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When asked what students are thinking when it comes to life after college, ArtsForce Emerging Leaders interns shared valuable insight.

“I know a lot of people are scared about the exact path they are going down, and if it is the right one,” U Department of Film & Media Arts student Cayden Turnbow explained. “You have this idea of what it’s going to be and if it doesn’t exactly go that way it can feel like failure.”

School of Dance student Celine David has a similar thought. “It’s intimidating going into such an unknown world when you have been a student your whole life,” she said. “This is such a big shift – from working on your art every day to a path that isn’t so set for you.” 

“I think students are worried about finding a position they will enjoy, and that will make all the time and money they invested in their college education worth it,” Duke Ross, also pursuing film, said.networking7

But here’s the good news. They have planned an event to help students navigate these very concerns – and make valuable community connections along the way.

This Saturday, March 26th, ArtsForce will host their annual networking event, (in person!) at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Students will definitely not want to miss this chance to gain insight from a panel of fine arts professionals, meet local employers, network with alumni, and more.

“I’m excited for students to see all the opportunities there are. I think when you are getting ready to graduate, it can feel like there is nothing out there. But you just need to be made aware of the opportunities,” David said.

Intern Kaitlin Kerr-Osman chimed in: “I’m excited to have the opportunity to connect with people in the local arts world. In college, it’s so easy to get all your time sucked up by projects. It’s nice to take a step away and focus on something that will be very important for your future.”

Attendees will hear from panelists Allison DeBona (Owner & Artistic Director of artÉmotion and Ballet West soloist) Arthur Veneema (Director, Screenwriter & Producer), and Nancy Rivera (Visual Artist, Curator & Administrator), then enjoy free lunch and a friendly networking hour.

Scared of the idea of networking? It’s not as bad as you think. And there is so much to gain.

“Talking to professionals in different areas other than your own can give you so much value and understanding of the experiences we will all have to face. People really do have so much depth and insight into things you wouldn’t have considered,” intern Pablo Cruz-Ayala asserted.

“I’ve learned what communities I do and don’t want to be a part of,” Ross added. “There are some situations I have vibed with, and others that were less in line with my values and needs. It reinforces some things, and makes me question other things.”

There’s still time to join in the fun. So gather your burning questions, a couple friends, and an open mind. You won’t be sorry.

The First Step: Launching your Career in the Arts 
ArtsForce Annual Networking Event

10AM – 1PM
Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Published in Finer Points Blog
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The School of Dance at the University of Utah presents a dance concert of thesis works from Modern Dance MFA candidates Jessica Boone, Virginia Broyles, and Austin Hardy. 

“We have been working hard alongside our casts of performers to create an evening of energetic ensembles, shifting images, and whimsical curiosities that will linger after you’ve left the theater,” said Broyles.

Something Whole and Unfinished is a collaborative work of dance and art directed by Jessica Boone. The performers shape a new piece during each performance. A colorful world is crafted on stage where impulse leads dancers through choreography and where the performers leave their mark on stage and on each other. 

Virginia Broyles immerses you into mischievous surrealism, dream logic, and playfully uncanny moments in Hand-stitched Electric. Made in collaboration with the performers and an 8-foot white box, this work is best when taken with a side of “Why not?”. 

Austin Hardy and dancers present Cyber Synesthesia, a piece that examines digital social platforms in which metaphysical spaces have real life consequences. This work aims to reflect on being an individual in a group and the connectivity and isolation we experience from social platforms. #viral #dance #goodsoup 

Coddiwomple takes the stage Dec. 2nd at 5:30pm, Dec. 3rd & 4th at 7:30pm

See it in-person at the Marriott Center for Dance, Hayes Christensen Theater
330 South 1500 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112 
Free admission at the door with limited seating.

Published in Finer Points Blog
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Graphic Design students in the Sustainable Design Practice led by faculty advisor Carol Sogard, are learning about the environmental impacts of design practice and the problems that arise from manufacturing, consumption, and disposal. They address sustainability-focused societal challenges by applying their creative skills to community-based projects.

On December 8, at the Worn Again Clothing Exchange, they are encouraging the entire campus to join them in taking action.

The Worn Again Clothing Exchange offers all participants an alternative to buying new clothing. Participants can exchange their unwanted clothing items with other donated pre-loved items at this event. Bring clothes, take clothes – it’s all free! The result? Limit fast fashion, extend the lives of great clothing items, and build awareness about the global environmental impacts of the fashion industry. For those that want to participate but not exchange, clothing donation bins are located around campus to accept contributions prior to the event. After the exchange is over, the remaining clothing will be donated to various local charities. 


“We decided the best way to get people thinking about how they consume their fashion is to rethink the whole process of purchasing. That led us to this event where no money would be exchanged, and everything will be reused. In the end, when you talk about what you can do as a consumer, the best thing is to slow down your consumption.”

Students began the Worn Again project by researching fashionrevolution.org, a non-profit that investigates environmental, social, and ethical issues in the fashion industry. After reflecting on their fashion consumption habits, and learning about the environmental impacts of fast fashion, many realized that they often purchased much more than they needed, wore, or loved. This experience served as the inspiration for the creation of a used clothing exchange for the campus community.

