Another spring semester has arrived at the University, and as students settle into their classes, the various art departments are excited to share a rich assortment of events with the rest of the campus community. From live theater performances to African-American music spanning centuries, there are countless opportunities to immerse yourself in the arts this spring.


Visual Arts

By Aiden Malanaphy, Arts & Culture Editor

c/o Wesleyan Center for the Arts

c/o Aiden Malanaphy, Assistant Photo Editor

Spring always feels like the time when visual art at the University comes into its own, and this year will be no exception. With a fresh slate of student and professional gallery installations featuring paintings, sculptures, posters, and more, all forms of arts and culture are guaranteed to bloom once again.

One could already feel the excitement at the Zilkha Gallery on Tuesday, Feb. 1 during the joint opening reception of painter Dana DeGiulio’s “Live or Die” and sculptor Brandon Ndife’s “Down to the Spoons and Forks.” Housed in Zilkha until Sunday, March 6, the two installations mark a stimulating start to the gallery’s spring program. DeGiulio’s contemplative floral canvases, lining the walls of the gallery’s main hall, stand in thoughtful contrast with the household furniture and seemingly decaying materials employed by Ndife’s sculptures, which extend from just past the entrance into the north gallery. The community assembling around these works, which has coalesced in various forms since the onset of COVID-19, is an equally intriguing site to behold.

“As an art enthusiast I’m always excited to see the gallery being used in new ways,” exhibition curator and Associate Director of Visual Arts Benjamin Chaffee said. “This is the first time in two years, not since the end of January 2020, that we had an opening reception with artists present in the gallery. Just to be able to return to that sociality around art, to look together as a community, and talk about what we’re seeing and talk to the people who made it is itself a lot of why I do what I do, so it’s really nice to share that with people again.”

That sharing will continue across the University through a February packed with events. Next week, Zilkha will present the WesPhoto Photography Exhibition, a display of student photography shown in its South Gallery from Tuesday, Feb. 8 to Sunday, Feb. 13. Just around the corner, the College of East Asian Studies Gallery will host “Strong Bodies for the Revolution,” an exhibition of 55 Chinese revolutionary propaganda posters curated by both students and faculty premiering on Wednesday, Feb. 16 and running through Friday, May 13. Back at Zilkha, look out for painter Diane Burko’s “Visualizing Environmental Change,” an exhibition presented by the College of the Environment which opens Thursday, Feb. 17 and runs until March 3. Brandon Ndife will then return to the gallery for a conversation about his exhibition on Tuesday, Feb. 22. 

For visual arts, the second half of the semester will be unmissable. Exhibitions of Art Studio theses, a crucial highlight of the spring calendar, will take up Zilkha for five weeks beginning on March 22, just after spring break. Featuring works from a new set of seniors in the art studio program each week, the shows will present a culmination of student creativity across disciplines. This year, the five weeks of thesis exhibitions will be followed up by a student-curated group show including an element of every senior thesis. Running from the end of the semester through commencement, the group show has been absent from the University since pandemic times and is sure to make a triumphant return. 



By Oscar Kim Bauman, Arts & Culture Editor

c/o Variety

c/o Variety

Every semester, the University’s Music department hosts a themed colloquium series. This semester, music appreciators can look forward to “Black Sounds Matter: Intersectional (re)Connections of African and African American Music at Wesleyan,” a series aimed at highlighting the value of numerous forms of African and African-American music, including traditional Ghanaian sounds, modern jazz, and much more.

The first installment of the series took place on Thursday, Feb. 3 and featured Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Director at the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University Robert  O’Meally.

Subsequent talks will be held through Zoom on Feb. 17 and 24, March 3 and 31, and April 7 and 21, all at 4:30 p.m., and are free to attend. More information on each date’s speakers and topics may be found on the music department’s website, as well as on posters across campus.

“We’re specifically focusing on jazz and the West African tradition from Ghana that has been part of our program for 50 years,” Professor of Music and Chair of the Music department Jay Hoggard, the moderator of the series, said. “We look at music not just as a particular manifestation that we hear in a particular recording, but we try to understand it from the many cultural, historic, and geopolitical factors that go into understanding the music and what it says on a cultural level about the humans that are involved in its making.”

Hoggard explained that the series will focus on drawing a connection between African-American music and the cultural history of the continent of Africa.

“African-American music has a direct linear relationship to the music and culture of the continent of Africa in the context of the last 500 years,” Hoggard said. “The idea [of the colloquium series is] making that an intimate connection. The continent of Africa has been the wellspring of so much of human culture in the last 500 and 5,000 years.”

Hoggard also noted the wide array of expertise on display in the colloquium series and expressed excitement for the speakers.

“All the neurons will be buzzing about the music, and giving a deep insight into the process of music-making in relation to the African and African American diaspora, specifically in [the] context of the United States,” Hoggard said.

With a wide range of speakers examining the role and impact of African-influenced music in Africa, America, and beyond, music students and anyone interested in music can look forward to an exciting and enriching series. 



By Sabrina Ladiwala, Assistant Arts & Culture Editor

The theater department is gearing up for a busy but lively spring semester. At an information session on Monday, Jan. 31, students heard about the many unique projects in the works, ranging from senior theses to workshops to the faculty department show.

