March, 2020
In this issue:  
  • CVPA Faculty Awarded Grants for She Can/We Can Collaboration
  • FlyinWest and Frontburner: CVPA Alumnæ Have Strong Roles in the Arts
  • Geena Davis, Kelli O'Hara, Margaret Atwood, and more for 2020-2021 UCLS Season
  • Spring Alumni Networking Events
  • Alumni, Faculty, and Staff News & Notes

Dean bruce d. mcclung

From the Dean's Desk

Last month Eímear Noone became the first woman in the 92-year-history of the Academy Awards to conduct the Oscars' orchestra. Reflecting on the shattering of this glass ceiling, Noone told NPR's Michel Martin that her place on the podium was much larger than herself: "It's creating normalcy by taking one of the biggest audiences in the world and showing them something they may not have seen before. Kids watching -- that have never seen a conductor, anyway -- if this is the first time they see a conductor, it'll never be remarkable to them to see a woman on the stage."
Here at UNCG we will be starting a year-long celebration during 2020-2021 of  She Can/We Can: Beyond the Woman's Suffrage Centennial. This theme will link events across campus and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and community engagement. In announcing the theme of She Can/We Can during the centenary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted American women the constitutional right to vote, Provost Dana Dunn said, "This themed series is the perfect way to bring UNCG community members and stakeholders together around important issues of gender equity."
Gender equity in the arts means creating environments where women have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Those positions in the arts that have been traditionally held by men -- such as orchestral conductors, ballet choreographers, museum leaders, and theatre directors-have become some of the last bastions of male privilege. To wit, the League of American Orchestras reported in 2016 that male conductors made up 90.8% of the 800 League member orchestras, making Eímear Noone's conducting of the Oscars' orchestra last month all the more remarkable on the one hand and long overdue on the other.
For UNCG's year-long celebration of She Can/We Can, twelve professors from CVPA received grants for projects around gender equity and the arts. These projects will explore such topics as "Worthy: Empowerment of Women through Poetry and Music," "The Bureau of Personal Belonging: An Installation and Performance Work by Artist Stacey L. Kirby ," and "Shoulder to Shoulder:  Suffragists, #MeToo, and the Presidency in a Dance Performance, Lecture, and Discussion." One of these projects, "The Resistance Project: Investigating African American Women's Activism through the Arts," began last month at the School of Dance's Evening with the Creative Class.
At CVPA we are especially proud of our alumnæ who are shattering glass ceilings in their respective fields, such as Sarah Gooch (BM 2018) who became the first female jazz percussion Master's student at The Julliard School or Andrea Brown (DMA 2010) who became the first female director of athletic bands at the University of Maryland. UNCG's yearlong collaboration of She Can/We Can will allow us as a College to redouble our efforts to explore the unconscious biases that still permeate arts education today and how, by working together, we can at once defeat them and increase opportunities for women in the arts.


bruce d. mcclung, Dean
College of Visual and Performing Arts

Throughout 2020-2021, UNC Greensboro presents She Can/We Can: Beyond the Women's Suffrage Centennial.   Through a diverse and inclusive series of events, discussions, and performances we ask: what political advances and compromises resulted in the passage of the  1 9th Amendment, and how have these shaped issues of equity in our own time?

A number of CVPA faculty have received grants to create projects for this interdisciplinary, campus and community collaboration:
  • Ashley Barrett, $2,000, "Women of Note: Composition Competition"
  • Deb Bell, with Omar Ali, Nadja Cech, Hewan Girma, Portia Harris, and Chris Kirkman, $3,000, "Miverva's Wisdom"
  • Erika Boysen, $2,000, "Elizabeth Rowe Residency"
  • Rachel Briley, $2,600, "Arabian Nights: The Power of Women's Stories"
  • Carol Ott Coelho, $2,000, "O Blissful Loss of Self: Explorations of Ecstacy in Music and Poetry by Women" 
  • Duane Cyrus, $3,000, "Evening with the Creative Class: The Resistance Project (Investigating African American Activism through the Arts)"
  • Denise Gabriel, $2,500, "I Am My Own Wife"
  • Robin Gee with Michael Frierson, $3,500, "The Red Record"
  • Teresa Heiland, $1,500, "Shoulder to Shoulder: Suffragists, #MeToo, and the Presidency in a Dance Performance, Lecture and Discussion" 
  • Annie Jeng, with Denice Frohman, $1,500, "Worthy: Empowerment of Women through Poetry and Music"
  • Elizabeth Perrill, $3,000, "The Bureau of Personal Belonging:  An Installation and Performance Work by Artist Stacey L. Kirby"
  • Joan Titus, $1,500, "The Intersection of Women's Rights and Music (The Irna Priore Music and Culture Lecture Series)"
You will hear much more in the months to come about She Can, We Can:  Beyond the Women's Suffrage Centennial.   Stay tuned for the official roll-out on May 1st.
The Women's Wind Ensemble is sponsoring the Women of Note Composition Competition
 to promote  up-and-coming women composers.    Winning compositions will be premiered by the Women's Wind Ensemble at a concert in Tew Recital Hall in Spring of 2021.   
Members of the ensemble are Ashley Barret (Oboe), Erika Boysen (Flute), 
Kelly Burke (Clarinet), Susan Fancher (Alto Saxophone), Rebecca Libera (Bassoon), Abigail Pack (French Horn), and Ināra Zandmane (Piano).