“This project is entirely student-run,” Sogard said. “They take full ownership of the event and determine how it is designed and executed.”

Student designers were divided into teams to develop the event concept and name, brand identity and guidelines, public relations, advertising, event signage/design, social media marketing, and affiliated educational exhibit designs.  “The students have designed cases in the Marriott Library to create awareness around the dangers associated with the way we consume our fashion,” Sogard explained. These exhibits will be open for public viewing on December 1st on the 1st and 2nd floors of the Marriott Library. 

“We decided the best way to get people thinking about how they consume their fashion is to rethink the whole process of purchasing,” Sogard said. “That led us to this event where no money would be exchanged, and everything will be reused. In the end, when you talk about what you can do as a consumer, the best thing is to slow down your consumption.”

For many students on a limited budget, thrifting is not only wallet-friendly, but it is also a sustainable choice. And at this event, they might just find a totally new wardrobe without spending a dime.

“The big thing with sustainable design practice is to get students to connect with a subject they are passionate about, and for a lot of them, that is fashion.”

Worn Again
December 8, 2021
10 AM – 4 PM Gould Auditorium, Marriott Library
+ more locations!

Stay up to date and get educated!
Follow @uofu_wornagain on Instagram.

Student Designers:
Piper Armstrong, Jessica Allred, James Carlson, Sydney Figgat, Derek Gardiner, Mina Gedeon, Alexa Jones, Grey Larson, Deana Melchior, Jasmin Nguyen, Taylor Schwendiman, Neil Sodja, Morgan Talbot, Karly Tingey

Campus Partner:
Marriott Library, Ian Godfrey, Michael Bigler

Published in Finer Points Blog

The School of Dance takes the stage this week with Ballet Showcase {En}compass, featuring a line-up of original works fully choreographed, performed, and produced by students in the Ballet Program in the School of Dance.

“The show explores the dichotomy between the individual and society, with a special focus on reestablishing our relationships in a post pandemic world,“ said the student choreographers.

En{compass}, will feature works from Aubrie Nield, Zephan Holt, AJ Malo, Olivia Huseonica, Mindy Lasko, Hannah Huang, Annastasia Beller, Sarah Rinderknecht, Luna Esmerode, Makenna Ferre, Erin Diehl, Megan Lynch, and Jilli Snow

See Ballet Showcase {En}compass in person or online during four showtimes:
Thursday, 11/18 at 5:30pm
Friday, 11/19 at 7:30pm
Saturday, 11/20 at 2pm and 7:30pm

Hayes Christensen Theatre, Marriott Center for DanceThis is a free performance but seating will be limited to ensure the health safety of both performers and audience.Show will be streamed online here

For more information on the School of Dance or its concerts, please visit: dance.utah.edu.

Published in Finer Points Blog

Next up in the School of Dance 2021/22 season lineup is Fall Dance II, which presents premier works by faculty members Melissa Bobick, Molly Heller, Alexandra Barbier, Satu Hummasti and Daniel Clifton, along with guest artist Ephrat Asherie.

“Their works are realized through and showcase dancers in the School of Dance at the University from both the Modern Dance Program and Ballet Program,” concert director and assistant professor, Daniel Clifton noted.

Fall Dance II historically provides a feast of dance varieties, highlighting the deeply diverse talent and professionalism of the School of Dance students, as well as an opportunity to work with an esteemed guest choreographer in the field. In the case of Fall Dance II, that guest artist is Ephrat Asherie, artistic director of Ephrat Asherie Dance, a dance company rooted in African American and Latinx street and social dances and based in New York City.

“Together, the choreographers and dancers have spent many hours in the studio creating dances that celebrate creativity, physicality, humanity, and the quest to discover more about ourselves, each other, and the world around us,” added Clifton. 

From the Choreographers

HYPE — Alexandra Barbier
Juxtaposing fun, playfulness, and humor with poise, attitude, and confidence, this piece represents Alex’s childhood dream of being one of the “Big Six” 90s supermodels. She has created this work alongside deeper research into voguing and drag ball culture, and thanks the queer communities of color who established “Supermodel Realness” as an art form.  

Precipice — Melissa Bobick
In her new work entitled, Precipice, Melissa Bobick returns to the classical ballet vernacular to create a contemporary ballet piece that explores the emotional nuance felt when it is time to set aside something familiar. Through dynamic interplay and the relationships established between the trio of dancers, she paints a picture of the active choice of stepping away, releasing, or shedding that which is known. Sometimes that is the only way we can see what comes next.    

