UToledo School of Visual and Performing Arts

Archive for the ‘Achievements’ Category

UToledo Faculty Members’ Play Wins 6 Theatre Awards in Chicago

The Chicago production of a play written and directed by Dr. Matt Foss and designed by Stephen Sakowski, both associate professors of theatre at The University of Toledo, has won six out of the seven nominations it received for the prestigious 2020 Non-Equity Jeff Awards.

Similar to the Tony Awards in New York, the Jeff Awards recognize Chicago’s top theater each year.

This battle scene is from the 2019 production of “All Quiet on the Western Front” at the Red Tape Theatre in Chicago.

“This is the first time a production that began in this department has ever gone on to a professional version and several professional awards,” said Dr. Edmund Lingan, professor and chair of UToledo’s Department of Theatre and Film. “We are extremely proud of Matt Foss and his team.”

“All Quiet on the Western Front” won for Best Production of a Play and for Best Ensemble —two of the top awards in Chicago theater each year. Two UToledo alumni, Austin Rambo (Theatre 2019) and Bianca Caniglia (Environmental Science and Women’s Studies 2018), were part of the Chicago production’s ensemble cast.

The production also was won awards for Best Choreography (Leah Urzendowski) and Sound Design (Dan Poppen).

Sakowski received the award for Best Lighting Design of the year, and Foss the prize for Best New Work.

Dr. Matt Foss, associate professor of theatre at The University of Toledo

Dr. Matt Foss, associate professor of theatre at The University of Toledo

Foss adapted Erich Maria Remarque’s historic novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” for the stage, and it premiered at The University of Toledo with a student cast in fall 2018 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, the war in which the novel is set.

The professional premiere of the play featured a unique collaboration between The University of Toledo co-producing the production with Red Tape Theatre and the Greenhouse Theatre Center — two professional companies in Chicago. UToledo’s support resulted in an extension of classroom learning in a professional setting, with Sakowski and a number of former students also participating in the project. The opening of the production culminated in a showcase event highlighting the UToledo College of Arts and Letters’ commitment to the arts, student experiences and innovation.

In 2019, the play received the Kennedy Center’s David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award, recognizing the year’s outstanding new work premiered at a college or university.

More information about the 47th Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards can be found at jeffawards.org.


UToledo Theatre and Film faculty Matt Foss translates his play to the online world, creating an interactive theatre learning experience

Dr. Matt Foss, and cast members from his play, “Faithful Friends” (left to right) Sarah West as Julia, Erik Pearson as Valentine, Emily Hawkins as Silvia, and Crabbe as Himself

Dr. Matt Foss, an assistant professor of theatre with The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film, wrote and directed a play that was originally intended to be performed live and taken on the road to elementary schools. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic shutting down performances, he had to successfully translate the production to the online performance space and lesson plan to help those learners now at home. The play premiered online today.

Foss originally created the play, “Faithful Friends: An Adaptation of the Two Gentlemen of Verona,” in late January and has been working with the company’s staff and leadership to build the interactive modules and workshops that accompany it over the past week. The work was created for PreK-6 grade students and to tour to elementary schools. It was created in partnership with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks (MSIP), a theatre he has worked with in the past, and its Montana Shakes! program, an elementary school outreach tour seeks to make Shakespeare and other classic works accessible to young people.

Scene from the online production of “Faithful Friends” by Dr. Matt Foss, assistant professor of theatre at The University of Toledo

“Working with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks was a foundational experience early in my career. They provide free and public art across the mountain west and their mission relates closely to what I have found and seek to do here in Toledo” says Foss.

Four of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks’ teaching artists, who are safely quarantined together, filmed the play and created lesson plans through the interactive learning platform FlipGrid. To convert the project to online, Foss enlisted the help of UToledo film student, Jarrett Cunningham.

