Schwob vocalists bring home top awards at state competition

ATHENS, Ga. Six voice students from the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music received top awards at the National Association of Teachers of Singing state-level student auditions at the University of Georgia on Oct. 27-28.

NATS is a nonprofit organization regarded as the largest professional association for voice teachers around the world. It has more than 7,000 members across the United States and almost 30 other countries. The purpose of the organization is to “encourage the highest standards of the vocal art and of ethical principles in the teaching of singing; and to promote vocal education and research at all levels, both for the enrichment of the general public and for the professional advancement of the talented.”

The Schwob School of Music winners were:

  • 1st Place: Mary Lee Turner, Second Year College Women, student of Michelle DeBruyn
  • 2nd Place: Kara Hammonds, First Year College Women, student of Kimberly Cone
  • 2nd Place: Madeleine Munro, Advanced Women, student of Michelle DeBruyn
  • 3rd Place: Brielle Sims, Fourth and Fifth Year College Women, student of Dian Lawler-Johnson
  • 3rd Place: Casey Sargent, First Year Musical Theatre College Women, student of Kimberly Cone
  • 3rd Place: Katherine Ambrester, Fourth and Fifth Year College Women, student of Michelle DeBruyn
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CSU Alumna to Debut in Leading Role with The Metropolitan Opera

Maureen McKay performing as Gretel at the Portland Opera. Photography by Cory Weaver.

Maureen McKay, alumna of Columbus State University, will make her debut at The Metropolitan Opera on December 28 in the leading role of Gretel in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.

“The Met is the pinnacle opera house in the world. It is like winning a gold medal in the Olympics,” said Joseph Golden, CSU director of opera and McKay’s former professor. “She has joined the first rank of opera singers in the world.”

McKay credits her professors and experience at CSU with helping her to achieve the high honor.

She says that CSU provided her with the musical, dancing and acting skills needed to excel in today’s world of opera, and she recognizes the program’s unique offering of real world experiences like singing with a live orchestra and working with guest directors from other institutions.

“At CSU, I received four years of quality stage time with an orchestra and extensive attention from my teachers. You just don’t find that in every undergrad program,” said McKay.

Among the professors that McKay recognizes as influential on her career are Betty Anne Diaz and Joseph Golden.

“Mr. Golden took a lot of care in coaching me on how to sing with an orchestra and conductor, what repertoire to consider and the fundamentals of stage deportment,” said McKay. “Mrs. Diaz was my piano teacher and worked closely with me on honing the skills of the art song recital from both sides of the keyboard.”

Shirley Brumbaugh, who is now retired from teaching, also stands out as a mentor to McKay. Brumbaugh encouraged McKay to participate in summer activities like study abroad trips and performing in the College Light Opera Company in Massachusetts, which McKay says helped her discover a career in opera.  McKay also credits Brumbaugh with helping her build the foundation of her vocal technique.

“I feel really blessed that I had all of these people who saw something in me, even when I didn’t see it in myself,” said McKay. “When I inevitably go into teaching, I will pull from these experiences. They are the teachers that I would want to be.”

McKay says that she would eventually like to teach, but she is currently focusing on her upcoming performances. Although she is not ready to enter academia just yet, she is already inspiring others with her accomplishments.

“Schwob School of Music students are already saying, ‘Gee! If she can do it, then I can too!” said Golden. “They see that someone who walked these halls has gone on to the ultimate place in their career.”

McKay lives with her husband and fellow CSU alumni, Jesse Tennyson, and their son in Greenwich, Conn. She has performed internationally with the Choirs and Orchestras of Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova and of Santa Cecilia in Rome, Komische Oper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Saito Kinen Festival, The Cleveland Orchestra, San Diego Opera, Washington National Opera and Seattle Opera.

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CSU graduate debuts on award-winning Carole King Broadway musical

CSU alumnus and actor Michael Stiggers Jr. has become the university’s first-ever graduate to perform on Broadway.

“I’m playing one of the legendary singers from The Drifters in Grammy and Tony award-winning musical ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,’” said Stiggers, 31. “I’ve been doing a lot of research for this part. The Drifters were smooth, cool entertainers who moved effortlessly.”

The triple-threat performer from West Point, Georgia, made his Broadway debut Thursday, Aug. 10, at Stephen Sondheim Theatre on New York’s 43rd street.

“I grew up in the South but always knew I wanted to get out and go into theatre after high school,” said the 2009 theatre education alumnus. “CSU provided me with the foundation I needed to learn about theatre and how to navigate that world. My extensive classroom training also molded me to become a drama teacher and still have something meaningful to fall back on.”

