September 2020
In this issue:  
  • Campus May Be Different, but CVPA's Commitment to Artistic Excellence Remains Steadfast
  • Musical Theatre Becomes a Major, Animation Track on Deck
  • Welcome New Faculty and Staff
  • Alumni, Faculty, and Staff News & Notes

  • CVPA Events and How You Can Attend
  • In Memoriam
Dean bruce d. mcclung

From the Dean's Desk

During the past couple of weeks while walking from the McIver Parking Deck to my office, I have observed parents moving their teenagers into Cone Residence Hall. The excitement for Fall Semester and the anxiety of separation have both been palpable. Yesterday, a father hugged his daughter and assured her--and maybe himself, too--that it would all be alright. As she turned to begin her college experience and to pursue her dreams, her parents comforted one another.

With this student, the College of Visual and Performing Arts has welcomed 271 first-year students. Of these, 134 have chosen to live in Studio 91, an arts-based living community in Cone Residence Hall. There our majors have the freedom to explore their artistic pursuits 24/7 with a dance studio, practice rooms, art studio, and music and design computer labs all conveniently located just down the hall.

CVPA has also welcomed 83 transfer students and 95 graduate students. Altogether our 449 new students hail from 24 states (5 more states than last year) with international students from China and Turkey. Additionally, the diversity of our student body is increasing: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color make up 42.5% of the CVPA student body--compared with 38.4% last year.

At our College's Opening Assembly a couple of weeks ago, we welcomed 2 new staff members and 10 new faculty members, including Natalie Sowell, our new Director of the School of Theatre; Dan Hale, our first visiting animation professor; and April Hill, our first full-time lecturer in musical theatre voice. Animation will soon become a new track within the BFA in art, and this year's class of 9 BFA musical theatre majors are the fortunate ones selected from the 174 who auditioned!

Already, our students have found a very different campus from last year. With requisite face coverings and social distancing, 21% of CVPA classes are online, 26% face-to-face, and 53% in a hybrid modality mixing face-to-face with online components. Although the physical distance between students, their professors, and our professional staff may be greater than before, CVPA is redoubling its commitment to be a caring and empathetic community helping students to pursue their artistic dreams.


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

In the Spotlight:  First Class of Musical Theatre Majors 

This year, CVPA has its first cohort of Musical Theatre Majors, and it wasn't easy for these students to get a ticket in.   Out of 174 who auditioned, only 9 made it.  That's a 5% acceptance rate.  

To put that in perspective, consider these statistics: The 2020 acceptance rate for Harvard Law School was 12.9%, and Duke Medical School accepted only 3.2% of its applicants this year. 

What then does it take to become a CVPA Musical Theatre Major?  
Artist-in-Residence and Coordinator of the  Musical Theatre Program Dominick Amendum says it's a combination of qualities:

"We are looking for young people who are interesting, well rounded, and show great commitment to their craft.  Yes, of course, we are also looking for talent in the three pillars of Musical Theatre training (singing, acting, and dancing), but we learn so much about our auditionees during their interview rather than their audition.  What do they like to do in their free time? What do they watch on TV?  Where do they hope to be five years after graduation?  What do they think they need to work on or where do they excel?  Learning about their lives and hopes ultimately tells us so much about the performer they will become.  The combination of someone who is truly individual and knows who they are--coupled with great talent and training--creates the kind of stage performer that thrills audiences."

Amendum says he is excited by the range of talent and backgrounds of the new majors: "The program has grown so quickly and gained a lot of positive recognition. We have seen an exciting uptick in our reach.  We had applicants from 26 states this recruiting cycle.  Our first-year students come from exceptionally varied backgrounds and are all so different and have incredible levels of talent.  It is so great to put together a small class of actors who are all truly special in their own way and bring something different to our program." 

Curtain Call:  
Private donations help fund the general start-up and continued administrative costs of a new program like Musical Theatre.  The first major donation to the program came last year from alumna Pam Murphy who believes musical theater represents joy, which helps to take the  "crazy" out of life.  You can read her story here.

If you'd like to support Musical Theatre or any of the areas in the 
College of Visual and Performing Arts, contact Development Director David Huskins at 336-256-0166 or by email at [email protected].
Dan Holland, an Artistic Director with Pixar Animation Studios, working with a student during a 2019 workshop

Art in Motion:  The Future of Animation

The art of animation involves motion and movement. The very definition of the word animation means liveliness, energy, and vigor.

Animation at CVPA is all of that and on the verge of taking off in a very big way.

