“Analog Video Works” by Timothy Nohe Opens at Kohl Gallery Nov. 9


“Cosmonaut” by Timothy Nohe


Kohl Gallery at Washington College is pleased to announce a one-person show featuring Baltimore-based artist, composer, and educator Timothy Nohe. Opening on November 9 with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m., and running through December 15, the exhibition “Voltage is Signal: Analog Video Works by Timothy Nohe” will feature works exploring analog video technology in various innovative ways.

Nohe will be in residence for the production of LightForest by the Baltimore Dance Project in Decker Theatre on November 17 and 18, a dance for which he composed the score. He will deliver a gallery talk on November 16 at 4:30 p.m. while on campus for the production.

Nohe’s work engages traditional and electronic media in civic life and public places. His practice has been focused upon sustainability and place, and musical and video works for dance and live performance. His show at Kohl in many ways marks a new direction as he departs from a typically more image-based practice to consider the ways that voltages might produce abstractions. The resulting works are resonant of past traditions, from color field to Pop, even as they emerge from an interrogation of various media.

Nohe is the founding director of the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Research in the Arts (CIRCA) and a professor of visual arts at UMBC. He was an artist in residence at the Centre for Creative Arts at La Trobe University from 2011–2014, and an adjunct professor in the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (2011–2015). He also serves on the editorial board of the international journal, Unlikely, which is based in Melbourne, Australia.

The recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award from the Australian-American Fulbright Commission in 2006, Nohe went on to receive the Commission’s 2011 Fulbright Alumni Initiative Grant, which resulted in multiple exhibitions in the United States and Australia on view from 2012-2016. Nohe has also received multiple other awards and honors including five Maryland State Arts Council Awards, a Creative Baltimore Award, a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts and William G. Baker Fund “Our Town Project-Creative Placemaking” grant, and a 2015 Warnock Foundation grant. Nohe has exhibited and performed his work in a range of national and international venues and was commissioned as an exhibiting artist for Light City 2017, Baltimore. His contribution, Electron Drawing, will be on display in the gallery.

Kohl Gallery is located on the first floor of the Gibson Center for the Arts at Washington College. It is open Monday through Wednesday1 to 6 p.m.Saturday and Sunday11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please email: kohl_gallery@washcoll.edu.

“Electron” by Timothy Nohe


Halloween at Lit House — All About Witches


Cristina Casado Presa

Washington College’s very own Cristina Casado Presa will be at the Rose O’Neill Literary House for a faculty tea and talk on Tuesday, October 31, as part of the fall Literary House Series. The event at the Lit House will be at 4:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Cristina Casado Presa is an associate professor of Spanish, chair of the Modern Languages Department, and director of the Gender Studies Program at Washington College, where she teaches all levels of Spanish. She also teaches courses on the contemporary literature of Spain; representations of the Spanish Civil War; female writers after Franco’s death; contemporary Spanish theater; and witches, ghosts, and vampires. She is an expert in 20th- and 21st-century literature and culture of Spain and focuses her research on women writers and representations of witchcraft in literature and culture.

Some of her publications on those subjects are “The Witch as a Power Paradigm in Two Contemporary Spanish Dramas” published in Monographic Review; “Silence as a Conflict in a Drama by Pilar Pombo” published in Letras Femeninas; and “Mother-Daughter Relationships in Contemporary Spanish Theater” in the volume The Changing Spanish Family: Essays on New Views in Literature, Cinema and Theater (McFarland, 2011). Currently she is working on a book project dedicated to the figure of the witch in contemporary Spanish literature.

For more information on these events or the Literary House, visit the website at www.washcoll.edu/centers/lithouse, or view the annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: www.washcoll.edu/live/files/7406-2017-2018.

Washington College Students, Faculty, and Staff Study Field Sparrows


Jennie Carr, Assistant Professor of Biology (left) and Madeline Poethke ’16 use scopes to spot field sparrows in the restored grasslands at Washington College’s Chester River Field Research Station

In general, Andrea Freeman’s view of the natural world is through a microscope. A senior biology major with an emphasis in cellular, molecular, and infectious diseases, and a minor in chemistry, Freeman admits she doesn’t get outside much, which made her summer internship with Jennie Carr, Assistant Professor of Biology, that much more of an eye-opener.

As a Toll Fellow in the College’s Summer Research Program, Freeman worked for 10 weeks with Carr in the restored native grasslands at the Chester River Field Research Station (CRFRS) at Chino Farms, helping Carr with her ongoing study of field sparrows—considered a “common” bird but one which has seen steep population declines in the last 40 years.