CSU has produced both off-Broadway and regionally successful performers; however, Stiggers has achieved a milestone for the Department of Theatre.

“Our department has become more visible in recent years,” said department chair Larry Dooley. “Having graduates involved in regional theatres and off-Broadway indicates the success of our students and the strengths of the department. Now with a CSU theatre graduate performing on Broadway, we are confident others will follow. We will continue to celebrate these success stories.”

Stiggers auditioned for the Broadway part twice before he actually landed the gig.

The international Broadway musical chronicles King’s comprehensive musical catalog as arguably the most celebrated and iconic singer/songwriter of all time.

Carole and then-husband Gerry Goffin wrote dozens of chart hits, including 1962 “Up On The Roof” by The Drifters.

“I’m enjoying the journey and going back in this particular time of her life,” Stiggers said. “I do want those pursuing this type of career to know I did fall into dark places and at times lost my confidence to get here. I never stopped dreaming wild through the good and bad times, though. That’s the difference.”

Visit michaelstiggers.com to learn more about this CSU alum. Visit ColumbusState.edu to learn more about Stiggers’ first-choice university.

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Spring Swing Benefits CSU Dance Program

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University welcomed dance enthusiasts to Woodruff Park for an evening under the stars, complete with live music, food, beverages and lots of loose feet.

The second annual Spring Swing benefitting CSU’s dance minor program was held Saturday, April 29. All proceeds earned go directly to the university’s rapidly growing dance program, which now enrolls more than 150 students. The program is housed under CSU’s Department of Theatre in the College of the Arts.

Music was provided by The Shimmer Band, Atlanta’s premiere powerhouse show band. Dancers of all skill levels over the age of 16 were in attendance, and couples entered a dance contest for prizes.

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Theatre Rehearsal Hall Dedicated to Brennan

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University’s Department of Theatre renamed its rehearsal hall in memory of Hazel Hall Brennan, former chair of the Department of Theatre, during a ceremony held Friday, March 10 in the One Arsenal Building on CSU’s RiverPark campus.

“Hazel was a great mentor and a great friend to faculty and students alike,” said Larry Dooley, chair of CSU’s theatre department. “The department has seen tremendous growth in recent years, and much of that success is rooted in Hazel’s leadership early on. It is truly fitting that we name a much used and student-centered rehearsal space after her. She was always right there in the middle of student work.”

Hall joined CSU’s faculty in 1974, and served as chair of the theatre department from 1981 until her retirement in 2003. Her expertise as a director and teacher nurtured hundreds of students who have gone on to become teachers and working professionals in film, television and Broadway theatre. She was at her best and happiest in a rehearsal room.

Through this generous gift to the university from her husband John, the legacy of this inspiring leader will continue to impact future students, teachers and artists.

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New Art Exhibition by CSU Alum Conveys Struggle for Social Interaction

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A new art exhibition called “Fractured” by Columbus State University alumna Emily Elliott is now on display in CSU’s ArtLab in the historic Seaboard Depot building on Front Avenue in downtown Columbus.

Consisting of a life-size sculpture and three paintings, the exhibition is a representation of biological and psychological defense mechanisms resulting from trauma and emotional anxiety, a recurring theme in Elliott’s work.

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“As a student of the Department of Art, Emily always challenged herself and set the bar high among her peers,” said Hannah Israel, associate professor of art and gallery director at CSU. “Her work was well developed and conceptually mature as an undergraduate. I am so happy that she was willing to come back to CSU to meet with our current students and share her ideas and experiences.”

CSU’s Department of Art will host a reception for “Fractured” Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the ArtLab. Elliott will give her remarks at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Born and raised in Columbus, Elliott received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts from Columbus State University in 2011 and her Master of Fine Arts from the University of South Florida in 2014. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Elliott uses sculptures and the body as a canvas to convey struggle for social interaction. Referencing philosophical metaphors for society and the individual, her work depicts viscerally the damage and effects of interaction on the individual psyche. Elliott’s evocative works blur the designations of the body and mind, while implicating the figure as both victim and perpetrator.

“Fractured” is on display in the ArtLab until Dec. 10. For more information, contact Israel at Israel_Hannah@ColumbusState.edu.

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CSU Holds First Film Academy Graduation

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COLUMBUS, Ga. – The first graduation ceremony for students in Columbus State University’s new film certificate program was held Monday, Nov. 14 at the Springer Opera House.

