Archives—April 2019

VPA Student Awards

A number of students have received awards at the Visual and Performing Arts end-of-year student awards banquet that was held Tuesday, April 24th in the Rozsa Lobby.

The well attended ceremony was MC’d by VPA Department Chair, Jared Anderson, who raffled off fun and inspiring prizes for the students as we wished them well.

MUB pasties and celebratory cake were served – a good time was had by all.

Here is the list of this years award recipients:

Department Scholar: Sarah Calvert
Woman of Promise: Makenzi Wentela

Henry Sendek – Sound Award

All Arts:  Samantha Palumbo
Art:  Alexander Pohl
Music:  Katya Klebba
Sound: Henry Sendek
Theatre: Hunter Storie
Milton Olsson Music Award: Giselle Ulep

Congratulations and best wishes to all of our graduating seniors.

Rock, Paper, Scissors in gallery b

The department of Visual and Performing Arts announces its semi-annual student showcase, “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” featuring works of art created in Project Learning Lab by Michigan Tech students.

Project Learning Lab is an innovative arts classroom based inside Rozsa gallery b. The exhibition runs through 8 p.m. today (April 22).

The works on display were created by students in Lisa Gordillo’s Traditional Sculpture Studio. Students from many campus disciplines are represented, including business, math, engineering and theatre. Students in the class study sculptural traditions from around the world, and create three-dimensional works using those traditions as a guide.

This year, the class focused on Guatemalan cultures, and created barriletes (giant kites), nawales (personal symbols informed by the Mayan calendar) and Estelas (large carvings).

The student artists are:

  • Ben Baize
  • Nate Evink
  • Abby Kirk
  • Aaron Kruzel
  • Jared Mcdowel
  • Alex Ordakowski
  • Laurel Payne
  • Piper Schlaeppi
  • Brett Schnabelrauch
  • Hunter Storie
  • Traven Thai
  • Alexandra Walker
  • Alex Weber
  • Isobel Wentworth
  • Kitty Williams

Assistant Professor Lisa Gordillo Named Distinguished Teaching Award Finalist

Congratulations to Visual and Performing Arts Assistant Professor, Lisa Gordillo, who was named as a finalist for this years Distinguished Teaching Award.

The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning recognizes outstanding contributions to the instructional mission of the University. Based on more than 50,000 student ratings of instruction responses, ten finalists have been identified for the 2019 awards. The selection committee has solicited comments from students, staff, faculty and alumni to aid in deliberation.

The process for determining the Distinguished Teaching Award recipients from this list of finalists also involves the additional surveying of their spring classes. The selection committee makes the final determination of the award recipients. The 2019 Distinguished Teaching Awards will be formally announced in May.


KSO to Perform ‘Rhapsody in Blue’

Violinists in KSOThe Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra presents George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (April 20) in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Popularized in Disney’s “Fantasia 2000,” “Rhapsody in Blue” will be performed along with the haunting ballet music to Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” and the angst-ridden “Chamber Symphony” of Schoenberg.

Joel Neves, conductor for the event, gives a preview, “This is our last concert of the year, so we saved the very best for last. Everyone loves ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ one of the great jazz-infused orchestra works of all time. ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ features local pianist extraordinaire, Jon Ensminger, who plays the soaring, swinging, sophisticated piano solo. Also on the program is sublime music by Verdi, Schubert, and Schoenberg, as well as Stravinsky’s magical ‘Firebird Suite,’ also featured in Fantasia. You don’t want to miss this fantastic program!”

Founded in 1970, the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra is the Upper Peninsula’s oldest orchestra. The KSO is a college-community ensemble comprising Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff, and community musicians. Most of the musicians pursue something other than music as a career, with engineers, scientists, mathematicians, educators, and retirees filling the roster. Students occupy about 60 percent of the orchestra; none are music majors. The KSO presents 4-5 concerts per year—including choral-orchestral, opera, ballet, and pops—in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets are on sale now, $19 for adults, $6 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 487-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance. The Rozsa Box Office opens two hours prior to performances.


VPA Student Receives Honor

A Michigan Tech student was recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). As a result of eight regional festivals held in January and February, theatre students from around the country have been recognized for outstanding works.

Makenzi Jo Wentala received a scholarship to the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas (SILV). Select students were awarded one-week or multi-week scholarships to the SILV. Summer master classes at the SILV include rigging, digital drafting SFX, automation and “Movers, Media and Rock-n-Roll.”


New Works by Student Composers

Newest of the New,” celebrates the creative musical pursuits of Michigan Tech student composers with performances of their original pieces. This free concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (April 18) in McArdle Theatre in the Walker Arts and Humanities Center.

This year, the event will include compositions by David Brown, Sarah Calvert, Alan Harrison, Tyler Quinn, and Chris Wilson, all of whom are in the composition minor program. The performance pieces will be varied, incorporating a range of instruments and styles, including a string quartet.

