsets to listen to the recorded stories of place created for each site. The performance, led by Wesleyan students, covered a one-and-a-half mile loop through campus.

The journey includes stories of current students who wrote a piece specific to Wesleyan and the space that Wesleyan occupies.

“Wesleyan is an intensely personal space to me. It is the place where I have experienced the most growth and had the most memorable experiences of my life thus far. Given its significance, the memories of Wesleyan are positive, negative, and everywhere in between,” said collaborator Jess Cummings ’17. “I wanted to focus on disparities between positive and negative, especially those which I often hide. I also wanted to emphasize the way that these memories take on a spatiality and transform the spaces which the original events occurred in. I hope that listening to my story, as well as everyone else’s, will allow members of our Wesleyan community and beyond to question their relationships to the spaces they inhabit everyday and recognize the lasting effects that memory and space leave on their lives.”

“Wes Out-Loud” was recorded with a binaural, 3D-surround-sound system — a method that emulates the workings of human auditory perception, explained Marcela Oteíza. “Utilizing an actual scale model of left and right ears, the recording system works with the premise that it is the architecture of our anatomy that dictates how we understand the sounds we hear,” she said.

Additional performances will take place on April 29, April 30 and May 1.

Quigley ’08 is Knight Cities Challenge Winner

Caitlin Quigley ’08 received a Knight Cities Fellowship for her project, "20 Book Clubs, 20 Cooperative Businesses."

Caitlin Quigley ’08 won a Knight Cities Challenge for her project in Philadelphia: “20 Book Clubs, 20 Cooperative Businesses.”

 

(By Margaret Curtis ’16)

Philadelphia-based Caitlin Quigley ’08 was selected as a winner of the Knight Cities Challenge for her project “20 Book Clubs, 20 Cooperative Businesses.” The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded 37 winners out of a pool of more than 4,500 applicants with a share of $5 million to support one of the 26 communities in which the foundation invests.

Quigley and her organization, the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA), were awarded $146,000 to implement her project, which will support neighborhood businesses. Quigley’s project will form 20 community-based book clubs of six to 12 people who will choose readings, films, and field trips that pertain to cooperatives. In six months, each book club will identify a business need in their neighborhood—such as a lack of grocery stores, credit unions, childcare centers, hardware stores, or artist studios—and form a business cooperative to meet that need.

PACA is a cooperative and a 501(c)3 nonprofit that aims to support the local economy by promoting local cooperatives.

The mission of the Knight Cities Challenge is to support initiatives that aid growing communities through what the Knight Foundation calls the “three drivers of city success:” attracting and keeping talented people, expanding economic opportunities, and creating a culture of civic engagement.

“This project will bring together residents to learn and work collaboratively in order to build long-lasting community-owned businesses,” Quigley said.

At Wesleyan, she double majored in Spanish and film studies.

 

Free Drawing Workshops Offered at 5th Annual Big Draw

On April 16, the Friends of the Davison Art Center presented “The Big Draw: Middletown,” the fifth annual community celebration of drawing with workshops designed for all skill levels, from beginning drawers to accomplished artists. The event took place at four locations across the campus including the Davison Art Center; the Center for the Arts; Fayerweather Beckham Hall; and the Usdan University Center.

“The Big Draw” included eight workshops facilitated by faculty and students from Wesleyan’s Art Studio Program in the Department of Art and Art History. Activities included developing narrative through drawing, drawing with inked feet to music, drawing from elaborate still lives of taxidermy and skeletons, using giant Spirograph-style drawing tools, face painting and more. Drawing study of nude models was open to adults, and minors with parental permission.

This year, “The Big Draw: Middletown” also featured a special Koinobori Project workshop led by Japanese artist Taichiro Takamatsu, who founded the project in 2012, and has led workshops creating carp flags in Australia, Austria, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Uganda.

More than 375 local artists participated, up from 286 in 2015. Forty-nine Wesleyan faculty, alumni, students and community members volunteered to teach participants and help run the program.

“The Big Draw: Middletown” is organized and hosted by the Friends of the Davison Art Center, with grant support from the Middletown Commission on the Arts; and special funding for the Koinobori Project from the Community Foundation for Middlesex County in conjunction with the Center for the Arts “Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter.”

Other sponsors included Blick Art Materials, Community Health Center, CT Yoga Center, Middletown Framing, It’s Only Natural Market, Kidcity Children’s Museum, Middletown Toyota, Mondo Pizza, Munkittrick Associates, Nobul Apparel, Tesoro Artisan Gift Boutique & Gallery, and Ursel’s Web.

