College of Fine Arts News Archive

June 2017

  • SFA to screen Academy Award-winning "Inside Out"

    SFA to screen Academy Award-winning "Inside Out"

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    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and the Friends of the Visual Arts will present a free, one-night screening of the Academy Award-winning Disney Pixar film “Inside Out” at 7 p.m. Friday, July 7, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    June 23, 2017—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 the Academy Award-winning Disney Pixar film "Inside Out" at 7 p.m. Friday, July 7, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    Directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen, "Inside Out" is an inventive animated film that takes the audience on a journey to discover the "emotional roller coaster ride inside your head," according to information at movies.disney.com.

    After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness - conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

    Featuring the voices of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Diane Lane and a cast of other Hollywood notables, "Inside Out" won multiple awards, including the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year in 2016, a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Animated, a BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film and others. The film runs 95 minutes.

    This screening is part of the School of Art's monthly Friday Film Series and is sponsored in part by William Arscott, Nacogdoches Film Festival, Karon Gillespie, Mike Mollot, David Kulhavy, Brad Maule, John and Kristen Heath, Galleria Z, Jill Carrington, Jean Stephens, Jim and Mary Neal, Richard Orton and Main Street Nacogdoches.

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

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  • SFA's Educators' Summer Art Studio to produce traveling exhibition

    SFA's Educators' Summer Art Studio to produce traveling exhibition

    June 20, 2017—Robbie Goodrich

    The School of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University once again has a full house for its annual Educators' Summer Art Studio, slated this year for June 23 through 25, on the SFA campus.

    Twenty-five art teachers from East Texas high schools, middle schools, elementary schools and community colleges have registered for "#Create&Connect2017," in which they will learn new techniques and work collaboratively to produce a traveling art exhibition, according to Dr. Bill Nieberding, assistant professor of art and the workshop's director.

    Cheryl Evans, a past president of the Texas Art Education Association and an SFA alumna, will be the featured workshop leader. Evans, who is a watercolor instructor at Alvin Community College, graduated from SFA with a BFA in painting and earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of Houston Clear Lake. Evans has taught for 34 years at the high school and college levels. She is a signature member of the Watercolor Art Society - Houston, and she has exhibited nationally and internationally. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the Texas Art Education Association.

    SFA art faculty instructor Aloma Marquis will also work with participants exploring innovative book-making techniques.

    The traveling exhibition will open in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches with a public reception from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 25.

    The exhibition will close with a showing of the work at the 2017 Texas Art Education Association conference Nov. 2 through 4 at Galveston's Moody Gardens.

    For more information about the workshop or exhibition, contact Nieberding at nieberdiwj@sfasu.edu

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  • SFA theatre students take on dual roles, duties for SummerStage Festival

    SFA theatre students take on dual roles, duties for SummerStage Festival

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    SFA theatre students, from left, Baytown freshman Jordyn Averitte as Sophie; Chandler senior Jessica Benson as Bean; Mesquite junior Zaria Harp as Ivy; and Princeton, Texas, junior Connor Morrison as Leo rehearse a scene from the upcoming SummerStage Festival presentation of "Ivy + Bean the Musical" at SFA.
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    Rehearsing in SFA's Downstage Theatre for “The Miracle Worker” are, from left, Huffman junior Sidney Lowell, Mesquite junior Zaria Harp, Longview sophomore Logan Jennings, and Dallas sophomore Gareth Phipps.
    June 20, 2017—Robbie Goodrich

    Learning one's lines for a play can be hard enough for any actor, but when you're a student actor at Stephen F. Austin State University and involved in the SummerStage Festival, you will often find yourself learning lines for two different characters in two different plays … all at the same time.

    Such is the case for several SFA School of Theatre actors who are appearing in both of this year's SummerStage productions, including William Gibson's "The Miracle Worker" and the children's show, "Ivy + Bean the Musical," with book, music and lyrics by Scott Elmegreen and based on books by Annie Barrows.

    Connor Morrison, Princeton, Texas, junior; Logan Jennings, Longview sophomore; and Zaria Harp, Mesquite junior, perform in both plays. They agree that finding the time to get everything done is as great a challenge as developing two different characters and learning lines for different plays simultaneously.

    "The hardest part of repertory theatre is definitely the time management and the constant switch from show to show," Jennings said. "Keeping ideas and characters apart from each other for each show is extremely difficult."

    "Basically after 2 p.m., I'm busy until 10 p.m.," Morrison said. "Getting up in the morning is hard after two long rehearsals back to back. That's really the only time I have to do laundry, clean and do other things."

    The schedule of SummerStage is meant to replicate the experience students would have in a summer repertory season "in the real world," according to Dr. Inga Meier, assistant professor of theatre at SFA and director of "The Miracle Worker."

