Friday, February 28, 2014

"Giving Back" - a CATALES YouTube video (02/2014) / Cats in the Castle 2014

CATALES would like to share a video with you, which was just released this week!!  

It's entitled "Giving Back" and will give you a brief representation of what we do at CATALES on a daily basis.

"Cats in the Castle 2014" is our next Event on 4/5/14 at St. Clements Castle, Portland, CT.  You may purchase advance tickets NOW!!  Please go to:  For other payment methods, please call 860.344.9043.

Enjoy the video, and we hope to see you at the Castle!!

CATALES - Cats in the Castle Benefit - Wine Tasting/ Dinner/ Silent Auction - APRIL 5 - Get tix NOW!

CATALES - Cats in the Castle Benefit 2014
Wine Tasting/ Dinner/ Silent Auction

Tickets are still available!  Purchase through for our secure PayPal service, or call 860.344.9043 for other payment methods.

Win our LIVE Auction Item:  An African Safari for 2!!

"Through Her Eyes" Collective Women's Artists Reception - TONIGHT!

Friday, February 28
6 pm, free

“Through Her Eyes”
Sponsored by the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, Sari A. Rosenbaum Fund for Women & Girls

In Celebration of International Women’s Day, March 8th, The Buttonwood Tree annually hosts a Collective Women’s Art Show in March. This year, thanks to the Community Foundation,  a new program for “emerging” artists was created. Established artists were paired with “emerging” artists to mentor them and assist them in bringing their art work to show-able, sell-able condition. This night marks the opening of the month-long show held at TBT.

A special presentation of funds from the Community Foundation will take place at 6:30pm with refreshments.

Artists: Maria Brower, Elizabeth Carre, Amanda Collins, Geonna Kline, Hannah Myja, Courtney Quigg, Cindy Profitt, Mylene Poitras

Mentors: Amber Dietz, Jeanette Drake, Kerri Powers, Anita Balkun, Sheila Mullen, Robin Price

“The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the people of the County, now and in the future, by developing endowments, making grants that have impact and assisting donors in meeting their philanthropic objectives. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has awarded 1,100 grants totaling over $3.3 million for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements and for health and human services.

Meet Molly -- she needs you!!

My Name is Molly!
Can I Come Home With You?

I am a very cute, 14 years of age feline here at CATALES because my owner had to go to a nursing home. So here I am…waiting…for a new companion. While at CATALES, they realized I have a large mass in my stomach and they do not know if it is cancerous or not.

So I am looking for a special person who can be with me. I may only have weeks or months to live, but want a home ASAP where I can spend the last of my days on someone's lap.

If you work from home or are retired, you are the perfect companion for me.
I am a very happy and lovable girl for someone to spend his or her time with!  
Please come take me home with you.

CATALES is seeking a permanent adoption for me and will tell you the best way to take care of me.

Please call CATALES at (860) 344-9043 or
Email: to inquire about Molly!

Why Are You Reading This?

The Middletown Press today published an article about an illegal deer hunting warning I received in January. Is it an interesting story?

When I was a regular correspondent for The Eye, I would occasionally be told what I should not write about. For example, a candidate for Treasurer thought I should not write about the anonymous person who created a fake Wesleyan student identity to campaign against Mayor Drew, and a Mayor told me there was no story in the attempted bullying of the Registrar of Voters by his campaign manager

As a Planning and Zoning Commissioner, I now sometimes find myself on the other side of the reporter's note-pad. And when Alex Gecan of The Press called to ask about an illegal deer hunting warning that I received, I wanted to tell him this was a boring story that would be of no interest to anybody. Remembering that this was almost exactly what I heard from the mayor, I swallowed my words.  

However, I did suggest that he focus on the anonymous in this story, and although I continue to think a little sunlight on anonymous would do our community a lot of good, I regret my presumption. Gecan is a good reporter with a good editor, and it is up to them to determine what is newsworthy.  

