Hobart and William Smith Colleges have been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Private Higher Education Program to support the creation of a film screening center on campus. As a result, the second floor of the Barn will be transformed to include an 800-square-foot, state-of-the-art film screening room with two smart classrooms adjacent.
“The renovation of the Barn is an exciting addition to the activities of the Media and Society Program and will enhance the entire campus by providing an innovative and technically advanced space for the screening and teaching of media productions,” says Professor Lester Friedman, chair of the Media and Society Program.
“We are grateful for support such as this grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations that enables Hobart and William Smith Colleges to continue to provide the tools necessary for faculty to encourage critical thinking and provide an interdisciplinary education to our students,” says Titi Ufomata, provost and dean of the faculty.
The screening room will have high-definition sound and projection capability and comfortable theatre-style seating that will accommodate an audience of 40 to 50 people. The classrooms will be fully wired and Internet accessible to support seminar discussions, group work, roundtables and workshops that can take place following the screening of films, as well as regularly-occurring class sessions. Once completed, the film screening room and adjacent seminar/discussion rooms will occupy approximately 1,830 square feet. The remainder of the second floor will be a flexible open space for social gatherings, exhibitions and other campus-wide programs.
“Currently, the rooms used for film screenings and discussions are not necessarily conducive in terms of size and type,” says Associate Provost and Associate Professor of Chemistry Christine de Denus. “The experience will be more like going to a small movie theatre with the seating and lighting and all the effects you’d want, with the benefit of smart classrooms beside it for debriefing.”
Media and society is currently one of the most popular programs on campus. Over the past six years, the number of students declaring the major has more than doubled and 43 students graduated with a bachelor of arts in media and society this past spring. The program’s fundamental goals are to engage students in critical analysis of the influence of the mass media on society, and to stimulate them to creative expression through writing, videography and editing, and the arts.
According to de Denus, besides the obvious advantages the facility will provide to media studies, it will be a unique, hi-tech space that will be an asset to all faculty and campus community members who host films and discussions, as well as to the Geneva community.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges host the Annual Festival of Disability and the Arts, the aim of which is to showcase the achievements of artists, writers, actors, filmmakers and performers with disabilities, and to make their art available to others with disabilities and to the general community. The Colleges are also home to the Finger Lakes Film Festival which serves as an outlet to allow local amateur filmmakers of all ages to show and receive feedback on their own original short films.
In the photo above, Provost and Dean of Faculty Titi Ufomata, Senior Project Manager Chris Button and Professor of Media and Society Les Friedman review renovation plans for the Barn.