College of Fine Arts News Archive

September 2019

  • DeLappe play ‘The Wolves’ provides excellent roles for women

    DeLappe play ‘The Wolves’ provides excellent roles for women

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    A finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “The Wolves” will be presented by the Stephen F. Austin State University's School of Theatre Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 1 through 5, at 7:30 each night.

    September 11, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    Audiences who watch Sarah DeLappe’s “The Wolves” come to life on W.M. Turner Auditorium stage on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus in October will likely be reminded of some of the challenges they encountered trying to navigate the adolescent angst of high school years.

    A finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, “The Wolves” will be presented by the SFA School of Theatre Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 1 through 5, at 7:30 each night. Directed by Professor Rick Jones, this coming-of-age play follows the daily routines and conversations of nine girls on a soccer team who deal with big problems and tiny battles in a portrait of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for kids who just want to score some goals.

    Jones said one of the reasons he selected the play to include in this year’s Mainstage Series is because it contains “excellent roles for women.”

    “I knew a lot of universities across the country were doing this play,” he said. “We ended up picking this play over others on my list because of the response of two students – both women – who were on the selection committee.

    “Literally every young woman I’ve talked to is excited about the play,” he added. “It seemed to me when I read the script that the characters in the play and their conversations were pretty accurate representations of real people – of real high school girls. But, I’ve never been a girl, and it’s been a very long time since high school. The women in the show have been there, and not that long ago. The play speaks to them, and I am confident that it will speak to others, as well.”

    Nine of the 10 characters are players in an elite indoor soccer league for high school girls; the remaining character is the mother of one of the players.

    “We watch them form bonds, struggle with adolescence, exult in winning, and cope with losing … and some of the losses are permanent,” Jones said. “The play is about determination and endurance; whatever happens, these girls are going to face challenges together, and they’ll ultimately triumph, regardless of what the scoreboard might say.”

    The play has something for everyone, but it will especially resonate with young women, Jones said. There is some potentially offensive language, and the characters discuss what most high school girls in the 21st century discuss: current events, sexual harassment, abortion, coping with menstruation. “So if that kind of thing bothers you, you might sit this one out,” he said. “But the play tells the truth, and that’s always a good thing.”

    Jones said the play is “sometimes harrowing, but uplifting.”

    “It’s all about figuring out what really matters,” he said, “and a little introspection in those terms could probably help us all.”

    Single tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and non-SFA students and $7.50 for youth. Tickets for SFA students are $5. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.theatre.sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA’s Guenther, Petti to perform ‘An Air of Mystery’ program

    SFA’s Guenther, Petti to perform ‘An Air of Mystery’ program

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    SFA School of Music faculty members Drs. Christina Guenther and Ron Petti will present the flute-piano program “An Air of Mystery” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in Cole Concert Hall on the university campus.

    September 11, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will present faculty members Dr. Christina Guenther, flute, and Dr. Ron Petti, piano, performing the program “An Air of Mystery” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

    The recital is part of the Friends of Music Concert Series and will feature works by Aaron Jay Kernis, David Maslanka, Jake Heggie and Samuel Zyman.

    “Air” by Kernis is songlike and melodic, and it is “the purest and sparest piece I’ve written in a few years,” the composer writes. It contains many hymn or chant-like elements, and though rooted in E-flat major, it “retains a kind of plaintive quality more reminiscent of minor or modal tonalities,” he added.

    Guenther met composer Maslanka in March 2004 when she was performing at a Society of Composers Inc. conference at which he was a featured composer.

    “We spoke briefly the day before I performed, but it was after my performance of a very challenging new work that he came up to me and said, ‘You’ve got the stuff!’” Guenther writes in her program notes. “What encouraging words for a young performer from one of the compositional legends of our time. Maslanka was a quiet, introspective man – tall, thin, unassuming, humble. We kept in touch and, in May 2004, he sent me his ‘Duo’ as a gift.

    “At the time, I was playing a lot of new music, and even though this piece was written three years before I was born, I felt like it was written for me,” Guenther said. “It was just my style – challenging, intense, passionate and insistent, and with some of my favorite extended techniques. Regrettably, I did not get to perform it during Maslanka’s lifetime; I had to find a pianist whose arm I could twist to learn it, and my husband is the lucky soul who (probably reluctantly) agreed.”

