Alumni in the News

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Rebecca Hewett (M.A. 2004, Ph.D. 2010)

Rebecca Hewett (M.A. 2004, Ph.D. 2010) has been awarded a 2011 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Public Fellow at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) as a Cultural Programs Specialist. The Public Fellows program is an ACLS initiative placing recent Ph.D.s in staff positions at partnering agencies in government and the non-profit sector, aiming to demonstrate that the capacities developed in the advanced study of the humanities have wide application, both within and beyond.

Posted: Friday, August 5, 2011

Thao Votang (B.A., 2008, Art History)

Thao Votang (B.A., 2008, Art History), along with Brian Willey are opening Tiny Park, a new exhibition series and art space located at 607 1/2 Genard Street in Austin, TX. Their first exhibition will open on Friday, September 9 from 7-11 pm and feature works by Miguel Aragon (current M.F.A. student).

Aragon’s work was recently included in New Art in Austin: 15 to Watch at the Austin Museum of Art. Miguel will present works from a series that addresses, with a quiet and ghostly beauty, the violent drug war in Juarez.

The exhibition runs through September 24, 2011, and will be available for viewing 12 pm - 5 pm on Saturdays and by appointment.

Posted: Friday, August 5, 2011

Andrea Munoz Martinez (B.A., Studio Art, 2011)

ART LAB Contemporary Art Space presents works by Andrea Munoz Martinez (B.A., Studio Art, 2011) at Second Friday in Downtown Uvalde, Texas.  Borderlandia: Yo Soy La Cucaracha opens with performances, paintings, videos, food and dancing at Second Friday, August 12, 2011 at 227 N. Getty in Uvalde, Texas from 6 to 9 p.m.

Posted: Friday, August 5, 2011

David Cloyd (B.M., Music Performance, 1998)

Following the release and success of recording artist David Cloyd’s (B.M., Music Performance, 1998) second album, I Could Disappear, Cloyd has been named Vice President of New York City record label Engine Company Records. While Cloyd is currently writing material for his next album, he and ECR are releasing a new worldwide single in August 2011, available on iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, and everywhere else music is sold. Visit the ECR website at for more information.

Posted: Friday, July 15, 2011

Robert Lee Aiken III (B.F.A., Studio Art, 2011)

After returning from Iraq with what he describes as a foot "demolished" by gunfire, Robert Lee Aiken III (B.F.A., Studio Art, 2011) turned to art as a means of dramatizing the plight of fellow veterans. On July 4, 2011, Aiken was invited to lead attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance at an Independence Day celebration in College Station. There, he and his family were surprised with a new home thanks to Operation Finally Home. The home was in appreciation for his service to his country.

Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ben Aqua (B.F.A., Design, 2005)

In February and March of 2011, UT COFA alumnus Ben Aqua (B.F.A., Design, 2005) was selected to be University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's inaugural artist-in-residence at their gallery space Figure One, in collaboration with the School of Art and Design’s annual lecture series. Aqua gave a public lecture to students and faculty, ran a hands-on portrait photography workshop with 12 university students, and continued his ongoing series of photographic portraits of local personalities while in Champaign. Aqua also participated in local outreach opportunities, including a presentation and interactive portrait demonstration with an AP Studio Art class at a local high school.

At the end of the residency and workshop, Aqua and his students collaborated on an exhibition of new works created during the workshop at Figure One.

Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2011

Eric Vera (B.F.A., Theatre Studies, 2008)

Eric Vera (B.F.A., Theatre Studies, 2008) has just been named the Executive Artistic Director of The Camille Playhouse in Brownsville, Texas. It is a wonderful opportunity for Vera, as he returns to his hometown and leads the theatre that was integral to his early education.

Vera recently served on the Department of Theatre and Dance alumni committee for The Fantasticks 50th Anniversary. You can learn more about him on the alumni spotlight.

Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fred Jones (B.A., Theatre and Dance, '08)

The Wall Street Journal Online

Fred Jones (B.A., Theatre and Dance, '08) and his acting partner, Paul Marino, were recently featured by The Wall Street Journal Online.  They are combing the subway lines underneath the streets of New York City in an interesting form of guerilla theatre – two-man scenes from Shakespeare.

Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Katherine Crawford Luber (M.A., Art History, ’85)

Katherine Crawford Luber (M.A., Art History, ’85) has been appointed as the new director of the San Antonio Museum of Art.  She will begin her new position on July 1, 2011.  Katherine taught in the Department of Art and Art History from 1992 to 1993. 

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mary E. McCombie (Ph.D., Art History, ’92)

Mel McCombie (Ph.D., Art History, ’92) was named a Fulbright Scholar for 2011-2012 to the American University in Cairo's American Studies Program. She is the first art historian to be awarded this fellowship.

Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lisa D'Amour (M.F.A. in Playwriting, '96)

Lisa D'Amour (M.F.A., Playwriting, '96) was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in drama for her play Detroit. Premiered at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater in September 2010, Detroit is described by the Pulitzer jury as “a contemporary tragicomic play that depicts a slice of desperate life in a declining inner-ring suburb where hope is in foreclosure.” Detroit will be produced on Broadway in early fall of 2011 under the direction of Austin Pendleton. This marks D'Amour's Broadway debut.

