New College initiative flourishes along Florida’s creative coast

Funded by a five-year $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New College: Connecting the Arts and Humanities on Florida’s Creative Coast seeks to foster deeper understanding of the arts and humanities through new programs at New College and with local arts organizations and the Cross-College Alliance. Through the expansion of existing public programs and a new series of open seminars, the local community is invited to hear from — and speak with — faculty scholars and artists who are renowned in their fields.

2018/2019 Season Events

Innovators of MODERN Dance: Martha Graham Public Lecture

Peggy Lyman
Peggy Lyman

Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 6 p.m., College Hall Music Room. New College, in special partnership with The Sarasota Ballet and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is pleased to host a lecture and conversation with former Martha Graham principal dancers Peter Sparling and Peggy Lyman.  Ms. Lyman, Regisseur with the Martha Graham Company, and Mr. Sparling, Rudolf Arnheim Distinguished University Professor of Dance and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Dance at University of Michigan, will be working with The Sarasota Ballet to stage Graham’s groundbreaking Appalachian Spring (October 26-28). They will share their insights on how Martha Graham, “The Mother of American Modern Dance,” impacted classical ballet, their experiences dancing with her company, and their thoughts about staging Graham’s work today.
Please register here.

Innovators of Modern Dance: Martha Graham Master Class with Peggy Lyman
Friday, September 14, 2018, 1-2:30 p.m. College Hall Music Room.

Following up on the lecture, Peggy Lyman, Former Principal Dancer and Current Company Regisseur with the Martha Graham Dance Company will apply elementary techniques in an Open Master Class for New College beginning ballet students.  The class is open for public viewing and limited community participation (some dance background and a waiver is required).
Please register here.
Mark Dancigers
Mark Dancigers

Sarasota Contemporary Dance &  NOW Ensemble
Saturday, September 15, 2018, 1-2:30 p.m., College Hall Music Room. 
Join NOW Ensemble Artistic Director, composer, and electric guitarist Mark Dancigers on an exploration of ideas about music and dance. Dancigers will use concepts and techniques from his collaboration with Sarasota Contemporary Dance “Dreamfall,” and a new world premiere work, to create a participatory and informative audience experience.

Please click here for more information.

Dr. Feng Hao
Dr. Feng Hao

Asian Film & Talk Series:
Thursday September 27, 2018 5 p.m. Sainer Pavillion
Asian Film Series: “Under the Dome” (2015; by Chai Jing), introduction and conversation led by Dr. Feng Hao from the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee.


New Music New College: Artist Conversation with So Percussion,
Thursday, October 4, 2018, 5 p.m., Club Sudakoff 
New Music New College’s Artist Conversations begin with a bit of music, followed immediately by comments and questions from the audience. The conversation that ensues with the musicians is based entirely on the audience’s experience of the music.

So Percussion, Saturday, October 6, 8 p.m., Club Sudakoff (pre-concert talk, 7:30 pm)
This quartet of master percussionists will challenge expectations. Their performance will include Bryce Dessner’s Music for Wood and Strings and Julia Wolfe’s String Quartet No. 5, both Sō Percussion commissions. Yes, this is a quartet of percussionists, and yes, both commissions are for strings. This is not your average percussion ensemble; these are ground-breaking musicians who challenge themselves and their commissioned composers to reach new heights of inventiveness.
These events are free and open to the public. For more information please visit

Campus Conversations
Thursday October 18, 2018: New College Cook Hall Living Room 5:30-7 p.m.
Digital Writing & Gaming (led by Ringling Professor Rick Dakan, Ringling College of Art & Design)

More and more writing is born digital—not only written on computers, but written to be experienced in digital forms and from digital platforms. How might we think about game-development as a form of creative writing and storytelling? How do you design games and what can you learn about writing from gaming, from game-design? Professional game-designer and creative writing faculty at Ringling College, Rick Dakan, will walk us through this interesting conjunction. Come back the following week for a workshop on game-writing on the New College Campus as part of the “Community of Writers” project!
This event is free and open to the public however, seats are limited so please register at……

Game Jam
Thursday October 25, 2018 5:30-10 p.m. Cook Library Room 141
Game Jam: THEME: It’s Alive!: Avatars of Frankenstein’s Monster
Game-Jam is a workshop where participants are invited, working with a theme and following a presentation, to learn a digital tool for online-game development, “Twine,” and begin developing a simple online computer game narrative. Narrative story lines and choices are key components of game development, and the workshop focuses on trying out a simple branching narrative digital tool. No experience necessary but a laptop is.

