WCSU News

WCSU English department to host novelist, educator for public talk

image of Sheila Kohler

Sheila Kohler

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Department of English will host a free, public talk by noted author and educator Sheila Kohler on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. Kohler will discuss “Becoming Jane Eyre: The Interplay of Fact and Fiction in Historical Narrative” at 12:30 p.m. in Room 102 of Warner Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury.

Kohler has authored 10 novels, three volumes of short fiction, a memoir and many essays. She has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence University, Bennington College and Princeton University, and has won the O. Henry Prize twice. Her most recent novel is “Dreaming for Freud,” based on Freud’s “Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria.” Her work has been included in Best American Short Stories and published in 13 countries. Her novel “Cracks” was made into a film with directors Jordan and Ridley Scott, with Eva Green playing Miss G.

WCSU English Department Chair Dr. Shouhua Qi invited Kohler to speak on campus.

“If Jane Eyre is Charlotte Bronte’s soul speaking in her monumental classic novel, ‘Becoming Jane Eyre’ is also soul speaking to soul; it is Sheila Kohler becoming Charlotte Bronte becoming Jane Eyre,” Qi said. “It would be fascinating to listen to the author who put both a tremendous amount of research and her power of imagination to work in creating this marvelous masterpiece.”

The talk will be free and the public is invited. It is sponsored by the Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences and the Department of English. For more information, send an email to qis@wcsu.edu.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

WCSU Observatory to offer fall planetarium shows & sky viewings

Saturday evening programs scheduled from Sept. 21 through Dec. 7

image of WCSU Ritchey Chretien reflector telescope

WCSU Ritchey Chretien reflector telescope

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will host evening shows and viewings of planetary and stellar objects during public nights from Sept. 21 through Dec. 7, 2019, at the WCSU Planetarium and Observatory on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

The six Saturday evening presentations will include a one-hour planetarium show followed by telescope viewing of prominent features in the night sky including the moon, Jupiter, Saturn and prominent star systems, clusters and nebulae visible during the autumn months. The WCSU Observatory, located atop a hill near Pinney Hall, offers viewings through a 20-inch, computer-controlled Ritchey-Chretien reflector telescope.

Admission is free and the public is invited. Limited parking is provided adjacent to the observatory, with more extensive parking available on University Boulevard. Planetarium shows are appropriate for adults and older children, and will be canceled only in the event of hazardous road conditions or severe weather that would pose a safety risk. The viewing period will not be offered during public nights when cloud cover prevents sky observations. For updates to confirm plans for a scheduled public night, call (203) 837-8672 on the day of the event.

Following is the schedule of WCSU Planetarium and Observatory public nights, with the most prominent visible objects listed in the order of their celestial appearance during the viewing period for the evening:

  • Sept. 21: The planetarium show will start at 7 p.m., with sky observation following from 8 to 10 p.m. Visible objects will include Jupiter, Saturn, the Messier 11 star cluster, the Epsilon Lyrae star system, the double star Albireo and the Ring Nebula.
  • Oct. 5: The planetarium show will start at 6 p.m., with sky observation following from 7 to 9 p.m. Visible objects will include the first quarter moon, Saturn, the M31 galaxy, the Gamma Andromedae star system and the Double Cluster in Perseus.
  • Oct. 19: The planetarium show will start at 6 p.m., with sky observation following from 7 to 9 p.m. Visible objects will include M31, Gamma Andromedae, the Double Cluster and Neptune.
  • Nov. 9: The planetarium show will start at 5 p.m., with sky observation following from 6 to 8 p.m. Visible objects will include the waxing gibbous moon, the Cassiopeia star clusters, M31, Neptune, Uranus and the Pleiades star cluster.
  • Nov. 23: The planetarium show will start at 5 p.m., with sky observation following from 6 to 8 p.m. Visible objects will include M31, the Cassiopeia clusters, the Double Cluster, Neptune, Uranus and the Pleiades cluster.
  • Dec. 7: The planetarium show will start at 5 p.m., with sky observation following from 6 to 8 p.m. Visible objects will include the waxing gibbous moon, Neptune, Uranus and the Pleiades cluster.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

WCSU to present fall semester M.F.A. artist lecture program

Illustrator David Brinley’s talk Sept. 17 opens series featuring five artists through November

DANBURY, CONN. — Five artists who have earned honors and critical acclaim for their works in illustration, painting and mixed media will discuss their artistic philosophies and creative process during the Western Connecticut State University fall semester Master of Fine Arts lecture series continuing from Sept. 17 through Nov. 18, 2019.

