All posts by Loriann Macko

Meet RIT/NTID student Israelle Johnson

Blonde female with long blonde hair in a multi-color blouse is standing and holding a viola.

Israelle Johnson, an RIT/NTID student who is majoring in laboratory science technology, chose RIT to get a great education, and she found so much more. Watch her video and learn about her RIT story.

Collaborative and accessible theater productions happen at RIT

Student actors in costume seated in front, female lifted by two males in center, dancers in back.

Rochester Institute of Technology shows how collaborative, accessible theater happens when deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing students perform on stage together as they did in the recent production of Cabaret. The show created a unique experience for theater-goers.

RIT among top colleges for Indigenous students

Two people sit on stage and play guitar with a screen behind them that includes text:

Rochester Institute of Technology is among the Top 200 Colleges for Indigenous students, according to Winds of Change magazine. This marks the ninth time RIT has appeared on the list.

The annual list published by American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) identified the top colleges and universities in the United States “where indigenous students are going to school in significant numbers and where the community, Native programs, and support are strong enough for these students to enjoy college and stay on to graduation.” The magazine recognized RIT in part for its programs for Indigenous students, including the Native American Future Stewards Program, the Native American Student Association and RIT’s student chapter of AISES. More.

Building community is the theme of latest NTID Dyer Arts Center exhibits

Man and woman looking at two large paintings. Woman is pointing to the painting on the left.

Two exhibits running simultaneously at the Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf have a central theme of connecting Rochester’s deaf and hearing artistic communities.

Open through Dec. 15, “Cultivating Connections: Growing Communities in the Flower City” showcases artwork representing our local community and features artists living within Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Orleans, Livingston and Genesee counties. “6x6 Deaf Pride” features more than 100 artworks created by members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, as well as allies of the deaf community. The artworks in the “6x6 Deaf Pride” exhibit are available for $20 each. Proceeds will be donated to the Dyer Arts Center.

All of the artwork is representative of the artist’s community, which can include, but isn’t limited to, geography, religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, or LGBTQIA+ identification, or a combination of these.

“Originally, this exhibition was only going to showcase local deaf artists, but I realized that by doing that, we are siloing ourselves from the Rochester community,” said Tabitha Jacques, Dyer Arts Center director. “This exhibit—in which 50 percent of the artists are deaf— is about celebrating how unique Rochester is and will hopefully bring a new set of visitors to the gallery. We want our guests to learn more about the deaf experience, the diversity of our local communities and the Dyer Arts Center.”

Jacques is also expecting the dual exhibits to have a “ripple effect,” building a continued interest in connecting Rochester’s deaf and hearing communities.

“One of my goals has always been to bridge the artistic and deaf communities,” added Jacques. “Many years later, my goal is the same, and I’m proud that it is manifesting in this way.”

The gallery is located on the RIT campus in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, go to www.rit.edu/ntid/dyerarts/.

NTID Performing Arts and RIT College of Liberal Arts co-present ‘Cabaret’ Nov. 30-Dec. 2

A group of multi-ethnic male and female dancers with arms linked in a circle kicking up their heels.

The unique blend of deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing students performing on stage together will guarantee theater-goers a one-of-a-kind experience at the debut of the Tony-award winning classic Cabaret at Rochester Institute of Technology. The performance of the hit musical will run in Panara Theatre in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and 2 p.m. Dec. 1–2.   

The show, directed by Andy Head, visiting assistant professor, welcomes theater-goers to the top-secret Kit Kat Klub, where the music is loud, the dances are flashy and the party rages on. The club’s newest headliner, Sally Bowles, meets American writer Cliff Bradshaw, and their lives become entwined. But, as Nazism spreads throughout Germany, questions and concerns continue to grow about how the club, its patrons, and Sally and Cliff—played by Kyle Buohl, a third-year ASL-English interpretation major from Boston—will fare. The show is not appropriate for children under 12.

“Though it takes place in a very specific era, Cabaret has a timeless feel to it,” said Head. “Set in Germany at the crossroads of the crumbling Weimer Republic and the rise of Hitler’s Nazi Party, it shows us how people react to a rising story on the horizon. Some flee, some fight, some fall in line, and some ignore the problem. A story like Cabaret forces us to ask ourselves how we react when we see injustice spreading around us.

“In addition, we’ve changed the roles of many of the characters from hearing to deaf and the effects are far-reaching. It affects the characters, the way the story is told, and how the audience receives the story. Because of these conceptual changes, audiences will be treated to a truly new and unique Cabaret. On a daily basis, I am amazed by what our students can do. This show is challenging them in ways they might never have been challenged before onstage.”

This is Victoria Covell’s first foray into musical theater. She takes on the lead role of Sally Bowles.

“It has been a rich learning experience, and I am loving it,” said Covell, a third-year graphic design major from Jacksonville, Ill. “I have had to learn to balance my time with school work and memorizing my lines. But it has forced me to get out of my comfort zone and learn how to be self-confident. I also love that I have been able to make new friends along the way.”

The show is co-presented by RIT’s College of Liberal Arts and NTID’s Performing Arts program.

Tickets can be purchased through RIT University Arenas and are $5 for students and senior citizens, $10 for RIT faculty/staff/alumni, and $12 for the general public. Tickets will also be sold at the door two hours before show time on performance days. American Sign Language interpreters will be available for all performances. For more information, call 585-475-4121.

RIT officially opens new MAGIC Spell Studios building

Night shot of two-story brick building with front sign that reads

Rochester Institute of Technology opened the newest building on campus—the 52,000-square-foot MAGIC Spell Studios. The building brings together RIT’s academic strengths in game design and development, film and animation, and digital media. The new facility—the only one of its kind in the Northeast—boasts the latest in technology and design, rivaling media production studios in New York City and Hollywood. More.