Department of Art and Art History News

Kirk Hoper Fine Art presents solo exhibition of work by alumnus Roger Winter

Mon. June 1, 2015

white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Kirk Hopper Fine Art presents solo exhibition, Cygnus: Paintings of Greenland, Iceland, and Sweden, of work by Roger Winter (BFA in Studio Art, 1956). The exhibition will be on view May 30 – July 3, 2015.

Alumni participate in annual Art on the Green Sculpture Garden Invitational Exhibition in Wichita Falls

Mon. June 1, 2015

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white overlapping hexagonal and cube shapes on green background

Erin Cunningham (MFA in Studio Art, 2007) curated an all-female exhibition for the Kemp Center for the Arts 2015 Art on the Green Sculpture Garden Exhibition in Wichita Falls, Texas. The exhibition includes alumnae Shalena White (MFA in Studio Art, 2014) and Jade Walker (MFA in Studio Art, 2005).

Tamara Johnson presents An Interior Complex in Bronx, New York

Mon. June 1, 2015

photo of broken collonade in room
Tamara Johnson, An Interior Complex (detail), 2015. Gypsum plaster, epoxy putty, wood, foam, latex, and acrylic paint. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Parsley Steinweiss.

Tamara Johnson (BFA in Studio Art, 2007) presents her first solo project, An Interior Complex, at the Sunroom Project Space at Wave Hill, a public garden and cultural center. Johnson's site responsive installation will be on view June 7 – July 19, 2015.

tamarajohnsonart.com

In memory of Greg Ploetz, widow creates scholarships for Studio Art students

Fri. May 29, 2015

man lying in bed with grandson baby
Image courtesy of Deb Ploetz

In memory of Greg Ploetz, Deb, his widow, will create the Greg Ploetz Art Scholarship for students in the Studio Art program to be awarded annually for the next ten years.

Ploetz was a Longhorn football player and alumnus of the Department of Art and Art History. He received his BFA in Studio Art in 1972. Ploetz was awarded a prestigious scholarship, given to the best art student, to attend a residency in Maine. Greg went on to receive an MFA in Studio Art in 1975 from the university.

“Art was his true love and passion,” said Deb.

Greg taught art and coached football in high schools and colleges for over forty years. In 2009 he left his last teaching position in Aledo, Texas.

“He was the most brilliant teacher I’ve ever known,” Deb told The Dallas Morning News. “He did such a wonderful job getting his point across.”

A three-year letterman at defensive tackle, Ploetz helped the Longhorns claim three Southwest Conference Championships in 1968, 1969, and 1971. In those three seasons, Texas posted a 28-4-1 record (19-2 in the SWC) and finished the season ranked among the Top 20 each year.

Ploetz was a starter for the 1969 National Championship team and played in Texas’ "Game of the Century” national-title winning victory over Arkansas with a hairline fracture in his ankle that year. After sitting out the 1970 season, Ploetz returned to the Longhorn team in 1971 and went on to earn All-Southwest Conference honors.

abstract painting with green, yello, blue, and red paint with lines
Painting by Greg Ploetz. Image courtesy of Deb Ploetz.

Greg passed away this May after suffering for more than a decade of complications from dementia and frontal lobe damage. On May 24, a celebration of life for Greg was held at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

He leaves behind his wife, Deb, and two children, Erin Ploetz-Cherkassky and Beau Ploetz.

Greg’s life and challenges have been chronicled in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Denver Post, and The Dallas Morning News. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Greg Ploetz Art Scholarship. For information on giving to the Ploetz scholarship, contact Andrea Keene 512/ 471–9270.
 

Q+A with Berangér LeFranc, MA candidate in Art Education

Thu. May 28, 2015

women in black blouse poses for photo in front of window

Describe your background.

Berangér LeFranc: In 2011 I earned a BFA in Sculpture & Extended Media from Virgina Commonwealth University. I first became interested in art education after spending a couple of summers teaching art to middle and high school students at a sleep-away camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Following undergrad I worked for The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond for two years, managing afterschool and summer art programs for members ages 6–18. There, I developed a passion for working closely with the immediate inner city youth community. Since moving to Austin for graduate school, I have gained valuable experience in many facets of art education: teaching sculpture at after school and summer programs with the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum, facilitating art activities at multiple community events with Creative Action, working at the Visual Arts Center (VAC), and leading tours of exhibitions at The Contemporary Austin.

What attracted you to the MA Art Education program at UT Austin?

BF: When I began researching art education graduate programs, I was having trouble finding one that complemented my interests in community-based education. Most programs focused only on teacher certification for the K-12 public school environment. The art education program at UT Austin stood out to me for its three different research tracks: schools, museums, and communities. This gave me confidence this program would offer a more well-rounded and interdisciplinary approach to art education.

What is your research focus?

BF: For the last year I have been completing my graduate thesis on mindfulness and its applications for teaching artists. This thesis is an action-based research project during which I conducted research on my teaching practice and myself as teaching artist. In summer 2014, I completed an eight-week training with Mindful Schools, an organization out of the Bay Area that offers instruction for educators on how to develop a personal mindfulness practice and how to implement mindfulness into your curriculum. Throughout this training, I kept extensive journals with writing and art responses to the process. In fall 2014, I developed an art and mindfulness pilot program called “Mindful Making” and realized three lessons at an afterschool program with Creative Action.

During my time at UT Austin, I also completed the requirements for the portfolio program in Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship, a joint effort of the College of Fine Arts and the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

You have been working at the VAC this past year, how has that informed your research?

BF: As a community-based teaching artist, it is important to me to connect to my immediate community. During my time at the VAC, I was able to meet a wider array of students, faculty, and administrators in the Department of Art and Art History and make invaluable connections, both personal and professional.

Beyond the immediate academic community, the VAC was fortunate to host visitors of all ages from all over the state this year, enabling me to hone my skills conducting tours and engaging visitors in conversation about works of art. I also played a key role in the planning and implementation of this year’s Explore UT event, during which we had several hundred visitors come through our space and participate in gallery activities I planned with my colleagues.

What's next?

BF: This summer, I will spend a lot of time in coffee shops completing the written portion of my thesis. I am spending my second summer teaching several weeks of art camps with the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum — a painting & drawing camp and a sculpture camp, both set in the lush garden environment. At the end of the summer, I am returning to Richmond, Virginia to live with my partner and our four cats. I hope to gain employment with one of the many wonderful arts-based non-profit organizations in the city.