CFA Receives Doris Duke Foundation’s Grant Award for Adaptability

Pamela Tatge

Pamela Tatge

The Center for the Arts received an unsolicited national grant award of $400,000 from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in November 2013. The CFA is one of five arts organizations that will receive a total of $3.5 million in funding to help further develop long-term capacity to respond to changing conditions in the performing arts sector and the world at large, including those related to demographics, audience behavior and the impact of technology.

The grants were not open for application. Instead, an anonymous panel identified five organizations that have demonstrated a sustained appetite to innovate and experiment in ways that inform and lead their respective fields. Each organization will go through an organizational self-analysis, followed by an external assessment. Then they will develop and implement strategies and tactics to best enhance their long-term capacity to adapt.

The grantees will receive support over a period of up to four years. Appropriate uses of this money include, but are not limited to, staff expansion, creation of capital reserves, professional development, technology, board and staff retreats, convenings and consultants.

Pamela Tatge, director of the Center for the Arts, said the CFA staff is honored to be recognized. “This grant will allow us to lay the groundwork for continued innovation and exciting programs that serve the campus and community, and advance the creativity of Wesleyan faculty and students and the talented artists we bring to campus,” she said.

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and the prevention of child abuse, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The Foundation’s Arts Program focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them.

“This exciting award really speaks to the CFA’s tradition – 40 years and counting – of building a community of creativity and experimentation,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth. “Under Director Pamela Tatge’s leadership our Center for the Arts has found ways to engage an increasingly diverse audience. An award like this also recognizes and supports Wesleyan’s extraordinary commitment to the arts.”

NEA Grant Support Dance, Poetry at CFA

A  $50,000 grant to Wesleyan from the National Endowment for the Arts will support dance programs at the Center for the Arts and poetry initiatives at Wesleyan University Press.

The award, announced by the NEA Dec. 11, recognizes the university’s commitment to the arts across all forms of artistic expression. It includes a $30,000 grant to the CFA, the ninth NEA award to the dance programs. That represents a 50 percent increase over the 2012-2013 season grant supporting the Breaking Ground Dance Series.

“Support from the National Endowment for the Arts has been central to our ability to fulfill our mission to become a vibrant center for dance in the state, and to bring contemporary dance to audiences who might not otherwise be able to access it,” said Pamela Tatge, director of the CFA. “We are grateful for the vote of confidence that this grant implies.”

The Breaking Ground series, now in its 14th season, features cutting-edge choreography, world-renowned companies, and groups that push the boundaries of the art form. Past companies featured in the series include Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Chunky Move and Compagnie Marie Chouinard.

The $20,000 earmarked for Wesleyan University Press will support the publication and distribution of books of poetry, to be promoted through author tours, book trailers, social media and free online teaching guides.

“We are delighted with this grant to support the poetry list,” said Suzanna Tamminen, director of the Press. “We currently publish six poetry titles per year and try to maintain a mix of established and new poets, and translations of contemporary and modernist poetry.”

In 2013, Tamminen said, Wes Press will publish The Tatters, an elegy for the end of the pristine natural world, by Brenda Coultas; In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987-2011, the first “selected” volume by critically acclaimed poet Peter Gizzi, and Favor of Crows,  a collection of original haiku from a preeminent Native American poet and novelist, Gerald Vizenor.

Poetry was among the first areas that Wesleyan University Press published in when it was established in 1957. Since the beginning, the press has been committed to pushing the boundaries of both poetic form and the imagination, and over the years, Wesleyan poets have earned many honors including Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards.

The grant counts toward Wesleyan’s multi-year $400 million fundraising effort supporting access, inquiry and impact across university programs.


Smith ’14 Creates Online Community for Amputees, Families

Amber Smith '14 recently received a 2013 Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action Grant to start up her social enterprise, "I AMputee."

Amber Smith ’14 recently received a 2013 Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action Grant to start up her social enterprise, “I AMputee.”

