Category Archives: Art on Campus

RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center hosts ‘Three Masters: Hidden Gems’ exhibit through April 20

painting of a woman reclining on a couch colors are mostly reds/yellows/oranges with some green and light blue.

Three artists whose works have been shaped by family, faith and overcoming hardships are the focus of the “Three Masters: Hidden Gems” exhibit at the Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The show runs through April 20.

“Three Masters” showcases the lively, harmonious portraits by Claire Bergman; the rich, stylized oil paintings by Igor Kolombatovic; and the mixed-media collages of mundane objects by Henry Newman.

Claire Bergman describes herself as a portraitist, emphasizing the importance of the figure as a whole with an inner life of its own. She says the artistic process allows her to study characters, and she attributes her success to self-growth and self-confidence as her art style evolves and develops. She is best known for her work with oil, watercolor and pen and ink. She has said that her deafness influences her work, and she imagines that the subjects of her portraits are trying to lip-read or follow a conversation.

Igor Kolombatovic’s artwork explores themes of freedom emerging from oppression. After experiencing hardship and upheaval during World War II, Kolombatovic found freedom and refuge from Europe when he settled in Canada. He eventually moved to California, where he attended the San Francisco Art Institute. He worked for Charter USA as an architectural engineering draftsman and was a docent at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Oakland Museum of California. He is best known for his artwork that he says reminds him and others about how God’s blessings outweigh his struggles, as he sought to examine his deaf identity and the history involved.

Henry Newman’s art is characterized by a unique style that blends common household objects with the art of collage, seeing the potential in what others saw as trash or junk. Materials he used to create his mixed media collages included scraps from hardware and appliances, hinges, plywood, backboards from TV sets, old clothing, jar lids, rusted metal and cassette tapes. He saw his deafness as an artistic advantage because it gave him a good eye for visual perception. He also used a wide range of styles, including linecuts, assemblages and paintings, and celebrated Jewish history and identity through art, using Hebrew and Yiddish texts as influences. 

A closing reception, free and open to the public, will be held at the gallery 5-7 p.m. Friday, April 12.

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/.

For more information, contact Vienna McGrain at 585-475-4952 or Vienna.Carvalho@rit.edu.

‘Rise Up: Silent Margins’ exhibit documents artist’s life as a deaf person

black and white checks at the bottom with a figure walking into grass and flowers with more red flowers at the top.

A collection of paintings on display at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf explores deafness in a unique and powerful way. “Rise Up: Silent Margins,” a collection of 17 paintings by RIT/NTID alumna Ashley Hannan, runs through Feb. 23 in NTID’s Dyer Arts Center Glass Room.

Hannan’s paintings document her journey of coming to terms with being deaf, having a cochlear implant and being the only deaf person in the mainstream schools she attended. Of her piece The Black Hole of Conflicted Identity, Hannan says, “Growing up, after having been educated at an oral deaf school with intensive speech therapy and audiology testing, I still felt incomplete. Though I was implanted with a cochlear implant at age 6, ‘fixing’ me still did not fill in the hole I had and still have in my identity. Thousands of dollars was spent on my education to perfect my listening and speech. It wasn’t until my young adult years I began to awaken and notice the conflict in my self-esteem stemmed from the lack of understanding that there is a deaf culture that is just as functional as the hearing world. I was apprehensive of delving into the deaf world for my identity for a long time.”

Of her piece Be True, Hannan says, “It took me many years, maybe three decades, to realize that all I needed to do was ‘be true’ to myself. Reject the envy of being ‘hearing’ and nurture the ‘flaw’ I have, my deafness. Emerge into something beautiful that always has been there.”

As part of the exhibit, Hannan, a graduate of RIT’s graphic design program, has created accompanying text that explains the symbolism within each piece.

A closing reception for the exhibit will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 22 and a painting party will be held Feb. 23, in the gallery.

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/.

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.

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/.

RIT/NTID Dyer Arts Center director named ‘40 Under 40’ honoree

Light skinned female with short dark hair, wearing grey blazer and multicolored scarf standing next to art sculpture.

Known throughout Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf as a “force of nature,” Tabitha Jacques has been selected as a 2018 Forty Under 40 honoree by the Rochester Business Journal.

As director of NTID’s Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center, Jacques has been credited with expanding the number and enhancing the quality of exhibitions, including curating first-ever exhibits by deaf, black and deaf, Latinx artists; increasing NTID’s permanent collection of art, making it one of the largest collections of works by deaf artists anywhere in the world; collaborating with other organizations, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, to highlight art work by people with disabilities; and, along with RIT/NTID’s Center on Access Technology, has developed a mobile application providing gallery accessibility to deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind and blind museum visitors.

