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

13 Mar

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.

Rochester Red Wings baseball partners with RIT/NTID, Rochester School for the Deaf for Deaf Culture Day at Frontier Field April 28

5 Mar

three men, one woman, two mascots and a mannequin with baseball jersey and hat.

Rochester Red Wings baseball, in partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and Rochester School for the Deaf, will host the first Deaf Culture Day at Frontier Field, Sunday, April 28. The 1:05 p.m. game is a matchup between the Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox.

The announcement on March 5 at RIT/NTID featured Red Wings officials, administrators from RIT/NTID and RSD, student athletes, and mascots Spikes, from the Red Wings, and Ritchie, from RIT.

During the announcement, the Red Wings unveiled a specially designed jersey and baseball cap with “Red Wings” embroidered in American Sign Language. Replica T-shirts and adjustable caps, along with a ticket to the game, are available to fans for $20 and $22, respectively. Other merchandise, including flex-fit caps, adjustable caps, fitted caps and T-shirts, are available online or at the team store at One Morrie Silver Way in Rochester. Single tickets to the game–$7/$9/$11 using the promo code GOWINGS – are for sale at https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/BuyNew.asp?EventID=262647&PromoCode=gowings. Proceeds from sales of game-worn jerseys will benefit NTID and RSD.

Interpreters will be on site during the game at Frontier Field to assist fans, and there will be a “silent inning,” without public address announcements, to raise further awareness about deafness.

“We are proud to partner with RIT/NTID and Rochester School for the Deaf for Deaf Culture Day so that we can celebrate the deaf community and the important impact that deaf citizens have had in Rochester,” said Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason. “We look forward to hosting many deaf members of the Rochester community and their families, while also educating all fans about deaf culture. The Red Wings are excited to have our players wear American Sign Language-inspired caps and jerseys for this special game. We also look forward to welcoming back deaf citizen and former NTID staff member Ogden Whitehead to Frontier Field, who was a fixture for many years while playing the role of ‘Recycleman,’ the Red Wings biggest cheerleader.”

NTID President Gerry Buckley spoke about the connection between deafness and baseball, as well as the rich history of Rochester’s deaf community.

“Throughout history, baseball and the deaf community have been intertwined,” he said. “And Rochester, which is known as ‘Sign City,’ is home to a historic deaf community. Furthermore, deaf and hard-of-hearing fans have been among the most loyal Red Wings followers. RIT/NTID is proud of its own history of deaf baseball players and is proud to partner with the Rochester Red Wings.”

Antony McLetchie, superintendent and CEO of Rochester School for the Deaf, said “RSD has a long history with baseball. This is a very exciting time for us and we look forward to this event being part of our history with the Rochester Red Wings.”

Amelia Hamilton, a third-year photographic and imaging arts major from Austin, Texas, worked with the Red Wings organization this past summer. “I enjoyed photographing the games and the fans. Rochester is a great community and being with the team helped me to get to know it better. I’m excited to see where my career will take me, but I will never forget the great experiences with the Red Wings.”

For more information, contact Vienna McGrain at 585-475-4952 or Vienna.Carvalho@rit.edu; or Nate Rowan, director of communications, Rochester Red Wings, at 585-454-1001, ext. 3006, or NRowan@redwingsbaseball.com.

Annual RIT spring career fair provides students an opportunity to find co-ops and jobs

1 Mar

Students dressed in professional attire stand in line at recruitment fair.

Most college career fairs pair students with company recruiters looking to hire students after graduation. But at RIT, thousands of co-op placements a year also are offered, giving students on-the-job training in their field and a foot in the door even before they graduate. More.

Construction begins on RIT Dubai’s new campus

25 Feb

Five officials from RIT and United Arab Emirates stand in a line and each one holds a shovels in dirt.

Construction has started on RIT’s new state-of-the-art campus scheduled to open in 2020 in the Dubai Silicon Oasis. The new campus, which will feature an innovation and entrepreneurship center and sustainable building processes, will be developed in two phases and will span more than 35 acres. The United Arab Emirates government is funding the approximately $136 million project.

Since launching in 2008, RIT Dubai’s enrollment has grown steadily. In the fall, RIT Dubai enrollment grew to more than 600 students, and the new campus will be able to accommodate up to 4,000. The state-of-the-art academic complex will house five colleges–Electrical Engineering and Computing, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Business Administration, Sciences, and Humanities. More.

RIT/NTID students attend Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

22 Feb

Five students and a faculty member in winter coats stand in front of theater doors.

Victoria Covell, Jamie Froio and Kimmie Sandberg were all part of RIT’s production of Cabaret from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, 2018. Covell, a third-year graphic design student from Jacksonville, Ill., has always been a dancer, but wasn’t involved in theater until this production where she played the lead role of Sally Bowles. Unlike Covell, Froio, a second-year theater arts student from Hull, Mass., has been involved with theater since she was 4 years old and has been involved with 20 productions, including her role as Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret. Sandberg, a third-year new media marketing student from New Milford, Conn., has been involved with theater since her freshman year of high school and worked behind the scenes as the stage manager for the production.

