College of Fine Arts News

Visual Arts Center in Department of Art and Art History Scheduled for Completion Spring 2010 at The University of Texas at Austin

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Art Building to get a New Entrance and Exhibition Space

The former site of the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art in the Art Building is undergoing major renovation to house a new contemporary art hub, the Visual Arts Center (VAC) in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. The newly renovated space, designed by renowned architects Lake | Flato, will house exhibitions, educational instruction and research within the Department of Art and Art History. The construction is scheduled for completion in spring 2010, and the VAC will open its doors for its premier exhibition in September 2010.

Since March 2007, Lake | Flato has been working with the university to create an innovative renovation for the department. The VAC space is a central component of this remodel. It is prominently placed to serve as the hub of creative, academic and social life for visual art students with exhibitions, lectures, symposia, the Maya Meetings at Texas, art related conferences and much more. In addition, there will finally be a prominent entrance to the Art Building, elevating the overall physical look and changing the face of the department’s home.

“This dynamic new facility will draw students, professors, scholars and the public together to explore the visual arts within the department and beyond,” said John Yancey, chair of the Department of Art and Art History. “Graduate students will, for the first time, have premier spaces for research and production. All four divisions (art history, design, studio art and visual arts studies/art education) will share the benefits of this facility.”

When completed, the Visual Arts Center will have a state-of-the-art exhibition venue, along with a new outdoor courtyard for a variety of programming. The new exhibition galleries will present a year-round schedule of exhibitions from faculty, students, alumni and visiting artists. The outdoor courtyard will function as a multi-use space where audiences can view outdoor installation, sculpture, video and time-based art. The entire facility will be available for the campus and larger community to attend exhibitions, events and activities.

“The Visual Arts Center will provide a home from which all department exhibitions, events and activities will flourish,” said Jade Walker, director of the Visual Arts Center and curator of the Courtyard Gallery at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. “It will not only exist as a departmental exhibition space, but also as one of the leading contemporary arts spaces in Texas.”

Learn more about the Visual Arts Center at

Performing Arts Center Now Texas Performing Arts at The University of Texas at Austin

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Name Reflects Academic Mission of the College of Fine Arts

Under the new leadership of Director and Associate Dean Kathy Panoff, The University of Texas at Austin Performing Arts Center has a new name: Texas Performing Arts at The University of Texas at Austin.
The change aligns the program with its prevailing academic mission as a College of Fine Arts unit and the strong recognition and tradition associated with the university.

Texas Performing Arts is a more comprehensive representation of the remarkable work our students, faculty and staff do on our stages, in our classrooms, studios and production shops and in the campus and community engagement activities we provide for the Austin community, Panoff said.

In addition to its important academic role at the university, Texas Performing Arts presents significant works of music, theatre, dance and conversation at six venues across the campus, as well as the best in touring Broadway and concert attractions. This breadth of programming is not available anywhere else in Central Texas.
Since Panoff’s arrival, subscriptions for the 2009-2010 Texas Performing Arts season have more than tripled.

We worked very hard, she said, to put together a season of internationally renowned artists, and as the new director I am pleased and honored by the community’s enthusiastic response.

And while Panoff has only recently begun her tenure at Texas Performing Arts, she was able to put her stamp on the upcoming season while dividing her time last semester between Austin and her former directorial position at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Center. Her involvement in personalizing the season includes a role in developing the look and tone of the 2009-2010 season brochure, an effort to develop stronger faculty, student, campus and community involvement in Texas Performing Arts and the addition of Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer; Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman: A Conversation hosted by Franoise Mouly; and New Zealand dance company, Black Grace, to the season.

Department of Art and Art History Welcomes Prestigious Professor

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Leonard Lehrer appointed as part-time Visiting Professor in Art

The College of Fine Arts and the Department of Art and Art History have jointly appointed Professor Leonard Lehrer as a part-time Visiting Professor in Art. Professor Lehrer’s appointment will focus on revitalizing the 30 year-old Guest Artist in Printmaking Program (GAPP) and to serve as an advisor at large for various College initiatives including the newly implemented Arts Education initiative of the College of Fine Arts.

Professor Lehrer’s primary responsibility will be to coordinate a new program tentatively titled Printmaking Convergence that will enhance the 30 year-old GAPP and bring national attention to the graduate printmaking program and new Visual Arts Center (VAC) printmaking studio. His main focus will be on developing a program that takes advantage of the wealth of fine art print-related resources at The University of Texas, in the Austin community and across the state and nation. The goal of the program is to promote the art of the print and all of its manifestations across a broad spectrum of art making and scholarship in order to enhance the educational mission of the department. Professor Lehrer will teach one organized course per year and serve as the director of the Printmaking Convergence program.

Knowledge of his retirement from Colombia College in Chicago came to us during the summer months. The fortuitous opportunity to bring an individual of his experience to UT was simply too good to pass up. In addition to the focus on printmaking, his national leadership role in developing arts education policy will benefit the College’s goal of improving high school arts education in the State of Texas.

He comes to Austin after serving from 2000 2007 as Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College, and most recently as Associate Provost for External Affairs. Previous to this appointment he held positions as chair or director of art departments and art schools at The University of New Mexico, The University of Texas at San Antonio, Arizona State University and New York University. He served on the College Art Association’s committee to establish national guidelines for the M.F.A. and B.F.A degrees; he was also President of the MidAmerica College Art Association.

Professor Lehrer is currently Chair of the College Board’s National Taskforce on Arts Education, a Founding Trustee of the International Print Center New York (IPCNY), Trustee of apexart Gallery, New York, and Trustee of the International Centre for Culture and Management (ICCM), Salzburg, Austria. He recently received the highly prestigious Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking Award by the Southern Graphics Council. Previous winners of this award include Xu Bing, William Wiley, Warrington Colescott and Chuck Close. Professor Lehrer is a painter and printmaker whose work has been seen internationally for several decades. He has had more than 43 solo exhibitions; these include shows in New York City, Philadelphia and extensively throughout the United States, Germany, Austria and Spain including five, one-person museum exhibitions.

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.