“Since arriving at NTID three years ago, Tabitha has moved all measurables in a positive direction,” said Gerry Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “Tabitha is working to change the face of museum accessibility in the Rochester area, and her efforts will bring about countless benefits to the Rochester community and beyond.”

Jacques, from Baton Rouge, La., formerly worked as assistive communication technology program manager at the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Washington state and as an admissions counselor at Gallaudet University. Prior to that, she worked as an exhibit curator for the Gallaudet University Museum Project and as an adjunct professor. She was also special projects coordinator for the National Postal Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She earned a Master of Arts in art history and museum studies from Georgetown University. In 2009, she received the Diversity Fellowship from the American Association of Museums, and she wrote the publication Introduction and Experience Within Space. She is also an accomplished lecturer.

Valerie Alhart, a 2015 graduate of RIT’s Saunders College of Business, is also among the honorees. Alhart, who earned her MBA, is senior director of marketing and communications for Pandion Optimization Alliance.

RBJ’s Forty Under 40 recognizes 40 men and women, under the age of 40, who have achieved professional success and have also made significant civic contributions to the community. The recipients will be honored Nov. 14 in a ceremony at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

More than 3,000 celebrate at RIT/NTID’s 50th anniversary alumni reunion

Three alumni, two younger and one older, together smiling.

More than 3,000 alumni from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf visited campus June 28 –July 1 to celebrate at the college’s 50th anniversary alumni reunion.

The world’s first and largest technological college for deaf and hard-of-hearing students kicked off a year-long celebration of its 50-year history, which coincides with RIT’s move to the Henrietta, New York, campus.

Festivities began with an alumni golf tournament at Mill Creek Golf Club Thursday, June 28, and an opening ceremony that evening, hosted by alumnus and actor CJ Jones. Jones, who recently starred in the motion picture “Baby Driver” and will be featured in the upcoming James Cameron sequel, “Avatar 2.”

Other events and activities during the reunion weekend included a barbeque dinner, mini-reunions for current and former members of numerous clubs and organizations, including fraternities and sororities, and entertainment by popular alumni such as hip-hop artist Sean Forbes, ASL performance artist Rosa Lee Timm and actors Amber Zion, Kris Pumphrey and Daniel Durant, who most recently starred on Broadway in the revival of “Spring Awakening.”  

In addition to alumni from the college’s ‘pioneer’ class and founding faculty, four of RIT/NTID’s past leaders attended the reunion: founding director D. Robert Frisina; Robert Davila, the college’s first deaf leader; James J. DeCaro; and T. Alan Hurwitz. The college’s current leader, Gerard Buckley, is the first alumnus to lead the institution, which boasts more than 8,000 graduates.

The college’s Dyer Arts Center hosted an exhibition “50 Artists, 50 Years” featuring works by 50 RIT/NTID alumni artists along with the unveiling of a three-paneled mural, known as a triptych, entitled “Together” created by deaf artist Susan Dupor and commissioned for the 50th anniversary. “Together” portrays the flourishing life and history of the National Technical Institute of the Deaf over 50 years.

RIT/NTID Performing Arts and MSM Productions, Ltd. reprised the popular “The Wonderful World of Oz” in the college’s Panara Theatre for four special performances with proceeds to benefit the theater program.

Founded by an act of Congress in 1965, with the first class enrolled in 1968, NTID represents the first concerted effort to educate large numbers of deaf students within a college campus planned principally for hearing students. Among RIT's 18,000 full- and part-time students are nearly 1,100 deaf students from the United States and other countries.

NTID alumni have gone on to work and leadership positions in all areas of business, industry, government and non-profit sectors.

“We are thrilled that so many alumni from near and far joined us to celebrate 50 years of RIT/NTID,” Buckley said. “The sense of Tiger Pride was evident throughout the campus all weekend, and will leave an indelible impression on all of us who were in attendance.”

To commemorate the milestone, a book, “A Shining Beacon: Fifty Years of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf,” edited by RIT/NTID alumnus James K. McCarthy, has been published by RIT Press.

A photo gallery of the weekend's events can be found in here.

RIT/NTID exhibits highlight 50 years of deaf art and history

artwork with a woman's face, butterflies, clocks, grid, colored balls, flowers and more.

As part of its 50th anniversary activities, Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf will host a “50 Artists 50 Years” exhibition in the college’s Dyer Arts Center. The exhibition opened June 22 and runs through Oct. 20, with an artists’ reception 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19.

NTID, the world’s first and largest technological college for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, has graduated many talented artists throughout its 50-year history. The exhibition showcases 50 alumni artists, displaying more than 100 works of art, including mediums such as painting, photography, mixed media, wood, textile, watercolors and more. 