“I’ve been teaching myself to edit as fast as I can the past week, but Jarrett was able to work remotely and close my learning and ability gap to help get the performance out to students and their families as quickly as possible”

The play and lessons will be available on Montana Shakespeare in the Parks’ YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBdb7l5OuPc. Teachers who want to use the Flipgrid materials at https://flipgrid.com/montanashakes will need to have an account on the app. More information can be found on the MSIP website: https://www.shakespeareintheparks.org/

Cast and Production Crew

  • Samual Cheeseman……………Proteus
  • Emily Hawkins……………………..Silvia
  • Erik Pearson………………………..Valentine
  • Sarah West…………………………..Julia
  • Crabbe……………………………….…Himself

Written and Directed By Matt Foss

Special Thanks to: Our Student Volunteers who submitted videos -Paul Heitt-Rennie and Montana PBS -Christus Collegium

PRODUCTION TEAM

  • Claudia Boddy…………….Costume Designer
  • Stacy Hostetter……………Properties Designer
  • Matthew Foss……………..Sound Designer
  • Gordon Carpenter…………Technical Director
  • Anna Neikirk……………….Production Manager
  • Jesse Mooney-Bullock……Puppet Designer
  • Jarrett Cunningham……….Video Editor
  • Katherine Norman…………Education Director
  • Sarah Stanek………………Stage Manager
  • Emily Cowles………………Stitcher

UToledo Film/Video Alumnus makes a dream come true as film, “Dream Runner,” streams on Amazon Prime Video

Scene from DREAM RUNNER by James Aponte, featuring Jeffrey Burden, II as “Julian”

The film DREAM RUNNER (2020) by University of Toledo alumnus James Aponte (Film/Video ’16) is now streaming on Amazon’s Prime Video. It is included with Prime to its subscribers. The film’s national debut on Amazon is a major step forward in Aponte’s effort to take his film to mainstream audiences.

In announcing the film’s release, Aponte said on Facebook, “It’s been two years of navigating distribution, but I am so happy to say that as of today my feature film ‘Dream Runner’ is now streaming on Amazon Prime!”

UToledo Theatre and Film Department chair, Dr. Edmund Lingan says he is thrilled that Aponte’s film is receiving national play, but not surprised. “As a UToledo student – and later as a professional filmmaker – James always proved to be that rare blend of artist and entrepreneur that leads toward professional success. Our department has been proud and happy to support his work from the beginning, and I am sure this is only the beginning of a series of successes in his career that I will enjoy watching.”

The film’s subject matter leans toward sci-fi, as the film’s opening text makes clear, “Humans no longer dream. Now man made, dreams are sold in supermarkets, drug stores, and fueling stations. Certain dreams are declared illegal by world governments and organizations. Patrons turn to Dream Runners to attain these illicit fantasies.”

Watch the film is available on Amazon Prime Video

Watch a trailer for DREAM RUNNER by James Aponte

A host of UToledo and Theatre and Film Department grads star in and helped create this film:

CAST
“Dana” – Olivia Pierce (Theatre ’16)
“Phil Donahue” – Jamal Knight (actor)
“Drake” – Ian Davis (2014)
“Robbie” – Nolan Thomaswick (Theatre ’16)
“Julian” – Jeffrey Burden II (Theatre ’16)
“Rene” – Christina Pinciotti (Theatre ’17)
“Victoria Kingsley” – Samantha Campbell (Theatre ’17)

PRODUCTION TEAM
Executive Producer/Director – James Aponte (Film/Video ’16)
Producer – Nick Kostelnak (Film/Video ’15)
Producer – John Eidemiller (Communication, faculty)
Music – Stephen Mariasy (Film/Video ’15)
Cinematography – Andre Lewis (Film/Video ’18)
Production Management/Assistant Director – Marcus Jordan (Film/Video ’17)
Guitar – Ryan Dalton (Music, Jazz Performance ’17)


University of Toledo Department of Art student’s work receives local and national recognition and exposure

Summer Daze a color pencil drawing by artist Alaina Coote depicts image of a woman with long hair wearing in a sun hat

“Summer Daze” (color pencil drawing) by Alaina Coote, Art Student at The University of Toledo

Alaina Coote, a sophomore studying graphic and interactive design with The University of Toledo Department of Art, has received some important recognition and exposure for her work locally and nationally. Three of her color pencil drawings were chosen by a local hospital for display, and one, which also appeared locally on digital billboards, has been chosen to be published in a national calendar. Coote’s teacher, Barry Whittaker, associate professor of graphic and interactive design, said, “Alaina is putting her work out there, just as we discussed in class. I’m glad she is getting recognition for all her hard work.”

