Dr. Sarah Projansky, Associate Dean for Faculty & Academic Affairs and Professor in Film & Media Arts and Gender Studies, recently spoke at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Her book “Watching Rape: Film and Television in Postfeminist Culture” addresses media representations of sexual assault, not just in explicit instances, but in implicit ones as well.

For her presentation, Dr. Projansky said she prepared by reflecting on media she had seen over the past few days and found at least six recent examples of sexual violence, whether direct or implied. “Sexual violence is pervasive, it is everywhere,” she said.

Dr. Projansky noted that trends in media show that representations of sexual violence drive ratings. “Sexual violence is generative. The media rely on sexual violence for narrative, ratings and advertising dollars,” Projansky stated. This pattern inspired Dr. Projansky’s research and her continued study in film and media scholarship.

Given the pervasiveness of sexual violence in media, Dr. Projansky also looks for meaningful representations that increase the social dialogue on sexual violence.

Her most recent book “Spectacular Girls,” published in February 2014, discusses the representation of gender, race and sexuality in relation to girls in media.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and focuses on healthy sexuality and empowerment to prevent sexual violence.  

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AuthorThe Finer Points

What are the odds that six students, studying vocal performance at the same school, individually competing in a national competition, and each walking away with a major award? The odds are convincingly in your favor if you study in the School of Music in the College of Fine Arts at University of Utah.

The Cal Western Regional National Association of Teachers Singing competition, held in March, hosted hundreds of students from five states who had prequalified to attend the national stage of the competition. Three students from the U earned first place honors, with another three achieving equally impressive placements. It’s unprecedented that six out of six entrants win top rankings, but that’s exactly what happened at this national competition.

Dr. Robert Breault, professor of applied voice and director of the University’s opera, said, “This was a major event for our students and an indication of the high level of work our faculty and students are doing at the U.”

Michelle Dean, a sophomore, won first place in her division, with Erin Loizos winning an honorable mention in the same category.

In the advanced college division, second-year masters student Amber Stachitus came away with the top prize, followed by first-year masters student Mackenzie Matthews in third place.

Incoming doctoral student, with a BFA and MFA from the School of Music, Clara Hurtado Lee placed first in the prestigious Artist Award division of the competition. Doctoral candidate Melissa Heath placed second in the same category. Lee will compete again in Boston at the national finals, with a chance to win more than $13,000 in prizes.

Each of these six award-winning vocal performance students study with Dr. Breault and were accompanied by the director of music for the University’s opera area, Jeffrey Price.

Congratulations to these six students on reaching such an achievement on a national stage! 

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AuthorThe Finer Points

With more than 120 scholarships awarded throughout the College of Fine Arts six academic units, a wealth of celebration was in order as scholarship donors and student recipients joined together for the College’s Fourth Annual Scholarship Recognition Luncheon last month.

Photo by Amelia Walchli

Photo by Amelia Walchli

The unusually warm February afternoon was filled with music, laughter and gratitude. This event uniquely provides a space for scholarship donors to get to know the students they have financially assisted over the academic year, and allows students to personally show their gratitude to someone who believes in their education.

Dean Raymond Tymas-Jones shared his own story of receiving scholarships as a student and the impact it had in his life. Other speakers included scholarship recipients Candida Duran (Department of Film & Media Arts) and Valerie Nishiguchi (Department of Theatre), as well as Mr. Kem Gardner, a donor to the School of Music. The speakers shared their own stories, but one theme emerged; scholarship gifts provide a lifetime of benefit and create a lasting legacy.

An investment in the academic success of College of Fine Arts students through scholarships permits artistic growth and opportunity for the next generation of artists. The Scholarship Recognition Luncheon celebrates this idea and honors the special relationship students create with those who are cheering for their success along the way.  

Photo by Amelia Walchli

Photo by Amelia Walchli

To see all of the photos from the Scholarship Luncheon, visit the College's Flickr

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AuthorThe Finer Points

This year’s University of Utah Academic Affairs’ Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award recognizes one of our own—Department of Art & Art History Professor Kim Martinez. This prestigious award was established to acknowledge faculty members who have demonstrated impact beyond academia and have improved the lives of citizens. Martinez was nominated by Professor Maureen O’Hara Ure, who was impressed by Martinez’s approach to her mural class and the impact it has had on dozens of community groups.

Martinez, a professor of painting and drawing, believes recipients of the Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award share one particular quality: creative thinking. She thinks her ability to solve problems by thinking in new ways helped her earn this top honor. Each semester, her goal is to teach students about public art and to gain a sense of community. Having studied traditional Mexican mural technique, Martinez is keeping that tradition alive in Salt Lake City. The mural class is offered once per year under Professor Martinez’s care. Through this class, she made innovation a priority.

Professor Martinez integrates artistic elements with entrepreneurial skills in her mural class. In addition to planning and painting a mural, she teaches students about public art and what it entails, including grant writing, the Request For Quotation (RFQ) process, demographic research and commissioned works. Unlike an artist in his/her studio with an easel, public art requires negotiation because communities take ownership of the work. That’s why she knocks on every neighboring door for community mural projects inviting collaboration and an honest representation of the community’s values in the work. “It is a great medium to teach so many things besides art,” she said.

This innovative approach to teaching art has continued to grow. She receives many requests from community members for murals. But murals are more than cans of paint. She wants her students’ work to be valued artistically as well as financially. Having worked with the City of South Salt Lake, Primary Children’s Hospital, UTA and many others, her mural classes receive payment for their work—an application of financial value for the work they produce, as well as an agreement that the work will remain in place for five years.

In today’s art landscape, skills to request funding and apply for contracts are a necessity, and Professor Kim Martinez has willingly adapted to teach these lessons to students. “Education should be fluid. Curriculum must change every year to adjust to students’ needs,” she said.


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AuthorThe Finer Points
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