It’s not often I get to sit in the dark surrounded by 1,700 buzzing middle and high school students to watch a live dance performance, but I found myself in just that place a few weeks ago. The atmosphere was one of high energy as the lights lowered in Centennial Hall and we watched the thrilling performers from Momix morph into impossibly beautiful shapes. Brought to Tucson by UA Presents, this program invites students from Title 1 schools in Pima County to experience performances by some of the most compelling artist in the series.
UA Presents Education is part of the college-wide outreach effort CFA in Schools. We work to provide all children in our community equal access to the highest quality arts education and on-campus experiences, and it’s work that is close to our hearts. Outreach director Brad Richter estimates that some 20,000 diverse young people will participate in the program during the 2017/18 academic year – and engage in opportunities to perform, explore, participate, and feel welcome. Brad, a classical guitarist and passionate educator, developed his music education program Lead Guitar nearly 20 years ago, and the CFA in Schools programs – UpBeat, Step Up and Music First – follow Lead Guitar’s format providing teacher training and professional development for CFA students, along with student engagement.
Similarly, the String Project, a program led by the Fred Fox School of Music’s Theodore Buchholz, allows university music majors hands-on teaching experience as they provide string music education to K-12 children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to access musical instruments. Each semester, around 75 children from schools throughout Pima County participate in lessons that culminate in a public performance at Crowder Hall.
Now in its 24th year, Wildcat Art is a Saturday art class program offered by the School of Art to K-12 students. In the eight-week course, children and teens learn skills and explore ideas and issues through contemporary and traditional art media and practices. The classes are led by advanced and graduate Art & Visual Culture Education students and culminate with an exhibition of the children’s art work. The latest edition of this much-loved program began this past weekend, and the exhibition of the students’ work will take place April 28 at the Student Union Gallery.
Amásání, the short film written and directed by School of Theatre, Film & Television graduate Stacy Howard (BFA 2017), made its World Premiere as part of last year’s I Dream In Widescreen – the annual event showcasing the latest crop of BFA thesis films. The Hanson Film Institute has been working closely with Stacy to take Amásání to audiences outside Tucson, and in the months since its premiere, the film, a tender story about a rebellious young girl’s relationship with her traditional Navajo grandmother, has screened at five film festivals and counting, including Toronto’s ImagineNATIVE, the world’s largest Indigenous film festival. I look forward to following Stacy’s career, and to viewing this year’s talented filmmakers at the 2018 edition of I Dream In Widescreen on April 28 at the Fox Tucson Theatre.
We are incredibly proud of the School of Dance’s reputation as one of the best in the nation. Assistant Professor Tamara Dyke-Compton is a soaring force behind the School’s good name. An alumna of both Juilliard and the University of Arizona, Tamara joined the School of Dance faculty in 2014 following years of dance and choreography projects including national and international Broadway tours (Movin’ Out, Fame) and choreographed works presented in venues from Tokyo to New York. One of her most recent works involved choreographing Leonard Bernstein’s Mass under the direction of Professor James Clouser. The January performance at Centennial Hall, which comprised nearly 50 vocalists and an orchestra of two dozen, featured School of Dance students who danced “gloriously” to the choreography of Dyke-Compton and her husband Christopher Bryan Compton. The evening was hailed by the Arizona Daily Star as “a concert that will go down as one of the highlights of the Tucson Desert Song Festival.”
UA College of Fine Arts
As part of its Visiting Artist and Lecture Series (VASE), the School of Art presents Wendy Red Star: My Home Is Where My Tipi Sits. A visual artist, Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures. More information is on the VASE website.
The choreographers and dancers of the UA Dance Ensemble will soon break from our stage and fan out across the country. Watch them one more time at the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre in At the Edge – Student Spotlight. Tickets are available online.
The Arizona Wind Quintet, featuring Fred Fox School of Music faculty artists Brian Luce, Sara Fraker, Jackie Glazier, Daniel Katzen, and William Dietz, will perform and teach in Mexico City at the Universidad Autónoma de México, as part of a partnership between the Fred Fox School of Music and Centro de Estudios Mexicanos – UNAM Tucson.
A timeless tale of love, mercy and justice, The Merchant of Venice takes us on a journey into the best and worst of human nature. Portia remains one of Shakespeare’s strongest heroines, and Shylock represents a crowning achievement in dramatic literature. At the Tornabene Theatre. Tickets are available online.
The Hanson Film Institute provides a door-opening opportunity for Creative Writing and Film students this month when award-winning writer/director Brian Levant conducts a TV comedy writing lab. Levant returns in the Fall to teach a course for the School of Theatre, Film & Television. A story about the lab features in this week’s Arizona Daily Wildcat. Read it in the Daily Wildcat.
Now in the sixth decade of his professional life, legendary pianist and composer Herbie Hancock remains where he has always been: at the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music. Experience the musical icon during his one-night-only Tucson performance at Centennial Hall. More information and tickets are online.
The College of Fine Arts Dean’s newsletters are edited by Kerryn Negus.