School of Theatre Presents Flyin' West

"Discomfort is always a necessary part of enlightenment."                                                                           -- Pearl Cleage

And there's plenty of discomfort for the characters in Pearl Cleage's  Flyin' West --  a small group of African American women whose lives changed when the West was opened up for people willing to settle in a harsh and untested region, facing problems ranging from the inevitability of long, cold winters, to the possibility of domestic violence, to the continuing specter of racial conflict.

The New York Times called  Flyin' West "the most potent, gripping play...a paean to women...and a plea for all women with vibrant lives to tell their oral stories...."   
And so it seems fitting that the play will be produced during this Woman's History Month at the former Woman's College of North Carolina, a school with both a history and a future full of women with vibrant lives and oral stories.

Calandra Hackney
'00 BA Theatre 
UNCG's School of Theatre alumna Calandra Hackney ('00 BA Theatre) is visiting artist and guest director.   Hackney, an agency representative for the Actor's Equity Association in New York also guest-directed last year's production of Jackie Sibblies Drury's play  We are Proud to Present....   In a previous interview she said that she is drawn to the subject matter of plays like these, and that she gains so much from the experience of working with the students.

Playwright Pearl Cleage will also be on campus as a visiting artist during part of the run of the play.  Cleage will also work with the students, and she will engage in a post-performance conversation with the audience on April 1 st .

Flyin' West opens on March 27 th  in Sprinkle Theatre in the Brown Building on Tate Street.  It is produced in association with the UNCG African American and African Diaspora Studies Program, and is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

For more information and tickets visit
School of Art Shines in Raleigh Exhibition

You might say Frontburner: Highlights in Contemporary North Carolina Painting has been on the backburner for a little while.

It was 2017.  Ashlynn Browning ('02 MFA Studio Art) was feeling what she descibes as "burnt out"  after the recent election and plagued by negativity and devisiveness:  

" Everything seemed to be precarious and overwhelming.
 I wanted to feel some semblance of control over my environment again and to create something that was beautiful and positive."

At about the same time, the Whitney Biennial was going on, and she noticed how prominently painting was being featured.   Confident that North Carolina is home to an abundance of outstanding painters, she put together a proposal for the North Carolina Museum of Art.  
It was good timing.  NCMA curators had already been exploring such a show.  
Browning was offered the opportunity to guest curate an exhibition, and Frontburner: Highlights in Contemporary Painting was born.

" Front Burner  operates on several levels for me. The idea was chiefly that painting, which periodically takes the back burner to trendier mediums, was being recognized in a significant way and was worthy of celebration; specifically, the celebration of excellent painting in our state. I wanted the show to contain a wide array of work and styles, as well as different stages of artistic careers."

The 25 artist selections in Frontburner include pieces by Browning and fellow alumna Carmen Neeley ('16 MFA Studio Art) and UNCG Art Professor Barbara Campbell Thomas, who is former teacher and mentor to Neeley.  

Frontburner will be up through July 26th in the East Building at NCMA, with a reception planned for CVPA Alumni and Friends on March 26th.  More information on the exhibition here.   More information on the reception can be found below.
Spring Alumni Networking Events

There is no charge to attend these events, but we do need to know you're coming! 
To RSVP send an email to with the city/event in the subject line.

March 26, 2020
6:00 - 8:00 pm
NC Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Road
Cocktail Reception and Exhibition:   Front Burner:  Highlights in Contemporary North Carolina Painting, curated by Ashlynn Browning ('02 MFA Art).  Contributing artists:  Carmen Neeley ('16 MFA Art) and Barbara Campbell Thomas (School of Art Faculty)

April 26, 2020
12:00 - 2:00 pm
City Winery
650 North Avenue NE (in Ponce City Market)
Brunch and Meet the Dean

New York
May 11, 2020
8:30 pm - until 
Brazen Tavern
356 W. 44th Street
After-Party of the UNCG Theatre Industry Showcase

2020 - 2021 UNC Greensboro Concert and Lecture Series Announced 

Season subscription renewals are on sale now, and new season subscriptions sales begin on March 19th.   Subscribers save 10% over individual ticket prices, and all season tickets purchased by April 1st will include an invitation to a reception with Daveed Diggs -- actor, musician, filmmaker, and Hamilton's original Thomas Jefforson -- immediately following his appearance in UNCG Auditorium on April 9th, which concludes the current season. 