In partnership with the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Springer Opera House, the program and its first graduation is a milestone for Columbus and the 13 participating students. Part of the Georgia Film Academy, CSU’s On-Set Film Production Certificate Program is offered through CSU’s Department of Communication in collaboration with the Springer Opera House. It was one of the first programs of its type offered in state of Georgia when it launched earlier this year.

“This program is a great example of how Columbus State University is responding to industry needs,” said CSU President Chris Markwood. “We are proud to have been asked to be one of the first partners in the Georgia Film Academy. My thanks to the faculty and staff who had to work very quickly to ramp up a program that has turned out its first ready-to-work graduates.”

These graduates are now ready to join Georgia’s exciting $6 billion film industry. As the third largest production center in the country, Georgia boasts of a workforce with more than 100,000 people directly and indirectly tied to this growing part of the economy. Industry growth over the next three to five years is projected to generate 3,000 – 5,000 new jobs in Georgia, most of which are on set. Earnings in these jobs average $84,000 a year.

As part of their internship, some of the graduates worked on the production crew for the independent movie “Moon Shine Still,” directed by Takashi Doscher. The movie was shot in September at Sweet Home Plantation in Harris County, Ga.

The On-Set Film Production Certificate curriculum totals 18 hours of academic credit and includes an introduction to the film industry, highly specialized training, and hands-on experience in the areas of on-set film production skills, professional equipment, and on-set procedures. CSU’s program anticipates graduating 100 students by the end of 2017.

For more details on CSU’s On-Set Film Production program, visit www.ColumbusState.edu/COMM or call 706-507-8601.

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Construction Begins on Bo Bartlett Center, Corn Center

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus State University’s College of the Arts held a news conference Monday, October 24 to celebrate the beginning of construction on enhancements to the Corn Center for the Visual Arts. The project will include the renovation of the second level that will house the Bo Bartlett Center and a new west façade and porch that will provide entryways to both the Bartlett Center and the Illges Gallery.

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“I am excited to see these projects moving forward,” said Chris Markwood, CSU president. “Just as we are finishing our project for education and nursing on the north end of downtown, these renovations on the Corn Center will allow us to fully utilize this beautiful arts complex. These will be great additions for CSU and Columbus.”

“This project is another example of the public/private partnership that has propelled our university and city to national prominence,” according to Rex Whiddon, director of development for CSU’s College of the Arts. “We are deeply indebted to our dedicated Board of Advisors and a cadre of generous donors. Without their commitment and generosity, this project, which is being funded solely by the private sector, would not be possible.”

The interior of the repurposed building will feature three galleries, a grand lobby, archive and administrative spaces. Programming will include a range of multidisciplinary approaches to creative learning drawing from dance, film, theater and music, as well as the visual arts. The center will offer lectures and symposia, as well as master classes by Bo Bartlett and a wide range of other artists from across the world. The center will house a collection of Bartlett’s historically important narrative paintings, sketchbooks and ephemera that tell the story of Bartlett’s journey as an artist.

“The center will provide innovative programs that will give Columbus State University national reach through ongoing collaborations with a diverse network of museums, art schools and universities across the country,” added David Houston, executive director of the Bartlett Center.

The new west façade and porch will provide a view of the Chattahoochee River and bring a new focus and presence to the Corn Center, providing increased visibility and circulation for both stories of the building, including a passenger elevator. The wood clad steel structure, designed by Studio Outside and Shipley Architects of Dallas, Texas, will also feature a new entrance to the Illges Gallery and a covered plaza that will be used for events and as an exhibition space.

For more information about the Bo Bartlett Center, contact David W. Houston, executive director of the Bo Bartlett Center, at 706-507-8044 or Rex Whiddon, director of development for CSU’S College of the Arts, at 706-507-8430.

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CSU’s Bartlett Center Gifted $50,000 from Late Ambassador’s Foundation

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Ambassador and American media mogul Walter Annenberg commissioned renowned artist and Columbus native Bo Bartlett for an official portrait during the 1990s.

Nearly 30 years later, that Pennsylvania appointment painting inspired the late ambassador’s family foundation, The Annenberg Foundation in Los Angeles, to gift Columbus State University’s Bo Bartlett Center with $50,000.

“This gift expands our already strong local and regional support to the national level,” said David W. Houston, executive director and chief curator of the center. “This reflects the center’s mission as a national art institution with a strong impact on the local community. It’s the first major gift outside of Georgia. Bo is a master of portraiture — from politicians to composers to everyday people. When he completes a portrait like the one he did for Ambassador Annenberg, his work has a special magic to it.”

