Vista • Summer 2010 • Volume 15 • Number 1
Vista is published twice a year by the Mount Holyoke College Office of Communications.
Vista is produced for prospective and current Mount Holyoke College students; alumnae; Mount Holyoke College faculty and staff; parents of current students; institutional advancement, guidance, and media professionals; and other friends of the College.
Sarah Curran Barrett
Creative Director • Editor
Executive Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives
On the cover
“Regulated Communions,” choreographed by Alexis Zaccarello-Grimes ’10, photo by Jim Coleman
©2010 by Mount Holyoke College.
Portions of Vista may be reproduced with the permission of the Office of Communications, 50 College Street, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA 01075-1459; 413-538-2809; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office of Communications 36630610
Name: Mary Mazzio ’83
Hometown: Wellesley, MA
Majors: Philosophy and politics
Grad school: Georgetown Law
Athletic history: 1992 U.S. Olympic rower
Founder and CEO: 50 Eggs, an independent film production company
Latest film: Wrote, directed, and produced Ten9Eight: Shoot for the Moon
On Ten9Eight: “My hope is that anyone watching this film will understand that with the right stimulus, anything is possible for any child.”
What the critics say: New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman on Ten9Eight: “Obama should arrange for this movie to be shown in every classroom in America.”
Name: Suzan-Lori Parks ’85
Hometown: Santa Monica, CA
Majors: English and German
Firsts: First African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in Drama (Topdog/Underdog, 2002)
Genius Award: Received MacArthur Fellowship in 2001
What the critics say: New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley said The Book of Grace (2010) is “ambitious, intriguing, and annoying.”
On creating characters: “Host your character in your body. Get off your behind and allow yourself to be that person.”
Words of wisdom: “Be bold. Envision yourself living a life that you love.” (from her 2001 MHC commencement address)
Why Here? Why Art?
Sing, dance, paint, act, direct, compose, and perform, all while getting the best liberal arts education available. At Mount Holyoke you’ll explore traditional and digital mediums, advance your skills, and develop your aesthetic. You’ll be taught by—and collaborate with—nationally and internationally recognized professionals and scholars. Associate Professor Robin Blaetz, chair of the film studies department and Mount Holyoke’s arts coordinator—the overseer of all things arts related— recently spoke to Vista about why an MHC liberal arts education provides the best preparation for a career in the arts—or in any field, for that matter.
Why should a student who wants to be a filmmaker or painter choose Mount Holyoke instead of a film or art school?
RB: Students who are excited about actually working in the arts some day tend to want to do nothing but their artwork. But technical mastery of an art form, particularly one as technologically based as the cinema, is not terribly difficult (although people certainly have varying levels of talent). What a liberal arts college like Mount Holyoke teaches each student is the broad historical, political, and cultural context in which a given art form exists, which in turn allows her to work with greater depth.
How do the arts fit into the liberal arts at Mount Holyoke?
RB: Understanding the world through art is as complex and rewarding as knowing it through science. Throughout time, people have sought to make sense of the flux of the universe through ordering it in patterns that give some illusion of control and, more important, of meaning. I would argue that the arts, perhaps even more than the sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities, show us what it has meant and means in any given time to be human.
We have to ask. What are your favorite films?
RB: Fair is fair; this is a question that I ask my students in Introduction to Film every fall! I began to study the cinema after falling in love with the French New Wave films of the early 1960s, particularly Agnès Varda’s Cléo from 5 to 7 and Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre sa vie. My own writing involves the wealth of women’s experimental film, and I continue to be intrigued by the work of Marie Menken and Marjorie Keller. Of course, I love to teach Alfred Hitchcock’s films and the American musical, and can watch Francis Ford Coppola’s first two Godfather films repeatedly. But my favorite films are those by Robert Bresson and Chris Marker, whose work remains mysterious and compelling to me after three decades.
Mount Holyoke College • Vista