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College of Visual and Performing Arts

John O'Connell,  Dean

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

  • Office: Visual Arts Building
  • Room: VA102
  • Hours: Mon-Fri, 8 am-5 pm

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June 2017

Celebrating Our Graduates

Once again very accomplished and successful Visual and Performing Arts students were among more than 1,000 graduates who took part in the IPFW Commencement Ceremony at the Allen County Memorial Coliseum on May 10, 2017. They were cheered on by more than 8,500 friends, family, and faculty and staff members. Kristopher Andorfer (B.M. ’17, music education) led the national anthem and the IPFW Alma Mater, accompanied by the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, conducted by Daniel Tembras, assistant professor of music and director of instrumental studies.

VPA Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 Graduate Totals

18 Fine Arts graduates
20 Music graduates
10 Theatre graduates
35 VCD graduates, including Interior Design

The College of Visual and Performing Arts is proud to announce that 234 students made the Dean’s list for spring 2017 and/or the Semester’s Honor List, comprising 43% of all VPA majors in enrolled for spring. Congratulations to all of our hard-working students and graduates!

Nothing Runs Like a Train

 The Department of Fine Arts has a new addition to their family of ceramic kilns. The new wood-fired kiln, known as a “Train Kiln” because it resembles a train engine, was built in June by a group led by IPFW Assistant Professor of Ceramics Seth Green and Professor of Ceramics Ted Neal from Ball State University. Built inside the enclosed exterior structure directly behind the Visual Arts building, the kiln is fired by wood with insulating fire brick to retain the heat.

“This particular kiln will help diversify the options for creating finished ceramic ware within the Department of Fine Arts,” explained Green. “Ted and I have built seven kilns altogether over the last 15 years. This makes Ted’s sixteenth wood-fired kiln built during his career and should still be in use 20 years from now.”

As you can see in the photograph, the firing chamber is to the left with three stacking chambers in the center section. Flames from the fire box traverse across the stacking chamber and eventually can be seen coming out of the chimney. Unglazed pots put in the kiln will be glazed and finished by the atmosphere of the flame and the ash. The ash melts and creates its own unique glaze on the finished ware.

The entire kiln structure is contained within a steel frame inside the building. After recycling most of the bricks from a previous kiln, Green and Neal ordered more than 1,000 additional bricks from Louisville Fire Brick Works and Diversified Ceramic Services, Inc. After a cinder block foundation was laid, kiln walls were constructed using fire bricks followed by angle iron supports, sprung arches and a chimney.

In building the kiln, Green and Neal had help from a team of artisans comprised of current IPFW ceramic student Derrek Schwartz; Adam Davis, Seth’s former student and B.F.A. graduate from Morehead State University; Heath Papa who attended Southern Utah University with Green; Dereck Decker, adjunct faculty in ceramics, and Shane Christiansen from Dixie State University in Utah.

The project was made possible by the generosity of Vice Chancellor of Financial Affairs David Wesse, VPA Dean John O’Connell, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Carl Drummond and C. Henry Steel for the donation of the steel used for the framing of the kiln. The kiln will receive its inaugural firing in September.

Signature Art Project Is a Winner

Assistant Professor of Music Therapy Linda Wright-Bower was awarded the first FACET Academy Award for the category of “Learning to Learn” at the FACET retreat from May 19-21, in Nashville, Ind. The awards recognize faculty who bring passion, innovation, and creativity to the classroom to promote student success across IU. Finalists were asked to submit multi-media descriptions of the activity for which they were nominated. The award winning “Signature Art” video was produced by Dustin Keeslar (’17, B.F.A. photography, graphic design) and other VCD students. The “Signature Art” project was part of Wright-Bower’s spring 2017 class - MUS U410 Creative Arts, Health and Wellness. You can watch the video here.

Graduate School Awaits Our VPA Graduates

Derek Hibbs (’17 B.F.A., printmaking) has been accepted into the fine arts in printmaking program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison beginning in fall 2017. This program is currently ranked first in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and is historically one of the strongest and most selective programs of its kind in the nation.

Alana Miller (’17 B.M., vocal performance) has been accepted into the vocal performance graduate program at the University of Toledo. She received a full graduate teaching assistantship that includes tuition and a monthly stipend. She begins work on her advanced degree in fall 2017.

Amjed Kamal Jabarin (’17 B.M., music performance) has been accepted into the master’s program in cello performance at Ball State University and will begin studying there in the fall.

Entering the Work Force Full Throttle

Danielle Doepke (’17 B.F.A., graphic design and photography) accepted a full-time position as Visual Content Producer for Reecer Properties. Her responsibilities include photography, graphic design, and social media coordination.

Emily Maroney (’17 B.A., art education) has been hired as the new art teacher at New Haven Middle School, beginning in fall 2017.

Kylee Heisler (’17 B.A., art education) has been hired as an art teacher by Concordia Lutheran High School beginning in fall 2017.

Nick Lübs (’17 B.A., theatre) has accepted a position as a content strategist at Cyclone Social in downtown Fort Wayne. Cyclone Social is a specialty marketing company that specializes in social media strategies for the world’s largest communication platform.

VCD graphic design student Emily Franson has been hired by Smith-Dahmer, a market research company based in St. Joseph, Mich. She is a Deliverables Project Coordinator and will design company proposal booklets and research presentations.