Coote’s work, “Summer Daze,” appeared in the UToledo Art Department’s annual Toledo area Digital Billboard Exhibition. The exhibition featured 21 pieces that were displayed on area digital billboards in January and February.

In addition, the drawing was chosen to be in the upcoming 2020 CURE® calendar, a national calendar created by CURE magazine, a national cancer information publication serving nearly 1 million readers among cancer patients, cancer centers and advocacy groups. The CURE webpage announcing the calendar winners states that, “Selected by a panel of judges, the artwork of the 12 winners exemplifies the beauty and creativity that can arise from the challenges of the cancer experience. Created using a variety of media, the pieces served as a therapeutic outlet for the artists and will inspire all those who view them.”
“Summer Daze” is from a collection of Coote’s drawings, which all feature women. The collection was inspired by her own personal life, having witnessed the experiences of her mother and grandmother who both battled cancer. “I saw how cancer had the ability to shape and change a women’s self-esteem and femininity. Cancer shaped their ideas about themselves and gave me a mature perspective about the psychological impact of the disease…This work is to serve as an encouragement to the women as they are battling cancer, portraying the power, beauty, femininity and strength that each woman has within themselves.”

“Summer Daze” (color pencil drawing) by Alaina Coote“Summer Daze” is also among three of Coote’s drawings that will soon be hanging in theWomen’s Specialty Center of Wooster Community Hospital in Wooster, Ohio. Michelle Quisenberry, director of marketing and public relations at WCH Health System, said she was impressed with Coote’s work and style. She felt that the pieces fit well with the center’s mission of serving the women of their community. Quisenberry added that the statewide shutdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus has delayed the framing and hanging of the pieces. The hospital will install the artworks when they are returned from the framer.


UToledo Art Students Organize Exhibition at Toledo Museum of Art

Image of the painting of Henrietta Catherine Cholmley and Son by Sir Joshua Reynolds

“Henrietta Catherine Cholmley and Son,” 1761, oil on canvas, by Sir Joshua Reynolds is included in “An Inspired Age” exhibit curated by UToledo students.

(Re-posted from UToledo News)

“An Inspired Age: Selections of 18th-Century European Art From the Collection” will open Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Toledo Museum of Art in Gallery 18.

“An Inspired Age” is organized by The University of Toledo Department of Art students in Art Museum Practices Exhibition and New Media Design Practices courses under the direction of Dr. Thor J. Mednick, UToledo associate professor of art history, and Dr. Lawrence W. Nichols, the William Hutton Senior Curator, European and American Painting and Sculpture before 1900 at the Toledo Museum of Art.

 

The temporary exhibition, running through Jan. 5, features 13 paintings and three sculptures.

The exhibition course, which is the last of three classes in the art museum practices curriculum, offers students the opportunity to work with a Toledo Museum of Art curator to develop an exhibition using works of art from the museum’s permanent collection. The purpose is to give students a hands-on understanding of the workings of a fine arts museum and to prepare them for a career in this field.

“The Toledo Museum of Art has a vast collection, and this allows visitors to see some of the art that has been off view while providing students real-life experience in many aspects of curating an exhibition,” Nichols said. “It has been rewarding to see the next generation of museum professionals use their education to develop this exhibition.”

The opportunity has been invaluable for the students, Mednick explained.

“Working with a world-class, private museum is a rare opportunity in museum studies courses,” Mednick said. “And to have the thoughtful and generous help of a senior curator is extraordinary.”

“An Inspired Age: Selections of 18th-Century European Art From the Collection” is sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council with additional support from 2019 Exhibition Program Sponsor ProMedica.

Admission to the Toledo Museum of Art is free. The museum is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; and is closed Monday and major holidays. Thursday evening hours are sponsored by Huntington Private Client Group.

The museum is located at 2445 Monroe St. at Scottwood Avenue. It is by the Center for the Visual Arts on the University’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus.

