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Gaining Perspective, Changing Perceptions
As an arts campus, SUNY Potsdam’s culture of creativity crosses boundaries and transcends disciplines. The integration of the arts, both into campus life and into the curriculum, means that students, faculty and community members also have unique opportunities to engage with people and viewpoints representing all different backgrounds. Students from all walks of life come together to produce plays, mount art exhibitions and choreograph new dance works, under the guidance of expert faculty and guest artists. They join forces to learn art forms and traditions from around the globe and understand their cultural context. At SUNY Potsdam, artists and audiences alike learn to see the world through new perspectives—and sometimes, they come away transformed.
Reflections from Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance Dr. Jay Pecora:
“There’s something about the arts that lends itself to imagining the world more inclusively, as a more diverse place. When we did James Baldwin’s ‘Blues for Mister Charlie,’ that play dealt explicitly with a murder similar to that of Emmett Till, and it depicted a lot of explicit racism and use of the n-word. So students came face to face with some of the ugliest parts of racism and its effects. Because we had such a diverse cast, students really bonded during the experience. Confronting horrible things actually helped them come together... (read more)
Reflections from Associate Professor of Voice Dr. Lonel Woods:
“Being in the classical field and liking the classical arts and being black— it’s tough. For a young black boy, for Shakespeare to be your favorite playwright, it’s a crazy thing. Because you’re supposed to like basketball, you’re supposed to like hip hop, you’re supposed to like all of these other things, and I didn’t like any of those things. I mean, I listened to them, I watched them, but I really loved something else... (read more)