Hollins Theatre Brings Back the “Razzle Dazzle” with “Chicago” Revival

After nine years, Hollins Theatre is returning to the scene of the crime with a revival of one of Broadway’s most celebrated musicals.

Hollins University’s theatre department is presenting a new production of the Tony Award-winning hit Chicago, April 12 – 15 and April 18 – 21. Tickets are $10 general admission, with one free ticket available to current Hollins students, faculty, and staff.

Director Ernie Zulia, Hollins Theatre’s artistic director and chair, believes Chicago’s tale of murder, greed, corruption, treachery, and show biz during the Roaring Twenties is more relevant to audiences than ever before. “Aside from being fantastic entertainment, the show has an even stronger resonance now because it shines such a powerful spotlight on manipulation of the media, fake news, spin, alternative facts, and a public that is hungry for the truth,” he explains. “Not that we are seeing any of that in the world today!”

Chicago also boasts strong connections to southwest Virginia. Two current Hollins students who are also residents of Roanoke play featured roles: senior Emma Sala portrays Velma Kelly, and Anna Holland, a junior, is cast as Roxie Hart. In addition, guest artist Kendall Payne, who plays Billy Flynn, is a professional actor originally from Pulaski. He is the nephew of local jazz legend William Penn.

Zulia says the show is a tribute to John Sailer, who was Hollins Theatre’s resident scenery and lighting designer for ten years and passed away suddenly in 2015.

“We have recreated his original design for Chicago, which was one of his best ever,” Zulia notes.

Featuring such hit songs as “All That Jazz” and “Razzle Dazzle,” Chicago is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins. The show is not recommended for children.

For tickets and show times, visit hollins.edu/theatre or call (540) 362-6517.


Student Artists Showcased in New Voice Exhibit

Hollins University studio art majors Meera Chauhan ’19 and Ashley-Kate Meador ’18 are among ten emerging regional artists featured in the Sixth Annual New Voice Exhibit at the Floyd Center for the Arts in Floyd, Virginia.

The exhibition continues through March 31 and admission is free and open to the public.

Each year, the New Voice Exhibit highlights artists who are suggested by area college and university art instructors. Either current or former students, the artists may be just beginning their artistic journeys or changing their artistic paths is some major way. In addition to Hollins, this year’s artists come from Radford University and Virginia Tech as well as nominations by Floyd Center for the Arts Board and Gallery Committee members.

“What a fascinating show this is,” said Becky Lattuca, the center’s director of special programming. “Although we review the recommendations before inviting the artists to participate, we do not select the artwork. Instead, we ask each of them to surprise us with their choices. This approach allows the artists to highlight what they see as their most significant recent innovations, creating a uniquely diverse and thought-provoking representation of what these emerging artists have to say.”

Chauhan works in oil paint while Meador creates with textile.

The Floyd Center for the Arts is located at 220 Parkway Lane South in Floyd and is open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.


M.F.A. Dance Alumna Is Named a 2018 USA Fellow

Dancer and choreographer Amara Tabor-Smith M.F.A. ’16 is one of 45 artists and collectives across nine creative disciplines announced as 2018 USA Fellows by United States Artists.

Recognized for their creative accomplishments, each fellow will receive an unrestricted $50,000 cash award, which they may use to support their ongoing artistic and professional development.

Tabor-Smith lives in Oakland, California, and serves as the artistic director of Deep Waters Dance Theater. She describes her work as “Afro Futurist Conjure Art,” and her dance-making practice utilizes Yoruba spiritual ritual to address issues of social and environmental justice, race, gender identity, and belonging. Her current project, House/Full of Blackwomen, is a multi site-specific dance theater work that addresses the displacement, well-being, and sex-trafficking of black women and girls in Oakland.

Tabor-Smith’s work has been performed in Brazil, the Republic of Congo, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area, where her company is based. She is an artist-in-residence at Stanford University and is a member of the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.

USA Fellowships are awarded to artists at all stages of their careers, and from every corner of the United States, through a rigorous nomination and panel selection process. Spread across all creative disciplines including Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing, the fellows represent a broad cross-section of the best of American arts and letters.