All lectures, sponsored by the WCSU Department of Art M.F.A. in Visual Arts program, will be at 11 a.m. in Room 144 of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Admission will be free and the public is invited; advance registration is requested at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com.

image of "Agnes" by David Brinley

“Agnes” by David Brinley

The series will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 17, with a lecture by illustrator David Brinley, an award-winning artist whose works have appeared in Time, Rolling Stone, GQ, Sports Illustrated, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and New York Times magazines, and other major publications worldwide. Widely recognized for his distinctive cover, portrait and editorial illustrations, Brinley brings “a unique visual perspective to complicated concepts or subjects that are difficult to describe textually,” his biography observed. His works are frequently featured in arts publications including American Illustration, Communication Arts, Creative Quarterly and Society of Illustrators annuals.

Brinley has participated in 35 solo and group exhibitions at galleries and museums in New York, Connecticut, California and across the United States, including Society of Illustrators shows in New York City and Los Angeles. A graduate of the Art Center College of Design and recipient of an M.F.A. in Illustration from the Hartford Art School, his awards include a Best of Show in the 2017 Philadelphia Sketch Club juried exhibition and a fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts. He serves as an associate professor of Art and Design at the University of Delaware.

Other artists featured in the M.F.A. fall semester lecture series include:

  • Monday, Oct. 7: Angela Dufresne has earned international renown for works in painting, drawing and
    image of "Opening Night Lecture" by Angela Dufresne

    “Opening Night Lecture” by Angela Dufresne

    performance, which have been shown in 18 solo and more than 100 group exhibitions over the past 25 years across the United States and in Italy, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Poland and Russia. Her most recent solo exhibitions include “Making Scene” at the Kemper Museum in Kansas City in fall 2018 and “Just My Type” at the Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz this year. A native of Connecticut and Kansas who now resides and works in Brooklyn, Dufresne received her B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute and her M.F.A. from the Tyler School of Art. She has garnered numerous honors including Guggenheim and Civitella Ranieri fellowships, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award, induction in 2018 as a National Academician by the National Academy of Design, and residencies at Yaddo and the Siena Art Institute. Her work has been reviewed in many national arts and general interest publications and is held in collections at the Kemper Museum and the Rhode Island School of Design, where she serves as an associate professor of Painting. Her website biographical notes remarked that her work “articulates non-paranoid, porous ways of being in a world fraught by fear, power and possession.”

  • Tuesday, Oct. 22: Rudy Gutierrez has created iconic illustrations that have appeared in diverse popular
    image of "Pablo Moses" by Rudy Gutierrez

    “Pablo Moses” by Rudy Gutierrez

    vehicles for artistic expression including the  U.S. Postal Service Jimi Hendrix stamp issue, the film “Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary,” and the cover art for Santana’s platinum “Shaman” album, which was adapted as a backdrop for the 2002 Super Bowl halftime show. During a career spanning three decades, the New York area native of Puerto Rican heritage has explored many themes through his illustrations ranging from social issues to contemporary music and children’s literature. The Society of Illustrators in New York has recognized his achievements with its Gold Medal, Dean Cornwell Hall of Fame Award and Distinguished Educator in the Arts Award. His children’s book illustrations also have been honored with the Pura Belpre Award, the Americas Book Award, the Africa Access Award and the New York Book Award. He received a B.F.A. from the Pratt Institute, where he has served on the art faculty since 1990. The arts web service Altpick.com described Gutierrez’s art as “wall medicine, ancient yet contemporary, urban in a sense and musical in feel. He believes that the highest honor and fulfilment is to inspire and uplift.”

