Special Programs in the Arts

Rebecca Martin Taylor Mali RitaMacDonald Okey Ndibe



(from left: Rebecca Martin, Taylor Mali, Rita MacDonald and Okey NdibeClick on each image to read their profile)


Fall 2017

Rebecca Martin

Songwriting Master Class Series
Wednesday, September 20, Wednesday, October 11 & Wednesday, October 25
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Vanderlyn Hall, Room 147
Open to all Musicians Enrolled in SUNY Ulster

Over the past 25 years, Rebecca Martin has become a nationally known, critically acclaimed singer and songwriter, educator, and community organizer. A native of Maine, Martin moved to New York City and lived there for a decade before migrating North and landing in Kingston, NY. with her husband, Jazz Bassist Larry Grenadier.

She began her career in the early 90’s with her groundbreaking duo “Once Blue” with Grammy winning songwriter Jesse Harris (Norah Jones). The two made several albums on EMI Records, touring throughout the United States and Canada with Lisa Loeb, Emmy Lou Harris, Squeeze, Shawn Colvin, and many others. With eleven solo and collaborative recordings under her belt, Rebecca continues to write, record, teach, and perform all over the world.

Public Event
Special Duo Performance: Rebecca Martin featuring Larry Grenadier
Friday, November 3, 7:30 p.m.
College Lounge, Vanderlyn Hall
Free and open to the public

See the Larry Berk Words & Music page for more details

Sponsored by The Ulster Community College Foundation, The Poetry Forum is an annual event which brings well known and award winning poets to SUNY Ulster for intimate question and answer sessions, as well as a special evening reading of their poetry. In 2007, the program was renamed the Ellen Robbins Poetry Forum to honor the memory of Ellen Robbins (1952-2006) who was on the faculty at SUNY Ulster from 1994 until 2006, and Chair of the English department, 2002-2006.

Spring 2017TAYLOR MALI

Poet, Performer, Author
Ellen Robbins Poetry Forum
Ulster community College Foundation, Inc.

Moderated by Lisa Bullard, SUNY Ulster Professor of English

Thursday, April 6, 10:15 - 11:30 am, College Lounge, Vanderlyn Hall

Taylor MaliNew York City performance poet Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.” He is a four-time National Poetry Slam champion and the author of four books, including “What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World.”

Since 1998, over one thousand people have become teachers after reading or listening to Taylor Mali’s passionate poems about his experiences teaching middle school, high school, and college. To mark the achievement, he donated 12 inches of his hair to the American Cancer Society.

Past Poets:

Spring 2016 - Aja Monet
Spring 2015 - Tina Chang
Spring 2014 - Richard Blanco
Spring 2013 - Jorie Graham
Spring 2011 - Michael Dickman
Spring 2010- Ted Kooser
Spring 2009- Charles Simic



The Visiting Artist Program, begun in 1999, introduces an artist of significant renown to the college and community, through an exhibition of their work at the Muroff Kotler Visual Arts Gallery, a special lecture and presentation by the artist, or a concert performance. All events are open to the public.

Fall 2017

Rita MacDonald

Rita MacDonald is a visual artist exploring two related bodies of work. In one, she works with images of decorative patterns found in architecture to make large-scale wall drawings that are temporary and site-specific. In the other, she uses images of decorative patterns found in clothing to make small-scale, often highly detailed, graphite drawings on paper.

She has exhibited at Wave Hill and Lehman College in the Bronx, Smack Mellon and Storefront Ten Eyck in Brooklyn, The Soap Factory in Minneapolis, MN and The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI. MacDonald has completed several public art commissions including two permanent mosaics in subway stations. Through The Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY she received a grant to publish an artist book which is now included in several large collections, including the libraries of both the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN. and Yale University in New Haven, CT.


Past Visiting Artists:

Fall 2016:Robert Tonner

Fall 2015:Janaki Patrik
Spring 2014: Tim Rowan
Fall 2014 Visiting Artist: Keiko Sono
Spring 2013 Visiting Artist: Kelly Kinsella
Fall 2011 Visiting Artist: Linda Montano
Spring 2012 Visiting Artist: Scott Freiman
Fall 2012 Visiting Artist: Julianne Swartz


The SUNY Ulster Herbert H. & Sofia P. Reuner Library Writers Series is a special program sponsored by The Ulster Community College Foundation, begun in 1998, that brings renowned writers to campus every fall. This is a truly unique opportunity for SUNY Ulster students and community members to hear award winning authors read from their work.

Each guest writer presents a reading of their work, open to the public, in the evening. If possible, a question and answer session in the college lounge during the day, open to students and the public, will also be scheduled.


Herbert H. & Sofia P. Reuner Library Writer Series
Ulster community College Foundation, Inc.

Author reading, interview, Q & A, book signing

Thursday, November 9, 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., College Lounge, Vanderlyn Hall

Free and Open to the Public

Okey Ndibe

Okey Ndibe is the author of the novels Never look an American in the eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the making of a Nigerian American, Foreign Gods, Inc., and Arrows of Rain, and co-editor (with Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove) of Writers Writing on Conflicts and Wars in Africa. Janet Maslin of The New York Times as well as Philadelphia Inquirer, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Mosaic magazine named Foreign Gods, Inc. one of the 10 best books of 2014. The novel was also included in National Public Radio’s list of best books of 2014.

Past Library Writers:

2015: Abigail Thomas and Kim Wozencraft
2014: Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
2013: Diane Ackerman
2012: Cancelled due to weather
2011: Jaimy Gordon
2010: Da Chen
2009: Michael Cunningham
2008: David Rakoff
2007: Francine Prose
2006: Carolyn Forché
2005: Billy Collins
2004: Joyce Carol Oates
2003: Gail Godwin
2001: Tess Gallagher
2000: Philip Levine
1999: Gerald Stern
1998: Gioia Timpanelli





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