College of Fine Arts News

Associate Dean for Arts Education Appointed at University of Texas at Austin's College of Fine Arts

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hunter March Appointed to Newly Created Deanship

Hunter March, professor of music education in the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin, has been appointed associate dean for arts education in the College of Fine Arts, effective Sept. 1.

Statewide and national leadership in arts education research and teaching, with an emphasis on teacher training, is one of four core objectives in the College of Fine Arts mission and strategic plan. The newly created deanship and this appointment reflect the colleges commitment to making fine arts education and teacher training a daily priority.

March has been teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in music education in the Butler School of Music for 31 years, and has been the graduate adviser in the music school for 17 years. He is also author of three music textbooks published by Silver Burdett Ginn, which have been adopted in Texas and are widely used throughout the United States. He has held leadership roles as an officer of the Music Educators National Conference and the Texas Music Educators Association. March has presented workshops for public schools throughout the United States at national, state and regional conferences, and for the Department of Defense Overseas Dependent Schools. He been chair of the Society for General Music and vice president of the Texas Music Educators Association.

Professor March is eminently well-qualified to fill this deanship, said Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts. Arts education is a vital part of the colleges public service to the State of Texas. Arguably, its the most urgent commitment we can make to perpetuating the art forms and disciplines to which the College of Fine Arts is dedicated.

March was inspired by the education reform movement of the 1960s and began his career as an award-winning middle school teacher in the schools of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan. While teaching in the Ann Arbor public schools, his choirs performed for the Music Educators National Conference and with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony and the University of Michigan choirs. He was recognized as the statewide Music Teacher of the Year and has more recently received The University of Texas at Austins College of Fine Arts Teaching Excellence Award.

I am excited about Dean Dempsters commitment to fine arts education studies and share his vision for The University of Texas at Austins College of Fine Arts becoming a leading national center in fine arts teacher education, said March. Im honored and thrilled to accept this new position and greatly look forward to working with our talented education faculty as we journey toward realizing this magnificent mandate together.

New Research Center in Antigua, Guatemala Expands University of Texas at Austin's Latin American Research

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Department of Art and Art History in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin has introduced Casa Herrera, a new research, conference and teaching facility in Antigua, Guatemala, that will enable the department to expand its Mesoamerica Center.

“The Casa Herrera is a fabulous, newly renovated, educational facility strategically located in the center of Antigua, Guatemala,” says Provost Steven Leslie. “Its physical location and the excellence of our Department of Art and Art History, whose faculty will lead research and educational programs there, set the stage for The University of Texas at Austin to expand its already very strong programs in Central and Latin America. The Casa Herrera is a place where scholars from Central America and from around the world will come together for Mayan and Mesoamerican studies.”

Led by internationally recognized Mayanist and Art History Professor David Stuart, research at Casa Herrera will focus on the varied disciplines that contribute to the study of Pre-Columbian art, archaeology, history and culture. Its larger mission is to create new opportunities for education and research, aiding learning and dialogue in many fields of study, among scholars and students from multiple institutions and nations in Central America and beyond.

“There’s nothing quite like the Casa Herrera,” says Stuart. “Historically, major research centers focused on Mesoamerica have almost all been in the United States, but now we’re creating an academic institution on-site, where it really belongs. The Casa Herrera will allow scholars and students from the United States and other countries to interact and learn from one another in ways that are so exciting to think about. Guatemala and the whole region have so much to offer for inter-disciplinary studies and experiences, and the potential benefits for the university look boundless.”

The original Casa Herrera was built around 1680, and stands as one of the many architectural jewels of Antigua, the former capital of Guatemala, now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Casa Herrera property was meticulously restored in 2008 under the careful auspices of its owners, the Fundacin Pantalen, which has granted use of the facility to The University of Texas at Austin.

“Casa Herrera allows the university to enlarge its involvement with the region and establish a research and educational anchor in Central America. It provides a singular research facility for Maya scholars and Meso-American researchers from around the world, and at the same time will serve as an educational resource for Guatemala and the region,” says Doug Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “The College of Fine Arts is indebted to the Fundacin Pantalen and the Herrera family for their vision and for their generosity in joining this research and educational mission with the university.”

