Martin-Mullen Art Gallery to feature “Cotton: The Soft Dangerous Beauty of the Past”

The latest exhibition at the Martin-Mullen Art Gallery will be John Dowell’s “Cotton: The Soft Dangerous Beauty of the Past.” The exhibit will run from Jan. 22 until March 16, with a public reception – including an artist gallery talk and dance performance – on Thursday, Jan. 25 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Dowell will display large-scale agricultural and urban landscapes enmeshed in cotton that question the social impact and history of this beautiful yet controversial crop. The “soft and dangerous beauty of the past” is captured in 23 digital color photographs ranging in size from 18 inches by 24 inches to 24 inches by 157 inches.

Dowell’s work presents several series of photographs, Harlem & Wall Street Cotton, Cotton Timetable, Cotton Compositions and Lost in the Cotton. There will be an installation of cotton, a Taffeta fabric photo banner maze and a dance performance in the gallery the evening of the public reception. 

With this project, I want the viewer to feel, remember, wonder, think and examine their consciousness, and still see the beauty of this plant that changed the world,” Dowell said. He chose to collaborate with Philadelphia choreographer, Kareem Goodwin, to create Cotton in Motion, a dance that introduces humane movement and interaction specific to the exhibition at Oneonta. Shannah Kane, dance instructor at Oneonta, will work with Goodwin and Oneonta students in staging the performance.

The exhibit is funded in part through the estate gift of Jean Parish, faculty emerita, Art, to the College at Oneonta Foundation, and in part from the African American Museum in Philadelphia.

The Martin-Mullen Art Gallery and Project Space Gallery, located in the Fine Arts Center, are free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday when the college is in session and during special events. For more information about the gallery or upcoming exhibitions, contact Gallery Director Tim Sheesley at (607) 436-2445, (607) 436-3456 or visit

Call for applications for Susan Sutton Smith Prize for Academic Excellence

The Academic Excellence Committee has issued a call for applications for the annual Susan Sutton Smith Prize for Academic Excellence. All full-time, tenured SUNY Oneonta faculty members are eligible to apply for the $1,000 prize.

Monday, March 12, is the deadline to submit all application materials electronically to Written materials should be submitted as a single PDF. The successful applicant will be notified the week of March 26. See selection criteria and checklist of materials to submit below.

The winner of the award will give the Smith Lecture in Otsego Grille on April 10, with a reception to follow in Le Café, Morris Conference Center. At the evening lecture, students with outstanding GPAs will receive awards funded by gifts to the Fund for Oneonta.

The Susan Sutton Smith Prize for Academic Excellence is funded by a gift from Thomas and Mary Smith in memory of their daughter, Susan, and in honor of her commitment to academic excellence. The College at Oneonta Alumni Association’s Fund for Oneonta also supports this effort.

If you have any questions concerning the application, you may contact co-chairs of the AEC, Cynthia Falk at 547-2586 or or Joe Pignato, at X3463 or


Selection criteria:

1. Evidence of academic achievement, such as the publication of books or articles, grants for research or other scholarly endeavors, exhibits, presentations at conferences, creative achievements, performance events, or works in progress.

2. Evidence of ability to present a 45-minute lecture on a topic related to the applicant’s scholarly area of expertise that is appropriate for an audience of non-specialists.

Checklist of materials to submit:

1. Statement of up to 500 words regarding academic excellence.

2. Current vita which includes a list of published books, articles, chapters, creative activities, presentations, or other scholarly achievements.

3. A representative example of material listed above.

4. Title and abstract of proposed presentation, identifying subject, thesis/interpretation, mode (e.g., transparencies, slides, video, PowerPoint, demonstration), and relevance to an audience of non-specialists.

5. Two letters supporting your ability to give such a presentation to a general audience, at least one of which must be from an external (non-SUNY Oneonta) reviewer.

6. Audio/visual file of a past presentation or class lecture (optional).