For general information, call 419.255.8000 or 800.644.6862, or visit the Toledo Museum of Art website.

Toledo Blade article about the exhibition


UToledo Film/Communication Alum Nominated for Emmy Award

Photo of UToledo 2010 Film/Comm Alumnus, Andrew Makadsi at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmys

UToledo 2010 Film/Comm Alumnus, Andrew Makadsi at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmys

Andrew Makadsi, art director to pop star, Beyoncé, was nominated for an Emmy in the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards. He graduated from the University of Toledo in 2010 with dual undergraduate degrees in Film and Communication. Andrew, along with production designers Ric Lipson and Rachel Duncan, were nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Production Design for a Variety Special for their work on “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé.”

The show, produced through Beyoncé’s company, Parkwood Entertainment, originally aired on Netflix last April. The show also received Emmy nominations in five other categories: Outstanding Music Direction, Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded), Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special, Outstanding Costumes for Variety, Non-Fiction or Reality Programming, and Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special.

https://www.emmys.com/shows/homecoming-film-beyonc%c3%a9

The awards were held in mid-September. Although the award ultimately went to RENT, Makadsi was thrilled to have been nominated and the University is equally proud of his tremendous accomplishment. Andrew posted to Facebook, “My first Emmy nomination. A date I will never forget. Feeling so grateful and thankful for all the support and love.”

One of Andrew’s UToledo film faculty, Holly Hey, said, “We are confident that this year’s Emmy nomination is only the beginning of Andrew’s professional recognition. Andrew’s work at UToledo always showcased his personal style, his dedication to creative expression, and his unparalleled commitment to crafting his work. Words hardly express how proud we are of Andrew and how happy we are to have played even the smallest part in preparing Andrew to work at such a high level in the Arts and Entertainment industries. Well done, Andrew!”

Leading up to the Creative Arts Emmys, Andrew was also recently profiled in an article in Vogue Arabia, the Middle Eastern edition of Vogue magazine. https://en.vogue.me/awards/beyonce-art-director-andrew-makadsi/. The article, written by Caterina Minthe, covers Makadsi’s education at UToledo and his meteoric rise in the art direction world, from fashion runway art director to his work with arguably one of the most famous stars on the planet, Beyoncé.


ART FACULTY MEMBER AWARDED OHIO ARTS COUNCIL GRANT

A photo of Deborah Orloff, Associate Chair, Photography Coordinator, Professor of Art, New Media Studies - Photography at the University of Toledo

Deborah Orloff, Associate Chair, Photography Coordinator, Professor of Art, New Media Studies – Photography

Deborah Orloff, professor of photography and associate chair of The University of Toledo Department of Art, has received an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council for her body of work, “Elusive Memory.”

According to the Ohio Arts Council website, the excellence awards “are peer recognition of artists for the exceptional merit of a body of their work that advances or exemplifies the discipline and the larger artistic community. These awards support artists’ growth and development and recognize their work in Ohio and beyond.”

Orloff said the $5,000 grant will be used to expand her “Elusive Memory” series and to exhibit it nationally.

The work was inspired by an experience she had following the death of her father in 2007 when she was preparing a eulogy for his funeral. While drawing upon specific memories, she realized all of them were directly connected to photographs, causing her to wonder if she remembered the moments, or if the pictures had created false memories.

“I wanted to make work about this phenomenon, but the project didn’t actually take form until many years later,” Orloff said.

“About five years ago, I inherited thousands of neglected prints and slides that had been in my father’s basement, where they were damaged by flooding. I started photographing them in the studio, not knowing what I would do with the images, but hoping to salvage some of the family pictures for posterity,” she said. “It wasn’t until I saw them enlarged on a computer screen that I recognized their poignancy and greater relevance: I saw metaphors for loss and the fragmentary, ephemeral nature of memory.”

“My Favorite Dress” from “Elusive Memory,” color photograph on rag paper, by Deborah Orloff

Her new work utilizes the severely damage photos.

“‘Elusive Memory’ explores the significance of vernacular photographs as aesthetic objects and cultural artifacts. The resulting large-scale photographs make commonplace objects monumental and emphasize their unique details,” Orloff said.