Due to their exceptional performances, Covell, Froio and Sandberg were nominated to attend the Kennedy Center American College Theater Regional Festival (KCACTF) Jan. 15-19 at Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J. KCACTF is a national organization that promotes all aspects of collegiate theater across the country, including acting, dance, directing, stage management and more. To qualify, schools enter their productions into the festival and faculty from other universities attend the performances, give feedback and nominate students to attend the regional festival.

At the festival, Covell, Froio and Sandberg represented RIT in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, the Musical Theater Intensive Scholarship and the Stage Management Fellowship Program competitions.

Covell and Froio emphasized their appreciation for Andy Head, visiting assistant professor of performing arts and visual culture at both RIT and NTID, and interpreters Catherine Kiwitt and Cynthia Collward. Head, Kiwitt and Collward worked with them during the original performance of Cabaret, and traveled with the group to the KCACTF festival in Montclair, N.J.

For more information about the upcoming productions for the 2019-2020 College of Liberal Arts and NTID Performing Arts theatrical season, go to https://www.ntid.rit.edu/theater/announcements/2019-2020-theatrical-season.

Question: Why did you get involved with theater and the performing arts program on campus?

Answer (Covell): I’ve been dancing for about 18 years, and I am always trying to find opportunities to dance, but I never thought about being involved in theater. What happened was, after I won first place for Dr. Munson’s Performing Art Challenge in April 2018, I got an email from professor Andy Head saying that there was an opportunity to dance in a theater production called Cabaret. My mind was set to dance, and I was super excited to get involved. After I auditioned, I ended up getting the lead role and sucked into theater life. It was absolutely the best experience of my performing arts career.

Question: What is Cabaret about?

Answer (Sandberg): Cabaret is a story about an American novelist, Cliff Bradshaw, who travels to Berlin to work on his newest novel. In Berlin, he meets Sally Bowles, a worker at the Kit Kat Klub, and they fall in love. They both get caught up in the nightlife and culture, but, as the story goes on, it starts to get darker and darker as the Nazi party begins taking power in Germany. When it is clear there is no hope left, Cliff decides it is time to leave, thus leaving behind a life and a woman he loved.

Question: What was your reaction when you learned you were invited to the KCACTF regional festival?

Answer (Froio): I don’t think I’ve ever cried harder in my life. I was so overwhelmed with happiness, I just couldn’t believe it. A lot of the tears were because of how bittersweet the moment was because my grandfather wasn’t around to see it. He was my strongest supporter, but he passed away right before I came back to school in August. Cabaret was my first performance without him.

Question: What sort of activities did you do at the festival?

Answer (Froio): I went to a bunch of workshops that I was interested in. I got to sing, dance and act every single day. I was selected to perform in a Late Night Cabaret thanks to my Musical Theater Intensive Scholarship audition, which was an absolute blast. I also auditioned for a theater company called the Open Jar Institute, which I was accepted into. So, I will be travelling to New York City for their summer intensive program.

Question: You all presented two scenes from Cabaret at the conference. Was it intimidating performing in front of an audience that was experienced and knowledgeable about performing arts?

Answer (Covell): It was not intimidating because, surprisingly, we were pretty good for being from a technical university that isn’t specifically a theatrical school. We have a lot of talented students at RIT. I was super proud, and it was a privilege to perform our scenes from Cabaret that represented our diverse university of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing students combined.

Question: Overall, what was the most rewarding part of this festival experience?

Answer (Froio): Definitely the people I met and the connections I made. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt more accepted and celebrated as a “theater kid.”

Question: Would you recommend that other performing arts students try to get involved with a festival like this?

Answer (Covell): Yes, I would highly recommend that students grab opportunities to get involved with a festival like this. It’s not just about acting. If you’re a costume designer, set designer or makeup artist, it’s awesome to get exposure and learn from the best people working in that field. There are amazing resources and networks out there if anyone interested in performing arts wanted to pursue a performing arts career.

Question: Are there any new productions coming up that students can get involved in?

Answer (Sandberg): Yes. There is one more COLA show this semester, AI-Pollo, NTID has Fences coming up, and the RIT Players are putting on Drowsy Chaperone. There are always ways to get involved with the arts if you are interested, and being involved doesn’t mean you have to be onstage. Shows are always looking for help with costumes, props and run crew.

Question: Do you think you’ll continue pursuing your love for theater after you graduate?

Answer (Sandberg): I really can’t see myself not being involved with theater. When I got to college, I really didn’t think that I was going to continue to do theater, but I didn’t realize how much I would miss it. Right now, my plan is to work on productions for the remainder of my time at RIT. After graduation, once I am settled somewhere, I’ll start to look for a local theater to get involved with. There really is no group like a theater group. I strongly encourage anyone who has even the slightest interest in theater to pursue it. Worst comes to worst, you find out it’s not for you, but more than likely you will find a group of lifelong friends.