Recent Graduate Awarded $50,000 Literary Prize

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Frances YaChu Cowhig, a graduate of the James A. Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas at Austin, has won the 2009 Keene Prize for Literature for her play titled Lidless, a poetic treatment of the issue of torture at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Keene Prize is one of the world’s largest student literary prizes. Cowhig will receive $50,000 and an additional $50,000 will be divided among three finalists.

Cowhig’s play was chosen out of 58 submissions in drama, poetry and fiction. In the play, a former Guantanamo detainee dying of liver disease journeys to the home of his female interrogator to demand reparation for the damage she wreaked on his body and soul. It recreates the traumatic experience of interrogation and moves toward reconciliation between its protagonists.

“Political without being propagandistic, moving without being sentimental, ‘Lidless’ uses theatrical space, physical bodies and talismanic objects to create a bold imaginative intervention into the debate about torture,” said Elizabeth Butler Cullingford, chair of the Department of English and chair of the award selection committee.

In addition to the Keene Prize “Lidless” has been selected by playwright Sir David Hare as the winner of the 2009 Yale Emerging Playwrights Prize. The play was produced at the university’s Department of Theatre and Dance Lab Theatre as part of the annual production, UT New Theatre (UTNT), last spring and will be given staged readings at Houston’s Alley Theatre, Ojai Playwrights Conference and Yale Repertory Theatre. It will be published by Yale University Press.

“We are all thrilled that Frances has won the coveted Keene Prize as a capstone to her other astonishing achievements this year! She is already changing the landscape of the American Theatre!” said Suzan Zeder, Professor of Playwriting from the Department of Theatre and Dance.

The three finalists include Malachi Black for the collection of sonnets “Cantos from Insomnia” and Sarah Cornwell for her short stories “Mr. Legs,” “Champlain” and “Other Wolves on Other Mountains.” Both are master’s of fine arts candidates at the Michener Center. The other finalist, Sarah Smith, a Michener Center graduate, was selected for her collection of poetry, “Enormous Sleeping Women.”

Established in 2006 in the College of Liberal Arts, the Keene Prize is named after E.L. Keene, a 1942 graduate of the university, who envisioned an award that would enhance and enrich the university’s prestige and reputation in the international market of American writers. The competition is open to all university undergraduate and graduate students, and the prize is awarded annually to the student who creates the most vivid and vital portrayal of the American experience in microcosm. Students submit poetry, plays and fiction or nonfiction prose.

Longs Give $1 Million to Butler School of Music

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A $1 million gift from Austin community leaders and art philanthropists Teresa Lozano Long and Joe R. Long has created the Joe R. and Teresa Long Endowed Chair in Piano in the Butler School of Music in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin.

“I am pleased to join Dean Doug Dempster in recognizing this wonderful gift from Joe and Teresa Long,” said Steve Leslie, provost and executive vice president of the university. “With this gift, Joe and Teresa have once again demonstrated great vision in supporting the performing arts at the university. We are deeply grateful to the Longs for this gift and for all of their support.”

This latest gift follows the Longs’ $500,000 donation in March that created a piano scholarship endowment for the Butler School of Music. The Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Piano Scholarship will support some of the most talented students studying at the Butler School of Music.

“We hope to accomplish two things with both of these gifts,” said Joe Long. “One is to always have a professor of piano of national and international stature who will attract very talented students, we hope among the best in the nation. Secondly, with the gift for scholarships for piano students, we hope to further this goal and enable an outstanding professor in piano to offer scholarships to the very best students they can find, which in the end will greatly enhance the reputation and standing of our School of Music.”

The Longs are both graduates of the university. Joe Long received his law degree and Teresa received her doctor’s degree in health and physical education from the university. The couple has provided considerable support and resources to other schools and colleges at the university including the School of Law, the College of Education and the Institute of Latin American Studies, in addition to their contributions to the College of Fine Arts.

“The Longs’ recent gift in support of our piano faculty and students in the Butler School is one more exceedingly generous gift in a truly astonishing history of giving to education, the arts and the university,” said Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “Joe and Terry have exemplified devoted, results-oriented philanthropy that sets an example for all of us who love Austin and the university. They’ve certainly inspired me to try harder and give more.”

The holder of the Long Chair in Piano will be recommended by B. Glenn Chandler, director of the Butler School of Music, and approved by the Board of Regents. Once the Board of Regents approves the recommendation, the first recipient will be announced. An announcement is expected by late summer.

