Arts & Culture
Stockton is committed to supporting the creative works of students and artists in the region and beyond through a variety of educational and cultural programs.
Dancing Through the Pandemic
When the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person classes and forced students and friends to keep six feet apart, Performing Arts students found a way to stay safe while showcasing their talents.
The Stockton University Dance Company presented free, live, COVID-19 compliant drive-in dance performances in parking lot 5 behind the Sports Center March 11, 2021. Audience members arrived by car and created a circular perimeter around the performance space and remained in their cars during the performance.
The collaborative project between Associate Professor of Dance Rain Ross and students was developed as a way for the dancers to share with an audience their own emotions and experience during the pandemic.
“As we continue into months of social distancing due to the pandemic, we are missing community, we are missing being able to come together and experience live performance,” Ross said.
The dance, titled “Together Again. Apart.” was developed through Zoom sessions with the nine participating students. It begins representing the experience of loss during the pandemic, and the desire to be with friends and family, and to be in the community.
As the weather warmed up, six dance students and Ross created and performed an original dance work on the Boardwalk in front of the Residential Complex at the Atlantic City campus April 9, 2021.
“It was a very long day, but very, very fun to create and dance with people,” student Cecilia Mitchell said after the performance.
“Learning and doing it all in one day was not something we’d ever done before,” student Abigail Bell said.
After a year of COVID-19 Zoom classes, Ross wanted to do a live performance that would share her hope for the future.
Ross said creating, rehearsing and performing on the Boardwalk gave passersby the chance to see students working and creating. And while it was chilly and a bit windy, many people did stop to watch, even if only for a few minutes.
The Boardwalk dance, performed to Jeff Buckley’s cover of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, lasted just about six minutes, but hours were spent learning and rehearsing for the performance.
Noyes Museum Donates Art Kits to Families in A.C.
The Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton University provided 100 art supply kits and printed art lessons to families with children in Atlantic City as a way to continue summer art programs for children during the pandemic.
Former Noyes Director of Education Saskia Schmidt assembled and delivered kits to the staff at the Brigantine Homes Community Center, Atlantic Marina Community Center, Atlantic City Free Public Library (Tennessee Ave.), Oceanside I Family Success Center, and Oceanside II Family Success Center. The kits included a sketchbook, markers and colored pencils.
“The pandemic has put a hold on our in-person community art activities,” Schmidt said. “These art supply kits and educational art activities can provide a welcome respite from computer screens and time spent watching television.”
Student's Project Shares Experience of War
Danielle Russano’s grandfather was in the military and she worries that young people today don’t really understand the experience of war for those who fight.
She applied for and received a Stockton Board of Trustees Fellowship for Distinguished Students and embarked on projects to share the history of area veterans.
At the Veterans United Military Memorial Museum in New Gretna she archived and created an exhibit for the museum’s medical section, which includes items from World War I to Vietnam.
“I really enjoyed handling these precious objects that were used by people who served our country,” said Russano.
When the COVID-19 pandemic limited her access to the museum, she branched out and did oral history interviews with veterans including Jerome Rhodes of New York, who served in the Army from 1942-46 and Marco Polo Smigliani, of Egg Harbor Township, who served in the U.S Merchant Marines.
“Oral histories round out the story of the past,” Russano said. “You can interview people whose stories have been untold.”
MC Lyte Inspires at Hip Hop Summit
Dream big, but make a plan, prepare, then put it into action, iconic hip hop artist, actor and producer MC Lyte told almost 175 participants at the Hip Hop Summit, held virtually this year via Zoom.
“To prepare is the best thing you can do,” Lyte told the audience, as she shared her story of going from a kid in Brooklyn who loved the arts to a role model and legendary figure in the world of hip hop.
She also told viewers that words have power, and people need to be responsible for how they use them.
“We have been the victim of others' words,” she said. “I’ve also been the victim of my own words.”
The theme of this year’s summit was Women in Hip Hop. Program coordinator and Professor of Communications and Africana Studies Donnetrice Allison, who hosted the event wearing her own “DJ Mello D” baseball hat, said she and hip hop were born at about the same time in the early 1970s.
“Hip hop and I are siblings that grew up together,” Allison said. “When hip hop hit, it was like lightning. It spoke to us. It was the soundtrack of our lives.”
Allison said today hip hop is still connected to the spirit of those who grew up with it. She noted that before hip hop there was poetry, from Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez and Audre Lorde.
“Women have always been a part of hip hop,” Allison said. “But it was harder to be seen and heard. When MC Lyte hit the scene it brought those stories into the limelight.”
Stockton Now Radio Show Launches
A collaboration between Stockton University's School of Arts & Humanities, University Relations & Marketing (URM), WLFR 91.7 FM and WIBG launched in Fall 2020 to bring Stockton stories to the airwaves.
Stockton Now, an extension of the University e-zine, is a monthly news magazine that highlights the people and programs at Stockton.
Conversations with facutly, staff and students cover topics such as preserving history through the Stockton Archives, tips for preparing for your career while in college, advice for applying for admission, and getting involved at Stockton.
Each episode is hosted and produced by Chad Roberts, general manager of WLFR. The show lineups are developed by Geoffrey Pettifer, executive director of URM, Diane D'Amico, director of News & Media Relations, and Samantha Whitehurst, associate director of Publications and Special Projects.
Listen to previous episodes on the Stockton Now archive and tune in to upcoming episodes throughout the academic year!
Exhibit Tells Story of Women's Suffrage Movement
An exhibit that tells the story of the long battle women fought to get the right to vote was on display at Stockton’s University’s Campus Center in Galloway Township and the John F. Scarpa Academic Center in Atlantic City from August through Election Day 2020.
The pop-up exhibit, “Rightfully Hers,” produced by the National Archives, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
Stockton University Professor of Political Science Linda Wharton, who helped bring the exhibit to Stockton, said it is noteworthy to remember that the fight for the right to vote was not easy and took decades of advocacy.
“Women were not ‘given’ the right to vote,” said Wharton. “It came about after decades of struggle and political advocacy. They fought for it by lobbying, picketing, holding hunger strikes and parades.”
Wharton said most people also don’t realize the diversity of the women involved. “There is a tendency to think it was all white women and that is not the case,” she said. “Black women and other women of color were key leaders in the suffrage struggle in the face of racist efforts by other suffragists to exclude them. The exhibit featured a section on Black women who banded together to fight for the right to vote.