  • Monday, Nov. 4: Beverly McIver, recipient of an M.F.A. from Penn State University, has been the
    image of Blinding Light by Beverly McIver

    “Blinding Light” by Beverly McIver

    Esbenshade Professor of the Practice of Art, Art History and Visual Studies at Duke University since 2014, a prestigious honor that recognizes her accomplishments as an artist and educator. Her paintings, including extensive work in portraiture of herself, her older sister Renee and other family members, are held in corporate, private and public collections including the Baltimore Museum of Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the High Museum of Art and museums in North Carolina and Arizona. The numerous recognitions for her work include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship from Harvard University, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anyone Can Fly Foundation, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, and a Purchase Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She serves as a workshop leader for Creative Capital, a nonprofit organization providing professional development services to artists. Her profile on the Duke website noted that she “is widely acknowledged as a significant presence in contemporary American art and has charted a new direction as an African American woman artist. She is committed to producing art that examines racial, gender, social and occupational identity.”

  • Monday, Nov. 18: Ellen Harvey, a British-born artist who works in Brooklyn, has gained international
    image of "On the Impossibility" by Ellen Harvey

    “On the Impossibility” by Ellen Harvey

    recognition for her mixed-media and installation art works. A graduate of the Whitney Museum independent study program and J.D. recipient from Yale, Harvey has participated in more than 170 exhibitions since 1997 across the United States as well as in 17 countries in Europe and Asia, including “Weather Report” this fall at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield. Her 30 solo exhibitions include shows at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, the Groeninge Museum in Belgium and the Center for Contemporary Art in Poland; she will present a retrospective at Turner Contemporary in England in 2020. Her commissioned art works include projects for the New York and Chicago transit authorities, the Philadelphia Airport and the Federal Art in Architecture program, as well as works undertaken this year for the Miami Beach Convention Center, South Station in Boston and the San Francisco Airport. Describing her award-winning project “Repeat” at a war-ravaged church in Belgium, she said, “I had them remove the roof, the interior pillars and furnishings, and I made a new terrazzo floor, which shows all the elements that had been removed and the shadow of the ruins of the previous church. It exists as a memorial both to the war and to the life of the church, a tribute to the essential circularity of human endeavor.”

For more information, contact the WCSU Department of Art at (203) 837-8403.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

Poet, lawyer, former convict to present annual WCSU lecture

image of Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts

DANBURY, Conn. — A convicted carjacker who is now an acclaimed poet and a lawyer with a Yale degree will deliver a lecture as the 2019 Macricostas Speaker at Western Connecticut State University on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019.

Reginald Dwayne Betts will discuss his years in Virginia maximum security prisons, which positioned him to speak to the failures of the current criminal justice system and present encouraging ideas for change. He will also discuss the connection between literacy and advocacy, as well as his own poetry.

Now a New Haven resident, Betts was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Coordinating Council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Gov. Ned Lamont named him to the Criminal Justice Commission, the state body responsible for hiring prosecutors in Connecticut.

Betts’ third book of poetry, “Felons,” which examines prison as a force that shapes lives even after release, is scheduled to be published on Oct. 15. His writing has generated national attention and earned him a Soros Justice Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, a Ruth Lily Fellowship, an NAACP Image Award, and New America Fellowship. Betts has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker and the Washington Post.

In 2018, he was named both a Guggenheim Fellow and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. He holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland, an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College and a J.D. from Yale Law School. He is a Ph.D. in Law candidate at Yale and as a Liman Fellow, he spent a year representing clients in the New Haven Public Defender’s Office.

Before that, Betts was sentenced to nine years in prison for carjacking when he was 16. As he writes in “A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison,” he endured solitary confinement and constant violence, but found a way to connect with his humanity. Today, in addition to his writing, he advocates for criminal justice reforms.

“We selected Reginald Dwayne Betts as the speaker for this year’s Macricostas Speaker Series because he embodies the values that Deno Macricostas has evoked in his life: Success after difficult beginnings, and a commitment education and justice,” said Dr. Michelle Brown, dean of the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences at WCSU. “Our students and the community will benefit tremendously as the work of these two educational leaders converge.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, in the conference center of the Searle A. Pinney Residence Hall on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension, Danbury.

