Another banner semester has come to a close. Join us as we look back on the incredible accomplishments of the College of Fine Arts students and faculty.


Welcomed Two New Deans: To better serve the community and campus, Dean Raymond Tymas-Jones named two new Assistant Deans to serve in his cabinet. Brooke Horejsi, who is the new Executive Director of Kingsbury Hall joined with a dual appointment as Assistant Dean for Art & Creative Engagement and Kelby McIntyre-Martinez joined as Assistant Dean for Arts Education & Community Engagement.

Distinguished Alumni Awards: Each fall semester the College of Fine Arts honors alums from each academic unit whose innovation, artistic visions, and talent shape the arts in communities around the world. In 2014, six alumnae were honored during October’s Distinguished Alumni Awards Assembly.

Distinguished Alumni Awards Assembly

Distinguished Alumni Awards Assembly

Art & Art History

Faculty member Ed Bateman’s work was honored by the Lumen Prize, the leading award for digital art, and his piece was also featured on the 2014 Lumen Prize publicity materials.

Every three years the faculty of the Department of Art & Art History showcase their latest works at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. This year’s exhibition “New Narratives” included works across the studio areas and made for an impressive show.



Utah Ballet’s fall concert featured world-premiere works by renowned choreographer Charlotte Boye-Chistensen and visiting faculty member Eloy Barragan. Maggie Wright Tesch staged “Grand Pas des Finacees” to round out the concert offerings.

Film & Media Arts

The Department of Film & Media Arts hosted its fourth annual F&MAD Fest, the U’s annual student film festival, on Oct. 5. Between dozens of submissions from undergraduate and graduate students, including animation, narrative films, and documentary-style short films, the festival screened 12 films. Three awards were presented to the best of each category, and the audience voted on their favorite for the Audience Choice Award. 

Recent graduate Curtis Whitear produced “Down the Hole,” the story of a man believing to follow God’s direction down an abandoned mine shaft, only to find his own demise. Whitear’s film was awarded Best Fiction Film as well as the Audience Choice award.

Best Animated Film, “Tom and M.E.” by MFA candidate Michael Edwards, is an animated interview with longtime film professor, Tom Sobchack.

And Best Nonfiction Film, “Iron Cowboy” by Cameron Goold, tells the story of Utah’s world record-breaking triathlete James Lawrence.  

Modern Dance

Reflecting on experiences of the Berlin Cultural Exchange Program, Associate Professor Sharee Lane discussed the history of the program and how it engages students with international experiences and crosses the boundaries of modern dance and ballet.

The Performing Dance Company’s fall concert featured an array thematically inspired pieces of choreography. As the premier performing group in the Department of Modern Dance, the concert was a hit.












The annual Camerata Awards honored Maurice Abravanel and Obert C. Tanner for their incredible contributions to the School of Music. Conductor Maurice Abravanel’s works were especially celebrated with a series of events. Dr. Robert Baldwin commented, “Every musician in Utah owes him a great debt for paving the way to artistic excellence.”

The School of Music welcomed three new faculty appointments in Fall 2014. Jonathan Campbell joined as Director of Jazz Ensembles; Dr. Nicole Robinson was permanently made the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Endowed Chair of Elementary Music Education; and Postdoctoral Fellow Anne McNamara joined the School of Music as one of the Raymond C. Morales fellows.   


In October, the Department of Theatre produced the World Premiere production of THE OWL GIRL by Monica Raymond. In conjunction with the opening, the playwright visited campus and participated in several events to promote and discuss the play and the issues it investigates.




The Musical Theatre Program’s production of THE THREEPENNY OPERA received rave reviews for its strong vocal and comic performances, as well as for its simple, yet powerful staging. 

