College of Fine Arts News Archive

July 2015

  • SFA School of Theatre plans Scotland benefit

    SFA School of Theatre plans Scotland benefit

    July 29, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    A Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre event on Aug. 1 will help raise funds for theatre students to attend a special class in Edinburgh, Scotland, while they are participating in the two-week Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

    While in Edinburgh, the School of Theatre will produce two new plays, including “Hate Mail” by SFA playwright-in-residence Jack Heifner and the student-written “Mom and Dad” by Nick Pinelli, an SFA graduate from The Woodlands, and Allison Day, a San Antonio senior. Pinelli and Day wrote the play as an honors project for their class with Heifner.

    Students will perform “Hate Mail” and “Mom and Dad” at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, in the Upstage Theatre in the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus. The plays are recommended for mature audiences.

    Pay-what-you-can donations will be accepted at the door to raise funds for students to take an improvisation class while they are at the festival.

    Both plays are directed by Angela Bacarisse, professor of design and arts management at SFA.

    Begun in 1947, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, one of several festivals that will take place in Edinburgh while the SFA students are there, has become the largest international theatre arts festival in the world. During festival season, which takes place each August, the International Festival, the Festival Fringe, jazz festival, art festival and book festival all take place in Edinburgh.

    Tax-exempt donations for the trip can be made at by clicking on the “give online” tab and writing “Scotland trip” for special instructions.

    Visit to learn more about the SFA School of Theatre.

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  • SFA College of Fine Arts announces 2015-2016 University Series

    SFA College of Fine Arts announces 2015-2016 University Series

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    Classical pianists The 5 Browns will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the SFA campus as part of the College of Fine Arts’ 2015-2016 University Series.

    July 29, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The College of Fine Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University continues its tradition of bringing professional artists to East Texas in presenting five national touring acts in the 2015-2016 University Series.

    This interesting mix of performance art brings Bharatanatyam dance from India, gypsy swing from San Francisco and the story of Dracula from the pages of Bram Stoker’s timeless horror story to the W.M. Turner stage. The series also features a famous family of pianists and a dazzling soprano from Texas, according to John W. Goodall, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts.

    “Designed to bring quality fine arts experiences to East Texas, the series consists of five highly acclaimed professional touring groups,” Goodall said. “This year, we are going back to our roots in being reflective of the early years of the University Series, featuring touring acts only while at the same time significantly lowering our prices and streamlining the process for ordering tickets.

    “This year’s series offers a wide range of artistic talent, from dance to music to theater,” he said. “It’s going to be another great season, and one our loyal University Series patrons, and newcomers alike, will not want to miss.”

    The new series opens Thursday, Sept. 17, with Sonali Skandan & Jiva Dance Company presenting compelling and dynamic works based on the timeless idiom of Bharatanatyam. Jiva Dance sees the importance of preserving and promoting the traditional arts, yet also understands the need to incorporate innovative techniques to reach diverse audiences. The performance is sponsored in part by Commercial Bank of Texas.

    An evening of vintage silent films accompanied by live gypsy swing will hit Turner stage Thursday, Oct. 22, when The Hot Club of San Francisco presents “Cinema Vivant,” a celebration of imagination and innovation. Like the wandering gypsy musicians of the 1930s, these artists play their guitars and fiddles while matching movements on a large screen with characteristic virtuosity, passion and humor. The performance is sponsored in part by BancorpSouth.

    The widely popular The 5 Browns will bring their Christmas spirit to Turner Auditorium when the sibling pianists perform Friday, Dec. 18, as part of the series. The 5 Browns are delivering on their dream to wake up classical music by introducing it to the widest, largest and most excited audience they can find. Whether performing individually or together in duos or complex five-piano arrangements, The 5 Browns reveal a deep connection to the intent of their material while bringing a fresh energy and dynamic character to the color and tonal spectrum of their sound. This performance is sponsored in part by Nacogdoches Medical Center.

