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UAlbany Libraries' Chairs that Tell a Story Program Challenges Area High School Students to Meld Art and Literature

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 30, 2012) – More than 25 area schools have accepted the University at Albany’s challenge to artistically depict their favorite literary classic on one of the University’s original 1960’s library oak chairs.  Schools from as far north as Minerva, N.Y., and as far south as Chatham, N.Y., are participating in the “Chairs that Tell a Story” competition developed by UAlbany’s libraries.

Holy Names students Kerry Losert and Stella Hong prepare to paint UAlbany library chairs.

Paint and brushes in hand, Academy of the Holy Names students (from left) Kerry Losert (grade 10) and Stella Hong (grade 11) are ready to depict a literary classic onto several of the University at Albany Libraries' original 1960s oak chairs. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

“This competition will help promote UAlbany's engagement with area high schools, and underscores the significance of the arts and literature in educating students who read, think critically, and create," said UAlbany Dean and Director of Libraries Mary F. Casserly.

The Libraries suggested approximately 40 literary titles to participants, including The Diary of Anne Frank; John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men; and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

The unpainted chairs have been delivered to the schools and the finished products are due back at the University by May 1. Participating students, teachers and families will be invited to a UAlbany awards event on May 21 to view all of the works and select their favorites. Local artists will choose the prize winners.

The Libraries will display the finished works during Fallbany, the University’s Fall Festival/Homecoming Weekend. The public will have the opportunity to bid on and purchase the chairs. Proceeds will benefit UAlbany Libraries programs and services.

Participating schools include:

  • Academy of the Holy Names
  • Albany Academies
  • Berne-Knox-Westerlo CSD
  • Bethlehem Central High
  • Bishop Maginn
  • Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School
  • Chatham High School
  • Cohoes High School
  • Columbia High School
  • Glens Falls High School
  • Greenwich Central School
  • Guilderland High School
  • Heatly School, Green Island
  • Ichabod Crane High School
  • Lake George High School
  • LaSalle Institute
  • Mayfield School
  • Minerva Central School
  • Niskayuna High School
  • North Warren CSD
  • Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons
  • Queensbury High School
  • Rensselaer
  • Saratoga Springs High School
  • Schalmont High School
  • Shaker High School


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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.