College of Fine Arts News

Holly Williams Appointed Interim Chair of Department of Theatre and Dance

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Appointment effective June 1st.

Holly Williams, associate professor and senior associate chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin, has been appointed interim chair of the department, effective June 1.

Williams succeeds Bob Schmidt, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, who is stepping down after serving as both interim and chair of the department since 2006, and senior associate chair from 1996-2006.

“The college is indebted to Bob Schmidt for more than a decade of steadfast administrative leadership to the Department of Theatre and Dance,” said College of Fine Arts Dean Douglas Dempster. “And we’re truly fortunate to have an equally capable and determined interim chair in Professor Holly Williams.”

As a dancer, Williams performed nationally and internationally with the companies of Mark Morris, Laura Dean and Jose Limon. Her choreography has been staged for companies across the United States, and her work for the Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Austin Lyric Opera and Dallas Theatre Center has won national acclaim.

As a writer and critic, she has contributed to The New York Times, Dallas Morning News and Austin American-Statesman among other publications. She is president elect of the American College Dance Festival Association and the Council of Dance Administrators, and has been on dance panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Dance/USA and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.

“The students of the Department of Theatre and Dance are exceptional young artists and the faculty are truly inspirational,” said Williams. “I am honored to serve them all and move forward the goals of our programs.”

Williams earned her bachelor of arts degree from Barnard College at Columbia University, and her master of fine arts degree from Texas Woman’s University, from which she also received the 2001 Distinguished Alumnae Award in dance. In addition to her dance administration duties directing the university’s master of fine arts dance program, Williams continues to choreograph for dance companies throughout the United States and abroad. In 2008 she was named to the Fulbright Senior Specialist roster in dance. She has been on faculty in the Department of Theatre and Dance since 1995.

Shepard Fairey Installation POSTPONED at The University of Texas at Austin

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mural Installation for Landmarks public art program


The Landmarks project to create a mural by street artist Shepard Fairey has been postponed until further notice. The work was intended for the Art Building (ART) at The University of Texas at Austin and would have been created on 19 March 2009.

The artist approached the College of Fine Arts with an idea to create a mural on one of its buildings earlier this month.

“We jumped at the opportunity and set the wheels in motion to take advantage of his offer,” says Landmarks director Andre Bober. “Shepard’s work is important and perfectly suited to our program, but it was ambitious to try to pull it off in just one week. Unfortunately, we ran out of time.”

Dean of the College of Fine Arts, Doug Dempster would like to reschedule the event. “We would still like to see his work here on campus, but the compressed schedule makes it too difficult at this time. As dean of Fine Arts, I felt that we were rushing the process with an important artist and an important installation. I decided that it would be better to slow down and proceed in a more deliberate fashion. I’m sorry that we could not move fast enough for this project to happen.”

Zarathustra James, Fairey’s representative said it was great of Landmarks to welcome Fairey’s work, but that they understood the logistical challenges. “Shepard would definitely be interested in a future project,” said James. “With a little more planning, he’ll even be able to get involved with the faculty and students.”

Distinguished Curators, Scholars and Critics of Contemporary Art Present at Viewpoint 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Distinguished Curators, Scholars and Critics of Contemporary Art Present at Viewpoint 2009

The 18th annual Viewpoint Lecture series will be presented by the Department of Art and Art History this spring. Viewpoint 2009 is a series of concentrated visits by leading curators, critics and scholars who are involved in the diverse and multifaceted contemporary art world. The lectures occur over the course of the entire spring 2009 semester, allowing students to share critical dialogue and network with industry experts. Viewpoint is the only major lecture series of its kind in the United States.

This year’s invitees are internationally-recognized artists Phong Bui and Leah Ollman. Bui is an artist, writer and curatorial adviser at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Museum of Modern Art affiliate. His numerous installations over the last two years have earned the Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Eric Isenbeurger Annual Prize for Installation from the National Academy Museum. He is the editor and publisher of the monthly journal The Brooklyn Rail, a critical perspective on arts, politics and culture in New York City and beyond.

Leah Ollman has been writing criticism and features on the visual arts for the Los Angeles Times for more than 20 years. She is a corresponding editor for Art in America and the author of numerous catalogue essays. Her publications include: Strangely Familiar (2008), The Photography of John Brill (2002) and William Kentridge: Weighingand Wanting (2001). She lives in San Diego and is working on a project exploring the affinities between poetry and photography.

New Performing Arts Director Named

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kathleen Panoff Appointed Director and Associate Dean of Performing Arts Center

After a seven monthlong international search, Kathleen Panoff, currently executive director of the Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond, will be the next director and associate dean of The University of Texas at Austin Performing Arts Center, effective Aug.1.

She emerged from a terrific field of strong candidates, says College of Fine Arts Dean Douglas Dempster. She has a lifelong dedication to arts education and the place of the performing arts in higher education, which has included a faculty appointment and the creation of an Arts Management program at the University of Richmond. Kathy is equally well known by artists and arts managers for her superb judgment in arts presenting as she is respected for her administrative and business acumen. I couldn’t be more pleased with her appointment.