Below is the full background to the Press article. I have adapted this from two separate blogposts on a personal, family blog, one written in December and one written in late February, the same posts that Gecan quotes from.
Many mornings I go for a run through Tynan Park and onto the Blue Trail on Higby Mountain, with our mutt, Sandy.

In early December two women walking their dogs stopped to tell me about an injured young male deer they had seen near the creek. They said that it was clearly suffering and weak, standing still while the three dogs barked at it. We agreed that it should be put down.

When I got to the creek, there was no deer standing, but Sandy found him lying in the leaves. The photo shows him alive.

I felt a responsibility to do something, and went home to get a knife.

I have butchered deer before, most recently after the Middletown Police alerted me to one that had just been killed by a truck in Portland (my name is one of many on a list kept by the police for just that purpose).

When I returned to Tynan Park, the buck was still alive, breathing steadily but so weak he barely lifted his head when I approached.  I held his head while I put him down by cutting his jugular. He never even twitched.

I butchered in the forest, saving the 4 legs and shoulders, the saddle, heart, and liver.

The bullet wound had started to heal; it was a small dark spot towards the rear of the hindquarters.  After skinning, I found huge blood clots in both legs, filling enormously gaping holes in the muscle. The bullet had passed through one leg muscle, through his urethra, and then out the other leg muscle.

The entire harvest took less than 2 hours, and I carried about 25 pounds of meat home.

I was sad to find a deer that was wounded and clearly been suffering for a long time. I was furious at the hunter who had taken a terrible shot, perhaps illegally (no hunting is allowed on city land), and then shamefully abandoned the deer.

And I was proud that I was able to humanely put the deer down, and able to walk home with the meat. 

The epilogue:  Illegal hunting
The second to last column on the right shows the total
number of readers for a typical set of posts
Some days after this event, I wrote about it on a family blog that my children and I contribute to. This family blog is a place where we post photographs and stories of our adventures, it functions partly as a substitute for letters to each other when we are separated, and partly as a diary.

The family blog technically has been open for anyone to read, but nobody knows about it--only very rarely has it been read by anyone other than our immediate family.

"Another Trail Running Event" was read a lot!
Something was different when I wrote about the deer. The post, which I entitled "Another Trail Running Event" has drawn about 8 times higher readership than a typical Devoto Family blog post.

[I have now changed the settings on the family blog to make it private. The practical effect of this is that when I want to share a blog post with a relative or a friend, I now need to remember to specifically give them permission.]

Who is reading our personal family blog?
The answer came on January 6th, when I received a phone call from Officer Wojcik of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Law Enforcement Division. He gently asked me about the illegal hunting that I did on Higby Mountain. I confessed. Wojcik told me that he had seen the story "on facebook", and that he knew I was trying to do the right thing for the deer. However, he would have to give me a warning.  [I never posted any information or links on Facebook, Wojcik's detailed knowledge of the event could only have come from my family blog post].

On January 9th I drove to Marlborough to meet with Officer Wojcik.  I asked an officer there if I could get a copy of the investigative report, but it seems that there was not much to be had. I asked if the state had an automatic internet surfing program that would highlight possible mentions of illegal hunting. He laughed and said "no".

Wojcik was following up on an anonymous tip.

I left the office with a copy of the warning, and having learned two things. Neither might be particularly novel, but here they are.

First, I broke the law. It is illegal to be in possession of a dead deer unless you have a permit. The legal way to humanely put down and then butcher an injured deer is to obtain a special permit from the local police. I should have called the Middletown Police, waited for them to arrive in the forest, and then proceeded with the killing and butchering. It seems cruel to prolong the suffering of the animal, and a particularly senseless waste of police time, but the rule is there to prevent illegal hunting.