    Over the years, the story of Dracula has been used as commentary in modern studies of psychology, women’s issues and colonialism, while never losing its place as one of the greatest horror stories ever told. L.A. Theatre Works is the foremost radio theater company in the United States, and this presentation of “Dracula” is immediate, spontaneous, and features a first-rate cast, live sound effects, and a connection to the audience rarely felt in a traditional theater setting. This performance is sponsored in part by Lehmann Eye Center.

    A native of Texas, Ava Pine continues to dazzle audiences and critics with her rewarding vocalism and compelling commitment to character, creating vivid and captivating portraits on stage. Equally at home with opera, oratorio or recital, and accomplished in works ranging from baroque to contemporary, she brings great vocal and dramatic range to her work. This performance is sponsored in part by: Cataract, Glaucoma & Retina Consultants of East Texas/Benchmark Optical.

    Season tickets for the complete 2015-2016 University Series go on sale Aug. 3 and are $100 for adults, $80 for seniors and $40 for students. Single event ticket prices are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for students/youth.

    “These are fantastic prices for quality entertainment,” said Diane Peterson, Fine Arts Box Office manager. “Season tickets provide a 25-percent savings over single tickets, and patrons can have their same seat throughout the season.

    “Plus, we offer season-ticket options,” she said. “The classic package includes one ticket to each of the five performances, and the TixMix package allows patrons to create their own season.”

    Single-event ticket purchases for the University Series or any of the other performances presented through the College of Fine Arts can be made beginning Monday, Aug. 17.

    For more information on the 2015-2016 University Series, visit, stop by the Box Office in Room 211 of the Griffith Fine Arts Building, or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. in Turner Auditorium, which is also located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive.

    For a complete schedule of all College of Fine Arts events in art, music and theatre, visit

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  • ‘Scrap’ documentary to show at Cole Art Center

    ‘Scrap’ documentary to show at Cole Art Center

    July 29, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and the Friends of the Visual Arts will present a free, one-night screening of “Scrap” at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    “Scrap” is a feature documentary following the history of two eccentric builders and their amazing structures which were each built by a single man: “The Forevertron” built by Tom Every and “Bishop Castle” built by Jim Bishop. The film focuses on the architects of these structures, as they are “as fascinating and awe inducing as their creations,” according to information at

    Paul von Stoetzel directed the film, which runs 101 minutes.

    This screening is part of the School of Art’s monthly Friday Night Film Series and is sponsored in part by The Liberty Bell, Main Street Nacogdoches, Bill Arscott, Jill Carrington, Karon Gillespie, John Heath, David Kulhavy and Brad Maule.

    The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

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  • Watercolor East Texas exhibition to open at Cole Art Center

    Watercolor East Texas exhibition to open at Cole Art Center

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    The 2014 WET juried exhibition first place winner was “Let’s Talk It Over” by Mary Hooper. This year’s WET exhibition runs through Aug. 29 in Cole Art Center.

    July 21, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    The 31st Watercolor East Texas juried exhibition will open with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 25, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    This year’s juror is Marie Renfro, a nationally known artist from Plano who works in oil, acrylic and watercolor and uses various media to express her emotional response to a subject. Her work has received numerous awards and is included in major collections in the Dallas area.

    Renfro is a member of the Plano Art Association, the Southwestern Watercolor Society, Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, Associated Creative Artist of Texas and Texas Visual Arts Association. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Texas Woman’s University and has studied in several European countries.

    Some WET exhibition paintings will be priced for sale. The exhibition runs through Aug. 29.

    The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information, contact WET member Peggy Fare at (936) 635-0670 or call the art center at (936) 468-1131.

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  • Music Prep scholarships due

    Music Prep scholarships due

    July 21, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Scholarship applications to attend fall classes in the Music Preparatory Division of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music are due Aug. 1, according to Pat Barnett, Music Prep director.

    “Serving approximately 200 students, the Music Preparatory Division is dedicated to the highest standard of music education, performance and outreach to the East Texas community,” Barnett said.

