Eastern Theatre to Present ‘The Wolves,’ Feb. 27-March 3

The Theatre Program at Eastern Connecticut State University will present its first Main Stage production of the spring 2019 semester, “The Wolves,” from Feb. 27-March 3. Written by Sarah DeLappe and directed by Eastern professor Kristen Morgan, the play will follow a girls’ soccer team as they struggle to adapt to new players and lifestyles. The play will be shown in the Del Monte Bernstein Studio Theatre in Eastern’s Fine Arts Instructional Center.

Exploring the unique dynamics of a girls’ athletic team, “The Wolves” observes the complex social navigation required for high school. “From the safety of their afternoon exercise routine, the team wonders about big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors,” writes the publishing company Samuel French. “This is a portrait of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals.”

DeLappe describes her play as “a portrait of teenage girls as human beings – as complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people.” Since its publication in 2016, “The Wolves” has garnered critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including being a finalist in the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and winning the 2015 Relentless Award for Playwriting.

“The girls in ‘The Wolves’ are at a turning point in their lives,” writes Morgan in her director’s notes for the play. “These girls have grown up playing together, and have shared all the emotional weight that comes with it. ‘The Wolves’ is a meditation on growing up female in America and the meaning that girls make for themselves in a society that still doesn’t have any idea what to do with them.”

“The Wolves” will be performed on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m.; Friday, March 1 at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 3 at 4 p.m. Tickets are free for Eastern students; $5 for other students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for senior citizens; $12 for Eastern faculty, staff and alumni; and $20 for the general public. For tickets and more information, call the box office at (860) 465-5123 or visit http://easternct.showare.com/thewolves/.

Written by Raven Dillon

Eastern Students Provide a ‘Jumpstart’ to Local Preschoolers

Jeniel Edmonds is an Eastern Jumpstart volunteer who majors in early childhood education and psychology

 In a Willimantic, CT, classroom, more than a dozen preschoolers listen eagerly as an Eastern Connecticut State University student reads a book to them. It’s a ritual that both the student and children are familiar with, and when reading time is over, they will transition to other activities with their teacher. It can be hard to handle a room full of excitable preschoolers, but the Eastern student has been well trained, thanks to a national early-education program called Jumpstart.

Jumpstart, an AmeriCorps affiliate program with a strong chapter at Eastern, was created in 1993 to provide preschoolers from low-income areas the tools they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. By providing language, literacy and social activities, Jumpstart aims to help preschoolers get an equal start in life regardless of zip code.

“Kids from under-resourced communities enter kindergarten 60 percent behind their classmates from more affluent areas,” says Meaghan Penrod, the Jumpstart site manager at Eastern’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE). “You’d think that gap would close when they go to elementary school, but it doesn’t – it just gets wider.”

Eastern students who apply for Jumpstart are interviewed and divided into teams that work together in local classrooms. Each goes through several weeks of early childhood education training, as well as classes about the Willimantic community and the families who live there. Every team is expected to follow an assigned curriculum, as well as create stimulating activities to engage the children in their classrooms.

“A lot of our own personal time is spent planning and creating things for the children we teach,” says Jumpstart member Kimberly Vitka, an elementary education and liberal studies major at Eastern. “Once we’re in the classroom, we’re responsible for teaching the session plan for that week.”

Some of this year’s cohort of Eastern Jumpstart volunteers pose for a group photo.

These plans engage children in educational activities such as reading, name writing, singing vocabulary words, and active or dramatic play. Arts and crafts projects and reading time are particularly popular among the preschoolers.

Vitka and 41 other students dedicate personal time to their students and the classrooms. For most of the volunteers, teaching children and helping the community is both a potential future occupation and a lifestyle.

“My involvement in Jumpstart has made a tremendous impact on my life,” says Frances Zelez, an early childhood education and English major. “Getting the opportunity to further a child’s education is one of the most fulfilling opportunities I could ask for.”

The time commitment for students involved in Jumpstart is significant. If they join AmeriCorps and donate 300 volunteer hours, they receive a federal stipend at the end of the year that goes toward books, housing or tuition. Non-AmeriCorps volunteers commit to 200 hours of service. With more than 40 volunteers, Eastern students donate thousands of hours to preschoolers over the course of a year — all of which are in under-resourced areas.