Second, there is one pathetic anonymous who reads the Devoto Family blog. When I got off the phone after being summoned to Marlborough for a warning, I laughed out loud.  REALLY!? SERIOUSLY?! I was giggling at the thought that someone had read my insignificant family blog post and turned me in for illegal hunting in this circumstance. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!  But it was true.  I hope the knowledge that I had to drive to Marlborough to be served with a warning for illegal hunting has enriched this pathetic's life.

The Press?
I posted a follow-up blog post about the illegal deer hunting warning on Monday, including in the post the photo of the warning, and the readership numbers for the articles on our family blog. The Middletown Press phoned me on Tuesday. Gecan did not (and should not) tell me how or when he learned about the family blog. Could it have been anonymous?

I am flattered that anonymous thinks my life is so important that he monitors the family blog on such a regular basis. If he sends me his email address, I'll give him continued access.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

MCA January Grants Awards Announced!

At their February monthly meeting, the Middletown Commission on the Arts awarded grants to the following grant applicants:

Category 1 -
Greater Middletown Concert Association - $8,000 for operating support
North End Arts Rising, Inc. - $10,000 for operating support
Greater Middletown Chorale - $4,000 for operating support
Oddfellows Playhouse - $7,500 for operating support
ArtFarm - $8,000 for Shakespeare in the Grove production of "King Lear"

Categories 2 and 3 -
Wesleyan University-Davison Art Center - $500 for The Big Draw: Middletown
Evelyn Farbman for "Lives in Music" - $1,500 for "Lives in Music" community conversations and public concert
Artists for World Peace - $1,500 for 3rd Annual Dance for Peace event
Jennifer Shafer a/k/a J-Cherry - $1,000 for Middletown Music Festival

Total awards amount - $42,000

The next opportunity for grants is for projects taking place on or after June 1, 2014 and the deadline for submitting an application is March 15. The details are available here with links to the forms.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Contra Dance at Wesleyan, February 28.

This Friday from 8-11PM

In Beckham Hall (in the Fayerweather building, Wyllys Ave., on Wesleyan's campus)
(Open to public and free, with an optional donations box to help support the musicians and caller.)

What is contra dancing?  It's a kind of social, community-oriented dancing that's been going on in New England and across the country for ages.  It's an evening of easy-going fun, featuring dancing in "sets" of about a dozen couples.  You interact with your partner, and with everyone else in the set too, as you dance with easy walking steps to energetic, live music.  In addition to the live musicians (playing folky fiddle-type music), there's a caller who first explains the movements, and then prompts you during the dance.  There's no fancy footwork, no lessons required ahead of time, and you don't have to show up with a partner.  The music is full of energy and joy, and the evening is all about making connections and supporting the community.  

Music by Wes alum Emily Troll (on accordion and fiddle), Max Newman (on guitar), and Glen Loper (on mandolin).

Calling by Sarah VanNorstrand, from just outside Syracuse, NY.

WESU Spring Programming

From one of our city's radio stations.
WESU is excited to announce our Spring Programming lineup to kick off our 75th anniversary celebrations during the 2014 calendar year! To celebrate our landmark birthday, we’ll be treating our listeners to many special on-air features and events happening in and around Middletown.

“This year’s spring program is especially exciting because it marks the beginning of WESU’s 75th year on air with alternative and creative programing”, says WESU President Mary Barrett. Each month there will be a “75 years of….” radio series with a new theme that is reflective of the station’s dedication to alternative music, public affairs and community service, and quality programing for our listeners. February’s theme is “75 years of socially conscious music” while next month we’ll be celebrating women’s history month with “75 Years of Female Artists”. Another 75th anniversary program, “Welcome Back” (2nd &4th Fridays at 1pm) reconnects with some of the people who have been involved with WESU over the years to hear their stories about how WESU helped them along the way.