The lecture is sponsored by the Macricostas Family Foundation, the university’s most generous supporter, resulting in a scholarship fund, aid for student research, several lecture series, and the naming of the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences. This endowment has ensured that innumerable students have access to Western Connecticut State University’s academic opportunities with a minimum of debt.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

‘Covering Blue Note’ at WCSU features music, photography and design

Oct. 10 opening follows creative path from performance and photo shoot to graphic art

image for 'Covering Blue Note'DANBURY, CONN. — Artists in jazz performance, digital photography and graphic design will collaborate in a unique multi-disciplinary creative project that will unfold live before guests at the opening reception for the “Covering Blue Note” exhibition on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in the Gallery at Western Connecticut State University.

The reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Gallery at the WCSU Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. The creative work produced at the opening will be on view in the Gallery from noon to 4 p.m. on Oct. 11, 14, 15 and 16, and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 12 and 13.

Admission for the reception and general viewing will be free and open to the public; donations to sustain the exhibition program will be accepted. Reservations to attend the opening reception should be made online on the VPAC events web page at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com. The exhibition is co-sponsored by the Department of Art, the Department of Music and the WCSU Alumni Association.

The “Covering Blue Note” project represents an artistic initiative by WCSU students to create in real time a style of album-sized artwork inspired by the iconic cover art produced for the celebrated jazz record label Blue Note during the middle decades of the 20th century. Re-creating the legendary collaboration of Blue Note co-owner and photographer Francis Wolff and graphic designer Reid Miles, the WCSU exhibition’s opening reception will feature a live rehearsal performance by a jazz quartet that will be digitally captured by multiple photographers shooting the session. A photo editor on site will download and select images from the shoot that will be sent to three work stations at the Gallery where graphic designers will create artwork in the 12-by-12-inch album cover format. The resulting cover designs will be ready before the close of the reception for electronic display, printing and exhibition.

The exhibition will draw from the unique look and branding that the Blue Note label gained from its association with Miles, who designed covers for the record company from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. All musical performance, photography, graphic design and production will be done by WCSU students. The student artists will be supported by university faculty including Catherine Vanaria, associate professor of Photography and chair of the Art Department; Jamie Begian, associate professor of Music and co-coordinator of Jazz Studies; and Kenneth Scaglia, assistant professor of Art.

“Through digital technology, a process that took weeks to complete in the past will happen in minutes,” Begian observed. “The result will be a gallery opening featuring a whirlwind of live music, live photography and live graphic design.”

For more information, contact the Department of Art at (203) 837-8403 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

IHHS to offer free Wellness Wednesday workshops at WCSU

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Institute for Holistic Health Studies (IHHS), within the School of Professional Studies  Department of Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences, will host a series of new “Wellness Wednesday Workshops” on the Midtown campus beginning Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. 

The workshops, free of charge and open to the public, will be at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in Room 122 of White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The series will include:

image of Dr. Anne Brandon

Dr. Anne Brandon

Sept. 18: Chiropractor Dr. Anne Brandon of Advanced Chiropractic Care will discuss “Best Practices for Postural Alignment.” Brandon will explain how postural alignment enhances optimal health and wellbeing, as well as improving self-esteem while minimizing pain syndromes. Brandon has been in private practice for 25 years in Brewster, New York, and Danbury. She is a certified yoga instructor, community educator and a member of the Coalition for Healthy Kids in Connecticut and a board member of Live Healthy Putnam.

image of Bobbi Soares

Bobbi Soares

Oct. 16: Bobbi Soares, a yoga and vocal yoga teacher, blues/jazz singer, Reiki master and fine art photographer, will discuss “Hummingbird Sound Journey.” Soares will conduct an experiential workshop to allow participants to learn where sound vibrates in the body and how simple humming and self-created sounds can enhance wellbeing and reduce stress. Soares is certified in several modalities of energy and sound healing. She holds a master’s degree in Integrative Health and Healing with undergraduate training in creative arts expression.