Panoff will be taking over the post once held by former Performing Arts Center Director Pebbles Wadsworth and Interim Director April Holmes.

I am honored to become a member of the University of Texas at Austin community, says Panoff, and look forward to working with our arts faculty and students and the Austin community at large, to write the next best chapter in the Performing Arts Center’s distinguished history.

Panoff has had a distinguished career in the performing arts having served as 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 WGUCFM, Fine Arts Public Radio in Cincinnati, and owns a private consultancy in fundraising. She is a practicing 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.

Run in the Upcoming Student Elections!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Filing for the SG Elections is now open.

Filing for the Student Government elections is now open and will remain open until 4pm on February 10th. Stop by the Student Government Office (SSB 4.206) between the hours of 9am and 4pm Monday through Friday to file. The election will be held on March 3rd and March 4th. Be a part of the official voice of students! Visit for more information. If you have any questions about running for office, please contact Student Body President Keshav Rajagopalan ( or Communications Director Chelsea Fosse (

AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center Houses New Art Gallery Featuring Works from Department of Art and Art History Faculty and Alumni

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Courtyard Gallery Offers New Art Exhibition Space

AUSTIN, Texas The Courtyard Gallery, a new exhibition space featuring the artwork of faculty and alumni from the Department of Art and Art History, has been opened in the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

The gallery is on the 2nd level of the Conference Center, adjacent to the courtyard. The gallery hours are between 9 a.m. 7 p.m. daily. The gallery is free and open to the public.

“The Courtyard Gallery is a marvelous opportunity for the Department of Art and Art History to share and celebrate the works of art created by its renowned faculty with the campus community and the guests and visitors at the Conference Center,” says Art and Art History Chairman John Yancey. “The exhibition venue in this beautiful new facility is part of an exciting and inspiring era in how the arts live and shine on The University of Texas at Austin campus, and we are delighted to be contributors and partners in this endeavor.”

There will be three faculty and alumni exhibitions a year in this space, curated by Creative Research Lab Gallery Director Jade Walker. All the works in the Courtyard Gallery will be for sale through the gift shop, and each exhibition will have an opening or closing reception.

“The Courtyard Gallery offers a unique location for local, national and international audiences to experience the energy of the Department of Art and Art History in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin,” says Walker. “This important throughway space, adjacent to the courtyard, frames the work of established artists from the department and provides an additional layer of creativity and artist practice to the Conference Center as a whole.”

The Courtyard Gallery is the result of a collaborative effort between the Office of the Vice President for Employee and Campus Services, which is a liaison between the university and the Conference Center and works in partnership with the College of Fine Arts to manage the gallery.

The work of Lawrence McFarland, professor of photography in the Department of Art and Art History, is on exhibition. His series Tracing: Images of Italy includes panoramic images of interior and exterior, rural and urban Italian landscapes. There will be a closing reception for this exhibition on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

The next artist slated to present work at the Courtyard Gallery is Studio Art Professor Margo Sawyer.

Winners of 12th Annual Hamilton Book Awards Announced at Four Seasons Hotel Event

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Art & Art History Professor Emerita Denise SchmandtBesserat takes home Grand Prize

AUSTIN, Texas The winners of this year’s University Coop Robert W. Hamilton Book Awards, among the highest honors of literary achievement given to published authors at The University of Texas at Austin, were announced Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Michael H. Granof, chairman of the University Cooperative Society, hosted the event and announced the winners. William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, presented the awards.

Denise SchmandtBesserat, professor emerita in the departments of Art and Art History and Middle Eastern Studies won the $10,000 grand prize for her book, When Writing Met Art: From Symbol to Story, published by University of Texas Press.

The University of Texas Press describes When Writing Met Art as a pioneering investigation of the interface between writing and art [documenting] a key turning point in human history, when two of our most fundamental information media reciprocally multiplied their capacities to communicate. When writing met art, literate civilization was born.

Four faculty members were awarded $3,000 runnerup prizes:

Carlton K. Erickson, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, for The Science of Addiction: From Neurobiology to Treatment, published by W. W. Norton & Co.

James N. Loehlin, Department of English, for Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard, published by Cambridge University Press.

John T. Markert, Department of Physics, for Physics for Engineers and Scientists, 3rd edition, extended, published by W. W. Norton & Co.

Kurt G. Weyland, Department of Government, for Bounded Rationality and Policy Diffusion: Social Sector Reform in Latin America, published by Princeton University Press.

Ian W. Dalziel, of the Institute for Geophysics and Department of Geological Sciences, was awarded the $10,000 Career Research Excellence Award for maintaining a superior research program over many years at the university. Dalziel has dedicated most of his career to understanding global tectonic processes and to mapping out the geography of ancient times on Earth.

