Top arts@Lehigh stories of 2014

blog image 2014 year in review
An email I received Monday inspired this post. I was asked to share the top three arts stories at Lehigh University.
Instead of picking the top three arts@Lehigh stories of 2014, I picked the top three stories in categories that represent how I think about the arts when I look around campus: guest artists, arts news, student production, faculty research, and campus arts integration.
Guest Artists – top three:
3. Smokey Robinson at the 2014 Zoellner Arts Center Gala. Mr. Robinson was generous, and in great voice.
2. Nas and Angela Davis for the MLK keynote. Yeah, that was kinda huge, even if Nas wasn’t a “Zoellner” guest artists in the sense that he wasn’t performing. Thanks to Dr. James Peterson for bringing him to Lehigh. There’s nothing like celebrity status to start social justice discussions.
1. Darlene Love – Zoellner’s Artistic Director Deborah Sacarakis really nailed the timing of Darlene Love’s show in Bethlehem the day after her final Late Night with David Letterman performance.
Top three News Stories:
3. Zoellner Administrative Director Andy Cassano led the PA Presenters conference in May 2014. We are fortunate to have a visionary leader not only for our campus arts center, but for Pennsylvania.
2. Deborah Sacarakis was honored by the Lehigh Valley Dance Consortium with the Distinguished Service Award. (April 6, 2014)
1. Andy Cassano responds to Bethlehem City Council/Mayor proposal to raise the Amusement Tax in an op-ed piece to the Morning Call.
Student Production
3. Mustard & Cheese Reefer Madness. The writer, Dan Studney came to the show on Dec 6th !
2. Marching 97 at Yankee Stadium
1. Lisa Glover – Kit Rex
Faculty Research (items picked with performance dates in mind)
3. Erica Hoelsher – Costumes and mask design for the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’s production of Eugéne Ionesco’s Rhinoceros
2. Bill Warfield’s CD Release Party at Iridium
1. Steven Sametz with LU Choral Arts at Carnegie Hall
Campus Arts Integration
3. Increasing community school outreach. McKinley Elementary School second graders tour the campus after lunch in Rathbone Dining Hall and seeing Lightwire Theater at Zoellner. That campus engagement led to a week long residency in July with local artist, Doug Royston. In October, the entire Broughal Middle School saw Cirque Alfonse. The PBS39 covered that story here:
Both of these opportunities were the results of campus support; financial support from College of Education and College of Arts & Sciences, staff volunteer campus tour guides, and generous expertise from local artist, Doug Royston and the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
2. TIE Mercy Killers & Shostakovich 7th. Mercy Killers is a heart wrenching look at the consequences of America’s health care system. The one-man play was written and performed by Michael Milligan. Experts from Lehigh faculty and administration were on hand to provide reflection and discussion after each show. Story by student Madison Gouveia in Lehigh’s Brown and White. The Lehigh University Philharmonic took an extensive semester long study of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 which was written during the 1943-1944 siege of Leningrad. Books, films and a presentation by Lehigh University Russian language and literature professor Mary Nicholas gave the musicians a deeper understanding of the piece and its relevance to current Russian culture and politics.
1. Hammerschlag Design series. Envisioned by two faculty, Anthony Viscardi and Nick Nikolov, these experience fully embraced the creative potential of the Mountaintop Learning Environment.