Spells — Molly Heller
Spells cycles through states of dedication, ongoingness, and "pouring your heart out." This trio attunes to collective and individual fervor while revealing the relationship between lighting and magic making, choreographer and performer, and audience and performance.

remember everything that spring can bring (2020 Ballads) — Satu Hummasti & Daniel Clifton2020
Ballads is based on specific memories from the first month of lockdown, gathered from all of the collaborators involved. Memories were crafted into short ballads composed by Daniel Clifton, which are sung by other dance artists in the School of Dance. “Ballads” is a series of solos, that function as memories, glimpses, photos, fragments, brief snapshots into the collective past of Spring 2020, when the world shut down and we were left in a surreal state of suspension.

out-side-in — Ephrat Asherie,Guest Artist 
The pandemic was marked by immense moments of loss, reckoning, self-reflection, introspection, and mountains of other emotions, actions and reactions. How we see ourselves, see ourselves in each other, care for each other and thrive together became precious questions for many. This piece reflects on our hopes of moving, uniting, inspiring, breathing and making art together.  

The Details

Fall Dance 2 runs for two weeks.

Showtimes are:
Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 11 at 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

To purchase tickets for the in-person performance, visit tickets.utah.edu. Free for University of Utah students with a valid UCard through the Arts Pass program.
Patrons can also stream the performance live for free. 

For more information on the School of Dance or its concerts, please visit: dance.utah.edu.

Published in Finer Points Blog

Next week is Arts Pass Dash on the University of Utah campus – and there is more than one reason U students should not miss it. 

Let's spell it out. 

What is Arts Pass Dash? ACS 0196

Arts Pass Dash is a three-day event where students can visit 16 campus locations to learn about arts offerings at the University of Utah, see pop-up performances, get swag, and enter to win prizes. 

Locations include: The 5 academic units of the College of Fine Arts (Art & Art History, Dance, Film & Media Arts, Music, and Theatre), Utah Museum of Fine Arts, UtahPresents, ASUU, Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, Pioneer Theatre Company, and more!

1. You could win an iPad Pro. 

Just by visiting one of the 16 locations and swiping your UCard, you are entered in a drawing for prizes – and they aren't shabby. The grand prize? An 11' iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard to go with it. Can you imagine?  

2.  You will get free swag. 

T-shirts. Pop sockets. Hand sanitizer. Treats. Reusable coffee mugs. Tickets. 
Each Arts Pass Dash location will be offering swag and goodies to those who drop by. So you won't just get info, you'll get some awesome takeaways. 

3. You will meet lots of friendly faces. 

One of the best things about the arts at the University of Utah are the wonderful people that make them happen. At Arts Pass Dash, you will meet passionate faculty, staff, and students who can answer your questions and get you excited about what's upcoming this semester. Plus, at some of the featured locations you'll see pop-up performances and demonstrations!   

4. You may discover (or renew!) a creative curiosity. Plus, you will learn how to get involved right away. 

Maybe you are someone that is always on top of the latest opening or show. Or maybe you didn't even know you could take ceramics, or classical guitar, or acting as a non-major. Maybe you are looking for ways to meet new friends or get involved around campus. No matter where you're coming from, you will walk away gaining something from Arts Pass Dash. We are certain it will put a pep in your step. 

5. You will learn how to find the arts at the U, and can therefore take advantage of the full campus experience. 

The arts at the University of Utah are not just for College of Fine Arts majors. No matter what you are pursuing, you can participate in the arts through seeing performances, visiting gallery exhibitions, attending screenings, taking non-major courses, auditioning for an ensemble, and more!

The Arts Pass program makes the arts that much more accessible to students through offering free or deeply discounted tickets. By going to Arts Pass Dash, you'll physically familiarize yourself with campus, meet new people, and set yourself up for a year full of creativity, interaction, and engagement. 

Okay, I'm in. What do I do?


Visit any or all of the 16 locations on 8/31, 9/1 and 9/2 from 11A - 1P (see the map here!)
Swipe your UCard (each location = one entry)
Learn about arts offerings from each of our participants
Get free swag
Follow @uofuartspass on Instagram to learn who wins

For all the important details, click here. 

We'll see you there. (We hope you WIN!)

Published in Finer Points Blog

It's hard to believe that the year 2020 is coming to a close.

A year with more adaptation, collaboration, flexibility, and innovation than any of us can remember — this one will not soon be forgotten. 

At the College of Fine Arts, 2020 was a year of immense achievement in spite of rising challenges. Let's look back: at how we came together, the new discoveries we made, the milestones we crossed, and the highlights we shared. 

Department of Art & Art History 

  • Student work was shared at the MFA Interim Show "Mixed Bag," Photo and Sculpture Clubs' group show "Things & Pictures of Things," the Valentine's Print Sale, BFA Show "Social Distance (online), Capstone Exhibitions (online), Interdisciplinary Capstone Exhbition (online), the Juried Student Art Exhibition 2020 (online), Contemporary Photography Projects Exhibition (online), Open Studio showings, and more. 
  • The department hosted fantastic guest artists Bryan Czibesz, Tanja Softić, Anna Hansen, Brad Evan Taylor, John F. Simon Jr., Jeannette Ehlers, and Michelle Bowers. 
  • Advanced Digital Imaging students, under the guidance of associate professor Ed Bateman, responded to current events in a "New Decameron," a collection of original photography. 
  • In the fall, the department began offering a brand new illustration emphasis, and a new Illustration 1 course with Professor Michael Hirshon. 
  • Students had the opportunity to learn from artist Kei Ito, Marva & John Warnock Artist-In-Residence. 
  • Graduate student Bryce Billings, with a team of undergraduate students, created a 151' work in the Art & Art History building, titled "The Remains of a Dream." 

