Showing posts from September, 2012

Graduate Student Earns First-Ever Statewide Award

l to r: David Becker, IAM President, Agnes Ma, Donna Sack, IAM Executive Director

It gives us great pleasure to announce that NIU School of Art graduate student Agnes Ma is the recipient of the first-ever Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) Museum Studies Student of the Year Award.

Agnes has been an outstanding student and natural leader in the NIU's museum studies graduate certificate program, and currently serves as a graduate assistant in the Jack Olson Gallery. In that capacity, she participates in all aspects of gallery programming, and she co-curated the award-winning exhibition Inked: Tattoo Imagery in Contemporary Art.

Peter Van Ael, Director of the Jack Olson Gallery and Coordinator of the museum studies program, tells us "Agnes Ma is one of those rare individuals that take full advantage of the opportunities available to her. During her time at NIU, she has complemented her strengths as a scientist and designer with her interest in museology and curatorial work by…

Music Faculty Earn Fine Review

 Gregory Barrett, John Floeter, Paul Bauer

Three NIU School of Music faculty members perform with the noted Ars Viva Symphony, and they received an excellent review for this past Sunday's performance.

Faculty members Gregory Barrett, clarinet, Paul Bauer, bass trombone, and John Floeter, double bass, are members of this award-winning ensemble.

Of the performance, critic Lawrence A. Johnson of Chicago Classical Review says "Despite its chamber-orchestra dimensions, Ars Viva produces a robust symphonic sound and its weighty textures were eminently well suited to Khachaturian's brawny populist style. (Conductor Alan) Heatherington led a brash and exuberant performance that skirt the music's vulgarity, bringing martial swagger to the Waltz and frenzied satirical insistence to the concluding Galop."

Illinois Association of Museums Bestows Awards on NIU


Time Arts Professor Presents at Major Conference

Bart Woodstrup, Assistant Professor in the NIU School of Art (Time Arts) will be presenting his piece "Climate Control" at the 2012 International Symposium of Electronic Art in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Climate Control: Weather Damage Modification Program is an interactive video installation that uses a control panel as an interface to hypothetically control the weather. Climate Control allows the viewer the experience of physically placing their hand on the controls of climate to manipulate a representation of it. The naming of the controls and the visual effect they produced was inspired by actual parameters associated with weather events.

Bart's work investigates the relationship between environmental issues and new technology - specifically, the cultural integration of these issues and technologies as well as the increasing desire for technology to solve the culminating problems of overpopulation, pollution, global warming, etc. Through this artwork, he attem…

Art Alums Featured During Chicago Artists Month 2012

Andrew Arvanetes Sergio Gomez We're proud to announce that two alumni of the NIU School of Art are featured for Chicago Artists Month 2012.

Andrew Arvanetes earned both his BFA and MFA in sculpture from NIU. While he currently lives in and is originally from the Chicago area, Andrew spent several years owning and operating sculpture studios in Michigan, Ohio and Texas. He is a frequent lecturer at colleges and universities and his works appear in numerous private, public and corporate collections.

Sergio Gomez earned his MFA from NIU in 2005. Active in many roles, Sergio teaches at South Suburban College in South Holland, Illinois. He is the owner of 33 Contemporary Gallery, co-founder of 3C Wear, and Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the Zhou B. Art Center.

Congratulations, Andrew and Sergio!

Jazz Professor Earns Terrific Reviews

As noted in recent posts (here and here), Geof Bradfield, assistant professor of jazz studies in the NIU School of Music has been receiving wide acclaim for his playing as well as for his composing. Now, two noted jazz critics have weighed in with their own rave reviews.

In the Chicago Tribune, Howard Reich's review discusses Geof's recent work Melba!. Among his remarks are "The long lines, complex themes and meticulous structuring of this score pointed to the high craft of Bradfield's writing..." and "...Bradfield penned an intricate work cast in several musical episodes. The syncopated, Latin-tinged motif that launched the piece soon made way for uptempo trumpet solos, three-horn choirs, radiant passages for the entire septet and so on." Reich concludes by noting that Geof's writing is "...a sure sign that the art of jazz composition still flourishes in Chicago."

Geof also received numerous glowing remarks in a recent ChicagoMusic.orgre…

Music Alumna Wins Coveted Vocal Award

We've just learned that Cheryl Porter, alumna of the NIU School of Music, has won the coveted Lucio Battisti Music Award in Nardo, Italy. Cheryl is the first African-American to win this award.

Lucio Battisti was a renowned and beloved Italian singer and composer who passed away in 1998 at the age of 55. He worked with numerous noted music artists, record producers and record labels during the course of his career, and this award is in honor of his contributions to the musical life of Italy.

Here's a video clip of Cheryl singing:

Congratulations, Cheryl!

Art History Professor's Book Earning Kudos

Mary Quinlan-McGrath, professor of art history in the NIU School of Art, will have her latest book published this fall by the University of Chicago Press. Titled Influences: Art, Optics, and Astrology in the Italian Renaissance, Mary's book is garnering pre-press raves from around the world.

From the jacket cover of Influences comes this description:

"Today few would think of astronomy and astrology as fields related to theology. Fewer still would know that physically absorbing planetary rays was once considered to have medical and psychological effects. But this was the understanding of light radiation held by certain natural philosophers of early modern Europe, and that, argues Mary Quinlan-McGrath, was why educated people of the Renaissance commissioned artworks centered on astrological themes and practices.

Influences is the first book to reveal how many Renaissance artworks were designed to be not only beautiful but also—perhaps even primarily—functional. From the fresco c…

Art MFA Candidate Stars on Danish TV!

“What I Did on my Summer Vacation” took on new meaning for painter Katy Bisby this year. In what is likely a first for an NIU student, her response would be that she starred in a new television show on Danish television.

Katy, a 3rd-year MFA student in the NIU School of Art, is one of 14 American contestants featured on the new Danish show “Alt for Danmark” (Everything for Denmark). This is a reality-TV show, with the intent of featuring Danish heritage and culture. The contestants, all of whom have Danish heritage, were divided into two teams. For each installment of the 12-episode series, one team was declared the winner, and those contestants would then do something fun that was related to Danish heritage. The losing team members then competed against each other, and one member of that team was then sent back to the United States.

When asked how she came to be on the show, Katy says she responded to a posting on Craigslist. “My husband is a documentary film maker,” she says, “so I …

The Arts Converge!

The NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts is proud to present The Arts Converge: Contemporary Art and Asian Music Traditions, an exhibition with accompanying music performances from September 4 through October 12. The Arts Converge will feature an exhibition curated by NIU School of Art faculty member Helen Nagata, with a slate of internationally-recognized guest speakers, artists and performers. Among those guests appearing will be Chee Wang Ng, Koji Nakano, Brenda Louie, Chinary Ung, Tatsu Aoki, Akemi Naito, and Curtis Bahn.

The arts give us an arena where the past and present can converge, sight and sound can converse, and individual experience can speak for a universal experience. We will celebrate interactions between cultural traditions and the individual modern artist, and between music and the visual arts by presenting a variety of contemporary artists' reactions to traditional music sounds or traditional cultural soundscapes. This exhibition will form a contemporary …