Special Programs in the Arts

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.




Mary Stuart Masterson & Jeremy Davidson

Saturday, February 2, 7:00 p.m.

Quimby Theatre, Vanderlyn Hall

(Snow date: March 30, 7:00 p.m.)

THE FACE OF IT - three one-act documentary plays about identity based on conversations with people in the Hudson Valley. Written by Jeremy Davidson, directed by Mary Stuart Masterson, sound design by Seth Chrisman, and projection design by Rasean Davonte Johnson.

  • In Her Shoes: Set in a Poughkeepsie nursing home, Ulster County BOCES principal - Genna Suraci and her mother Lena step into a new stage of life together.
  • The Weight: A young woman from Ballston Lake faces an impossible choice that challenges her relationship to God.
  • Among Us: A search for Sasquatch with Gayle Beatty, founder of the Hudson Valley Bigfoot Research Alliance and psychic medium Johnny Angel.

Jeremy Davidson and Mary Stuart Masterson, cofounders of Storyhorse (storyhorsetheater.org), will be visiting Theatre Arts classes throughout the semester to teach the format of Storyhorse Theater and guide students to present their own stories.  

promotional photographs of two actors: Jeremy Davidson and Mary Stuart Masterson Jeremy Davidson is a writer, producer, and actor. His writing includes the documentary plays, GOOD DIRT (BAM, Fischer Center), THE KEPT PRIVATE, and THE QUIET EXECUTION OF FRANK L. TEAL. He is the writer/director of the Holocaust film, TICKLING LEO (Jury Prize Best Film, Stonybrook Film Fest). Acting work includes the recent Netflix series SEVEN SECONDS, THE AMERICANS, ARMY WIVES, and PAN AM.

Mary Stuart Masterson has appeared in over 25 films, including FRIED GREEN TOMATOES and BENNY & JOON, as well as numerous plays and musicals including NINE and NATIONAL ANTHEMS. She directed and produced the feature film, THE CAKE EATERS and produced TICKLING LEO, written and directed by her husband, Jeremy Davidson. She is also the founder of StockadeWorks, dedicated to fostering film and tech in the Hudson Valley.




2017 Artists

Rebecca Martin Taylor Mali Rita MacDonald artist sitting at desk in studio Okey Ndibe





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


Larry Berk Artist-in-Residence Series

FALL 2017
Rebecca Martin

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

Read more about Rebecca Martin

Visit the Larry Berk Artist-in-Residence page for more details on the program and past artists. 



Ellen Robbins Poetry Forum

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.


Ellen Robbins Poetry Forum

Thursday, April 4, 10:15 a.m. • College Lounge, Vanderlyn Hall 203

Jenny Xie Author

Jenny Xie was born in Hefei, China, and raised in New Jersey. She is the author of Eye Level (Graywolf Press, 2018), selected by Juan Felipe Herrera as the winner of the 2017 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets and a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award.

About Xie’s poetry collection, Eye Level, the former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera writes: “We go places; we enter multiple terrains of seeing; we cross cultural borders of time, voices, locations—of consciousness. Then—we notice we are in a trembling stillness with all beings and all things. Jenny Xie’s Eye Level is a timely collection of beauty, clarity, and expansive humanity.”

Xie holds degrees from Princeton University and New York University’s Creative Writing Program. She currently teaches at New York University.

Taylor Mali


Taylor Mali
Poet, Performer, Author

Moderated by Lisa Bullard, SUNY Ulster Professor of English
Thursday, April 6, 10:15 - 11:30 am, College Lounge, Vanderlyn Hall

New 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.

Read more about Taylor Mali.

Visit the Ellen Robins Poetry Forum page for more details on the program and past artists. 

Visiting Artists

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.Rita MacDonald

Fall 2017

Friday, November 3 - Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, November 3
7:00 p.m.
Muroff Kotler Visual Arts Gallery

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.

Read more about Rita MacDonald.

Visit the Visiting Artists page for more details on the program and past artists. 


Herbert H. & Sofia P. Reuner Library Writers Series

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.Okey Ndibe


FALL 2017
Okey Ndibe

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 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.


Read more about Okey Ndibe. 

Visit the Herbert H. & Sofia P. Reuner Library Writer Series page for more details on the program and past artists. 







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