Tag Archive for Center for the Arts
by Randi Plake •
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.
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.
by Olivia Drake •
The National Endowment for the Arts approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement are Art Works grants of $30,000 for Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts‘ Breaking Ground Dance Series and $25,000 to support Wesleyan University Press in the publication and promotion of books of poetry.
The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.
The Breaking Ground Dance Series at the Center for the Arts, now in its 17th season at Wesleyan, features cutting-edge choreography, world-renowned companies and companies pushing the boundaries of the art form. Upcoming performances this season include the return of Urban Bush Women on March 3. The company will be performing the Connecticut premiere of ‘Walking with ‘Trane,’ an ethereal investigation conjuring the essence of John Coltrane, inspired by the musical life and spiritual journey of the famed jazz saxophonist.
Past companies from the U.S. and abroad that have been featured on the Breaking Ground Dance Series include Bebe Miller Company, Camille A. Brown, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Chunky Move, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, and Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. The Center for the Arts partners with Wesleyan’s Dance Department and a subcommittee of their faculty and students to select the companies and plan their residencies.
“Dance is arguably the most under-supported of the performing arts, so funding from the NEA significantly enhances the CFA’s ability to bring dance artists of the highest caliber to Connecticut audiences,” said Laura Paul, interim director of the Center for the Arts. “And beyond the dollars, it is a real point of pride to have the NEA as a funding partner.”
Wesleyan University Press will publish authors Kamau Brathwaite, Camille Dungy, Shane McCrae, Erin Moure, Evie Shockley and Gina Athena Ulysse, who is professor of anthropology and feminist, gender and sexuality studies at Wesleyan. Books will be accompanied by online reader companions, and will be promoted through author readings and workshops, social media, and the press’s website, among other means.
“We are delighted to have the support of the National Endowment for the Arts for the poetry titles that will be published in 2017,” said Wesleyan University Press Director Suzanna Tamminen. “The books coming out this year are tuned to concerns about the planet, about violence in the streets, faraway and in our own homes. At the same time these poems uplift us, and break us out of routine molds of thought. Over the years, this kind of support from the NEA has helped us to reach thousands of people, with readings at libraries, universities, public parks, museums, theaters, schools, bookstores and clubs. We are very excited about this year’s books, and grateful to the NEA for supporting the Press and these works of art.”
A portion of the grant will also enable reading tours for each author.
“The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and Wesleyan University Press, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer.”
by Lauren Rubenstein •
Sarah Curran, who is currently associate director of the Stanford Arts Institute, has been selected to lead Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts beginning on Feb. 20, 2017.
Curran succeeds Pamela Tatge, who left the university after 16 years to serve as executive director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Laura Paul has served as Interim Director of the Center for the Arts since February.
“We are excited to welcome Sarah Curran to Wesleyan,” said President Michael Roth. “Sarah is a collaborative leader, and I know that our faculty and students look forward to working with her to curate programming that elevates and integrates the arts across the campus and enhances their teaching and learning.”
Curran brings to the job more than ten years of experience in arts programming, a creative interdisciplinary curatorial practice, wide knowledge of contemporary performance, and a deep understanding of academia. At the Stanford Arts Institute, where she was previously director of programming and partnerships, Curran designed a sustainable mobile art studio built by students; built a research residency program to allow artists to spend their time doing academic research to inform new projects; expanded an arts immersion program, taking students to different cultural capitals across the U.S.; and created the 72 Hour Musical Project, in which teams of students wrote the basis for a new musical over the course of a weekend. Prior to coming to Stanford, she worked with the Tribeca Film Festival, Martha Graham Dance, and the Chicago Humanities Festival.
Curran is a graduate of Wesleyan’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP). She earned a master’s degree in performance studies from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in religion, theater, and dance from Princeton University.
“I am thrilled to join the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan, a school I have long admired for its integration of the arts into the fabric of campus life,” said Curran. “I look forward to building on the great work already taking place at the Center.”
by Olivia Drake •
Navaratri, one of India’s major festival celebrations, is a time to see family and friends, enjoy music and dance, and seek blessings for new endeavors. Wesleyan’s 40th annual festival, held Oct. 28-Oct. 30, celebrated traditional Indian music and dance.
The Navaratri Festival is presented by the Center for the Arts and the Music Department, with leadership support from the Madhu Reddy Endowed Fund for Indian Music and Dance at Wesleyan University, and additional support from the Jon B. Higgins Memorial Fund, the Raga Club of Connecticut, Haveli Indian Restaurant, and individual patrons.
Pictured is the Navaratri Festival: B. Balasubrahmaniyan performance, Oct. 28 at Crowell Concert Hall: (Photos by Sandy Aldieri)
by Cynthia Rockwell •
On Nov. 1, Professor of Art David Schorr’s Flying Carpets—New Paintings by David Schorr opened at Wesleyan’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery with a standing-room-only reception and gallery talk by the artist. This solo exhibition and the site-specific installation, Flying Carpets, revisits Schorr’s childhood days spent playing on his grandmother’s Persian rugs. A few days earlier, on Oct. 29, Schorr had previewed this opening in an WESeminar for Family Weekend.
