Greg Clepper works with students backstage
Jamie Grady and Harvey Hubbell V
Jon Lehrer master class
Arts&Culture Prospective students are always impressed when they tour the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. Jamie Grady wants to make sure that those students make many return visits to “the PAC” once they enroll.
“I think once we get them in the doors, we’ll be able to create lifelong attendees of the arts,” he says. Grady arrived last spring to direct the new Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture (MIAC), which oversees programming for the D’Angelo Center as well as other arts initiatives on campus. “We’re not changing the tradition of world-class programming that’s been built over the past 16 years,” he says. “There’s still plenty to appeal to the Erie arts community. But we’re definitely trying to get our faculty and students more involved.” Grady came to Mercyhurst fresh off a two-year stint in New Zealand, including a job managing fundraising for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington. His career has also included both 12 years in nonprofit theater management and 10 years in academia, teaching at Pittsburgh’s Point Park University. The combination has prepared him well for his latest task – helping to bring a new generation of people to the arts. 15
He’s something of an authority on “Marketing to Generations X and Y on their Own Terms.” During the October annual conference of the Association of Arts Management, Marketing and Development Professionals, he and colleague Paige Beal presented “Under One Roof but Worlds Apart,” discussing innovative ways of attracting both Baby Boomers and Generation Y to the arts.
He’s approaching his job at Mercyhurst on many different fronts, and a conversation with Grady jumps often to yet another venture that’s in the planning stage .
ON THE MAINSTAGE
The PAC’s mainstage performance series is the best-known and most visible Mercyhurst effort. This year’s programming includes outstanding jazz, classical music and dance, with big names like tap dancer Savion Glover and the family piano phenomenon The 5 Browns among those still to come. There are 10 presentations this year, and Grady hopes there will be a dozen next year, including at least a couple of major national acts. The featured artists are being chosen to appeal to student audiences as well as the community and to connect with student courses and projects. All the live shows are scheduled while students are on campus to enjoy them, and Grady’s looking for ways to draw in those students however he can.
Many of the guest artists stage special master classes for ‘Hurst music and dance students. A day before his innovative modern dance company took the PAC stage, Jon Lehrer was in the danceSpace studios introducing dance majors to his unique style. Faculty members have also been recruited to enhance some programs. In September, Voxare String Quartet performed live music to accompany a groundbreaking silent film, Dziga Vertov’s 1929 documentary Man with a Movie Camera. Beforehand, communication faculty member and film buff Brian Sheridan helped the audience understand the unique production
ON THE BIG SCREEN
Mercyhurst’s film line-up remains extraordinary. Taylor Little Theater now serves as the university’s cinema space, and films have moved from Wednesdays to Fridays to encourage students to attend. “Taylor is a great venue for films,” Grady says. With a 250-seat capacity, it’s an intimate space that allows filmgoers to get closer to the screen. Its new sound system and Blu-Ray projection equipment show off films to their best advantage. The Maria J. Langer Film Series, endowed by John Langer ’95 in honor of his mother, screens documentaries and independent