Annenberg was the publishing powerhouse behind The Philadelphia Inquirer, creator of Seventeen magazine and developer of national publication TV Guide.

With a profound interest in education, Annenberg founded The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in 1958 and The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California in 1971.

From 1969 to 1974, Annenberg served as ambassador to the Court of St. James, Great Britain. By the 1980s, he sold his publishing and broadcast enterprises and devoted his attention to supporting public service, philanthropy and the arts.

Now, part of Annenberg’s art advocacy extends to Columbus. Next year, the university will open the Bo Bartlett Center, a 18,425-square-foot interactive gallery on the second floor of the Corn Center for the Visual Arts on CSU’s RiverPark campus.

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The multidisciplinary space will feature more than 300 paintings and drawings produced by Bartlett. It also will house his complete archive of journals, sketchbooks, photographs and other memorabilia.

“We plan to use this donation to support outreach efforts such as our visits to local public schools, homeless shelters and community lectures,” Houston said. “This donation helps us with our goal of collaborating with leading institutions around the country to provide artistic community projects that make an impact.”

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Visit bobartlettcentercsu.org to learn more about the Bo Bartlett Center. Also, visit bobartlett.com for more information about Bo Bartlett.

 

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CEO Dan Amos To Discuss Aflac Brand at Speaker Series Program

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Aflac Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Amos will discuss the Aflac brand during Columbus State University’s Department of Communication Speaker Series Tuesday, Sept. 20. The program begins at 7 p.m. in the Main Stage Theatre at CSU’s Riverside Theatre Complex, 10th Street and Bay Avenue. Admission is free and open to the public.

The Department of Communication Speaker Series began September 2014 and is presented in the fall and spring every year. The series brings topics of interest and leading public relations, business and media professionals to Columbus to share their knowledge and experiences with students and the community.

 

Dan Amos

Columbus Regional Health is the presenting sponsor of the fall program. WRBL TV 3 and WTVM News Leader 9 are media partners. PMB Broadcasting provides a $1,000 scholarship to a communication student each fall and spring, in honor of the speakers for the two programs.

For more information about the speaker series, visit www.ColumbusState.edu/COMM or call 706-507-8614.

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Columbus State University Hosts 850 International Musicians

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Eight hundred fifty guests of Columbus State University who are members of the International Double Reed Society (IDRS) bid farewell Thursday night during the Final Gala Orchestral Concert, the conclusion of the society’s five-day conference hosted in downtown Columbus.

The IDRS is a worldwide organization of double reed musicians, instrument manufacturers and enthusiasts. This was the society’s first-ever gathering in Georgia. Previous conference locales included Tokyo, New York University and Birmingham Conservatoire, England.

The IDRS Conference brought nearly 850 visitors to CSU’s RiverPark campus, including 650 guests in hotels around town. It was one more example of CSU’s profound economic impact on its local community.

Last month, a study conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia estimated CSU’s regional economic impact is $263.5 million. A 2015 study by CSU professor Ben Blair, the Sarah T. Butler Distinguished University Chair in Business and Finance and director of the Butler Center for Business and Economic Research in CSU’s Turner College of Business, estimated the economic impact of CSU’s RiverPark campus alone is $21 million annually.

“We’re all proud of the facilities we call home in the RiverCenter and the Saunders Center for Music Studies,” said Scott Harris, director of CSU’s Schwob School of Music. “With great faculty and staff members and a vibrant city surrounding our RiverPark campus, it’s a real treat to share those resources and put them on display, as it were, for an international audience.”

The conference, which began Sunday, June 26, served as an opportunity for the world’s best oboe and bassoon players to showcase their talents in a series of public performances. It was also an excellent opportunity for CSU’s double reed graduate students and student volunteers to gain experience running an international conference, Harris said.

For more information about the IDRS Conference, visit music.columbusstate.edu/idrs.

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Alumna Stars Opposite Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack

Cell PosterCOLUMBUS, Ga. — A mysterious smartphone signal mutates users into killing machines, and Columbus State University alumna Erin Elizabeth Burns’ character is caught in the zombie-apocalypse fray.

Her rescuers: actors John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson in this summer’s science fiction horror, “Cell.”

The ’04 voice graduate and former Miss CSU showcases her silver screen chops Friday, July 8, in the Stephen King thriller, which will also show on Amazon Video, iTunes and On Demand.

