Students Drawing in Art StudioWright State University’s Departments of Art and Art History; Music; and Theatre, Dance, and Motion Pictures have joined together to form CELIA—Collaborative Education, Leadership, and Innovation in the Arts—an Ohio Center of Excellence at Wright State University.

CELIA acts to develop initiatives to enrich the already-remarkable artistic climate in the Dayton region—an important tool for economic development. 

CELIA enhances ongoing collaborations and nurtures new partnerships. CELIA projects demonstrate high-quality, innovative collaborations, and the ability to further strengthen the reputation of the arts at Wright State.

“A distinct feature of the plans of the founders of Wright State was to develop programs of the highest quality for educating artists. This goal has been realized in each of our three art departments,” said Charles Taylor, dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and one of the prime movers in the development of CELIA. “Our Center of Excellence’s name—CELIA—emphasizes the unique collaborations through which these programs rise above others. The collaborative arts education, collaborative leadership in the arts, and the collaborative innovation in the arts that have existed for a long time at Wright State University are unique to our university and distinguish us nationally and indeed internationally.”

CELIA acts in three major ways to improve the quality of life at Wright State and in our region.  First, CELIA encourages ongoing programs and special projects by sponsoring innovative collaborations between WSU arts programs and external partners. Additionally, CELIA’s Distinguished Visiting Artist Series brings nationally and internationally renowned artists on campus for guest lectures, exhibits and performances.  Finally, CELIA fosters a vibrant community of leadership and scholarship in the arts and humanities on the WSU campus through its innovative CELIA Fellows program.

Examples of Collaborations & Partnerships

Dayton Arts Organizations

ba=ersteins-mass-promo.pngWright State has collaborated with Dayton arts organizations for years, including the Dayton Art Institute, Dayton Public Radio, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, FilmDayton, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. “The performing arts departments at Wright State are among the gems of Dayton’s arts community. I never cease to be impressed with the quality of performances by Wright State University students,” said Neal Gittleman, music director for the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. “Wright State performing arts students are well trained and perform as poised young professionals. They’re a great addition to Dayton’s lively arts scene,” he said.

The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant

reichart.jpgOne of the first projects completed under the CELIA umbrella was The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, a documentary on the final days of General Motors Corporation’s last Dayton-area plant. The Last Truck was the creation of Julia Reichert, professor of theatre arts and motion pictures at Wright State, and alumnus Steven Bognar, ’86.

Like other Reichert/Bognar productions, the making of The Last Truck involved numerous students, alumni, and faculty from Wright State’s filmmaking community. “The support we received from the Wright State film department helped us hugely, on so many levels,” said Bognar. “The demanding shoot called out to the Wright State film community for help, and the students and alumni answered that call, braving day after day of freezing cold to shoot the film and bear witness to this major local event. It was an opportunity for the Wright State community to see firsthand the impact the economy has on the lives of real people.”


steam3.jpgAnother example of collaboration and innovation in the arts is STEAM3, a course for art, music, science, and mathematics education majors that incorporates the creative arts to teach science and math. The class combines the STEMM disciplines of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine with art and music.

Teams of students teach science or math units at area schools using art or music as the methodology. Angela Nation, a fourth and fifth grade science and social studies teacher at Charity Adams Earley Academy for Girls, said the art and music activities helped her students make connections among the different disciplines. “They got a whole realm of different things they could talk about. It helped them understand that science is everywhere and can relate to anything,” said Nation.