But let's rewind the reel for a little history. Associate Professor of Art History Dr. Heather Holian taught a class on "The Art of Disney" when she was in graduate school at Indiana University.   She brought that idea to 
UNC Greensboro, where she expanded the course to include Pixar. Over the years, she has arranged visits from Pixar artists to campus for lectures and workshops. The School of Art also has a number of dedicated animation courses in its New Media & Design curriculum, as well as three Art History courses focused on the art and artists of Disney and Pixar, all taught by Holian. In December of 2019, the School of Art, with the support of Dean bruce mcclung, held a visioning retreat. Holian wasn't shy about her dreams for animation:

"I spoke up at that meeting and said that I wanted UNCG's School of Art to be known nationally for recruiting and graduating a highly diverse pool of talented young animators prepared to tell new and different stories in this medium. I think it's eminently reasonable to set our sights on being the state school of choice for training and empowering new, diverse voices in animation."

Holian says animation programs are an asset to any art school:

"Animation is an art form in its own regard and it draws upon a range of creative visual and technical skills, some of them quite specific to this field, while others are intertwined with more traditional art forms like drawing, design, photography, and even sculpture and painting. Animation in a School of Art is a perfect marriage of traditional and still relatively new media."

New this year to CVPA is Dan Hale, Visiting Assistant Professor of Animation, who has experience in the area of 3D animation, the practice of which requires multiple phases to take a project from start to finish. His experience with the full pipeline process will enable him to give insight and direction on each of the phases as well as guide the senior capstone production.  Hale agrees that animation will play an important role in the  School of Art:

"The field of animation continues to grow, and while in years past one would almost have to commit to moving to the West Coast to gain employment after graduation, a shifting landscape is producing more opportunities closer to home. The rapidly expanding number of streaming platforms as well as online staples like YouTube and Vimeo offer no shortage of ways to reach an audience. Our area is also home to a multitude of video game companies who are always on the lookout for talented digital 3D artists, so to be able to show students practical employment outcomes here in North Carolina is a real benefit."

Hale holds a degree in Media Studies from UNC Greensboro, and he's excited to be back:

"It would not be a stretch to say that if I had been asked upon entering graduate school to draw up my dream job, this would have been it. The diversity and immense talent of the students here at UNC Greensboro, coupled with the commitment to the arts by the community at large, makes Greensboro a great incubator of ideas and culture, and an ideal place to be."

Holian says she's already thinking about what's next:

"The addition of Dan to our team enables us to start thinking more expansively about what animation can be at UNC Greensboro! We are excited about the possibility of new, additional curriculum in the area and especially excited about the development of a BFA Animation--a degree track that we expect to add to the School very soon."

Sounds like animation at CVPA is heading, in the words of Pixar character Buzz Lightyear, "to infinity and beyond!" 

Did you know --  CVPA offers 16 minors across the four arts disciplines and arts administration.  

Welcome New Faculty and Staff!

During the spring and summer of 2020, CVPA added ten (10) full-time faculty members and two (2) new staff members.  We officially welcomed 
Tannis Boyajian (Scene Shop Supervisor), Mya Brown (Assistant Professor of Theatre--Theatre Generalist in Acting/Directing), Tori Foster (Assistant Professor of New Media & Design), Dan Hale (Visiting Assistant Professor of Animation), April Hill (Lecturer in Musical Theatre--Voice), 
Catrina Kim (Assistant Professor of Music Theory), Garrett Klein (Assistant Professor of Trumpet), Kelley O'Brien (Assistant Professor of New Media & Design), Matthew Reese (Graduate Student Services - School of Music), Natalie Sowell (Director of the School of Theatre and Associate Professor of Theatre), Emily Voelker (Assistant Professor of Art History), and 
Tara Webb (Lecturer in Costume Technology). 

Top row:  Tannis Boyajian, Mya Brown, Tori Foster, Dan Hale
Middle row:  April Hill, Catrina Kim, Garrett Klein, Kelley O'Brien
Bottom Row:  Matthew Reese, Natalie Sowell, Emily Voelker, Tara Webb

Ashley Barret (Professor of Oboe) received a $1,750 award from Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies for her project "Women of Note Composition Competition and Women's Wind Ensembles Performance." The project will promote up-and-coming women composers, and the winning compositions will be performed by the Women's Wind Ensemble in a future presentation as part of the campus collaboration "She Can / We Can: Beyond the Women's Suffrage Centennial."

Guy Capuzzo (Professor of Music Theory) has published an article on Elliott Carter, which appears in the latest issue of Journal of Music Theory (64:1, April 2020).   Read the article here.

Hannah Grannemann (Director of Arts Administration) published her article "How to Get Up-Front Funding for a Project--Without Losing Control" in the British magazine Arts Professional. Read the article here.

Abigail Hart (Arts Education Student Service Specialist), Jennifer Reich (Director of Undergraduate Advising), and Sidney Stretz (Undergraduate Academic Advisor) were invited to present "Riding the Wave of Programming: How To Bring Your Island Into an Archipelago" at the 2020 NACADA National Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Their presentation features research and findings from both programming hosted in Studio 91: Cone Residence Hall as well as teaching workshops led by Abigail Hart for arts-education students.

Andrew Havenhand (Lecturer in Art) exhibited "Please Don't Touch" this summer at the Quirk Gallery in Richmond, VA. Read more here.

