Veteran TV and Stage Actress Dawn Wells to Headline Starcropolis: Theatre Under the Star

Dawn Wells, best known as “Mary Ann” on the classic ‘60s sitcom Gilligan’s Island, will be one of the featured performers at the first-ever Starcropolis, an evening of live theatre on Mill Mountain beneath the Roanoke Star, on Sunday evening, September 4.

The event is sponsored by Hollins University, the City of Roanoke, Mill Mountain Theatre, and Roanoke Public Libraries.

Wells joins more than 50 of the region’s best professional, amateur, and high school actors, including performers from Big Lick Conspiracy, Showtimers, Off the Rails Theatre, Attic Productions, Salem High School, Patrick Henry Players, and Mill Mountain Theatre Conservatory, who will bring to life a series of short plays created specifically for the event. Playwrights from the Playwrights Lab at Hollins University, some of the area’s best-known writers, and New York Times bestselling authors will draw inspiration from “Star Stories.” These narratives, funny moments, and deeply human events, planned or unplanned, that have occurred at the Star have been gathered by Roanoke Public Libraries in conjunction with Starcropolis.

“Dawn will be taking on quite a departure from her familiar persona as a wholesome girl-next-door,” said Ernie Zulia, artistic director and chair of the Hollins University theatre department. “She will be sharing her broad range as a stage actress to play the role of a homeless woman who climbed the mountain every summer to eavesdrop on opening night performances at Mill Mountain Playhouse.”

Zulia noted that Wells’ participation in Starcropolis is an outgrowth of the deep affection she has developed for Roanoke over the years. “Dawn’s manager, Leonard Carter, is a native Roanoker and a well-known filmmaker and photographer. He connected her with local writer and cartoonist Steve Stinson, who would go on to co-author Dawn’s 2014 book, What Would Mary Ann Do? A Guide to Life. Leonard also introduced Dawn to the unique charms of our region, which prompted her to share her enthusiasm for the Star City and lend her enormous talents to Starcropolis.”

Wells was already a seasoned television actress before she joined the cast of Gilligan’s Island in 1964, having appeared on such series as 77 Sunset Strip, Cheyenne, Maverick, and Bonanza. After Gilligan’s Island ended, she embarked on a theatre career, appearing in nearly 100 productions and starring in a one-woman show at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Today, she lives in Los Angeles and runs Wishing Wells Productions in Idaho, which makes clothing for people with limited mobility. She is also the founder of the Idaho Film and Television Institute.

In addition to Wells, Starcropolis will showcase New York actor Jasper McGruder, who is familiar to regional audiences in leading roles at the Barter Theatre and Triad Stage. He will portray Andrew Moore, who swept the old road that at one time provided the only access to the top of Mill Mountain. The story is written by acclaimed author and Hollins alumna Beth Macy and her husband, Tom Landon.

“When you add in the directors, designers, and technicians, over 100 people will be working to make this unique and exciting theatre event take place,” Zulia said. “Starcropolis isn’t just a one-night show, it’s a celebration of the rich world of live theatre in the Roanoke Valley.”

 


Hollins, Roanoke College Welcome Nominations for the 2016 Perry F. Kendig Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 Perry F. Kendig Arts and Culture Awards, which recognize individuals, businesses, and organizations in the Roanoke Valley that provide exemplary leadership in or support for the arts.

The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, July 13. Nomination forms and other information are available at http://kendig.hollins.edu.

Hollins University and Roanoke College have co-sponsored the awards since 2013. Hollins will host the 2016 Kendig Awards presentation on Wednesday, September 14.

Three Kendig Awards will be presented this year, one in each of the following categories:

  • Individual Artist (in all disciplines – dance, literature, music, media arts, visual arts, and theatre)
  • Arts and/or Cultural Organization
  • Individual or Business Supporter

Individuals, businesses, and organizations from the Roanoke region (which includes the counties of Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke, the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the town of Vinton) are eligible, as are past Kendig Award recipients from 1985 – 2012.

“The Kendig Awards program provides a focal point for celebrating the Roanoke Valley’s cultural identity,” said Hollins President Nancy Gray. “This initiative enables all of us to realize and appreciate the vital role arts and culture play in economic development as well as education in our schools.”

“Presenting this annual program builds an even stronger arts and culture bridge between our campuses and the community,” added Roanoke College President Mike Maxey. “We are proud to join with Hollins to champion this celebration of the arts.”

Named for the late Perry F. Kendig, who served as president of Roanoke College and was an avid supporter and patron of the arts, the awards were presented by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge for 27 years.


Hollins to Co-Host Virginia Women’s Conference on Nov. 21

Hollins University is joining U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Virginia Tech, the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the City of Roanoke in hosting the 2015 Virginia Women’s Conference on Saturday, November 21, from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center.