School of Dance 

  • School of Dance faculty and students kept moving no matter what, adjusting to technique class via video, rehearsing outside, and learning choreography from guest artists over Zoom. 
  • Students showcased their work in Spring Utah Ballet, Fall Utah Ballet, Performing Dance Company, the Gala performance, and in the student led concerts including the Modern Senior Concert, Graduate Thesis Concert, and Ballet Showcases. 
  • The school hosted guest artists Heather Gray, Katlyn Addison, Melanie George, Darrel Grand Moultrie, and Penny Saunders. 
  • The annual Utah Ballet Summer Intensive was held for the first time entirely online, bringing together world renowned faculty, including current artists, ballet masters, and Artistic Directors. 

Department of Film & Media Arts 

  • Students started the Film Production Club who, in their first few months of meeting, hosted film discussions, script competitions, and screenwriting workshops!  
  • MFA alumna Lee Isaac Chung swept top honors at Sundance with his film "Minari," which earned both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. 
  • Producer-in-Residence Emelie Mahdavian was awarded both a Peabody Award and an Emmy for her film "Midnight Traveler." 
  • Assistant professors Miriam and Sonia Albert-Sobrino, started the "Alone Together" online film festival as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting cancellations that eliminated public screening opportunities for emerging filmmakers.
  • Assistant professor Sarah Sinwell released a new book, "Indie Cinema Online," exploring emerging trends in indie cinema and streaming services.
  • To accommodate social distance while still sharing student films, the department hosted its first ever drive-in F&MAD Fest, where viewers were able to enjoy films from the safety of their cars. 

School of Music 

  • Dozens of recitals were livestreamed via Live at Libby, the School's YouTube channel, showcasing the work of undergraduate and graduate musicians. 
  • The School of Music Student Success Initiative allowed special events for students focused on wellness, including panel discussions, Alexander Technique workshops, discussions on diversity, and masterclasses. 
  • Celebrating the end of the academic year with an online watch party, the virtual 2020 Student Showcase highlighted student performances from each area. 
  • The Michie Jazz Quintet recorded an exciting EP, capturing the unique blend the group had honed over years of practicing and performing together. 
  • The Jed Moss Memorial Concert, not only celebrated the life of a beloved member of the Utah music community, it helped establish an endowed scholarship in collaborative piano. 
  • The online Camerata Awards Gala, hosted by Kirsten Chavez, featured video performances from all of the School of Music ensembles and honored this year's award recipients, Roger H. and Colleen K. Thompson. 

Department of Theatre 

College of Fine Arts

Here's to celebrating where we have been, and looking forward to all that is sure to come.
From all of us at the CFA — Happy New Year, indeed! 

Published in Finer Points Blog

FineArtsAmbassadors logo color

The Fine Arts Ambassadors at the University of Utah is a group College of Fine Arts alumni, now professionals active in the arts community and eager to advance the mission of the College of Fine Arts. Formed in summer of 2020, the FAA seeks to increase representation and advocacy for the University of Utah College of Fine Arts in local and national arts communities, provide mentorship to current students, and connect alumni back to the ongoing work of the College. 

FAA Jazmin Gallegos


Jazmin Gallegos (she/her/hers) is the K-12 & Community Outreach Coordinator for the Book Arts Program at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah. She teaches the History of the Book and basic bookmaking to K-12 classes across Utah. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, her interest in visual arts began at a very young age which led her to obtain a degree in Art Teaching from the University of Utah. She is thrilled to be advocating for art education in schools around Utah and hopes to continue making art including her hand-bound books in her free time. She also enjoys hot yoga, pet-sitting, hiking, kayaking, camping and relaxing with friends and family.



FAA Nick PedersenNick Pedersen received his BFA in Photography from the University of Utah, and his MFA in Digital Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Nick's work combines his own photography, digital collage, and printmaking techniques to create elaborate, photorealistic images focusing on environmental issues. His artwork has been shown in galleries across the country and internationally, including the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Paradigm Gallery, Antler Gallery, and UMOCA. He has published two artist books featuring his long-term personal projects Sumeru and Ultima, and his work has been featured in publications such as Vogue, Create Magazine, Juxtapoz, and Hi-Fructose. Many of his images have been recognized with awards from the International Photography Awards, the Future Art Awards, the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, and the Photoshop Guru Award. As an educator he teaches workshops on photomontage and digital collage with Domestika, and has lectured at Pratt Institute, NYU Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Utah. Nick has also completed artist residencies at the Banff Center in Canada, the Gullkistan Creative Residency in Iceland, the Taft-Nicholson Center in Montana, and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art to work on his environmental projects. 