Before entering the Utah Opera headquarters, you might want to remove your shoes. At least for mural class students, this is true. Department of Art & Art History Professor Kim Martinez and the mural class are deeply immersed in their semester-long project to produce three mural backdrops for the Department of Ballet’s steam-punk themed production of “Cinderella.” The class is using the space at the Utah Opera to construct and paint the pieces, with guidance from experts in addition to Martinez, including Department of Ballet’s Acting Chair Brent Schneider, choreographer Jay Kim, and the Utah Opera’s Resident Scenic Designer John Cook.

“I have loved scheming with Ballet for this project,” said Martinez.

Students in the mural class submitted five designs each, for more than 100 designs in consideration total. Then the Department of Ballet narrowed it down and picked the final designs, which are being produced by the class as a whole.

In just eight weeks, the three backdrops are sketched, outlined, and painted by the 18 students in the course. Martinez stressed the collaborative effort involved in working on a large-scale project like this.

A bird's eye-view of the "Cinderella" backdrops in-progress.

A bird's eye-view of the "Cinderella" backdrops in-progress.

Unlike previous works the mural classes have created on walls and other vertical canvases, painting backdrops on the floor creates a different visceral experience for the artists.

“Being in the painting has that modernist connection,” Martinez said. “Fine art can also be scenic.”

The circumstances of this semester’s mural project were quite serendipitous. Professor Martinez had scheduled a public art mural, but the funding fell through. Since the mural course focuses on professional development skills, such as securing art funding, Martinez reached out to Schneider to see how they might collaborate. With the production of “Cinderella” in the works, the partnership between the two departments was a perfect match.

Working at the Utah Opera facility has also allowed the students to be part of a community of backdrop artists. Utah Opera’s newly forming backdrop co-op makes renting fine art backdrops a possibility across all performance mediums. The backdrops for “Cinderella” will enter this co-op following the April performances of “Cinderella.”

You can see the original sketches and the breadth of the student entries in the main floor of the ART building. “Cinderella” (and the backdrops) runs April 3-4 in Kingsbury Hall. 

On Monday, December 1, in the University of Utah’s stunning Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA), Raymond Tymas-Jones was awarded the Utah Cultural Alliance’s 2014 Cultural Achievement Award for his significant contributions to the arts, humanities, and culture in the state of Utah.

Tymas-Jones, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Associate Vice President for the Arts at the U joined the esteemed ranks of former awardees: Diane P. Stewart, former Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, Kevin T. Jones, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Doug Fabrizio, Kate Coles, and Tony Larimer.

Utah Cultural Alliance Board Chair, Derek Dyer, gives Raymond Tymas-Jones award painting by U of U Art & Art History professor, Ed Bateman

Utah Cultural Alliance Board Chair, Derek Dyer, gives Raymond Tymas-Jones award painting by U of U Art & Art History professor, Ed Bateman

“I am humbled by the generosity of spirit of those of you who nominated me for this recognition,” Tymas-Jones said when he accepted the award. “Primarily because I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to be privileged to live a life dedicated to the arts and culture.”

His colleague Gretchen Dietrich, the Executive Director of the UMFA, described his deep and abiding passion for art to the crowd when she presented him with the award.

“He is tireless in his personal and professional support of all of the many artists on our faculty, in our student body, and across the community,” she said. “Of all the things I admire about my boss – and there are many – it is his deep love and dedication to art that I most value.”

In a statement about having chosen Tymas-Jones as its awardee, the Utah Cultural Alliance said:   

“The Utah Cultural Alliance chose to honor Dr. Raymond Tymas-Jones with our 2014 Cultural Achievement Award as he embodies everything that the award is about. He has made a lasting and immeasurable contribution to Utah’s cultural community. His impact as dean of the College of Fine Arts has resulted in thousands of students receiving world-class training in the arts. As Vice President of the Arts at the U, he ensures that cultural entities such as Kingsbury Hall, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Natural History Museum of Utah, and more (there’s so many!) remain financially successful and fulfill their missions. With oversight over so many cultural entities, it’s possible to say that the majority of Utahns have patronized an organization that is directly influenced by Dr. Tymas-Jones. Over his career, he has also worked hard to increase the impact of diverse voices in the cultural sector. Words can’t really express how important he’s been to Utah’s cultural community and that is why we were so happy to honor Dr. Raymond Tymas-Jones. We were especially thrilled to be treated by hearing his beautiful voice!”

