The Arts at COSA

Marie Sykes


Vol. 52, Issue 9


The Celebration of Student Achievement gathers students from across campus to present their work and discuss it alongside other students. This year it will be held on April 24. For a sneak peak, here are some quotes from students in theater, creative writing, and art.

In the evening, the theater capstone will perform a student-produced and written play in the style of the 1930s’ living newspapers – acted narratives making news accessible. This living newspaper will cover the theme of AI and its history, uses, and harms. Ben Little ’24, Evan Chartock ’25, Annie Zulick ’25, and Sophie Wahl Taylor ’25 discussed producing the production.

Chartock said that the class is meant to be a collaborative research project and they decided to discuss AI due to a mixture of it “being the most fun to do as well as interesting for the audience.” Chartock plays the Voice of the Living Newspaper and explained that this was a signature of the living newspaper genre.

Zulick, who wrote the fake news and deepfake scene, designed various sections, and played a variety of roles including Ada Lovelace. She described the play as “segmented” which allowed the play to cover various aspects of AI. “That’s why we have in ours the Voice of the Living Newspaper, the Human, and the AI as three consistent elements.” Zulick also added that her scene took inspiration from the MCS Fake News and Propaganda class last semester with Dr. Nadler.

Wahl Taylor also highlighted how some scenarios may seem far-fetched in the show but are already happening in real life, like how AI finished a Keith Haring painting. It was purposefully left unfinished as a tribute to the artists who died of AIDs, and preceded his own death due to AIDs by a year.

Chartock and Wahl Taylor both said their favorite part of the production included the deep fake scene – Chartock, who is on the pre-law track, because it focuses on the technical and legal aspects of AI, and Wahl Taylor because she “get[s] to play this really creepy computer nerd.” She added “it’s hard because getting the specific creep factor is so far out of my wheelhouse, but it’s fun because I’m basically moving the scene around.” Beyond the deepfake lead, Wahl Taylor also worked in marketing and script editing.

As a senior, Little says it can be “pretty nerve-wracking [wrapping up the] loose ends.” Post-graduation, he plans to use his skills to work in theater backstage until summer 2025 when he hopes to begin the JET program – teaching English in Japan for a few years. Little was the sound designer along with various ensemble parts.

The creative writing capstone will present a reading of their semester-long projects at COSA. Alexis Wood ’24 and Gianna McCarthy ’25 are both presenting snippets of their work, a graphic novel and poetry.

Wood, a Studio Art major and Creative Writing and German minor, found herself combining her love of art and writing in her capstone piece. “It is a story told from the perspective of an artist such as myself, and about the experience of being an artist in the professional world, and how it affects the relationships with those around them.”

McCarthy is an English major with a teaching certificate and quadruple minor in Spanish, Creative Writing, Educational Studies, and MCS. She has worked on a variety of short prose and poetry pieces this semester, and plans to present her poetry at COSA. She emphasized her creative work within editorial positions in the Lantern but said she has never submitted anything herself. She is “so excited for next year’s Lantern!”

On the visual art and art history side, Mairead McDermott ’24 and Wood highlighted their work at the Annual Student Exhibition (A.S.E.).

McDermott is an Art History and Anthropology double major, minoring in Museum Studies and Chinese. She has three pieces in the A.S.E. using oil, charcoal, and collage – two self-portraits and one of Story Coleman ’24. “A lot of my art is about reflections of myself and being happy with myself,” she said. McDermott just presented art history work on a granary at the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Art History Symposium and will present this at COSA and the Greater Philadelphia Asian Studies Consortium Undergraduate Research Conference as well. Post-graduation, she plans to enroll in a master’s program studying Chinese Art and Architecture and continuing her Mandarin studies as well.

When discussing her studio art, Wood said “I love getting to have my own art studio to work on my projects, and I am glad that I was able to keep working on my two interests of art and writing over the years,” although she recognized that it is a “super stressful time of the year.” In her pieces, she uses primarily oil and acrylic paints. Between her graphic novel and paintings, she said “I believe [it] is the perfect culmination to my career at Ursinus.”

Be sure to check out and support the arts at COSA! A.S.E. and the Living Newspaper production both open at 5pm, and the creative writing panel will be released in the daytime COSA schedule.