Rolling Out the Red Carpet: Celebrating Tyler Hall’s New Look

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An all-star cast of guests attended the Tyler Hall Take 2 Debut reception on Oct. 28, part of a celebration of the newly renovated facility that concluded School of Communication, Media and the Arts (SCMA) Week on the SUNY Oswego campus.

Guests walked a red carpet lined with student paparazzi through the sweeping new Tyler lobby, joining college President Deborah F. Stanley and her husband, Michael; SCMA Dean Julie Pretzat; and the many others who were instrumental to the success of the $22.2 million Phase 1 rejuvenation of Tyler Hall.

Stanley encouraged guests to see the modernization—including a new Waterman Theatre with state-of-the-art equipment and amenities; rehearsal, recording and gallery space—through the lens of creativity that will be spurred in each location.

“It’s all about building spaces that make learning possible,” Stanley told more than 150 reception attendees. The reception concluded a week of celebration and a day of events focused on Tyler Hall, including sold-out performances of The Wizard of Oz in Waterman Theatre.

“It has been an enormous undertaking, and I’m enormously proud of the people involved,” Stanley said.

Among jazz ensemble performances and an appearance by the State Singers, Pretzat expressed gratitude for staff and students who were spread throughout campus during the renovation project, most of whom have now returned to their “home” building.

PLANNED SPACES: Phase 2 will include a costume shop, shown above in an architect’s rendering.

PLANNED SPACES: Phase 2 will include a costume shop, shown above in an architect’s rendering.

“This building has been home to so many wonderful moments,” Pretzat said. “We are looking forward to many more.”

Tours Showcase Spaces

Cadi Hannold ’17 isn’t sure which new space in Tyler is
her favorite. The theatre and creative writing dual major served as a Tyler Hall tour guide, bringing guests—mostly alumni and community members— through the corridors to view all aspects of the renovations. “I never got to see the old Tyler,” Hannold said. However, it was evident that many of those on her tour had. In fact, some were donors in the seat-naming initiative in Tyler’s Waterman Theatre. Tour members fanned into the seats of the audience in the theatre, many in search of seat plaques bearing the names of professors, alumni and other honorees who were formative parts of their college years and careers. There are still seats available to name. Visit alumni. oswego.edu/watermanseats.

Students also led tours into the Tyler Art Gallery, which features a variety of artists. In addition to changing exhibitions, the learning gallery is home to a permanent collection of European, African and American art from the 18th century to the present. It’s open to all 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday—Sunday.

Along corridors in the new Tyler Hall, there are several private rooms for one, providing a space for practice. Throughout the day, students come and go with musical instruments in hand. Beside
these small, semi-private venues, the new Tyler has soaring new spaces like the two-story Instrumental Rehearsal Room, which houses the college community orchestra and several ensembles; the Choral Rehearsal Room for choirs and the State Singers; and a state-of-the-art recording studio capable of capturing it all.

The recording studio gets high marks from Dan Wood M’10, who provides instructional support and mentors students like Derek Greenough ’16 and Aaron Roth ’17.

“We’re all really happy,” Wood said. “Audio design and production is very popular. We have more and more students interested in high-end production.”

And the equipment, Wood said, is consistent with what students will see on the job in professional recording studios.

“These are top-of-the-line pro tool systems,” he said.

Waterman Theatre Takes Center Stage

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In addition to drawing visitors to see seats named for the legends of Tyler Hall and state-of-the-art equipment, Waterman Theatre drew sold-out crowds for the annual Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit and performances of The Wizard of Oz, produced by Jonel Langenfeld of the theatre department. Guests to The Wizard of

Oz walked the red carpet into Tyler Hall beneath massive switch-lights that could be seen throughout the city of Oswego. Among the attendees were children of all ages and the elderly: a testament to the leading role that SUNY Oswego plays for the surrounding community.

“It’s part of our responsibility to the community, to provide great venues and opportunities,” said Stanley.

“The vastly improved accessibility to and in the building has made the performance and exhibition spaces extremely welcoming to our community,” Pretzat agreed.

Before assuring audiences that there’s no place like home, students took part in a staple of SCMA programming: The 12th annual Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit. This year’s summit examined mobile technologies and the arts, and featured moderator Sean McAllister ’01, co-host of MORE and MORE Access on Fox5 in Las Vegas; and panelists George “Nick” Gianopoulos ’07, pianist and composer-in-residence for the symbiosis ensemble and concert series, “Music @MiMoDa” in Los Angeles; Diana Preisler ’96, star of the Lifetime TV series Pitch Slapped and a member of the a capella band Blue Jupiter; Michael Yoon ’00, graphic artist and communications manager for University Services at Princeton University; and Mya Brown, a playwright and visiting assistant professor in acting/directing.

Each panelist shared how he or she employed social and digital technologies in their work as musicians, artists and performers during the Oct. 27 event titled Digital, Social, Mobile: How Media Trends Impact Theatre, Music and Art.

Following the discussion, students asked the panelists questions ranging from how to improve the number of followers on social media to how to protect creative works to what the panelists thought of how U.S. presidential candidates and their followers used social media.

Phase 2 Begins

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2nd floor art studios are under construction with a completion date of August, said School of Communication, Media and the Arts Dean Julie Pretzat. Meanwhile, Phase 2 is expected to begin at the end of spring semester and result in the renovation of one floor per year with final completion in 2020-2021, she said.

“It has been very exciting to see Tyler’s new spaces come alive with the sights and sounds of music, art and theatre activities,” Pretzat said. “The improvements have energized our students and faculty. It is so much easier to make great work in a great space.”

Phase 1 resulted in new or modernized spaces in Tyler Hall that include Waterman Theatre, Tyler Art Gallery, a music rehearsal hall, a modern lobby and entry, a new box office and more. Phase 2 will include exterior work, a lab theatre, studios for different artistic disciplines, a new costume shop, classrooms and offices.

Funding for Phase 2 is from a state capital appropriation of $18 million—$13 million for interior work and $5 million for exterior refurbishing, including cleaning and repairing the facade and landscaping.

“Visiting alumni have been both excited and a bit jealous about the improvements to the building,” Pretzat said. “They most appreciate all the natural light that has been brought into the building as well as the up-to-date technology for our students.”

Telling Tales at Tyler

Pictured above is videographer Tyler Edic ’13 and Amy Bartell ’86, an instructor in the art department.

Pictured above is videographer Tyler Edic ’13 and Amy Bartell ’86, an instructor in the art department.

Opened in 1968 as the college’s first exclusive arts space, Tyler Hall was named for James Gale Tyler, a painter who was born in Oswego. Over the decades, it served as home school for generations of arts students—from visual and performing arts to music and theatre—as well as the faculty who guided them.

Arts students are the types of students who spend late, long hours refining their passion for art, according to Cynthia Clabough, professor and art department chair.

Clabough was a participant in Tyler Tales, a project capturing the stories of the people who know Tyler Hall best. Tyler Tales interviewees visited the new Tyler recording studio space to share stories ranging from hilarious to heart-wrenching with videographer Tyler Edic ’13 (lower left), who compiled the video memories. Visit oswego.edu/magazine to hear Clabough’s and many other stories from alumni, staff and current students. And, it’s not too late to self-submit your Tyler Tale. See the website for details.

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