Cayuga Resuming Speaker Series With Celebration of International Artistic Partnership

Cayuga Community College’s popular Cultural Speaker Series is returning this fall, starting with a celebration of an international partnership between the College’s students and an art institute in Mexico.

Paused in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cultural Speaker Series will resume with “Art Across Borders — An Intercultural Collaboration.” The presentation, led by Cayuga Associate Professor Melissa Johnson, discusses the partnership between Cayuga and Instituto Allende in Mexico, and how the collaborative approach inspired students at both institutions.

The free presentation is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday, September 27, in Room M214 on Cayuga’s Auburn Campus. Registration is required and can be completed by calling 315-294-8841. Due to social distancing requirements, only a limited number of registrants will be permitted.

Emily Cameron, Cayuga’s Assistant Director of Community Education and Workforce Development, said “Art Across Borders” is a unique addition to the series.

“Many of our Cultural Speaker Series presentations focused on our fascinating local history and some of the characters from Auburn’s past. This discussion relives an extraordinary opportunity where our students explored another culture and saw that culture through the eyes of a student from Instituto Allende,” said Cameron. “It was a one-of-a-kind opportunity, and it inspired our students to amazing creativity. I’m excited for our community to share that experience.”

Offered in the Spring 2021 semester, “Art Across Borders” was a new class for Cayuga students in which they partnered with a fellow student from Instituto Allende, a leading art institution in Mexico. The partners exchanged self-portraits, landscape photos and photos of objects with cultural and personal meaning, and drew artistic inspiration from the items provided by their partner.

Johnson, who created and instructed the class, said the project led to new artistic avenues for students, an appreciation for an unfamiliar culture and strong friendships with their partners.  

“It gave our students the chance to learn about their partners as individuals, and to see a different culture through their partners’ eyes and experiences, and to turn that experience into a collaborative artistic process,” said Johnson. “Collaboration is a challenging but exciting way to create art — it forces the artist to be open, flexible, and cooperative.”

Students’ work from the semester, including paintings, drawings, prints, and mixed media, will be available for review at the presentation.

Registration is required to attend the event, and can be completed by calling 315-294-8841. Due to social distancing guidelines, registration is limited. Those who attend the event will be required to provide documentation of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and must wear a facial covering.

Cayuga’s Cultural Speaker Series will continue in October with a presentation and reading by local author Jeff Delbel. Delbel is the author of the Jimmy Eagleson Series and is a Professor Emeritus of Communications and Philosophy at Cayuga. His presentation is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday, October 18, on Cayuga’s Auburn Campus.