Dean’s Newsletter

May 29, 2018


Photos by Bianca Metz.


Tannis Gibson, Interim Dean

Earlier this month, the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts presented degrees to 72 graduate and 215 undergraduate students at our Graduation Convocations in Crowder Hall and Centennial Hall respectively. I am tremendously proud of all of our accomplished outgoing students and cannot wait to follow their achievements as they embark on new journeys.

Learning is a partnership between students and faculty, and the collaboration extends to include the support of friends and family – I congratulate all of you who played roles in our graduate success stories!

Dean Andrew Carnie gave the keynote speech at the Graduate Convocation, in which he praised graduate students for their creativity and the sense of purpose that invigorates their work each and every day. He spoke lovingly of his late father, a professor of English Literature, who was passionate about his collection of illustrated books from the 18th century and about poetry written in Lallans Scots, a language in decline. Dean Carnie said that he learned from his dad that things don’t have to be expensive or all the rage to be important and valuable. He urged students to never let a desire for popularity or acceptance change their real vision or voice – that they should continue to be as bold as their creativity lets them be. The arts shape us, define us, and change us.

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards were presented to Diana Yusupov (College of Fine Arts and Fred Fox School of Music), Galen Trezise (School of Art), Catherine Inzirillo (School of Dance) and Ken Phillips (School of Theatre, Film & Television). Diana Yusupov was also selected to address the graduate students.

Professor Theodore Buchholz praised Diana Yusupov’s ability to balance her work as a member of the Graduate Quartet, a chamber music coach, a cello sectional coach for the Philharmonic, and principal of the Arizona Symphony.

Galen Tresize was applauded by Professor Gary Setzer for inspiring students’ interest in new material, pushing his students toward a high level of achievement, and adeptly critiquing artwork in a precise and meaningful way.

Catherine Inzirillo beautifully embodies the equal emphasis placed on artistry and scholarship that is so deeply fundamental to the College of Fine Arts. Professor Amy Ernst spoke glowingly of Catherine’s dedication to the empowerment of students, and of her finely honed leadership and responsibility to her art.

In a field of rapidly changing technology, said Professor Deanna Fitzgerald, Ken Phillips has made great strides in the effectiveness and relevance of his advanced automated lighting design class, all while creating beautiful lighting designs for numerous productions in the theatre program.

At the Undergraduate Convocation, Outgoing Director of the School of Theatre, Film & Television Bruce Brockman gave the keynote address to the undergraduates, in which he talked about the four qualities our students have developed – an artist’s hand, the physical acts of making art; a scientist’s mind, the ability to analyze and understand structure and pattern; a painter’s eye, learning how to see; and a poet’s heart, the ability to create an evocative and transformative work that is articulate and expresses meaning beyond its form. Director Brockman spoke eloquently about the undergraduate journey and these essential qualities of the artist and any well-educated person.

Elizabeth Denneau (College of Fine Arts and School of Art) and Marissa Munter (School of Theatre, Film & Television) received Kornhaber Awards. Other Outstanding Senior Awards were presented to Natalie Allen (School of Dance), Benjamin Nichols (Fred Fox School of Music), and Victoria Pereira (School of Theatre, Film and Television). Elizabeth Denneau gave the Outstanding Senior Address.

Professor Lisa Hoctritt congratulated Elizabeth Denneau’s work as a thoughtful and talented educator, award-winning artist, and community worker who is passionate about education, social justice and the arts.

Natalie Allen has distinguished herself in the dance program as a captivating performer and talented choreographer. Professor Melissa Lowe also praised her strong record of service activities.

Benjamin Nichols, finishing two degrees – one in physiology and one in vocal studies – is a profound thinker and intellectually curious, says Dr. Elizabeth Schauer. She applauded his outstanding musical skills and ability to provide substantive musical leadership for the choir.

Marissa Munter was applauded by Professor Christie Kerr for continuing to stretch herself as a performer and seeking out opportunities – such as a summer internship with Karge + Ross Casting in Chicago – to enrich her studies.

Professor Yuri Makino congratulated Victoria Pereira for her strong scholarship – her research paper on stop motion was selected for the Undergraduate Research Symposium – and for her creativity and quirky sensibility revealed in her filmmaking.

Watch videos of the Convocations at the College of Fine Arts website at

Best wishes to all for a fabulous summer ahead!

Tannis Gibson Initials

Tannis Gibson
Interim Dean
UA College of Fine Arts

Around the Bend

Highlights of current and upcoming events from the College of Fine Arts

Chroma Complex

May 16 – June 14

Chroma Complex, a compilation of paintings by Kenzie Wells, embodies the visually deceptive qualities of color within two-dimensional spaces. Various colorful planes are paired with reflective surfaces, producing images that continuously shift and merge as the viewer moves through the gallery. By synchronizing movement and perspective, the show emphasizes the experiential and ephemeral nature of color within our surroundings. Originally from Tennessee, Kenzie Wells is pursuing her MFA in 2D at the University of Arizona and works across an array of mediums, including installation, sculpture, photography, and painting. More info at the School of Art website.