FAA Douglas Wilson
Douglas Wilson
 earned his BFA from the University of Utah Department of Art & Art History in 2009. Since graduating, Douglas has served in a variety of important roles within creative-based companies, with positions including Art Director, Sales & Marketing Manager, and his current position as Art & Branding Director for University of Utah Athletics. Additionally, Douglas works as a freelance artist and muralist for a variety of local and nationwide brands. These experiences have allowed Douglas to establish an active and successful career. He not only understands the business and financial aspects of art and design, but also possesses expertise in drawing, painting, sculpting, graphic design, apparel design, photography, and videography.



FAA Ashley
Ashley Jian Thomson
 is a Communications Specialist in the College of Fine Arts, a Choreographer with Salt Lake Ballet Cooperative, and a Steering Committee Member with DanceMN. Professional credits include Art Meets Fashion! Gala (Charles & Ron), JessaKae (Ballerina Collection), James Sewell Ballet, Akram Khan x MN Opera, NIJAD Dance Collective, Festival de Danse Cannes 2019, Nu.topia: Tour the Mystery!, HATCH: Danceworks in Progress, RDT’s Emerge, SACDT’s Sign of Life, Lexus GS Japan’s Kaleidoscope Commercial. Teaching credits include UBSI, IBSI Korea, and Ballet West Academy. Ashley graduated from the University of Utah with a Ballet, B.F.A. and a Strategic Communications, B.S. She holds certifications in ABT® National Training Curriculum, Progressing Ballet Technique, and University of Minnesota’s UX/UI Design Program. 


FAA Lydia Martin


Lydia Martin, originally from West Palm Beach, FL, graduated from the University of Utah in 2018 with her BFA in Modern Dance and BS in Psychology. After graduating, she worked as a freelance artist and performed in Nu.topia: Tour the Mystery!, as well as Brine’s production “NaCl 18.” She currently works as a Benefits Specialist for Clearlink Technologies, LLC., and is an artist and performer with Fem Dance Company and Oquirrh West Project. With Oquirrh West Project, Lydia also serves as the Community Outreach Director, collaborating with high schools to increase accessibility to the arts. She currently lives in Salt Lake City and is attending the University of South Florida as an MBA candidate with an emphasis in Healthcare Analytics.



FAA Anne Marie


Anne Marie Robson Smock is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, performer, and dance educator. She received her MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts while simultaneously earning her MA in Dance Education from NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Originally from Salt Lake City, she holds a BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. She is currently adjunct faculty at NYU Steinhardt, faculty for the pre-professional youth program at Steps On Broadway, and working towards her Dance/Movement Therapy certification at the 92Y Harkness Dance Center. She has taught and had her work presented in New York, Utah, Martha's Vineyard, Colorado and Uganda. Her latest creative pursuit is crocheting baby blankets, very slowly. 


FAA Michaela Gerard


Originally from Boise, Idaho, Michaela Gerard moved to Utah to attend the University of Utah where she graduated with a BFA in Ballet as well as a BS in Psychology. Michaela danced locally with Municipal Ballet Co prior to joining Salt Lake Ballet Cooperative where she takes an active role in helping with daily operations, show planning, as well as performing. She has also explored her interest in early childhood development as a behavior technician and early childhood classroom teacher. Currently, Michaela works for the Utah Food Bank in the Mobile School Pantry program, helping to distribute free groceries to students and families.  Michaela is thrilled to join the Fine Arts Ambassadors and hopes to have the ability to continue learning from and collaborating with so many talented CFA alumni. 


FAA Severin Sargent Catterton


Severin Sargent-Catterton (she/they), of Ellicott City, Maryland, grew up immersed in various western dance techniques before setting sights on modern dance. Studying under Marilyn Byers, Severin practiced Nikolais technique before moving to Salt Lake City to continue her dance studies at the University of Utah. During her completion of her Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts at the School of Dance, Severin performed works by Anouk Van Dijk, Eric Handman, and others. She also performed Outdoors, Noa Zuk and Ohad Fishof, with Repertory Dance Theater during their Fall 2019 season. Post graduation, Severin taught for Johns Hopkins University.  She has performed with sonderIMMERSIVE, Interdisciplinary Arts Collective, Myriad Dance, and Deseret Experimental Opera. Severin continues to create and move for various artists around the Salt Lake Valley. Severin is the current Booking and Touring Manager for Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company; and has worked for the company since 2016.


FAA Jordan Boge


Jordan Boge is a film producer and instructor from Des Moines, IA. He holds an MFA in Film and Media Arts from the University of Utah and a BA in Communication Studies and French from Luther College. Beyond just education, Jordan's work is rooted in a range of experiential learning opportunities that have spanned the globe. These internships include TV Tours in France, Connection Events in Montréal, CNN in Atlanta, Participant in Los Angeles, and HLN in NYC. Jordan is currently located in Atlanta and working in creative marketing for CNN. Ultimately, Jordan has a passion for creating non-fiction content that brings to life the stories of the marginalized so that everyone can be seen on screen. When he is not working, Jordan enjoys obsessively rewatching Pixar movies and perfecting the best brewing practices for Masala Chai.