image of Michael Rosenbaum

Michael Rosenbaum

Nov. 13: Spiritual Hypnotherapy Practitioner, Metaphysician Practitioner, Past-Life Regression Therapist and Death-and-Dying Specialist Michael Rosenbaum will discuss “Meditation, Stress Reduction and Changing Negative Patterns.” Rosenbaum, who has a private practice in Katonah, Goldens Bridge and Mt. Kisco, New York, will explain simple ways to change stress into relaxation in a matter of seconds using the inner mind to transform negative habits into permanent, positive ones. His holistic mind/body approach helps people with a wide variety of problems including relationship struggles, sleep problems, negative self-talk, stress reduction, traumas, weight issues, phobias and spiritual training.

For more information, visit www.wcsu.edu/ihhs/ or send an email to autuoric@wcsu.edu.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

WCSU Libraries to host ‘Human Library’ event on Oct. 1

Volunteer ‘human books’ from diverse backgrounds to share their stories with readers

image for Human LibraryDANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Libraries will host the first Human Library event at WCSU on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, offering members of the university and area communities an opportunity to hold one-on-one conversations with “human books” — volunteers from diverse backgrounds who will share their unique stories and challenges.

The event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on the first floor of the Haas Library on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Admission will be free and the public is invited to participate.

Participant “readers” may “borrow” one or more human books, each for a check-out period of up to 20 minutes to conduct a conversation. The human books will deliver a short summary of their personal story and answer questions from their readers.

The human books for the WCSU event represent members of the university and regional communities, selected with the goal of affording many opportunities to learn about diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and life experiences. The national Human Library organization website described the program as “a safe space for dialogue where topics are discussed openly between our human books and their readers,” and “where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered.”

WCSU Director of Library Services Veronica Kenausis explained that the Human Library, founded in Denmark in 2000, has spread to more than 80 countries over the past two decades. “Events around the world have featured ‘human books’ who are drawn from various religious, cultural, ethnic and political backgrounds,” Kenausis said. “They have struggled with various kinds of adversity such as homelessness, crime, abuse and food insecurity, and have suffered from physical challenges such as eating disorders, addiction, learning disabilities and mental illness.”

“The Human Library event at WCSU is an opportunity to have positive conversations to challenge stereotypes and prejudices, to learn about a career, or just to get to know another individual from a different background,” she observed.

Information about the WCSU Human Library event is available at http://bit.ly/wcsuhumanlibrary, or by contacting Kenausis at kenausisv@wcsu.edu or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486. Information about the international Human Library program is available at www.humanlibrary.org.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

WCSU celebrates Constitution Day with Sen. Julie Kushner

image of state Sen. Julie Kushner

State Sen. Julie Kushner

DANBURY, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University will celebrate Constitution Day with a public lecture by state Sen. Julie Kushner, D-24th Dist.

Constitution Day is a U.S. federal observance that commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and recognizes all who have become citizens either by being born in the U.S. or by naturalization. The talk, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Room 127 of White Hall on the Midtown campus, 181 Main St., Danbury, will be free and the public is invited.

“We want educators and students — and the whole community — to take time every year to discuss what the U.S. Constitution means to all of us,” said Dr. Michelle Brown, the WCSU dean of the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences. “The document is alive and applies to every citizen. We owe it to ourselves to understand the authority and responsibilities we have as Americans. Sen. Kushner will provide our audience with ideas about how to get involved in government, or at least how to stay aware of how our representative government functions.”

Kushner, representing the municipalities of Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman, and a portion of Bethel, is serving her first term as a state senator. She was named to Senate leadership as deputy president pro tempore, and serves as Senate chair of the Labor & Public Employees Committee, vice-chair of the Environment Committee, and a member of the Appropriations, Education, Executive & Legislative Nominations, and Housing committees.

Kushner said her experience as a secretary when she was a college student educated her on gender inequality in the workplace, and introduced her to a life of advocacy, organizing workers and building coalitions to achieve pay increases, improve health care, and secure childcare benefits for working Americans.

