Arts series keys on cultures' forced migrations


Noted artists will visit SUNY Oswego in March to help host a series of programs designed to explore diaspora—dislocation of people for reasons beyond their control.

As part of a yearlong interdisciplinary theme, “Arts, Identity and Diaspora,” four renowned artists and ensembles will offer performances, visit classrooms and interact with students, faculty and community members.

“For millions of people who are driven from one culture to another, there is a tension between longing for home and adapting to the new environment in which they find themselves,” said Mary Avrakotos, who coordinates the college’s Artswego program series. “These exceptional artists help us understand that dynamic through the distinctly different lenses of poetry, music, film and dance.”

Participating artists include Li-Young Lee, celebrated American poet, March 1 to 3; The Klezmatics, Grammy-winning interpreters of the klezmer music traditions of Eastern Europe, March 10 to 11; Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Katja Esson, March 22 to 25; and provocative Mexican-American choreographer Alex Escalante, March 29 to April 1.

The project began last spring, when all the artists came to Central New York for a two-day workshop with faculty members at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse. Planned in partnership with Onondaga Community College, where several of the artists are also appearing, the workshop allowed faculty to meet the artists, discuss the theme, and consider ways to connect the scheduled artist residencies with their own teaching plans for the 2009-10 academic year.

“The goal is to integrate the arts more meaningfully into the larger educational mission of the college,” said Avrakotos.

Complete details of the series are available at www.oswego.edu/arts. For more information, contact John Shaffer at john.shaffer@oswego.edu or 312-2960.

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(Posted: Feb 17, 2010)

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