WTNH Channel 8 featured the event as one of eight fun things to do in Connecticut on the morning news on Friday, April 15, with live broadcasts.

(Photos below by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19). View additional photos on the Big Draw Facebook page.

eve_bigdraw_2016-0415122521

Slobin Honored for 45 Years at Wesleyan

Mark Slobin, second from left, was celebrated by colleagues, friends and family during a day long conference and concert April 16.

Mark Slobin, second from left, was celebrated by colleagues, friends and family during a day long conference and concert April 16.

Mark Slobin, the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, was honored April 16 with “Ideas on the Move,” a conference celebrating his career and many accomplishments. Slobin will retire from Wesleyan June 30.

Slobin is an ethnomusicologist who has written extensively on the subject of East European Jewish music and klezmer music, as well as the music of Afghanistan.

The daylong event featured talks by alumni from as far back as 45 years. Topics included “Mark’s Metaphors: Visual Poetics, Pedagogy and Theoretical Clarity;” “ONCE Upon a Time: Mark Slobin’s Experimental Ethnomusicology;” “How Mark Slobin Became an Ethnomusicologist;” and “Growing Up With Mark.” A concert, featuring Irish, Yiddish, Korean and other music, also was held in honor of Professor Slobin in World Music Hall. View a list of all speakers and musicians on this website.

Slobin came to Wesleyan on July 1, 1971. He has been president of the Society for Ethnomusicology, president of the Society for Asian Music, and editor of Asian Music. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Seeger Prize of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award (for lifetime achievement) from the Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the Curt Leviant Award In Yiddish Studies from the Modern Languages Association (honorable mention). He was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for Chosen Voices (1989).

In his blog, President Michael Roth said: “He is at home with all kinds of sounds, and his students (many of whom were present at the conference) work on everything from Mongolian throat singing and African funeral music to hip-hop and klezmer. He’s even written the book on music at Wesleyan.

“Mark spoke briefly at the conference about how Wesleyan has fostered groundbreaking research, practice and teaching in music for a very long time. Thanks to him, and to his colleagues and students, we expect that to continue far into the future.”

The evening concluded with a Javanese Wayang Puppet Play “Arjuna in Meditation,” performed with the Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble under the direction of I. M. Harjito and Sumarsam (dhalang) and guest musicians.

eve_markslobin_2016-0415110517

Stanton, Hoggard, Brown: ‘Storied Places’ Unites Dance, Music, Text of Collaborative Cluster

Professor of Dance and Department Chair Nicole Stanton notes that faculty dance concerts play a crucial role in academic life: "For many of us in the dance department, this is our creative research. This how we explore our ideas and passions and how we engage with the world and with critical, cultural, social and political themes."

Associate Professor Nicole Stanton notes that faculty dance concerts play a crucial role in academic life: “For many of us in the dance department, this is our creative research. This how we explore our ideas and passions and how we engage with the world and with critical, cultural, social and political themes.”

On the weekend of April 15-16, the CFA theater was home to the spring faculty dance concert, Storied Places. In addition to the dance, which was choreographed and directed by Chair and Associate Professor of Dance, Associate Professor of African American Studies, and Environmental Studies Nicole Stanton, the performance also featured original compositions and musical direction by Adjunct Professor of Music and African American Studies Jay Hoggard ’76. Adding a further layer of texture was narrative text, written and performed by Chair and Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor of African American Studies, Professor of English and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Director of the Center for African American Studies Lois Brown.

Additionally, Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Policy L’Merchie Frazier created visual scenography and design—some based on the photographs that grace the cover of Hoggard’s new two-CD set, Harlem Hieroglyphs.

The collaboration, which featured a host of musicians and dancers—including Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance Dante Brown ’09 and Rick Manayan ’17—had begun with Hoggard’s compositions, which were inspired under the theme of “Migrations”—as he thought specifically of the migration his own family had made from the rural South to a new home in Harlem, as well as more generally about the movement of peoples throughout history and how that was illustrated in music, particularly jazz.

Nicole Stanton recalls that she had reached out to Hoggard, at the suggestion of Pam Tatge ’84, MALS ’10, P’16, who was then director of the Center for the Arts.

“I enjoy very much the idea of collaboration and collaboration across disciplines,” Stanton explains. “I’m interested in dance and the total art form that engages a lot of different senses and a lot of different modes of expression.”

Apple Music’s Saint John ’99 Recalls Formative Wes Moments in WesFest Keynote

Alumni Keynote Speaker, Bozoma Saint John '99, head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, delivered the WesFest keynote address on April 15.

Alumni Keynote Speaker, Bozoma Saint John ’99, head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, delivered the WesFest keynote address on April 15.