“We are very grateful that the Longs have provided an endowed chair in piano that will enhance the Butler School of Music forever and will further enable us to attract and retain excellent faculty,” said Chandler.

Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers to Join Faculty at Butler School of Music

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas Internationally renowned violinist Anne Akiko Meyers will join the faculty of the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin in fall 2009. Meyers is one of the most celebrated violinists of our time, earning worldwide recognition as a soloist, chamber musician and educator.

“The University of Texas at Austin is proud to offer a home for the top creative minds of the world,” said Provost Steven Leslie. “We strive to create a culture of excellence that generates intellectual excitement, transforms lives and develops leaders. A world-class talent, Anne Akiko Meyers sets the standard for artistic leadership and I am proud to welcome her to our faculty.”

Audiences in Austin know Meyers from her recent solo appearance at the Butler School of Music’s Starling Distinguished Violin Series and from her multiple performances with the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

“Anne Akiko Meyers is a celebrated concert violinist of the very highest order,” said Doug Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “She performs with technical virtuosity that never overwhelms her musicality. She performs with an unmistakably lush tone that she uses to explore an adventuresome repertoire. I’m looking forward to her extraordinary standard of professionalism and artistry coming to The University of Texas at Austin.”

Meyers’ portfolio includes multiple premieres of works by composers such as David Baker, John Corigliano, Jennifer Higdon, Wynton Marsalis, Olivier Messiaen and Somei Satoh among others. She has recorded more than 20 albums, brings a commitment to teaching and new music, and remains a participant in community outreach programs around the world.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to work with the incredibly talented faculty and build on the inspiration the Butlers have afforded The University of Texas at Austin,” said Akiko Meyers. “I believe the students and quality of music making will be the talk of the world. I look forward to passing on the traditions that I learned from my mentors and incredible teachers throughout my life.”

In addition to teaching master classes globally, she has been a panelist at the Juilliard-hosted Starling-Delay Symposium and has adjudicated numerous competitions. She was recently the first violinist to be named Regent’s Lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Ms. Meyers has achieved much in her 20 years of concertizing around the world,” said B. Glenn Chandler, director of the Butler School of Music. “I am very pleased that she has decided to make our school the place where she will now focus her attention on passing those performance skills on to the next generation of young violinists.”

Audiences in Austin know Meyers from her recent solo appearance at the Butler School of Music’s Starling Distinguished Violin Series and from her multiple performances with the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

Kathleen Panoff Brings New Vision to The University of Texas at Austin Performing Arts Center

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

AUSTIN, TexasWith a diverse new performance season and new leadership, The University of Texas at Austin’s Performing Arts Center is poised to broaden and blur the boundaries of what a performing arts center can offer its audiences.

Director Kathleen Panoff has been working on the job, part-time, until her appointment takes effect August 1. She has already played a part in establishing the program for the 2009-2010 Performing Arts Center season, adding a performance by Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer, as well as an evening of conversation with cartoonists Robert Crumb (American Splendor) and Art Spiegelman (Maus). Under her leadership as executive director of the Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond, she was an active commissioner of new music and recently co-commissioned Steve Reich’s work Double Sextet which took home the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Panoff has had a distinguished career in the performing arts, having been the managing director of the Cincinnati Playhouse before founding and running the Modlin Center for 13 years. She has been a development officer for the Celebrity Series of Boston and WGUC-FM, Fine Arts Public Radio in Cincinnati, and owns a private consultancy in fundraising. Panoff is a flutist and singer with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music education and conducting from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. She is a native of Virginia, and began her career as a music teacher in schools in Texas, Ohio and Virginia.

Read the full Austin American Statesman article.

Theatre and Dance Graduate Student Honored with Michael H. Granof Award

Thursday, May 21, 2009

AUSTIN, TexasChristian Rabeling, a doctoral student in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, has won the $10,000 Michael H. Granof Outstanding Graduate Student Award at the University Coop/Graduate School Awards for Excellence in Graduate Education

The Excellence in Graduate Education awards recognize and reward outstanding graduate students for distinguished scholarship, research, writing and teaching.