Admission is free but registration is required.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Leadership and Lifelong Learning.” The agenda features a variety of breakout sessions, including:

  • From Conflict to Curiosity: Leadership Lessons Applied to Real Life
  • Women & Digital Domination
  • The Myth and the Math: Capital in the Community for Women-Owned Businesses
  • Prepare to Care – Physically, Mentally and Financially
  • Your Health: Ages & Stages
  • Leadership: From Fear to Fun
  • Four Keys to More Effective Leadership Behaviors
  • The Power of Friendship
  • The Modern Home Front
  • What’s Your EQ (Emotional Intelligence)?
  • The Woman in Charge: Financial Empowerment
  • Managing Stress with Success
  • Women as Agents of Change

Also highlighting the conference will be remarks from Senator Warner; a keynote address by Rynthia Rost, vice president of public affairs at GEICO; and a speed networking lounge. Joy Sutton, host of The Joy Sutton Show, is the emcee.

To register or learn more about this year’s Virginia Women’s Conference, visit www.warner.senate.gov/womensconference.

 

 


Hollins, Roanoke College Announce Perry F. Kendig Award Winners for 2015

 

Local author Nancy Ruth Patterson, the Foundation for Roanoke Valley, and the Southwest Virginia Ballet have been honored with this year’s Perry F. Kendig Arts and Culture Awards.

The awards were presented during a ceremony in Roanoke College’s Wortmann Ballroom on September 2.

Co-sponsored by Hollins University and Roanoke College, the Kendig Awards program is celebrating 30 years of recognizing distinction in arts and culture in the Roanoke Valley. Awards are presented in each of the following categories: Individual Artist, Individual or Business Supporter, and Arts and Culture Organization.

Patterson, this year’s Individual Artist award recipient, is the author of five novels for children.  All have been honored on Master Reading Lists in 10 states, and three have been adapted and performed for the professional stage. Upon retiring after 33 years as a teacher and administrator with Roanoke City Schools, she joined the adjunct faculty of the University of Virginia, teaching graduate courses in literature for children and young adults as well as memoir writing. She has spoken at more than 500 national conferences and workshops and has written numerous articles on the craft of writing. At her 2002 induction into the Virginia High School League’s Hall of Fame, Patterson was cited as “one of the most sought-after writing teachers in the country.”

The Foundation for Roanoke Valley, the community foundation serving the cities of Roanoke, Salem, Lexington and Martinsville, the counties of Roanoke, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Henry, and Alleghany, and other surrounding areas, received the Kendig Award for Individual or Business Supporter.  Since its establishment in 1988, the foundation has had an extraordinary economic and cultural impact on the region by supporting a wide range of projects. It fulfills its mission by:

  • Enabling donors to carry out their charitable intent through endowment funds
  • Providing responsible stewardship for entrusted funds
  • Making creative grants for current and future community needs and opportunities
  • Offering comprehensive services to encourage and advance effective philanthropy
  • Promoting and participating in collaborative efforts to shape a healthy, caring community
  • Providing opportunities to strengthen local nonprofits

The Kendig Award in the Arts and Cultural Organization category was presented to the Southwest Virginia Ballet (SVB). Founded in 1990, SVB serves over 10,000 children and adults annually and provides pre-professional quality performances of varied repertoire including classical ballet, contemporary, and modern works.  The company is a training ground for regional dancers possibly seeking a career in dance or dance related fields. In addition to full-length productions, SVB performs throughout the year at area festivals and events and has collaborated with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Opera Roanoke. SVB’s annual production of The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition and routinely brings together as many as 180 SVB company and community members.

Named for the late Perry F. Kendig, who served as president of Roanoke College and was an avid supporter and patron of the arts, the Kendig Awards program was established in 1985 and presented annually by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge through 2012. Hollins and Roanoke College first partnered the following year to bestow the honors, and congratulate the 2015 winners.


Hollins, Roanoke College Accepting Nominations for the 2015 Perry F. Kendig Awards

The Perry F. Kendig Arts and Culture Awards, which this year celebrates 30 years of recognizing exemplary individuals, businesses, and organizations in the Roanoke Valley that support excellence in the arts, is now welcoming nominations for its 2015 honors.

The deadline for nominations is July 15.

Hollins University and Roanoke College have co-sponsored the awards since 2013, and Roanoke College will host the 2015 Kendig Awards presentation on September 2.

Three Kendig Awards will be presented this year, one in each of the following categories:

  • Individual Artist (in all disciplines – dance, literature, music, media arts, visual arts, and theatre)
  • Arts and/or Cultural Organization
  • Individual or Business Supporter

Individuals, businesses, and organizations from the Roanoke region (which includes the counties of Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke, the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the town of Vinton) are eligible, as are past Kendig Award recipients from 1985 – 2012.

“The Kendig Awards program provides a focal point for celebrating the Roanoke Valley’s cultural identity,” said Hollins President Nancy Gray. “This initiative enables all of us to realize and appreciate the vital role arts and culture play in economic development as well as education in our schools.”

“Presenting this annual program builds an even stronger arts and culture bridge between our respective campus environments and the community at large,” added Roanoke College President Mike Maxey. “We are proud to join once again with Hollins to champion this event.”

Named for the late Perry F. Kendig, who served as president of Roanoke College and was an avid supporter and patron of the arts, the awards were presented by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge for 27 years.