Burns’ road to cinema success started at CSU’s Schwob School of Music where she studied voice. She followed up this talent by studying acting at the Maggie Flanigan Studio in New York City.

Today, she constantly applies the undergraduate skills developed at CSU on film and TV projects. And before the sci-fi flick debuts, the always-on-the-move actress gives her alma mater the inside scoop about becoming part of “Cell” and its A-list cast and crew:

Q: What character do you play in ‘Cell?’

A: I play Denise — without giving too much plot away. John’s and Sam’s characters find me in the woods surviving from the phoners attacks on the human race.

Q: How did you land this summer thriller?

A: I did a taped audition. The casting director didn’t even see it initially. They sent a few girls to the producers for the callback, and the producers said, ‘Nope. Start Over.’ Casting went back through their auditions, found mine, sent it to producers, and the rest is history. I was the only actress called back for the role. It was kinda surreal. Oh! And I showed up with broken ribs, but that’s another story.

Q: And this film looks physically and mentally taxing. How did you prepare for the part of Denise?

A: After I booked it, I did coaching sessions with my coach in Los Angeles, Victor Villar-Hauser. We’d worked together at the studio in New York City where I trained. He is my go-to coach for any big roles that come up.

Q: How is this role different from others you have played on film?

A: It’s different in every way. I typically get cast as the ‘sweet, girl-next-door assistant.’ Denise is a badass, rifle-carrying, tough girl who also happens to be six months pregnant in the story. These are the roles that I crave.

Q: Well, we have our popcorn ready. So what’s next on acting fronts?

A: I’ll be working on a show on the IFC network next. Currently, I’m on Season 1 of ‘Satisfaction’ on USA. I have a Web series on YouTube called ‘The Adventures of Lizzy Belch,’ and you can see me from afar in the latest ‘Divergent’ film, ‘Allegiant.’

Q: As you know, CSU is now part of the Georgia Film Academy, which is a statewide effort to train Georgians for jobs in the film industry. Why is a program like this one crucial for CSU students entering the entertainment business?

A: Training is everything. Some productions are still bringing crewmembers from Los Angeles to work here in Georgia because — until now — we haven’t had the training for those positions. We have to build an infrastructure of both experienced crew and actors if we’re going to be seen as the ‘go-to place’ for film/TV production in the United States.

Q: Lastly, what advice can you give current CSU students and graduates working hard to break into the film and TV industry?

A: Work your butt off; get on any and every set you can; and talk less, listen more. For actors specifically, 2.5 percent of actors make their living doing this, so if you’re pursuing acting to become famous, you’re living in a fantasy world. It’s one of the most challenging fields to get into with daily rejection. That said: If you’re passionate about acting and can’t see yourself doing anything else with your life, by all means dive in headfirst. Also, create your own content. Buy a camera and some lights, and start writing the roles you want to play. Don’t wait for someone to give you an opportunity. Create it yourself. Just do it.

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New Art Degree at CSU Earns Full Accreditation

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Bachelor of Arts in Art degree program has been fully approved for accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, making all six Department of Art degrees accredited under the highest national standard.

“Achieving this [accreditation] milestone for our newest degree enhances our department’s standing within a peer group of the top art and design programs nationally,” said Joe Sanders, CSU’s Alan F. Rothschild Distinguished Chair of Art.

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CSU’s B.A. in Art degree track, which will begin enrolling students this fall, is designed to provide students a balance of studio art and liberal arts study. An important benefit of the program will be a high quality, flexible path to graduation for incoming freshman, non-traditional students, students who change majors and students who transfer from two-year degree programs, Sanders said.

By prioritizing an inclusive and broad educational approach emphasizing college completion, CSU’s B.A. in Arts degree program will support the University System of Georgia’s initiative to increase student success by boosting retention, progression and graduation (RPG) rates across the state.

CSU’s B.A. in Art will complement and support the art department’s current undergraduate curriculum, which includes three degree tracks: a B.F.A. in Art, a B.S.Ed. in Art Education and a B.A. in Art History. CSU’s new B.A. track will emphasize the liberal arts while preparing students for a wide variety of arts-related and other career fields. The Bachelor of Fine Arts track is CSU’s professional arts degree program that prepares students for graduate study and careers requiring more specialization.

“The inclusion of a B.A. in Art will create a more fully comprehensive Department of Art,” Sanders said.

A new Visual Communication Certificate is also launching this summer as a collaboration between CSU’s Departments of Art and Communication.