Also to look forward to this season, is our new 6:00pm weekday program block filled with unique talk radio which replaces the loss of our flagship public affairs program, Free Speech Radio News. Although we can’t list every show, our schedule certainly proves that WESU offers something for everyone. Highlights of some new programs include “Real Talk” with Jonathan Spira (a series of interviews with professors from the Connecticut area), “Words” with Abigail Joella Shneyder (Tune in as slam poets perform live in the studio and talk about their work) and old favorites like the “Middletown Youth Radio Project”, “The Moondog Matinee”, “The Gospel Express”, our weekly electronic Dance music block, and our Saturday Caribbean music programming.

Having trouble keeping up with our over-stuffed program schedule? Last season we launched a new Twitter page (@WESUtunein) that provides followers with live updates of each show at the time it comes on air to help listeners keep track of their favorite programs. Also be sure to follow (@WESUmiddletown) and find us on Facebook to keep up with general station updates.

This season’s programing would be nothing without Hannah Ryan, our Program Director, who has worked tirelessly to put together a schedule that is fully representative of everything WESU has stood for in the past 75 years. “I really enjoyed seeing so many new shows, along with all of the staples returning for another season,” says Hannah. Ben Michael, the station’s full time general manager chimes in, “with over 150 student and community volunteers working together to provide 24 hour programming 365 days per year, our Spring 2014 Program reflects the diversity of the diverse communities we have served for 75 years”. WESU's spring schedule can be found online at and a print program guide will be distributed at select locations around the area and mailed to station donors in the coming weeks.

Established in 1939 as a community service of Wesleyan University, WESU is one of the oldest non-commercial radio stations in the United States. WESU is funded by the Wesleyan Student Budget committee, Wesleyan University, and generous listener and community support. By day, Monday through Friday, WESU offers a diverse mix of news and public affairs from NPR, Pacifica, and independent and local media sources. Week nights and weekends WESU student and community volunteer broadcasters provide a freeform mix of creative music programming featuring everything from rock, and hip hop, to jazz, electronic dance music, soul, funk, and blues, alongside a wide variety of ethnic forms of music not readily available elsewhere on the radio.

The station currently broadcasts at the frequency of 88.1 FM from its 6,000-watt transmitter located atop the Wesleyan University science tower in Middletown, CT with a potential to reach over one million listeners throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. WESU also streams audio, online through their website

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jones Family Benefit Concert – 2/28/14


An evening of light concert music: Noelle Boone, flute & piano ~ Audrey Estelle, piano ~ Amy Schroeder, soprano.
jones-concertA concert will be held on Friday, February 28th at 7:00 PM at the Killingworth Congregational Church to benefit the Jones Family. Their home caught fire January 14, 2014, resulting in heavy structural damage to the house and loss of their possessions.
Monetary donations and gift cards gratefully accepted at the door. All proceeds will go to the Jones family.
Special thanks to the Killingworth Congregational Church for their generous donation of the venue for this performance.

This Saturday at the Buttonwood: La Hot Jazz!

Saturday, March 1
8 pm, $10

La Hot Jazz

The Buttonwood Tree will be sizzlin’ on March 1, when La Hot Jazz performs with sophistication and style. These seasoned musicians will add a unique flavor and charisma to The Buttonwood Tree’s jazz event. The band performs the Great American Songbook with a lineup of voice, upright bass, saxophone, drums, and piano.

La Hot Jazz recently recorded “Under the Moonlight” at Rotary Records in West Springfield, MA. On this CD you will hear sophisticated renditions of familiar favorites like Black Coffee, East of the Sun, and I Love Paris.

Vocalist Sue Lopes was educated at the Hartford Conservatory. She has thrilled crowds from Hartford to Chicago over the past 15 years with her unique, sultry renditions of the jazz canon. On upright bass, you will hear the remarkable David Hosking who has performed professionally since the age of nineteen. Dave studied under Rick Rozzi, Principal Bass of the Hartford Symphony, and Dr. Bruce Bellingham, Professor Emeritus of Music History at UConn. Saxophonist and flautist Ralph Martin is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. As music director of La Hot Jazz he ensures that the musical experience the band cooks up is both fresh and authentic. Drummer and band leader Louie Delorso studied with the great Jim Handley, and has honed his craft over decades to develop an outstanding level of musicianship on the skins. Pianist Jerry Aiyathurai adds a deft classical touch, drawing on his eight years with the ABRSM program of the Royal College of Music (London).