“It definitely was a different focus for me because I usually take classes with microscopes and stuff like that, and this was out in the field, outside,” said Freeman. “It took a lot to get used to just from my experiences in the classroom. I loved it.”

A pair of hungry field sparrow babies wait with open mouths for food.

Carr has been studying field sparrows and hummingbirds at the CRFRS since 2014. She has focused the work at the field station at Chino Farms in part because of the unique habitat—the restored native grasslands—that draws the sparrows. The station is also home to Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory, whose long-term data collection and identification of birds supports her study.

“Because the staff at Foreman’s Branch has been banding birds for so long out there, we have a really well-characterized population of field sparrows where we know exactly how old they are. Very few other studies can do that; they know if they’re two years old, and that’s it,” Carr said. “But we know we have some birds that are seven, eight, nine, and so on. We put color bands on them so we can identify unique individuals with scopes and binoculars … when you’re interested in age, and you need this longitudinal study, you need to know how they did when they were four versus five, five versus six.”

Considered common, field sparrows nevertheless have seen a population decline of 65% from 1966 to 2010, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Over the past four summers, Carr has been studying whether the age of the bird has a bearing on nesting success—in short, do older birds do a better job of feeding their young. Carr has been working with Maren Gimpel and Dan Small, field ecologist and Natural Lands Project coordinator, respectively, with the College’s Center for Environment & Society, and a small cadre of summer research students each year.

In 2014, researchers located 90 nests in the restored grasslands and successfully filmed 32 of them resulting in 132 hours of video footage to review. In 2015, that number jumped to 115 nests with 65 being filmed. In 2016, Carr and the team located 119 nests, and this past summer 103 nests.

A nestful of young field sparrows

“We would go out every morning and observe the field sparrows and watch their behavior, and that would indicate whether they had a nest,” Freeman said. “And our main goal was to be able to find the nest in order to be able to see if they became better parents as they aged.”

Carr, Gimpel, and Small plan to publish the research results this winter. Preliminarily, Carr said, it appears as though males do not feed chicks more as they age, although females do.

“This is a little surprising, since they live for so long, and they definitely learn and modify their behavior. It’s surprising that males don’t seem to improve since success of the nest really depends on bi-parental care,” Carr said. “Age doesn’t seem to be a big contributing factor, but the sex of individuals seems to be. Females are little more attentive. And feeding rate is an important driver of nest success.”

Carr and the team also began a new, related study this summer, using the same habitat and the same birds, but studying where the birds choose to nest as a determining factor in nesting success.

“We’re doing vegetation plots around the nests, characterizing where they are in relation to a treeline, for instance, and whether they’re being eaten by a predator or dying from exposure or a mechanical failure of a nest just falling over,” Carr says. “We’re asking more questions about field sparrow success and age—because we want to take advantage of that variable while we can—but also how is their nest building skill or placement varying over time, if it is.”

For Freeman, the work was a first on many levels—her first internship in the field, her first working with a species like the sparrows, her first living on her own in an apartment-type setting off campus, in the field house where interns spend their summer.

“I was able to do the things I learned at Washington College. I was able to put hands on,” she said. “And it also taught me a lot about patience and how things aren’t going to be the way you want all the time. There would be days when I wouldn’t find a field sparrow nest, and it was just interesting to see how stuff doesn’t always go as you planned, and how you have to adapt and learn and kind of be thinking on your feet.”

Literary House: Two-Day “Poetry Extravaganza” Celebrates Poets Gwendolyn Brooks and Terrence Hayes


Gwendolyn Brooks, 1917-2000 – America’s first African American poet laureate

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College will present a two-day Poetry Extravanganza celebrating African-American poets Terrance Hayes and Gwendolyn Brooks on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 1-2 at the Rose O’Neill Literary House

Gwendolyn Brooks was America’s first African American poet laureate, as well as the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize. Terrance Hayes has won the National Book Award and a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, among other acclamations for his poetry. Both will be celebrated on Nov. 1-2 at the Rose O’Neill Literary House, in a two-day event to honor the past and the present of poetry in America.

Hayes will read from his work on Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. at the Lit House. The event celebrating Brooks, 100 years after her birth in 1917, will be held Nov. 2 at 4:30, also at the Lit House. Both events are free and open to the public. At the second event, Hayes will also discuss the influence Brooks’ work and legacy has had on his own poetry.

