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Andrew ChatfieldOctober 11, 20229min
The New England Foundation for the Arts awarded over $2 million to this year’s National Dance Project Production Grant recipients and finalists on September 28. Five of the 36 dance companies have close ties to Wesleyan University, from faculty and alumni to collaborative partners and guest artists. Twenty grantees will each receive $56,500 to create and tour a new dance work, and in support of production residencies and community engagement. The companies will also receive $10,000 in general operating support. And $700,000 is allocated to support U.S. organizations to present the projects in-person, digitally, or via new hybrid models. Hari…

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Editorial StaffOctober 11, 20228min
  The Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery has a climate problem. “The airflow is not democratic,” said Ben Chaffee, associate director of visual arts and the curator for this fall’s exhibit by artists Renee Gladman and Nick Raffel, running through October 16. In the wing that is favored by airflow, Raffel installed a fan. In the other wing is Gladman’s collection. Her lines of prose and lines of drawing are neglected by the ventilation system. Raffel’s installation, called airfoil, explores how the aesthetics of utilities express historic understandings of energy usage. Gladman’s exhibit, called THE DREAM OF SENTENCES, is the…

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Steve ScarpaOctober 4, 20227min
The Hindu religious festival Navaratri holds a special place in Indian arts and culture. According to the popular mythology surrounding the festival, over the course of nine nights, the goddess Durga engaged in epic combat with a demon bent on destruction. As the celestial conflict raged around them, ordinary people comforted themselves with music and dance, sharing their talents with their neighbors. With the defeat of the demon, the time became known as a chance to ask for new blessings. "The festival has always had a special connection to the arts," said Hari Krishnan, Professor and Chair of Wesleyan's Department…

Andrew ChatfieldSeptember 20, 20226min
Three students who have demonstrated exemplary work and interest in civic engagement, community organizing, and artistic practice on campus will join the inaugural Embodying Antiracism Think Tank. Olivia Adams ’23, Courtney Joseph '25, and Ava Olson ’25 have been named Student Fellows, and will work on projects ranging from the development of a new television show, to the creation of a documentary film and a visual artwork, all of which will help the University grow in support of antiracist values. The students will engage with ten local community organizers, Wesleyan faculty, and visiting artists announced earlier this year. Each student…

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Andrew ChatfieldSeptember 9, 20227min
When Joshua Lubin-Levy ’06 was studying at Wesleyan, his friend made him go to a screening of the Talking Heads concert film “Stop Making Sense” in what is now the Ring Family Performing Arts Hall. Everyone ended up dancing in the cinema. “That was an amazing experience,” he said. Lubin-Levy remembered that moment as he looked out on that venue from his new office as the Director of the Center for the Arts (CFA). “The way I approach this work, the heart of all of this, is building relationships with artists and with the community at Wesleyan that supports artists…

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Andrew ChatfieldSeptember 6, 20227min
The Class of 2026 began its first week at Wesleyan moving into the dorms and finished it congregating at the base of Foss Hill, moving to a calypso groove to break the ice. On the Friday evening before courses began, over 700 students from Wesleyan’s Class of 2026 took part in the 15th annual “Common Moment,” held on Andrus Field as part of new student orientation. The celebration also included new transfer students from both the Class of 2025 and the Class of 2024. Six faculty and staff members gave new students an opportunity to learn the eclectic and diverse…

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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…