    Heggie’s “Soliloquy” for flute and piano is a setting by the composer of his song “Beyond” from “Pieces of 9/11: Memories from Houston,” which was written based on interviews with Houstonians and their stories regarding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    “Those of us who lived through the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks remember exactly where we were when we got the news,” Guenther writes. “I was in graduate school at Florida State University in Tallahassee taking care of flute studio-related business before attending Denise von Glahn’s 20th Century music history class. When the towers – and all the antennae on top of them – went down, so did communication to much of the northeast. I grew up 20 minutes outside New York City in a town from which many people commuted to NYC for work; my family still lived there. My mother later told me that she saw children – my siblings’ classmates – walking home from school that day with their parents – high school boys holding their fathers’ hands. Not all the kids in our town were so lucky – some lost a parent. We were fortunate – that was not one of the occasional days when my dad had a work meeting in Manhattan. Eventually, trying not to panic from so far away in Florida where we were helpless and, like the rest of the country, still didn’t really know what was going on, I was able to reach my dad on his cell phone.”

    Zyman, a New York-based Juilliard faculty member, is one of the leading Mexican composers on the international scene. His Sonata for Flute and Piano is regarded as a major repertoire piece and is frequently performed worldwide. It was chosen to be one of the required repertoire works for the semifinal round of the Young Artist Competition for outstanding flutists at the National Flute Association Convention in New York City in August 2009.

    Recital tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu.

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  • SFA’s Cole Art Center to host show reception, gallery talk

    SFA’s Cole Art Center to host show reception, gallery talk

    September 10, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    Two events will take place on Saturday, Sept. 21, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House, Stephen F. Austin State University’s historic downtown art gallery.

    A reception for the exhibition “The Color of Grief” is at 3 p.m., followed by a gallery talk by Wesley Berg, assistant professor of drawing and painting in the School of Art, at 6 p.m.

    “The Color of Grief” features art created by children who attended a youth grief camp through Hospice in the Pines. The small paintings on canvas, created by children ages 4 through 16, express the feelings each experienced in the loss of a loved one.

    Berg will discuss his work in the exhibition “Shadow Plane: Works on Paper by Wesley Berg,” which is the featured faculty show in this year’s School of Art Faculty Exhibition. The faculty exhibition traditionally features a wide variety of artwork in ceramics, sculpture, photography, painting, prints, metal work and mixed media.

    “The Color of Grief” runs through Oct. 12, and the faculty show and Berg’s exhibition run through Oct. 13. The Cole Art Center hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

    Art exhibitions and receptions are free and are sponsored by William Arscott, the Flower Shop, Nacogdoches Junior Forum and the Friends of the Visual Arts. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

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  • SFA to host collaborative art-music exhibition

    SFA to host collaborative art-music exhibition

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    “Denali: Artists Respond to Music Inspired by Wilderness” shows Sept. 17 through Nov. 21 in Griffith Fine Arts Gallery, located on the SFA campus. A reception and performance is planned for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17.

    September 9, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    The School of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University will host the exhibition “Denali: Artists Respond to Music Inspired by Wilderness” Sept. 17 through Nov. 21 in Griffith Fine Arts Gallery, located on the SFA campus.

    Two languages – music and visual art – combine to create works of art made in response to chamber music composed in Denali National Park. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Elements Artist Group and composers from the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival’s Composing in the Wilderness Program, directed by SFA composing professor Dr. Stephen Lias. The Elements Artists Group is made up of six artists anchored in Alaska: Charlotte Bird, Susan Campbell, Nancy Hausle-Johnson, Marybee Kaufman, Margo Klass and Ree Nancarrow.

    SFA senior composition student Corinna Hogan of Gatesville is among the collaborating composers. Other composers included Jesse Budel, Christian Dubeau, Aaron Keyt, Brent Lawrence, Libby Meyer, Christina Rusnak, Dawn Sonntag and Jennifer Wright.

    The idea for the project was originally sparked by a painting Elements artist Marybee Kaufman rendered while listening to music written by Christina Rusnak in 2012, according to Nancarrow.

