Arts and Culture

Keeping up with Jessica Kuszaj

If you were to look at Wheaton’s Art Calendar at this very moment, you would quickly see a pattern. Under almost every event listed, you’ll see “Contact: Jessica Kuszaj.”

Kuszaj is Wheaton’s Arts Events and Publicity Manager. She said that her primary focus is the Evelyn Danzig Haas ’39 Visiting Artists Program. Of the program, she said, “[It] is an endowed program that brings artists to campus. We organize events each year in all the disciplines. In each department, there are four sections that get money.”

The departments are theater, dance, art and art history and creative writing. A noteworthy example of one of these events was the residency of internationally-known Patrick Dougherty and his Twisted Sisters project. His work with forty students created an iconic, tree sapling-twined piece that was shared with Wheaton and the Norton community. “He was an amazing experience,” Kuszaj said. “He was here for about a month and worked with students to build that piece, so it was all very exciting.”

Kuszaj also works closely with the program Arts in the City, which gives faculty members the ability to apply for funding to take their students to arts events in the area, including in Providence, Boston and New York

Before Wheaton, Kuszaj was a studio art major with a focus on graphic design and photography at Skidmore College. Although she has been working in her office at Wheaton for eight years, she did not move into her current position until last year. Kuszaj is in the process of a transition, in which she continues to do graphic design but also plans events for Wheaton.

Her first major event after taking the job brought Yo Yo Ma to Wheaton and turned out to be a great experience. With the aid of The Loser Concert Fund, which pays for one or two concerts per year on campus, the sold-out show, including 17 performers, celebrated the 25th year of the Loser Fund performances “Although it was a ton of work,” she said, “the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma… was my favorite.”

“We work hard to make sure students have plenty of entertainment on campus,” Kuszaj said. Be on the look-out for the upcoming arts events!