Tales of the Arabian Nights  by Barry Kornhouser
A North Carolina Theatre for Young People production
Public Performances March 14 & 15 @ 2:00 pm | Taylor Theatre

Ann Hamilton, Artist Talk 
Presented by UCLS and Falk Visiting Artist Endowment
March 19 @ 6:00 pm | Tew Recital Hall

Delta Chi Xi Barefoot Charity Event
March 20 & 21 @ 8:00 pm | Coleman Dance Theatre

Puccini's Suar Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
Opera Theatre
April 2 & 3 @ 7:30 pm, April 5 @ 2:00 pm | UNCG Auditorium

For a full listing of events at the College of Visual and Performing Arts, visit our website. 


Keith Martin ('79 BFA Acting, '84 MFA Directing) is Distinguished Professor of Theatre at Appalachian State University and has been recognized by ASU three times in less than a year for service to his department, college, university, and in the community on the local, regional, statewide, and national levels. Martin received the University College Award for Excellence in Community Engagement, the W. H. Plemmons Leadership Medallion for exceptional commitment to advancing the education of students, and the College of Fine and Applied Arts Outstanding Service Award.
Paul Wilson ('82 MFA Theatre) is continuing to act but is enjoying retirement after 29 years on the Theatre Faculty of Methodist University in Fayetteville.
Alison Monsees Hall ('03 BA Theatre) is celebrating her fourteenth year as a full-time drama teacher in Newport News, VA.
Katie Campbell ('14 MFA Theatre) is the Interim Artistic Director of the Arkansas Arts Center Children's Theatre.
Jacob Luck ('18 BFA Acting) is teaching theatre arts in the Guilford County School System.
Brandon Osley ('19 BA Theatre) is currently stage managing a tour of the musical Walk On: The Story of Rosa Parks.
Tara Rison ('14 BFA Acting) recently appeared in No Child by Nilaja Sun at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre.
Nicolas Cy Benevides ('16 MFA Theatre Technical Design and Production) has been working in regional theatres around the country.  Currently he the Technical Director for the Alma College Theatre Department.
Katie Lambert ('17 BFA Theatre Technical Design and Production) is a Senior Analyst at WaterTower Music - Warner Bros.
Lauren Pivirotto ('14 MFA Theatre Technical Design and Production) is a freelance Costumer/Wardrobe Supervisor currently working as one of two full-time Wardrobe supervisors on Season 5 of Showtimes's Billions. Other projects include Hunters (Amazon), Chemical Hearts (Film), The Sun Is also a Star (Film), The Affair (Showtime), and  Blindspot (NBC).

A lumni News & Notes are compiled from self-submissions 
and from the university's news clip service. 

Barbara Campbell Thomas (Associate Professor of Painting, Printmaking and Drawing), Duane Cyrus (Professor of Ballet and Choreography), and Mariam Stephan (Associate Professor of Painting)  are included in a recently opened group exhibition at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem.  All three faculty members received 
2018-2019 NC Artist Fellowships, and some of the work they did during their fellowship year is on display at SECCA until June 7th.

Ana Paula Höfling (Assistant Professor of Dance Studies)  has had an article 
"Dancing Mestiçagem, Embodying Whiteness: Eros Volúsia's Bailado Brasileiro" accepted for publication in Dance Research Journal ; she has received a publication subsidy from the Office of Research and Engagement, which will allow her to purchase the publication rights to a photograph of Brazilian dancer, choreographer, and dance pedagogue Eros Volúsia, published on the cover of Life magazine in 1941.

Andy Hudson (Assistant Professor of Clarinet) , with the ensemble Latitude 49, has released a new CD, Wax and Wire, which is described as "a genre-bending journey, careening wildly from the visceral to the sublime."  

Rebecca B. MacLeod (Professor of Music Education) was recently elected President-Elect for the American String Teachers Association. She will serve a six-year term for the national organization from 2020 to 2026.

Elizabeth Perrill (Associate Professor of Art History) has been awarded $500 through the UNCG Scholars Travel Fund to present her paper "Leveraging Gender: Ceramics in the NCMA Permanent Reinstallation of African Art" and to serve as a panel chair and presenter for "Ceramics on Display: Museum Presences and Practices" at the Arts Council of the African Studies Association Triennial Conference in Chicago, IL from June 16 to 21, 2020.   
She also won the 2019-2020 Mary Settle Sharp Alumni Teaching Excellence Award. This award is open to tenured faculty members who have completed at least three years of teaching at UNC Greensboro. The award recognizes outstanding teaching, including online or blended instruction, and mentorship.

Jennifer Reis (Assistant Professor of Arts Administration)  will be a presenter and panelist at the 2020 Self Employment in the Arts conference at Columbia College, Chicago, February 21st-23rd. Her topics will include "Branding for Creatives and Selling Your Creative Work."

Faculty and Staff News & Notes are compiled from self-submissions
 and  from the university news clips service.  

Closing Spotlight

Lyric Soprano Renée Fleming with some other "stars"  of the 
UNC Greensboro Concert and Lecture Series -- 
UCLS Technical Director Scott Garrison (back, right)  
and members of the UNCG Auditorium Staff