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Brought to you by Create Success Interns Abby Davis, Connor Brown, Hannah Keating, Lia Wong, Matthew Rudolph, Sam Judd, and Zoe Wink.

Hello College of Fine Arts students!

As we make the transition back to online and hybrid classes, here is a reminder of some helpful tips to help manage your time and reduce your Zoom fatigue!

1. Create a schedule or agenda.

 Whether or not you have used a planner in the past, now is a great time to REALLY use it! This can be useful in seeing your important dates and deadlines in an orderly fashion.

2. Work on one project at a time.

 If looking at your deadlines all at once is too overwhelming, make a notecard list!

  • Write each assignment with its deadline on its own notecard, order the notecards by date, and start knocking out each assignment one at a time. 

3. Set boundaries.

 We know that a lot of your school time is happening at home, and Zoom/computer fatigue is a real thing. Try setting a boundary for yourself as to what times of the day you will dedicate to school. For instance, maybe you try and stop doing school work by a certain time or you dedicate specific times where you take breaks.

  • Try to come up with some activities you enjoy doing that do not involve staring at a screen. For instance: going on a walk, taking a dance break, playing around on an instrument you may have picked up, or doing some crafts.  

4. Start early.

 If you happen to find that you have been sitting on the couch watching Tik Toks or doing whatever else keeps you occupied for hours at home, it sounds like it’s a good time to get a jump on some homework! Getting a head start on assignments when you have some free time will save you lots of stress in the long run. Trust us!


5. Sleep.

This one is pretty self explanatory, but it’s one tip that should not be forgotten. A fresh mind always helps with creativity!

Remember: This is a time where we can use our innovative minds to find the things that work best for us. Stay positive and never stop creating! 

Published in Finer Points Blog
Tagged under
June 02 2020

Work to do

Artists have long used their crafts as a means of rising up in the face of injustice, and this moment is no different.

The University of Utah College of Fine Arts unequivocally denounces racism, and actively works to dismantle the systems of oppression that breed inequality, discrimination, and pain — and acknowledge we aren't immune from them. Our vision is the manifestation of a culture rooted in justice, equity, and inclusion.

We are listening and will continue to work to amplify underrepresented voices within our campus and beyond. We can all do better.

We encourage you to read the statement below from The University of Utah Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, who will be sharing additional resources for our campus community in the days ahead. 

 
Dear University Community: From the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Published in Finer Points Blog

Research from two University of Utah College of Fine Arts undergraduate students was recently published in the university's 2020 Undergraduate Research Journal. The Undergraduate Research Journal collects and celebrates the contributions our undergraduate students from all over campus make to scholarship in their fields.

Sydney Porter Williams from the Department of Art & Art History focused her research on the outcomes and benefits of a collaborative mural project in Murray, while Amelie Bennett from the School of Dance examined the role of dance therapy in improving empathy and emotion recognition in non-clinical adults and children. 

We encourage you to learn more about these important student projects, as well as discover the work of many other undergraduate researchers from across campus disciplines! 

 

THE MURRAY MURALS PROJECT: CONNECTING LIVES ON CANVAS -- Sydney Porter Williams, Department of Art & Art History
Faculty Mentor: V. Kim Martinez

"The Murray Murals Project is a collaborative effort between University of Utah art students and thousands of Murray youth and community members. These groups worked collaboratively over the course of the fall 2018 semester to create community-engaged, portable murals for nine Murray elementary schools. These murals now hang in the halls of these schools, giving students ownership of their artwork and of their communities." 

HOW WE MOVE WHEN WE FEEL: KINESTHETIC EMPATHY THROUGH MIRROR NEURONS – Amelie Bennett, School of Dance
Faculty Mentor: Kate Mattingly

"This work examines the commonly accepted notion of dance/movement therapy that mirroring another person’s movement will increase both participants’ levels of empathy. Mirroring involves a participant creating expressive dance; in a therapeutic setting, the therapist mirrors their movements to establish a relationship and gain insight into their physical and emotional experience."