David Holley (Professor of Music, Director of Opera) has been awarded second place in the Charles Neilson Reilly Prize by the American Prize in Opera Performance for his stage direction of the 2019 School of Music production of Falstaff.  Prizes were also awarded to the overall production and conductor.  Read more here.

Rebecca MacLeod (Professor of String Education) recently co-authored with Jessica Napoles Clifford K. Madsen's Contributions to Music Education and Music Therapy, which summarizes the life and work of Dr. Clifford Madsen, a luminary in music education and author of a dozen books, the first recipient of the Senior Researcher Award from the Music Educators National Conference, and mentor and teacher to generations of music educators and music therapists. 

Elizabeth Perrill (Associate Professor of Art History) has been selected as one of eight art history faculty nationwide to appear as a guest lecturer on the Advanced Placement Daily, an online supplement produced by the College Board to help educate over twenty-five thousand students worldwide in this subject. She joins faculty from thirty disciplines working to support advanced high school curricula through guest appearances in online AP resources under development to support remote learning.

Faculty/Staff News & Notes are compiled from self-submissions 
and from the University's news clip service. 


Rodney Van Valkenburg ('83 MFA Theatre) has been named Executive Director of the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. Read more here.

Robert Lamb ('90 MM Applied Music) is beginning his 23rd year of teaching in Florida where he is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Eastern Florida State College.

Michael Kinchen (Miles Davis Jazz Studies) was featured in a recent "Meet a Musician" article in the Greensboro News & RecordRead the article.

Katie Campbell ('14 MFA Theatre) has been named Children's Theatre and Performing Arts Director of the Arkansas Arts Center. Read more here.

Savannah Relos ('15 BFA Theatre) is Technical Director and Amanda Warriner ('16 MFA Theatre) Production Coordinator and Props Master at Berkshire Theatre Group in Massachusetts, which in August opened Godspell, the first professional musical approved by the Actor's Equity Association and staged in the United States since Broadway shut down. Read more in the New York Times.

Deon'te Goodman ('16 BM Vocal Performance) starred in the title role in the virtual theatre production of Bayard, which follows the story of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin and his role in Martin Luther King's March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.   Read more in Broadway World.

Anthony Patterson ('17 BFA Studio Arts) has an exhibition coming up at Greensboro Project Space. More information here.

Sherrill Roland ('17 MFA and '09 BFA Studio Arts) won the 2020 Southern Prize for his Jumpsuit Project. Read more here.

Wesley McCleary-Small ('18 BM Music Education) has joined with a group of friends to find ways to sing during COVID-19.  Their collaboration called "the group [bc]" has gotten the attention of Northern Alabama's NPR station and others as they continue to share music.  He hopes it will "spread a sense of hope and enjoyment during a negatively charged year." Listen here.

Ashlie Brewer ('19 BA Music, Anthropology) is attending NCSU and 
UNC-Chapel Hill for a dual master's degree in public history and information and library science.

Tracy Viator ('19 MM Violin) is entering the Counseling Psychology PhD program at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. As she earns her doctoral degree, she will be maintaining her relationships with musicians by researching performance psychology and health/wellness issues of performing artists.

Clarice Weiseman ('19 MM Vocal Performance) has been appointed Adjunct Professor of Voice at Averett University.

Andrew Brooks ('20 MM Music Education) is continuing graduate studies in the Music Education doctoral program this fall at UNC Greensboro as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.

Ben Cantrell ('20 DMA) has been appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Percussion at Morehead State University.

Alumni News & Notes are compiled from self-submissions 
and from the university's news clip service. 
In Memoriam:  Dr. Arthur Tollefson and Dr. John Lee Jellicorse 

CVPA lost two giants in the history of the College this summer. 

Dr. Arthur "Art" Tollefson, Dean Emeritus, died July 24.  He was a world class pianist and Steinway Artist, as well the Dean of the School of Music who oversaw the construction of the current Music Building. 

Dr. John Lee Jellicorse, Professor Emeritus, died July 1, 2020.  His distinguished career at UNC Greensboro and beyond encompassed a tremendous number of subject areas within theater, communication studies, and media studies.  Read more here.

Both have funds established in their names at UNC Greensboro.  Memorial gifts may be made the to Arthur Tollefson Student Travel Fund and the 
Dr. John Lee Jellicorse Scholarship Fund.  Instructions can be found here.

Dr. John Lee Jellicorse
Dr. Arthur Tollefson

Closing Spotlight:  

Greensboro Project Space, CVPA's off-campus art gallery, has moved to a new location in the heart of downtown Greensboro. 
Pictured above are Andy Hudson (Assistant Professor of Clarinet) and 
Annie Jeng (Assistant Professor of Piano Pedagogy) who will perform "A Zoom Salon Exploring Greensboro's Creative Praxis during the 2020 Quarantine" on September 24th.  Read more about GPS here .