This event is free and open to the Public however please register at ….

Asian Talk & Film Series:
Thursday October 25, 2018 5 p.m. in Sainer Pavillion
Asian Film Series presents Plastic China, a 2016 documentary by Wang Jiuliang introduced by Dr. Xia-Shi


Armistice: “The Journey Home”
Monday November 5, 2018 Time & Location TBA
A musical performance featuring John Brancy and Peter Dugan, presented by Artist Concert Series

Inspired by the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, “Armistice: The Journey Home” explores timeless themes of longing, loss, love and the search for peace in the wake of catastrophe. Musical selections range from Schubert’s “Der Wanderer”, to Vaughan Williams’ “Songs to Travel”, to Ives’ “They Are There”.

Asian Film & Talk Series:
Friday November 9, 2018 5 p.m. in Sainer Pavilion
“The Road,” a 2015 documentary by Zhang Zanbo

New Music New College: Inter/Action
Saturday November 10, 2018, 8 p.m. at The Mildred Sainer Pavilion.
New works featuring Mark Dancigers, New College students, and Grand Electric (pre-concert talk, 7:30 pm).

Composer and electric guitarist Mark Dancigers returns to New College as the college’s first Professor of Digital Media and Music. Inter/Action will engage the possibilities of digital media through works that explore sound, music, movement, and images. Dancigers will lead students in a new piece that uses the sound of rain data as an inspiration for improvisation and dance. The second half of the concert will feature the duo Grand Electric—Dancigers on guitar and electronics and renowned New York City based pianist Aaron Wunsch—as a bridge between the electric and acoustic worlds.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information please visit….

Campus Conversations: RAP: The Poetry of Hip-Hop
Thursday November 15, 2018 5:30-7: p.m.  New College Cook Hall Living Room

Rap: The Poetry of Hip-Hop led by Professor Carl Shaw & alumnus Paul Loriston

Since its beginnings in the South Bronx of the 1970’s, rap music has been stigmatized, with few listeners appreciating the intense poetic artistry at work in the genre. It is, in fact, today’s most prominent and influential mode of poetry, with complex rhythm, rhyme, wordplay, style, and storytelling. Our discussion will look at the history, content and, above all, the sophisticated poetics at play in today’s rap music.

This event is free and open to the public however seats are limited so please register at….


Narrative Non-Fiction Storytelling Workshop (Maria Vesperi):
Thursday December 6, 2018. Time and Location TBD

This workshop brings specialists in nonfiction writing into a discussion of how they collect their material and craft vivid stories for books, newspapers and magazines.

The program is organized and moderated by New College Professor of Anthropology Maria D. Vesperi, a former working journalist and a trustee of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies from 1995-2015. Recipient of the 2017 American Anthropological Association Anthropology in Media Award, she is co-editor of the collection Anthropology off the Shelf: Anthropologists on Writing, and executive coordinating editor of Anthropology Now and, a journal and website dedicated to making anthropological writing accessible to wider audiences. This interactive workshop is free and open to the public — the only requirement is an interest in good stories and how they are told.

Seeking Project Proposals

Submit a proposal for a project consistent with the grant’s priorities on inter-institutional collaboration, public access and outreach, and the development of sustainable programs in the arts and humanistic disciplines.

See Previous Mellon Events Here.

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additional connections

New Music New College

New Music New College (NMNC) is an extension of the music program at New College that presents five programs of contemporary, avant-garde and experimental music each year.

Read more here

Public Archaeology Lab (PAL)

The New College Public Archaeology Lab (NCPAL) is committed to facilitating education, outreach, and the study of archaeology within a broader anthropological and interdisciplinary context.

Read more here

Previous Mellon Grant Events

A list of past events brought to you by “New College: Connecting the Arts and Humanities on Florida’s Creative Coast.”

Read more here