 

EXPLORE THE 2020 UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH JOURNAL

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Emeri Fetzer 

As members of the Michie Jazz Quintet, premier jazz chamber ensemble here at the University of Utah, reached their second and final year in their unique configuration, it seemed the right moment to mark their time spent playing together with something lasting, something tangible. 

Supported through an endowment generously made by the James R. and Nanette S. Michie Foundation, the group's five members had many wonderful opportunities to collaborate in a laboratory setting, and maintained a rigorous public performance schedule during the school year. As a result,  Anaïs Chantal Samuels (vocals), Evan Taylor (trumpet), Tony Elison (piano), Alicia Wrigley (bass, vocals), and Matt Wilson (drums) cultivated a unique and synergistic sound. 

“The thing that was the most powerful to me was to have a recurring group of people I love and trust and that we had the opportunity to have an ongoing journey over a long period of time...I really felt like I grew alongside Evan, Anaïs, Tony and Matt. I will miss that experience so much” 
- Alicia Wrigley 

 “As their coach this year, I encouraged them to document the sound and style of the group that they had forged together, as well as create recordings that can serve as samples for auditions, publicity, and for posterity," explained John Petrucelli, visiting assistant professor in the U School of Music.  

Before they all graduated (and before COVID-19 drastically changed their final semester), they came together to record. “My favorite part of recording the EP was being able to share that space with my friends during our final year at the University of Utah. We've all worked really hard to get to where we are musically and it was really nice to see that all come together and to have something documented that demonstrates our passion for music,” vocalist Anaïs Chantal Samuels reflected. 

As Petrucelli describes it, the Michie Quintet's EP is a study in contrast. "In the span of three compositions, the ensemble moves between multiple styles, meters, and soloists. Anais Chantal Samuels voice is featured on a wonderful old ballad entitled "Till There Was You," while Evan Taylor's arrangement of "Bloomdido" nods to the cutting edge contemporary jazz approach of Rudresh Mahanthappa and Adam O'Farrill. Alicia Wrigley and Matt Wilson have a wonderful rhythmic dialogue throughout "April in Paris," while Tony Elison's piano playing plays provocateur throughout the session," he said. 

“We had to set up a mad labyrinth of sound panels as we tried to minimize bleed between microphones. It felt like the adult version of building a blanket fort, and will be a mental image I’ll always remember,” described bass player Alicia Wrigley.

The experience not only resulted in a strong final product, it also taught them valuabe things about the music business. “I hope that our students have learned that at the heart of recording is the craft of negotiation. Between musicians, producers, composers, arrangers, studio engineers, photographers, videographers, we convene spontaneously and improvise the process as we go. Recordings highlight strengths and reveal weaknesses, leaving a remembrance of ourselves in a particular time, place and feeling, pointing to future musical ideas and passageways,” Petrucelli said.

Undoubtedly, the Michie Quintet shaped its five committed members beyond the classroom, bringing high level professional experience, and friendships to boot. 

“I can honestly say that being in this program has shown me how to act as a professional in music. I started this program in my second year and had no idea what I was doing or how to go about a career in music. From that I learned the business side of things which I now take on when working on gigs that I've booked outside of school,”  Samuels explained.

“Socially, I have to say that the Michie group has been the highlight of my college career. When I first joined this group, all of the members in the band were older than me and took me under their wings to show me all the things music has to offer and helped me build my confidence as a vocalist which was something I really struggled with. Two years ago before performances my stage fright would get the best of me and I really doubted myself but through time I was able to value myself.”

“The thing that was the most powerful to me was to have a recurring group of people I love and trust and that we had the opportunity to have an ongoing journey over a long period of time," Wrigley added. "So much of the work that we do is with pick-up groups—it both showcases our versatility and pays our bills. But playing with a recurring group, having a musical home to come back to and experiment in, that was special. I really felt like I grew alongside Evan, Anaïs, Tony and Matt. I will miss that experience so much” 

Check out "The Michie Sessions" here! 

