Tag Archives: College of Fine Arts and Communication

Happenings: Juilliard Joins Texas State

‘Juilliard Joins Texas State’ features performers, poet, world premiere

Dr. Wayne Oquin during rehearsal at Texas State

By Billi London-Gray

The best collaborations continue for years. “Juilliard Joins Texas State” is no exception. The annual spring event, now in its fifth year, is a joint effort by the best performers from Texas State University and New York’s renowned Juilliard School.

This year’s performance, titled Sustaining the Moment: Reflections of Art and Nature, will be an artistic response, through dance, drama and music, to the Texas State Common Experience theme of sustainability. Dr. Wayne Oquin, a Texas State Honors grad and Distinguished Alumnus and an award-winning composer, pianist and Juilliard faculty member, will direct the performance. Continue reading

Rising Stars: Double Dutch Design

With professor’s guidance, Texas State grads work with Dutch design firms

Gram Garner and John Yum in Amsterdam, 2010

By Billi London-Gray

They didn’t go for the tulips and windmills, the bikes and canals, or the beer and soccer. Gram Garner and John Yum went to the Netherlands for the design firms.

“The Netherlands have the most designers per capita, and they are world leaders for wonderful creative work,” says Texas State communication design professor Claudia Röschmann.

Garner and Yum both developed strong admiration for Dutch designers while they were Röschmann’s students. With help from Röschmann, plus hard work and significant stores of moxie, Garner and Yum both secured internships and then jobs with their “dream companies” – Undog and Dietwee, respectively – in the Netherlands.

Watch the video below or read the full story about their experiences in the Texas State Rising Stars archives.

Faculty: Jean Laman

After 37 years, retrospective celebrates work of retiring art professor

Jean Laman

Jean B. Laman’s artistic career is woven across nearly half a century of experience. From her first group exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art in 1966 to her 37-year tenure on the faculty at Texas State University-San Marcos, Laman has created a lasting legacy both through her work and through her students.

“Jean B. Laman: Points of Departure,” a retrospective of her work, will open Thursday at Gallery II in the Joann Cole Mitte Building on campus. The show will examine Laman’s work and explorations in celebration of her upcoming retirement from the Texas State faculty in May. Mitte Gallery director Mary Mikel Stump will curate the show. Continue reading

Around Campus: Careers in Foreign Service

Foreign service offers opportunities aplenty for those who like a challenge

By Billi London-Gray

“There’s nothing like the satisfaction of doing your job, serving your country and helping American citizens living abroad,” says Jen McAndrew.

The 2007 master’s graduate of Texas State’s mass communication program is a member of the U.S. Foreign Service, currently representing the State Department in Israel. As a vice consul at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, McAndrew does everything from approving visa applications to managing the consular section’s social media outreach.

“You know you’re a form of protection for your family and friends back home,” McAndrew says. “I never experienced that kind of satisfaction before I came to work for the State Department. But you need to have maximum flexibility for this type of work.” Continue reading

Alumni: Ashley Cass

Texas State graduate
going places with Gowalla

By Britney Munguia

When Texas State graduate Ashley Cass was offered a full-time position as a campus and events coordinator for Gowalla, the location-based mobile application, she had no idea what was in store.

Ashley Cass sporting a Gowalla beanie while in Park City, Utah

Since joining the Gowalla team in September of 2010, Cass has traveled to Palo Alto, Calif.; Boston; and most recently, Park City, Utah. In January, Cass and her team ventured to Sundance Film Festival in Park City, where they spent a  week passing out “swag,” signing up new users and spreading the world about Gowalla. Continue reading

Alumni: Anthony Burns

Texas State graduate directed,
produced and wrote ‘Skateland’

By Britney Munguia

A new-age film with a vintage feel, Skateland is directed by Anthony Burns, a Texas State University graduate who studied English and mass communication.