Works by well-known artists such as the late Chuck Baird, along with local artists Laural Hartman and many others are included in the exhibition.

Along with the “50 Artists 50 Years” exhibition, the center will host an NTID's History exhibition in the Milton H. and Ray B. Ohringher Gallery, displaying a variety of memorabilia and highlighting the contributions made by RIT/NTID alumni, faculty, staff and students.

On Friday, June 29, as part of 50th anniversary reunion festivities, a triptych—or three-paneled work—by deaf artist Susan Dupor will be unveiled. NTID commissioned Dupor, who attended the college, to create this triptych to mark the college’s 50th anniversary.  

According to Dupor, the piece, entitled “Together,” visualizes NTID’s 50-year journey.

“‘Together’ honors the people of our past who have aspired to create a better future for us; we now take the time to look back and give appreciation and gratitude for their efforts,” Dupor said.

“Together” portrays the flourishing life and history of the National Technical Institute of the Deaf over 50 years. A vital and complex place that brings people together. In the painting, 50 people are gathered together on the Frisina Quad, which is central to NTID. Surrounded by the Dining Commons, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall and Tower A, figures from five decades are juxtaposed by a color scheme and fashion trends of their eras.

“NTID is a palette of people from all walks of life, which makes it an extraordinarily global community,” Dupor said. “Figures are conversing in sign language; each signed word has a special connection and meaning representing NTID. The figures symbolize everyday people who elicit long-lost memories of people we have known in the past who have been buried in the deepest recesses of our minds.”

 

Thousands expected to celebrate at RIT/NTID’s 50th anniversary reunion

NTID 50th Anniversary Reunion in brown with orange graphics representing buildings on campus.

More than 3,000 alumni from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf are expected to visit campus for a reunion June 28 –July 1 to celebrate the college’s 50th anniversary.

The world’s first and largest technological college for deaf and hard-of-hearing students will kick off a year-long celebration of its 50-year history, which coincides with RIT’s move to the Henrietta, New York, campus.

The festivities will begin with an alumni golf tournament at Mill Creek Golf Club Thursday, June 28, with an opening ceremony that evening, hosted by alumnus and actor CJ Jones. Jones recently starred in the motion picture “Baby Driver” and will be featured in the upcoming James Cameron sequel, “Avatar 2.”

Other events and activities during the reunion weekend include a barbeque dinner, mini-reunions for current and former members of numerous clubs and organizations, including fraternities and sororities, and entertainment by popular alumni such as hip-hop artist Sean Forbes and actors Amber Zion, Kris Pumphrey and Daniel Durant, who most recently starred on Broadway in the revival of “Spring Awakening.”  

In addition to alumni from the college’s ‘pioneer’ class and founding faculty, four of RIT/NTID’s past leaders will be in attendance: founding director D. Robert Frisina; Robert Davila, the college’s first deaf leader; James J. DeCaro; and T. Alan Hurwitz. The college’s current leader, Gerard Buckley, is the first alumnus to lead the institution, which boasts more than 8,000 graduates.

The college’s Dyer Arts Center will host an exhibition “50 Artists, 50 Years” featuring works by 50 RIT/NTID alumni artists. The center will also host the unveiling of a three-paneled mural, known as a triptych, entitled “Together” created by deaf artist Susan Dupor and commissioned for the 50th anniversary.  “Together” portrays the flourishing life and history of the National Technical Institute of the Deaf over 50 years.

RIT/NTID Performing Arts and MSM Productions, Ltd. will reprise the popular “The Wonderful World of Oz” in the college’s Panara Theatre for four special performances with proceeds to benefit the theater program. Tickets can be purchased through the RIT Box Office.

Founded by an act of Congress in 1965, with the first class enrolled in 1968, NTID represents the first concerted effort to educate large numbers of deaf students within a college campus planned principally for hearing students. Among RIT's 18,000 full- and part-time students are nearly 1,100 deaf students from the United States and other countries.

Since its founding, alumni have gone on to work and leadership positions in all areas of business, industry, government and non-profit sectors.

“We are thrilled that so many alumni from near and far will be joining us to celebrate 50 years of RIT/NTID,” Buckley said. “We have a lot of great activities planned, but this reunion is really about old friends reminiscing and reflecting on how far we’ve come in just 50 short years.”

To commemorate the milestone, a book, “A Shining Beacon: Fifty Years of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf,” edited by RIT/NTID alumnus James K. McCarthy, has been published by RIT Press.

Editor’s note: Media is invited to attend RIT/NTID’s 50th Anniversary Reunion Opening Ceremony 6 p.m. Thursday, June 28, in the Gene Polisseni Center on the RIT campus.