Published in Finer Points Blog

The College of Fine Arts is delighted to present the 2020 Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher award to Alicia Ross from the School of Dance.

In 2015, The Office of Undergraduate Research established the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award to recognize an outstanding undergraduate researcher from each college. Faculty mentors are invited to nominate students, and awardees are selected by committee. The criteria for the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award include: a record of sustained commitment to developing research skills and knowledge under the supervision of a faculty mentor, evidence of independent and critical thinking, active participation in research-related activities on campus, and positive contributions to the research culture of the department, college, and university.

Alicia's impressive accomplishments as an undergraduate researcher and student leader in the College of Fine Arts center around her commitment to her work as a movement researcher and performer.  In the last three years, Alicia has engaged in 14 research related activities, as a performer, collaborator, choreographer or participant.  These include her being selected to participate in work by internationally recognized artists Doug Varone and Anouk van Dijk.

“Alicia is the first undergraduate artist-scholar that I can remember who has made such a compelling case for movement research as a valid form of critical inquiry. Her proposal for the Outstanding Researcher Award articulated the multifaceted modalities that artists draw on at all times when creating and dancing in movement—physics, musicality, psychology, design, spatial-awareness, history, physicality, kinesiology— all at the neuromuscular level. Her work in the department has exemplied this multiplicity, as she has shone as a performer, maker of dances, and writer/scholar. It was a joy to see her synthesize all of this vast body-mind knowledge at receive this deserved award.”
-Satu Hummasti 
Associate Director for Undergraduate Programs and Associate Professor, School of Dance

 

In Her Own Words 

Name: Alicia Ross
Major: Modern Dance
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Three words that describe you: imaginative, passionate, intuitive 
Favorite CFA class or teacher: My favorite College of Fine Arts class is improvisation because I get to explore all kinds of movement and the infinite possibilities of the body.   
Most memorable moment at CFA: My most memorable moment here was performing "CLEANSLATE" by Satu Hummasti. It was a significant work that encouraged kindness and equality in today's world. 
One thing you learned at CFA: The most important thing I've learned at the College of Fine Arts is that I can make a difference as an artist. I have a powerful voice as a dancer and choreographer that can be used to enact change in society.  
What inspires you: I'm inspired by all of the courageous and graceful women in my life.
Summary of major accomplishments both on and off campus: On campus I have performed in works by Stephen Koester, Anouk van Dijk, Satu Hummasti, Eric Handman, and more. I have also choreographed and performed a solo entitled Introspection, and showcased two of my dance films in our Modern Student Concert. Off campus I have participated and performed in programs such as the Ririe Woodbury Summer Intensive and the Doug Varone Summer Workshop. Lastly, I look forward to continuing my off campus performance career after graduation in a local show at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.    
One sentence that describes your work: My work aims to convey the beauty, complexity, and intensity of the human experience through movement and emotion.

“Throughout my four years here I have been able to explore the potential of the body for creating art that is meaningful and alive. Studying the creative process with my professors has allowed me to make discoveries and figure out what it means to be a movement researcher and performer. Each professor has taught me a new way to study dance and produce material that conveys a message to the audience… Being able to physically create and feel movement that portrays intellectual thoughts and ideas is complex yet fulfilling. Through my corporeal research I have found a deep understanding and appreciation for the creative process and the expression of the dancing body within my discipline. The guidance I have received from my professors and mentors to develop that will definitely impact my future projects and long-term artistic career.”
-Alicia Ross, Class of 2020

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Kate Mattingly 

As a researcher who teaches courses in dance histories, dance studies, and dance criticism, I spend a lot of time thinking about how we communicate through our bodies and our words. My dissertation, which I completed in 2017, analyzes how dance criticism not only responds to a performance but also shapes and influences our value systems and priorities. Historically, dance critics have wielded a lot of power: John Martin named the genre “modern dance” and heavily influenced the success of certain choreographers, like Martha Graham, in the 20th century. 

