Inside Rensselaer
* Private $2.4 Million Gift Fuels Creation of New Works at EMPAC
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Private $2.4 Million Gift Fuels Creation of New Works at EMPAC

Two private patrons for the arts have added another $1 million to their ongoing support for the creation of new works at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).

This gift — made by David Jaffe ’64 and his wife, Amy — is in addition to a previous gift of $1 million for the same purpose, plus $400,000 in matching funds to the Institute for remodeling an apartment building for artists in residence at EMPAC.

The Jaffes made their first $1 million ($200,000 per year) gift five years ago, and have now renewed that gift for another five years.

“In our cultural landscape, such support of new, adventurous, and challenging works is unheard of.”
— Johannes Goebel.

The continued support from the couple for commissioning and producing new works of time-based arts at EMPAC comes without restrictions. Emerging and well-known artists have the opportunity to create their work at the most advanced center at the intersection of arts, research, and technology. EMPAC opened in 2008 and complements its studios, theater, and concert hall with the latest technology for the creation and presentation of contemporary artistic projects.

“In our cultural landscape, such support of new, adventurous, and challenging works is unheard of. The acknowledgement of the donors that our society needs to enable contemporary artists to explore new areas, and the trust in EMPAC’s vision and guidance in such creations, may be heard as an encouraging fanfare by others who have the means and interest to enable new artistic work and experiences,” said EMPAC Director Johannes Goebel.

Among works developed at EMPAC thus far, 16 dance movies have been commissioned. These are films in which choreographers and filmmakers collaborate. This ongoing international series is the first continuous support of such works in the United States. Recipients of commission and residences from the gift include, among others: The Light Surgeons, the Wooster Group, Valeria Valenzuela, Thom Kubli, the Early Morning Opera, the OpenEnded Group, Yanira Castro, Workspace Unlimited, and Nora Chipaumire. In total, 40 projects, including creative work by students on campus, have been supported so far under the guidance of the EMPAC curatorial team.

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Inside Rensselaer, Strategic Communications and External Relations
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 17, November 5, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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