The Western Michigan University Department of Dance invites a guest professor each year to expand the course offerings and experiences for students. Carlos Funn is a guest professor who taught freshman modern and African dance during the fall 2018 semester. This is the first time that Dance has offered a non-western dance class and West African dance is a new experience for our students.
WMU alumni Robin Nuyen graduated with a theatre degree in 1980 and met fellow theatre student Richard Gasparian during a production of Hamlet. In 1987 they co-wrote, co-produced and directed Housesitter… The Night They Saved Siegfried’s Brain. Filmed entirely in Kalamazoo and featuring WMU theatre faculty, the movie sat unfinished for thirty years. Now, with post sound from Skywalker Sound and final picture from Paramount Pictures color department, it is at last completed. It is now the only 4k 35mm movie shot entirely in Kalamazoo. The remastered film will be featured in the Thriller! Chiller! Film Festival in Grand Rapids on Oct. 27.
Read more to hear from Robin about how he finally completed the movie in the way it was meant to be seen.
Our Distinguished Alumni Early Career awardee is Terk Lewis Waters. He received his B.F.A. in dance from Western Michigan University where he performed in works by Antony Tudor, Frank Chaves, Ron DeJesus and more. In addition, Lewis also spent summers training with The City Ballet of San Diego and River North Chicago Dance.
After graduation, Lewis went on to dance with the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. In 2010 Lewis joined Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson’s Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Spending seven years with the company, Lewis performed in Australia, Italy, Israel, Russia, New Zealand, South Korea, Ukraine, Switzerland, Latvia and Lithuania. Lewis also performed as a soloist in "So you think you can dance" choreographer, Lindsay Nelko's evening length contemporary ballet "Awakening." Lewis joined members of the Mariinsky Ballet as part of the Inaugural cast of The Great Gatsby Ballet.
Joseph Shubitowski is our Legacy Award honoree for lifetime career achievement. After earning his bachelor’s in fine arts from WMU in 1979, Shubitowski worked on a variety of high-profile cataloging and data management projects, melding together of the fine arts, art history and digital technology during his over 33-year career.
While pursuing his MA in History of Photography at University of Arizona, Shubitowski was a principal cataloger and researcher in the photography archives. He worked with the Smithsonian on rudimentary data rules and processes, and utilized the university’s mainframe computer for this data. After graduation he was chosen by Ansel Adams to be the research assistant for his autobiography. He sifted through Adams’ archives and provided the basis for the chronology and bibliography in the book.
Shubitowski’s work at the Canadian Centre for Architecture established both the cataloging rules and practicum, the interim systems, and the eventual new systems for the permanent museum and archives in Montreal. No off-the-shelf software existed in the mid-1980’s to catalog and describe art collections so Shubitowski helped develop the programs while working as head cataloguer.
From 1990 to 2016 Shubitowski worked for the Getty Research Institute. There he focused on development and support of the technology platforms for the Bibliography of the History of Art.
Other major projects that he led or heavily contributed to include The Getty Provenance Index, which tracks the history of collecting and provenance/ownership of art objects, The Getty Vocabularies, such as the Art and Architecture Thesaurus, which are standards in the field of art and art history.
Get to know Joseph Shubitowski in the interview below:
In the tradition of Homecoming, the College of Fine Art's honors their alumni for excellence in their field. Kevin Abbott, Interactive Media Specialist with the Office of Information Technology at Western Michigan University, is the recipient of the 2018 Art Educators Award.
After earning his undergraduate degree in Theatre from WMU in 1991, Abbott spent several years working as a 3D artist and art director in video game industry. He also worked as an interactive media developer, while also running a consulting company teaching people how to use 3D computer graphics for theatre design applications.
One of the earliest adopters of computer-based tools for theatre design, Abbott joined WMU’s staff in 1997. Soon after, he began integrating computer animation and projected imagery with live theatre productions, beginning with The Nightingale and Return to the Forbidden Planet in 1998. In the 20 years since, Abbott has integrated technology into over 30 theatre, dance and music performances, including the award-winning dance “The End”, the hit musical Jesus Christ Superstar, and the groundbreaking Dr. Faustus featuring live motion capture.
An accomplished designer, artist and technologist, Kevin has worked with myriad of media technologies, including animation, stereoscopic projections, motion capture, and video games. Kevin is currently working as the co-founder and co-director of the WMU Virtual Reality Lab, and is the Director of the Virtual Reality Development Studio, and is currently developing VR content for nursing, theatre, and teaching applications.
Get to know more about Kevin Abbott in his interview with the Fine Print:
We are so excited to be welcoming another talented class of students into the College of Fine Arts for the 2018-19 academic year. Who are these 252 students? Where are they from? Check out the infographic below to find out:
Colleen Rockey graduated from Western Michigan University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in painting. That year the city of Kalamazoo selected her to paint a mural downtown. The mural had faded and was peeling after years in the sun and elements. Colleen, now retired, took it upon herself to restore it. The restoration project has been a nostalgic and sentimental trip for Colleen as she remembers where she was in her life and as a painter 44 years ago.
When I was no more than three, I would ask my parents if we could watch the “Guy Sleeping” movie again - otherwise known as my favorite part of Fantasia 2000, Rhapsody in Blue. George Gershwin’s concerto was an essential part of my early love for music. I’ve played piano for most of my life, but never expected that I would end up here and be able to do this for a living. I am now a piano performance major in my junior year at WMU; this past December, I got to live out my childhood dream performing as the soloist in Rhapsody in Blue!