But digital platforms change the status and authority of critics’ words because there are more immediate opportunities to challenge a viewpoint and to use social media platforms to offer different perspectives. A great example of this happened in 2010 when a New York Times critic wrote that Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy with New York City Ballet, looked “as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many.” The outpouring of support for Ringer led to her appearance on The Today Show and Oprah. These interviews are still available online, making the critic's words less definitive. jennifer ringer

In my scholarship I analyze how the digital sphere opens spaces for a co-existence of different perspectives, and how this brings attention to artists and ideas that have been misrepresented or completely ignored. Much of my current research focuses on how criticism in the 21st century can challenge the sexisms, racisms, and classisms that have circulated through print critics’ writing.  On April 14, I gave a lecture for students and faculty at UCLA on digital dance criticism, and how traces of a project by Amara Tabor-Smith called “House/Full of Black Women,” circulated through photographs Amara posted on Facebook, thereby extending the reach of her processions that happened in Oakland, California. This is an important example of how artists bypass a critic who speaks “for” a project and instead gives the artist access to self-representation and self-definition. 

In my dance studies course this semester, when we shifted to an online format, students shared final projects through PowerPoint presentations and then we opened online discussions about the topics. The students’ work was stellar and the online discussions deepened and extended the conversations we had begun earlier in the semester when we were meeting together. One particularly timely project, by Todd Lani ’20, examined social media users who can promote social justice or their own fame. Todd used Matt Bernstein as an example of a social media “activist” who thinks of others and dismantles hate and violence against LGBTQ+ communities. Todd wrote, “Growing up in a smaller rural area, the media (more specifically social media) was the only outlet and opportunity that I had to see any representation of someone like myself.” 

During this pandemic, as we find ourselves relying on the digital sphere, we might also be noticing the differences between attending a live performance and watching dancing through a screen. There are undoubtedly things that seem to be missing, like the communal experience of watching a performance with a hundred-plus people, or the feeling of liveness and immediacy as an artist creates the movement in your presence. But there are also advantages: many companies are offering performances to view free of charge, and events that happened in far away places are now visible in our homes. 

A student-run group at the University of Utah, the Dance Studies Working Group, took a trip to San Francisco in 2018, supported by funding from a FAF Grant, to see a festival called Unbound and attend a Symposium of guest speakers who included Dwight Rhoden, Virginia Johnson, and Marc Brew. When the company’s current performance season had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, SF Ballet released performances from Unbound online. This Friday students and alumni of the Ballet Program are hosting a zoom conversation, organized by Victoria Holmes Johnson ’19, to discuss the possibilities of online transmission, and also what’s missing in this virtual realm. 

We think these conversations are important during this time of uncertainty because we hope that the future of dance, like the future of dance criticism, will be more inclusive and equitable. Artists are known for their imaginations, able to problem-solve and think creatively, and their expertise is invaluable at this moment. 

Finally, when people use words like “unprecedented” to describe this pandemic, they are making invisible a lot of people who have not had access to services or movement for years, if not decades. People who are confined and dependent on others due to disabilities could be our teachers. I hope that this moment of "uncertainty" is an opportunity for us to look at our interconnectedness: how do we support and nurture one another? how do we honor  our different needs and capacities? I hope we do not return to a world that is about individualism, convenience, and control, but rather one that embraces the interdependencies and indeterminacy of life. 

Author Kate Mattingly is an assistant professor in the University of Utah School of Dance. 

Published in Finer Points Blog

By Merinda Christensen 

The 7th Annual ArtsForce Networking Event that took place on March 7th displayed the strength and dynamic of the arts from both students and professionals. 