Learn more about CSU’s Department of Art at art.columbusstate.edu or apply online at admissions.columbusstate.edu/applications.

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Bo Bartlett Center to Open in Late 2017

Designed by Olson Kundig, Center is a Public/Private Partnership Dedicated to the Arts, Creativity and Collaboration

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The top floor of a former cotton warehouse on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, transformed by Tom Kundig, of the internationally renowned architecture firm Olson Kundig, will be unveiled as the Bo Bartlett Center in late 2017. Part of the RiverPark campus of Columbus State University, the center will encompass 18,425-square-feet of gallery, archive and multidisciplinary programming spaces.

This vibrant addition to the Southeast’s visual arts community is named after James “Bo” Bartlett III (born 1955, Columbus, Georgia), who is recognized as one of the leading figurative painters of his generation. Construction on the project begins August 2016.

Bo Bartlett Center Architectural Rendering

A unique partnership between a living mid-career artist and a state university, the center will house more than 300 paintings and drawings of Bartlett’s, as well as his complete archive of sketch books, correspondence, journals, recordings, photographs, artistic notes, memorabilia, objects and objets d’art.

Located on the second floor of the Corn Center for the Visual Arts as part of the College of the Arts at CSU, the Bartlett Center will serve as a catalyst for arts collaboration across the campus and around the country, with a full scope of exhibitions and programs that will encourage experimentation and bridge art forms, including music, dance, theater, film and visual art. As a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Art, Bartlett will conduct annual workshops at the center. A rotating exhibitions gallery will feature the work of visiting American artists of national and international acclaim, who will also teach master classes. In addition, the center will offer a full range of educational outreach and programming for the surrounding region, with a particular focus on providing access to art training and the development of creativity for traditionally underserved communities.

Admission to the center will be free.

“The mission of the Bo Bartlett Center is to explore creativity and learning within the context of the work and studio practice of this supremely talented and generous native son, Bo Bartlett,” said David Houston, executive director of the Bo Bartlett Center. “This center of creativity and experiential learning is based on a holistic approach to art and life that embraces the foundational role creativity plays in our everyday experience.”

The interior renovation of the repurposed building will feature four galleries with sliding and pivoting walls for dynamic spatial flexibility and adaptability; grand lobby; interactive research center; storage and archive space for Bartlett’s work; and office and reception areas. Soaring 23-foot-high ceilings in the main gallery will accommodate Bartlett’s large-scale works. A large skylight that runs the length of the building will introduce natural daylight throughout the space.

Olson Kundig is a Seattle-based design practice dedicated to the idea that buildings can serve as a bridge between nature, culture and people. The architecture team is led by Tom Kundig, design principal, and project managers Edward Lalonde and Angus MacGregor.

“As an adaptive reuse project, the Bo Bartlett Center represented a wonderful opportunity to reinforce how natural, creative and inspiring surroundings can have a positive effect on people’s lives,” said Tom Kundig, principal and owner of Olson Kundig.

Bartlett’s vision reflects his upbringing in a small southern town, where storytelling was an important part of life and tradition, and his complex mural-scale figurative paintings are deeply laden with personal history. His style and approach can be understood in the tradition of such noted American artists as Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Norman Rockwell and three generations of the Wyeth family. Bartlett’s work has been acquired by numerous private and public collections, including Crystal Bridges of American Art, Denver Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Seattle Art Museum. Bartlett lives and works in Columbus, Georgia, and Wheaton Island, Maine.

“I am honored to partner with Columbus State University,” said the artist. “I am particularly thrilled about our plans to reach out to young people, who perhaps haven’t had the opportunity to unlock their creativity and realize their potential. There was nothing like this when I was growing up in Columbus. But now that I am back in my hometown, I can’t think of a better way to give back.”

CSU is building a national and international reputation in the arts, especially with the development of its RiverPark campus in downtown Columbus, Georgia. This thriving cultural district includes the Riverside Theatre Complex, Corn Center for the Visual Arts and the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, a state-of-the-art performing arts complex that houses the Joyce and Henry Schwob School of Music.

“The establishment of the Bo Bartlett Center underlines CSU’s ongoing commitment to and excellence in the arts and its conviction that creativity is a powerful catalyst for innovation and advancement in the 21st century and beyond,” said Richard Baxter, dean of the College of the Arts at CSU.

For more information, please visit bobartlettcentercsu.org.

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Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music to Host PianoMania

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COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s PianoMania concert promises to engage and educate piano enthusiasts of all ages in an exciting exhibition of CSU’s best student pianists from the Joyce and Henry Schwob School of Music.