In his remarks, Schorr shared the artists’ process through which the series came to be. “One of the questions my students ask is, ‘Where do ideas come from?’” he began. “And alas, I have no easy answer. I can say where an idea begins, but often like a working title which is discarded, my ideas are not born fully formed and as I try to give them form I am actually trying to understand what it really is I am trying to say…..
“What I do care most about from the start is whether the idea that I am chasing is a potent metaphor for my viewers. I don’t need to know that the images they are seeing what I am seeing. I do need some assurance that these images are stirring memories or thoughts or emotions in my viewers. And only then do my own doubts begin to abate and I can keep working on…”
Beginning with a conversation about childhood moments spent playing with toy vehicles on grandparents’ carpets—and the memories he saw that this triggered in his friends, Schorr traced the creative path, following the evolution of this series from the image of sturdy metal toys against the colors and patterns of the carpet, to the sense of play and abandoned boundaries that childhood imagination imbued in each.
by Olivia Drake •
Flying Carpets: New Paintings by David Schorr, a solo exhibition and site-specific installation by Professor of Art and Chair of the Art and Art History Department David Schorr, will be on view in the Main Gallery at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery from Oct. 27 through Dec. 11. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Gallery admission is free.
In this latest body of work, Schorr revisits childhood days spent playing on his grandmother’s Persian rugs. Vibrantly colored taxis and race cars drive over paisley designs, while model planes soar midst coffee cans and mailing labels. In his practiced technique of combining gouache with silverpoint drawing on linen, he recreates the richly colored world of his young imagination.
In each of the paintings, the artist contrasts familiar toys from the mid 20th century with images that hint at the exotic and expansive world beyond his Chicago home. Trains and dump trucks traverse floating prayer rugs next to the turbaned man from a coffee company’s logo. The steel models recall an era before plastic, during an earlier day of commercial travel when the possibilities of exploration and discovery felt infinite and even exotic.
The public is invited to attend the Opening Reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1 in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, with a gallery talk by David Schorr at 5 p.m.
Schorr also will speak during a preview of his exhibit from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 29 in the gallery. This talk is held in conjunction with Family Weekend.
The works in this exhibition are courtesy of Ryan Lee Gallery in New York. Schorr is represented by the gallery, who will present Flying Carpets in January 2017. For more information see the Center for the Arts website.
by Frederic Wills '19 •
The Wesleyan Center for the Arts was featured in The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (JSAH), the main U.S. peer-reviewed scholarly journal for architectural history, in an article written by Joseph Siry, the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, professor of art history. The article, titled “Roche and Dinkeloo’s Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University: Classical, Vernacular, and Modernist Architecture in the 1960s,” detailed the extensive history and creative motives behind the impressive 11-building complex.
From 1962, under the presidency of Victor Butterfield (in office 1943–67), Wesleyan’s trustees committed the college to develop into a small university, and in 1964 they commissioned a master plan that identified the eventual site of the Center for the Arts as an integral part of the expansion. The overall goal, in the words of the trustees, was to “reaffirm the relevance of liberal arts in a world of
The $11.8 million Center for the Arts was designed in the fall of 1965, at a time when Wesleyan had an endowment of $151 million for a student body of about 1,240.
Officially opening in the fall of 1973, the Wesleyan CFA’s “minimal aesthetic has invoked a sense of timelessness.” From the faculty committee tasked with choosing an architectural firm that met specific guidelines outlined by President Butterfield, to the subsequent hiring of Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo, and then the eventual construction of the CFA, the buildings were created as a “clear and impressive formal statement of what they would be used for, but at the same time, expresses what they stand for and represent,” Siry writes. “As modernist architecture, what these buildings lack in handcrafted ornament they compensate for in material and spatial effects.”
by Olivia Drake •
The Center for the Arts hosted the Common Moment Sept. 2 on Andrus Field. As one of the culminating experiences of New Student Orientation, the Common Moment brought the Class of 2020 together as they experienced cultures and dance from around the world. Prometheus, Wesleyan’s fire-spinning group, also performed during the Common Moment.
Photos of the event are below and in this Wesleyan Center for the Arts photo gallery. (Photos by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography)
by Olivia Drake •
Inspired by Fete de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, the fifth annual MASH highlighted Wesleyan’s student music scene on Sept. 9. The 5 1/2 hour concert, sponsored by the Center for the Arts, featured 22 bands performing at four different venues on campus including Olin Library, the North College Lawn, Center for the Arts and Foss Hill.
Musical acts included Slavei, Hari, Slender James, Birchbark, Fortune Plays Sax, Anna Savage, Sneaky Boy, MEG, Dinomanic, Yer Trash, the good lonely, Mom, Rui Barbosa, BOSSY, Lo-Qi, McCleary McCleary, Going Up North for the Weekend, Slouch, The Highlanders, Jal & Locus, Chef and El Niño. Each band performed for about 20 minutes.
Photos of The MASH are below and on this Wesleyan Facebook gallery. (Photos by Will Barr ’18, Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19, Caroline Kravitz ’19 and Olivia Drake)
by Olivia Drake •
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.
by Frederic Wills '19 •
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.