Despite the hefty commitment, Jumpstart has exploded in popularity at Eastern. When the program first came to campus in 2014, 21 students enrolled. Now, five years later, the number has doubled. Although many students are early education majors, any student is welcome to apply. This year, the Jumpstart members at Eastern major in everything from art to environmental earth science, united by their passion for educating children.

Tai Adorno majors in elementary education and women’s and gender studies.:

Jendayi Nelson, who majors in general studies and communication, originally applied to Eastern as a pre-nursing major. She cites Jumpstart as the reason for her shift in major and career aspirations. “If it wasn’t for Jumpstart, I wouldn’t have found what truly makes me happy,” she said. “Some of my peers realized this was not the field for them, but for me, it was simply reinforcement that the classroom is where I belong.”

Jumpstart has been a national success, with classrooms across the country reporting marked improvements. Ninety-one percent of children in the program made significant language and literacy gains last year, according to Jumpstart teachers. In Willimantic, based on assessments by the CCE, children attending Jumpstart show significant gains in areas critical for academic success.

Aside from embedded support in local community classrooms, Jumpstart also gets involved with children’s events. Eastern Jumpstart members recently hosted an event in collaboration with AmeriCorps MLK Day of Service, in which more than 100 children painted “kindness rocks,” which are rocks painted with inspirational messages that are meant to be left in unexpected places. The children hid their rocks throughout the East Brook Mall, and then returned for story time, leaving with a free book.

“People come up to us at community events all the time and say how much Jumpstart has impacted their lives,” says Penrod. “A grandmother once came up to me and told me how her granddaughter had previously been struggling in preschool, but now that she’s involved with Jumpstart, she’s thriving.”

Stories like these are common. Lizbeth Macias, an elementary education and liberal studies major, reflected on her reasons for joining Jumpstart and the passion she now has for children’s education. “Jumpstart intrigued me from the start due to its mission statement, that all kids should have an equal start,” said Macias. “Children are the future. They hold tomorrow in their hands. They deserve access to education regardless of their socio-economic background.”

Written by Raven Dillon

Eastern Professor Authors Book on Maroon Communities in Brazil

Mary Lorena Kenny

Mary Lorena Kenny, professor of anthropology at Eastern Connecticut State University, recently authored “Deeply Rooted in the Present: Heritage, Memory, and Identity in Brazilian Quilombos.” Kenny held a book talk on Jan. 31 to celebrate and discuss her research.

There are an estimated 4-6,000 quilombo communities, also known as “maroon communities,” in Brazil. Their inhabitants – quilombolas – are federally recognized descendants of self-ascribed, traditional Black settlements. They are descendants of enslaved persons who escaped to freedom and established settlements in remote mountain locations or dense tropical terrains.

Brazil imported more than five million slaves over the course of 300 years – the highest number in the Americas. Kenny said the legacies of slavery and colonialism are manifested in inequities that contemporary quilombolas face in terms of access to healthcare, schooling and basic infrastructure. Three quarters of quilombola families live in extreme poverty and receive public assistance.

A legal decree in Brazil’s 1988 Constitution guarantees quilombolas collective land titles as a type of reparation, but there is strong opposition to this policy. Opponents argue that slavery ended long ago, making the issue irrelevant, while others assert that the land grants are exclusionary, or that slavery never existed in the area. Throughout “Deeply Rooted in the Present,” Kenny describes how such policies are tied to social, economic, political and racial realities of Brazil.

Kenny has lived on-and-off in Brazil for 30 years. There are two federally recognized quilombos in the Northeastern area of the country that she frequents. At the book talk, she went over the “bureaucratic hurdles” that come with petitioning for federal recognition and gaining land rights, from the informality of certain settlements to a lack of material artefacts to bolster their claims.

In her research, Kenny links past practices and policies to contemporary conditions of exploitative, slave-like labor practices and a concentration of land ownership, noting that more than 50 land activists were murdered in Brazil in 2017. While not every black and dark-skinned person is a quilombola, Afro-Brazilians face the brunt of inequality. “More than half the population are Black and Brown people,” said Kenny. She called attention to the high homicide rates disproportionately affecting black youth, along with the corrupt government systems that protect established social roles. “Until recently, if you were white and had money, you were above the law.” With no trust for law enforcement, justice is often taken into citizen hands, and violence is prevalent.

