A SUNY grant will support a wide range of campus programs in its "Many Voices: One Oswego: Diversity and Inclusion Through the Arts" series, including the stories of veterans, the black experience in America and the tales of current international students.

The arts represent an avenue to better begin conversations and explore topics of diversity and inclusion through storytelling, said Julie Pretzat, dean of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts and the project organizer. The $8,950 Explorations in Diversity and Academic Excellence Grant from the SUNY Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will bolster this effort that already involves many campus partners, she said.

The college notes efforts have "been extremely successful in our recruitment and retention of underrepresented students," which included more than 1 in 3 incoming students in fall 2016, in its grant application. "The campus has been actively working to address the needs and interests of these students, while educating all students about what it means to be a diverse and inclusive campus. … Through the lens of the arts, our goal is to deepen the experiences of all students in terms of valuing cultural diversity and difference, as well as exploring avenues for understanding what it means to be 'the other.'"

Some of the projects the funding will help promote include:

* The Veterans Book Project and a visit by coordinating artist Monica Haller. The Tyler Art Gallery will host this exhibition -- a library of 50 books, each authored by a person with first-hand experience of war -- in September and October. During Haller's residency, she will meet with and train faculty on use of the project in their courses and also work with students who will create the "Voices of Oswego Veterans" display for spring 2018 on campus.

* A discussion preceding a performance of the production "Clybourne Park" on Oct. 28, connecting this sequel to "A Raisin in the Sun" with the original. Robert Hupp, artistic director of Syracuse Stage; Patricia Clark of Oswego’s English and creative writing faculty and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Cynthia Henderson of Ithaca College’s theater faculty will discuss the two works. The college also will fund a bus and tickets for 55 SUNY Oswego students to attend the Syracuse Stage production of "A Raisin in the Sun" in spring 2018, followed by a question-and-answer with its actors.

* The Diversity in the Arts Documentary Project next spring will pair 10 SUNY Oswego international students from different nationalities with 10 art/music/theater students to collaborate on artistic works, while 10 students from the "Global Documentary" class produce a short documentary about the collaboration.

Additional fall projects supported by the funding include Cuban musicians Tiempo Libre on Sept. 19; "Politics on Paper," an exhibition probing parallels between printed image and social commentary, running Oct. 6 to 29; two talks by Lindy West, author of the Oswego Reading Initiative book "Shrill," on Oct. 11; and a music department concert of international music and musicians on Oct. 21 during Family and Friends Weekend.

Other spring projects supported include the cinematic shadow play "Feathers of Fire: The Persian Book of Kings" on Jan. 23; a Black History Month Music Recital on Feb. 18; and “The Lavender Blues” on March 7, a cabaret performance by Sarah Kilborne with connected workshops on the theme of sexual and gender fluidity explored by composers and performers before World War II.

In addition to Pretzat and Clark, campus collaborators for the project include Joshua McKeown of International Education and Programs, Michael Flanagan of Tyler Art Gallery, Ben Parker of Veterans Services, Lisa Seppi of the art department, Christine Hirsch and Francisco Suarez of the communication studies department, Todd Graber of the music department, Aleksandra Kraszpulska of the theatre department, and Joanna Goplen of the gender and women's studies program.

For more information on arts programming at SUNY Oswego, visit oswego.edu/arts.