FAA Beth Kearsley


Beth Kearsley is an emerging editor and assistant editor from Salt Lake City, Utah. She began her career assistant editing on independent feature films after graduating with an HBA in film and media arts from The University of Utah in 2021. She is most interested in working on documentaries involving environmentalism, women, and music. Beth's work includes PLAN C (Sundance 2023), What Comes Around (TIFF 2022), Free Chol Soo Lee (Sundance 2022), and Bitterbrush (Telluride 2021). She is currently a 2023-2024 Sundance Institute Contributing Editor Fellow and a 2022-2023 Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellow.



FAA Eduardo Ayres Soares


Eduardo Ayres Soares, a Brazilian filmmaker based in Los Angeles, boasts an impressive career as a director, producer, and editor. With a rich background that includes roles at the Slamdance Film Festival and AFI Film Festival, Eduardo has directed six short films, edited TV series and web series, and contributed to countless corporate and commercial videos. His acclaimed work, "Chasing the Dragon," received worldwide praise and distribution on Revry Streaming Service and HereTV, earning 13 nominations and four awards. Eduardo's expertise extends to teaching commercial filmmaking and film production at the university level. Holding a Masters in Fine Arts in Film Production and a BA in Visual Arts from institutions like NYU Tisch and the University of Utah, he now leads the Post Production team at Anastasia Beverly Hills, producing content for this prestigious makeup brand.


FAA Mitchell AtencioMitchell Atencio completed his Honors Bachelor of Music degrees in Flute Performance and Instrumental Music Education at the University of Utah in 2019. His primary flute teachers include Lisa Byrnes, Caitlyn Valovick-Moore, and Tiffany Sedgley. He works in the Utah Symphony Music Library during the USUO summer season, previously winning the audition for the library fellowship at the Sarasota Music Festival and working for Utah Festival Opera preparing their materials. He also completed a degree in mathematics through Utah State University during 2021. Mitchell currently plays with the Utah Wind Symphony. He also freelances and plays with orchestras in the Salt Lake City area. During his undergraduate, he played in the top orchestras and bands at the U on both flute and piccolo. Presently, Mitchell teaches instrumental music and music theory at Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah, additionally condcuting the pit orchestra for the school’s musical. He serves on the boards for the Canyons Education Association (UEA/NEA); on the Utah Flute Association, coordinating a nationwide competition for Adult Amateur flute players; and is a member of the Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA). He loves working as an educator, performer, librarian, and advocate.


FAA Justin MorganIn addition to working in the U's Real Estate Administration office, Justin Morgan is the Grants Manager for Gifted Music School and the Principal Bassist for the Bozeman Symphony. After graduating from the University of Utah with a BM in Double Bass Performance, he furthered his graduate studies at Bard College and The Orchestra Now (TŌN). Prior to his current position at the U, Justin held the roles of Dean and Interim Executive Director at the Gifted Music School. In addition to his administrative experience, Justin also volunteers on the Board of Directors for the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City. A true artist-administrator, Justin balances a career as a performing musician in addition to his work in nonprofit leadership. His varied experiences span performing at world-renowned stages such as Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center; participating in tours across North America, Europe, and Asia; and collaborating with a diverse array of acclaimed artists, composers, and conductors like Tan Dun, Joan Tower, Valery Gergiev, Hans Graf, and many more. Beyond his engagements with the Bozeman Symphony, he freelances with Ballet West Orchestra, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, Utah Chamber Artists, among other prestigious Utah-based ensembles.

FAA Amanda Hales

Amanda Moreton Hales holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Bassoon Performance from the University of Utah. She is currently an active freelancer having worked with various orchestras including Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, Ballet West, Orchestra at Temple Square, Sinfonia Salt Lake, and Chicago Civic Orchestra among others. She enjoys teaching privately as well as on faculty at the Gifted Music School. She has participated in multiple music festivals including Aspen Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget, and Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Amanda holds a Master’s of Music and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music as well as a Bachelor’s of Music from Brigham Young University in Bassoon Performance. 


FAA Claudia Restrepo
Librarian Claudia Restrepo joined the Utah Symphony in 2021. She came to Salt Lake City after working two seasons at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Library. Prior to joining the DSO, she was the Library Fellow for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, where she was mentored by the librarians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Claudia has served as the Head Librarian for the Aspen Music Festival. She also worked for the National Symphony Orchestra assisting with music preparation for performances at Wolf Trap and the nationally televised concert “A Capitol Fourth.” In 2017 Claudia was a Library Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center where she worked with the Boston Symphony Orchestra librarians. Claudia holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Utah. 