Amber Smith ’14 understands the importance of having connections with others who understand the hardships faced as an amputee. Smith, an African American studies major, was born with an upper extremity amputation of her left forearm.

On Nov. 6, Smith received a 2013 Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action Grant from the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. The award will serve as seed money for starting up her social enterprise, “I AMputee,” an online community designed for amputees and their families to connect with those of similar circumstances in an effort to create positive, reciprocal relationships grounded in common experience. I AMputee’s slogan is “I AM Human. I AM Inspired. I AMputee.”

“Because of my life experiences, I understand that while there are some amazing organizations geared toward amputee support, there isn’t quite something out there like what I want to create. I’m interested in starting an accessible community that will inspire a movement; a new way of thinking about amputees,” she said.

Smith’s parents didn’t know of her forearm amputation until she was born. They were connected with another couple in a similar situation through a penpal program, among a variety of other resources, through the Shriners Hospital.

Amber Smith '14 met Edward “Ted” Kennedy Jr. ’83 during the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame meeting Nov. 6. Smith said Kennedy "is one of I AMputee's biggest supporters."

Amber Smith ’14 met Edward “Ted” Kennedy Jr. ’83 during the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame meeting Nov. 6. Smith said Kennedy “is one of I AMputee’s biggest supporters.”

Smith hopes that I AMputee will evolve into an internet trading and social network where amputees across the world can pair together to purchase and/or exchange gloves and shoes, split the cost in half, and give new meaning to an unattended item.

In the grant application, Smith included a detailed timeline and budget. In receiving this grant, she’s gained much needed financial support and created the structure needed to start making progress and maintain momentum in building her project for the upcoming year.

During the Nov. 6 ceremony, the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame honored Smith for “her outstanding project proposal and her commitment to providing assistant to amputees at home and abroad.”

“I want I AMputee to help us redefine our collective and individual identities,” she said. “I also believe it will help restore pride and humanity to a group of people who are often labeled in ways that strips them of such.”

Learn more about I AMputee on this Facebook site.


Ishiguro Receives Grant from Society for Asian Music

Maho Ishiguro

Maho Ishiguro

Music Department doctoral student Maho Ishiguro received a $2,300 grant from the Society for Asian Music in October 2013. Ishiguro will use the grant for her research on the booming popularity of Achenese dance traditions among high school girls in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Ishiguro, of Tokyo, Japan, moved to the U.S. when she was a junior in high school. This is her second year studying ethnomusicology at Wesleyan.

Grant Applicants must be full-time graduate students enrolled in U.S. institutions and may use these funds to supplement other grants.  Grants are to be used for research, including fieldwork, pre-dissertation research, travel, language study, and other related activities.

The Society of Asian Music aims to cultivate, promote, foster, sponsor, develop and disseminate among its members and to other interested persons an appreciation, understanding, interest, taste and love of the music, and arts ancillary to music, of Asia; to create a center for the advancement of such purposes and to maintain the same to secure the interest of patrons of these arts; to encourage the composition of such music so as to provide social and aesthetic activities, and provide entertainment and amusement and the exploitation of such talents.

Aaron Paige, also a doctoral student in music, received the grant in 2012.

DEEP Grant will Support EV Charging Station on Campus

Wesleyan received a grant from the State of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection to support a new electric vehicle charging station installation on campus. Wesleyan is one of 42 to receive the award in the state.

The new station will be placed adjacent to an existing station located in the Freeman Athletic Center parking lot. It will service two vehicles.

“Our goal is a network of charging stations that allows anyone driving an electric vehicle to travel anywhere in our state with total confidence that they will be able to recharge their car battery when necessary,” said Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy in a press release. “The grants will bring us one step closer to that goal by adding to the nearly 100 charging stations that are already available and putting more of them at restaurants, businesses, colleges, medical centers, municipal parking facilities and other convenient locations for the public.”