“I could not be more thrilled with the 2018 USA Fellows, or with the tremendous artistic output, and potential, they represent,” said United States Artists President and CEO Deana Haggag. “They produce some of the most moving, incisive, and powerful artistic work in the country, and it is our privilege to honor them. Collectively, they are a reminder of the beauty produced by hardworking artists on a daily basis, too much of which is often overlooked.”

Founded in 2006 by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson, and Prudential Foundations, United States Artists is among the largest providers of unrestricted support to artists working and living in the U.S. To date, the organization has provided more than $22 million in the form of unrestricted $50,000 awards directly to more than 500 artists working in all disciplines and at every career stage.

 


Artist-in-Residence is Powerful Visual Activist, LGBT Advocate

The 2017 winner of France’s top cultural honor will be teaching students, exhibiting her work, and leading a special symposium on the Hollins campus this spring.

South African photographer and activist Zanele Muholi will be Hollins’ 2018 Frances Niederer Artist-in-Residence during the university’s Spring Term, which begins January 31. The Artist-in-Residence program enables Hollins to bring a recognized artist to campus every year.  While in residence, they work in a campus studio and teach an art seminar open to all students. During their time at Hollins, the artist-in-residence is a vital part of the campus and greater Roanoke community.

Muholi has earned international acclaim for her efforts to document South Africa’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. In 2017, her work has been shown in galleries and museums in New York, Cape Town, London, Amsterdam, and Berlin. She is perhaps best known for her ongoing series and self-described “lifetime project” Faces and Phases, which includes black-and-white photographs of lesbian and trans South Africans. The series began in 2006 and was the basis for a 2014 book that featured 258 images from the project’s first eight years.

A new book of 100 self-portraits, Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, is scheduled for publication in April 2018. In November 2017, she was actively involved in New York City’s Performa 17, “a leader in commissioning artists whose work has collectively shaped a new chapter in the multi-century legacy of visual artists working in live performance.”

Muholi has earned numerous awards, most recently and most notably France’s Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) for 2017, which recognizes those who have “distinguished themselves in the domain of artistic or literary creation or for the contribution they have made to art and literature in France and the world.” Upon receiving the honor, Muholi stated, “We work hard to create content that scholars and the rest of the world are able to use to highlight the many challenges faced by the LGBT communities….[It] is important to make sure that we unite the LGBT community so that people know that we too exist as professionals and as creators of great content.” Other honors include the 2016 Infinity Award from New York’s International Center of Photography, which recognizes major contributions and emerging talent in the fields of photojournalism, art, fashion photography, and publishing.

Highlighting Muholi’s residency at Hollins will be an exhibition of her work in the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, February 8 – April 22. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will open with a presentation by Muholi on Thursday, February 8, at 6 p.m.

Muholi will also headline a symposium, “Becoming Visible – A Celebration of LGBTQ+ Lives,” on Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14, in the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center. In addition to programs with Muholi, Boy Erased author Garrard Conley, and local  LGBTQ+ activist Gregory Rosenthal, the symposium will include a screening of the documentary film Born This Way and an open microphone session where members of the audience can comment and share stories.

“Zanele focuses chiefly on the black South African LGBTQIA+ community,” said Sinazo Chiya of the Stevenson gallery in South Africa, “but the significance of her work reverberates outwards to celebrate queer and marginalised communities the world over, which is crucial in our turbulent and often divisive social climate.”

Muholi is represented by the Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York City.

 

 

 


Wilson Museum Presents “Susan King: Chronicles of a Southern Feminist”

The work of pioneering feminist artist Susan King is the subject of a new exhibition at Hollins University’s Eleanor D. Wilson Museum.

“Susan King: Chronicles of a Southern Feminist” is on display in the museum’s Ballator-Thompson Gallery, January 4 – April 8.