FAA Olivia Custodio


Olivia Custodio has built her career in development in the arts sector, holding positions of leadership at Salt Lake Acting Company, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and currently serves as the Director of Major Gifts at the Sphinx Organization. She is deeply committed to social justice work within the arts and the advancement of equity, inclusion, diversity, and accessibility. Olivia holds a BFA in Vocal Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and a MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Utah. On top of her life as a development professional, Olivia is an opera singer, actor, and playwright. She has appeared in numerous productions in the Salt Lake Valley, and most recently was the playwright for Salt Lake Acting Company's 2023 Summer Show: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. www.oliviacustodio.com

FAA Claudia

Claudia Escobar graduated from the University of Utah with a BS in Sound Design and Music Technology. In her time as a collegiate, she focused on courses and opportunities to learn about sound through different mediums and departments. The U gave her a place to discover her passion through hands-on learning opportunities that helped fine tune her skills. She has participated in the USITT Gateway program as both a mentee and mentor in helping to create a more inclusive and equitable industry. After graduating from the Department of Theatre, she went on to work as an Audio Engineer at Indiana Repertory Theatre, but has since returned to her roots in Utah where she is now working as an AV Field Engineer. She can also be found freelancing all over town at Hale Centre Theatre, Kingsbury Hall, as well as mixing the occasional party band or rock concert. 


FAA Mary Helen Pitman



Mary-Helen Pitman, a Chicago-based theatre artist and piano teacher, graduated with a BFA in Theatre from the Actor Training Program in 2019. As a co-founder and administrator of Sandbox Theatre Collective, she works to foster new works and opportunities for early-career theatre artists in a relaxed and playful setting. With experience spanning Utah, Arizona, and Illinois, Mary-Helen spends her time experimenting with friends in all aspects of theatre to discover her unique artistic lens.


FAA Mark


Mark Macey 
is currently an MFA Theatre Directing candidate at the University of London, Birkbeck. From 2019 to 2023, Mark was Executive Artistic Director of Stage East in Eastport, Maine. A graduate of Dell’Arte International’s Professional Training Program, they also hold a BA in Theatre Studies from the University of Utah.


FAA Jordan Nelson
Jordan Nelson
 is a theatre educator at Midvale Elementary School, team lead for Canyons School District elementary theatre and dance teachers, and a Professional Development Partner for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program. During the summer, she works with Tanner Dance and Youth Theatre at the U. Jordan was raised in Wyoming in a small town named Glenrock. She loved performing but education was always a close second. She discovered her love for educational theatre at Casper College, then transferred to the University of Utah two years later, earning her BA in the Department of Theatre. For years she served as Executive Director for Casper Children’s Theatre back in Wyoming where she directed thousands of kids in countless musicals. In 2020, she graduated with the first cohort of the University of Utah Master of Teaching - Fine Arts program. While not everyone may be born to be a teacher, she believes sharing your passion with youth is such a strong part of building the next generation of artists. The U has provided her with so many resources and opportunities, and she is happy for her chance to give back to the College of Fine Arts.

FAA Aaron Hoenig


Aaron Hoenig graduated from the University of Utah in 2021 with a BFA in Theatrical Sound Design and minors in Music Technology and Chemistry. His main focus is sound engineering and he has been mixing the sound for musical all around Salt Lake since 2017, primarily working at Salt Lake Acting Company and The Grand Theatre. He is now back at the U working in the Department of Theatre where he is the Sound and Lighting Lead Technician. He loves working in an educational environment where he can not only work doing what he loves but help other students learn about theatre and how to make a career in it. He still manages to freelance in his time off and loves traveling both near and far.


Former Ambassadors  

Martin Alcocer
Jessica Baynes 
Matthew Castillo
Cynthia Chen
Annealea Flynn
Stephane Glynn 
Will Hagen
Catherine Heiner
Paul Leland Hill
Victoria Johnson
Elyse Jost
Taylor Mott
Cece Otto
John Peterson
Connor Rickman
Steph Shotorbani
Evan Silloway
Daniel Stergios
Geoff Sutyak
Douglas Tolman
Arthur Veenema

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Brooke Horejsi 

I remember the moment, not long after I finished my undergraduate degree, when the averageness of my talent sunk in for me.  My creative switch had been flipped in college and I spent my undergrad exploring, learning, practicing, trying, and hoping for a life, a career, in the arts. 

After I graduated, I was successful getting some gigs, but was always thinking about where the next one would be, and wondering what I would do for health insurance? Unexpectedly, I was offered a full-time position, which although it was within the arts, was not related to my creative training. 

I was offered the position because I had worked in a variety of places to put myself through college (hotels, restaurants, offices of various types) and I was a particularly methodical and organized kind of human. My day planner was not only always with me, it was also always updated and my handwriting in it was meticulous. Anyone could read it!  As I looked ahead in my paper calendar (remember those?) and saw that I was pretty available, it occurred to me that perhaps this availability reflected my level of talent, and that perhaps, without being one of the top talents, my ability to build that career in the arts I had dreamed of was going to be pretty tough. 

It’s now been over 20 years since that moment, and I’ve worked in the arts all this time (and had health insurance for the majority of it) because I took that job offer and discovered a whole other part of the arts ecosystem: the part that is behind the behind-the-scenes part, made up of the administrators who are organizing, planning, fundraising, and leading in order to make sure that the creative brilliance of artists gets seen and heard.