    Music Prep offers musical training on any level of proficiency. Overall musicianship is stressed in addition to the study of an instrument. Private music lessons are offered in piano, violin, viola, fiddle, cello, double bass, harp, classical guitar, voice, percussion, French horn, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone and flute. Also, Music Prep offers an orchestra, Piney Woods Youth Orchestra, an adult piano class, music theory adventure classes and Kindermusik. Music Prep teaches all ages, from infants to 80 and beyond. Music therapy is also offered.

    The Music Prep faculty is comprised of SFA School of Music faculty, SFA students and musicians from the community and the Houston area.

    Scholarship applications can be downloaded from the website at:

    New student registration is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Music Prep House, 3028 Raguet St. Teachers will be present to advise students and parents on private lesson opportunities and group activities, Barnett said. Private 16-week lessons begin Monday, Aug. 24, and private 12-week lessons with SFA student instructors begin Monday, Sept. 14. Times and dates will be posted on the website at

    For more information, contact Barnett at or (936) 468-1291.

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  • Artist Parker believes in giving back

    Artist Parker believes in giving back

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    Gary Parker, recently retired SFA art faculty member, poses in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, site of the upcoming 12X12 art scholarship fundraiser slated for 6 p.m. Saturday, July 18.
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    Recently retired SFA art faculty member Gary Parker has provided the panels for the Friends of Visual Arts’ 12X12 fundraiser for many years.
    July 14, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Gary Parker was always interested in art. But it wasn’t until he was in his 20s that he began to think he could make art his life’s work.

    And that’s what he did, eventually.

    “I have an undergraduate degree in biology, so, obviously, I wasn’t headed in that direction at first,” he said. “After I got my undergraduate degree, I studied some other things, then finally decided that maybe I’d like to try to be an artist.”

    Born in Pennsylvania, Parker pursued a degree in biology until he discovered painting. He completed an MFA from SFA and was employed at the university as Art Shop supervisor. Before his recent retirement, he directed the school’s Summer Art Academy program for children for 22 years, taught half-time at SFA and served as the gallery preparator for all of SFA’s art galleries.

    Parker also ran the student galleries and scheduled all the student exhibitions while teaching students through professional practices how to install exhibitions. He has installed every art fundraiser that FVA has ever hosted, and the past seven years, has built the 12X12 panels that are distributed to local artists for the FVA’s wildly popular art auction. He has also donated his own fine art to many of these auctions.

    As he reflected recently on his time at SFA and his desire to “give back” to the world of art, Parker talked about how any job within the fine arts requires work, dedication and determination.

    “You can talk to any artist, musician or actor, and it’s just a lot of hard work,” he said. “Usually, there’s not a lot of glory involved. Occasionally, you have a show, and people come up and say, ‘this is wonderful.’ But that’s about the only time people pay attention to you.”

    It’s somewhat of a “solitary” existence that requires self-evaluation, he said.

    “That’s one of the things I like about it, because there is a certain amount of freedom to it,” he said. “You are not expected to meet a certain criteria except the criteria you place on yourself.”

    He describes himself as an abstract painter, but his inspiration is landscapes.

    “I like space and texture and all the things involved in landscape, but my work is not literal,” he said. “It’s metaphorical, for all sorts of reasons.”

    Although he is retiring, he wants to remain active in the artistic community around Nacogdoches and says he plans to “be painting all the time.”

    “I’ll miss the communication with young minds,” he said. “Dealing with the 18- to 22-year-olds is a challenge, but it keeps you vibrant.”

    And he plans to continue giving back and working closely with the Friends of the Visual Arts.

    “When you are working for an institution, you have a responsibility that is more than just getting a paycheck,” he said. “You have to return something, especially in academia where you have the ability to influence beyond the classroom by simply getting artwork out there.”

    But his artistic legacy will continue on campus. Parker created the large Texas mural in the SFA Spirit Lounge, and certain pieces of outdoor art on campus were as a result of behind-the-scenes work of Parker and former gallery director Eloise Adams.