Known both for her writing and her skillful bookmaking, King moved to Southern California in the 1970s to be part of the experimental Feminist Studio Workshop and taught one of the first Women and Art courses in the United States at the University of New Mexico in 1973. She went on to become the studio director of the Women’s Graphic Center at the Woman’s Building. King has since returned to her southern roots, and much of her work is influenced by southern oral tradition and history. In addition to writing about place, she continues to create books and ephemera in her home studio in Lexington, Kentucky, and lectures, teaches workshops, and completes artist residencies at art centers and universities throughout the country.

King’s work is in major collections including the Harvard University Library; The Getty Center Research Institute Library and the Otis College of Art and Design Library in Los Angeles; the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris; New York’s Museum of Modern Art Library; and the Victoria and Albert Museum Library in London.

Admission to the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is always free and open to the public.

 

 

 


Islamic Art Loan Immerses Students in Object-Based Learning

Professor of Art Kathleen Nolan’s Islamic Art class is engaging in hands-on research with rare artifacts from the Near East, thanks to a loan of decorative objects from a West Virginia museum to Hollins University’s Eleanor D. Wilson Museum.

The Wilson Museum borrowed objects from the Huntington Museum of Art’s extensive collection of Near Eastern art, including rugs, pouring vessels, a traveling scribe set, a dish, a manuscript page firman, and bath sandals that date as far back as the 11th and 12th centuries and originated in Iran, Syria, and Turkey.

Islamic Art Class 1

“I am a big advocate of object-based learning and wanted Hollins students to have the opportunity to work with objects from the Near East. But, we didn’t have any in our permanent collection,” explains Jenine Culligan, curator and director of the Wilson Museum. Prior to coming to Hollins, Culligan was chief curator for 15 years at the Huntington Museum of Art and in 2010 was instrumental in working with Joseph and Omayma Touma on cataloging 400 Near Eastern objects they had donated to the museum. Culligan made arrangements to borrow eight of the objects through mid-December.

“When I found out that Professor Nolan was teaching an Islamic Art class,” she continues, “I broached the idea of allowing the students in the class to do research on these objects.”

NoIslamic Art Class 2lan praises Culligan for her efforts to make the objects available to her class. “The students and I are thrilled to have these. There was great excitement in the vault of the Wilson Museum when we got to experience these objects first-hand.”

Soon after coordinating the research initiative with Nolan, Culligan was approached by Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch about displaying the objects as part of the Appalachia Model Arab League Conference that Hollins is hosting November 10 -12. They will be on view during the conference in the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center along with additional Near Eastern objects on loan from the Roanoke community.

“These collaborations between the Wilson Museum and the art history department and the museum and the political science department seemed meant to be,” Culligan says.

 

Photos: Led by Wilson Museum Curator and Director Jenine Culligan, students from Professor Kathleen Nolan’s Islamic Art class investigate some of the Near Eastern objects on loan to the museum.

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Wilson Museum Exhibition Is “Drawn from the Vault”

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is featuring a disparate selection of drawings from its permanent collection as part of the exhibition Drawn from the Vault, which is on display September 28 – December 10.

On paper and in a variety of media, many of these artworks date from the second half of the 20th century and have never been exhibited. “Several of these drawings have Hollins connections, created by students during their classes, former faculty such as John Ballator and Louis Thompson, or alumnae who became career artists, including Susan Cofer and Mary Page Evans,” says Wilson Museum Curator and Director Jenine Culligan. Other works in the exhibition, she adds, were collected and donated by alumnae and other generous donors, or come from artists who became part of region’s artistic legacy.

“This exhibition presents just a small sampling of the riches in the museum’s vault,” Culligan notes.

Drawn from the Vault will be on view in the Wilson Museum’s Ballator-Thompson Gallery. Culligan is conducting lunchtime tours of the exhibition on October 3, November 7, and December 5.

Admission to the Wilson Museum is always free and open to the public. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m.

 

 

 

 


Wilson Museum Presents “Drawings from ‘The Whale'”

The debut picture book by husband-and-wife artistic team Ethan and Vita Murrow is the focus of a new exhibition at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum.

