Today’s news:

QCC moves for culture coup through slate of programs

At a media brunch hosted by the Bayside college last Thursday, school administrators unveiled plans for the Art Gallery, Holocaust Resource Center and the Performing Arts Center. The art gallery, currently under renovation, will reopen its doors in the fall with a major art show featuring top American artists and the exhibition of a 1,000-year-old Biblical manuscript, the Khaburis Codex.

In addition, the Holocaust Resource Center is to begin a new effort to increase educational outreach to local schools, and the new season for the Performing Arts Center will feature performances by artists from around the world.

"Education extends beyond the walls of the classroom," said Dr. Eduardo Marti, president of QCC. "Students deserve - in fact require - exposure to the fine arts."

The QCC Art Gallery is undergoing a $5.5 million renovation of its space in the former club house for the Oakland Country Club on the current campus. The gallery will reopen on Oct. 24 with "An American Odyssey, 1945-1980 (Debating Modernism)." Curated by Stephen Foster, the blockbuster show will bring works from Modernist masters like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, and Willem de Kooning to the campus.

"I want our students to have something that extends beyond the basics," Marti said. "Exposure to world-class art is very important." He said the college is considering an associate's degree in art handling, with students working in the gallery for hands-on experience. "It's a wonderful opportunity to use the gallery as a learning opportunity."

The traveling show, which will run until Jan. 15, 2005, will have its only American appearance at QCC.

Gallery administrators also announced that the Khaburis Codex, a manuscript of the New Testament, will be housed in the new gallery. "We know it was scribed in Nineveh, in approximately 1,040 AD and is an exact, and approved, copy of a manuscript written 100 years after the great persecution of the Christians by Nero, in 65 AD," a statement said on the gallery's Web site. "It was scribed with phenomenal artistic and technical skills, on lamb parchment and is complete, according to the Eastern Canon (that is, without Revelations and a few of the minor Epistles, which were not accepted by the Eastern Church)." The manuscript is on loan from the Khaburis Institute in California.

At the Holocaust Resource Center, Dr. Arthur Flug - the new education outreach coordinator - said he plans to expand the scope of the center's school programs, including an internship program that would bring students to the residences of homebound Holocaust survivors in the area.

"The HRC is a wonderful place for individuals to understand what unbridled prejudice can lead to," Marti said. He said that center is a powerful educational tool for people, especially the 46 percent of QCC students who are foreign-born. "The historical context is very important for our population, who are just beginning to understand what it means to be a citizen."

At the Performing Arts Center, the upcoming fall 2004 and spring 2005 seasons feature performances by artists from all over the world, including the St. Petersburg Ballet, the National Acrobats of Taiwan and Opera Verdi Europa.

"Our programs represent all different cultures in a professional and celebratory way," said Susan Agin, the managing and artistic director of the center. There are plans to increase student interaction with professionals, through internships and experience on and off-stage.

"The dream is to have full integration with professional performing artists," Marti said.

The plethora of cultural offerings, as enriching as it may be for QCC students and the community, has an educational theory and practicality behind it, according to Marti.

"There is a critical thinking component" for students experiencing the three institutions, he said. "Suddenly they will see there is a logic to it. Those skills are very easily translated to the workplace."

Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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