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Arts Advocacy Week at Montclair State University

by Tess Reynolds

Hannah Rolfes, left, and Peak Ambassadors posing in front of the banner that is to draw awarenss to Trump’s proposed National Enowment for the Arts cuts.
Photo by Awije Bahrami

In honor of Arts Advocacy Week, March 20-26th, the Montclair State University Student Advocate Group, Peak Ambassadors, will be conducting a series of events and performances among the diverse artists on campus.

“This year, [the week] is particularly important because the Trump administration has proposed to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts,” said Hannah Rolfes, the Cultural Engagement Assistant at the Alexander Kasser Theater. “We are encouraging students to sign petitions…to support the NEA.”

Read about what events have already happened and what is still to come:

So far this week…

Make Your Mark for the Arts! Where: Alexander Kasser Theater Lobby, When: 3/21 at 1pm

Student Peak Ambassadors were decorating a banner in the Alexander Kasser Theater lobby to draw attention to President Donald Trump’s proposed cut of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). “As campus art advocates, we wanted to do something to show that students appreciate all the arts programming that’s on campus currently,” said Hannah Rolfes, the cultural engagement assistant. When asked what the Peak Ambassadors and herself are trying to achieve, she said mostly awareness. “A lot of students come in here and they don’t know what the NEA is, even arts students. It’s good to promote that education,” she added. In the next few days, the banner will be hung up in the Kasser theater lobby for everyone to see.

Films and Filmmakers, Where: University Hall, When: 3/21 at 7pm

Jamison Locascio, a Montclair State alumnus, gave a presentation at the weekly film forum on Tuesday, Mar 21. He showed his feature film, “The Depths,” and then gave a commentary about the production of the film. “The Depths” was about an hour and twenty minutes long, and the genre would be a combination of a drama and thriller. Locascio said that the film was on a $65,000 budget and that his biggest inspirations are David Fincher and Christopher Nolan. He also talked about his most recent project, “Film Valor,” which is a look behind the scenes at Locascio’s company Halycon Valor Productions. Locascio is currently working on another film that is set to premiere in Manhattan next month. The biggest piece of advice that Locascio gave to the forum was to make connections now because you never know who could help you in your career. It was arguably the most interesting forum we’ve had this semester. The moderator, Professor Roberta Friedman stated that it was the most silent forum thus far. “It was so silent you could hear a pin drop,” she said.

Arts, Communication, and Entertainment Career Fair, Where: Student Center Ballrooms, When: 3/22 at 3pm

In support of Arts Advocacy Week, Montclair State held an Arts, Communication and Entertainment Career Fair in the Student Center Ballrooms from 3 to 5 p.m. Students were able to bring necessary documents for employment and internship opportunities. Participants from the fair included Kleinfeld’s Bridal Shop in New York City, NJ Motion Picture Commission, Pearl Media and NJ 101.5-Townsquare Media Trenton.

Coming up…

The Masks We Wear: Returned Peach Corps Volunteers Share Stories of Service and Identity in Africa, Where: George Segal Gallery, When: 3/23 at 6pm

On Thursday, March 23 at 6 p.m. the George Segal Gallery will host the event “The Masks We Wear: Returned Peach Corps Volunteers Share Stories of Service and Identity in Africa.” The event will take place in the George Segal Gallery in conjunction with their current exhibit “African Figures and Masks from the Montclair State University Permanent Collection.” Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) will reflect on their experiences living and volunteering in the same countries as the masks represented in the installation. These countries include Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), and Guinea.

New Works Initiative: Michigan Murders, Where: L. Howard Fox Theater, When: 3/23-3/26

As part of the New Works Initiative and in conjunction with Montclair State’s Producers in Residence, Bisno Production, the Department of Theater and Dance is presenting “Michigan Murders.” From 1966 to 1969, several young college women were murdered in the Michigan area by a fellow student. Meghan Finn and Julia May Jonas created a multi-disciplinary play with music based on the real events that surrounded the crime. “Michigan Murders” pits the exuberant chaos and freedom of the 60’s against the real and palpable terror of victimization that women faced at the time. It also reflects on the state of feminism today. “Michigan Murders” can be seen at the L. Howard Fox Studio Theater on March 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m., March 25 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and March 26 at 2 p.m.

QUIXOTE, Where: Alexander Kasser Theater, When: 3/23-3/26

Commissioned by Peak Performances as part of its new extended residency program, “Quixote”is a bold reimagining of the Cervantes classic “Don Quixote.” With new music and direction, “Quixote” gives the audience a new look inside the iconic character’s mind. A soprano, mezzo-soprano, contralto and four singing percussionists provide the voices accompanying Don Quixote’s hallucinations. This simple and gorgeous production is equal parts storefront theatre and expressionistic opera. “Quixote” can be seen at the Alexander Kasser Theater on March 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. It can also be seen on March 25 at 8 p.m. and March 26 at 3 p.m.

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