College of Fine Arts News Archive

July 2020

  • Music Prep fall class registration underway

    Music Prep fall class registration underway

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    Fall class registration for music instruction through SFA’s Music Preparatory Division is underway. Lessons begin Aug. 17.

    July 30, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    Registration is underway for fall classes in the Music Preparatory Division of the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music.

    The fall roster for youth includes lessons in piano, violin, cello, viola, voice, Music Theory Adventures and Piney Woods Youth Orchestra, among many others. Lessons may be available for other instruments upon request. Lessons begin Aug. 17. Music Prep also offers programs for adults in piano and strings.

    As the world continues to struggle with the economic and emotional effects of a worldwide pandemic, music remains one of the best coping mechanisms for stress and uncertainty, according to Alba Madrid, the new director of Music Prep who took over the division in June.

    “We understand that music provides an outlet to express a wide range of emotions which ultimately helps to enrich our lives in a number of ways,” Madrid said. “Children have the need to connect now more than ever, and what better way to connect with others than through music. I have witnessed firsthand, through my many years of teaching, the healthy relationships our students have with their friends in their music community. They share the same passion, interests and values.”

    Because of the economic effects of COVID-19, lower tuition fees for private lessons and other programs will be offered this fall. Scholarships are available to students based on need and commitment.

    “We are working to expand our scholarship funds through grants, donations and sponsorships to help families that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic,” Madrid said. Deadline to apply for a scholarship is Aug. 15.

    Madrid said appropriate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety protocols, including wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing and following sanitizing procedures, will be followed. Students, parents and teachers will have the flexibility to decide on lesson format: face to face, virtual or a hybrid structure.

    A new String Project will be piloted in the spring. The nine public school districts with in Nacogdoches County and some surrounding districts will be invited to participate. String Project students will have the opportunity to learn to play a stringed instrument at a low tuition cost as part of an after school activity. The project will be grant and community funded.

    Registration for private and group instruction can be completed online at sfamusicprep.com or by calling (936) 468-1291. Prices range from $20 to $180 per month, depending on frequency, type of lesson and lesson length.

    The Music Prep House is located at 3028 Raguet St. Office hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Madrid can also be reached via email at madrida@sfasu.edu or musicprep@sfasu.edu. Parents can also find program information on Facebook and Instagram.

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  • Griffith Fine Arts Building renovation, expansion underway

    Griffith Fine Arts Building renovation, expansion underway

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    W.M. Turner Auditorium in Griffith Fine Arts Building is getting a “refresh” as a result of the Fine Arts Expansion Initiative, which will extend the building along North Street. The renovated and expanded state-of-the-art building will also include two dance studios, two new theatres, recording studio, sound stage, audio and video editing rooms, an art gallery, multiple classrooms, rehearsal facilities, faculty offices and the offices of the College of Fine Arts dean. The facilities will house the CFA’s sound recording technology, filmmaking, theatre, dance and musical theatre programs.

    July 1, 2020—Robbie Goodrich

    Motorists driving along North Street past the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University will see an extraordinary transformation in the next two years.

    Although the rest of campus is slowly opening back up after closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-awaited renovation and new construction to the Griffith Fine Arts Building is on schedule. Demolition is moving full speed ahead, laying the groundwork for a building project that will make the College of Fine Arts a “window” through which the community may view the university, according to Dr. A.C. “Buddy” Himes, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

    “With these new facilities, the College of Fine Arts will be able to fully alleviate concerns for space, grow to its potential in enrollment, be competitive with similar programs in Texas, and fully capitalize upon student markets for new programs,” Himes said. “As much as the college has grown in enrollment over the past decade, I predict an explosion of new enrollment in fine arts in the next decade, notwithstanding the immediate effects of a pandemic.”

    SFA Regents approved the expansion and renovation project in 2018, and the architectural design phase began the following spring. Funding was obtained through the issuance of bonds in 2019, and proceeds must be used, in accordance with the bond documents, for construction, renovation and other project-related purposes.

    In recent months, the College of Fine Arts dean’s staff has relocated to Miller Science Building, and the School of Theatre has relocated to McKibben Education Building, with the exception of the costume shop, which is also temporarily housed in Miller Science Building. The School of Music’s Sound Recording Technology program, which had been housed in the Griffith building, has also relocated to the McKibben building. The Fine Arts Box Office is now in the Kennedy Auditorium building during the two-year construction project.

    More than two decades in the making, the Fine Arts Expansion Initiative will include extensive renovations to the existing Griffith Fine Arts Building and add handicap parking, a patron drop-off zone (off of West College Street) and new construction which will extend the building along North Street nearly to the corner of West College Street. The renovated and expanded state-of-the-art building will include two dance studios, two theatres, an auditorium, recording studio, sound stage, audio and video editing rooms, an art gallery, multiple classrooms, rehearsal facilities, faculty offices and the offices of the dean. The facilities will house the CFA’s sound recording technology, filmmaking, theatre, dance and musical theatre programs.

    As a result of the building and Turner Auditorium’s temporary closure during construction, coupled with the onset of the pandemic, the University Series has been significantly curtailed for the 2020-21 season, according to Scott Shattuck, associate dean and director of the series. There may be no performances in the fall, and the spring season will have an event-by-event approach with alternate venues for performances.

    “We were already thinking creatively about venues for world-class performances,” Shattuck said, “and now we’re also doing our best to be astute about safe practices for artists and audiences, and about the economic realities of presenting the performing arts in a socially distanced context.

    “The ever-changing conditions in which we live have caused us to keep our plans as flexible as possible,” Shattuck added. “Rather than lay out a schedule which may require many changes in the months ahead, we’ll announce individual concerts and shows when we’ve gained confidence that our audience can safely experience them when, where, and how we’ve said they will.”

    The Children’s Performing Arts Series has been canceled for the coming year. However, CPAS will have a new and exciting online presence so that teachers may still incorporate the unique children’s series curriculum into lesson plans, according to Diane Peterson, Fine Arts Box Office manager and director of the children’s series.

    “Even though teachers and students can’t visit us this school year, we hope cpas.sfasu.edu will be your source for the arts,” Peterson said. “You’ll find materials and links to bring the arts easily and safely into your classrooms.”

    As the Griffith building’s new look evolves over the next two years, “we believe the community will be highly impressed with the image fine arts projects for the university,” Himes said.

    “This is an exciting time for the College of Fine Arts,” Himes said. “With all the bad news that 2020 has brought, we’re glad the College of Fine Arts is able to move forward in a positive and progressive direction that will continue to focus on providing comprehensive and quality visual and performing arts experiences for the university, our Nacogdoches community and all of East Texas.”

    To view design plans and artists renderings, and to stay up-to-date on construction progress, visit http://finearts.sfasu.edu/expansion.

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