ArtsForce is a student-led organization under the supervision of CFA Internship Coordinator, Kate Wolsey, that strives to create opportunities that help students develop skills needed for professional growth during and after college. During this event, local artists from film, music, theatre, art, and dance came to speak to students across the College of Fine Arts about how to prepare for a successful and fulfilling career in the arts. 

“The biggest lesson I learned from this event is that community is important…Collaborating with people from other fields in your community might spark ideas that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. I was inspired to find ways that my art could enrich or help others.”
– Kira Sincock, Entertainment Arts and Engineering Major, Drawing Minor

This event started out with a panel of local art professionals (and College of Fine Arts alumni!) David HabbenKylie Howard, and Camille Washington. They discussed times when collaborating with another professional changed their work process, what they do every day that contributes to their success, and how the community has been important to them as they continue their career, including where students can look to build their own community. Their experiences and advice were insightful as they emphasized the importance of doing your best and recognizing where your art and skills can and will take you. The focus of the panelists was to address how to succeed and being true to your work even through the tough times you will experience as an artist. 

Important takeaways: 

  • Kylie Howard communicated to the students that it’s important to pick yourself up, even when it gets hard because you are valuable to your community and workforce. She also mentioned that you don’t have to figure it all out right now, discover your strengths and make it work for you! 
  • David Habben emphasized that there will be times where you are in a rut – times will be hard. But, to find a way to take a risk, even when things are hard, that is the best time to take those risks. 
  • Finally, Camille Washington wanted to present the importance of how valuable your skills are – stay engaged in what you’re interested in and always know you will be able to find a path to apply your knowledge and skills as you reach out and build the community you want to see.  

During the Networking Luncheon, which followed our panel, students had the opportunity to communicate and connect with local artist of different arts disciplines. Students gained support and guidance as they were able to articulate the value of their arts degree in a professional setting. Positive feedback highlighted the importance of this event and how it was beneficial to each student that came. 

“The Networking Event helped me build my networking skills…I have new contacts to help me start to build my career before I graduate. Something that used to be so  intimidating is more doable.” 
– Katie McLaughlin, Instrumental Music Education; Oboe Performance Major 

The 7th Annual Networking Event created opportunities and ideas for students preparing for a career in the arts. We want to thank the panel, local art professionals, University of Utah faculty, staff, and students for joining us this year. CFA Students, don’t forget to join ArtsForce for up-to-date information about internships and career related opportunities, ways to get more involved with the arts on and off campus, and more!

*Author Merinda Chrinstensen is an Instrumental Performance major in the School of Music, with an emphasis in harp. She is an Emerging Leaders Intern with ArtsForce. 

Published in Finer Points Blog

We are about to graduate a class of brilliant, creative and remarkably resilient students during a global pandemic. This is a first. And it’s not without sincere disappointment and loss. While this moment presents unique challenges, as artists, we are no strangers to creative thinking, and the leadership of the College of Fine Arts is undeterred in our drive to celebrate the momentous achievements of the graduating class of 2020!   

What will make these celebration powerful is if you participate — as students, faculty, family and friends.
We will be rolling out a full week of celebrations starting on 4/27 on our blog, our social media, and via email.  

To our graduating class, if you haven’t already, please send us a photo or video of your favorite moment, people, or place at the U.
Upload your memory to this UBox or send to this email address by Monday, 4/20 to be included in the virtual celebrations.
Click 'Join Folder' on the top menu bar to access the 'Upload' feature.
Please include a brief description of your memory when you upload your file. Descriptions can be added under “File Properties” section on the righthand side of the window once your file is uploaded.

You have been making us proud for years now, and we can’t wait to see how you continue to shine.

Published in Finer Points Blog

Here are 5 helpful time management tips brought to you by CFA Create Success Interns Abby Davis, Mason Henrie, Matthew Rudolph, and Lia Wong. 


Hello, College of Fine Arts Students!  

