02/13/18

Soloist selected for UM-Flint Music’s winter wind symphony concert

Kimberly Stewart, a freshman majoring in Music Performance, will be the featured soloist at UM-Flint Music‘s winter Wind Symphony concert. Dr. Christopher Heidenreich, department chair, noted the difficulty of selection, her musicianship, and high level of preparation as reasons she was selected for the soloist position. “Kimberly was selected from among eight other outstanding performances,” he said. “I am very excited about [her] musical selection, and it will be a wonderful addition to our program.”

Kimberly Stewart of UM-Flint Music will be the featured soloist at the winter Wind Symphony concert

Kimberly Stewart of UM-Flint Music will be the featured soloist at the winter Wind Symphony concert

Currently, Stewart plays flute and piccolo with the UM-Flint Music Department’s Flute Ensemble, Wind Symphony, and Orchestra. As the soloist, she will be performing Poem by Charles Griffes. “I enjoy the use of colors and the abrupt changes in this piece,” she reflected. Stewart also noted that those attending can expect a fantastic concert experience from the Wind Symphony and Chamber Singers.

In general, Stewart appreciates the music selections of the department. “The pieces that are picked vary in style and are from different time periods. [Another] thing that I enjoy about being a part of the Music Department is the people. Everyone in the Music Department is very friendly and are willing to you help you if you need help.”

“Coming to UM-Flint has been a good experience for me because I have been given opportunities to perform and I have been able to connect with other talented musicians,” concluded Stewart.

To learn more about UM-Flint Music and their performances throughout the year, visit umflint.edu/music.

01/30/17

UM-Flint Theatre Brings ‘Big Love’ to the Stage

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What does “love” mean? Student actors, and their director Janet Haley, will explore this question in BIG LOVE, the second production of the UM-Flint theatre seasonThe play opens on January 27 and runs through February 4, 2017. It is a contemporary revision of one of the western world’s oldest plays, The Suppliant Women by Aeschylus.

“This piece is so unlike what people may think what a ‘play’ is,” said Haley. “[It] features song, dance, poetic language, gorgeous costumes, and a stunning scenic landscape. BIG LOVE examines and celebrates love, in all its manifestations.”

More Than Just Love

BIG LOVE is the story of fifty brides on the run from arranged marriages—and what happens when they take refuge in an island villa with their fifty grooms in pursuit.

“It’s called BIG LOVE for a reason. These characters have real epiphanies about themselves and the world. It’s not a romantic comedy, a little romp in Italy, it’s not Under the Tuscan Sun,” noted Haley. “This play is giving our students a wide and diverse set of opportunities to be involved in—it’s a very diverse composite of character perspectives, gender and sexual identities, age and experience range.”

Make-up, costume, and hair for the UM-Flint Theatre production of BIG LOVE.

Make-up, costume, and hair for the UM-Flint Theatre production of BIG LOVE.

Layla Meillier, a Geneseee Early College student, English major, and Women’s & Gender Studies minor, agrees. “Since I often study gender and communication,” she said, “I have been thinking a lot about traditions and binary stereotyping and how this show enforces and challenges gender roles.”

Meillier has found herself exploring themes of the play in her own life: “love in a large sense and how it manifests and conquers. Romantic love, sister love, humanity love. I have a sister and I think about how I would do anything for her when justifying the plot and text.”

Computer Science major and actor Matthew Statson added, “Every character in this show searches for a ‘comfortable’ state that they might find in another person. It’s important to remember that no matter what our intentions or goals are in life, how we accomplish it and treat others in the process may be the most important thing than actually achieving the overall goal.”

A Collaborative Work

The staging and movement sequences of BIG LOVE were devised in collaboration with the student company and students hold leadership positions on the production team as Dance Captain, Fight Captain, Stage Manager, and Costume Designer, among others.

“It’s a highly collaborative endeavor,” said Haley. “[The students] were inventing, creating, and devising something together as a group. That’s different than there being a script that tells you all of the words to say and where you are in space. This collaborative way of working ultimately helps our students learn how to have confidence in their ideas, to risk, to experiment, to research, to test. To know that not everything is going to be the right answer; it’s kind of scientific. They are going in to try stuff—as you would in a lab—and some of it’s not going to work, and we’re okay with that, and we’re going to keep trying things. Because whatever doesn’t work puts us one step closer to discovering what will work.”