Funding for the grants, which total $135,946, comes from provisions of the April 2012 settlement agreement with the state that allowed for the merger of Northeast Utilities and NStar. The grants are being awarded to municipalities, businesses and organizations, some of whom will install charging stations at multiple locations as well as charging stations that can service multiple vehicles at one time.

Read more about the grant here.

Naegele Awarded Grant from CURE

Janice Naegele, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, director of the Center for Faculty Career Development, was awarded a $250,000 grant in September from CURE The grant, which will be given over a period of three years, will fund research examining synaptic function in GABAergic stem cell transplants using optogenics. This technique provides a way to modulate and control the activity of individual neurons in living tissue using discrete delivery of light into the brain or tissue slice. It will be used to investigate how GABAergic stem cell transplants suppress seizures in mice with temporal lobe epilepsy.

The new research effort is a collaboration with Laura Grabel, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of biology; Gloster Aaron, associate professor of biology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior; as well as neuroscientists at Yale and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dierker, Beveridge Receive NSF Grant to Expand “Passion-Driven Statistics” Project

Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, and David Beveridge, professor of chemistry and the Joshua Boger Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, have received a four-year grant for $599,995 from the National Science Foundation’s Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (TUES) program.

This Phase II grant, awarded in August 2013, will support their work on “Passion-Driven Statistics: A multidisciplinary project-based supportive model for statistical reasoning and application,” which began with the development of the QAC 201 “Applied Data Analysis” course and will soon be implemented at other institutions.

Redfield Receives NSF Grant for Exoplanet Atmosphere Research

Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy, won a three-year grant for $341,039 from the National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants program to fund his research on “Accessing Atmospheric Properties of Terrestrial Exoplanets: Ground-Based Observations of Rayleigh Scattering and Extended Atmospheres.” The grant was awarded in August 2013.

Liberty Bank Supports Green Street’s AfterSchool Program

Liberty Bank presented a $5,000 grant to the Green Street Arts Center.

Liberty Bank presented a $5,000 grant to the Green Street Arts Center.

The Green Street Arts Center received a $5,000 grant from Liberty Bank in August. Green Street will use the award to support its Art and Science AfterSchool Program that serve students in grades 1 – 8.

Green Street’s integrative classes in art, math, and science foster creativity and build problem-solving skills in a safe space where students can express themselves.

MacQueen Wins Grant from NIH for Synaptonemal Complex Research

Amy MacQueen, assistant professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, has received a three-year grant for $372,445 from the National Institutes of Health Academic Research Enhancement Award program to support her research on “Structure and Dynamics of the Synaptonemal Complex.” The grant was awarded in August 2013.

Selya Receives NIH Funding for Adolescent Smoking Study

Ariel Selya, a visiting faculty in the Psychology Department, received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health. The award came with a $54,890 grant, which will support her research on “System Dynamics and Dynamic Systems Modeling of Adolescent Smoking Development.”

Microgrid will Supply Power to Campus During Power Outage

The Central Power Plant team discusses the performance of the main “island mode” generator, located behind the wall on the left.

The Central Power Plant team discusses the performance of the main “island mode” generator, located behind the wall on the left.

Wesleyan’s Microgrid Project – which would allow the university to keep the lights on even during a massive power outage – was one step closer to reality last week with the award of a state grant for work on a specialized engine.

The grant, for $694,000, will pay to connect Wesleyan’s natural gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) reciprocating engines to the campus electrical grid.

“The new microgrid will supply power to the campus 24-7,” said Joyce Topshe, associate vice president for facilities. “In the event of a power outage, the microgrid will power the campus in ‘island mode,’ enhancing Wesleyan’s ability to provide a safe environment for its students, faculty, staff and members of the Middletown community.”

Wesleyan’s grant was one of nine awarded to projects across Connecticut. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection pilot program for microgrids was launched in response to recent violent storms (Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy) that left some state residents without power for weeks.

“These projects will help protect residents and vital public services even when the power goes out,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in announcing the grants.