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Susan Verdi Webster (Ph.D., Art History, ‘92)

Susan Verdi Webster (Ph.D., Art History, ‘92) has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for the next academic year.  Webster was one of just two scholars selected in the Fine Arts Research category.  She is currently the Mahoney Professor of Art and Art History at the College of William and Mary.

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dr. Kayoko Dan (B.M., Music Studies, ’00)

Dr. Kayoko Dan (B.M., Music Studies, ’00) has been announced, after a two year search, as the new music director at the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera.  Dan has been selected as the eighth Music Director of the CSO and the first woman to hold the position.

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aimée Rhodes Lubin (M.F.A., Studio Art, ’03)

Aimée Rhodes Lubin (M.F.A., Studio Art, ’03) and her mother, Suzan Cook, are holding a joint exhibition called Abstract Gestation: From LA to West Texas: An Artistic Dialog Between a Mother and a Daughter.  The exhibition is taking place at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, April 4th – 29th.

Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011

Kim Perlak (D.M.A., ’08)

Kim Perlak (D.M.A., ’08) is a classical guitarist, scholar, and educator whose versatile and inclusive approach to music values new composition, multi-stylistic collaboration, the expression of American culture, and public service.

Perlak is on the faculty of Concordia University Texas, Austin Community College, and the National Guitar Workshop. 

See Perlak this Sunday, April 3rd at 3pm at Concordia University-Texas for "Ben and I Play for Peace," an instrumental concert in the classical and jazz styles.  This concert will help raise money for disabled children in Iraq.  Suggested donations for this event are $25 for general admission and $10 for students.

Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Ben & I Play for Peace": A National Concert Event

Austin Business News

Butler School of Music Alumni have joined forces with 13yr old guitarist Ben Werdegar, CNN Hero Brad Blauser, and classical musicians from across the country to purchase wheelchairs for disabled children in Iraq. This concert event, “Ben & I Play for Peace” will take place on April 3, 2011 at 3 p.m. in Austin, TX and in two “sister cities” - Denver, CO and Sarasota, FL. The proceeds will benefit Blauser’s “Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids”, adding to Ben’s personal fund raising total of $19,000 - which he raised by playing at his neighborhood coffee shop in San Francisco. This event was conceived by Austin guitarist and professor Dr. Kim Perlak (Butler School of Music - DMA 2008) after meeting Werdegar at the 2010 Verdery Guitar Masterclass in Kihei, Maui, run by critically acclaimed guitarist/composer Benjamin Verdery. The Austin program will include the world premiere of a work by composed by Verdery especially for this event. Perlak and Werdegar will be joined by additional Butler School of Music Alumni: Karla Hamelin, cello; Ellen Johnson, flute; Blythe Cates, voice; Eric Miller, bassoon; Tenly Williams, oboe; Josh Davies, trumpet; Amy Harris, violin. For ticket information and to donate, please visit:  and click on "ben-and-i-play-for-peace". WHERE: Austin Concert: Concordia University Auditorium; Building A; 11400 Concordia Univevrsity Drive; Austin, TX 78726 - WHEN: Sunday April 3, 2011 @ 3pm  ADMISSION: Donations accepted at the door.

Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mary Margaret Pipkin (B.F.A., Studio Art, 1973 and M.F.A., 1975)

Join M.M. Pipkin (B.F.A., Studio Art, 1973 and M.F.A., 1975) for a walk with nature. Come explore the gardens and forests that have captivated Pipkin’s attention for the past 30 years. Pipkin is noted for her large-scale and intimate watercolors exploring the beauty of the natural world. From flowers and fallen leaves, to the Blue Ridge Mountains and forests, Pipkin celebrates the splendor of nature through transparent color and light. She invites you to share in the wonder of the natural world March 2nd- April 27th at the North Carolina Botanical Garden.  A reception with Pipkin will be held Sunday, March 20th from 2-4pm in the DeBerry Gallery for Botanical Art and Illustration.

Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011

B. Suzanne Hassler (M.A., '91)

B. Suzanne Hassler (M.A., ’91) received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship to attend the NEA Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in fall 2010. The institute, co-directed by András Szántó and Anya Grundmann, included study with noted artistic director and author Joseph Horowitz. In addition to daily sessions taught by Columbia University faculty and invited experts, the institute included performances by Joshua Bell, Jeremy Denk, René Pape, Mariinsky Theater Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera, and the New York Philharmonic.

For more information on the NEA Arts Journalism Institute visit

Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Maxine Graham Price (B.F.A., 1959)

Maxine Graham Price (B.F.A., 1959) is part of the Best of Texas exhibition at the Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery in Austin, TX. An Artists’ Reception will be held on Friday, March 4th from 6:30 – 9:30 pm. RSVP to 512/478-4440 to attend.

Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shaun Patrick Tubbs cast in "The Book of Grace"

Zach 2010-2011 Production Season

Shaun Patrick Tubbs (MFA Acting ’10) was cast in The Book of Grace Written and Directed by Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks, at Zach. Opens June 2, 2011

A South Texas family breaks through familial borders when a young man named Snake returns home, lured by his stepmother Grace, to reunite with his father, a border patrol agent. The prodigal son confronts his father, and fences are erected as everyday life erupts into a battle for personal survival. At once fiercely intimate and explosive, this surprising and truly original play finds three people bound together by longing, passion and ambition.

Posted: Wednesday, February 9, 2011