Bozoma “Boz” Saint John ’99, head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, wowed attendees at WesFest—admitted students and their parents— as keynote speaker.
The eldest daughter of Wesleyan ethnomusicology graduate Dr. Appianda Arthur PhD ’77, Saint John spoke on Wesleyan’s powerful influence on her life today.

Her father, recalling his formative years at Wesleyan and the lively intellectual community, had encouraged her to attend Wesleyan. Although her desire to rebel figured in early in the decision process, she ultimately chose Wesleyan. “My father was so excited when I decided Wesleyan was the school for me, but he stopped short of saying, ‘I told you so,’” she recalled.

What she’d found on campus was an intellectual home—a place of lively discourse and diverse fields of study. “Coming to Wesleyan I found a deeper level of connection to students who had varied interests in things, in a way I hadn’t felt before with classmates …. It felt like coming to a big camp with people who looked at the world the way I did—a little left of center.”

While initially prepared to find herself on the pre-med track (“I was good at science and math”), she discovered that her interest in pop culture offered an avenue for intellectual exploration, and she recalled a particularly formative opportunity.

It was during her undergraduate years that one of her favorite musicians, the rapper Tupac Shakur, was murdered. “I thought—’There’s something to be learned here.’ I took that thought and found there was an elective being taught at USC about rap and its influence on culture. I approached my American Studies professor, who seemed knowledgeable. ‘I would love to be able to have a class on the lyrics of Tuback Shakur,’ I told him.

“He looked at me and said, ‘It sounds interesting. I don’t have the time to teach this, but I’d sponsor you, if you wanted to teach this course.’”

She recalled dismissing his idea as one she wasn’t qualified to consider: “Who me? I can’t do that; I’m just a fan.”

“Of course you can,” he responded.

Saint John spent the next month transcribing every lyric Shakur had written and recalls the laborious process with her tape player: listening, jotting down what she heard, rewinding, pressing play and listening again—for as many times as it took until she was sure she had them correct and complete.
She returned to her amazed professor with the sheaf of transcribed songs, and he helped her develop a course that she taught. “We had 30 students for this noncredit course—a course just to learn something. The next semester, we had 30 people in the class and a 60-person wait list, and the semester after that, he took it on himself,” she recalls.

“To me, that is the truest testament to what education is like at Wesleyan is: An idea that might have been dismissed as trite—I mean it doesn’t affect anything—was taken very seriously here. It was validated. I can tell you, that has had a profound effect on what I do today, how I look at the world today, how I look at my ideas and the validity I give them was born here. I was validated here, both for my cognitive thinking skills as well for the application that I envisioned. I could see the concept as a tangible real thing to have discourse around.

“That turned the corner for me. The passion I felt for that particular experience changed my mind about what I wanted to do with my career. I had the opportunity to explore so much of what I considered the pop culture education, that it set me up for what I’m doing now.”

‘Sapien’ Highlights Behar ’77 for Anthropological, Poetic Collaborations with Cuba

Ruth Behar ’77, a Cuban-born anthropologist, is co-creator of Bridges to/from Cuba, a blog for stories related to the Cuban Diaspora. (photo by Gabriel Frye Behar)

Ruth Behar ’77, a Cuban-born anthropologist, is co-creator of “Bridges to/from Cuba,” a blog for stories related to Cuba and the Cuban Diaspora. (Photo by Gabriel Frye Behar)

An article in the journal Sapiens highlights the current work of anthropologist Ruth Behar in “Lifting the Emotional Embargo With Cuba.” Working with poet Richard Blanco, the two are “cultivating reunion and reconciliation among people and cultures that have been estranged for decades,” said author Barry Yeoman.

Cuba is part of both the poet’s and the anthropologist’s identities. While Blanco grew up hearing about Cuba from his ex-pat community in Miami, Behar was born in Havana, Cuba. Her parents were of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish descent who moved the family to New York City after the Cuban revolution. As a child in New York she gravitated to poetry, which she admits, “offered a refuge…a way to be myself.”

While attending Wesleyan, Behar took a class taught by anthropologist Johannes Fabian that provided a wider lens through which to view other cultures. After graduating from Wesleyan with a College of Letters major, Behar pursued this new passion by enrolling in a PhD program in cultural anthropology at Princeton University.

Throughout her career as a cultural anthropologist Behar has attempted to meld these two interests and her cultural heritage. During the 1990s, she returned to her birth country where she published a bi-lingual poetry collection while studying poet-anthropologists such as Edward Sapir and Ruth Benedict.