They are referring to the moment in Tymas-Jones’ acceptance speech when he spoke about art as a way of connecting to the world and sang a beautifully powerful and almost haunting rendition of “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child.”

Instead of a plaque or trophy, Tymas-Jones was given a piece of art by U Department of Art & Art History Professor Ed Bateman called, “The Fisher King Awaits the Question.”

In anticipation of tomorrow’s opening night of the Modern Dance Graduate Thesis Concert, grad student Allison Shir interviewed one of the students whose work will be featured. Carly Schaub earned a B.F.A. in Theatre and Dance from the University of Wyoming, where she performed in numerous dance and musical theatre productions and studied various dance forms. Carly has taught ballet, modern dance, tap, while choreographing numerous musicals and plays for area high schools, Sleepy Hollow Summer Theatre, and Bismarck State College and has been a guest artist in North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, and Utah. Carly is getting her Screendance Certificate along with the thesis process presented in this concert.

The Modern Dance Thesis Concert, “The Theory Of…” opens at Marriott Center for Dance on December 4 at 5:30 p.m., with additional performances Dec. 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are FREE for U of U Students with a valid student ID (U & the Arts Pass) $8 for U of U faculty and staff, children and seniors, $12 regular admission.

Carly Schaub

Carly Schaub

Can you tell me about the upcoming concert?This concert involves the work of four Modern Dance grad students who are in their third year. I am presenting a piece alongside Wenting Sun, Nathan Dryden, and Kelly Bruce. This show is going to be rather eclectic—probably not “dancy” in the traditional sense. We are all exploring very different research questions and trying to find either more questions or answers – most likely more questions through the choreographic process. The name of the concert is titled, “The Theory Of…” We finally settled on that because our theories are that we are working through in this choreographic process and coming up with one title that seemed to tent all of our processes didn’t seem possible. So we left it open.

What inspired the choreography?
I have been studying trained habits in the body and trying to get beyond that by using actually vocal methods that are used by actors. I’ve been having my dancers do vocal methods where a person puts their body in a state of tremoring using certain poses. I am actually playing accordion for my piece because a lot of this actor training method has to do with the fullness and use of the breath.

Carly Schaub

Carly Schaub

Nathan Dryden has been using presence and absence –using those ideas within the choreographic process. He starts very improvisationally and fine-tunes and hones in on what he is working on as the process goes on. He has a solo as well as a quartet in this show.

Wenting Sun has been exploring humor in choreography – intended and unintended choreography, as well as misunderstandings and mistranslations. She is throwing the lack of context together in her piece, which is often very funny, and also sometimes very tragic.

Kelly Bruce has been studying identity and the shell of identity that you place upon yourself in society and what society also places upon you.

The guest artist is Netta Yerushalmy also works very collaboratively. She has given us a lot of very interesting phrases, and she’s very interesting in those awkward places that are not natural with your body. Mushing things together that are not natural and not letting yourself smooth out the edges and not make it work for what you think your trained body should be doing.

Can you tell me also more about the process behind the scenes?
There is a lot you can do with very little I have realized. With just a few moving objects on the stage there are really a myriad of possibilities with just the stage that we have. We’ve been trying to work closely with Cole Adams and Isaac Taylor on lighting. We had to make the poster and program (with some help). We arranged for a photo shoot (with photographer Chelsea Rowe) and we chose a photo, a title, and arranged a lot of the stuff ourselves. We’ve also been taking care of all the publicity, which has been a little bit stressful since we are focusing on our choreographic process. We are very lucky to have the support of the Department of Modern Dance.

AuthorThe Finer Points