Join me for Introduction to Arts Administration (FA 3100) to explore what it means to be an arts administrator.  We’ll explore things from marketing, to budgeting, to non-profit structure, to board service, to programming and curation.  Offered for the first time as a fully online course, with an option for variable credits of 1-3.  Experience the learnings and join the discussions for just 1 credit.  Develop a comparative research portfolio of existing organizations and working professionals for 2 credits, or conceive and build an organization of your own for 3 credits. (If you are interested in graduate level credit, contact me at .)

You likely have more talent in your little finger than I ever had in my entire hand, but you never know what skills and knowledge, outside of your particular craft, you might need to get your brilliance seen and heard.  Or maybe your calendar is super organized and even though we type most everything these days, your handwriting is still impeccable, plus you want to know more about the kind of things that happen in that behind the behind the scenes place. 

Either way, I’m making you an offer, you should take it.

FA 3100/6100 
Introduction to Arts Administration 
exploring marketing, budgeting, non-profit structure, curation and more! 
Available for 1-3 credits

At the end of this course, students will gain:

  • The ability to describe and discuss the basic areas of work in the arts ecosystem
  • The awareness of standard non-profit management tools like mission statements, budgets, grants and an introductory knowledge of how to use them.
  • The ability to examine, compare, explore, and test models in the cultural sector for further insights.
  • Basic experience writing, speaking, and thinking in terms relevant to management in the arts ecosystem.

Author Brooke Horejsi is the Assistant Dean for Art & Creative Engagement in the College of Fine Arts, and Executive Director of UtahPresents.

This post was originally published on Nov 17, 2020 and updated on October 8, 2021.

Published in Finer Points Blog
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The University of Utah School of Dance presents Performing Dance Company this weekend, October 29-31, through its virtual streaming format. The concert features premieres from faculty choreographers: Natalie Desch, Christine McMillan, and Satu Hummasti & Daniel Clifton.

Guest Artist Melanie George will also premiere a work for eight dancers. “…from Down Here”  is a blues-based jazz work emphasizing themes of labor for the individual and the group through gesture and rhythm. 

Melanie George’s signature neo-jazz style was a new to a majority of the cast, and expanded their vocabulary.

“Melanie’s cast of dancers had varying jazz dance experiences, but no one had experience learning or performing neo-jazz dance,” rehearsal director Jessica Boone said. Boone is second-year graduate student in the MFA in Modern Dance program, and has continued working with the dancers after George’s virtual residency concluded. 

“During this entire process of learning and rehearsing Melanie’s choreography, dancers have continually questioned and deepened their understanding of neo-jazz dance principles of weight-sensing, rhythm, isolations, footwork, musicality in connection with jazz music, Africanist vernacular movement, improvisation and community. It is a lot of information for the dancers to actively consider and make choices about while performing, and they have risen to the challenge.”Melanie

“The work has as much improvisation as it does set choreography,” Melanie George explained.  We spent the first few rehearsals learning jazz improvisation methods, which differ significantly from the way improvisation is practiced in postmodern dance. Improvisation in jazz dance is fundamental, as it is in all dance forms of the African Diaspora.”

The music for the work — including compositions by Jimi Hendrix, Roberta Flack, and Cassandra Wilson — was essential to the process as well. “In my work, I mostly use jazz music and its related forms, blues and funk. The blues has many textures and encompasses a wide spectrum of emotions. It’s a very effective path to introduce young dancers to roots-based jazz dancing,” George said. 

As with all Fall 2020 performances, the residency called for creative solutions to the challenges posed by social distancing and mask requirements. It goes without saying that having a guest artist present virtually is a different experience than working together in the studio. Regardless, U dancers faced the process with positivity and enthusiasm.

During this entire process of learning and rehearsing Melanie’s choreography, dancers have continually questioned and deepened their understanding of neo-jazz dance principles of weight-sensing, rhythm, isolations, footwork, musicality in connection with jazz music, Africanist vernacular movement, improvisation and community.

“We had to learn new ways of communicating instructions and questions, figuring out directional facings of movement, and deal with inconsistent technology issues. Despite having two camera views for Melanie to see, it was impossible to get a good viewing angle of the entire room. We had to learn how to maintain a sense of energy and community inside the studio without Melanie's presence in the physical space with us,” Boone said.

“On top of learning choreography on Zoom, we had to navigate COVID safety protocols that impacted the spacing, traveling, and the use of props in the dance. Melanie was very aware of keeping the dancers safe, so when it was time for the dancers to move around the studio, we worked slowly to find pathways that would keep the dancers physically distanced.”

The School of Dance has made it possible to allow as many people into the audience as possible by live-streaming performances at no cost! Viewers can catch this exciting concert at dance.utah.edu/virtual shows.

Join U School of Dance for Performing Dance Company

10/29 at 5:30 pm
10/30 at 7:30 pm
10/31 at 2 & 7:30 pm

Published in Finer Points Blog
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