    “There is a responsibility for artists to celebrate the whole experience of education in the arena in which they work,” he said.

    Here’s a closer look at Gary Parker:

    If you could move anywhere in the world, where would you move and why? I would like to have a horse farm in the Hill Country. If you had $1 million, what would you do with the money? I’d use it to pay for the horse farm. What is your biggest fear? Uselesness. What is the best compliment you ever received? My best compliment came from a curator from the Getty (Museum) who said my work gave Kieffer a run for his money. What is one thing you would like people to know about you? That I wrestle bears, but am a reasonable fellow. What is your favorite thing about Nacogdoches? That’s a hard question, but I guess the landscape. What is the last movie you saw? “Budapest Hotel” What is your favorite musical genre? Eclectic on music, but mainly classical Family background? My wife is Carolyn Spears, director of the Stone Fort Museum, and my daughter is Madelaine, a student at University of Houston and champion show jumper. Do you have pets? What? One horse, two foundling dogs and many cats (we support O’Malley Alley Cat’s trap, spay/neuter and release program). What do you like to do in your free time? What the hell does free time mean?
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  • Annual 12X12 event important fundraiser for SFA art scholarships

    Annual 12X12 event important fundraiser for SFA art scholarships

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    This work by artist Stuart Riordan is among the pieces in the silent auction in the annual 12X12 fundraiser hosted by the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts. Proceeds go toward scholarships awarded to students in the School of Art.

    July 14, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Local art lovers look forward to July each year because it signals one of their favorite events – the annual 12X12 fundraiser of the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts.

    And this year’s event has an added bonus: Two pieces by artists who had solo shows at the Cole Art Center this past year, one by David Yapp and another by Stuart Riordan, have been donated to the auction.

    The silent auction bidding began July 1 for this year’s 12X12 event benefitting students in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art. The 12-by-12-inch panels of artwork created by artists from Nacogdoches, Lufkin and other areas of East Texas are on display at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, and the bidding will continue until and conclude with the party and sale at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at the downtown art center. Recently retired SFA art instructor Gary Parker has built most of the panels each year.

    Serving as co-chairmen of the fundraiser this year are Jean Stephens, Lisa Steed and Linda Mock. Working with them are Kat Avant, who was in charge of hanging the show; Stephanie Stephens, Carol Athey and Jill Carrington, who will serve as cashiers for the sale; and Karon Gillespie, Lou Hugman, Richard Orton and Damon Ruckel, who are in charge of food and drinks. Kat Garcia is organizing the drawing.

    The artists do not sign the front of their work, so no one knows who created which piece. At the July 18 party and sale, each 12X12 artwork not bid on (and this is the vast majority of the work, Stephens said) will be sold for $100. Pieces not purchased go into a drawing. Tickets for the drawing are sold at the event for $5 each or five for $20.
    The purpose of 12X12 is to raise much-needed funds to help art students pursue their dreams of becoming successful artists and educators, according to Stephens.

    “The 12X12 fundraiser is important to both the FVA and SFA art students, because its success determines the amount of financial support we can give the students,” she said.

    The whole idea behind the 12X12 event came years ago when the head librarian at the Nacogdoches Public Library contacted Parker, who directed the SFA Art Academy for 22 years, to ask if Art Academy students could design and paint a mural for the library. Parker’s involvement in fundraisers in other locations that used specific dimensional pieces for artworks gave him the idea for Art Academy students to create individual works that would be incorporated into a mural. Similar works by art educators who were at SFA at the same time attending a workshop would also be incorporated into the mural. Parker cut close to 100 12 x 12 squares of plywood and gave them to the students and educators. The project was a success, and the mural still stands in the library.