    “Their successful collaboration resonated with other Elements artists who were eager to explore a new challenge – making visual art in response to music inspired by a place they all love, Denali National Park,” she said. Lias shared the proposal with his Composing in the Wilderness musicians, and they enthusiastically agreed to the project.

    In 2017, Lias led nine experienced composers into the backcountry of Denali National Park where they composed original chamber music inspired by their wilderness experiences and shared recordings of their compositions, musical scores, ideas and inspiration with the Elements artists. The artists worked in a variety of media including fiber art, ceramic tiles, painting, poetry, and artist books to create 18 works of visual art, each one a personal response to a musical composition.

    “This was an incredible experience that I feel inclined to repeat,” Hogan said. “I saw views no photo can adequately capture, discovered a love of hiking, made lasting friends from around the world, and wrote some of my best music. I recommend all composers do their best to be a part of Composing in the Wilderness.

    “Two years ago I never would have guessed I’d be part of such a unique and fruitful collaboration, but here we are,” she added of the collaboration with the Elements group. “This artwork gave me a surprising and exciting new lens through which to see my own work, which is a very thought-provoking and enjoyable experience. Plus, it’s gorgeous.”

    “Denali: Artists Respond to Music inspired by Wilderness” has been one of the most rewarding and inspiring exhibition collaborations in which Elements artists have participated, according to member Margo Klass.

    “Denali: Artists Respond to Music in the Wilderness” represents “a fruitful collaboration of visual artists and musicians,” Klass said. “Composers we worked with said, ‘We have often responded to visual art, but no artist has ever responded to our compositions.’”

    In experiencing the exhibition, a smart phone enables access to the music that inspired each artistic response. QR codes, posted throughout the exhibition, provide links to the music so that the music and art it inspired can be experienced at the same time. Binders of the musical scores and program notes are also on display as part of the exhibition. Catalogs of the exhibition include images, artist statements and biographies of artists and composers.

    Support of a Community Arts Development Grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts helped fund the project along with sponsorship by The National Park Service, Alaska Geographic, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and Composers in the Wilderness. For more information about the project, visit https://www.composinginthewilderness.com/elements.

    A reception with performance is planned for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, in the gallery. Griffith Gallery is located inside Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive.

    This exhibition and reception is sponsored in part by William Arscott, The Flower Shop and the Friends of the Visual Arts. Admission is free. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.

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  • Tickets still available to The Second City performance at SFA

    Tickets still available to The Second City performance at SFA

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    September 4, 2019—Robbie Goodrich

    Tickets are still available to the University Series performance of the Chicago-based comedy-improv troupe The Second City at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, in W.M. Turner Auditorium on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus. Single event ticket prices are $30 for adults, $24 for seniors, $15 for SFA faculty and staff and $12 for non-SFA students/youth. Tickets for SFA students are $3. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit finearts.sfasu.edu, stop by the Fine Arts Box Office in Room 211 of the Griffith Fine Arts Building, or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. The University Series is presented by the College of Fine Arts. Photo: Tim Schmidt

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  • ‘The Great Alone’ featured in SFA’s Friday Night Film Series

    ‘The Great Alone’ featured in SFA’s Friday Night Film Series

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    “The Great Alone” follows champion sled dog racer Lance Mackey on the Iditarod Trail. The award-winning documentary will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, in The Cole Art Center.

    September 3, 2019—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 documentary “The Great Alone” at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

    Written and directed by Greg Kohs, “The Great Alone” is an award-winning feature-length documentary film that captures the inspiring comeback story of champion sled dog racer Lance Mackey.

    Billed as “The Last Great Race on Earth,” the Iditarod Trail is the toughest dog sled race in the world. Snaking through more than 1,000 miles of the Arctic's harshest wilderness, the race is one of Alaska's proudest traditions, and Mackey is its greatest champion, according to the film description at imdb.com. He's a man with dog sled racing hard wired into his family, across generations. He’s battled homelessness, addiction and cancer, but he always returns to the sled.

    The film won best feature at the 2016 Big Water Film Festival, and Kohs won the grand jury prize as director at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2015. The film runs 80 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, John and Kristen Heath, Galleria Z, Jill Carrington, Jean Stephens, Jim and Mary Neal and Richard Orton.

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

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