In addition to skepticism toward authority, Kenny emphasized the distrust of outsiders that is common in close-knit, small communities. “You have to be willing to go through a vetting process,” she explained. Quilombolas kept an eye on her and wanted to know her motives for visiting. Any project – whether it is research, filming, development or church based – must confront the deep-seated attitude and fear of exploitation. “I took my camera out for the first time only after a year.”

“One of the ways to learn about the community is through oral history,” said Kenny as she spoke about immersing herself in the local community and gaining insight on the history of the quilombola movement and attitudes towards the quilombolas. One white merchant she interviewed disputed quilombolas claims about a history of discrimination in the town, and felt that assertions about racial tensions were new to the area and generated by ‘outsiders.’ “He said this as we were standing just a few feet away from what was once the Whites-only club, and the Black-only club,” Kenny stated.

During the book talk, she explored the importance of pottery as a signature aspect of quilombola heritage and identity, particularly for women. Ceramic production is non-mechanized and produces little income. She described the sweltering heat generated by the outdoor kiln fed by wood gathered in the area. “It is an extremely arduous and time-consuming process.”

It is questionable whether pottery production is a sustainable profession in the 21st century, and most younger women hope to find work outside the community. “They want to do things that are seen as giving more status.” At the same time, some are dubbed “uppity” or ‘out of place’ if they seek education or career advancement.

Kenny shared a story of a woman named Céu, who rose to a leadership position as head of the women’s pottery cooperative. Despite Céu’s limiting circumstances, she launched an inspiring career. In 2013, however, her life was cut short when an ex-partner doused her in kerosene and set her on fire. “She survived for three days and then perished.”

Kenny explained to her audience that in order to become federally recognized, quilombolas must collectively agree on legally embracing this identity. “You have to decide as a community that you are going to share this land.”

Kenny’s writing illustrates how heritage and identity are continually being constructed to reflect particular historical circumstances. “Deeply Rooted in the Present” includes supplementary exercises that encourage readers to make connections between the case study at hand, their own heritage and heritage-making efforts in other parts of the world.

Written by Jordan Corey

‘Pluto’ Takes the Stage, Eastern Theatre Represents at KCACTF

Prior to the KCACTF performance, “Pluto” showed at Eastern in the fall 2018 semester

Eastern’s rendition of “Pluto” took center stage at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) earlier this month. “Pluto” was one of only three productions featured at the Region 1 festival, which includes colleges and universities from all over New England and New York, including New York City. The festival occurred from Jan. 29-Feb. 2 at Cape Cod Community College and included an awards portion and theatre workshops.

Written by playwright Steve Yockey and directed by Eastern Theatre Professor Chase Rozelle, “Pluto” follows a mother who is desperately attempting to connect with her withdrawn son in the aftermath of a local school tragedy. Set entirely in the kitchen during breakfast, the play uses humor, fantasy and raw emotion to tackle a troubling present-day issue.

“Pluto follows a rather traditional plot structure, in that the action leads to one big scene, one climax, where all the themes and conflicts come together,” said Kaileen Langlois ’19, the play’s dramaturg. “The purpose is to thrust audiences immediately into the action and catch them up on details as the story progresses.”

In the control booth prior to the KCACTF performance of “Pluto”: alumna Cat Foley ’17, guest-artist lighting designer; Rebecca Figueroa ’20, KCACTF tech intern; SJ Reynolds ’20, stage manager; and MK Cannon ’20, sound board operator

KCACTF adjudicators first saw “Pluto” when it was performed at Eastern in fall 2018. Impressed by the merits of the production, they invited the cast and crew to remount “Pluto” at the festival – one of only three selections festival wide.

Speaking to the disturbing yet culturally relevant subject matter, Rozelle wrote in his director’s notes: “Art has a responsibility to be relevant. Art should explore what it means to be human and should be a reflection of the issues of our society.”

More than 1,000 college theatre students, faculty and professionals from across the Northeast attended KCACTF, with hundreds packing the audience to see “Pluto.”

“This was the first time the cast performed for an audience of more than 600 seats, and it was electrifying,” said assistant director Matt Bessette ’19. “Combine the size of the audience with the fact that they were mostly college theatre majors and you get a crowd whose energy you won’t see in many other places.”