Reserve your seat!

Why I Give: News from the CT Food Bank

Excerpt from the latest newsletter from CT Food Bank

World War II veteran never forgot
Decades later, his memories of war are still vivid. In a presentation to an engaged audience at the American Legion, John D’Aquila, a resident of Long Island, told stories of his experiences as a medic in the European theater during World War II.

He spoke compassionately about entering the Mauthausen concentration camp and encountering people who were skeletal from starvation and pleading for food. His unit immediately set up a soup kitchen to provide nourishment to the survivors. “My war experience has given me a purpose, empathy, and an understanding of what is going on even today,” John told the audience.

John, an attorney, has written a play, “From the Fires,” for 8th and 9th graders to help them understand the consequences of cruelty. The play has been performed over 1,000 times at schools and for youth groups.

But the real purpose of the event was for John to announce his financial gifts to the Middletown community where he grew up. Connecticut Food Bank is one of the organizations he decided to support.

John was inspired by a planned gift made by his late great- nephew, William D’Aquila, to Connecticut Food Bank. William had named the Food Bank as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy valued at over $60,000.

John has established a charitable gift annuity at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County that will provide an annual income stream for him and his wife as long as they live. Eventually this planned gift, named the William D’Aquila Memorial Fund, will provide income to Connecticut Food Bank. John enlisted in the Army as a young man to serve his country. Now, at age 90, he has found a way to continue to serve with his generous support to organizations that serve the community.

There is a lot going on at the Food Bank. See the entire newsletter here:  or visit them here. For more information on how you can make a planned gift to Connecticut Food Bank, go HERE  or call Janet Kniffin at 203-469-5000, ext. 303 

Highfalutin' Scholarly Article, Mostly -- Popcorn by The Colonel #84

What distinguishes a language from a dialect?

Nothing more than line-drawing.

The subject may seem unimportant since several of the world’s 6,000 languages disappear each week as their last native speakers die off like something not clich├ęd that dies off like crazy.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Irony of Ironies

Exxon-Mobile CEO Joins Lawsuit Citing Fracking Concerns

(Fracking and truck traffic is okay, just not by his $5 million home in Texas.)

Read about this in the Wall Street Journal (not exactly a liberal, environmentalist rag).

Beverly Donofrio, Connecticut Native and Best-selling Author, Visits MxCC March 4

Beverly Donofrio visits Middlesex Community College for a book reading and signing on March 4 (12:30-2:00 p.m., Chapman Hall)the first of five free events with the author that are scheduled as part of the College’s Women History Month celebration (visit As a “master memoirist,” Beverly Donofrio symbolizes what it means to heal through writing – a process she has gone through in three separate, highly acclaimed memoirs: “Riding in Cars with Boys,” “Looking for Mary,” and “Astonished.” The event, which is open to the public, includes a discussion on Donofrio’s philosophies on life and faith, and the importance of using grief and tragedy for inner growth.  

Planning Department Newsletter

From the Planning Department weekly newsletter.  