 


Hollins Partners with Other Local Colleges and Universities for “Selma” Screening

Hollins University is joining an effort led by Jefferson College of Health Sciences to bring together the communities from six Roanoke Valley higher education institutions and programs for a screening of the Academy Award® nominated film, Selma, on Tuesday, January 27.

Students, faculty, and staff from Jefferson College and Hollins as well as Ferrum College, Radford University’s DPT Program, Roanoke College, and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine are participating in the screening, which will take place at Roanoke’s Grandin Theatre.

The purpose of the event is to promote discussions in and among local college communities about equal rights and the need to continue to build “the beloved community” espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The screening of the film serves to bridge the schools’ observances and celebrations of King’s birthday and Black History Month in February.

To give the audience context for the film and the time period in which it took place, a prescreening discussion will kick off the event at 5 p.m. The film will begin at 5:25 p.m. Following the screening, the audience will be invited to the Grandin Colab for conversation and reflection.

Nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Song Oscars, Selma tells the true story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1965 campaign to gain equal voting rights despite violent opposition. A march led by King from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, culminated in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the civil rights movement’s most important and enduring accomplishments.


Special Program, Day of Service to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hollins University is observing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in advance of the January 19 national holiday with events and activities on Friday, January 16.

Students, faculty, and staff will commemorate King’s life and work with a program of poems, songs, and original works at 12:15 p.m. in the Moody Student Center’s Wrobel Dining Room. The program is presented by Hollins’ Office of Cultural and Community Engagement (CCE), the class of 2018, and the President’s Office.

Then, CCE and the student volunteer organization S.H.A.R.E. will sponsor a Day of Service in the Roanoke community from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Students will be helping at a variety of area organizations including Angels of Assisi,  Bradley Free Clinic, Carilion Children’s Clinic, Carilion Elderly Unit, Friendship Manor, Roanoke Rescue Mission, and Roanoke Valley SPCA.


Hollins Competes in Second Annual Canstruction Southwest Virginia

Hollins is one of nine contending teams taking part in the second annual Canstruction Southwest Virginia, a “can do” event raising hunger awareness and collecting food through a colossal canned food sculpture competition.

This year’s exhibit will be on display at downtown Roanoke’s Taubman Museum of Art, November 7 – 22.

All day on Friday, November 7, the public is encouraged to vote for their favorite “cansculpture” by bringing $1 or one can, per vote, to the Taubman. Opening Night Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. and winning cansculptures are revealed during an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. The “People’s Choice” winner will be announced at 7 p.m.

Collection bins will be placed inside the Taubman Museum throughout the entire Canstruction SWVA exhibit to accept donations of even more cans of food from the public. When the exhibit closes, cansculptures are dismantled and all cans collected and used to create cansculptures go directly to the Feeding America Southwest Virginia food bank for distribution to people confronting hunger who live throughout our region – just in time for the Thanksgiving season.

Last year’s inaugural Canstruction SWVA event raised nearly 27,000 cans, totaling more than 27,181 pounds of food, making it Feeding America’s second largest food drive. Event organizers estimate that this year’s Canstruction SWVA will contribute more than 35,000 cans plus the donations of canned food dropped off at the Taubman by visitors to the exhibit.

For more information, visit www.canstructionswva.com, www.facebook.com/CanstructionSouthwestVirginia, or @CansSWVA on Twitter.


Hollins to Explore Affiliation with State Department’s Women in Public Service Project

womenserviceHollins University President Nancy Gray joined other women’s college presidents from throughout the nation at the inaugural colloquium of the Women in Public Service Project, held at the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C.

“The goal of the Women in Public Service Project is to cultivate a generation of women leaders who will invest in their democratic countries, be willing to provide leadership through public service to the governments, and change the way global solutions are forged,” Gray explains. “The project intends to create training and mentoring opportunities for emerging and aspiring women leaders to establish and sustain an international network of such leaders.”

Gray adds that the project is currently an initiative supported by the U.S. Department of State and five of the “Seven Sisters” colleges – Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mt. Holyoke, Smith, and Wellesley. However, she notes that “the partnership is eager to expand and include other colleges, especially women’s colleges.”

The colloquium, which Gray describes as “a remarkable event,” was keynoted by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and featured addresses from Christine Lagarde, president of the International Monetary Fund, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.


Hollins Named to Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service

honorHollins University has been named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

“The Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities,” said Elson Nash, acting director of strategic partnerships for the CNCS. “Hollins’ selection to the Honor Roll is recognition from the highest levels of the federal government for its commitment to service and civic engagement on its campus and in our nation.”

Honorees for the award are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

Hollins offers students a number of ways to get actively involved with community service. For example, the annual Day of Service helps new students connect with the Roanoke Valley during their first week on campus. Students Helping Achieve Rewarding Experiences (SHARE)  recruits and places student volunteers with a variety of community agencies and organizations. Sandusky Service House is a campus residence hall where students are required to perform at least ten hours of volunteer work each month and promote service activities on campus and in the community. And, for more than 20 years, the Jamaica Service Project has invited students to spend Spring Break helping an impoverished community in the island nation.

The CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service initiative. It oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.