“This is the culmination of the year,” says Libby Meyer, (Visual and Performing Arts) director of the Music Composition Program, “It’ll be awesome, and we want everyone to come.”

The event is free of charge, and is open to the public.



‘Sunday in the Park with George’ Opens Today

Performers on stageThe Rozsa Center, Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Tech Theatre Company present the VPA 25th Anniversary Season theatre finale, “Sunday in the Park with George,” Thursday, Friday and Saturday (April 11-13) at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. each evening.

The musical features junior computer science major Jonah Schulte as George One and George Two. Katy Gula, a junior environmental engineering major, plays the role of Dot.

“Sunday in the Park with George” is a fully staged musical with live orchestra. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s lyrical celebration of art, love and children merges image, music and performance to explore the depths of human understanding.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and staged around the world, “Sunday in the Park with George” explains the simple essence of life we can all understand.

When considering what to program as the musical theatre offering this year, ‘Sunday in the Park with George’ kept coming to my mind as a work that represents the department in special ways—a musical about two artists, separated through many years, but intimately connected by their desires to connect through art and to create something new.—Jared Anderson, Chair VPA

Director Roger Held (VPA), describes the play in terms of an intersection and relations between parents, children and art. “Steven Sondheim and James Lapine suggest that, in the end, life comes down to children and art. They mean this, I think, in the broadest sense. In ‘Sunday in the Park …’, you’ll meet two Georges who are artists trying to understand the nature of light in aesthetic experiences.”

Tickets are on sale now, $19 for adults, $6 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, through the date links (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) , in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa Box Office the night of the show. The box office opens two hours prior to the performance.


Closing Reception for Salon!

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Rozsa Center invite you to join local and regional creative thinkers for a conversation on art, literature and other ideas.

This “salon-style conversation” will take place in the Rozsa lobby before Friday’s (April 12) performance of Tech Theatre’s production of “Sunday in the Park with George,” a musical based on the creative life of Georges Seurat.

This event is part of the gallery exhibit, Salon!, bringing together the spring musical and the spring gallery exhibit in a public conversation.

Salon Conversation, with guest speakers, 5:30-6:30pm in the Rozsa Lobby; Gallery Reception, 6:30-7:30pm, Rozsa Gallery A-Space

Edzordzi Agbozo, poetry

Jared Andersonon arts and collaboration

Linda King Ferguson and Dr. Tomas Co, on painting 

Libby Meyer, music

M. Bartley Seigelpoetry

Dana Van Kooyon plantations, colonialism, art, and literature

With music throughout by Mike Christianson and Superior Wind Symphony students.


Dean’s Showcase

Lisa GordilloFor the Deans’ Teaching Showcase, Dean David Hemmer has selected Lisa Gordillo, assistant professor in Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).

Gordillo was nominated by VPA Chair Jared Anderson, who applauded the many interdisciplinary collaborations she has initiated to publicly exhibit student art, especially around campus.

Anderson highlighted a wide variety of projects,” ranging from artistic design for windows that would reduce bird-window collisions to carving and casting sculptures based on traditional models in partnership with the Materials Science and Engineering Department.”

Gordillo teaches a wide variety of courses including traditional sculpture, contemporary sculpture, art + design, scenic art and illustration, and advanced sculpture. All of these make important contributions to the general education program, the visual art minor and the major in theater and entertainment technology.

Lisa leads a very collaborative environment where students are encouraged to explore creative solutions to problems while creating beautiful art. Her curriculum uses gallery b in the Rozsa galleries as an interactive classroom space where students create art right where it will be installed for public exhibition.—Jared Anderson

In addition, barriletes (patterned after traditional Guatemalan barriletes) made by students in the Traditional Sculpture course are currently displayed in the Rozsa Center lobby.

Gordillo’s highly hands-on approach with a focus on exhibition is very popular with students as she was named a finalist for the 2019 Distinguished Teaching Award, her third time as a finalist in the last four years.

Gordillo also connects her teaching with a much broader artistic context in her role as director of the Rozsa Art Galleries.  Recently, the exhibition, Salon!, opened in Gallery A in the Rozsa Center. This show brought together work from more than 30 artists and writers from around the world. Gordillo worked with student painters to transform the gallery into a space that was inspired by the salons of the late 19th century.

Dean Hemmer summarizes Gordillo’s impact by saying,  “I am grateful to have colleagues like Lisa. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting two magnificent shows that she curated in the Rosza Art Gallery. For the many students involved in putting these together, learning extends far beyond the classroom. Faculty like Lisa enliven Tech every day.”

Gordillo will be recognized at an end-of-term luncheon with other showcase members and is now eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer recognizing introductory or large class teaching, innovative or outside the classroom teaching methods, or work in curriculum and assessment.