Monday, September 26, 2016

Month Three

It's been awhile.  The semester started at the end of August and we've been hard at it ever since.  I've attended
  • an art opening (Kaleidoscope--sponsored by the Burma Studies Center)
  • two music concerts --Faculty Jazz Recital and the Avalon String Quartet
  • a play--Out of the Blue
  • a Huskies pre-game event  
  • the Unity March
  • a fund raising event for the Elwood House Museum in DeKalb 
  • a conference
  • heard an alum speak about her experience in art therapy,
  • participated in discussions about a STEAM Learning Center in DeKalb
  • visited the DeKalb Business Incubator
  • participated in a discussion about diversifying orchestras in Chicago 
  • visited Taft Center in Oregon, IL and discussed a partnership with the Art Institute and a sculpture by Loredo Taft (also met with Honor students at the Center)
  • Visited Argonne National Laboratories to talk about possible collaborations
  • Went to Writer's Theatre in Glencoe, IL to see Julius Caesar and talk about possible internships for our Theatre students
  • Met with many faculty, staff, students, donors, alums
and I've also been teaching a section of UNIV 101--which has been great fun and a wonderful way for me to get to know students and the campus and all the resources NIU has to offer.

Here's what I've learned so far:
  • CVPA has AMAZINGLY talented faculty
  • NIU has smart, talented and engaged students
  • DeKalb has a lot to offer 
  • The leadership at NIU is determined to make things here better.
Here's my mantra--

CVPA--preparing the new creative class --Generation Renaissance!
--Doing well.  Doing good.  Doing better.

Find us on Facebook!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Month Two--

First month under my belt.  I've met a lot of people, got a lot of work done--first and foremost, program prioritization.  Much work ahead, but good work that will help CVPA move forward.

One thing I've found is that NIU, and CVPA in particular, is one of the best kept secrets in Illinois!  So, we're working on getting the good news about our Schools and students, alums and donors, faculty and staff out there, front and center.  To that end, we're looking for a few people to add to our roster--people who can help us spread the news and gather resources to help us do what we do best--make, create, discover, learn.

I'm finding my way about campus.  I like to find the nooks and crannies and secret paths to here and there.  When I come upon a spot that seems likely, I'll think--what can we do here?  What show can we put on?  What music suits the space?  What art can placed or occur in this spot?  I'm going to be posting pictures of likely spots and encourage students and faculty to put their creative minds to how to make the most of our spaces.

Here's a picture of me on "Gulliver"--a fabulous sculpture by Tom Otterness that was installed for a short time at my former institution, SUNY New Paltz.  It's a great example of utilizing a space creatively, and of art that engages community.  We tried to keep skateboarders off it, but it was too hard to resist!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Day One

Hello!  I'm Paul Kassel, new dean of CVPA.  Today is my first official day on the job, although I've been attending meetings and getting up to speed since the Board of Trustees approved my appointment at the end of April.

Before I say anything else, I want to acknowledge the tremendous work and generosity of Interim Dean Paul Bauer.  Everyone who knows him sings his praises, and if you have the chance, drop him a note letting him know what a great job he has done for the College this past year.  Personally, he has gone well beyond the call of duty in helping me get ready to lead CVPA.  I owe him a lot.  Luckily for us all, Dr. Bauer will be assisting CVPA in some crucial areas over the next year, as well as giving me aid and advice throughout this transitional period.

By now, many of you know that a budget deal has been made!  This is very good news for the university, but also for CVPA and particularly for the School of Theatre & Dance.  I'll have more to say about that next week.

This blog has not been active in a while, but it is my intention to revive it and to use it regularly, both to send out news about the great work of the student, faculty and staff of the College and Schools, but also to share the journey of my first year in DeKalb.  I'll do my best to keep them short, to the point, and informative.

Each post will begin with news about the College, followed by something I learned or discovered about NIU as I go about my business.  I'll finish with a bit about myself--my background, my interests--that I hope will be interesting or at least amusing.

This is a photo from an Actors Equity production of The Fantastiks I did with Halfmoon Theatre Company last year at the Marriott Theatre in Hyde Park, NY.  I'm the clown in the blue plaid pants.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Art History Lecture Series Continues April 28

The Division of Art History in the NIU School of Art and Design is proud to announce the next presentation in the Elizabeth Allen Visiting Scholars in Art History Series, featuring Professor Manuel Fernandéz-Götz from the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Fernandéz-Götz will present on the topic "Materialities of Mass Violence and Genocide."

Please join us on April 28 at 5:00 p.m. in Jack Arends Hall, room 100.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Theatre Head Re-elected to International Post

Alexander Gelman, Director of the NIU School of Theatre and Dance, has been re-elected to the University/Resident Theatre Association Board of Directors as Treasurer.

The URTA board consists of six directors and four officers elected from member schools, with elections conducted in the fall. The board has responsibility for the governance of the association and, as a collection of experts in the areas of theater and theater training, has considerable influence in guiding URTA’s ongoing services and new programs. URTA is the nation's largest association of professional, graduate theater training programs and related professional theater companies, consisting of 39 influential universities (38 in the United States and one in the United Kingdom) and 15 partnered theater companies.

Gelman was elected by a unanimous vote, along with new Directors Jacob Pinholster, director of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and Steve Broadnax, head of Penn State’s master of fine arts acting program.

“This unanimity indicates the depth of support for Jacob, Steve and Alex. URTA members expect — and appreciate — the considerable investment of time, effort and care made by colleagues serving on the board,” said URTA Executive Director Scott Steele.

Congratulations, Alex!

Monday, March 2, 2015

TrumpetFest Features Principal Players of Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera

 Chris Martin

William Denton

The NIU School of Music is pleased to announce the upcoming "Principal Trumpet-Fest" which will take place Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4. The event is being hosted by Professor Mark Ponzo and will feature performances and master classes by Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal Trumpet Chris Martin and Lyric Opera Orchestra Principal Trumpet William Denton, as well as concerts by the award-winning Illinois Brass Band and several noted NIU trumpet alumni.

Principal Trumpet-Fest
Northern Illinois University
William Denton – Chicago Lyric Opera  
Chris Martin – Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Friday, April 3
Master Class – William Denton
3:00 – 5:00 Recital Hall
Recital – William Denton
8:00 Recital Hall
Saturday, April 4
Master Class – William Denton and Chris Martin
10:00 – 11:30 Concert Hall
Master Class – Chris Martin
2:00 – 3:00 Concert Hall
Concert – Illinois Brass Band
3:00 – 4:30 Concert Hall
Concert – NIU Alumni Trumpet Recital
5:00 – 6:30 Concert Hall
Recital – Chris Martin
7:00 Concert Hall
All events are free and open to the Public

Chris Martin is supported by Yamaha International

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Jazz Lab Band Takes Honors at Noted Festival

We are pleased to announce that the NIU Jazz Lab Band, under the direction of professor Rodrigo Villanueva, and the Rosebud Jazztet, under the direction of professor Reggie Thomas, earned top honors from their recent performances at the noted Elmhurst Jazz Festival.

The judges also bestowed special recognition to soloist Lenard Simpson, alto saxophonist in the Jazz Lab Band.

Congratulations to all involved!