Exhibition Information

Imagination Celebration: Art by K-12 Students and Teachers
March 5 - April 14, 2023

The exhibition presents the work of both student artists and their mentors. Imagination Celebration includes K-12 students and teachers from McGraw School, Homer Central School District, Cortland City Schools, and Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The objective is to strengthen the relationship between SUNY Cortland and neighboring schools, offer an outlet for local talent, and continue with a more than 20-year-old tradition.

Two principal organizers, Brookley Abbate and Lauren Nels, both SUNY Cortland alums and art teachers at Homer Central School, previously organized the project at the Homer Center 4 the Arts and Homer's HTEC.

More than 140 works representing various techniques, such as drawings, paintings, ceramics, collages, 3D objects, and digital media, fill the Dowd Gallery and expand to the Hallway Gallery and the Critiques Space, where collaborative installation between 8th-grade and 3rd-student from Homer schools is on display.


Explore the virtual 3D space

About Program: 

In addition to the feature exhibition, the Dowd Gallery will present a series of supporting programs. Events will include panel discussions, documentary screenings, a virtual presentation, and specially designed workshops for regional secondary art school educators. 

Two separate panel discussions are scheduled for March 23 and March 29 at the Dowd gallery from 5 p.m. The first event will include student artists representing both Cortland and Homer school districts. Selected students will share experiences from their art classrooms and reflect on the importance of creative activities and their impact on individual academic development and college preparedness.   

The second speaking event – a round table discussion will bring together a group of local art educators, school administrators, and representatives of cultural organizations to engage in a conversation about the state of the art education, funding, access to resources, and the importance of imaginative thinking and creative activities in forming a healthy and sustainable community. The panel will include Robert Edwards, Cortland Superintendent; Jesse Bender and Nadja Bieber, Cortland Art Teachers; Thomas Turck, Homer Central Superintendent; Brookley Abbate and Lauren Nels, Homer Art Teachers; Carol Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Cortland Arts Connect and Crystal Lyon, Artist and Art Advocate, Cortland.  

Two documentary screenings will be offered to students, the campus community, and the public, highlighting various aspects of art education and student experiences with the creative fields. 

A virtual talk will wrap up the public programs on Tuesday, April 11. Thomas Albrecht, Professor, Department Chair, and Associate Dean of the School of Fine at SUNY New Paltz, will deliver a virtual talk covering issues associated with the transition of students from high school to college into creative fields, consequences of Covid on the academic progress of enrolled students, and will address questions from the audience. Albrecht adds, "Anthropologist Victor Turner wrote of the liminal as a space where “entities are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned.” We find ourselves, individually and collectively, in a particular cultural moment between what we knew and what we know. The presentation will explore what it has meant to shift radically our understanding of what it is to listen, to connect, and to teach amidst the global pandemic and societal reckoning in the United States. We have been challenged to alter the way we engage first-year students—a time already fraught with great transformation—now exacerbated by remote teaching and curriculum disseminated via virtual, little boxes. What has it meant to innovate without live bodies in an actual studio, and what will it take to lead the curriculum as we learn from our collective history and recent past as we envision new ways of being in the academy? This in-between space is both incredibly challenged and ripe with possibility as we move forward. The presentation will particularly focus on how students transition into college-level art and design education and what students and faculty need in this new space of learning."

Participating Teachers: 

Brookley Abbate: Homer Central Schools - Homer Junior High
Paul Andre: Homer Central Schools - Homer High School
Danielle Beltz: Cortland Schools - Randall Middle
Jesse Bender: Cortland JSHS - Junior High
Nadia Bieber: Cortland Smith School 
Tanya Komar: OCM BOCES - Cortlandville Campus
Mikaella McCrone: McGraw Elementary School
Moshkowski, Elizabeth: Cortland City Schools - Barry Primary
Lauren Nels: Homer Central School - Homer Junior High
Sarah Panzarella: Cortland Enlarged City School District - Cortland Junior High School
Emily Shepard: Homer Central School District - Homer Elementary School
Brian Wallace: Homer Central School District - Homer High School
Lindsay Wilson: Homer Central School District - Homer Intermediate School
Deanna Wurst: McGraw High School

Other Participants:

Robert Edwards, Cortland Superintendent 
Thomas Turck, Homer Central Superintendent
Carol Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Cortland Arts Connect
Crystal Lyon, Artist, Chairperson of Cortland DRI Public Arts Committee
Adjunct Assistant Professor & Professional Digital Media & Art Tutor,
   Tompkins Cortland CC, Teacher of the Arts at Truxton Academy Charter School
Thomas Albrecht, Professor, Department Chair, and Associate Dean,
   School of Fine, SUNY New Paltz
Thomas Albrecht’s performance art projects explore ritual and language in public spaces, galleries, and museums, prodding cultural beliefs and individual doubts. He has performed and exhibited work throughout the United States and internationally, notably at Grace Exhibition Space (New York);Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery (Chicago); Panoply Performance Laboratory (New York); Queens Museum; Dimanche Rouge Paris, and during festivals such as the Brooklyn International Performing Arts Festival, Month of Performance Art Berlin, Performatorio IV in the Dominican Republic, and Satellite 2.0 during Art Basel in Miami.

He serves as Associate Dean in the School of Fine and Performing Arts, and as Chair and Professor in the Art Department, at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Office Information

Dowd Fine Arts Center, Room 106,
48 Graham Avenue and Prospect Terrace Cortland, NY 13045

Phone: 607-753-4216
Fax: 607-753-5934
Scott Oldfield, Interim Director

Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Thr: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Walk-ins are welcome. You may also schedule a visit.

The gallery is closed when the College is not in session

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