    "One of the key takeaways is that we want them to develop the work habits and time-management skills that will help them succeed," Meier said. "In other words, it's demanding, but it's meant to be - to better prepare them for what might come after graduation."

    Harp's approach to juggling a hectic SummerStage schedule is to "take it one day at a time," she said.

    "I try my best to not get too ahead of myself and stress myself out," she said. "I also do my best to stay as organized as possible. I don't trust myself to just remember things. I have to make sure that I write things down and set alarms so that I don't forget anything.

    "We don't get any days off, and any extra time we have before rehearsals or in between rehearsals is spent sleeping, eating or working on another show," she added. "It can become difficult to keep your energy up through the weeks."

    These dual roles spill over into the production demands of the plays, with students taking on multiple jobs in sound and lighting, costuming, props and set construction, among other responsibilities.

    But the lessons learned and the relationships forged through such a grueling schedule have their rewards, the students agreed.

    "The most enjoyable aspect of this process is the people," Jennings said. "Everyone is so loving, and it feels just like a (not-so-typical) family. Everyone here is in it together!"

    Harp said she is enjoying seeing her own personal growth as an individual and an actor.

    "There have been a few times where I have felt really stressed out or really doubtful of my abilities," she said, "but this experience has taught me that I am capable. I have also loved working with my friends and creating memories outside of rehearsals."

    "I'm incredibly stressed and always tired," Morrison said, "but this has been one of the best summers I've ever had. These experiences are definitely going to stick with me in the future."

    The festival is sponsored in part by Tipton Ford Lincoln.

    "The Miracle Worker" will be presented in the Downstage Theatre at 7:30 p.m. June 27 and 29 and July 6, 7, 11, 12 and 13; and at 2 p.m. July 15. General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students/youth.

    "Ivy + Bean the Musical" will be presented in Turner Auditorium at 10 a.m. July 1 and 6; at 2 p.m. July 5, 8 and 13; and at 6:30 p.m. July 1, 8 and 14. General admission tickets are $7.50.

    Both venues are in Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

    For tickets or more information, visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/ or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.

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  • 'The Miracle Worker' calls attention to relationship that 'changed the world'

    'The Miracle Worker' calls attention to relationship that 'changed the world'

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    Taylor Solice, Mesquite junior and dramaturg for the SFA SummerStage production of “The Miracle Worker,” helps theatre students learn sign language for their presentation of William Gibson's play based on Helen Keller's autobiography, “The Story of My Life."

    June 16, 2017—Robbie Goodrich

    Most people are familiar with the story of blind and deaf Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan.

    William Gibson's play "The Miracle Worker" provides an intimate look at the student and instructor before they became historical figures and advocates for people with disabilities. It also reminds audiences of the miraculous achievements Keller and Sullivan made in changing the world of the disabled at a time when little had been discovered in the field of deaf-blind education.

    "The Miracle Worker" is featured in this year's SummerStage Festival at Stephen F. Austin State University. The festival, presented by the School of Theatre, is slated for June 27 through July 15 with performances in W.M. Turner Auditorium and the Downstage Theatre.

    The play offers a historical glimpse into the lives of Keller and Sullivan, showing "the obstacles each had to overcome and the strength and resilience that carried them forward," according to Dr. Inga Meier, assistant professor of theatre at SFA and the play's director, who said her fascination with these women as significant advocates for people with disabilities led her to select this play for SummerStage.

    "In terms of socio-economic background, life experiences and personalities, the women could not have been more different, and yet, together, they literally changed the world," Meier said.

    Gibson's three-act play is based on Keller's autobiography, "The Story of My Life." Keller, a young deaf and blind girl trapped in a world of darkness and silence, meets Annie Sullivan, an unorthodox and brilliant teacher. Despite the numerous challenges both face, Annie ultimately becomes the miracle worker who helps Helen unlock a world of possibilities.

    "Today, we think of Helen Keller as an influential advocate for those with disabilities," Meier said. "However, that she would transform from a child locked in a world of darkness and silence to one who would not only learn to communicate her way out of those restrictions, but also to advocate on behalf of others, was hardly a foregone conclusion. The play lets us see the depth and the power of that transformation."

    As program director of the Visual Impairment/Orientation & Mobility program at SFA, Michael Munro sees the work of Keller and Sullivan in action daily. He described Keller as "a rock star" in his field.

    "The story is one of achievement," Munro wrote in an email interview. "The world would be a lesser place if Ms. Sullivan had not facilitated opening the rich mind of Helen Keller for the world to witness and learn from in so many ways. Helen Keller has always been a demonstration of just how much persons who were blind could achieve with the proper support and education. The 'miracle' of Anne Sullivan was one of finding a way to reach Helen, and allowing her the opportunities and experiences from which she grew and learned - and changed our world.

