College of Visual and Performing Arts

Expressions Newsletter

Expressions 2018

December 2018

Spotlighting Talented Underclassmen

Theatre freshmen and sophomores played to sold-out houses during their recent production of The Secret in the Wings in Studio Theatre directed by continuing lecturer James Stover. All part of the Underclassmen Showcase, it featured eleven underclassmen theatre majors, nine of whom made their collegiate theatrical debut. This is all part of an ongoing effort to give underclassmen in the Department of Theatre opportunities to participate early in their academic career.

“The showcase allows an opportunity for the newer students in the department to gain experience working both onstage and backstage to further develop their skills and understanding of the art of theatre,” explained sophomore Rachel Lancaster, who was as the production’s stage manager.

Stover, who also serves as the Department of Theatre recruitment coordinator, saw the showcase as an idea to aid in recruitment and also enhance retention. All departments on campus are continually looking for ways to increase student recruitment and the Department of Theatre faculty saw this as a great plan for getting freshmen and sophomores involved within the department right away. “This Underclassmen Showcase is a terrific idea,” said Dean John O’Connell, who appreciates the Department of Theatre’s ongoing effort to attract new students. “This is a great opportunity for incoming students.”

“It’s an effective talking point for all of our faculty members to use when they see high school productions and give workshops at schools and conventions,” explained Stover. “Our faculty members see between 20–25 productions a year in an effort to recruit students.”

In the fall semester, the department will be producing a 24-Hour Plays event, where plays are written overnight and rehearsed the next day and then immediately presented that evening, using underclassmen actors specifically. Dr. Beverly Redman, chair of the department, also will direct a staged reading in the spring semester featuring underclassmen not cast in the final production of the main stage season.

Goliath in the Rain Garden

Two large sculptures by Nate Hinrichsen (B.A.’18) have found a new home in the center of the circular drive in front of Rhinehart Music Center.  Appropriately titled The Goliath and Foreign Object, each is a welded, multi-media monstrosity that incorporates everything from sheet metal to scrap metal to rebar to farm equipment.

“I always was fascinated by Marvel (particularly Iron Man) and seeing his different types of suits and how they were designed. I called the first piece of armor that I made, and that fit my actual arm, Propulsion,” explained Hinrichsen. “I think that’s when the spark was lit.”

Dean John O’Connell, who serves as the chair of the university art committee, saw and admired Hinrichsen’s work. He recommended that the university purchase it for display in the rain garden. The rain garden was built to receive the run off from Parking Garage 3 and several concrete pedestals in the space have been waiting for just the right artwork.

“Finding pieces that are large enough, made well enough and provoke genuine curiosity are hard to find,” explained the Dean O’Connell. “I knew, as soon as I saw them, we had the perfect place for them on campus. Everyone attending our events will have the opportunity to enjoy them as soon as they park and head to the venue of their choice.”

Hinrichsen never thought he would be a welder or get so hooked on the process. Fittingly, his father went to welding school when he was in college and believes some of the passion may have rubbed off. He also credits two faculty members in particular that helped inspire him during his academic career.

“Professor Dana Goodman played a significant role in helping me complete my work because he helped me think for myself as an artist and to push myself as a student,” reflected Hinrichsen. “Ceramics professor Seth Green played a significant role because he always kept me thinking about my future after college as an artist and building a resume.”

Currently living in Milwaukee, Wis., Hinrichsen is exploring different types of art and music opportunities. He is currently weighing his options for earning his M.F.A. in sculpture at Indiana University, Wisconsin at Madison, and Nashville, Tenn. “I am definitely honored to have my work placed outside the Rhinehart Music Center and having actually sold not one, but two pieces of art for the first time, is very, very special.”

The Good Old Days on Berry Street

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art held a reception and panel discussion on Thursday, Dec. 13, to celebrate an exhibition that showcases the storied history of the Fort Wayne Art School from 1888 to its evolution as the art and design department of today’s Purdue University Fort Wayne.

1026 West Berry Street: The Fort Wayne Art School brings together elements of the school’s history and a collection of works by many of the faculty members who left their mark on the school, its students, and the community. Work from instructors of the Art School such as John Ottis Adams, Clyde Burt, Don Kruse, George McCullough, Noel Dusendschon, Betty Fishman, and Russel Oettel are included in the exhibition, among others, many of which are loaned from private local collections.

Dozens of former students and faculty of the Fort Wayne Art School were in attendance for the panel discussion comprised of Art School alumni Dale Enochs and Don Lutz, former instructor Don Kruse, and current Art and Design professor of painting and drawing John Hrehov. They reminisced about the iconic cultural entity in the city’s downtown West Central neighborhood and recalled the creative energy, excitement, and camaraderie of the Berry Street campus. A sense of community and family existed in the enclave of former homes and out-buildings that was the Art School’s campus for almost 100 years. The exhibition will remain on view until February 10, 2019.

Arts United Award Nominee

Dean John O’Connell has been nominated by the Historic Embassy Theatre for a 2019 Arts United Award in the category of Outstanding Arts Advocate. O’Connell currently is a member of the Embassy’s board of directors. The award recipients will be announced during the eleventh annual Arts United Awards on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at the Arts United Center. In 2013, he won the Margaret Ann Keegan Award that recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to furthering arts education in northeast Indiana. Professor O’Connell also advocates for the arts as a teaching administrator at the university, which affords him the opportunity to stay in touch with the student body. Classes that he regularly teaches in theatre include Stage Management and Theatre Management; and Entrepreneurship in the Arts, a capstone class for all majors in the college.