Additional photos and video clips of RIT/NTID’s 50th Anniversary Reunion weekend can be made available to members of the media by contacting susan.murad@rit.edu.

 

 

RIT lecturer Eric Kunsman receives 2018 Edline M. Chun Award

light skinned male and female with small boy and girl. man is holding a clear glass award.

Eric Kunsman, a lecturer for the Visual Communications Studies Department in RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf and an adjunct professor for the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS), is the fifth recipient of the Edline M. Chun Award for Outstanding Teaching and Service.

Named in honor of the late RIT adjunct professor Edline Chun, the award has been given annually since 2014 to a CIAS adjunct faculty member who exemplifies excellence and dedication in teaching and who has given outstanding service to a CIAS-affiliated school and to the college.

“This award means a lot to me since I knew and admired Edline, and I know what it represents,” said Kunsman, who also owns Booksmart Studio, a fine art digital printing studio in Rochester, N.Y., specializing in innovative techniques and services for photographers and book artists. “Owning my own business, I know the importance of staying relevant and passionate in the industry, and I try to bring that excitement to the classroom.”

Before coming to RIT in 2000, Kunsman, a native of Bethlehem, Pa., was an assistant professor at Mercer County Community College, where he also served as the coordinator of the photography program. He has led national workshops on photography and digital printing. He holds an MFA in book arts/printmaking from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and an MS in electronic publishing/graphic arts media, a BS in biomedical photography and BFA in fine art photography, all from RIT.

In addition, Kunsman’s photographs and books have been exhibited internationally and can be seen on display in several prominent collections throughout the United States.

“Eric is a dedicated and passionate member of the SPAS team who exemplifies all of the qualities of an outstanding faculty member,” said Therese Mulligan, administrative chair of SPAS. “Whether he’s teaching students or playing a key role in SPAS initiatives such as the signature RIT Big Shot, Eric brings real-world industry knowledge to the classroom combined with a sincere interest in helping students learn the material and succeed in their careers.”

Ms. Chun was a well-respected and beloved faculty member who taught in CIAS for nearly two decades. Her colleagues in RIT’s School of Media Sciences described her as someone who “always went above and beyond to serve the students and the school with passion, integrity and the utmost class.”

RIT/NTID develops museum accessibility mobile app

Two men, one with white hair and one with dark hair, looking at a mobile phone in front of artwork.

Art lovers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing soon will have access to a deeper, richer museum experience, thanks to Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The college is launching a mobile app to be used in its Dyer Arts Center that provides content in various forms, including video in American Sign Language, transcripts and audio and visual descriptions. The app was developed by members of RIT/NTID’s Center on Access Technology in cooperation with Dyer personnel and deaf and hard-of-hearing students from two of RIT’s other colleges: the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing & Information Sciences and the College of Imaging Arts and Science.

Wendy Dannels, Center on Access Technology research faculty member, mentors several part-time and co-op student employees on this one of a kind accessibility project. “It is a joy witnessing students building good character and self-confidence navigating this new technology,” she said.

The app will describe works on exhibit in three locations on the RIT campus: the NTID President’s Hallway, Rosica Hall and the arts center itself. There is a map showing the locations for the various exhibits contained within the app.

Information on the various art pieces can be accessed three ways: through a numbered system near each art piece that can be entered manually into the app, by taking a photo of a QR code, or though NFC, or Near Field Communication, a short range wireless communication technology that allows two devices equipped with NFC technology to communicate with each other and share information as soon as they are close to one another.

Additionally, the app, powered by Museum Accessibility Intelligence, or MUSEAI™, contains an option that has been developed for use by those with vision issues, using a dark background, large font size, visual descriptor and audio description. Associate Director of the Center on Access Technology, Brian Trager, foresees a huge impact in end-users’ experiences using MUSEAI.

“MUSEAI is a unique platform for museum goers to enjoy and view additional content regarding an exhibit, artwork, historical facts and more,” Trager said. “What makes MUSEAI unique is that we designed accessibility to be the forefront of this technology to enable an enjoyable experience for everyone. MUSEAI serves as the cornerstone for accessibility, and the NTID Center on Access Technology aims to raise the bar higher for museums across the globe.”

After the unveiling, focus groups will provide feedback as perpetual testing continues to refine the app and its abilities.

“We’re very excited about testing and launching the Dyer Arts App,” said Dyer Arts Center director Tabitha Jacques. “It will be especially helpful during NTID’s 50th Anniversary Reunion, happening June 28-July 1, when more than 2,500 people will be on campus – many of whom have never seen the Dyer Arts Center.”

RIT/NTID is home to one of the largest permanent collections of works by Deaf and hard-of-hearing artists in the world.