Anthony Burns

The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2010, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the drama category. The film later played at SXSW, Dallas, Seattle, Indianapolis and Edmonton Film Festivals, and isscheduled for a limited release in theaters this spring.

Set during the 1980s, Skateland follows a group of kids whose lives change dramatically when the local roller rink shuts down. Rink manager Ritchie Wheeler is a 19-year-old mess, trying to find the motivation to get his life in order before it’s too late. Continue reading

Holidays: District 45 Ornament

Metals Guild students create ornament for state capitol using native inspiration

Joined by faculty from the School of Art and Design and members of the Metals Guild, President Denise Trauth displays the District 45 ornament.

The Texas State University Metals Guild, comprised of students from the School of Art and Design, was selected to create the 2010 Christmas ornament for Texas House of Representatives District 45. The ornament was presented to President Denise Trauth on Nov. 8 and is now hanging on the Christmas tree at the Capitol in Austin.

“It feels amazing to be able to represent our district, and especially to be able to represent Texas State University,” says Hannah Wilson, a communication design major from San Marcos who worked on the ornament.

The form of the ornament is a tiered sphere created in sterling silver and brass. In the spirit of representing the character of the district, the students used the colorful wildflowers and blossoms of the Texas Hill Country as inspiration for this unique artwork.

District 45 includes the majority of Hays, Caldwell and Blanco Counties. In the ornament, a different flower represents each county. Hays County is represented by the vibrant maroon and gold Indian Blanket (gaillardia pulchlla), which is the official flower of Texas State University. Caldwell County is represented by the watermelon plant’s (Citrullus lanatus) bright yellow blossom. Watermelons are a local favorite and part of the annual Luling Watermelon Thump, now entering its 58th year. Blanco County, represented by the lavender bloom (lavandula spica), is home to the annual Blanco Lavender Festival.

“It was very intense but also very fun to collaborate with everyone in the Metals Guild,” says Sonia Elisa Martinez, president of the Metals Guild and a studio art major from San Antonio. “We had many different concepts and ideas to go off of, and we just went from there.”

According to Austin Roach, a communication design and fine art major from Katy, the project took two weeks to complete.

“It would have taken longer but we broke up the projects,” he says, with multiple students working on the piece at the same time. “It was a complete group effort.”

Other students who worked on the ornament include: Mary Ann Dix, Jason Polasek, Michael O’Neill, Anthony Villanacci, Alyssa Wilson, Adam Grant, Stephanie Leung, Paige Wright, Jennifer Rivas, David Davis, Robert Clawson and Trey Dresner.

Alumni Profiles: Jen McAndrew

Alumna serves Americans in Israel as first line of border defense

Jen McAndrew, right, and a consular representative at an outreach event at an Israeli university.

By Billi London-Gray

“You need to have maximum flexibility for this type of work,” says Jen McAndrew.

The 2007 master’s graduate of Texas State’s mass communication program is now a member of the U.S. Foreign Service, currently representing the State Department in Israel. As a vice consul at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, McAndrew does everything from approving visa applications to managing the consulate section’s social media outreach.

McAndrew received her bachelor’s degree in Irish Studies from Southwestern University. She interned at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin before starting a career in public relations. After she started her master’s program at Texas State, McAndrew began the application process for the Foreign Service in 2006. The process lasted more than two years: she was hired in 2009 and, after nearly a year of training, departed for her first assignment.

“I feel very lucky that I didn’t join the Foreign Service right out of college,” McAndrew says. “Having a master’s degree and seven years of work experience when I joined meant that I could immediately bring a lot of expertise to the table.”

Although McAndrew enrolled in the mass communications graduate program at Texas State to support her public relations career, she has found the training “invaluable” to her work at the consulate.

“Since my background is in PR and writing, I knew I wanted to enter the public diplomacy career track,” McAndrew says. “My constituents are Americans living in Israel and Israelis needing visas for work, travel or study.”