Rabeling’s research focuses on evolutionary biology by using ants and experimental systems. His internationally recognized discovery and collection of the first of its kind species of ant in the Amazon has established his reputation as a worldclass entomologist. In addition to his scientific expertise, he is well known in his department as a gifted teacher of undergraduate students. His recent paper about the new ant species was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and received more than 10,000 hits at Google within 72 hours of publication.

The Outstanding Dissertation Award recognizes exceptional work by doctoral students. Three awards of $5,000 each were presented to: Benjamin Hardekopf, Computer Science; Michael Spinetta, Psychology; and Hulya Yildiz from Comparative Literature. Yildiz was the 2007 recipient of the Mitchell Award for Outstanding Graduate Research.

The Outstanding Thesis/Report Award recognizes exceptional work by master’s degree students. Three awards of $3,000 each were presented to: Suzanne Fanger, Human Development and Family Sciences; Charlotte Griffin, Theatre and Dance; and Timothy Weinzirl, Astronomy.

The George H. Mitchell Award for Excellence in Graduate Research recognizes outstanding research that is substantially in progress. Three awards of $3,000 each were presented to: Naminata Diabate, Comparative Literature; Jeremy Goldbach, Social Work; and Barrett Klein, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior.

The William S. Livingston Outstanding Graduate Student Academic Employee Award recognizes an outstanding teaching assistant, assistant instructor and graduate research assistant. Three awards of $2,500 each were presented to Catherine Connell, Sociology, for Outstanding Assistant Instructor; Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, Sociology, for Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant; and Jaehong Park, Information, Risk, and Operations Management, for Outstanding Teaching Assistant. Graduate students make significant contributions across the university, said Victoria Rodrguez, vice provost and dean of graduate studies. They advance research programs, teach and mentor undergraduates and discover new knowledge. The students being honored with these awards represent the best of graduate education and research at the university.

The Graduate School and the University Coop hosted the awards presentation on May 12 at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Ned Rifkin Appointed Director of The Blanton Museum of Art

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dr. Ned Rifkin, former undersecretary for art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., has been appointed director of the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin.

Beginning Sept. 1, Rifkin also will hold the position of professor of art and art history in the Department of Art and Art History in the College of Fine Arts. He also will become a special adviser to President William Powers Jr. on the visual arts for the campus and collections at the university.

“Ned Rifkin is a tremendous addition to our university,” said Powers. “His vision, energy and knowledge will be a critical factor in shaping the visual arts at the university into a new and exciting era. I could not be more excited or delighted about what Ned Rifkin will mean for making UT one of the nation’s leading centers for the arts. Under his leadership, the Blanton will become the ‘arts entrance’ to our campus.” The appointment of Rifkin, which follows a nationwide search for a director, was effective May 1, said Dr. Steven Leslie, provost of the university. Rifkin succeeds Jessie Otto Hite, who retired in March 2008 after having been director of the art museum for 15 years. Ann Wilson, associate director of the museum, has been the interim director.

“Ned Rifkin is one of our nation’s most visible and highly regarded art museum directors and we are absolutely delighted to have him as our director of the Blanton Museum,” Leslie said. “His appointment at UT is also a major step forward for the visual arts in Austin.

“Ned’s leadership of the Blanton and his role as special adviser to President Powers sets the stage for what will be a wonderful and leading edge campuswide focus on the visual arts. Ned has an engaging, collaborative leadership style and discussions will begin immediately for the establishment of partnerships with the Department of Art and Art History, Ransom Center, Briscoe Center for American History and the Benson Library for joint exhibits of the outstanding holdings of these nationally prominent centers. The stage is set for exciting times ahead.”

Leslie said the appointment of a new director coincides with an administrative restructuring that moves supervision of The Blanton Museum of Art from the College of Fine Arts to the Office of the Provost.

“Although the Blanton Museum is strongly connected to the academic units of the College of Fine Artsand remains strongly connectedits mission as an art museum differs from those academic units,” said Leslie. “We think this move will enable the museum to strengthen and enhance its relationship with the community.”

“It is indeed a privilege for me to accept the positions that The University of Texas at Austin has offered and I am grateful to all of those involved in making it possible for me to come here,” Rifkin said. “After decades of working as a curator, director and leader in the art museum field, it makes complete sense that I would return to Texas, where my career began over 30 years ago as a young professor of art, to lead the Blanton and to share my experiences in the world of art with students, faculty and lovers of art in this important and growing geographical area.

