Community Art Forum

The lovely Cathy Messier wrote up a review of the Community Arts Forum! Enjoy!

On Thursday, March 3, members of the three schools of creative arts met for the Community Arts Forum in the Laurie Theater – the first event of its kind at Brandeis. The purpose of this forum was to establish shared goals and needs of the arts at Brandeis with each other and share them with the the administration, including our new president, Fred Lawrence. This is community of people who often only heard of needs of their own department and the forum provided a chance for the three schools to unite and establish a sense of solidarity with each other, in light of the recent budget cuts and other financial difficulties we all have had to face.

The event started with statements from the three chairs of the departments and the head of the Rose Arts Museum. All four statements were eloquently presented, displaying a love for their department while not hiding the sadness and disappointment surrounding the recent struggles faced. Scott Edmiston then asked the audience to voice any thoughts they were having, to which both students and faculty responded. Attendees were then divided into discussion groups, led by UDR’s, to establish the strengths, goals, and needs of the arts departments. Many of these discussions expressed a need for greater cohesion between both arts and non-arts communities, and within the different arts departments themselves. Another need expressed by several groups was regarding the lack of space for classes, and the lack of diversity when it came to course options.

After these discussions took place, Lawrence arrived and was interviewed by Julie Judson ’11. The interview questions varied immensely – some were asked to get to know him as an appreciator of arts, while others were on touchier issues, such as the Rose Arts Museum controversy. After the interview, members of the community were allowed to ask the president – or each other – questions, which also varied. Students and faculty presented ideas for how to build bridges between the arts/arts and arts/non-arts communities, such as holding arts events in Science and Math buildings. A student also expressed how valuable classes were when they brought people from different departments in and found a way to integrate seemingly different non-arts material into an arts class.

I would say the Arts Forum was a success, but that it is important to acknowledge it as a first step, rather than a culmination. Many people who attended this forum said they enjoyed connecting with people they normally do not interact with, and that the conversations that took place should have been happening already outside of our own departments. These discussions should continue happening afterwords, perhaps in a more structured way (since the needs and goals were so varied and numerous that they naturally almost seemed scattered).

Jazz Ensemble

Last night, Sunday December 7th, I had the immense pleasure of attending the Brandeis Jazz Ensemble semester concert. Directed by the talented Bob Nieske, the Jazz Ensemble concentrated on music made popular in the 1960’s, focused on Thelonious Monk Big Band, arranged by Oliver Nelson.

The concert was structured in two parts: small groups and full band. Both sections were phenomenal, and highlighted the individual talents and incredible orchestration of the entire group. I am personally a HUGE Duke Ellington fan, and I was so excited to hear an excellent rendition of Johnny Come Lately. Another personal favorite was the Miles Davis tune Dear Old Stockholm.

There were three small groups preforming:
Nick Gordon- Trumpet
James McGregor- Alto Sax
Elliot Lustig- Tenor Sax
Jessie Fields- Trombone
Nick Monath- Guitar
Jake Weiner- Bass
Dan Schreiber- Drums
Eran Alpern- Drums

Work Song by Nat Adderly
Stratusphunk by George Russell Nick

Gabe Bronk- Alto Sax
Doug Nevins- Tenor Sax
Ben Gartenstein- Trumpet
Anneke Reich- Voice
Erica Rabner- Voice
Nick Monath- Guitar
Jake Weiner- Bass
Dan Schreiber- Drums

The Peacocks by Jimmy Rowles
Johnny Come Lately by Duke Ellington


Craig Ellman- Alto Sax
Jeremy Goldenberg- Tenor Sax
Guan Ho Nam- Trumpet
Nick Monath- Guitar
Jake Weiner- Bass
Eran Alpern- Drums

Dear Old Stockholm by traditional/Davis
Straight No Chaser by Thelonius Monk

All together, the full band played songs by Thelonius Monk and arranged by Oliver Nelson
1. Let’s Cool One
2. Monk’s Point
3. Little Rootie Tootie
4. Trinkle Tinkle
5. Reflections
6. Brilliant Corners

All together a wonderful and enjoyable concert!
I was a little saddened at the lack of student turn out to enjoy such a great effort from fellow Brandeis students. I understand it is finals time, but taking a break to enjoy the arts can be productive as well.
Many student performance groups are hosting their final shows, and I strongly encourage the Brandeis community to go and support them!

Apply for a Festival of the Arts Grant!!

Do you have a creative visual or performance based art project that you would like to showcase? Then why not get it funded? Applying for a Festival of the Arts Grant requires only a few short essays regarding the goals and intentions for your project, and could additionally help you flesh out a simple idea into a fully fledged proposal via their guiding questions. Last May’s Festival of the Arts Grant Recipients organized a folk stage at Slosberg, produced a theatrical work with students from the Waltham Boys and Girls Club, showcased drawings of feet of various people in various cultures, and much more.

As an incentive for activist minded artists, and those who feel that their project serves to positively impact the community as a whole, the Justice League, in conjunction with the Office of the Arts, will be subsidizing some of the projects which we feel best embody our progressive values.

The application for the grant, due November 30th at 5 p.m., can be found right here. Questions can be directed to Ingrid Schorr, Festival Director, at

DON’T MISS OUT on art by Brandeis faculty!

Yesterday, at lunch with Ingrid Schorr, we learned of an amazing opportunity for Brandeis students- to see beautiful works of art! JustArts is an exhibition showcasing artwork by Brandeis faculty and staff, will be on display in the Dreitzer Gallery, Spingold Theater Center, from November 16 to 22. This means MONDAY is the last day!! It is an amazing exhibit, and I encourage everyone to go!

More than 100 works will be on display, by individuals from across campus, including the departments of psychology, theater, fine arts, and politics; the mail room; LTS, and the department of athletics.

Last year’s exhibition, the first in Brandeis history, was “a joyous occasion, with so many people truly paying attention to the art and talking about it,” Professor Mick Watson of the Department of Psychology wrote in an email to the organizers. “And the art work was good — well worth looking at. Best of all, the works came from so many diverse members of the Brandeis community — people who may have been doing art as a hobby, but who took it seriously and had created aesthetic and often moving pieces.”

JustArts is sponsored by the Office of the Arts.

Liberal + Arts = Brandeis?

Ever since the announcement of the closing of the Rose, there has been a lot of speculation (and anger) about how much Brandeis values the arts on campus (or doesn’t). I have never really had any evidence one way or the other, although I surely hope Brandeis doesn’t cut back on their arts programs since I am a Theater major, and we have one of the best Acting MFA programs around.

However, Jehuda and Shula have recently led me to believe that Brandeis will not rush to make cuts to the arts program. At a party after Saturday night’s performance, Andrew Neiman (not a Brandeis student), the lead actor in Brandeis Theatre Company’s Siddhartha, told me that Jehuda and Shula, who were in the audience that night, approached him after the show ended to congratulate him on his performance. (If the couple needs to be convinced to support the arts we may be in luck because Jehuda was apparently very endeared when Andy broke out his Hebrew skills.) In addition, the Women’s Studies Research Center of which Shula is the Director, frequently features art exhibits, like their show which will begin this April, Cairns.

The President and his wife’s personal support of the arts are an encouraging sign to me that during the current economic crisis, the arts will not be cut without hesitation as they often are during hard times. But we’ll have to wait and see in order to find out for sure.