The VPA Faculty Service Award Goes To…

The VPA Faculty Affairs Committee has chosen Associate Professor of Art Education Laurel Campbell to receive the 2017 VPA Service Award. According to the committee, her application clearly defined excellence in the area of service to her department, the college and university, and to her profession. She supervises student teaching placements as well as the College of Education and Public Policy university supervisors, who conduct site visits. As the departments of Fine Arts and Visual Communication and Design investigated merging together, Dr. Campbell was appointed to the Unification Task Force in June 2016, creating service to both the department and the college. She has served on faculty search committees and as chair of the CVPA curriculum committee. At the university level Professor Campbell was appointed to be a member of the campus Academic Advising Council and the First Advising/Getting to Graduation (ad hoc) committee. Campbell also was elected to the Executive Council of the Art Education Association of Indiana as the Higher Education Division Representative in 2011, and continued in that role until 2014. Dean O’Connell mentioned that Professor Campbell’s service on regional, national, and international levels is noteworthy as a “very impressive record.”


Celebrating Hector and Carol Garcia

Emeritus Fine Arts Professor Hector Garcia and his wife, Carol, were honored as recipients of the 2016-2017 George H. Koegel Lifetime Achievement Award by the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre. The honor was bestowed at the annual Anthony Awards presentation on Sunday, June 4, at the Ian Rolland Gallery at the Arts United Center, 303 E. Main Street, Fort Wayne.

Since 1981, Carol has been an active member of the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre Guild volunteering on the Guild shows, opening night parties and many other activities, all in support of strengthening the Civic Theatre. Hector continues to share his incredible talents with the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre. Hector designed the Anthony Award statue and the George H. Koegel Lifetime Achievement Award that he himself received during the award ceremony. In addition, Hector’s sculptural art work, Thespian Angel Ascending, still hangs on a lobby wall in the Arts United Center, home of the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre.

Empty Bowls Fill the Coffers

The Department of Fine Arts Ceramics Guild conducted a successful fundraiser to raise money for Community Harvest Food Bank and the Ceramics Guild, an IPFW student organization. The Empty Bowls fundraiser was held Tuesday, May 2, at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Fort Wayne. Students from DeKalb High School and Huntington North High School partnered with IPFW to hand make 300 bowls. Bowls also were made as part of a service learning assignment in the IPFW Advanced Ceramics class. Attendees received a hand-crafted ceramic bowl and a soup lunch from Cosmos Restaurants for a $15 donation. Assistant Professor Seth Green, advisor for the Ceramics Guild, received a Purdue Student Service Learning Grant for Community Service/Service Learning Projects for Empty Bowls in the amount of $1,500 in seed money. They sold more than 200 bowls and raised more than $3,000. The students will use their portion of the funds for student travel.


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In Memorium

Tyler A. Travis, 37, passed away Monday, May 15, at his home in Fort Wayne. Travis received his B.F.A. in sculpture from IPFW in 2006. Surviving are his mother, Lorita Travis; father, Gary L. Travis; brother, Sam (Linda) Parker. A celebration of life service was held on Sunday, June 25 for family and friends. Read full obituary.

Jerome Duane Grant, husband of Ron Longe, died unexpectedly at home in New York City on June 12, 2017. Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Ind., he graduated with a B.A. in theatre from IPFW in 1991 and received his M.A in arts administration from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1994. While at IPFW he performed in The Great White Hope, Follies, American Buffalo, and played the lead in Master Harold and the Boys, as well as choreographing In the Boom Boom Room and The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. After moving to NYC he worked in administration at the American Ballet Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and New York City Center. Read full obituary.


Laura Dallman, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Music, was granted a Ph.D. in Musicology from Indiana University on May 5, 2017. Dr. Dallman’s doctoral thesis was titled “The Significance of Accessibility in American Orchestral Music.”

Julie Wall (’09 B.F.A., printmaking) recently relocated and expanded operations to downtown Fort Wayne, for her independent fine art print shop, The Hedge, now located at 1016 Broadway. Julie has been the owner and operator for this successful business since she founded it in 2013.

Peter Lupkin
(’10, B.F.A., painting) is now represented by Victor Armendariz Gallery in Chicago. The attached photo shows Lupkin (left) with gallery owner Victor Armendariz in front of Lupkin’s painting, at the grand opening for the gallery on March 2, 2017.

Tia Hapner (’14 B.F.A., graphic design) is currently the Creative Manager at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino located in Anderson, Ind.

Brianna Gamble, vocal performance major, was accepted via audition by both the Haymarket Opera Company and Operafestival di Roma for roles this summer. She has been offered the role of Zelatrice and the cover for the lead Suor Angelica in Puccini’s opera Suor Anglica and a role in Cesti’s L'Orontea.

Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil (’74, B.A., theatre, philosophy) has received praise for his most recent publication titled The Disciples’ Prayer: The Prayer Jesus Taught in Its Historic Setting. His second book provides a close and careful examination of the Lord’s Prayer and why Jesus taught it to his disciples. Gibson received his D.Phil from Oxford in 1994.

A photograph by James Gabbard, continuing lecturer in photography, was selected to be included in the exhibition titled “Fine Art” at the Blank Wall Gallery in Athens, Greece, from May 26 – June 8, 2017.  The image titled Woman of the Earth is from a series focused on the theme of woman as Creator and was selected from among 400 other entries from around the world.

Crystal Cully (’12, B.A., theatre) has a new position at Huntington University as Assistant Director for Graduate Admissions and Professional Programs.

Benjamin Bercot (’12 B.A., theatre) is currently working for the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Glen Cove, New York as a member of their office staff.