“Drawings from The Whale,” which is on display July 20 – October 8 in the museum’s Main Gallery, features 28 original graphic drawings that convey the drama and haunting beauty of the ocean, and capture the majesty of the awe-inspiring whale. The exhibition includes a children’s reading nook and a family scavenger hunt activity.

The Murrows have collaborated on a variety of artistic projects including writing, video, film, drawing, and photography. “They approached this book as if it was a film project, set up like a storyboard paying homage to the films of Jacques Cousteau, film noir, and adaptations of Agatha Christie’s work,” explained Wilson Museum Director Jenine Culligan. “Their process included constructing props, organizing a wardrobe, and hiring two young actors and professional photographers to act out and capture the narrative.”

The Murrows share and divide duties much like a film production, working as a team to write and plan. Vita acts as producer and director; Ethan builds the drawings in conversation with Vita.

“Drawings from The Whale” is sponsored in part by the City of Roanoke through the Roanoke Arts Commission with additional funds provided through Hollins’ M.F.A. program in children’s book writing and illustrating. An opening lecture, book signing, and opening reception will be held on Thursday, July 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center’s Niederer Auditorium.

Admission to the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is always free and open to the public.

 


“Dallas Buyers Club” Screenwriter Craig Borten Visits Hollins

Craig Borten, the Academy Award-nominated co-writer of Dallas Buyers Club, is coming to Hollins University for an intimate screening of the film, a question-and-answer session, and a reception on Friday, June 23, beginning at 7 p.m. in Niederer Auditorium, Wetherill Visual Arts Center.

Admission to this exclusive event is free and open to the public.

Dallas Buyers Club is based on the true story of Ron Woodruff, who worked around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they needed after he was diagnosed with the disease. The 2013 movie stars Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Jared Leto.

“I’m eager to share a firsthand account of the process of screenwriting and my passion for the film industry,” said Borten, who joins the program at the invitation of Tim Albaugh, director of the Hollins graduate screenwriting and film studies program.

After the screening, Borten and Albaugh will discuss the difficult path to production for the film, Borten’s career, and the movie making business.

“Our students’ favorite part of the screenwriting and film studies program is our guest artist visits,” said Albaugh. “We are lucky to hear from Craig about the lessons learned from his experiences in the film industry, and we will pair this real-world advice with our faculty’s academic expertise to help students succeed.”

Each summer, Hollins’ program welcomes guest artists to campus to share their work and experience. Program faculty include professional film and television writers as well as professors from world-renowned film schools such as UCLA and NYU.

Dallas Buyers Club was the first produced screenplay by Borten. The film received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Screenplay. He also cowrote The 33, which is based on the true story of 33 Chilean miners trapped in a mine for 69 days. Currently, he is in production on an hour-long drama series for A+E Studios on the opioid epidemic. Borten has been writing scripts for more than 20 years.


Alumna, Renowned Portrait Artist Is Featured in “Covert Autobiography”

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University is featuring a solo exhibition of recent work by a member of the class of 1967 who is also an internationally recognized portrait painter and photographer.

Annette Polan: Covert Autobiography is on display in the Wilson and Ballator-Thompson Galleries through Sunday, September 17.

The exhibition features an unusual combination of media including sculpture, painting, drawing, mixed media, and videos.  It “incorporates images of nature to explore issues of gender and age in our culture as well as in [Polan’s] own life. It investigates aspects of a single, mature woman who although powerful and confident, can feel disenfranchised, invisible, or muffled.”

Polan studied at the Tyler School of Art, Corcoran College of Art and Design, and École du Louvre. A noted instructor of contemporary American portraiture, she painted the official portraits of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former West Virginia Governor Gaston Caperton, and other leaders of government and industry.

Polan chaired and founded Faces of the Fallen, an exhibition of 1,323 portraits by 230 American artists that honored American service members who died in Afghanistan and Iraq between October 10, 2001, and November 11, 2004. In recognition of her leadership on that project, she was awarded the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Outstanding Public Service Award.

The Wilson Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon – 5 p.m., and Thursday, noon – 8 p.m. Admission is always free.