Andrea Gore and David Crews of the College of Pharmacy and Section of Integrative Biology, respectively, were awarded the $5,000 Best Research Paper Award for Transgenerational Epigenetic Imprints on Mate Preference.

Mr. Michael Smith, Department of Art and Art History, won the $3,000 Fine Arts Award for outstanding achievement.

The Huaca El Pueblo Archaeological Project

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Department of Art and Art History Associate Professor Steve Bourget is directing a critically important archaeological project at Huaca el Pueblo, near the coast of Peru.

Department of Art and Art History Associate Professor Steve Bourget is directing a critically important archaeological project at Huaca el Pueblo, near the coast of Peru. Huaca el Pueblo is a site with monumental architecture and residential areas situated in the Zaa Valley; it lies very close to the PanAmerican Highway.

The site is dominated by a stepandfret pyramid reaching 80 feet in height. The pyramid is associated with a series of residential and ritual platforms containing numerous rooms and corridors that may have constituted residential facilities for the elite. It is suspected that there is probably a vast residential area as well, but it is still buried under dense accretions of windblown sand.

Dr. Bourget has worked closely with Art History division graduate students on this project, providing them with professional field experience. Unlike other projects in Peru, this project is an investigation into the organization of north coast polities and the development of social complexity during the Early Intermediate Period (100 800 A.D.) in South America. With the investigation of Moche sites possessing monumental architecture, and the assessment of the Moche presence in the Zaa and Lambayeque valleys, Bourget is studying the regional organization of this cultural formation.

Although great advances have been made over the last two decades in the field of Moche studies, most of the research in regards to social organization has concentrated in only the Jequetepeque, Chicama and Moche valleys. Bourget’s work in Huaca El Pueblo is providing key insights into a new geographical area, allowing Andean scholars and students to continue to piece together this puzzle of the past.

Blanton Museum of Art Poised to Become Largest University Museum in the United States

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Grand Opening of the Edgar A. Smith Building in November

AUSTIN, TexasThe Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin will become the largest university museum in the United States when it opens its Edgar A. Smith Building in November.

The new structure, along with the celebrated Mari and James A. Michener Gallery Building, marks the completion of the Blanton complex.

“The Smith Building completes the museum facility,” said Ann Wilson, interim director of the Blanton, “opens up new opportunities for education and finally allows us to offer a total visitor experience.”

In celebration, several events are scheduled throughout November, culminating with a public grand opening party on Nov. 16. Visitors will have an opportunity to browse the newly expanded museum shop and sample treats from the new Blanton caf. There will be music performances by The Guy Forsyth Trio and others, film screenings, art activities and a book signing by noted New York art historian and critic Jed Perl.

The Edgar A. Smith Building contains a 299seat auditorium, the new Blanton caf and a museum shop that will offer an expanded book selection, jewelry, children’s toys, designer chocolates and a large assortment of items made by local artists/artisans, including Chandra Michaels of SugarLuxe and jewelry from Ingrid Kuper. A new line of “ART IS” merchandise (inspired by the Blanton’s advertising tagline) is being developed and will include totes, umbrellas and more.

The Smith Building was named in honor of Edgar A. Smith, a University of Texas alumnus and member of the Chancellor’s Council. Smith, a prominent supporter of the university and veteran of the oil and gas industry, lives in Houston.

Designed by Kallman McKinnell & Wood Architects, Inc. of Boston, the Smith Building was planned to complement the Michener Building, and to use the Larry and Mary Ann Faulkner Plaza in between the two, creating a gateway to the university and community.

Grand Opening of the Co-op Fine Arts Student Center Monday, October 6

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Please join us in Celebrating the Grand Opening

Please join us on Monday, October 6, 2008, to celebrate the long-awaited opening of the Co-op Fine Arts Student Center in the basement of the Doty Fine Arts Building (DFA). The redesigned and renovated space houses a large student lounge with WiFi, a soon-to-open O’s Campus Cafe, an outdoor patio seating area, a large art exhibition space and the College of Fine Arts’ division of Student Affairs and Career Services offices. The Co-op Fine Arts Student Center was made possible by the generosity of George Mitchell and the University Co-op.

Student Affairs and Career Services advisors and staff will host an open house beginning at noon, and a grand opening party from 4 p.m. 6 p.m. The space’s premiere art exhibition will include works by current graduate students in the Department of Art and Art History and will be on display for visitors to enjoy. Throughout the afternoon currently enrolled Fine Arts students may register for door prize drawings and give-aways, including a semeter’s worth of free books and gift cards courtesy of the University Co-op, iTunes cards and two iPods.

There will be live music, O’s Campus Cafe will provide refreshments and Dean Dempster will make brief formal remarks at a 4:15 p.m. ribbon cutting ceremony.

Please join us for the festivities at 4:00 p.m. if your schedule permits, and, if not, just drop by beginning at noon for a quick look-around. We look forward to welcoming you to this vibrant new College of Fine Arts space!