When President Obama announced the renewal of Cuban and American diplomatic relations in late 2014, Behar felt compelled to explore this deeply personal and historical division. She began to collaborate with Blanco on a new project that would reconcile poetry and ethnography, and Cuban and American identity. The two named the project “Bridges to/from Cuba.” It consists of a bilingual blog that serves as a unified space for the various stories of Cubans and those of Cuba’s diaspora.

Writing about one of the duo’s visits to Cuba, Yeoman observed Behar’s comfort in this role of cultural bridge-builder. “She was spending the afternoon with two good friends who live in countries that have historically been at odds—countries that form the halves of her own identity—and the relationship between their governments was starting to relax,” he wrote.

Behar currently teaches at the University of Michigan and has received honors that include the MacArthur “Genius” Grant, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fulbright Senior Fellowship.

Miranda ’02 Wins Pulitzer Prize for Hamilton

(Photo by Joan Marcus/The Public Theater)

Hamilton star/writer Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15, center, won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The honor was announced April 18 during the Pulitzer Prizes’ 100th award ceremony. (Photo by Joan Marcus/The Public Theater)

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 has won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his hit musical, Hamilton, directed by Thomas Kail ’99. According to Playbill, Hamilton “joins an exclusive club of just eight other musicals that have won the prestigious award since it was founded nearly a century ago.” The awards were announced April 18.

The Pulitzer is awarded to “a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life.” It includes a $10,000 cash prize.

6 Alumni Receive 2016 Guggenheim Fellowships

David Rabban ’71 was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim for his work in constitutional studies.

David Rabban ’71 was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim for his work in constitutional studies.

On April 5, six Wesleyan alumni–David Rabban ’71, Roxanne Euban ’88, Lyle Ashton Harris ’88, Rick Barot ’92, Adam Berinsky ’92 and Jonas Carpignano ’06–were each awarded Guggenheim Fellowships by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. According to the foundation, these prestigious awards aim to “further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color or creed.”

Rabban is an award winning author and academic whose research focuses on labor law, higher education and the law, and American legal history. For his 1997 book Free Speech in its Forgotten Years, he received the Morris D. Forkosch Prize presented by the Journal of the History of Ideas and the Eli M. Oboler Award of the American Library Association Intellectual Freedom Round Table. From 1998 to 2006 he served as the General Counsel of the American Association of University Professors and from 2006 to 2012 as the Chair of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

Over the course of his career Rabban has earned fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Whitney Humanities center, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and other institutions. During his Guggenheim Fellowship, he intends to author a book the history, theory, and law of academic freedom.

Lyly Ashton Harris was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim for photography. (Photo by Rob Kulisek.)

Lyly Ashton Harris ’88 was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim for photography. (Photo by Rob Kulisek)

Lyle Ashton Harris ’88 received his fellowship for his contributions in the field of photography. On his website, Harris writes that his work “explores intersections between the personal and the political, examining the impact of ethnicity, gender and desire on the contemporary social and cultural dynamic.” In particular, his projects are known for employing self-portraiture and using iconic figures in popular culture such as Billie Holiday and Michael Jackson.

Rick Barot ’92 received a 2016 Guggenheim for poetry. (Photo by Mara Barot.)

Rick Barot ’92 received a 2016 Guggenheim for poetry. (Photo by Mara Barot)

Harris has exhibited his work around the globe at institutions like the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the 52nd Venice Biennale. After graduating from Wesleyan, Harris went on to receive his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. He currently lives in New York City where he teaches at New York University.

Rick Barot ’92, a poet, published his most recent collection of poems, Chord, with Sarabande Books in 2015. The book was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize and the PEN Open Book award and won the 2016 UNT Rilke Prize. Barot has published two other titles with Sarabande Books, The Darker Fall (2002) and Want (2008), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize.

Barot resides in Tacoma, Wash., where he directs The Rainier Writing Workshop, the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Pacific Lutheran University. He serves as the poetry editor of New England Review.

Adam Berinsky ’92, professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a specialist in the fields of political behavior and public opinion. His work focuses primarily on questions of representation and the communication of public sentiment to the political elite.

Adam J. Berinsky ’92 was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim for political science.

Adam Berinsky ’92 was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim for political science.

He has authored two books, In Time of War (University of Chicago Press, 2009) and Silent Voices (Princeton University Press, 2004). He has received multiple grants from the National Science Foundation and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

He currently edits the University of Chicago Press’s Chicago Studies in American Politics book series and is the founding director of the MIT Political Experiments Research Lab. During his fellowship, Berinsky intends to study the spread of political rumors spread and how they can be effectively debunked.

Jonas Carpignano ’06 received a 2016 Guggenheim for film and video.

