ALBANY, NY – The Sage Colleges’ Department of Art + Design held a unique cathartic burning of student sculptures on Sunday, October 30, 2016  in the parking lot of The Armory at Sage.

As a component of Art + Extended Media’s new curriculum, students in the three-dimensional topics course on “Destruction” constructed wooden sculptures to be burned in a ceremony meant to cleanse the past and shed warmth and light on the future. This event served as both an enlightening act of creative public expression and as an opportunity for an expansion of public fire safety and awareness. The cathartic burning ceremony is a celebration based upon the centuries-old tradition and ritual burning of spiritual effigies on the night before Halloween.


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“By utilizing the simple creative power of fire to make original works of art, we will give Sage students a new art experience, expanding their understanding and respect for fire and the proper way to handle it,” explained William Fillmore, assistant professor of Art + Extended Media and coordinator of the project. “Fire has been lost from the modern human experience, and the simplicity of this fact is what will make this event so poignant and effective. This public ceremony will showcase the Department of Art + Design’s dedication to expanding the definition of Fine Arts education in the contemporary academic setting.”

“A project like this has many benefits beyond building the sculptures,” explained Matt McElligott, chair of the Department of Art + Design. “Our students learn fire safety, project management, and how to work with the various entities like the facilities managers and fire department to bring the event to fruition. We’re teaching them to be creative thinkers who can get things done. Our department motto is ‘Learn the rules, break the rules, change the rules,’ and we see this as the core of what makes our program unique.”

As of fall 2016, Sage’s Fine Arts and Photography programs joined forces with the Graphic + Media Design and Interior + Spatial Design programs to create the new BFA in Art + Extended Media. This innovative degree program is designed to prepare students to be artists in the 21st century. The curriculum focuses on proficiency in diverse and new media, interdisciplinary research, critical thinking, community engagement, and professional practice. Students engage with the professional world outside the studio through internships, class-led public projects, and exhibitions. Art + Extended Media teaches students the critical thinking, aesthetic, technical, and professional skills needed to be successful in the world of contemporary art.

Media contact: Deanna Cohen, director of external relations, The Sage Colleges, (518) 244-4593 (O), (518) 598-4927 (C), [email protected]


Interdisciplinary academics, combining the professions and the liberal arts, community engagement, international exposure, and artistic and athletic endeavors are among the pillars of the educational experience at The Sage Colleges. Sage enrolls more than 3,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs at the undergraduate Russell Sage College for women in Troy, N.Y.; the coeducational undergraduate Sage College of Albany in Albany, N.Y.; and the graduate-level Esteves School of Education, School of Health Sciences and School of Management, with programs on both campuses; adult education through the School of Professional and Continuing Education and via the Internet through Russell Sage Online. The Sage Colleges, founded in 1916, is celebrating its Centennial. For a complete listing of Centennial events visit us at