Planning and Zoning Commission
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 7:00 PM, Council Chambers.
Click here for complete Agenda.
  • Request for a modification of a Special Exception approval at the Sanseer Mill on 282 Main Street Extension for adaptive historic reuse to allow an extended day program for Middletown elementary school children ages 5 to 12. Applicant/agent Edward E. Hackett/The Village SE85-17
  • Discussion regarding MX zones and allowed uses.
  • Review of By-Laws and Code of Ethics
  • River-Cog Report
  • Floating Zones
The City of Middletown is accepting statements of qualifications from interested urban design/development firms to prepare a concept plan for two (2) blocks within the city's downtown area [Metro Square and parking area behind police station]. Qualification Statements, addressed to the Supervisor of Purchases, City of Middletown, c/o the Purchasing Office, Room 112, Municipal Building, Middletown, Connecticut 06457, will be accepted until FEBRUARY 28TH, 2014 at 3:00 pm
The City of Middletown, CT is interested in promoting the creation of a vibrant mixed use urban district within its downtown. The district will embody the principles of new urbanism, smart growth, sustainability and place making. It will be human scale, pedestrian oriented and to the extent feasible transit oriented.
The design fee will be negotiated on a Lump Sum basis and shall not be opened until after interview process. Firms responding to this request must have design and development experience and must have completed similar projects within the last 5 years within the State of Connecticut. In addition, firms should be of adequate size, and sufficiently staffed to perform the assignment described above.
Click Here to learn more.

Economic Development Committee
Wednesday, February 19 2014, 7:00 PM, B-19
- Status of Economic Development Specialist position - 11 applicants being reviewed
- Tax and Business Incentive application - 140 Coe Avenue request for tax abatement
pursuant to Local Ordinance 272-9.
- Vinci Property River Road

Small Business Grants Available
New business or expanding businesses by increasing their workforce may be eligible to receive a $2,000 grant. Business either need to be owned by low or moderate income residents or plan to hire low or moderate income residents. Low or moderate income is defined as a single person earning no more than $45,000 per year or a family of four earning no more than $65,000 per year. The grants can be used for all eligible business expenses on a reimbursement basis.
Click Here to learn more.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Taking Care of Forests & Open Space

The Jonah Center for Earth and Art invites the public to learn about woodland management and its role in open space conservation on Wednesday, March 12, 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the DeKoven House at the corner of DeKoven Drive and Washington Street in Middletown. Local experts Tom Worthley, UCONN Professor of Forestry from the Middlesex County Extension Center, and Jeremy Clark, a CT Certified Forester and newly elected member of Middletown’s Planning and Zoning Commission, will lead the discussion.

Middletown has been successful at protecting key parcels of open space – woodlands, farms, floodplains, and shrub lands – to preserve the community’s rural beauty and biodiversity. Now, in our role as stewards of these properties, what steps should we take to manage them for their optimum benefit to human residents and the many other plant and animal species in our ecosystem? What are the potential benefits of timber harvesting on public land, as well as the potential risks or costs of this activity?  How can additional open space acquisitions contribute to the health of these lands by linking isolated parcels for wildlife migration?

(The photo at left shows a management project at the forest edge at Middlesex Community College.)

This program is co-sponsored by The Jonah Center for Earth and Art and Middletown’s Environmental Collective Impact Network (Ecoin), which includes Middlesex Community College, Middlesex Land Trust, Middletown’s Conservation Commission, Middletown’s Urban Forestry Commission, Earth Ministry, and The Rockfall Foundation.  Those organizations all contributed to offering this program. Representatives from other Ecoin members will be present as well, to take part in a rich and informative discussion. 

The event is free, open to the public, and no reservations are required.  For more information, call the Jonah Center at 860-398-3771, or visit to learn more about the Jonah Center or Ecoin.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

"Evan Roth//Intellectual Property Donor" in Zilkha Gallery through March 2

"Evan Roth//Intellectual Property Donor" exhibition in Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery.
Photo by John Groo.
CFA Arts Administration Intern Chloe Jones ’15 talks to Virgil Taylor '15, Sewon Kang ’14, and Stratton Coffman ’14 about the exhibition "Evan Roth//Intellectual Property Donor," on display in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery through Sunday, March 2, 2014, in this entry from the Center for the Arts blog. Admission to the gallery is free.

On display now in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery is the exhibition Evan Roth//Intellectual Property Donor. This is the largest one-man show to take place in the United States for the Paris-based American artist.

