Open MINDS Institute Announces Six Free Seminars

Open MINDS Institute Announces Six Free Seminars

Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn.

The first OMI seminar on Feb. 10 will give participants a peek inside the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn.

Expand your perspectives on a range of topics — including publishing, music, religion, history, and art — by joining Fairfield University’s Open MINDS Institute. No registration is required for this semester’s six new interactive virtual seminars.

A dynamic “classroom without walls,” the Open MINDS Institute (OMI) is designed to encourage cross-conversations and informed, civil dialogue, according to OMI Director Philip Eliasoph, PhD. Describing OMI as perfect for anyone interested in “getting in on these lively exchanges with other intellectually and creatively informed community members,” Dr. Eliasoph said, “As the University’s mission reminds us, ‘learning is a lifelong pursuit,’ so we’d love to have you join us for these exploratory conversations!”

In February and March, OMI will offer six free, hour-long classes, each led by master instructors in their chosen fields. There is no registration required, and all spring 2021 OMI seminars are free and open to the public. Mark your calendar for Wednesdays at 1 p.m. on the following dates, and join us for a unique interactive virtual experience:

  • February 10 | Wednesday at 1 p.m.
    Rebekah Beaulieu, PhD: “Discovering the Home of American Impressionism: Inside the Florence Griswold Museum”
    Poke around behind the scenes at the vibrant Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn., original site of the Lyme Art Colony, and join a timely discussion of issues relevant to museums — and to our current culture — such as accessibility, diversity, and sustainability.

  • February 17 | Wednesday at 1 p.m.
    Michael Ciavaglia, DMA: “Russian Opera-ganda”
    Dive into the selected works of four 19th and 20th century Russian composers (Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Prokofiev) and discover how their music and their nationalism interacts within operatic and cinematic storytelling.

  • February 24 | Wednesday at 1 p.m.
    Meryl Moss: “Please, Sell My: Book, Film, Story! ­— Agents & Artists”
    What does it take to promote an author’s work in today’s literary market? Hear straight from Meryl Moss, founding president of an international literary media relations and marketing firm, and creator of, a website that spotlights deserving, under-the-radar writers.

  • March 3 | Wednesday at 1 p.m.
    Rabbi Sarah Marion & Rev. Vanessa Rose: “Women Who Transform Tradition: Or, What Happens When a Female Rabbi and a Female Pastor Sit Down for Coffee”
    Pull up a virtual seat beside Rabbi Sarah Marion of Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport and Reverend Vanessa Rose of First Church Congregational in Fairfield, and join a conversation about women who serve as religious leaders: their history, opportunities, and challenges.

  • March 24 | Wednesday at 1 p.m.
    Megan Paqua: “Mummies, Myths and Mysteries – Decoding Ancient Egyptian Art”
    Wander virtually from the heights of the Pyramids to the depths of the Valley of the Kings, and discover how the visual clues they left behind reveal secrets of the vibrant society of the Nile Valley’s ancient culture.

  • March 31 | Wednesday at 1 p.m.
    Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, PhD: "Normalizing Nazism on the Internet"
    Explore the ways in which the internet offers new possibilities for educating people about the Nazi legacy, while simultaneously promoting its trivialization and “normalizing” the history of the Third Reich in contemporary culture.

Reflecting on the breadth of interesting subjects this season, Dr. Eliasoph noted that “we’ve designed topical conversations to join in with active participation,” geared toward OMI’s expanding community of “professionally active, ‘on the go’  lifelong learners and distinguished listeners.”

The Open MINDS Institute (OMI) is sponsored by the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences and the Pequot Library of Southport, Connecticut.

To participate in these Open MINDS Institute seminars, tune in to at 1 p.m. on the Wednesday dates noted above. No advance registration is required.

For more information about the OMI topics and instructors featured in this semester’s six free virtual classes, visit

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