Jonas Carpignano ’06 received a 2016 Guggenheim for film and video.

Writer and director Jonas Carpignano’s most recent film, Mediterranea, had its world premier at the prestigious 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Since then, it has screened at festivals such as BFI London Film Festival, AFI Fest and Stockholm Film Festival where it won three awards including Best Debut Film and Best Actor. The film was also a New York Times critics’ pick.

Carpignano’s two short films, A Chjàna (2011) and A Ciambra (2014), have won many international awards including the Controcampo Award at the 68th Venice Film Festival and The Discovery Award at 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Currently, Carpignano is working on a feature film based on A Ciambra that has received the support of various institutions such as the Torino Film Lab and the Sundance Institute.

Roxanne L. Euban ’88 was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim for her work in political science.

Roxanne L. Euban ’88 was awarded a 2016 Guggenheim for her work in political science.

Since 1997 Roxanne Euben ’88 has served as the Ralph Emerson and Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College. Her work has spearheaded a new area of inquiry often referred to as “comparative political theory.” This entails an “understanding of political theory…as inclusive of intellectual traditions of the “non-West” and global South, as well as of indigenous traditions in but not of ‘the West.'” In particular, she also focuses on the relationship between Islamic and European political thought.

Euben is also the author of several books including Enemy in the MirrorIslamic Fundamentalism and the Limits of Modern Rationalism (Princeton 1999, Oxford 2001) and Journeys to the Other Shore: Muslim and Western Travelers in Search of Knowledge, (Princeton, 2006). Her writing has also appeared in a number of scholarly and widely read publications including The Review of PoliticsThe Journal of PoliticsInternational Studies Review, the Atlantic’s digital magazine and The London Times Higher Education Supplement.

While on her fellowship, Euben will work on a book that examines Arab and Islamic rhetorics of humiliation in comparative perspective.

12 Alumni Discuss Their Drawing I Final Project on Podcast

(Story by Caroline MacNeille ’16/Wesconnect)

In a recent episode of the podcast Cellar Door, Piers Gelly ’13 and a handful of alumni discuss the infamous Drawing I final project: a life-sized nude self portrait. The podcast focuses on objects, featuring often-overlooked subject matter like pockets and pearls. Gelly, who reports, writes, mixes and illustrates for The Chipstone Foundation, an arts non-profit, produced this episode that also features music by Jack Ladd ’15 and Anna Schwab ’16.

The ‘Student Body‘ episode features a dozen alumni talking about their experience creating the final project and its fate after the semester’s end. No matter the final destination everyone seems to agree that the project stayed with them, many of them literally. Interviewees included Virgil Taylor ’15, Kate Gibbel ’15, Manon Lefèvre ’14, Alahna Watson ’13, Kevin Brisco ’13, Will Feinstein ’13, Kamar Thomas ’12, Henry Kiely ’11, Carolyn Wachnicki ’05, and Sarah Hirzel ’95 (who once taught Drawing I).

Cellar Door features many Wesleyan voices. In episode 4, we hear about Hannah Carlson’s ’90 scholarship on pockets; episode 2 features music by Craig Edwards ’83, who currently teaches fiddle and banjo through the music department; we also hear from his wife, Mary Bercaw Edwards, who once taught in the Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies program at Wesleyan. The theme music of Cellar Door was composed by Daniel Nass ’13, a longtime collaborator of Gelly’s.

“I drew my back, and my face is turned towards the audience.”

“I drew it sitting down, with a pencil in one hand and eraser on the other.”

These are students from Professor Tula Telfair’s Painting I class at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Every one of them recently completed a life-size nude self-portrait in Drawing I.

Hundreds of students have created these self-portraits since the project began, maybe thousands.

The drawing’s precious but undisplayable. And for all its intimacy, it doesn’t mean much without an explanation.

“Mine was just full-frontal hands-on-hips, kind of confrontational. I think the drawing took like twenty hours or something. I probably did it over two days.”

I do know. Though they’re the product of long hours of lonely labor, these objects make light work of years and years of distance. Start a conversation about your self-portrait and suddenly you’re right back with that student body.

Art Studio Seniors Exhibit Theses at Zilkha

On April 6, artists and visitors gathered at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery for a reception for week three of the Senior Thesis Exhibition. This week’s exhibition features work by seniors Sophie Becker, Casey Herrick, Samantha Ho, Gla, and Zach Scheinfeld from the Department of Art and Art History’s art studio program. The exhibition will be on display through April 10. (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)

art_thesis_2016-0406152110

Casey Herrick’s senior thesis, “Safe Conduct.”

art_thesis_2016-0406153452

“Wednesday,” by Gla.