The performance received a standing ovation and Eastern students were praised throughout the duration of the multi-day festival. During the closing ceremony, “Pluto” was awarded the “Golden Hammer” for being the smoothest running show over the course of the week.

In addition to the feature performance of “Pluto,” other Eastern students also represented during the awards and workshop portions of the festival. Merit awards went to Katrina Kirby ’19 for make-up design in spring 2018 production of “Awakenings: Youth and Chitra”; Eumir Abela ’19 for sound design in “Pluto”; and the cast of fall 2018’s “Cabaret” for ensemble work.

The “Pluto” cast and crew stand before a van full of set pieces. For the KCACTF performance, they broke down the very set that was used at Eastern and drove it to Cape Cod.

MK Cannon ’20 made it to the final round of the Stage Management Fellowship. Jake Buckley ’21 was nominated for the Richard Maltby Musical Theatre Award. And based on his audition at the conference, Christian Fronckowiak ’20 was selected to participated in the Music Theater Intensive this summer at the National Theater Institute.

Nominations for the Irene Ryan Acting Award went to Emily Kelly ’19 for her performance in “Awakenings: Youth and Chitra”; Erin Wallace ’21 and Zoe Czerenda ’19 for “Cabaret”; and Andrew Rich ’20 and Elizabeth Heaney ’19 for “Pluto.”

Speaking to the quality of Eastern’s theatre program, Heaney, who played the role of the mother in “Pluto,” said: “We were up against shows from all over New England, as well as New York City. Eastern theatre is expanding and improving every year. Each professor has an innovative and unique perspective, and the collaboration that goes on is beautiful. Opportunity is plentiful, technology is state of the art, resources are always available.”

Heaney remarked on the festival at large: “Not only is KCACTF an inspiring and motivating experience, it provides so many resources and opportunities for students. I took two workshops. You get the opportunity to sharpen audition material, find new works to look at, and be exposed to so much in such a short amount of time. Because there are professional theater artists as teachers, the workshops get into the nitty gritty and answer any questions you may have about your craft. KCACTF is one of my favorite experiences I’ve had at Eastern.”

Written by Michael Rouleau

Computer Security: Eastern Students Prepare for New ‘Arms Race’

Professor Tim Hartley teaches the new computer science course “Data and Computer Security.”:

In response to the continued threat of cyberattacks on corporations and individuals on a global scale, Eastern Connecticut State University has created a new course, “Data and Computer Security.”

“It’s almost impossible to imagine spending an entire day without contact with some form of computer technology,” said Sarah Tasneem, professor of computer science and chair of the Computer Science Department, who was instrumental in designing and implementing the new course. “Current events – cyber breaches, identity theft, ransomware – dictate the need to provide awareness of the problems that exist with respect to computers and the use of technology.”

Tasneem said the new course “will introduce students to practical concepts and principles of data security. We will consider issues such as protecting access to data, ensuring proper protection of data, both when it has been stored and when it is being moved across a network. We will cover the steps needed to ensure the privacy of data that has been recorded about us.”

In addition to individual identify theft and personal email hacking that takes place on a daily basis, widespread cyberattacks in the past five years have ranged from attacks during the 2016 U.S. elections to the compromising of nearly 50 million Facebook user accounts this past September.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has described the battleground to protect computer systems as the new “arms race.” Similar personal account attacks and security breaches at Equifax (2017), Target (2013) and Neiman Marcus (2013) impacted millions of people.

Tim Hartley, assistant professor of computer science, teaches the course, which is at capacity for the spring 2019 semester. He has also taught classes in government agencies and companies in the private sector. In his class, students learn everything from infrastructure and security software to on-device analytics to rapid detection and accurate identification of a potential or actual attacker.

“My motivation in delivering this course to Eastern students is based on my experience in industry,” said Hartley. “Working with businesses and organizations across the United States and internationally, I recognize the importance of security in various forms. I hope that exposing students to cybersecurity issues will prepare them for what lies ahead in the job market and in their own personal lives.”

Department chair Tasneem says that application developers, project managers, database administrators and security administrators are in need of computer security education and skills in today’s computer environment. “The new course will equip students with the perfect skill set employers are looking for. Knowledge of security matters and the methods of thwarting would-be attackers is quite important in today’s workplace. The fact that computer software industries showed genuine interest in the subject, together with daily newspaper stories reporting cyber breaches, stolen laptops, identity theft, ransomware and more, confirms the importance of enlightening computer graduates about security issues and the consequences of taking them too lightly.”

