Forever Gold: Terk Lewis Waters

Posted by Brandi Engel on Oct 5, 2018 9:10:00 AM

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.

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Topics: Careers in the Arts, Alumni, Forever Gold, Department of Dance

Forever Gold: Joseph Shubitowski

Posted by Brandi Engel on Oct 3, 2018 3:26:24 PM

 

 

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:

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Topics: Careers in the Arts, Alumni, Forever Gold, Department of Theatre

Forever Gold: Kevin Abbott

Posted by Brandi Engel on Sep 24, 2018 3:29:35 PM

 

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:

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Topics: Careers in the Arts, Alumni, Forever Gold, Department of Theatre

Broncos on the high seas

Posted by Jay Berkow on Feb 13, 2018 9:37:43 PM

Many graduates from the WMU Music Theatre Performance (MTP) program have graced the stages of Broadway, Chicago, National Tours and major regional theatres. It is always exciting to graduate and to have your theatre dreams come true. In addition to these opportunities, many music theatre students have taken their talents to the high seas. Performing as a cast member on one of the numerous cruise line has become a very lucrative and exciting way for young music theatre graduates to see the world and jumpstart their careers. While life on a cruise ship may not be for everyone, it is certainly an experience worth exploring. 

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Topics: The Student Experience, Department of Theatre, Alumni

We will reign: Melanie George

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 13, 2017 12:49:17 PM

 

Since graduating from Western Michigan University's Department of Dance in 1994, Melanie George has forged a multifaceted career as a jazz dancer, choreographer, educator, scholar and advocate. From our Q&A conversation with Melanie, it is clear that these roles do not just overlap. Rather, they are deeply intertwined and synergistic. According to Melanie in her artist statement, "my scholarship purposely and strategically informs my choreography and pedagogy. I have great interest in upsetting traditional hierarchies in dance on the stage and the page."

For the past week, we have been lucky to have had Melanie back on campus bringing her wide-ranging expertise and perspective to our students. Last Friday, Melanie served as a celebrity judge for the annual Dancing with the WMU/Kazoo Stars competition and scholarship fundraiser, offering thoughtful praise, critique and commentary on the evening's performances. Over the past several days, Melanie has also worked in the studio, teaching jazz dance classes and staging new choreography on first-year students. And later this afternoon, in recognition of her years of research, education, innovation and excellence in the world of dance, Melanie will be presented with the 2017 College of Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni Award for the Department of Dance.

Get to know more about Distinguished Alumna Melanie George in her interview with the Fine Print:

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Topics: Careers in the Arts, Alumni, We Will Reign, Department of Dance, Dance

We will reign: Palmer Jankens

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 10, 2017 3:44:02 PM

 

Meet Palmer Jankens, a self-proclaimed entertainment sound nerd and this year's Distinguished Alumni Award honoree for the Department of Theatre. From designing for prestigious theatre companies and productions throughout Chicago to mixing shows around the world, Palmer has built a career doing what he loves. And by the sounds of it, the experiences he was afforded during his time in the Department of Theatre's design and technical production program had a lot to do with his success. Hear all about it here:

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Topics: Careers in the Arts, Alumni, We Will Reign, Department of Theatre

We will reign: Alex Jokipii

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 6, 2017 5:31:25 PM

 

2017 School of Music Distinguished Alumnus Alex Jokipii has held the position of Principal Trumpet with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for nearly two decades. In addition, he has appeared as a soloist on countless occasions, and he has performed as a guest Principal Trumpet with numerous world-class symphonies and orchestras. But according to Alex, his success was far from instant.

In our interview with Alex, he touches on the struggles of totally reinventing the way he played trumpet when he arrived at WMU in 1988. He also talks about learning harsh lessons of time management and hard work, and he discusses how persistence played a part in breaking through as a professional (Mary Brodbeck, 2017 Frostic School of Art Distinguished Alumna, also asserts that persistence is the key to success as an artist. We're noticing a theme here...).

Learn what - and who - contributed to Alex's great success as a musician in his responses below.

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Topics: Careers in the Arts, Alumni, We Will Reign, School of Music

We will reign: Mary Brodbeck

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 4, 2017 4:51:40 PM

 

Each fall, the Western Michigan University College of Fine Arts recognizes four alumni who have put their stamp on their field. 2017 Frostic School of Art Distinguished Alumna Mary Brodbeck has done just that. Mary's artwork, which employs traditional Japanese woodblock printmaking methods to transfer ink to paper, has received critical acclaim in both Japan and the United States. With a portfolio of celebrated work, a series of prints housed in the Detroit Institute of Arts' permanent collection, and an extensive career of teaching, visual storytelling and printmaking, Mary continues to share her art and expertise with the world. Today, Mary's sharing even more with us.

Read Mary's essay below to learn about not only the time-honored art of woodblock printing, but also about the turning points in Mary's career and the traits that allowed her to succeed.

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Topics: Alumni, Frostic School of Art, We Will Reign

The Cecily Shives story part I: To be a ballerina

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Sep 7, 2017 12:21:09 PM

 

Ask any young child what they want to be when they grow up, and ballerina often makes the list of ideal occupations. But how many of these dance dreams actually come true?

For Cecily Shives, a 2017 BFA graduate of the Department of Dance, the dream of becoming a ballerina has remained alive throughout her life. As a toddler, Cecily was already dancing around her family’s home in pointe shoes, and then in eighth grade, she was voted “most likely to become a ballerina” by her peers.

Well, her classmates had it right. This fall, Cecily will pirouette into the professional world as a company member with Ballet San Antonio.

Through a series of three installments, we’ll be profiling Cecily and the many steps – and turns, spins and leaps – she’s made in her journey to become a professional ballerina. We’ll open with the early days.

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Topics: Alumni, Department of Dance, Dance, Careers in the Arts

5 ways the WMU Department of Dance prepared me for the professional dance world

Posted by Sarah Jones on Mar 16, 2017 11:26:43 AM

 

“It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”  -Jean-Luc Godard

 

Inspired … how I always felt at Western Michigan University.  Inspired by my professors, the guest choreographers, the repétitéurs, the alumni and my peers. Inspired by their stories and experiences. Inspired to find my own voice. Inspired to trust that voice. Inspired to train and chisel my body into a vessel for that voice. Inspired to get to the next level. Inspired to give back.     

That inspiration reaffirmed me when I felt rejected, steadied me when I stumbled, and picked me up when I fell; all of which you will experience in the professional dance world. With every dismissal, you dig in and dig deeper, until finally, you get your shot. I am proud to say that this small town girl used that inspiration and her WMU education to get to the bright lights of the windy city as a company member of DanceWorks Chicago!

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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Alumni, Student Experience, The Student Experience

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The Official Blog of the WMU College of Fine Arts

Western Michigan University's College of Fine Arts is a place where passion meets practice, and The Fine Print is your lens into the lives of our students, faculty and community.

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