One of the senior capstones coming to the University is Will Blumberg’s original production, “Nothing Comes to Mim.” The play tells the story of Mim, who starts experiencing what Blumberg calls “divine back pain:” not entirely from this world. This pain sends them tumbling back into the past, reliving moments of grief and anxiety in their life. This leads Mim to call into question their identity and re-evaluate the relationships they have with family.

I am investigating how queer folks construct and maintain individual identity at that inflection point of tradition, be they traditions of family, religion or culture,” Blumberg wrote in an email to The Argus.

This project stems from Blumberg’s own experiences as a queer, Jewish, gender-nonconforming individual. They hope to open up a conversation about the topics addressed in their production and create a more close-knit community in doing so.

If the questions raised by this play create even a handful of new connections, an ignition of association, I feel as though this project would be a success,” Blumberg said.

 They plan to share this story near a Knowles wood frame house on April 28, 29, and 30.

Abby Meyers’ original senior thesis and solo performance, “To Play or Not To Play,” is also inspired by personal experiences and delves into the overlap between theater and sports in Meyers’ life, challenging the idea that these two activities are opposites.

My inability to choose [one over the other] was closely tied to the fact that sports and theater occupy a space in very close proximity to one another in my mind,” Meyers said. “To me, they’ve always been inherently connected.”

Given this unique perspective, Meyers strives to shine a light on the interconnectedness between arts and athletics through her performance.

“I’d like to demonstrate the value of studying both and provide an argument that the study of one can enrich the other and vice versa,” Meyers wrote.  

Meyers is excited to bring her show to life on March 2, 3, and 4 in the Theater Studio.

Izzy Koff’s capstone work, titled “The American Way,” views theater through the lens of protests while also combining her love of costuming.

“It is an exploration of American protest, the clothes that unified them, and the performance aspects associated with and [occurring] from the protests,” Koff wrote in an email to The Argus.

Koff seeks to draw attention to the idea that protests are a form of theater and demonstrate this in an ensemble format.

“Protest, as a gathering of people acting to spread a specific message using traditions such as clothing and chanting in order to spread a message to the onlooker, is inherently theatric,” Koff wrote.

Koff believes in the use of distinct clothing to send a particular message, so the inspiration for the actors’ outfits comes from the very protests they are representing. Koff describes her project as a living museum that allows her to weave together her love of costuming and directing into her own performance and is looking forward to bringing her work to the Center for the Arts (CFA) in April. 

Another project taking form this spring is the faculty department production “Destiny,” written by Assistant Professor of the Practice of Theater Edwin Sanchez and directed by Assistant Professor of the Practice of Theater Edward Torres. 

“It is a play about a year in the life of a family in transition,” Sanchez wrote in an email to The Argus.

Destiny, the youngest child, wants to live their life as the gender they identify with. However, while Destiny tries to live their truth, the family grapples with the fact that Andy, their father, is dying from cancer. Meanwhile, Sonia, Destiny’s mother, is determined to do everything it takes to resist change.

“I describe it as a family photo album where one can see the changes occurring picture after picture,” Sanchez wrote.

The show will go on in the CFA theater on April 22, 23, and 24.



By Oscar Kim Bauman, Arts & Culture Editor

Last semester, the Wesleyan Film Series marked a triumphant return to in-person screenings after an 18-month pandemic hiatus. Screenings are, as with last semester, every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Jeanine Basinger Center for Film Studies. Friday screenings are $5, while Thursday and Saturday are free to attend. This semester’s series of screenings began on Feb. 3 with the violent, surrealist four-hour 2008 Japanese arthouse romantic comedy “Love Exposure.”

Film Series advisor and Assistant Professor of Film Studies Marc Longenecker reflected on the community that was built by the return of the Film Series in the fall.

“I thought that last semester went very well,” Longenecker wrote in an email to The Argus. “It reminded us why we all like watching movies together (safely) in a cinema. I thought it was an important part of generating a sense of community in our return to a fully in-person campus experience. And I find it fun to see what some of the unexpected hits are—the Wesleyan audience has always had a gift for celebrating a film, even years after its release.”

Longenecker also noted that February’s programming features a number of films celebrating Black History Month. The first of these, Saturday, Feb. 5’s film, is “In The Heat of the Night,” a 1967 mystery drama about a Black detective from Philadelphia who must work alongside a racist Mississippi police chief. The film is one of the best-remembered roles of the pioneering actor Sidney Poitier.

Poitier, the first Black leading actor to win an Academy Award, died in January at age 94. Widely considered Hollywood’s first Black star, he is credited for fighting stereotypes and paving the way for generations of subsequent performers. The screening of “In the Heat of the Night” will be introduced by Associate Professor of Film Studies Tracy Heather Strain, who has previously interviewed Poitier.

Also in the Film Series’s Black History Month programming is “Zola,” a darkly comic 2021 stripper saga based on a viral Twitter thread, screening on Friday, Feb. 11; “Killer of Sheep,” a 1978 look at urban poverty through the life of a slaughterhouse worker, screening on Thursday, Feb. 17; and “Black Mother,” a 2018 documentary about everyday lives in Jamaica, screening on Thursday, Feb. 24. 

 The Film Series is continuing to bring an eclectic array of films to campus, from a broad range of genres and nations, from the mainstream to the obscure. Their current schedule, which covers programming for February and the first week of March, may be found on the Film Series’s social media, as well as flyers posted around campus. 


Aiden Malanaphy can be reached at

Oscar Kim Bauman can be reached at

Sabrina Ladiwala can be reached at

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