Terrance Hayes, poet and a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award

One of the most compelling voices in American poetry, Terrance Hayes is the author of five books of poetry: How to Be Drawn (Penguin Books, 2015), longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry; Lighthead (Penguin Books, 2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award in Poetry; Wind in a Box (Penguin Books, 2006), winner of a Pushcart Prize; Hip Logic (Penguin Books, 2002), winner of the National Poetry Series, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and runner-up for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets; and Muscular Music (Carnegie Mellon, 2006), winner of both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He has been a recipient of many other honors and awards, including a 2014 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, two Pushcart selections, eight Best American Poetry selections, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Fence, The Kenyon Review, Jubilat, Harvard Review, and Poetry. His poetry has also been featured on PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Gwendolyn Brooks was born in 1917. In this, the 100th year since her birth, we celebrate the former poet laureate and the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, for Annie Allen, her second book of poems. She wrote 20 books of poetry, publishing her first, A Street in Bronzeville (Harper & Brothers) in 1945. She also authored a novel, two autobiographies, and books for children. Her musicality, mastery of tone, gift with received forms like sonnets, and insistence on writing about marginalized people make Brooks one of our most important and relevant poets.

Participants are welcome to bring and read a poem inspired by Brooks, or to read one of their favorites of hers. Hayes will also attend and talk about the influence Brooks had on his work as well as how he developed the form “the golden shovel” based on her work.

For more information on this and other English Department and Sophie Kerr events, visit the the English department’s website or view our annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here. For more information, visit the Literary House website.


Trick-or-Treaters Welcome at Hynson-Ringgold House for Halloween Goodies



Hynson-Ringgold will be a spooky place for Halloween

What could be better to young ghouls and goblins than a big, brick, potentially spooky house to visit for Halloween? Washington College’s Hynson-Ringgold House at 106 S. Water St. will be all decked out to welcome local trick-or-treaters on Halloween, so they can check out for themselves whether the president’s residence is spooky enough.

The house will be open for trick-or-treaters from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31. Members of the Campus Events staff and the Student Government Association will be in costume and happy to provide treats and warm beverages.

Chocolate for Food Day!


Hugo Chavez Ayala

October 24 is nationally designated as Food Day—a day to examine how to improve our diets, our foods, and food policies—and Washington College this year is taking on a sweet subject: Chocolate. Hugo Chavez Ayala, co-founder of Agrofloresta Mesoamerica, will discuss cacao cultivation and how the choices we make as consumers of chocolate can affect the people, landscape, and cultures of the countries that grow cacao.

The event at 6:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge is free and open to the public and will be followed by a chocolate tasting.

Ayala will explain the logistics of cacao cultivation and how the agroforestry system where it grows can have positive social and environmental impacts. He will also discuss the difference between mainstream versus artisanal chocolate, and how the consumer choices can make a difference in the producing countries.

Ayala is an agronomist with a master’s degree in sustainable rural development. After working in academia for several years, he launched Agrofloresta to prove the thesis that it was possible to have a sustainable cacao business in Southern Mexico. Currently, Agrofloresta is working on its second cacao season, exporting fine flavor cacao to the U.S. and Europe, and is exploring the sustainable trade of other products, while benefiting more than 200 farmers with better prices and capacity building.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society and the Student Environmental Alliance.


Talking About the Tax Man


Vanessa Williamson

Vanessa Williamson, whose new book  Read My Lips: Why Americans Are Proud to Pay Taxes  argues that Americans view paying their taxes as a moral and civic responsibility, will visit Washington College on Oct. 30 to discuss her work.

The program at 5 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, is the final installment in this semester’s Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs. It is free and open to the public.

A Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings, Williamson studies the politics of redistribution, with a focus on attitudes about taxation. Her work challenges the conventional wisdom that Americans hate taxes, instead positing that Americans view taxpaying as a moral obligation, a sign that one is a contributing member of the community and the nation. Many worry that some people are shirking their tax responsibilities and that government uses their money to benefit the elite few rather than the public interest. Ironically, Williamson argues, the depth of the American civic commitment to taxpaying makes the failures of government, perceived and real, especially potent frustrations.

Williamson is also the author, with Harvard professor Theda Skocpol, of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, which examines how the Tea Party pushed the Republican Party farther to the right. The book was named one of the 10 best political books of the year in The New Yorker. Her other work includes examinations of the political origins of the state Earned Income Tax Credit, the electoral effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the conditions in which voters have supported state tax increases, and the factors predicting protests against police brutality.

Williamson has testified before Congress and appeared on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and Al Jazeera America. She has written in a variety of outlets, including a recent op-ed on Donald Trump’s non-payment of taxes in the Sunday edition of The New York TimesTeen Vogue piece on the defense of democracy in America, as well as for The Atlantic, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and her hometown newspaper, The Sacramento Bee. Her work has also been cited by The Economist, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and on National Public Radio, among other sources.

