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New Marion Fellowship for the Visual and Performing Arts unveiled
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A one-of-a-kind opportunity for creative enrichment for a faculty member or graduate student at SUNY Fredonia is being made possible by the new Marion Fellowship for the Visual and Performing Arts.

Established by Cathy (’79) and Jesse Marion of Houston, Texas, the fellowship will support new artistic experiences in several locations for a faculty member of the School of Music, Department of Theatre and Dance, or Department of Visual Arts and New Media, or graduate student in music, that can be shared with other artists, students and faculty, both on campus and elsewhere.

“We are so pleased to see the launch of the Marion Fellowship,” said Cathy Marion. “This is the culmination of our many years of involvement with outstanding visual and performing arts and educational organizations in the U.S. and Canada, now bringing them all together for a unique new undertaking.”

The Marion Fellow will selectively visit three or more Marion Fellowship Circle Member destinations and develop a final project — a production or presentation of a work of art in dance, performance, music composition, visual art and/or other creative work — inspired by those experiences. The final project will be presented at the journey’s conclusion.

Members of the Marion Fellowship Circle are: Chautauqua Institution; Ucross Foundation, Clearmont, Wyo.; Alley Theatre, Houston; Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary, Canada; and Springboard Schools, Abu Sir, Giza, Egypt.

SUNY Fredonia President Virginia Schaefer Horvath lauded the benefits of the Marion Fellowship, saying, “it represents a unique opportunity to provide what professionals in creative fields need most: connections with other artists, space for exploring new ideas, and time to learn, reflect and create. Through the generosity and imaginations of Cathy and Jesse Marion, the circle of participating organizations offers a wide array of creative possibilities.”

Designation of a 2013 theme week at Chautauqua Institution, where the journey begins, will serve as the premise of all projects. The Ucross Foundation, which operates an internationally known retreat on a 20,000-acre working cattle ranch in the Northern High Plains and Rocky Mountain region for visual artists, writers, composers and choreographers working in all creative disciplines, is the final destination.

Acting on their long-held desire to bring these five outstanding institutions together in some kind of collaborative effort, the Marions worked with June Miller-Spann, SUNY Fredonia’s associate director of Development, who suggested tying them together with a Fellowship under the auspices of SUNY Fredonia.

A consensus to fashion a creative artistic journey was reached by representatives of the five organizations who convened for a brainstorming retreat at the Ucross Foundation. “To have these impressive movers and shakers in one inspirational location to help shape the initial development of our fellowship was incredible,” Marion said.

“We are so grateful to be the catalysts that will bring this exciting opportunity for artistic growth, travel and enrichment to one deserving artist annually, hopefully inspiring some outstanding work,” Marion added.

“This is our way of ‘connecting the dots’ in our quest to help nurture and celebrate the creative process in our own small way. Beyond the fellowship, who knows what amazing interactive collaborations may develop between our Circle Member organizations in the years to come that might not have ever happened without this connection.”

John Kijinski, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at SUNY Fredonia, said the fellowship will provide a wonderful opportunity for faculty and graduate students within the new College of Visual and Performing Arts, which will be established in the fall of 2013, to work with people at several Marion Fellowship Circle institutions.

President Horvath, who met fellowship partners at Ucross, is excited about what each Marion Fellow will discover and where each fellowship will lead. “I am grateful to the Marions and to each of the partners for their vision and commitment to the arts,” she said.

The fellowship will award up to $15,000 to cover travel and lodging expenses and also provide a stipend; some Circle Members will help defray a portion of these costs. The Marions are supporting the fellowship for three years through a fund created at the Fredonia College Foundation.

Proposals must be postmarked by Feb. 15 and sent to the Marion Fellowship for the Visual and Performing Arts Committee, Fredonia College Foundation, 272 Central Ave., Fredonia, N.Y.  All proposals must:

  • Identify a Chautauqua theme week
  • Outline a creative journey and the purpose of the activity proposed
  • Explain how the activity will address specific goals of the fellowship, and
  • Include schedules or timetable for events and budget

The Marion Fellow for 2013 will be selected from among three finalists who will be interviewed by the fellowship committee. The recipient will be announced in April. In addition to the public presentation of the project, the fellow will be honored at a reception at the Cathy and Jesse Marion Art Gallery in the Rockefeller Arts Center.

“This is a great opportunity to bring together work that is being done in the arts in the public and private sectors. Cathy and Jesse Marion provide an inspiring example of how the arts can be cooperatively maintained and promoted even during tough economic times,” Dean Kijinski said.

The Marion Fellowship program is part of a long-term effort to enrich cooperation between SUNY Fredonia and other institutions that benefit from the philanthropy of Cathy and Jesse Marion.

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