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

My career path changed throughout college and I'm glad it did

Posted by Maddie Kunert on Nov 7, 2017 2:28:43 PM

 

When I first came to Western, I was only sure of two things: one, dance was an integral part of my life that I never wanted to live without, and two, I only had four years to figure out how I was going to make that happen. My original plan was to double major in dance and education. I told myself it was a great way to combine my love for dance with my strengths of leadership and organization, but I realized it was mostly just an easy way to avoid the “do you really expect to get a job doing that?” question that artists get a lot. I did have a desire to teach, but I could teach dance without putting myself through the rigor of an additional degree. 

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Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Student Experience, Careers in the Arts

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

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

A summer as a stitcher

Posted by Adam Stocker on Jul 17, 2017 9:57:33 AM

 

My name is Adam Stocker, and I recently graduated from WMU's Department of Theatre as a technical production theatre major with an emphasis in costume construction. I grew up in Warren, Michigan, and I will soon  be moving to New York City to pursue all of my dreams and goals.

I spent my summer as a stitcher at The Glimmerglass Festival, an opera company in Cooperstown, NY. I worked here last year as an intern, and I came back this year as staff. The show I specifically worked the most on was Oklahoma! (Glimmerglass produces 1 musical and 3 operas each summer). I work 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. about six days a week, and I spend that time working in the costume shop, sewing away and building costumes. As a stitcher, my primary job is to construct the garments via a sewing machine.

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Topics: CFA Students in Summer, Department of Theatre, The Student Experience, Going places - Summer 2017, Careers in the Arts

A day in the life of a Music Theatre Performance student

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Apr 12, 2017 5:08:12 PM

 

Student. Teaching assistant. Personal trainer. Performer.

He plays the Lion in University Theatre's production of The Wiz, but senior Music Theatre Performance student Troy D. Wallace takes on many different roles in his day to day life. See some of the many scene changes in a day in Troy's life in the video below: 

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Topics: Department of Theatre, Student Experience, The Student Experience, Careers in the Arts

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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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