Williamson previously served as the Policy Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She received her Ph.D. in Government and Social Policy from Harvard University. She has a master’s degree from NYU’s Institute of French Studies, and received her B.A. in French language and literature from NYU.

Established in 1990, the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs sponsors lectures, symposia, and visiting fellows, student participation in models and conferences, and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders experienced in developing public policy. It has hosted journalists, political activists, foreign policy analysts, diplomats, military commanders, and government officials of both national and international stature. Christine Wade, professor of political science and international studies, is its current curator.


Mashups, Anansi Trio Headline College Concert Series


The Mashups

The second half of Washington College’s Fall 2017 concert series begins Oct. 25 with the Mashups, closing out with Anansi Trio on Nov. 2.

Each performance will be in Hotchkiss Recital Hall at the Gibson Centre for the Arts and begins at 7:30. Tickets are $20 (adults), $15 (non-WC College Students/Seniors over age 65/WC faculty and staff), and $12 (1782 Member). WC students and youth 17 and under are free.

On October 25, The Mashups bring their passion for genre bending to the College with a concert that mixes Beyonce with Bizet and couples Porter with Puccini. They break all the rules while taking the audience on an adventure through opera to jazz to musicals to Motown and back again. The Mashups are a trio: Julia Chalfin, who loves opera and the big stage, has made a name for herself in Munich, Germany, as an opera-cabaret performer with original shows such as The Birth of a DivaA Taste of AmericaSopranos-more than just a pretty voice! and Ladies, who Brunch, which she wrote, produced and performed. Cory O’Niell Walker is a diverse performer, composer, and designer who performs in many genres including opera, musical theater, art song and dance. He has also been seen at the Philly Fringe Festival performing his own art-song-based theater works, and he is executive artistic director and co-founder of the Philadelphia-based Artsong Repertory Theater Company, and also performs regularly with The Opera Company of Philadelphia and The Mendelssohn Club Chorus. Matt Brower, a lecturer in piano at Washington College since 2015, is a Philadelphia-based pianist, coach, and educator who brings vision and sensitivity to a variety of genres, from classical piano, chamber music, opera, and art song to musical theatre and jazz.

Anansi Trio

On Nov 2, Washington College welcomes Anansi Trio, a group of like-minded musicians drawing from a wide range of musical influences. Taking their name from a West African trickster spirit associated with storytelling, the trio uses the language of jazz as their starting point. Adding elements of Afro-Cuban and Indian music as well as other global traditions, their sound is deep and diverse. Using percussion, saxophones, and acoustic bass they create a music that’s unique and experimental yet remains accessible. With a strong rhythmic approach and a focus on improvisation, Anansi Trio hopes to put their own stamp on the American legacy known as jazz. The Anansi Trio features Mark Merella (drums), Matt Beltzer (saxophone), and Larry Melton (bass).

Tickets can be purchased with a credit card at washcoll.edu/concert, or with cash or check at the door. Inquiries can be sent to Debbie Reed at concertseries@washcoll.edu or 410-778-7839.

Hopeful Take on Climate Change


Peterson Toscano

On Friday, October 20, experience the artful, playful, outrageously funny, and deeply moving storytelling craft of Peterson Toscano in his comedic performance, Everything is Connected: A collection of stories, most weird, many true. Connecting issues and ideas to bizarre personal experiences, literature, science, and even the odd Bible story, Peterson transforms right before your eyes into a whole cast of comic characters who explore the serious worlds of gender, sexuality, privilege, religion and environmental justice.

This performance will take place in Decker Theatre at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

As someone concerned with human rights, Toscano has taken on climate change as his primary focus as he considers LGBTQ, faith, and comic responses to the climate crisis. He does not dole out the typical gloom and doom, shame, and guilt global warming messages. Instead, he infuses his work with hope. He challenges audiences to pursue community building as he helps them connect climate change to everything from immigration to a cup of coffee. He curates the Climate Stew Website and is the host of Citizens’ Climate Radio To learn more about Peterson Toscano, visit his website.

For information about the event call Jamie Frees at 410-810-7162 or email  jfrees2@washcoll.edu. This event is sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College, the Cater Society of Junior Fellows, Intercultural Ambassadors and Office of Intercultural Affairs, Student Government Association, Student Environmental Alliance, EROS, TaNGO, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Mid-Shore Maryland Chapter of PLFAG.