Executive Director: Jedediah Wheeler
Location: Alexander Kasser Theatre, Suite 401
The Office of Arts and Cultural Programming (ACP) provides a place for important artists to create and perform innovative works. ACP produces and presents such works through its Peak Performances series to provide unique theatrical experiences that foster both creativity and learning for on-campus and community audiences over the academic year. Performing artists include members of the University campus from the Department of Theatre and Dance and the John J. Cali School of Music, as well as with established and upcoming creators on a national and international level.
From its inception in 2005, Peak Performances, formed under the artistic direction of ACP’s Executive Director Jedediah Wheeler, has brought a wide range of internationally acclaimed artists and productions to the Alexander Kasser Theater. With an emphasis on inter-disciplinary work, Peak Performances has presented more than 50 world and American premieres by international artists such as South African director Robyn Orlin; Belgian artist, writer, director Jan Fabre; Italian theater artist Romeo Castelucci; British choreographer Wayne MacGregor; Brazilian choreographer Sonia Destri; and Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite. The wide variety of American artists that the Peak series has presented include works by choreographers Bill T. Jones and Susan Marshall; Jazz composer Fred Hersch; and theater director/choreographer David Gordon, among many others.
Peak Performances also presents numerous works by Montclair State University’s next generation of artists, through the College of the Arts’ Department of Theatre and Dance and the John J. Cali School of Music. By bringing together artists of uncommon imagination with audiences of adventuresome spirits, Peak Performances fosters a greater understanding and appreciation of the creative spirit.
Visit www.peakperfs.org for current programming information.
Creative Campus Initiative
In 2010, ACP, along with the Research Academy for University Learning, received a two-year grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (through the Creative Campus Initiative) to develop a new curriculum on creative thinking and learning. The idea was to integrate ACP’s world-class visiting performing artists into a new cross-disciplinary course, offered at the University, that would foster creative thinking, whether in performing arts, math and science, humanities, business, or beyond.
ACP and RAUL assembled a faculty-working group in the fall of 2010, consisting of professors from Theater and Dance, Physics, Mathematics, Philosophy, Communications, Music, Business, and Computer Science. Together, they’ve been exploring what it means to be a creative thinker, and how best to foster that creativity in a university student. A new course, Creative Thinking (CRTH-151), started its first session in May of 2012, featuring guest instruction from such unique artists as director Robert Wilson, choreographer Liz Lerman and designer Iain Kerr.
Cultural Engagement Program
In addition to the programs mentioned above, ACP works to provide an in-depth Cultural Engagement program to involve Montclair State students and local audiences in creative and intellectually stimulating outreach programs by connecting these audiences with artists from around the globe. Numerous examples of ACP’s artists and engaged voices can be found by visiting the Insite Blog.
All ACP initiatives are designed to fulfill its overall mission, i.e. to enhance the cultural and creative life of the University campus and broader community, as well as foster opportunities for artistic development and educational excellence.