ARTSwego Brings the Creative Arts to Oswego

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Performance

Since its creation 25 years ago, the ARTSwego program at SUNY Oswego has supplemented classroom experiences available to students by bringing outstanding professional artists to the campus for performances, exhibitions, screenings and readings. Frequently, guest artists also participate in extended residencies that build connections with public schools and other partnering organizations in nearby communities.

In a typical year, ARTSwego presents 10 to 12 performing arts programs—including dance, drama and classical, contemporary and world music—through its main stage season and the affiliated Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series. Through two advisory committees, ARTSwego provides support for programming carried out by other academic departments and campus organizations such as the music department, art department and creative writing program.

In February, ARTSwego’s small staff was focused on an ambitious project that brought the 12-member cast of The Acting Company to Waterman Theatre for performances of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Sir Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Students from 12 classes attended the performances and explored these related plays from the viewpoint of their respective disciplines, from literature to psychology to philosophy.

All of this is made possible by the voluntary student arts fee paid by SUNY Oswego students. Those resources are supplemented by generous patrons and frequent programming grants from funders like the National Endowment for the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and CNY Arts. Private foundations such as the Gifford Foundation and Richard S. Shineman Foundation are also important allies in projects that extend ARTSwego’s reach beyond the campus.

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