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Andrew ChatfieldJuly 11, 20226min
World-renowned artist Toshi Reagon might learn just as much from Wesleyan students as they learn from her. As part of her artist residency at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts, Reagon is currently on campus developing her latest project, following virtual visits to two Dance Department classes in April which helped to inform her work. The Center for the Arts will present a work-in-progress showing of "You’re Having Too Much Fun So We’re Gonna Have to Kill You" as part of the 2022-2023 Performing Arts Series in the CFA Theater in October, offering a special first glimpse into her process.…

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Andrew ChatfieldJune 1, 20226min
Assistant Professor of Theater Maria-Christina Oliveras was supposed to be a lawyer. While growing up in the Bronx, Oliveras became fascinated with musicals thanks to her father, an immigrant from Puerto Rico with a passion for “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Man of La Mancha.” She performed at her high school in New Rochelle, then majored in Theater at Yale University. As an undergraduate, she interned at the Manhattan Theatre Club and started acting professionally in "South Pacific.” After two years auditioning in New York, she pursued her M.F.A. at the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver before joining with a…

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Andrew ChatfieldMay 19, 20226min
Gabby Farina ’23, an Art History and English major, was interested in how artists’ work dealt with family, identity, body, grossness, and fleshiness. What she found from her classmates inspired her. “Everything was very much tied back to this idea of the human form,” Farina said. Farina is the first Wesleyan student to curate a Senior Thesis Showcase exhibition on her own. The exhibition, “It's Mutual,” was the first such exhibition in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery since COVID-19 led to the cancellation of a planned showcase in May 2020. As part of her tutorial, Farina visited the working…

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Andrew ChatfieldFebruary 15, 20227min
Actor Greig Sargeant was watching a debate on YouTube in the fall of 2019 and he started getting very angry. It wasn’t new footage, though – the clip was over 54 years old. In February 1965, writers James Baldwin, one of the most powerful figures of the Civil Rights Movement, and William F. Buckley, Jr., the father of 20th century patrician conservatism, had been invited to the Cambridge University Union in England to debate the proposition “The American Dream is at the expense of the American Negro.” “It was definitely relevant for me, being a Black man and seeing this…

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Editorial StaffFebruary 15, 20226min
By Maia Dawson '24 Benjamin Chaffee, associate director of visual arts, adjunct instructor in art, and curator for Wesleyan’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, has to crouch slightly when he tries to envision an exhibition from the perspective of someone of average stature. He said that when Brandon Ndife, one of the artists featured in the gallery’s latest pair of exhibitions, came to set up his postapocalyptic yet homely sculptures, Ndife had to crouch too. The result of his careful curation is an uninterrupted view from the entrance of three consecutive sculptures, and the hint of one more hiding around…

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Steve ScarpaOctober 18, 20212min
A man fixes a street light. Another washes windows. Two women take customer service calls. These are not events that are ordinarily the subject of artistic expression. Take these everyday tasks, add a personal narrative, evocative lighting, and music that ranges in tone from the whimsical to the driving, and the work takes on an incandescent quality. Work becomes a kind of magic. Forklift Danceworks, in conjunction with the Center for the Arts, created "WesWorks,” a dance/theatrical presentation that highlights the important work of custodial staff, groundskeepers, power plant workers, and the other Physical Plant workers who make Wesleyan University…

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Steve ScarpaSeptember 21, 20211min
Unspun wool. Silver-spray painted stones. A worn leather suit. Sketches from an iPad. A video of children studying. Each object offers its own narrative. Set again the viewers’ assumptions and impressions, a whole new set of meanings are created. A new art exhibition titled "The Language in Common," curated by Benjamin Chaffee, associate director of visual arts, attempts to offer more questions than answers. The exhibition, featuring installation, sculpture, video, sound, drawing, poetry and performance, brings together five international and intergenerational artists, including Cecilia Vicuña, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Julien Creuzet, Jasper Marsalis, and Alice Notley. It opened to the public…

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Steve ScarpaAugust 31, 20218min
Edward Torres, an assistant professor of the practice in theater, can’t help but be moved when he performs the words of L.D. Barkley, a prisoner who played an important role during the 1971 Attica Prison riot, raising morale for incarcerated men protesting their mistreatment.  “We are men! We are not beasts and we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such,” Barkley said in 1971 shortly before he was killed by police.  For Torres, the most devastating part of performing the new play Echoes of Attica is to know that every word is real. “This is a piece…

Olivia DrakeAugust 27, 20213min
On Oct. 14, Forklift Danceworks will present WesWorks, a performance that celebrates the skilled movement and the often unheard stories of the people whose work sustains the daily lives of the Wesleyan campus. In this Q&A we speak with Penny Snyder '16, who works as the communications manager for Forklift. At Wesleyan, she majored in English and received High Honors for her general scholarship thesis on art museums, architecture, and public space. She is an incoming graduate student at the Lyndon B. Johnston School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.  Q: Hello Penny! How were you…

Olivia DrakeAugust 25, 20212min
On Oct. 14, Forklift Danceworks will present WesWorks, a performance that celebrates the skilled movement and tells the often unheard stories of the people whose work sustains the daily lives of the Wesleyan campus. In this Q&A we speak with Gretchen LaMotte '18, choreographer and programs manager for Forklift Danceworks. At Wesleyan, LaMotte majored in science in society while working for the Center for the Arts’ Creative Campus Initiative, Zilkha Gallery, and the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance. Q: Hi Gretchen! In October, Forklift will host the performance of "WesWorks," featuring members of Wesleyan’s Physical Plant staff and campus…

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Olivia DrakeNovember 16, 20204min
As a dancer and choreographer, Wesleyan's Visiting Dance Artist-in-Residence Eiko Otake spent the past 45-plus years of her career presenting her work in theaters, universities, museums, galleries, outdoor sites, and festivals worldwide. But like other artists navigating through the crisis, Otake was forced to find creative ways to re-focus, re-imagine, and share her work during the ongoing pandemic. In March 2020, the Center for the Arts invited Otake to begin a Virtual Creative Residency, during which she began shifting her performance-based art to an online venue named Eiko Otake’s Virtual Studio. Here, Otake posts her new creations, dialogues, and reflections.…

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Lauren RubensteinJanuary 16, 20202min
In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni. Wesleyan in the News 1. The Washington Post: "How One College Is Helping Students Get Engaged in Elections—and, No, It’s Not Political" President Michael Roth writes about Wesleyan's initiative to engage students meaningfully in work in the public sphere ahead of the 2020 elections, and calls on other colleges and universities to do the same. He writes: "Now is the time for higher education leaders to commit their institutions to find their own paths for promoting student involvement in the…