The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (SDMA) at SUNY New Paltz was the site of “Art Collides,” a series of student art performances in response to current SDMA exhibits, on April 11. The event, organized by the newly created Dorsky Museum Ambassadors, featured musical, literary and theatrical performances, and is part of the Ambassadors’ mission to increase student engagement with events and exhibits at the Museum.
“Not all students realize the Dorsky is for them and for their benefit,” said Jessica Dow ’15 (Art History), a founding member of the Dorsky Museum Ambassadors. “We’re trying to reach out to the creative campus community to bring more students into the Museum, to get them to collaborate with the Museum, to show them what we have to offer and that we’re accessible.”
The Dorsky Museum Ambassadors formed in early 2015 with support from Sara Pasti, the Neil C. Trager director of the SDMA.
“This has really been a completely student-initiated and student-implemented project, and I’m very proud of the work they’ve done,” Pasti said. “They came up with the idea, wrote the call for proposals, came up with the name ‘Art Collides’ and have really been working hard to get people here to perform and to attend.”
John Walsh ’16 (English: Creative Writing) performed a poetry reading in response to Davidson Gigliotti’s “Quaking Aspens,” a multi-channel video installation that is part of the SDMA exhibit “Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television.”
“When I was walking through the Museum and saw the projections, I just felt like there was so much I could write about them,” Walsh said. “I thought the atmosphere of the room, with the darkness, the projections and the sound of the wind, would be a great setting for a performance piece.”
Shayna Skibinski ’15 (Music: Contemporary), who played viola arrangements of movements from Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello, also praised for the SDMA’s suitability for live performance.
“I love performing in the museum,” Skibinski said. “It just has a special vibe in there. It’s very open, the lighting is very comfortable, and the acoustics are fantastic. You can play with the tiniest bit of sound, and it just explodes and blooms to fill the whole place.”
Pasti and the Dorsky Museum Ambassadors are optimistic that “Art Collides” will be the first of many successful efforts to increase student engagement with the SDMA.
“Art is a communication,” said Pasti. “We put these works up on the wall because we hope they will speak to people, and we hope they will have a response to that. To be able to see the students’ immediate responses to these works from a variety of student artists is great.”
More information about events and exhibits at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is available online.