College of Visual and Performing Arts
College of Visual and Performing Arts

John O'Connell,  Dean

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
2101 E. Coliseum Boulevard
Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499

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Expressions Archive: April 2012

VPA Expressions newsletter

Montenegro Opens New Doors in Chile

IPFW Chancellor Michael Wartell has asked that VCD Assistant Professor of Modeling and Animation Andres Montenegro meet with Patricio Sanhueza Vivanco, the rector (president) of Universidad de Playa Ancha in Valparaiso, Chile, on April 25, 2012, to formalize an official academic exchange and cooperation agreement between the two universities. Computer animation students and the faculty of each university will collaborate on a trans-national animation project. When formalized, the agreement will enable a collaborative animation project between IPFW and Universidad de Playa Ancha.

Montenegro received a New Frontier Travel Exploration Grant from Indiana University and additional financial support from VPA and VCD to create a collaborative animation called A Convergence Between Two Traditional Storyline Legends. The project will be a practical synergetic effort between Montenegro and two groups of animation students from two distant places. Together they will create an animated narrative, based on two stories that will bridge oral traditions and legends related with Valparaiso, Chile, and Fort Wayne, Indiana. The animation techniques will use 2D and 3D digital graphics.

Montenegro will work with one group of animation students from the School of Art, Universidad de Playa Ancha, and a group of animation students from the IPFW Department of Visual Communication and Design to propose the storyline and determine the narrative techniques in both locations, all while guiding its artistic direction, and style.

In April, the Chilean students will begin to develop the first part of the animation project based on the legend of Johnny Appleseed. Montenegro will teach them the details of this local legend, with its traditions of John Chapman traveling throughout Indiana, Ohio and Illinois planting apple seeds and the great symbolic importance he put on the apple.

In Fall 2012, at IPFW, students will develop the second part of the project, based on the legend of La Añañuca. This legend, from the time of the Spanish domination, tells how a native flower that grows in the north of Chile embodies the legend of a beautiful maiden. Legend has it that the maiden passed away waiting for her beloved to return, only to be reborn as a sea of beautiful red flowers in the desert the day after her burial.

The two animations will be related in their respective naturalistic metaphors, and they will connect style and narrative, while demonstrating the versatility of the combination of two different geographical and cultural legends. Montenegro is scheduled to present the first version of the animated project at IPFW in December 2012.

2012-13 Theatre Season

IPFW Theatre production of Oliver

In the Department of Theatre’s 2012–13 subscription season, the musical Oliver! has all of the ingredients to encourage audiences to echo the familiar phrase, “more please.” As part of a ground-breaking collaboration between Fort Wayne Youtheatre and the IPFW Department of Theatre, younger students will have an opportunity to work with university professors and IPFW students will be able to work on a stage nearly twice as large as the one to which they are accustomed. Oliver! will be performed on the Arts United Center stage Feb. 8–17, 2013.

“We are very excited about this opportunity for collaboration between the two organizations,” explained John O’Connell, chair of the Department of Theatre and the show’s director. “Our IPFW students will work on more complicated sets to fill a larger space, they will gain the experience of trucking a show in for assembly, and they will sing and dance on a proscenium stage that is significantly larger than Williams Theatre.”

Fort Wayne Youtheatre Executive Director Leslie Hormann is excited for the opportunity for her young students, as well. She will be the assistant director and as she affectionately calls her role, the “child wrangler.”

“Youtheatre is thrilled to be working with John O’Connell and IPFW. It’s a natural fit as a lot of our Youtheatre students graduate to become IPFW theatre students,” said Hormann. “Youtheatre performers will have the incredible opportunity of working on a fully realized, large-scale musical based on one of the greatest pieces of world literature and directed by an award-winning university theatre professor and director.”

Other shows in the season include:

The Miser

By Molière
Translated by Virginia Scott
Directed by Craig A. Humphrey

  • Williams Theatre
  • Sep. 28–Oct. 7, 2012

Molière’s 17th-century comic masterpiece has a new twist. This production is set against the backdrop of the chic, carefree, romantic Paris of the 1920s. The Miser is a love story. Cléante is in love with Mariane, Élise is in love with Valère and their father is in love with his money! When Harpagon, a wealthy, money-grubbing old widower, decides to marry off his two children for profit against their wishes, and chooses for his new bride the object of his son’s desires, the entire household embarks on a mad dash to unite the children with their rightful partners and to separate the old man from his beloved fortune.