She has served as director of Region 9A of the United Auto Workers, which covers New England, a portion of New York and Puerto Rico. She has also been co-chair of the Connecticut Working Families Party, and she served as a delegate or alternate delegate to every Democratic National Convention since 1996. She is a member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, a member of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and a lifetime member of the NAACP.

Kushner moved to Danbury from New York City in 1993 with her husband Larry and her three children. 

For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

 

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and WCSU present ‘Weather Report: A Symposium on Art and Weather’

DANBURY, CONN. — The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and Western Connecticut State University have partnered to present “Weather Report: A Symposium on Art and Weather” from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. This event is free, but pre-registration is required at www.wcsu.edu/artweather.

The symposium is in conjunction with the exhibition “Weather Report,” which will be on view from Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, to Sunday, March 29, 2020, at The Aldrich, 258 Main St. in Ridgefield. “Weather Report” presents a group of diverse international artists who reference weather in provocative ways through sculpture, drawing, painting, installation and video. Works of art will manifest phenomena such as clouds, wind, rain, snow, temperature extremes, storms and visibility, while individual works will approach subjects that include climate change, the emotional effects of weather, the relationship between the atmosphere and the earth’s oceans, weather as a metaphor for turmoil and change, and weather’s impact on history and politics.

The museum, in partnership with the WCSU Meteorology Club, the Meteorology program in WCSU’s Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences and the New York City/Long Island American Meteorological Society, has organized a one-day, cross-disciplinary symposium investigating the intersection of art and weather. This event will have a morning and afternoon session. Lunch will be available for purchase from WCSU’s Student Center Cafeteria.

image of Craig Allen, WCBS 880 chief radio meteorologist

Craig Allen, WCBS 880 chief radio meteorologist

A wide range of speakers will present on topics relating to art and weather. Noted WCBS 880 Chief Radio Meteorologist Craig Allen will discuss his experience reporting on weather and emcee the event. UConn Stormwise Forest Management Researcher Amanda Bunce, studies tree-related storm damage to power lines, and will collect data from a tree sited in The Aldrich’s Sculpture Garden and present that data in the exhibition with the help of UConn’s Digital Experience Lab. Also speaking will be New York Botanical Garden Arthur Ross Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections Todd Forrest, an advocate for historic trees and forests in urban landscapes and public gardens.

The Aldrich’s Exhibitions Director Richard Klein organized “Weather Report” and will discuss the experience of creating this interdisciplinary exhibition and program. Artist Kim Keever, formerly a thermal engineer primarily working on NASA projects, is well known for his large-scale photographic works. Colin McMullan’s artwork touches on environmentalism, New England history and land use, community organizing, and political activism. Pat Pickett has been engaged in a long-running experimental drawing project expressing the interaction between the force of the wind and plants. All three of these artists are exhibiting in “Weather Report.”

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486 or Emily Devoe at (203) 438-4519, ext. 140, or edevoe@aldrichart.org.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

 

What’s old is new again, as refurbished Higgins Hall returns to service

No doubt about it, Higgins Hall, which opened in 1951, had become dreary and grim. Classes continued to be held there until last year, but it wasn’t the building that Admissions tour guides showed off to prospective students.

The new Higgins opened for classes this fall following a gut down to the bare bones and a refurbishing that included flooring, ceiling-high windows and everything in between.

“There’s a sense of lightness, vitality and vibrancy in the building,” said Luigi Marcone, the associate vice president for Campus Planning who supervised the work that turned the old building into a showcase. “No matter what hallway or office you’re in, I think it’s something students will love.”

Higgins began life nearly 70 years ago as a science building, named after the first science teacher at what was then the Danbury Normal School. Two additions were later added to the original structure. A new Science Building opened in 2005 and Higgins, with its linoleum tiles, cinderblock walls and old-fashioned desks for students, continued on as a classroom building.

The university shut it down right after commencement in 2017 and when it reopened 15 months later in August, the building had a lobby for the first time and – on what had been the austere rear of the structure – a bluestone patio that welcomes students from the quad. The patio is protected from rain, screened from the sun and equipped with wi-fi, making it perfect for class on a warm day or even a concert.