UA Dance 2018/19 Season

October 7

Join us for the Ventana Series, the UA Dance 2018/19 season. Propelled by the work of internationally known faculty and guest artists, UA Dance has performed in 14 different countries across Europe, Asia and South America, as well as in important venues in this country, including the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Joyce Theater in NYC. To become a season subscriber, sign up for our mailing list at the School of Dance website. For questions, call (520) 621-4698.

Tócalo Tucson

June 2 – June 9

Tócalo Tucson! The first annual Chamber Percussion Seminar will take place over the course of six days in June. Program participants will work closely with faculty and guest artists in small chamber, master class, panel discussion, and private lesson settings to study and prepare notable works for performance in two concerts in Crowder Hall. More info is at the Tócalo Tucson website.

University of Arizona Jazz Camp

June 10 – June 15

The University of Arizona Jazz Camp is a weeklong, residential jazz camp housed at the Fred Fox School of Music. Students engage with world-renowned faculty in jazz improvisation classes, private lessons, jazz theory, combo classes, daily clinics and masterclasses, big band rehearsals and private lessons. $600. Register online.

Arizona Repertory Theatre’s 2018/2019 Season

September 16

The Arizona Repertory Theatre’s 2018/2019 season will commence on September 16 with the Arizona Premiere of Like Heaven, a humorous and heartwarming play written by UA Professor Elaine Romero. Subscription renewals and new subscriptions are available now. Call the CFA Box Office at (520) 621-1162 or visit us in person at 1025 N. Olive Road, inside the Marroney Theatre on campus. Single tickets will go on sale August 20. Full season details are on the Arizona Repertory Theatre website.

Hippie Family Values

May 26 – May 27

Hippie Family Values, the new documentary from Film & Television Professor Beverly Seckinger, is an intimate chronicle of a handful of back-to-the-land hippie elders, their adult children and grandkids. Filmed in New Mexico over 10 years, its World Premiere took place at the 2018 Santa Fe Film Festival and its Arizona Premiere at a standing-room-only screening at the Loft Cinema last month. An encore screening takes place at the Loft on May 26, followed by a Phoenix area premiere at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on May 27. More info is at the Hippie Famly Values website.


Now As part of LACMA Productions’ Art + Fim series in which the Los Angeles County Museum of Art invites innovative filmmakers to produce short films on visual artists, Film & Television Associate Professor Lisanne Skyler was commissioned to write and direct a short film about pioneering Light and Space artist Robert Irwin. Watch the short A Few Things About Robert Irwin on

Industry Roundtable for Interns

July 12

Each year, dozens of UA students are accepted to undertake summer internships at film and television companies in Los Angeles. An invaluable opportunity, it can also be daunting. This July, the Hanson Film Institute launches its Industry Roundtable for Interns. The roundtable will bring together interning students with industry professionals, including UA alumni, to discuss industry issues, ask questions, and network.

Wynton Marsalis

October 5

Now on break for the summer, tickets for the 2018/2019 season of UA Presents will go on sale  August 24. The season will commence on October 5 with Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis in Spaces, with Lil Buck and Jared Grimes. Spaces combines modern dance with big band jazz in wildly entertaining exploration of the animal kingdom. More info is on the UA Presents website.

Dean's Newsletter

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Congrats to Kennady Schneider!
Amazing speech!!!

Outstanding Senior
College of Fine Arts
School of Art

pc: John Nofs
... See MoreSee Less

Congrats to Kennady Schneider!
Amazing speech!!!

Outstanding Senior
College of Fine Arts
School of Art

pc: John Nofs

A few images from today’s Undergraduate Convocation. Congrats to all of our graduates.

What talent! You make us proud!

pc: John Nofs
... See MoreSee Less

Candice Barth, the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award winner for the School of Dance and the College of Fine Arts with Associate Professor Amy Ernst.

Today we celebrate the Undergraduate Convocation, 2p at Centennial Hall.

The ceremony is being recorded and will be available next week.

pc: Jeff Brems
... See MoreSee Less

Candice Barth, the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award winner for the School of Dance and the College of Fine Arts with Associate Professor Amy Ernst.

Today we celebrate the Undergraduate Convocation, 2p at Centennial Hall.

The ceremony is being recorded and will be available next week.

pc: Jeff Brems


Comment on Facebook

Congratulations Candice Barth! I was so proud when I won that award in 2000 - I think that was before you came to UA as an undergrad!! Wonderful to see you and Amy!!!

So proud of you, Candice, and your work!