The Women of Lockerbie

By Deborah Brevoort
Directed by Jeffrey Casazza

  • Studio Theatre in Kettler Hall
  • Nov. 9–18, 2012 

In The Women of Lockerbie, a mother from New Jersey roams the hills of Lockerbie Scotland, looking for her son's remains that were lost in the crash of Pan Am 103. She meets the women of Lockerbie, who are fighting the U.S. government to obtain the clothing of the victims found in the plane’s wreckage. The women, determined to convert an act of hatred into an act of love, want to wash the clothes of the dead and return them to the victims' families.


By Virginia Woolf
Adapted by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Jeffrey Casazza

  • Williams Theatre
  • April 12–21, 2013   

Orlando, the stage adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s novel by award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl, is a witty, clever, gender-bending, period-hopping play according to New York Magazine. Preserving Woolf’s vital ideas and lyrical tone, Ruhl brings to the stage the life of an Elizabethan nobleman who is magically transformed into an immortal woman.

Take Advantage of Early Bird Pricing

Season subscriptions are only $43 through July 31

Season subscriptions, which are normally priced at $48 each, are available through July 31, 2012 at the reduced price of $43, a $5 discount. The season subscription entitles the subscriber to four tickets, which may be used in any combination for the shows listed below. Early Bird Subscription Patrons save up to $15 compared to tickets priced individually. A complete listing – 2012–13 Season Subscription

Casazza – Excellence in Teaching

Assistant Professor of Theatre Jeffrey Casazza is the winner of the 2011–12 Visual and Performing Arts Excellence in Teaching award. The annual monetary and recognition award is given by the VPA Faculty Affairs Committee to acknowledge excellence in the classroom, accomplishments in one’s creative endeavor, and advancements in teaching within the department.

Casazza, who oversees acting, movement and voice for the department, has continually worked to increase his knowledge of acting and directing by attending workshops and performing with some of the leading acting teachers in the field. He also played a large role in developing the Department of Theatre’s writing initiative that seeks to increase the writing competencies of theatre students by embedding writing requirements more fully into the theatre curriculum.

“Jeff is central to the curriculum development for the department,” said Chuck O’Connor, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “His student and peer reviews consistently praise his work in the classroom. I congratulate him on his superb accomplishments.”

Accolades for Molly Bock

Vocal performance major and mezzo soprano Molly Bock is enjoying well-deserved accolades and rewards for her years of hard work at IPFW. Bock, a student of Assistant Professor Sam Savage, took national honors at the recent Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) national conference competition in New York City and has accepted an offer from the University of Toledo in their Master of Music Performance degree program.  

Bock finished second in the voice competition representing the East Central Division at the MTNA conference that convened March 24–28 at the Hilton New York. She also received a $1,500 prize for the accomplishment. Accompanied by IPFW sophomore Jason Simon on piano, she arrived at the competition with a polished repertoire that included "Élégie" by Jules Massenet; "Route to the Sky" (from Paper Wings) by Jake Heggie; "O mio Fernando" (from La Favorita) by Gaetano Donizetti; "Seit ich ihn gesehen" (from Frauenliebe und Leben) by Robert Schumann; "Must the Winter Come So Soon?" (from Vanessa) by Samuel Barber; "Chacun à son gout" (from Die Fledermaus) by Johann Strauss; "Voi che Sapete" (from La Nozze di Figaro) by Mozart; and "Habanera" from Georges Bizet’s Carmen.

With graduation just around the corner, she is waiting to hear from the Toledo Opera Company to be cast in their upcoming productions of La Boheme and Don Giovanni in the 2012–13 season. Her participation in those operas will be applied to her performance requirements for her advanced degree at the University of Toledo.

“From the judges’ comments and watching the other competitors, I feel I am on the right track,” said Bock. “The experience was very reassuring. I am ready to follow this journey.”