Dr. Michelle Brown, the dean of the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences, will work from her office on the second floor and the building will house World Languages, Writing (including the Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing), Mathematics, Computer Science and Communication.

“I am excited about moving into Higgins because it brings together so many different people, ideas and historical technologies — all under one roof in the center of Midtown,” Brown said. “I am so pleased that my office is located right in the center of it all! In our new central location, with the building housing all Macricostas departments, Higgins is literally and symbolically the home of the diverse ideas and liberal arts curriculum that exemplify WCSU.”

image of a media arts classroom in Higgins Hall

A media arts classroom adjacent to the digital editing lab in Higgins Hall.

Learning spaces in the building are designed to be flexible so that students can study individually or in groups, with the proper technology within easy reach to nurture cooperation and support.

For example, the state-of-the-art television production studio, which Marcone refers to as the jewel of the building, is flanked by the digital editing lab and classrooms so that learning can be integrated into the entire space in real time, whether for a regular class or the department’s award-winning annual news coverage of local and statewide elections.

image of a computer classroom in Higgins Hall.

A computer classroom in Higgins Hall.

The Computer Science Department, which moved from its longtime space on the Westside campus, also will enjoy expanded opportunities, with a graphics research lab with three dedicated servers on which to experiment, along with three computer labs and a seminar room. Computer Science and the Mathematics Department will be able to work together on two new 3-D printers.

“People don’t want to be tucked away and hidden,” Marcone said. “They want to see what their peers are doing. There is flex furniture and seating throughout the building and high-tech group study spaces for anyone to use. I think it brings a high level of energy to the building.”

Planning for the Higgins reconstruction began with the university Master Plan approved in 2003. Over the past several years, state bonding was approved and campus constituents were engaged in preliminary planning.

“We talked to a lot of folks about what this building should be,” Marcone said. “We had a design team looking at synergies and complementary functions. Does a function belong here or somewhere else? That planning took a year.”

Under relatively new state regulations, the state Department of Administrative Services hired a “construction manager at-risk” to manage the project and assume responsibility for potential delays and financial overruns. A relatively mild winter assisted in keeping work on schedule, although a wet spring caused some issues for the construction crews, Marcone said.

image of the Higgins Hall lobby

The Higgins Hall lobby

The project started on time and professors and administrators started moving in over the summer. The lobby, which occupies a space that had been a two-story lecture hall, was finished in August. Some exterior work continued into September.

“It’s more difficult to do reconstruction than new construction,” Marcone said. “The unknown in Higgins was that the building was constructed in three different phases with three different contractors who had three different approaches. We had to do a lot of forensic work to determine what was behind the walls.”

For several years, Higgins Hall was designated in campus maps and other literature as the original Higgins and “Higgins Annex,” each with separate and confusing room numbering, even though the two sections comprised one building. Now Higgins is recognized as one cohesive structure.

Also gone are the undersized windows featured in the old annex, which looked more suitable for a prison than a classroom building.

“In the old annex, we more than doubled the size of every window,” Marcone said. “The windows in the other part of the building extend above the ceiling, so they provide maximum natural light.”

Every wire in the building has been replaced, which facilitated the latest technology, including security. The door of every classroom is protected with electronic access controls. More than 30 cameras survey common areas inside and outside the building. Hard-wired telephones were installed in study spaces and other common areas so messages can be sent as part of a reverse 911 system. And Higgins is now the third building on the Midtown campus to be equipped with exterior mass notification speakers to supplement the email, text and phone messages sent during emergencies.

Even as work on Higgins is finishing, workers began remodeling the second and third floors of White Hall, which the Education and Nursing departments will call home. After that, much of Berkshire Hall will be refurbished into a dining hall, along with the existing gym and other athletic and recreational facilities.

“When Berkshire is done it will be the best possible food service space, with outdoor dining and gathering places,” Marcone said. “At the same time, we will redesign the north end of the quad, with Berkshire as the northern anchor. We are maximizing every foot of our campus facility.”

 

 

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