Blurring the line between artist and hacker, the exhibition asks gallery visitors to consider how everyday life intersects with virtual reality and how viral media can become high art.

Beautiful, curving, white sculptures are suspended from the gallery ceiling, each one algorithmically produced from motion-tracked graffiti data. Across the gallery, an interactive installation invites visitors to create their own TED talks on a stage that looks startlingly identical to the TED stage. Covering one wall is a series of 1,540 smartphone screen-sized ink prints depicting the gestures required to beat all 300 levels of the popular game “Angry Birds.”

With an interest in the overlap between free culture and popular culture, Roth transforms existing systems into public, often political, statements. As part of the exhibition, visitors can obtain a small sticker that reads: “In the event of death please donate all intellectual property to the public domain.” Perfect for the back of your driver’s license, he wryly suggests.

Roth was on campus for a week leading up to the opening reception on the evening of Wednesday, February 5, 2014. I spoke with three Wesleyan students who had the opportunity to work directly with him during that time.

Studio Art major Virgil Taylor ‘15 first met Roth when the artist visited Wesleyan last year. Intrigued by his work, Taylor signed up to help with the Evan Roth//Intellectual Property Donor exhibition and returned to campus early from winter break in order to begin preparing for the show’s opening.

One work in the exhibition, Propulsion Painting, consists of a variety of mixed-media sculptures that use the pressure within spray paint cans to perform tasks such as the one in this video.

Roth needed 70 empty spray paint cans! Taylor emptied what cans he could by repainting all the stools in two classrooms, and spent the rest making a series of paintings. Done on canvases typically used in the installation of exhibitions, the series was titled In Conjunction and displayed in South Gallery next door to the Evan Roth//Intellectual Property Donor exhibition on opening night.

“It ended up being a really productive experience and a really great exercise for me,” says Taylor, who had never worked with spray paint before. Taylor also attended a daylong workshop held by Roth on the topic of hacking culture, in which students made mini projects based on systems they observed in their surroundings. “It was a really fast process: talk about it, identify a system, do something,” Taylor describes.
Here is an artist interested in talking about ideas, observing the world, and then acting. The internet, Roth argues, is not only a means of communication but also a rich artistic medium and a potent vehicle for activism.

Creative Campus Intern Sewon Kang ’14 also attended the workshop. According to her, “Evan works with infrastructure that is already there for him to subvert, so when he talks about activism he talks about how activists don’t necessarily need to go in and build from the ground up.”

Roth’s activism takes place through creativity and innovation, always seeking to make small interventions that will attract worldwide attention.

“There are already systems in place that you can change to work to your advantage,” explains Kang. “Roth sees everything in the world as an opportunity. Where I see a room full of tables and chairs, he sees the tables and chairs as a system for some sort of intervention.”

Zilkha Intern Stratton Coffman ’14 also spoke about the activist impulse running through Roth’s work. “He’s asking, in what ways can we exploit the technological and social systems that are already there to change not only our environments, but also what it means to be an agent in the world.”

Coffman was first introduced to Roth’s work last year when the proposal to bring Evan Roth//Intellectual Property Donor to Wesleyan came before the Zilkha Planning Committee.

“I was intrigued,” Coffman remembers. “What’s alluring about his work is its interconnectedness. It’s part of a larger practice, each individual work, which makes them all more complex.”

Having followed Roth’s journey to Wesleyan and interacted with him and his work on numerous different occasions, Coffman says, “There are still interesting questions to think about, which is partly why I think it’s such a fruitful show. There are these questions in the works that are not resolved.”

Evan Roth//Intellectual Property Donor is more than an art exhibition, it is a catalyst for creative thinking and a commentary on our world, a call to action and an interactive sensory feast.

The exhibition will be open through Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 5pm. Visit the exhibition website for more information, photos, and the video of the artist talk that Roth gave on the night of the opening.