Tag Archive for Center for the Arts

Wesleyan’s Navaratri Festival Celebrates 40th Anniversary

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)


Schorr’s Flying Carpets Exhibition Explores Childhood Memories, Creative Process

Professor of Art David Schorr offered a WESeminar preview to the opening of his newest exhibition, "Flying Carpets," now in Wesleyan's Zilkha Gallery.

Professor of Art David Schorr offered a WESeminar preview to the opening of his newest exhibition, Flying Carpets, now in Wesleyan’s Zilkha Gallery. (Photo 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.

Schorr’s Flying Carpets Paintings on Display Oct. 27-Dec. 11

David Schorr, Red Roadsters, 22 x 22 inches, gouache and silverpoint on linen.

David Schorr, Red Roadsters, 22 x 22 inches, gouache and silverpoint on linen.

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.

Siry Details the History of Center for the Arts in Architectural History Journal

Joe Siry

Joe Siry

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
increased specialization.”

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.”

This bird’s-eye view photograph shows the of the 1966 Center for the Arts model.

This bird’s-eye view photograph shows the of the 1966 Center for the Arts model.


Class of 2020 Experiences Different Cultures, Dance Styles at Common Moment

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)


Student Music Scene Celebrated at The MASH

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)

The MASH at Wesleyan University, Sept. 9. (Photo by Will Barr '18)

The MASH at Wesleyan University, Sept. 9. (Photo by Will Barr '18)

“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.

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.


13 Students Curate German Prints Exhibit at Davison Art Center

An exhibition titled “Passion and Power: German Prints in the Age of Dürer” is on display in the Davison Art Center through March 3. The show opened Feb. 4.

Curated by 13 Wesleyan University students as part of their museum studies seminar, the exhibition recognized more than 80 prints and rare books from the permanent collection of the Davison Art Center and the Wesleyan University Library. Clare Rogan, curator of the Davison Art Center, adjunct professor of art history and German studies, taught the seminar. 

Curated by 13 Wesleyan students as part of their museum studies seminar, the exhibition includes more than 80 prints and rare books from the permanent collection of the Davison Art Center and Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives. Pictured, Amanda Larsen ’18 discusses a pamphlet from 1521 written by Martin Luther.

Wesleyan students Flora Donovan ‘16, Rachel Earnhardt ‘17, Julia Goetze, Parker Green ‘16, Lara Hetzel ‘17, Melissa Joskow ‘18, Amanda Larsen ‘18, Daniel Lee ‘16, Sharifa Lookman ‘17, Anna Model ‘16, Page Nelson ‘17, Penny Snyder ‘16, and Madeline Woods ‘16 curated the exhibition as members of ARHA 360-Museum Studies, taught by Clare Rogan, curator of the Davison Art Center, adjunct professor of art history and German studies.

Wesleyan students Flora Donovan ‘16, Rachel Earnhardt ‘17, Julia Goetze, Parker Green ‘16, Lara Hetzel ‘17, Melissa Joskow ‘18, Amanda Larsen ‘18, Daniel Lee ‘16, Sharifa Lookman ‘17, Anna Model ‘16, Page Nelson ‘17, Penny Snyder ‘16, and Madeline Woods ‘16 curated the exhibition as members of ARHA 360-Museum Studies, taught by Clare Rogan, curator of the Davison Art Center and adjunct professor of art history (pictured at far right). Eight of the student curators are pictured.

Contemporary Chinese Art on Exhibit at Zilkha Gallery

An exhibition titled “We Chat: A Dialogue in Contemporary Chinese Art” opened Jan. 26 in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.

In her introductory remarks, Center for the Arts Director Pam Tatge ’84, MALS ’10, P’16 noted that this was the first gallery exhibition of work by this generation of Chinese artists in this country. Born after the end of the Cultural Revolution, these young artists are challenging traditional notions of Chinese identity and inventing new ways to shout out in the global arena.

This exhibition debuts at Wesleyan and features works by Sun Xun, Jin Shan, Ma Qiusha, Lu Yang, Bo Wang, Pixy Liao, Liu Chuang, Shi Zhiying, Guo Xi and Yan Xing. The art reflects the state of China today, and raises questions about the sustainability of national and cultural identity in an increasingly globalized world. Three of these artists spoke at the opening: Bo Wang and Pixy Liao, who currently live in Brooklyn, as well as Jin Shan, who traveled from China to build his installation, “No Man City.”

Curator Barbara Pollack, a writer, artist and journalist, said, “In this exhibition, I think you get a real dose of what China today is like. It is diverse, it is international, it’s open to a world of influences, and it’s sophisticated in its understanding of contemporary art. Relate to this exhibition as a window into contemporary China,” she said.

The exhibit will be on display through Feb. 28. The gallery is open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and is free of charge.

