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News Releases from SUNY Fredonia

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Ralph J. Blasting appointed dean of new College of Visual and Performing Arts
Tuesday, April 02, 2013

On July 1, SUNY Fredonia will officially open its new College of Visual and Performing Arts, formally combining its world-renowned School of Music with its strong departments of Theatre and Dance, and Visual Arts and New Media, as well as the Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center. Today, the university named Dr. Ralph J. Blasting as its founding dean.

Dr. Blasting comes to Fredonia from Siena College in Albany, N.Y., where he has served as dean of its College of Liberal Arts since 2004. In this role he oversaw nearly 100 faculty and 1,300 students within 11 departments. During his tenure the campus added new tenure-track faculty positions, established new academic programs and partnerships with area cultural organizations, and built new academic facilities.

Prior to joining Siena, Blasting was a member of the Department of Theatre Arts at Towson University in Baltimore from 1989 to 2004, serving as chair since 1997. A native of Herkimer, N.Y., he holds a bachelor of Fine Arts in Scenic Design/Technical Theatre from Wayne State University, a master of arts in Theatre History from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in Drama Studies from the University of Toronto.

“I am honored to have been selected for this exciting new position,” Blasting said. “SUNY Fredonia’s arts programs have a powerful reputation already, because of their quality and focus on student achievement. I can hardly wait to begin working with the outstanding faculty and over 1,000 arts majors and minors. Together, we will strengthen and expand SUNY Fredonia’s national and global presence in the arts.”

Discussions to form SUNY Fredonia’s new College of Visual and Performing Arts began in 2008, as the university sought to leverage several of its core strengths to create a more cross-disciplinary environment for student learning and faculty collaboration. The decision was made to proceed in 2011, with the dean search commencing in 2012.

In addition to working with more than 120 faculty and staff, Dr. Blasting will also oversee the pending addition to the Rockefeller Arts Center, the campus’ 120,000-square-foot fine and performing arts complex which offers an Arts Administration degree and includes three performance spaces and two art galleries. Construction is set to begin this summer on the $40 million, 40,000-square-foot expansion.

“Dr. Blasting is clearly an accomplished leader with a passion for the arts,” said Dr. Terry Brown who, like Blasting, will begin at SUNY Fredonia on July 1 as the university’s new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “He demonstrated a strong commitment to teaching and learning, managerial acuity, and an entrepreneurial spirit, all of which we were seeking among the candidates. I am confident he will come in and quickly enhance this important strength within our university.”

Concurrent with the new college will be the reconfiguration of the present College of Arts and Sciences — to be renamed the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — which will include the remaining 16 departments, and continue under the leadership of Dean John Kijinski.

The formation of the new college and the upcoming addition to the Rockefeller Arts Center are the latest in a series of substantial investments in the visual and performing arts at Fredonia. The School of Music has experienced several expansions in its history, including the addition of the acoustically superb Rosch Recital Hall in 2004, followed by its state-of-the-art sound recording technology studios in 2007, and the addition of the beautiful Robert and Marilyn Maytum Music Rehearsal Halls for its large ensembles in 2010.

“All of this is part of realizing the strategic campus vision developed several years ago and reinforced in the Power of Fredonia plan,” said SUNY Fredonia President Virginia Horvath. “The formation of the new college gives a distinct identity to programs that have been part of Fredonia’s strength since the late 19th century. Once known as the place to study if you wanted to teach piano, in the 20th century Fredonia expanded degree offerings to include such programs as music performance, studio art, acting, technical theatre, musical theatre, new media, art history, composition, dance, and sound recording technology. Dr. Blasting is a perfect choice to lead our dedicated faculty and professional staff in teaching students and engaging the community in the arts.”

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Arts on Campus

Mainstage Series concludes with drama, 'The Shape of Things'
Mainstage Series concludes with drama, 'The Shape of Things'

The Department of Theatre and Dance concludes its season with the modern drama, “The Shape of Things,” by American playwright Neil LaBute. Six performances are scheduled from April 25 to May 3 in Bartlett Theatre at Rockefeller Arts Center as part of the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series. Dates and times are April 25, 26 and May 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on April 27 at 2 p.m.

Read more.

Wind Ensemble to give final concert of the academic year
Wind Ensemble to give final concert of the academic year

The SUNY Fredonia Wind Ensemble will give its final performance of the academic year on Wednesday, April 30 at 8 p.m. in King Concert Hall. The event is free and open to the public. The concert will feature a diverse program of works under the direction of Dr. Paula Holcomb.

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New Horizons Band to present spring concert on April 24
New Horizons Band to present spring concert on April 24

The New Horizons Band of Western New York will present a spring concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, in King Concert Hall. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

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SUNYWide Film Festival honors four Fredonia students

Four Fredonia students received awards at the 5th annual SUNYWide Film Festival and Symposium held on campus April 10 to 12. Those honored included Maisy Keller of Kingston, Kyra Slawski of Wading River, Jason Chadwick of Grand Island and Kirsten Vine of Corning.

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Children’s Concerts Series concludes season on April 26
Children’s Concerts Series concludes season on April 26

The Musical Journeys Program of the School of Music concludes its eighth season of free events designed to appeal to very young children, with half hour concerts on Saturday, April 26, at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. at the Dunkirk Free Library at 536 Central Ave. Selected student ensembles from the Fredonia School of Music are featured in the series during the academic year.

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An evening with the Marion Fellow for Visual and Performing Arts
An evening with the Marion Fellow for Visual and Performing Arts

Professor Elizabeth Lee was awarded the SUNY Fredonia Inaugural Marion Fellowship for the Visual and Performing Arts for the 2013-2014 year. On Thursday, May 1 she will be presenting, “Cosmological Process,” at 5:30 p.m. in Marvel Theatre. The new Art Gallery Director will be also announced and the 2014-2015 Marion Fellow will be introduced. The event is free and all are welcome.

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DuffleBag Theatre returns with 'Cinderella'
DuffleBag Theatre returns with 'Cinderella'

The Kaleidoscope Family Series at the Rockefeller Arts Center concludes its season with an interactive production of “Cinderella” with DuffleBag Theatre on Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in Marvel Theatre. Since being founded 1992, the “Nearly World Famous” DuffleBag Theatre has become one of the most celebrated companies in North America.

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