The exhibition is on display at Workspace Gallery in Lincoln, Neb. Upcoming exhibitions include Youngstown State University’s Solomon Gallery, Vincennes University’s Shircliff Gallery in Indiana, and Anna Maria College’s Art Center Gallery in Massachusetts.

In addition, Orloff’s project was featured recently online at “Aint — Bad,” an independent publisher of new photographic art.

Samples of Orloff’s work can be seen on her website at deborahorloff.com.


UToledo Film grad lands work in New York

Photo of University Film alumna, Eva Noria (2018) with New York icons in the foregroundIn the summer of 2017, then University of Toledo film student, Eva Noria, landed an internship in New York with post-production company, Running Man. Impressed with her energy, work ethic and post-production skills, the company offered her a job as a post-production assistant upon graduation. Eva graduated from UT in spring of 2018 and has now been on the job for almost a year.

Running Man serves a clientele that includes shows for Netflix, HBO, Comedy Central, Showtime, TBS, CBS, IFC, and many others. As a post-production assistant, Eva is responsible for organizing, reviewing and updating continuity on works in production as well as collecting contracts for the loop group, the voice talent for off-screen parts. When her company wraps a season, they send the client screeners for the media, a cue sheet and a copy of the individual episodes.

Eva credits her success with Running Man to her time as a student with the University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film. Originally, she had planned to major in exercise science and work as an athletic trainer because she had a scholarship available to her in that program area. However, she decided to switch to a major in Film with a minor in Communication when she realized her heart was in the arts.

Once in the program, Eva knew she made the right call even though she soon learned it wasn’t an easy degree. Her faculty challenged her more than she expected—to think more creatively and examine her work more critically. She remembers in particular, Tammy Kinsey, professor of film, pushing her to do better and give her best. “She wanted you to be engaged and to know that anything, no matter how small, counts. You have to be able to take criticism, and if you’re able to take it, then you’re going to do well.”

Professor Matt Yockey was also instrumental in her success. Eva says his classes were a challenge in volume. “He always gave us so much work, but it was really helpful. I learned so much from him.” Holly Hey, professor of film and head of the film program at UT, in addition to helping Eva perfect her editing skills, was also a great source of encouragement. “She noticed whenever I was feeling down, and she was there for me. All the professors are there for you, for anything. It was great to have that support especially since I was from out of state.”

Under their guidance, Eva flourished. A top student, she was invited to participate in the Klar Leadership Academy at UT. Students invited to the academy are drawn from all undergraduate majors at the University. “This is a pan-academic effort with the goal of increasing each Academy member’s career success, ability to lead and influence others to impact the world for good, and help each member capture a “personal vision” as to what they can do to improve the human condition!”

Eva was thrilled to participate in the Academy where she met business leaders, received career advice, took part in mock interviews and performed service work for the non-profit organization, Feed My Starving Children. She says the experience “got us out of our comfort zone. We learned our strengths and weaknesses and got to meet a lot of interesting people. It became like a mini-family.”

Another milestone experience was a study abroad trip to China. Eva and several other film students from UT accompanied music education students to study the arts culture in China and to document their experiences. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that trip.”

Having learned a great deal from her time as a student, Eva has some sage advice for new students. “Get out of the dorm, get involved, meet people, join organizations. I got involved in getting any kind of experience I could. When you make connections and meet new people, they can help you and give you all kinds of opportunities.” Those experiences led her to the internship with Running Man and later a permanent position with the company.

Her job with Running Man has helped her expand upon her education. “This opportunity has opened my eyes to new possibilities and exposure that as a student we don’t know of. Overall, working for Running Man has been wonderful. At first, it was a bit slow but soon things started to pick up. I was able to ask questions and be curious about everyone’s role in making a show/film and how things are created and pieced to together. Growing up, one would believe there is some sort of magic in making a show/ film but there isn’t. It’s literally a huge group of people who come together and work with one another to make sure the content is the best version of what they started with from a script. And you notice that if someone in this formation slacks off it can cause problems down the line. In school, we have group projects, but here the stakes are higher and expensive.”

