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Wells College Awarded $20K for Visiting Artists Program


Wells College has been awarded $20,000 from the New York State Council on the Arts in support of the college’s Visiting Artists Program for the 2024 fiscal year.

On Nov. 15, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced more than $46 million in grant awards through NYSCA that will fund more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations and 500 individual artists to support New York’s vibrant creative economy by building community, boosting tourism and local economies, and strengthening personal and collective health, according to the office’s official press release. “Research confirms what we’ve always known here in New York: arts and culture are a powerhouse, with a staggering return on investment for our economy and our communities. Nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences generated $151.7 billion in economic activity nationwide in 2022 and New York’s unparalleled arts and culture sector is leading the way to benefit our residents, our students, and our visitors every day, ”Hochul said. “I commend these grantees on their achievements and look forward to their contributions in the coming year.”

Wells applied under the Support for Organizations category and received funding to continue its Visiting Artists Program, which will allow the arts faculty and staff to bring multiple writers, artists, and performers into the Wells and surrounding communities. The Visiting Artists Program is a collaborative effort that brings together four well-established, public-facing arts programs at Wells with their respective directors on a single committee: Dan Rosenberg, Associate Professor of English and English Department Chair; Anna Ialeggio, Assistant Professor of Studio Art and Director of the String Room Gallery; Mary Tasillo, Director of the Book Arts Center; and Claire Mannle, Assistant Professor of Theatre.

The program is responsible for many interactive events and workshops, such as award-winning writers visiting campus, known as the Visiting Writers Series, exhibitions from world-renowned artists who feature their artwork in the college’s String Room Gallery, an annual Book Arts Summer Institute that invites the public to learn the book arts from acclaimed book artists within the college’s Book Arts Center, and the continuation of performing arts within the college’s Theatre Department, which presents four to six free and open-to-the-public performances annually and drew more than 700 people to Phipps Auditorium with its productions last season.

Ialeggio said there has been a dramatic increase in collaborative programs on-campus thanks to their Wells colleagues and the NYSCA funding the college has received in prior years. “ I am very excited for the opportunity to continue deepening our uniquely interdisciplinary work, as well as grow the Filmmaker In-Residence Series, which was launched in fall 2023,” Ialeggio said. “I tend to think that every time we plan a future exhibition, invite a visiting writer, or bring a performing artist to campus, we’re thinking in terms of the new: how can we continue to expand our idea of what is possible in the arts

Tasillo, who began as the new Book Arts Center Director this summer, said, “ I’m excited that this round of NYSCA funding will support a revival of regular Book Arts programming and an opportunity to invite our wider Finger Lakes community to join our students at our very unique resource. State funding for arts and culture is critical to nurturing broad access to creative work that sparks imagination and new ways of thinking about the world.” Rosenberg said he is grateful for NYSCA’s consistent support from past funding of the Visiting Writers Series, which he also directs biannually at Wells, and the Visiting Artists Program allows him to work more closely with his colleagues to brainstorm new ideas for future arts programming. Rosenberg said students who have interacted with their programming recently have shared positive experiences with him that made him feel hopeful for their future.

“A couple of weeks ago, I was walking with one of my students between two different events featuring a visiting writer,” Rosenberg said. “She said to me, unprompted, that she was so grateful for the opportunity to meet these writers, to learn from them, and to get to know them as people. That access to wonderful artists makes their path seem conceivable to her, like her aspirations are actually attainable because these other humans, who were just chatting with her in a lounge, did it. Seeing that expanding sense of possibility is one of the joys of what we do as artists, teachers, and organizers.”

More details on future events and other information on arts at Wells can be found at arts.wells.edu

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