Johnson – Innovative On-line Teaching

Continuing lecturer in music Kenneth Johnson, D.M.A., was one of two 2012 recipients of the DECCO Award for Innovative Online Teaching. The award, given by the Division of Continuing Studies, carries a stipend of $1,000 to be used for professional development. The selection committee, comprised of staff and online faculty, made its selection based on innovativeness, quality of course design, learning satisfaction and enhanced student learning outcomes. Johnson incorporates a wide array of technological resources in his online course, L101 Music for the Listener. He offers multiple ways for students to access the assigned listening, through embedded links, a text online resource or through iTunes and other download sites. His video lectures, which he accompanies by playing guitar, illustrate musical concepts with animations that he has created using PowerPoint. The result of these and other innovations is “sold out” enrollment, semester after semester.

A Visual and Vocal Collaboration

Photography as a Language is a collaborative project that helps stroke victims communicate again and it is one of the methods that students from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) learn in order to assist their clients. With the help of continuing lecturer Jim Gabbard and photography students from the Department of Visual Communication and Design, student clinicians from CSD further develop their skills in working with gerontology clients who have suffered strokes and help them make improvements in their speech.

Strokes often leave victims with difficulties in speaking. By using photographs as a means to express themselves, the clients work toward improving their verbal skills. Advanced photography students Brittany Wilcoxson and Sarah Statton attended group speech therapy sessions to assist with editing and enhancing photos, as well as assisting and instructing clients in photographic technique and camera functions. Gabbard presented information concerning what constitutes good photography using point and shoot digital cameras. This is the second successful year for this collaborative effort, which is one way students in the Department of CSD earn certificates in Gerontology.

Register for CAA Summer Camps Now!

Registration for Community Arts Academy (CAA) summer camps and classes is in full swing. CAA is offering more camps and classes than ever, with registration now open. “We have had so many requests from parents who are ready to plan their summer activities, that we have worked to open up registration as soon as the classes were ready to post on-line,” said Melinda Haines, director of CAA.

Piano camps are big news this summer for CAA. During the academic year the number of students taking private piano instruction has risen dramatically. Requests have been pouring in from parents for a fun piano camp atmosphere with more focused instruction during the summer when students have more time to practice. We are proud to feature two new piano camps and the debut of the IPFW Gene Marcus Piano Competition.

For beginning (or potential) piano students in grades 2–4, Piano Camp for Beginners (under the Music tab) is a great opportunity to see if a student has an aptitude and interest in private piano instruction. It is not required that a student have a piano at home in order to take part; in fact this class may help a family determine if that is a good investment for the future. The camp begins June 11 and runs for three weeks.

For intermediate and advanced students, the IPFW Gene Marcus Piano Camp will allow students to experience a college campus for a week of intensive piano study with IPFW piano faculty and internationally renowned guest pianist Michael Gurt. The camp runs June 17–22, and includes both a residential and a commuter option.

The IPFW Gene Marcus Piano Competition is open to any students who reside within 100 miles of Fort Wayne, and features four age divisions, from 9 and under to age 18. More than $3,000 will be awarded in prizes, and contestants in the senior division may be awarded scholarships to attend IPFW. Guest pianist Michael Gurt will serve as one of the competition adjudicators, together with members of the IPFW piano faculty. The competition runs June 16–17.

Award Winners at the 
Spring 2012 BFA Exhibition

Left to right: Judith Strieby-Raska, Professor Michelle Nelson (external juror), Brittanie Stabler, Matt Janes, Daniel Bourbonais, Chenyi Lin, Michael Colabrossi, Ana Myers, Amba Clark, Maddie Skinner.

VCD Seniors Make Their Mark

Department of Visual Communication and Design BFA graduates had the privilege of having their work judged by Michelle Nelson M.F.A., who is currently associate professor of graphic design at Youngstown State University where she heads the Graphic + Interactive Design concentration program. The VCD senior exhibition is currently on display at the Jeffery R. Krull Gallery at the downtown Allen County Public Library until May 25, 2012.

Seventeen seniors, led by instructor Pete Piekarski, creative lead/senior art director at LaBov & Beyond in Fort Wayne, displayed their senior projects in “Make Your Mark” showcasing their accomplishments in graphic design, imaging and photography and modeling and animation. “It was exciting to see a modeling and animation project take Best-in-Show for the first time,” said Chuck O’Connor, Dean of the College and Visual and Performing Arts.