In a related event, Pollack, one of the leading experts on contemporary Chinese art, will moderate a panel discussion about issues facing the Post-Mao generation in China. The panel will include Eric Fish (author of China’s Millennials: The Want Generation), Stanley Rosen (professor of Chinese politics and society at the University of Southern California), and Michelle Yun (curator at the Asia Society Museum). This event will be held at the Ring Family Performing Arts Hall at 1 p.m. Feb. 27.

The exhibition is sponsored by Wesleyan’s College of East Asian Studies and Office of Academic Affairs, with additional support from Sha Ye MA ’96, Andrew and Heather Rayburn, and Amy Gao. Media sponsors of this exhibition are Art New England and artscope.

Photos of the exhibit’s opening are below: (Photos by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19)


Center for the Arts Director Pam Tatge to Lead Jacob’s Pillow

Pamela Tatge (Photo by Sandy Aldieri)

Pamela Tatge (Photo by Sandy Aldieri)

Center for the Arts Director Pamela Tatge ’84, MALS ’10, P ’16, will leave the university in April to serve as executive director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. There, she will set the artistic vision and strategic goals for the organization, including programming one of America’s longest-running international dance festivals, and overseeing education, preservation, and audience engagement programs, as well as marketing and development.

For the past 16 years, Tatge has overseen robust programming in music, dance, theater, and visual arts at the CFA. She has supported the realization of faculty and student work in the arts and spearheaded the development of the university’s Creative Campus Initiative with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; an initiative that includes Feet to the Fire, an annual campus-wide exploration of environmental issues. She also led the development of the university’s Green Street Arts Center, a community arts center established in 2005 to serve as an anchor to revitalization efforts in Middletown’s North End. In 2010, together with former Jacob’s Pillow Director Samuel A. Miller ’75, she co-founded Wesleyan’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP), the first post-graduate program of its kind. Other accomplishments include the inauguration of the Breaking Ground Dance Series, DanceMasters Weekend, and the Outside the Box Theater Series.

“We wish Pamela Tatge all the best as she takes the helm at Jacob’s Pillow,” said President Michael Roth. “Pamela’s leadership of Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts has been widely recognized for its educational and artistic adventurousness, and her ability to engage with diverse communities has inspired respect, affection, and joy. Although we will miss her at Wesleyan, we look forward to following her work at the Pillow.”

“Wesleyan has been an extraordinarily generative place for me,” said Tatge. “Since I first set foot on the CFA Theater stage as a first-year student and aspiring actress in 1980, to my present role as a parent of a Wesleyan senior, the university has been one of the most active, vibrant, and important parts of my personal and professional life. As the director of the CFA, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with faculty, students, and staff in the arts and across the campus to re-imagine the role of a university arts presenter. I’ve had the great privilege of also bringing hundreds of brilliant artists from around the world to share their work with our campus and community. I’m so grateful for all of the support that Wesleyan, my alma mater, has given me, and I’m deeply appreciative to the staff of the CFA who for 16-1/2 years has worked tirelessly with me to envision and create such a robust university arts program. I will have many, many friends on campus, in our audience, and in the greater Middletown community whom I will miss greatly, but I encourage them to visit me at Jacob’s Pillow this summer.”

Tatge is the recipient of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters’ 2010 William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming. Prior to her work at Wesleyan, she spent a decade as the director of development and long range planning at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven.

Jacob’s Pillow is a National Historic Landmark, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and home to one of America’s longest-running international dance festivals, which includes more than 50 national and international dance companies and hundreds of performances, talks, tours, classes, exhibits, and events annually.

Muslim Coalition of Connecticut Honors Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts


The Muslim Coalition of Connecticut honored Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts on Nov. 15 for its “outstanding contributions and standards of excellence in advancing higher education,” according to a proclamation from Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman. The awards dinner in Hartford was attended by Center for the Arts Director Pam Tatge, Associate Provost Mark Hovey, and faculty, staff and students from the advisory committee and Wesleyan’s Muslim Students Association. View the event’s photo gallery online.

Center for the Arts Director Pam Tatge accepted the award from the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut.

Center for the Arts Director Pam Tatge accepts the award.

The honor recognized the CFA’s Muslim Women’s Voices series during the 2014-15 academic year. The series explored and celebrated the complexity of Muslim women today, and the historical and cultural context from which they have emerged, through music, theater, film, dance and artist talks.

“The Wesleyan community and the entire State of Connecticut have benefited immensely from the leadership and integrity Wesleyan University Center for the Arts has exemplified through its work both on and off campus,” Wyman’s proclamation said. “CFA’s unwavering dedication to its community and the promotion of shared values and understanding is truly extraordinary. Its work has improved the quality of life for so many, and serves as an inspiration to all.”