“I’ve also had the opportunity to make connections with different companies and people. It’s important to have these connections especially if someone wants to have their own company or start on their first projects. When I finished with ‘The Last O.G.’ season 2, I didn’t have anything lined up. A co-worker had connected me with an executive producer who needed a PA [production assistant] and an assistant for pre-production for an MTA/Visa commercial. I got a lot more of experience, not just in post-production but in both pre-production and production.”

Eva says her next step is to become a post-production coordinator then work toward becoming a producer for a variety of projects within the industry for different companies. She adds that her experiences as a student at UT have helped grow her as a person and helped create job opportunities. “I thank them for giving me a door so I could slip in and see where it takes me.”


UT Music Alumna Receives ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award

UT Jazz alumna, Estar CohenCongratulations to UT Music and Jazz alumna, Estar Cohen!

Estar is one of 15 recipients of The ASCAP Foundation’s 2018 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards. The program, which was established in 2002 to encourage young gifted jazz composers up to the age of 30, is named in honor of trumpeter/composer/bandleader Herb Alpert in recognition of The Herb Alpert Foundation’s multi-year financial commitment to support this program.
Additional funding for this program is provided by The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund. The recipients, who receive cash awards, range in age from 14 to 29, and are selected through a juried national competition. The ASCAP composer/judges for the 2018 competition were: Sylvie Courvoisier, Wycliffe Gordon, and Sachal Vasandani. In addition, one of the recipients of the Herb Alpert Awards will be featured during the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival in August.
https://www.ascap.com/…/…/01-18-herb-alpert-award-recipients
https://www.facebook.com/estar.cohen
http://utoledoalumni.olhblogspot.com/2018/03/15/a-lyrical-journey/

American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers – ASCAP


Congratulations UT Arts Faculty!

Congratulations to CAL/SVPA faculty, Dan Hernandez, Thor Mednick, Denise Ritter-Bernardini, Stephen Sakowski, and Matt Yockey on being recognized in 2018 as faculty making Outstanding Contributions in Scholarly and Creative Activity. President Sharon Gaber and Provost Andrew Hsu sponsor the special recognition and the arts faculty received 20% of the University-wide awards.

Photo of UT art faculty member Dan Hernandez

Daniel Hernandez, MFA, Art Studio

Daniel Hernandez is represented by Kim Foster Gallery in New York, New York. Dan’s work is also found in Private and gallery collections nationally and internationally, including: Private Collection, Beth Rudin DeWoody, New York, Florida; Coleccion SOLO, Madrid, Spain – Colección SOLO is a dynamic and passionate quest to champion contemporary art. It is a vibrant, international collection, driven by a genuine commitment to creativity and the desire to bring inspirational artworks to the widest possible audience; Private Collection, Pierre Donnersberg, Paris, France; Gary Snyder Fine Art, New York; Private Collection, Phillippe Escaravage and Charlotte Forbes, New Jersey; Private Collection, Richard and Nadine Woldenberg, Chicago; Private Collection, Eric & Staci Flatt, New York; and Private Collection, Joseph & Beth DiProspero, London.

Hernandez’s paintings explore the visual dialog between religion, mythology, and pop culture. He is represented by Kim Foster Gallery in New York City. His work is exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions and has been written about in a number of publications including ARTnews, HyperAllergic, Artillery Magazine, Arte Fuse, Gizmodo, Der Spiegel. Dan was selected for an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellency Award in 2011 and in 2015.  Dan Hernandez creates intricate tableaux that blend religious iconography with the contemporary visual language of video games, two genres which somehow collapse seamlessly together in farcical send-ups of culture and society.