    "So much was accomplished by the breakthrough of one teacher to one student," he continued. "A lesson there is that all students can learn and achieve. There were lots of chances for the Kellers and Sullivan to give up. But perseverance, care and respect for the mind of one child led to great achievements over the next 81 years of Helen's life, including 12 books, countless lectures, articles and always a voice of advocacy."

    Meier sees the greatest challenge in directing "The Miracle Worker" as "doing justice to the reality of the experiences of a young girl who is deaf and blind in the 1880s, when many of the resources that now exist in the worlds of deaf and blind culture had yet to be developed."

    "As a director who is neither deaf nor blind, doing justice to these experiences is certainly a challenge," she said.

    The student actors are "enthusiastically" learning more about deaf and blind culture, which is a world that is foreign for many of them, Meier said.

    "Theatre is unique in that its bread and butter is empathy," she said, "but the humility with which the students are approaching the material is inspiring to watch."

    The impact of the advocacy and work of Keller and Sullivan depicted in the play is alive today. The Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act is a bipartisan bill that was introduced in 2017. Named for the first deaf student to be formally educated in the U.S. (Cogswell) and the beloved teacher of Helen Keller (Sullivan), respectively, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act will ensure that:
    Every child who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind, regardless of whether they have additional disabilities, will be properly counted and served;
    Each of a child's unique learning needs will be properly evaluated;
    States will engage in strategic planning to be sure that they can in fact meet each child's specialized needs;
    The U.S. Department of Education will do its part to hold states and schools accountable;
    Students who are deaf will be served by qualified personnel;
    Students who are blind will receive state-of-the-art services and skills supported through a new major national collaborative initiative addressing their unique learning needs; and
    Students who are deaf-blind will have access to trained and qualified interveners.
    The SummerStage Festival is sponsored in part by Tipton Ford Lincoln.

    "The Miracle Worker" will be presented in the Downstage Theatre at 7:30 p.m. June 27 and 29 and July 6, 7, 11, 12 and 13; and at 2 p.m. July 15. General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students/youth.

    The festival also features the children show "Ivy + Bean the Musical," with book, music and lyrics by Scott Elmegreen and based on books by Annie Barrows as illustrated by Sophie Blackall. It will be presented in Turner Auditorium at 10 a.m. July 1 and 6; at 2 p.m. July 5, 8 and 13; and at 6:30 p.m. July 1, 8 and 14. General admission tickets are $7.50.

    Both venues are in Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.

    For tickets or more information, visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/ or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.

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  • FVA fundraiser: Notecards, postcards to feature local photos, artwork

    FVA fundraiser: Notecards, postcards to feature local photos, artwork

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    Photographer Christopher Talbot's image of the historic Zion Hill Baptist Church windows is featured on postcards and notecards to be sold in an art scholarship fundraiser sponsored by the SFA Friends of the Visual Arts.

    June 2, 2017—Robbie Goodrich

    Images depicting Nacogdoches' history, beauty and artistry are now available to share as notecards and postcards through an art scholarship fundraiser organized by the Friends of the Visual Arts at Stephen F. Austin State University.

    Local photographers provided the images for the eight different designs featured on the 5-by-4½-inch notecards with envelopes and the 4-by-6-inch postcards that will be available for purchase during the Texas Blueberry Festival on June 10.

    "The FVA is grateful to the talented artists and supportive people who generously allowed us to use their artworks to benefit this art scholarship fundraiser," said Jean Stephens, FVA president.

    Available images include:
    "The Messenger" - Sculpture by Joe Barrington (winner of the first Sculpture For All); photograph by Bill Nieberding.
    "Bunny" - Sculpture by Jeffie Brewer.
    "Sunset Sky" - Oil painting by Peter Andrew; from the collection of SFA Regent Scott Coleman.
    Historic Zion Hill Baptist Church window - Photograph by Christopher Talbot.
    Surfin' Steve, SFA campus - Photograph by Bill Nieberding.
    Downtown Nacogdoches - Photograph by Ryan Russell.
    Thomas J. Rusk monument, Oak Grove Cemetery - Photograph by Stan Bohon.
    "Lighting the Copal" - Dia de los Muertos Fiesta, downtown Nacogdoches; photograph by Bill Nieberding.
    Project committee members included Nieberding, Bohon, Stephens, Lily Phou and John Handley, director of SFA art galleries.

    Notecards are $3 each, or four for $10 or eight for $20. Postcards are $1 each, or four for $3 or eight for $6.

    FVA volunteers will sell the cards during the Blueberry Festival at the organization's booth located in front of The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House on Main Street. Gumbo, blueberry tea and blueberry muffins will also be sold. All proceeds will benefit scholarships awarded through the SFA School of Art.

    Following the festival, the cards can be purchased at Cole Art Center. For additional information, call (936) 468-6557.

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