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Summer Multi-Arts Collectives

Under the auspices of the Creative Arts Across Disciplines project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Vassar will offer opportunities over the next several summers for multidisciplinary teams of two or more students to work on creative arts or design-based projects.
CAAD’s summer multi-arts collectives are an eight week program for Vassar students and their faculty project mentors. Students with majors in different arts departments may collaborate, or arts majors may collaborate with majors from outside the arts.

  • Projects that involve students majoring in at least two different disciplines, at least one from the arts.
  • Projects taking place mainly on campus and may involve presentation or engagement with the Poughkeepsie-area community.
  • A culmination of the project in something that is presented on campus or in the Poughkeepsie area during the coming academic year, preferably in the fall. It can be in the forms of performance, installation, activity, intervention, community or educational initiative, etc.
  • Projects that tie in some way with CAAD’s programming focus on the senses.


Students: Jake Brody, Noah Trueblood
Faculty Mentor: Lisa Brawley
DiSCCo liason: 
The goal of Windswept is to explore the experience of the touch of wind. When thinking of ideas for a project, we were drawn to the unique phenomenon of the feeling of the touch of wind. In order to create a project that recreates the experience of the touch of wind, we want to simulate the interactions that occur between wind and nature.

Experimental Classroom

Students: Charlotte Foley, Antoine Robinson, Audrey Keefe
Faculty Mentor: Lisa Brawley
DiSCCo liason: 
The Experimental Classroom is a project in 3 parts that puts classroom architecture in conversation with liberatory pedagogy and interrogating norms via physical interventions on classroom spaces. 

The summer of 2016 saw three such collectives come to fruition. Learn more about them below from the students and faculty who helped make them a success:

 Do You Hear What I Hear? 

Students: Elisabeth Boyce, Maya Enriquez, Conor Flanagan, Gabrielle Miranda

Faculty Mentors: Janet Andrews, Justin Patch

DiSCCo liaison: Baynard Bailey

In the News:

Do You Hear What I Hear? is both a research project and an experiment in science-inspired art making. With audio-illusions as our focus (those being ‘like optical illusions, but for hearing’), we designed an investigation using human subjects to produce results to be used in future research on the subject. The results, as well as various artful depictions of the process, and outside research on the so-called ‘divide between the arts and sciences,’ will also come into play in a performance art and multi-media installation in the Mug.

Performance Dates: September 12-14, the Mug

The data collected from this summer can be found here. 

Create and Control 

Students: Omri Bareket, Andrea Orejarena, Carson Packer

Faculty Mentors: Tom Ellman, Stephen Jones

DiSCCo liaison: Arianna Schlegel

In the Case of a Person, the final product of Create and Control’s summer Multi-Arts Collective, three Vassar students from various disciplines are working on a project that merges Cognitive Science, Computer Science and Drama. They are preparing a small-scale theater experiment that ventures into immersive and interactive theater. Explore what happens when the audience is given control over the narrative and various production elements throughout the performance.

Performance dates: September 23-25 in Rockefeller Hall, Room 200.

Reservations can be made at: halconsole.com

Seeing Shadows, Hearing Echoes 

Students: Henry Krusoe, Jonah Parker, Gordon Schmidt

Faculty Mentors: Susan Botti Vasquez, Christopher Raymond

DiSCCo liaison: Amy Laughlin

In the News:

Seeing Shadows, Hearing Echoes is an installation that invites the viewer to engage with classic philosophical questions outside the traditional realms of lecture and literature. Inspired by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, it will be installed in the new Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns and will use a variety of audio and visual stimuli to create an immersive, engaging space. Viewers with be challenged to interact with and transform their environment as a means of grappling with themes of emergence, truth, image, and reality.

Performance dates: October 3-7, Vassar Barns

The summer of 2015 saw three such collectives come to fruition. Learn more about them below from the students and faculty who helped make them a success:


Students: Sofia Benitez (’18), Daniel Dones (’16), Jacqueline Geoghegan (’16), Ariana Sacristan-Benjet (’18)

Faculty Mentor: Miriam Mahdaviani (Dance)

DiSCCo liaison: Amy Laughlin

In the News: éXodo offers new way to understand death, memory and culture, CAAD art collectives explore sound, silence

éXodo is a collaboration that explores concepts of death through multiple lenses. The project was first inspired by the Day of the Dead celebration and the complexities of the group’s shared Latinidad. Dani Dones ‘16, Jacqueline Muñoz Geoghegan ‘16, Sofía Benitez ‘18 and Ariana Sacristán-Benjet ’18 composed, moved, and spoke to themes of journey, memory, culture and identity. Through their personal narratives, they devised the performance piece that went up in the Shiva on October 1-3. On September 18-25, the soundscapes, ephemera, visual renderings and writings of the process were displayed in an installation at the Collaboratory, parked in the library lawn.


Students: Jake Ellis (’16), Alan Hagins (’16), Simaya Speed (’17)

Faculty Mentor: Tom Porcello (Anthropology)

DiSSCo liaison: Joanna DiPasquale

In the News: CAAD art collectives explore sound, silence

Soundwalk is a campus-wide art project on sound. Site-specific audio tracks were dispersed across campus and featured commentary on the move to coeducation, haunted space, afflicted memory, securitization, and the prioritization of the senses. During the summer months, Jake Ellis ’16, Simaya Speed ’17, and Alan Hagins ‘16  together con­ducted research for the project. “We did a lot of research about the nature of recorded sound–the political and cultural implications of recorded sound. Before the invention of the recorder, sound couldn’t be replayed, it was always moving with time. So, for modern artists, creating soundscapes from recorded sound is a relatively new form of art (…) The project is an exploration of the mul­tifaceted nature of space, the ways memo­ry, myth and history inscribes itself on that space. And, I guess the first impulse for me was when I visited an audio tour in London given by Janet Cardiff, who utilizes sound­scapes, memory, history, to create a very unique experience,” shared Hagins.

Healing Narratives

Students: Kelsey Greenway (’16), Alex Raz (’16), Aran Savory (’16), Joe DeGrand (’17)

Faculty Mentors: Laura Biagi (Italian), Michael Joyce (English)

DiSSCo liaison: Baynard Bailey

In the News: Devised theater piece brings hospice narratives to Shiva stage, Collaborative effort uses art to explain illnessCAAD art collectives explore sound, silence

CAAD’s Summer Multi-Arts Collective, “Healing Narratives: De-stigmatizing Trauma & Illness through the Senses,” in partnership with Hudson Valley Hospice, explores the oral experience of illness while looking at larger themes on healing and transition. The project was developed by Joe DeGrand, Kelsey Greenway, Alex Raz, and Aran Savory, and mentored by Sangeeta Laura Biagi and Michael Joyce. “Healing Narratives” included the performance IN LIGHT OF, performed on Vassar’s campus September 18-20. In the Collaboratory, audio and visual elements that did not make it into the performance were on view. It was space to reflect on the performance and to re-experience the voices and bodies that made it a reality. The exhibition space included notes, drafts, and materials that helped make IN LIGHT OF possible, and each interview was played in its entirety.

Credit for the videos above goes to Zecheriah Lee (’18) for editing and Bryce McDaniel (’17) for graphics.