Some students enrolled in the new course have had their own private accounts compromised. “The first time, I didn’t realize that the link I clicked on to watch a hockey game online was fake, and I accidentally downloaded malware,” said John Funk ’19, of Southbury, who is majoring in computer science. “To get rid of the malware, I used an antivirus program. On the second occasion, I received several emails from different students and faculty members at Eastern, asking me to click a link. I did not click the link because I knew it would lead to a security breach.”

Funk believes the computer security course will also enhance his career goals. “Having knowledge in cybersecurity would be a valuable skill for me to have when looking for jobs because security breaches are more relevant than ever as cyberspace continues to grow.”

Natalia Romanenko ’19 of Niantic is preparing for a career in cybersecurity. “This is a core course for me,” she explained. “Knowledge of data and computer security are critical in this field. I believe this course will make me more employable as a solid networking and cybersecurity professional.”

Mary Wishart ’19 of Pomfret agrees. “Technology is moving faster than the methods we have to protect it – we live in a world where people hack into light bulbs! Any student taking this class and gaining an interest and knowledge of cyber security should have no problem finding a job.”

Written by Dwight Bachman

Eastern Theatre to Present ‘The Wolves,’ Feb. 27-March 3

The Theatre Program at Eastern Connecticut State University will present its first Main Stage production of the spring 2019 semester, “The Wolves,” from Feb. 27-March 3. Written by Sarah DeLappe and directed by Eastern professor Kristen Morgan, the play will follow a girls’ soccer team as they struggle to adapt to new players and lifestyles. The play will be shown in the Del Monte Bernstein Studio Theatre in Eastern’s Fine Arts Instructional Center.

Exploring the unique dynamics of a girls’ athletic team, “The Wolves” observes the complex social navigation required for high school. “From the safety of their afternoon exercise routine, the team wonders about big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors,” writes the publishing company Samuel French. “This is a portrait of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals.”

DeLappe describes her play as “a portrait of teenage girls as human beings – as complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people.” Since its publication in 2016, “The Wolves” has garnered critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including being a finalist in the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and winning the 2015 Relentless Award for Playwriting.

“The girls in ‘The Wolves’ are at a turning point in their lives,” writes Morgan in her director’s notes for the play. “These girls have grown up playing together, and have shared all the emotional weight that comes with it. ‘The Wolves’ is a meditation on growing up female in America and the meaning that girls make for themselves in a society that still doesn’t have any idea what to do with them.”

“The Wolves” will be performed on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m.; Friday, March 1 at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 3 at 4 p.m. Tickets are free for Eastern students; $5 for other students and groups of 10 or more; $10 for senior citizens; $12 for Eastern faculty, staff and alumni; and $20 for the general public. For tickets and more information, call the box office at (860) 465-5123 or visit http://easternct.showare.com/thewolves/.

Written by Raven Dillon

Eastern Scores High on National Study of African-American College Students

Eastern Connecticut State University has received high marks in a national study of how well America’s public colleges and universities are enrolling and serving African American students.

In “Black Students at Public Colleges and Universities: A 50-State Report Card” recently published by the Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California (USC), researchers Shaun Harper and Isiah Simmons used a Ford Foundation grant to examine 506 separate institutions. In all, approximately 900,000 African American students attend U.S. public colleges and universities.

Eastern was tied for first in Connecticut for its overall “equity” rating. While the national “equity” average for all colleges and universities examined was 2.02 and Connecticut’s average across its public institutions was 2.19, Eastern’s rating was 2.75.

The rating takes into account enrollment, gender equity, graduation rates and faculty ratios in compiling totals.

Eastern was first among all Connecticut public universities when it comes to gender equity, with 2.8 percent more African American males enrolled than the national average. This is significant as all institutions of higher education continue to find that male students are enrolling in lower numbers than female students.

In addition, while the average four-year graduation rate for African American students is 39 percent across the United States, 46 percent of African American students at Eastern graduate in four years, tops in the Connecticut State University System. Eastern was also the top Connecticut State University when it comes to having African Americans on the faculty, with a student/faculty ratio of 24:1-one African American professor for every 24 African American students.