As we all make the transition to online classes, here are some helpful tips to help manage your time. 


Create a schedule or agenda.

Whether or not you have used a planner in the past, now is a great time to REALLY use it! This can be useful in seeing you​r important dates and deadlines in an orderly fashion. 


Work on one project at a time. 

If looking at your deadlines all at once is too overwhelming, make a notecard list!  

  • Write each assignment with its deadline on its own notecard, order the notecards by date, and start knocking out each assignment one at a time.  


Start early. 

If you happen to find that you have been sitting on the couch watching Tik Toks or doing whatever else keeps you occupied for hours at home, it sounds like it’s a good time to get a jump on some homework!

Getting a head start on assignments when you have some free time will save you lots of stress in the long run. Trust me!  


Sleep.  

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s one tip that should not be forgotten. A fresh mind always helps with creativity! 

Remember: This is a time where we can use our innovative minds to find the things that work best for us. Stay positive and never stop creating!    

CreateSuccess bubbles wtext1

Published in Finer Points Blog

Hello to my University of Utah friends out there in the world!

I hope this finds you feeling well and safe right now, wherever you may be. I was approached to write a little ditty about my experiences as a faculty member since our communities and our individual lives have all been uprooted and re-shaped by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Though I’ve never written a blog post, I felt inspired to share a bit of my perspective, especially since so many people have been so supportive through the various challenges we’ve all faced. 

To give a little context about me––I’m actually in my first year as a faculty member at the U – and what a year! After spending twenty years as a performing artist and educator in NYC, I earned my master’s degree from the University of Washington in 2014, and then after moving to SLC and working for several years, I was fortunate to join forces with the wonderful folks at the School of Dance at the U.

"But most importantly it has also reinforced some of the fundamental values of dance that nearly all of my students have agreed upon––that humanity needs energetic contact, it needs to act and to move, and that we can take steps to grow and evolve in ways we didn’t think were possible." 

This semester, I have been facilitating a variety of courses in the Modern Program, which currently range from a creatively-based composition course with sophomores, a ballet course with juniors, a modern course with seniors, and finally a teaching methods course with graduate students. I have loved getting to know the amazing faculty and staff as this year has progressed, and the students I’ve worked with, have time and again, impressed, inspired and delighted me. It’s been a truly fantastic year for me. 

The way this pandemic emerged…not with a traumatic, one-day event, but as a slow, steady build of its scope, threw me for a bit of a loop. I think we were all on the verge of beginning our spring breaks, when I really started to comprehend the serious potential of it all. And then of course, as the weeks of mid-and-late March would unfold, it became clear that everything would change. Initially, I remember being very freaked out at the news that we’d be going to online learning. As someone who is passionate about dance and its fundamental values of energy and movement of the body through real time and real space, the thought of having to enter a liminal, third space was daunting. There were so many questions that came up, but there wasn’t much choice that we had to move forward together and make the best of the situation. 

And I’m happy to report that from the first Zoom class I hosted on March 19, things HAVE moved forward! It has been great to have a platform which has for the most part, enabled our class community to come together, not only to practice dance in a new format, asking new things of all of us to make that happen. But most importantly it has also reinforced some of the fundamental values of dance that nearly all of my students have agreed upon––that humanity needs energetic contact, it needs to act and to move, and that we can take steps to grow and evolve in ways we didn’t think were possible. 

What I have loved most about my online conversations with my students is that we want to share and empathize with one another. There has been a very vulnerable and honest tone in the meetings I’ve been privileged to witness. I appreciate the passion I hear in their voices to do the best they can in the face of our current reality.

I do not want to ever have online learning replace the beautiful, profound experience of learning in real time and space––experiences that are REALLY face to face. But for now, I am buoyed by the hope that we will help each other through this and will perhaps learn some lessons to take with us as well. 

Take care, everyone. Sending my best thoughts and energy to each of you… 

Natalie Desch

Published in Finer Points Blog
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