    Parker had also been working on fundraising ideas with original gallery director Eloise Adams that would involve SFA art alumni. The two made about 300 calls to art alumni and managed to get alumni and every member of the SFA art faculty at the time to donate artwork to an auction, the first of which raised about $11,000. Various ideas for fundraising were tried over the years, but Parker’s 12X12 suggestion has surfaced as the most successful.

    Within the past year, the FVA awarded more than $11,000 in Friendship Grants and scholarships to 25 students; the grants ranged from $200 to $400 per student while the scholarships ranged from $750 to $1,000. The grants were awarded to help defray the costs of special projects for their art classes or MFA/BA exhibition or to attend conference or school trips that will help with their professional careers, such as Maymester trips for art students to go to Big Bend for a photography project. This summer, the organization also awarded scholarships for three elementary school students to attend the SFA Art Academy.

    The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. For more information about 12X12, call The Cole Art Center at (936) 468-6557.

    You may also be interested in these related articles:

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  • ImageMakers photography exhibition to open at Cole Art Center

    ImageMakers photography exhibition to open at Cole Art Center

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    This portrait by Garrett Schmid earned the “Best of Show” award in the Nacogdoches Boys & Girls Club’s ImageMakers photography exhibition, which opens with a reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 23, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House.

    July 14, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Participants in the Nacogdoches Boys & Girls Club’s ImageMakers photography program will display their award-winning works in an exhibition that opens with a reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 23, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    The exhibit was organized by the Nacogdoches Photographic Association and funded through a Community Outdoor Program grant provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife and administered by the gardens education staff at Stephen F. Austin State University, according to Elton Scifres, NPA member.

    ImageMakers is a national program sponsored by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to encourage members to learn and practice various photography methods, Scifres explained.

    “The ultimate purpose is to provide children the opportunity to express themselves creatively, build confidence and learn new skills,” he said.

    Winners in various categories in the local show will advance to competitions at the regional and national level. The photographs in this exhibit are the result of nine photo outing/training sessions. Twelve Boys and Girls club members participated and were mentored by six members of NPA as well as SFA Gardens staff members. The final pictures were selected by a panel of three judges: NPA members Connie Thompson and Ron Thill and Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce President Bruce Partain.

    Categories and winners included: Nature and Surrounding – Nesha Cowart, first place; Alondra Martinez, second place. Portraits – Garrett Schmid, first place; Zayriah Davis, second place. Culture and Tradition - Daniella Hernandez, first place; Masiyah Cross, second place. Schmid’s portrait was also named “Best of Show” winner, and he was awarded a camera donated by the NPA. All other winners received trophies.

    The exhibition will be on display through Aug. 29. The reception is free to the public. The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. Gallery hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information about this exhibition and others, call (936) 468-1131.

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  • SFA’s SummerStage Festival announces final performance schedule

    SFA’s SummerStage Festival announces final performance schedule

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    Final performances for “The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Musical” are at 10 a.m. Jul
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    Final performances of “The Glass Menagerie” are at 7:30 p.m. July 14 and 17.
    July 14, 2015—Robbie Goodrich

    Only a few performance dates remain in this year’s SFA SummerStage Festival featuring “The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Musical” by Karen Boettcher-Tate and Bill Francoeur and “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams.

    Audiences have responded enthusiastically to both productions, posting glowing reviews on social media.

    “You can’t buy publicity like this,” said Scott Shattuck, director of the SFA School of Theatre. “Attendees have been spreading the word for us about how fun and colorful the kids’ show is and how Williams’ most beloved story provides a lovely escape from the everyday.”

    Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Theatre will conclude its summertime live theatre season this week with a new and exciting schedule. Final performances of “The Glass Menagerie” are at 7:30 p.m. July 14 and 17. General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students/youth. Final performances of “The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Musical” are at 10 a.m. July 14 and 17 and at 2 and 6:30 p.m. July 15. General admission tickets for “Emperor” are $7.50.

    Free pre-show entertainment is offered starting 45 minutes before each evening performance.

    For tickets or more information, visit or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. All performances are in Turner Auditorium in the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

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