May 2012

Congratulations to the Class of 2012

This year's commencement ceremony for the College of Fine Arts ushered in a new class of COFA alumni with a special talk by commencement speaker Barbara Conrad Smith, visiting faculty member and alumna.

In her talk, Conrad emphasized the importance of following your heart and your passions, a message not lost on the graduates about to enter their post-college life. Afterwards, Dean Doug Dempster and each respective chair handed out diplomas to the new graduates, whose reactions ranged from nervous to school-spirited to the dance majors that literally danced across the stage to receive their diplomas.

After returning to their seats, the graduates faced the audience and thanked their friends and family in attendance for all of their help. And, of course, the afternoon's ceremonies ended with a performance of the "Eyes of Texas", performed by a brass quintet from the Butler School of Music. 

Vince DiNino Receives COFA Doty Award

On Friday, May 11, surrounded by friends and college supporters, Vince DiNino, director of bands emeritus, was awarded the E. William Doty Award, the college's highest honor. The Doty Award, named after the founding dean of the college, has been presented to recipients such as author James A. Michener, Theatre and Dance faculty members Oscar Brockett and Shirlee Dodge, Austin arts patrons Ernest and Sarah Butler and Houston philanthropist Jack Blanton. Read more about Vince DiNino and the Doty Award.

COFA Alums Come Together at Annual Alumni Reception

On Sunday, April 29th, COFA's Austin-area alumni gathered in the Winship Atrium to catch up, meet new alums, and check out PORTFOLIO, the Department of Theatre and Dance's exhibition celebrating the work of emerging artists in costume design, lighting design, scenery, media and technology.

Thank you to all those that attended the reception, and special thanks to the winners of our giveaways: Anitra Blunt (BM, Music Performance, 2001) won two tickets to a 2012-2013 performance at the Texas Performing Arts, Linda Figg (BFA, Studio Art, 1975) won two tickets to a 2012-2013 Department of Theatre and Dance performance, Sarah Lepp (BM, Music Performance, 2005, MM, Music, 2007) won a Miró Quartet CD and Butler School of Music t-shirt, and Diana Sanchez-Bushong (BM, Music Education, 1983, DMA, Music, 1998) won a book by Department of Art and Art History faculty member David Stuart.

We hope to see everyone next year!

Butler School of Music Professor Prepares for Year of Teaching and Research in Tanzania

Jacqueline Henninger, assistant professor of music and human learning at the Butler School of Music received the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award to conduct research and teach at Makumira University College in Usa River, Tanzania.

This award comes after Henninger spent a summer in Tanzania at the same university giving presentations on music, education and research, which was funded by a fellowship from the Warfield Center at The University of Texas at Austin. This upcoming academic year, she will continue to examine the planning, teaching and analysis of elementary and middle school music lessons taught by university students in Tanzania and the United States.

Art and Art History Professor Mike Smith Recipient of 2012 Alpert Award

Professor Mike Smith (associate professor in studio art) is one of five recipients of this year's Alpert Awards in the Arts. The awards, which were first presented in 1975, are named for musician Herb Alpert. Alpert Award Director Irene Borger said, "Michael Smith was named the winner of the Visual Arts prize for subversively using the visual languages of popular and corporate culture to take on big issues, for pioneering narrative within video art practice, and for rending the everyday as truly strange." The video and performance artist has shown at the Whitney, Los Angeles's MOCA, and MoMA among others and will receive a $75,000 prize.

Lucien Douglas Honored with Distinguished Teaching Award

Lucien Douglas, Department of Theatre and Dance professor and senior associate chair, has been named the recipient of the 2012 College of Fine Arts Distinguished Teaching Award. The faculty and student-nominated award is for the college's highest honor for teaching excellence.

As an actor and director, Douglas has taught undergraduate and graduate students at the university since 1997. Outside the college classroom, Douglas has built vital relationships with high school educators and their students. He presents master classes and workshops for schools throughout the state and works closely with University Interscholastic League (UIL) and Texas Educational Theatre Association (TETA). 