“I am deeply gratified by these appointments and expect to contribute generously to the cultural community at the university, in Austin and nationally. This university has within it numerous colleagues and potential partners to provide those who visit Austin with immensely rich and diverse cultural experiences.”

Prior to his role as undersecretary for art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., Rifkin directed the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Menil Collection and Foundation in Houston and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. He also has extensive curatorial experience gained at the Hirshhorn, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Before entering the art museum profession, Rifkin was an assistant professor in the Department of Art at The University of Texas at Arlington from 19771980.

Rifkin was appointed director of the Hirshhorn in 2002 before he took a newly created position of undersecretary for art at the Smithsonian in 2004. As undersecretary of art, Rifkin oversaw a $100 million budget, six museums (Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the National Museum of African Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the CooperHewitt National Design Museum, the Hirshhorn and the National Portrait Gallery) as well as the Archives of American Art, the Renwick Gallery and the Smithsonian Photography Initiative.

Rifkin earned his bachelor of arts degree as a fine arts major with a minor in philosophy from Syracuse University. He went on to earn his master’s and doctor of philosophy degrees in the history of art from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has lectured on various subjects in modern and contemporary art, the history of cinema and photography, and notforprofit leadership practice both nationally and internationally. He has authored numerous articles, books and exhibition catalogues throughout his career and has served on many juries of exhibitions, public sculpture commissions and awards.

The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin, housed in a recently completed two building complex, is one of the foremost university art museums in the country. The museum’s collection is the largest and most comprehensive in Central Texas and comprises more than 18,000 works. It is recognized for its European paintings, modern and contemporary American and Latin American art and an encyclopedic collection of prints and drawings.
Ned Rifkin

Mary Winton Green Receives E. William Doty Award 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

COFA Advisory Council Member Mary Winton Green Awarded College’s Highest Honor

The College of Fine Arts established the Doty Award to honor the most extraordinary achievements and contributions made by alumni, faculty and friends of the College of Fine Arts. The award was named for E. William Doty, the founding dean of the college. Past recipients include: author James A. Michener; Butler School of Music alumnus and Penn State President Emeritus Bryce Jordan; and Austin arts patrons Sarah and Ernest Butler, for whom the Butler School of Music is named.

Born in 1923, Mary Winton Green grew up in Waco, Texas and followed in her mothers footsteps by attending The University of Texas at Austin. In 1944, she graduated from the Department of Music with a BM degree in Music Studies. Mary continued her education at the School of Social Service Administration at The University of Chicago, earning her MA degree is 1949.

In 1951, Mary married David Green, who, a few years after their marriage, founded the Quartet Manufacturing Company, which grew to be a substantial manufacturer of office products. Over the years, Mary volunteered with and supported organizations such as the United Way, the Chicago Symphony and the Art Institute of Chicago. Her social work experience included the American Red Cross, the Illinois Childrens Home and Aid, and a position as assistant professor in the School of Social Service Administration at The University of Chicago.

Marys interest in and commitment to the College of Fine Arts led to the creation of the Mary Winton Green Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Music and the David and Mary Winton Green Chair in String Performance and Pedagogy. Mary has been an active member of the colleges Advisory Council since 2001, and her continued support and friendship are invaluable to the college.

Oscar G. Brockett 2009 USITT Award Recipient

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Professor Emeritus Dr. Oscar G. Brockett has received the USITT Award from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. The USITT Award is the highest honor given by the institute and recognizes a lifetime contribution to the performing arts community. Presented annually since 1967, this year’s award was presented at the USITT annual conference held March 18–21 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. Brockett began teaching in university theatre programs in 1949 and is considered by many to be the world’s foremost theatre historian. His book, “History of the Theatre,” is the top–ranked and highest–selling theatre history text of the 20th century. His most recent literary contribution, “A History of Scenic Design and Technology,” has been completed with publication projected for 2010.

Upon arriving at the University of Texas at Austin in 1978, Brockett served as dean of the College of Fine Arts before stepping down in 1980 to head the Ph.D. in Theatre History program in the Department of Theatre and Dance until his retirement in 2006. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and Fulbright Award, Brockett is a Fellow of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center and has been awarded multiple career achievement awards from groups like the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the Texas Educational Theatre Association.