During their opening night award ceremony at the Allen County Public Library on Friday, April 13, Nelson congratulated them, saying, “It is never easy to do something innovative. It is never easy to do something that has never been tried. Each of these young creatives has searched to produce a unique visual voice in a world with many voices, and they have succeeded.”

Winners include:

  • Best-in-Show 
  • Outstanding Senior
    Chenyi Lin (modeling and animation)
  • Viewers’ Choice
    Rachel Wilhelm (photography)
  • Graphic Design – First Place
    Maddie Skinner
  • Graphic Design – Second Place
    Ana Myer
  • Graphic Design – Third Place
    Amber Clark
  • Photography – First Place
    Michael Colagrassi
  • Photography – Second Place
    Judith Strieby-Raska
  • Photography – Third Place
    Daniel Dyar
  • Modeling and Animation – First Place
    Daniel Bourbonnais
  • Modeling and Animation – Second Place
    Brittanie Stabler
  • Modeling and Animation – Third Place
    Matt Janes

Expressions Archive


Metalsmith and associate faculty Robert F. Schroeder has had numerous works included in shows throughout the country this spring. He recently was included in OH+5 at The Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio from January 13 through March 11. He also has been a member of two group shows: CU29 at the Mesa Contemporary Arts in Mesa, Arizona, from April 6 through August 12 and Crafts National at the Mulvane Art Museum in Topeka, Kansas, from May 5 through August 19.

Assistant Professor of Theatre Victoria Adams-Zischke and her husband, Kurt Zischke, will appear on stage together for the upcoming Fort Wayne Philharmonic Signature Series Mozart: Revealed, an original production telling the story of Mozart in his own words—through drama, opera and orchestral music. The Zischkes, both professional actors, will be featured in the production written and directed by Werner Trieschmann, with Andrew Constantine conducting the orchestra. Performances are Friday, April 27 at 7 p.m. or Sunday, April 29, at 2:30 p.m. Both performances are at the Arts United Center. For more information

VCD alumnae Megan Tiffany (’11, graphic design) recently was appointed as the new director of market development for MagniFi, a design build firm focusing exclusively on the visions of financial institutions throughout North America. Tiffany will manage all company marketing efforts such as market research, social media development, public relations, web management, and the design and development of new marketing materials. Most recently, she served as the internal graphic designer for Aptera Inc., located in Fort Wayne.

The art work of IPFW Associate Professor Nancy McCroskey (ceramics) and associate faculty Michael Burman (sculpture) are among 58 other local artists whose original artwork will promote a healing environment in the new Parkview Regional Medical Center. Opened to the public in March, healing spaces throughout the entire facility feature original artwork. A committee of hospital representatives, an artist panel, and Skyline Art Services, a national art search organization were involved in sifting through hundreds of art proposals to eventually select 58 pieces from local artists ranging from paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculpture, printing, and photography. There are more than 700 pieces of artwork throughout the entire building.

More Successes

The College of Visual and Performing Arts is once again proud to have a Chapman Scholar among its freshman class of 2012–13. Kassandre Yenser from Columbia City, Ind. is an incoming music therapy major.

Theatre alumnus Brent Bruin (’09) will receive an MFA in costume technology from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts on May 6, 2012. Mentored by Associate Professor Craig A. Humphrey and costume shop manager Jeanne Pendleton, Bruin discovered his love of costume design during his junior year of study at IPFW.

VCD alumnae Monica Gerdeman (’11, photography) has accepted a full-time position as a marketing representative for Servpro of Lima, Ohio. Servpro is an industry leader in large loss response restoration for fire, water, and storm damage.

Karrine Williams (’11, photography) and Nate Hopkins are featured in a two-person show at Friedel’s Fine Art entitled Modern Day Pin-Ups. Their photographs are on display through May 17, 2012, at Friedel’s Fine Art, located at 1430 W. Main Street, Fort Wayne. Call 260-420-9197 for hours.

Katie Mall (’11, graphic design) has accepted a position as a graphic designer with Business People Magazine in Fort Wayne.