“Eastern Connecticut State University has always prided itself on maintaining high academic standards while providing access to students from all walks of life,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. “Our first African American student graduated in 1908; our first African American professor-Juliette Burstermann-was hired as a member of the faculty in 1948.

“Today, as the numbers in the USC study illustrate, Eastern has a diverse faculty, is graduating African American students well above the national average and has an overall ‘equity rating’ that is tops in Connecticut.

“Eastern’s academic and support services are available to all students, and we work hard to respect each student’s talents and dreams. We also recognize the importance of supporting the success of minority students, students from low-income families and first-generation students. This latest study is clear proof that we are fulfilling that commitment.”

Written by Ed Osborn

President Núñez Supports New Haven Promise

President Elsa Núñez

Eastern Connecticut State University President Elsa Núñez joined five other Connecticut university and college presidents on Feb. 1 to support the Fair Haven School, a neighborhood K-8 school on the east side of New Haven, CT.

“I am pleased to be able to attend the Fair Haven School Snowball event in support of college-bound students from New Haven,” said Núñez. “A number of students receiving New Haven Promise scholarships have chosen Eastern as their college of choice, and we are delighted to welcome them to our campus.  Expanding access to first-generation students is part of Eastern’s mission, and being an active partner in supporting New Haven Promise’s fund-raising efforts is a natural expression of our commitment.”

In addition to Núñez, other presidents who attended the event included Peter Salovey, president of Yale University; President Paul Broadie of Gateway Community College; Joe Bertolino, president of Southern Connecticut State University; President Judy Olian of Quinnipiac University; and President Zulma Toro of Central Connecticut State University.  U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro delivered remarks.

For more than a decade, the Fair Haven School has been encouraging neighborhood students to attend college through its annual Snowball celebration.  “Snowball focuses the students on college going through dance and movement and the universities throughout the state have participated by providing t-shirts, cheerleaders and mascots,’’ said New Haven Promise President Patricia Melton. “The participation of so many college presidents is new and exciting.”

A Decade Later: U.S. Financial Crisis and Economic Recession

Jeffrey Fuhrer

Jeffrey Fuhrer, executive vice president and senior policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, will be the guest speaker at a panel discussion at Eastern Connecticut State University on Feb. 5. Fuhrer and other panelists will discuss “A Decade Later since the U.S. Financial Crisis and Economic Recession”; the event takes place from 4-6 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library.

Fuhrer is responsible for the Federal Reserve’s Bank’s regional and community outreach functions. He has been an associate economist of the Federal Open Market Committee, and regularly attends key U.S. policymaking meetings with the bank’s president. He has been active in economic research for more than three decades and has published extensively.

Panelists include Randall Peteros, senior vice president of wealth management with the Royal Bank of Canada and a lecturer in Eastern’s Business Administration Department; Candice Deal, Eastern associate professor of accounting; and Brendan Cunningham, associate professor of economics at Eastern.

Chiaku Chukwuogor, professor of finance and chair of the Eastern’s Department of Business Administration, will serve as panel moderator.

Written by Dwight Bachman

‘Sacred Geometry’ to Open Eastern Art Gallery

The Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University will open its first exhibition of the spring 2019 semester from Feb. 1-March 7. “Sacred Geometry: The Perfect Proof” features the work of mixed-media artist Reni Gower. A talk with the artist will occur on Feb. 12 from 3-3:45 p.m., followed by an opening reception from 4-6 p.m. The gallery is located in room 112 of the Fine Arts Instructional Center. Admission is free.

“Sacred Geometry” consists of large singular “papercuts,” which are complex patterns inspired by Celtic knotwork and Islamic ornamental tiles, and are hand cut from single sheets of paper. Gower was inspired by sacred geometry, a concept from ancient times that derives meaning from perfect shapes such as circles, squares and triangles. In her work, Gower hopes to use the universal language of sacred geometry to connect Western and Middle Eastern artistic   legacies with hope and optimism.

Gower’s work has beeen featured in venues across the United States, as well as internationally, in such countries as Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Italy, Peru, Korea, Israel, England and Russia. She’s received numerous grants and awards, including the Southeastern College Art Conference Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in 2017.

Eastern’s Art Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 1-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2-5 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu/artgallery or call (860) 465-4659.

Written by Raven Dillon