PianoMania is scheduled for Sunday, May 1 at 4 p.m. in Legacy Hall at RiverCenter for the Performing Arts in downtown Columbus. Admission is $25 per person.

Concert-goers will witness students give up their serious studies to delight in a more fun repertoire on four Steinway concert grand pianos with professor Alexander Kobrin, CSU’s L. Rexford Whiddon distinguished chair in piano.

“This is a day when my students and I let loose and have fun,” said Kobrin. “Young pianists are encouraged to attend with their families. We are looking forward to sharing many ensembles with music lovers.”

Widely acclaimed as a performer, Kobrin’s teaching has also been an inspiration to many students through his passion for music. An annual celebration guided by the vision and support of Marjorie Newman, PianoMania is a presentation of CSU’s Jack and JoRhee Pezold Division of Keyboard Studies.

Concert attendees will experience an intriguing selection of ensemble piano performances by Schwob School of Music piano students and special guest performers, including CSU professors Sergiu Schwartz and Boris Abramov.

Tickets are available online at www.rivercenter.org and at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts box office.

A conservatory within a public university, the Schwob School of Music is a community of artists committed to the highest standards of artistry and integrity within a selective and nurturing learning environment. The Schwob School’s dedicated faculty of teaching artists embrace creative approaches to best practices in education and provide a professionally focused experience preparing individuals to become leaders in the music field.

For more information about PianoMania, visit www.music.columbusstate.edu or contact Scott Harris, director of CSU’s Schwob School of Music, at 706-507-8419.

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Columbus State University Dedicates Radio Studio to Benefactor Jimbo Martin

 

Radio Station Ribbon-Cutting

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Department of Communication honored James “Jimbo” Martin, owner of PMB Broadcasting and benefactor of 88.5 WCUG Cougar Radio, during a recognition ceremony today that also marked the official launch of CSU’s student-operated radio station and learning laboratory.

In recognition of his support, the home of Cougar Radio was renamed “The Martin Studios,” a surprise unveiling that concluded the celebration in front of the Carpenter Building in downtown Columbus at the corner of 9th and Broadway.

Martin

Last  year, Martin donated to CSU the license to use a full-power, noncommercial radio station at 88.5FM. CSU Department of Communication students and faculty rebranded the station as WCUG and have been dependent on PMP Broadcasting talent, expertise and experience to help the station flourish.

For more information about Cougar Radio or CSU’s Department of Communication, contact Marion Scott, communication lecturer at CSU, at 706-604-5302 or scott_marion@columbusstate.edu. Listeners can tune in to Cougar Radio at 88.5 WCUG or online at https://wcugradio.columbusstate.edu/.

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Columbus State University’s Production of “Tartuffe” Features Comedy, Cameos

Tartuffe

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Celebrities from Columbus State University will grace the stage of this week’s Department of Theatre production of “Tartuffe,” a centuries-old comedic classic.

In addition to CSU’s most talented student actors, designers and production specialists, “Tartuffe” will feature cameo performances by CSU Provost Tom Hackett on Thursday, CSU First Lady Bridget Markwood on Friday and CSU President Chris Markwood on Saturday. Each show begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Riverside Theatre Complex on CSU’s RiverPark campus.

Molière’s “Tartuffe” was first performed more than 300 years ago, but CSU’s semi-modern production is set in the 1920s. The timeless comedy follows the exploits of Tartuffe, con artist extraordinaire, in a cautionary tale complete with quick wit, star-crossed lovers and a badgering grandmother.

Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and active duty military and $12 for children 12 and under. CSU faculty and staff with ID will receive two free tickets. CSU students with ID will receive one free ticket. Tickets are available from the RiverSide Theatre Box Office. Visit https://theatre.columbusstate.edu/index.php or call 706-507-8444 for more information.

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Columbus State University Art Student Commissioned For New Clock Tower Painting to Honor 5th President

Clock Tower Painting by Julianna Wells

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A new painting of Columbus State University’s iconic T.Y. Whitley Clock Tower, named for CSU’s first president, will be unveiled this afternoon during the inauguration of CSU’s fifth president.

CSU’s Alumni Association commissioned art major Julianna Wells to finish her painting in time for President Chris Markwood’s investiture ceremony beginning at 3 p.m. in the Bill Heard Theatre at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts in downtown Columbus.

The painting will be on display in the RiverCenter lobby during Thursday’s ceremony.