Texas Performing Arts Makes Student Engagement a Top Priority

In January 2010, Texas Performing Arts (TPA) established a Student Engagement Office to manage the campus-wide initiative of furthering student engagement, which includes a comprehensive Student Employment Initiative focused on recruiting, mentoring, and evaluating all students; Hook 'em Arts, the official student organization of TPA; $10 student tickets for all TPA performances; and the opening of The Loft, a student social and performance space on the sixth floor lobby of TPA's flagship venue, Bass Concert Hall.

Students comprise nearly 40% of TPA's audiences and ten thousand $10 student tickets were subsidized last season thanks to Texas Inner Circle memberships, corporate sponsorships, and contributions to TPA's Student Ticket Fund. Additionally, TPA currently employs over 100 UT students and 25% of the volunteer usher corp is comprised of UT Austin students. 

Board of Regents Recognizes Four Students from the Butler School of Music

The UT Board of Regents recently recognized four students from the Butler School of Music. Pianist and graduating senior Joseph Choi and the Hill-Country Reed Trio were awarded the inaugural Regents' Outstanding Student Awards in Arts and Humanities. The undergraduate chamber music ensemble features students Pearson Altizer, bassoon, Stephanie Chung, clarinet, and Angela Park, oboe.

Established in February 2012, the Regents' Outstanding Student Awards in Arts and Humanities will vary each year and commend students at UT System institutions excelling in one of four disciplines: musical arts, visual arts, poetry writing and short essays.

To learn more about the nomination and evaluation process and for details on future awards, please visit the Board of Regents' dedicated website

Sculpture Professor Jeff Williams Wins 2012 Texas Prize

Department of Art and Art History faculty member Jeff Williams (assistant professor in sculpture) was named the 2012 recipient of the Texas Prize by AMOA-Arthouse in Austin, Texas. The Texas Prize is an ongoing program highlighting talented, under-recognized professional artists working in Texas. Williams was selected out of three finalists - Williams, Jamal Cyrus, and Will Henry. The $30,000 prize is the nation's largest regional visual arts award specifically honoring emerging artists.

2012 Austin Critics' Table Awards Nominees Announced

The departments in the College of Fine Arts are strongly represented in this year's nominations for the Austin Critics' Table Awards. This informal affiliation of local Austin arts critics has recognized the year's most exceptional achievements in dance, classical music, the visual arts, and theatre. Winners of the Critics' Table Awards will be announced on June 4th. To see the full list of nominees, click here.

Many of the Department of Theatre and Dance's productions, students, alumni, and faculty are well represented. Theatre and Dance productions Catalyst and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, faculty members Steven Dietz and David Justin, among other students and alumni, are nominated in categories covering dance, design and theater. The full list of nominations from the department can be found on their Tumblr page.

Butler School of Music ensembles Miro Quartet, Bel Quore Quartet and "line upon line percussion" are nominated, as are faculty members Daniel Ching, Anton Nel, Bion Tsang, and Jim Morrow. Recent alumni such as Ian Dicke, Eli Fieldsteel, Ethan F. Greene, Steven Snowden, and Steve Parker also snagged nominations.

Department of Art and Art History students, faculty, and alumni as well as the Visual Arts Center also garnered nominations. The VAC exhibition (im)possibilities is nominated under Group Gallery Exhibition, as are pieces by current MFA student Ezra Masch and VAC artist-in-residence Diana Al-Hadid. Recent MFA graduate Miguel Aragon is nominated under the Artist category.

We couldn't be prouder of all the nominees and look forward to hearing the results on June 4th! 

Texas Exes Create LGBT Network

To facilitate community building between LGBT alumni and students, the Texas Exes have recently created this new network, allowing the entire community to come together and support the university. Read about about the LGBT network.

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Alumni College Set for June 19-22

Join the Texas Exes as they host their annual event, Alumni College: Classes Without Quizzes, on the UT campus this June 19-22. While this event is open to everyone, Continuing Professional Education credits will be offered, and you can attend for all three days, or just one or two. Department of Theatre and Dance's Charlie Otte will be lecturing this year. Click here to register and learn more.