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Restarting the Arts

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Arts departments launch vibrant fall schedule

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

As Dickinson students, faculty and staff mark a joyful return to campus this fall, Dickinson’s arts departments are celebrating with a dynamic program of arts events.

The Department of Art & Art History kicked off Sept. 8 with an ongoing exhibition of large- and medium-scale sculptures and continues with an outdoor mural unveiling on Oct. 13. The Department of Theatre & Dance plans outdoor events as well—a Shakespeare review and two al fresco performances at the College Farm featuring returning artist-in-residence Bread and Puppet Theater.

Global cultures and racial justice take center stage in many of these public events. Acclaimed poet Shara McCallum will grapple with race, violence and colonialism when she reads from her new collection of poems, No Ruined Stone, during an event cosponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Latin American, Latinx & Caribbean studies, English and creative writing programs. The music department will bring works by Black women poets, Black American female composers, indigenous and LGTBQ poets, Asian and trans composers into the spotlight in September, featuring performances by contralto Lynne McMurtry and pianist Alison d'Amato. The duo will return in November for a liederabend ("evening of song") with Dickinson voice and piano students. 

The Trout Gallery explores racial justice with Horace Pippin: Racism and War, showcasing World War II-era works by Horace Pippin, and Tracing Slavery, highlighting pieces created two centuries apart by Moses Williams and Kara Walker. Both exhibitions are amplified by educational programming for Dickinsonians, community members and school-age groups.

Goodyear Gallery subverts sexism and ageism with Women of an UNcertain Age: Indomitable Baby Boomers Challenging Cultural Norms, a portraiture series accompanied by text from interviews with American baby-boomer women from diverse backgrounds. Dance Theatre Group members return to the stage with Moving Histories, Dancing Futures: A Festival of Dance, a multicultural live performance featuring guest-artists Rachita Menon, who is trained in Bharatanatyam; Brian Frazier, a hip-hop dancer; and Ruby Blyth Cameron, who presents Irish step dance. 

Dickinsonians continue to process the effects of the global pandemic: The College Choir and the Lyric Performance Practicum return to live singing with a thoughtful program that reflects on the humanistic challenges of the past year. The Dickinson Orchestra declares unity and triumph over adversity during a November concert that includes two works inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from the Birmingham Jail.

A time-honored Dickinson theatre tradition, Freshman Plays, returns this fall with a 2021 twist. This series of short pieces directed by theatre students will go on as usual for the class of 2025. Members of the class of ’24, unable to perform last year, will get their moment in the sun during Dickinson’s first Sophomore Showcase, Oct. 29-30.  

View the full schedule of public arts events at Dickinson.

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Published September 10, 2021