Arts alive in summer

Saxophonist Chet Doxas performs at Simons Center for the Tuesday Concert Series. (Photo by: Cielo Castaneda)
Saxophonist Chet Doxas performs at the Simons Center for the Tuesday Concert Series. (Photo by Cielo Castaneda)

In the middle of July, when many college students are back home for summer vacation, one might expect there’s not much to do on campus. But here at Stony Brook University, there are multiple possibilities.

From music ensembles to a film festival and an art gallery, students and community members are still able to enjoy themselves on campus.

Alan Inkles, director of the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, said he believes that the arts are just as important on college campuses as anything else. He said he always likes to add an “A” for “art” to “STEM” — meaning science, technology, engineering and math — turning it into “STEAM” to remind others that the arts are crucial as well. 

“I want it to be more than just a science and medical school. The arts have been added in,” said Inkles. “It’s important … to take time to enjoy everything else.”

One of the many opportunities to get out on campus is the weekly Tuesday Concert Series at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics. This past Tuesday showcased the Doxas/Ambrosio/Hart Trio Jazz Ensemble, featuring saxophonist Chet Doxas, bassist Dave Ambrosio and jazz drummer Billy Hart.

The concerts are coordinated by Maria Guetter, senior staff assistant for outreach and public relations, who said the Simons Center has been doing these events for a number of years and that people seem to enjoy them.

“Our entire program is geared around finding events, art exhibits, film screenings, concert performances … so we can [merge] art and science together,” Guetter said.

The arts can be a way for people to escape the stress of their jobs.

Alan Inkles, the Director of the Film Festival. Staller Center for the Arts 24th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival taking place the week of July 18th-July 27th. (Photo by Jaden Morello)
Alan Inkles, the director of the film festival. The Staller Center for the Arts’ 24th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival takes place the week of July 18–July 27. (Photo by Jaden Morello)

“I spend a lot of my time doing research,” said Pooja Rao, who attended the event. “[The concerts] help me come out of my office, enjoy my time a little, and talk to people.” 

Another event happening this week is “The View from Here: Contemporary Perspectives from Senegal” at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery at the Staller Center for the Arts. All of the artwork presented was curated by Joseph Underwood, a Stony Brook alumnus who earned his Ph.D. in 2017 and who collaborated with Karen Levitov, the director of the gallery.

“He got his [doctorate] in African art history, and while he was still a student here, we began talking about eventually collaborating on an exhibition,” Levitov said.

She explained Underwood, who now teaches at Kent State University, along with Brooklyn-based photographer Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, introduced an exhibition of contemporary art from Senegal that began in the capital city of Dakar and is currently touring the United States, with Stony Brook’s Staller Center being its last stop.

“The View from Here” features 11 unique perspectives on Senegal from artists based there as well as in Mali, Madagascar, France, and the United States. The exhibition includes different types of media, such as painting, photography, printmaking, video and collage.

“For the last 10 or 15 years, I’ve been telling the stories of women of African descent,” said Barrayn, “sharing their stories because I am a woman of African descent.”

Another event happening this summer is the 24th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival at the Staller Center from July 18 to July 27. All of the films shown are handpicked by Inkles, the founder of the festival. The movies showcase a wide range of genres from over 20 different countries.

“We start in December for the festival,” Inkles said. “Between December and May, we are looking at all the films, and by May we make the final choice. Then we have two weeks to put the schedule together.”

Stony Brook Film Festival Movie Reviews

“The Interview” film review

“The Interview” shines light on the importance of living in the moment and the constant changes that life brings. The fifth short film written, produced and directed by Nate Duncan, it debuted at the Stony Brook Film Festival on Thursday.

“The Silent Revolution” film review

The film “The Silent Revolution” or, in German, “Das schweigende Klassenzimmer,” is nothing short of a work of art. The historical non-fiction centers around a group of rebellious teenagers looking to make an impact. The movie illustrates themes of desire to make change, acceptance of fate, familial duties and values versus personal values and, lastly, obligation of doing what you believe is right.

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