Dean's Newsletter

Vol. 6, Issue 4

Spring 2012: Vol. 6, Issue 4

When talking about such a significant change as our move onto the new Fine Arts Campus, one can be excused for employing a bit of hyperbole. After all, we have been awaiting this move for many, many years, and our new quarters in the Allen Theatre and the Middough Building will have a profound effect on our ability to thrive and grow in this arts-rich and, thus, arts-competitive Cleveland environment. Nevertheless, I will resist any comparisons to the entry into “the promised land.” For one thing, the move will not be complete until we also move into our new Art Gallery (in the Cowell and Hubbard Building) and into our new digital media quarters in the Idea Center, and these will not happen in the first half of 2012. For another, our future success is not guaranteed just by crossing the western border of the main campus and settling into Playhouse Square. Our future success will depend on what faculty and staff accomplish as they rise to fulfill the promise that this new campus brings. And I have every confidence that our colleagues in Art and in Theatre and Dance will rise to the occasion.

Indeed, our two departments moved to the Middough Building over winter break, and their new space is breathtaking. (I hope that you will all take time to visit.) To begin with, the Allen Theatre and its three performance spaces will allow our theater and dance students to perform in world-class venues. The first CSU theater performance in the Allen is, by the way, Marisol, directed by Holly Holsinger, which will be performed on the amazing Allen Theatre Second Stage from February 23rd to March 4th. The first CSU Dance Concert for the spring will take place on March 23rd and 24th, also on the Second Stage. Our space in the Middough Building is just as impressive. We share floors two and five with our partners in the Cleveland Play House, and we also have our scene shop on the first floor. In this space, we have created amazing new art studios, state-of-the-art computer labs, bright new classrooms, and spacious rehearsal halls. We also have created comfortable faculty and departmental offices, attractive student areas, and a host of other new spaces just right for “engaged learning.” Because the new building is not quite finished, I regret to add that these next few weeks will be weeks of transition and adaptation for the students and faculty of these two departments. However, on the whole, the moving experience should be a good one for all those involved.

Before I leave this topic, I want to add a few additional comments. First, while we have been talking a lot about the departments of Art and Theatre and Dance, we should not forget that the Department of Music still plays a key part in offering CSU arts education as well as attractive concert performances. Although they will remain in the Music and Communication Building and, thus, not in Playhouse Square, they are still an important part of our Fine Arts community and of the Fine Arts “campus” writ large. Second, the Fine Arts campus would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of a multitude of CSU employees, particularly those in the Provost’s Office, the Office of the VP of Business and Finance, and the University Architect’s Office. We are grateful for their efforts. We are particularly grateful, of course, for visionary leadership of the President’s Office, without which the project would never have been accomplished.

One of the new faces on campus this spring belongs to Dr. Piotr Wilczek, our Visiting Polish Scholar. Dr. Wilczek is a distinguished Professor of Polish Language and Culture at the University of Warsaw, with which CSU has an academic partnership. We are fortunate that Dr. Wilczek will be on campus in our Department of Modern Languages until mid-February. He is teaching one blended course in Polish film and another non-credit course in Polish culture. He will also be giving a public lecture on campus, which will take place on January 31st, at 4:30 p.m. in SC 313. The topic of his lecture will be “The Literary Canon and Translation: Polish Culture as a Case Study .” Dr. Wilczek’s stay was made possible through generous donations from key supporters in Cleveland’s Polish-American community, and we are hoping that excitement generated by his visit will help us generate a permanent endowment, similar to the one that makes possible the biennial visits of our distinguished India Scholars.

Speaking of India, I note that Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina has won a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to run a special faculty seminar to facilitate the incorporation of India Studies throughout the curriculum. Our own Murali Nair has been selected as one of the key experts chosen to lead this seminar. In addition, Indian cuisine is the focus of “Beyond Curry,” a proposed television series featuring CSU supporter Bill Julka. The pilot program is currently being filmed by Evan Lieberman and his Communication students. The hope is that the pilot program will be picked up by PBS or the Food Network and turned into a successful series. Stay tuned!

Every year the Creative Workforce Fellowship Program, which is funded by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, awards $20,000 fellowships to Cleveland’s best creative artists. CSU faculty have won these prestigious awards in the past, and this year is no different. I am pleased to note that three CSU faculty have won fellowships. These are Greg D’Alessio (Music), Howie Smith (Music), and Michael Dumanis (English). In addition, CSU alumnus Michael Oatman was also awarded a fellowship. These awards attest to the very high quality of artistic production here at CSU, and I would like to congratulate all of the winners.

Finally, I am also proud to note that one of Mark Slankard’s photography students, Ryan Upp, just placed some of his photographs in the New York Times. They can be found in the Sunday, January 22nd issue of the paper.

I close by wishing you all a successful spring semester. Let’s hope that we continue to enjoy mild winter weather as we move toward the (early?) awakening of Cleveland’s 2012 spring.

Best wishes,