UT Art Department faculty member, Thor Mednick

Thor Mednick, PhD, Art History

Thor Mednick specializes in the art of nineteenth-century Denmark, he has published on painters such as P.S. Krøyer and Vilhelm Hammershøi, and on the relationship of agricultural reform to nineteenth-century Danish landscape painting. He is the co-curator of From the Golden Age to the Modern Breakthrough: Danish Paintings from the Collection of Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr. (New York, 2013) and Jorforbindelser: Dansk maleri 1780-1920 og det antropocene landskab (Denmark, 2017-2019).He is a former Fellow of the American-Scandinavian Foundation, the Ambassador John L Loeb, Jr Foundation, and the American Philosophical Society, and a legatee of the Danish Ministry of Culture. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Copenhagen and the University of California at Los Angeles, and a Visiting Professor at Fuglsang Museum and Faaborg Museum, in Denmark.

In 2017, Mednick was invited by Dr. Karina Lykke Grand, Assistant Professor of Art History at Aarhus University, to be the international consultant on a major research project on art and national identity in nineteenth-century Denmark. The project has been given a grant of more than $1,000,000 (US) to support Dr. Grand, a doctoral student, a post-doc, and travel and research expenses for Mednick and another scholar from the University of Copenhagen. The grant comes from The Independent Research Fund, within the Danish Ministry for Higher Education and Science.

UT Music Department faculty member, voice, Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini

Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini, PhD, Voice

Denise appears on both the concert and opera stage in music of many periods.  She is known for her ability to sing a variety of styles, her brilliant high notes, pure tone, communicative warmth and musical intelligence.  She has been a performer throughout the US with extensive Oratorio experience under the batons of world renowned conductors such as Robert Shaw and John Rutter. Her recent oratorio performances have included Verdi’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Pergolesi’s Magnificat, Bach’s Missa in A Major, Dvorak’s Te Deum, and Mozart’s Requiem.

In addition, she has performed with orchestras such as Fort Worth SymphonyTulsa SymphonyFort Wayne Philharmonic, the Symphony of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Symphony as well as many other symphonic organizations. Denise’s operatic roles include her recently performed  Mother in Amahl and The Night VisitorsLa Traviata in Charlottesville Virginia as Violetta as well as with Master Works Festival.

Denise has been a soloist in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops as well as the Actor’s Club in New York. A recent performance of her one-woman classical cabaret show took her to Leibnitz, Austria where she performed for the International University of Global Theater to an audience representing thirty-two different countries.

UT Department of Theatre and Film faculty member, lighting design, Stephen SakowskiStephen Sakowski, MFA, Theatrical Lighting

Stephen Sakowski has worked as the Lighting Director or Assistant Lighting Director for the major entertainment/arts events listed above. His event and television lighting work, recognized at the highest level of production, is transferred to his university productions as well. 

Stephen has served as the Lighting Director/Assistant Director for the NBA All-Star Games. The National Basketball Association, (NBA) is a leading sports organization with an All-Star Game viewing audience of 7.175M in 2015, 7.614M in 2016 and 7.751M in 2017, respectively. Lighting for these half-time performances have been for some of the most internationally-known performers, including: Cirque du Soleil, Sting, The Roots, and John Legend.

Stephen has also won awards for his lighting design associated with The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, (KCACTF). KCACTF is a national theater program involving 20,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide annually. For 47 years, the organization has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 700 academic institutions throughout the country. The regional groups are funded and administratively support by the Kennedy Center.

UT Department of Theatre and Film faculty member, film studies, Matt YockeyMatt Yockey,  PhD, Film Studies

Yockey’s research focus is on Hollywood genres and fan studies. His essays on these topics have appeared in journals such as The Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, The Velvet Light Trap, CineAction, Transformative Works and Cultures, Journal of Fandom Studies, The European Journal of American Studies, and Studies in Comics, as well as the anthologies Critical Approaches to the Films of M. Night Shyamalan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), Superhero Synergies: Comic Book Characters Go Digital (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), and The X-Men Films: A Cultural Analysis (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). His monograph on the 1960s Batman television series was published by Wayne State University Press in 2014. He is the editor of the anthology Make Ours Marvel: Media Convergence and a Comics Universe (University of Texas Press, 2017).
Matt’s writings on culture and film can be found journals such as, the European Journal of American Studies and the Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, and in book chapters published by such notable presses as, the University of Texas Press, Wiley Blackwell, Rowman & Littlefied, and Palgrave Macmillan. Matt also has an extensive listing of professional paper presentations.


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