“When asked to paint the tower, I was ecstatic,” said Wells. “Ever since attending CSU, I wanted to make a painting centered around the clock tower because of how iconic it is.”

Wells is a junior in CSU’s Department of Art and a private student of Bo Barlett, an American realist artist from Columbus. Wells is also a recipient of CSU’s Funding Future Artists Scholarship that attracts students nationwide to CSU.

“The inspiration for my artwork comes from nature, my memories, dreams and experiences,” said Wells, a resident of Pine Mountain, Ga. “I would paint watercolors of the surrounding landscape, and that eventually grew into a lifelong passion.”

Wells’ experience and passion helped her design a different kind of painting.

“What makes this particular rendering of the clock tower unique is the addition of people,” said Jennifer Joyner, director of alumni and donor engagement at CSU. “Every other previous painting of the tower does not include people, but the tower is CSU’s main central station. It’s where students play Frisbee, host events and more. It only makes sense that that vitality is permanently depicted.”

“I wanted to show the tower as a hub of activity for students and as a monument to Columbus State University,” said Wells.

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Kaleidoscope Concert Showcases Every Instrument from the Schwob School of Music

Music

COLUMBUS, Ga. — More than 230 students from Columbus State University’s Joyce and Henry Schwob School of Music will take center stage, left stage, right stage and even the balconies of the Bill Heard Theatre Saturday night for Kaleidoscope, a 70-minute, full-spectrum musical performance featuring instrumentals, vocal ensembles, chamber music and individual performances.

“Kaleidoscope showcases the artistry of all our students in one fast-paced evening,” said Scott Harris, director of CSU’s Schwob School of Music. “In little more than an hour you’ll experience a veritable world tour through music. The music making is thrilling, varied, uplifting – we promise to send you away with a song in your heart, a bounce in your step, and gratitude for the talent these young musicians bring to Columbus.”

This year, Kaleidoscope will conclude a week’s worth of activities celebrating CSU and the inauguration of President Chris Markwood. Markwood will be formally installed as CSU’s fifth president by the chancellor of the University System of Georgia onThursday, March 31. For more information about the president’s inauguration week, visit https://our5thpresident.columbusstate.edu/.

The Kaleidoscope Concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2 in the Bill Heard Theatre at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts in downtown Columbus. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from the RiverCenter Box Office.

CSU’s Schwob School of Music is a community of artists committed to the highest standards of artistry and integrity within a selective and nurturing learning environment. The school’s dedicated faculty of teaching artists embrace creative approaches to best practices in education, and provide a professionally focused experience preparing individuals to become leaders in the music field.

For more information about Kaleidoscope, visit www.music.columbusstate.edu or contact Scott Harris, director of the Schwob School of Music, at 706-507-8419.

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Tony Award-Winning Choreographer Backs CSU’s New Dance Program

ReinkingCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Tony Award-winning Broadway actress, dancer and choreographer Ann Reinking will serve as Honorary Chair of the Board of Advisors for Columbus State University’s new dance program and the “Broadway Gala” fundraiser scheduled for later this year. CSU’s Department of Theatre will begin offering the dance minor in the fall with plans to eventually offer a major in dance.

Reinking won the 1997 Tony Award for best choreography for the revival of “Chicago” in which she reprised her role as Roxie Hart. She first starred in that role on Broadway in 1977.

“We appreciate the work of Patty Taylor and our advisory board in securing Ms. Reinking’s support of our theatre department’s dance program. This is another example of the College of the Arts’ national profile and potential for international recognition,” said College of Arts Dean Richard Baxter.

Reinking has been nominated for other Tony Awards, including Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Joan of Arc in “Goodtime Charley,” Best Featured Actress in a Musical for “Dancin’” and Best Director for “Fosse.” Other Broadway credits include her debut as Lulu in “Cabaret,” as well as critically acclaimed performances in “Over Here,” “A Chorus Line” and “Sweet Charity.”

In addition to her successful Broadway career, Reinking is known for her role as Daddy Warbucks’ secretary and would-be girlfriend Grace Farrell in the movie “Annie.” She starred opposite Dudley Moore in the film “Micki + Maude” and served as choreographer for the ABC television movie version of the Broadway musical “Bye Bye Birdie.

Spring Swing, a dance party benefiting CSU’s dance program, is scheduled for Friday, April 29 from 7 p.m. to midnight at Woodruff Park in downtown Columbus. Admission is $10 at the gate. Plans are still being developed for the Broadway Gala, which is scheduled for December 2.

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