By Catie Skluzacek
Wallace, like the one that our library is named after? Yes, our very own DeWitt Wallace, founder of Reader’s Digest, is the dedicated philanthropist behind the Wallace Foundation. Except now we can thank Mr. Wallace, not for endless studying opportunities, but a chance to get out of The Bubble. Through the generous support of the Wallace Foundation, Macalester is now a partner in the Campus Connections program. Back in 2008, the Wallace Foundation announced the winners of its eight Excellence Awards. The winners were: MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Northern Clay Center, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Beyond this distinction, the Wallace Foundation also dedicated $5.3 million to the eight recipients and an additional $1.6 million for audience-building efforts in the region.With their Excellence Award, the Ordway’s goal is to build college-age audiences and their participation in the Twin Cities arts community. To do this, the Ordway launched the Campus Connections program this year with Macalester and the University of Saint Thomas. The program was designed to organize how the theater engages students to offer them meaningful experiences pertinent to art and, no less importantly, entertainment. Simply put, there are several ways to do this. Music. Dance. Theater. Workshops. Tickets. Through the Campus Connections program, all Macalester students, staff, and faculty qualify for discounted tickets to shows. These aren’t the cheap seats either. As long as you have the promotion code, a unique one assigned to Macalester for each show, you can purchase the best available seats on any night of the run for up to 60% off regular ticket prices (discounted from $55-80/ticket). One-night engagements in the World Music and Dance series are generally $15/ticket. These performances are complemented by special programming such as master classes taught by the performers and lectures/demonstrations with the world-class artists. More than a theater, the Ordway is a “Performing Arts Center” as it regularly hosts touring Broadway musicals, locally produced musical theater, world music and dance groups, and performances by its Arts Partners. These Partners would be the Minnesota Opera, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Schubert Club. All of these organizations can be found in the Ordway’s theater space downtown near the Saint Paul Public Library and adjacent to Rice Park, just down the street from the Xcel Center. Taking the 63 bus, Macalester students can be there in 20 minutes, getting off at the Market Street stop and looking to the right.So why hasn’t everyone heard of the Ordway? It’s probably all the reasons that stop many of us from ever leaving the four-block radius around Grand Avenue. Assuming this is the case, take heart all of you penniless, overworked students, the Wallace Foundation is bringing some joy to our college days (and nights).As the Campus Connections program grows, the Ordway hopes to offer Macalester students further opportunities to engage in the Twin Cities arts community. At the theater, students will be eligible to volunteer and apply for internships with both artistic and administrative staff. On campus, artists will visit and partner with classes. Throughout the spring, Mac dance students will collaborate with the artist-in-residence, Diavolo, a Los Angeles-based dance company, and will premiere their final piece at the Spring Dance Concert.Let’s burst the bubble. DeWitt would approve. For more information about the Wallace Foundation’s tradition of giving to the arts and education, please visit: http://www.wallacefoundation.org. A schedule of the 2009-2010 season at the Ordway can be found at: http://www.ordway.org. To be updated about the special offers and events available for Macalester students, please find the “Ordway’s Campus Connections” program on Facebook. Catie Skluzacek is the campus connections representative for the Ordway Theater.