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WCSU hosts ‘Night for the Arts’ to honor Marian Anderson

Image of Marian Anderson created for "A Night for the Arts" at Western Connecticut State University
Image of Marian Anderson created for “A Night for the Arts” at Western Connecticut State University

DANBURY, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University is planning “A Night for the Arts” that will feature performances and exhibits in music, theater and art in tribute to global star and longtime Danbury resident Marian Anderson.

The evening will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension, Danbury. Students from each department in the School of Visual and Performing Arts — Theatre Arts, Music and Art — will perform or show displays of their work for guests.

The performances, and art exhibits by students and faculty, are designed to focus attention on the university’s project to name the School of Visual and Performing Arts after Marian Anderson, the singing star and civil rights icon who became world-renowned with a performance on the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday 1939 that was broadcast to millions of radio listeners around the world. The event was hastily arranged, with help from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, after the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to let Anderson sing at their venue because she was black.

In the 1940s, Anderson and her husband, Orpheus Fisher, made their home in Danbury as she continued to perform around the world.

Dr. John B. Clark, WCSU president, said naming the school after a historic figure with local ties will create an emotional boost for students and the community.

“Given her inspirational life story, Marian Anderson is the perfect role model for our students,” Clark said. “It is most fitting that we name the school in her memory, indicating that we will provide a first-rate education to our students.”

Virginia Young, co-chair of the Night for the Arts planning committee, said the evening will showcase outstanding student talent.

“My inspiration came from the students – their enthusiasm, their dedication, their extraordinary talent,” Young said. “I want to help them reach a wider audience. There is nothing like watching students with their hearts afire.”

The School of Visual and Performing Arts offers the highest-quality educational and professional programming within a liberal arts environment. Utilizing access to outstanding faculty, guest artists and the cultural resources of both Connecticut and New York City, WCSU recruits the most talented students in the arts.

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Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.