McAndrew is using her social media savvy – one of her many mass communications skills – to get out the State Department’s message. She issues warden messages, or security alerts, to U.S. citizens through Facebook and Twitter. She also uses social media to receive and answer questions from foreign nationals.

“Nearly fifty percent of Israelis are on Facebook,” McAndrew says. “It’s by far the most-used social network here. I spend a lot of time answering questions that way.”

McAndrew also spends a lot of her time interacting face-to-face with visa applicants, both through outreach events at universities and through applicant interviews at the embassy.

“I interview at least a hundred people per day. It is intense and very personal,” McAndrew says. “When I’m interviewing people for visas, I make the decision whether they get the visa to come or not. It’s the first part of border control, the first point of protection for the American people.”

But the responsibility is one that makes McAndrew’s work meaningful to her.

“There’s nothing like the satisfaction of doing your job, serving your country and helping American citizens living abroad, and knowing you’re a form of protection for your family and friends back home,” McAndrew says. “I never experienced that kind of satisfaction before I came to work for the State Department.”

Happenings: Encore Series

Encore features ‘orchestra of voices,’
bilingual one-act play this fall

The Encore University Arts Series at Texas State is featuring two performances this fall: Chanticleer, An Orchestra of Voices, and the play Las Nuevas Tamaleras.

Chanticleer has won Grammy Awards for a repertoire that spans 10 centuries, ranging from Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony and Romantic art song to contemporary music, jazz, spirituals and world music. The ensemble will perform Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Evans Auditorium.

In November, the series features Las Nuevas Tamaleras (The New Tamale Makers), which captures three Chicanas in a comical attempt at making tamales for the first time. It will be presented Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Evans Auditorium.

Tickets are $15 for reserved seats, $10 for general admission and $5 for students, either at the Encore Series website or at the door. The Encore Series is coordinated through the College of Fine Arts & Communication.

Department of Theatre and Dance: Sophocles’ Electra

Modern production and multimedia effects create Electra-fying tragedy

By Willow Kreucher

I was thoroughly amazed and haunted while taking my seat to see Electra, the current production by the Texas State Department of Theatre and Dance. The marble-looking stage was dark. Pictures of broken objects and broken human beings hung on the walls. Images of torment and misery were flashing on a screen, showing the audience flashbacks to the background story. The windows of the house in the set were battered and broken, while Electra, played by Ashley Rountree, paced the stage with grief and disbelief.

Electra is about a dark, traumatic war within a family that includes murder, obsession, betrayal and revenge. The title character, Electra, is in a deep, depressive despair. Her father, Agamemnon (Richard Furin), was murdered. Her mother, Clytemnestra (Melissa Grogan), has no remorse. Electra is longing for her brother, Orestes (Brandon Mabry), to return home and help her put an end to her suffering by avenging Agamemnon’s murder.

Electra’s inner turmoil is exacerbated by her sister, Chrysothemis (Amanda Murphy), who loved their father but thinks it is impractical to kill the murderers. She wants her freedom and knows she will gain it if she refuses to participate in Electra’s vendetta.

“Sometimes being right is wrong!” Chrysothemis tells Electra. She knows that revenge is a fitting response to her father’s death; she just doesn’t want to be a part of it.

At one point, Electra says, “Our prayers are lost in dying screams.” She prays to the gods to mend her heart from grief. I felt like I was in Electra’s heart, being driven wild by the mere glance of the killers. Truly, this was a very mystical and mournful play.

All of the actors portray their characters quite well. I loved the integration of the screens projecting the memories of the past to help tell the full story. I got emotionally involved in all the characters and cannot wait to see these actors in upcoming plays.

Performances of Sophocles’ Electra, adapted by Frank Guinness and directed by Michael Costello, will start at 7:30 p.m. each night through Saturday, Oct. 9, on the main stage of the Texas State Theatre Center. The final performance will be Sunday, Oct. 10, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10, $7 for students. To reserve tickets, please contact the Texas State box office at 512.245.2204.