James Downs, associate professor of history and American studies, will spend the 2015-16 academic year studying medical anthropology at Harvard University.
Andrew Nathanson ’13, an architectural studies major and scholar in the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, will present his senior project, a historical documentary about the College’s Cummings Arts Center, on Wednesday, April 24, starting at 8:30 p.m. and running on the half-hour until 10:30 p.m. “Building Stories: Cummings Arts Center” will be projected via two high-powered projectors onto very large canvas: the building itself.
The documentary features hundreds of historical documents and photos, as well as 3D models Nathanson created using the design software SketchUp. He also gathered personal statements and recollections from faculty and staff about the construction and early years of the building, which opened in 1969 after nearly two years of construction.
For this extensive and multidisciplinary project, Nathanson drew inspiration from a former student’s thesis on the architectural history of all of the buildings at the College. And with the College’s Centennial occurring during his undergraduate years, Nathanson decided that a historical approach for his own project would be most relevant.
But history wasn’t his only interest in pursuing the project.
“Two other elements played into my desire to create ‘Building Stories’: I was a stage manager for many years in high school and enjoyed producing events, and I had a background in 3D modeling with SketchUp,” Nathanson explained.
During his research, Nathanson met alumnus John Evans ’86, whose father — also named John — is the former chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees and the namesake of Evans Hall, an auditorium in Cummings. The junior Evans owns an event production company and loaned Nathanson the two projectors and other equipment necessary to screen the documentary in such a large, outdoor venue.
The production itself will be spectacular, but the content of the documentary will entertain even those unfamiliar with the College as Nathanson touches on some of the myths surrounding the iconic building, such as the existence of a secret room in Evans Hall and a time capsule beneath a terrace, the history of the sculpture “Sensoraya” and even longstanding rumors about the whereabouts of the remains of building namesake Joanne Toor Cummings ’50.
For more information, contact the Ammerman Center at 860-439-2001.