Set and stage construction for UM-Flint Theatre's BIG LOVE.

Set and stage construction for UM-Flint Theatre’s BIG LOVE.

The production style also reinforces lessons of effective communication and listening, respect for others’ points of view and values, and a willingness to try new things. “I think this helps their citizenship skills,” noted Haley, “their personal responsibility. We talk about teamwork a lot, it’s a pretty complex thing.”

Meillier appreciates the intense experience. “I have gained so much from this production,” she said. “I have made so many friends and deepened my understanding of theatre. This piece has opened my mind to so much newness. I have been challenged in frequently incredible ways.”

Something for Everyone

Both cast and crew members believe BIG LOVE will appeal to a wide audience.

“Love is such a universal entertainer,” said Meillier. “Many in this community will be able to relate to what we have created no matter their sexuality or gender identity/expression. So much is considered and presented to the audience, every character is working from a different place and it is difficult to see clearly who may be in the wrong.  [Playwright] Charles Mee really gets you to think about your values and reaccess your ideas of good and bad.”

Added Statson, “In the extremes that this show goes to explain how love affects people, we hope it shines a light in your own life on where love hits you, and what you choose to do with that.”


BIG LOVE is recommended for ages 18 and up. Mature content and strong language. Strobe lights. Stage violence. Running time is approximately 100 minutes with no intermission.

Tickets are available by calling (810) 237-6520 or at the UM-Flint Theatre Box office (buy ahead or at the door). Show times start promptly as stated below, please arrive early to purchase tickets.

UM-Flint Theatre Performances of Big Love:
  • Friday, January 27, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 28, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, January 29, 2017, 2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, February 3, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 4, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, February 5, 2017, 2:00 p.m.

The UM-Flint Theatre is located at 303 E. Kearsley Street, Flint, MI 48502. Free parking is available. For full details, visit the UM-Flint Theatre & Dance Department at umflint.edu/theatredance.

10/25/16

Pursuing Passion: Stephanie Dean, UM-Flint Theatre

In the University of Michigan Flint’s College of Arts and Sciences, faculty, staff, and students combine their passions with academic excellence as they participate in coursework, research, and creative pursuits. We are proud to spotlight some of these individuals in our new series: Pursuing Passion.

Stephanie Dean of UM-Flint Theatre

Stephanie Dean of UM-Flint Theatre

A Rock Musical with Feeling

Assistant Professor Stephanie Dean is the director of Next to Normal, an award-winning rock musical about a woman’s struggle with bipolar disorder. The show is the first production of the UM-Flint Theatre & Dance Department’s 2016-17 season and will run October 28-30 and November 4-6.

Next to Normal began as a ten-minute play called Feeling Electric that explored the medical field’s approach to mental illness. But, noted Dean, “they began to realize that they story they wanted to tell wasn’t about the treatment, it was about the people, and they began to morph it into the Off-Broadway production that opened in 2008.” By 2011, the musical had enjoyed three years on Broadway and earned numerous awards, including three Tony Awards and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The musical suited both the talent pool at the university and Dean’s desire for material that would challenge her students and herself.

She began work on the production long before students stepped on stage for auditions. Her spring and summer months were filled with research about the show’s sensitive subject matter. Recalled Dean, “I wanted to know: What is fact? What is fiction? And how was the production received by audiences when it came out? There was a lot of research that went into the research that [the writers] did.”

UM-Flint Theatre's Stephanie Dean talks with cast members during a rehearsal of "Next to Normal."

UM-Flint Theatre’s Stephanie Dean talks with cast members during a rehearsal of “Next to Normal.”

This is Not a Case Study

Dean wanted to be sure she was both respectful and accurate when representing the journey of someone being treated for bipolar disorder. The musical touches on a wide variety of topics related to the mental health field, including prescription drug use, electroconvulsive therapy, hallucinations, depression, and suicide.

“When I was doing the research, I read an interview in which the composer and lyricist had said they had not written the show to be  a case study,” said Dean. “Next to Normal takes dramatic liberties; everything that can happen to this woman does happen, and it not only affects her, but everyone around her. It’s important to understand that the writers wanted to create a story that people could relate to from many different viewpoints, depending on their own life experiences. Because of that, I truly believe that you cannot be an adult or even a teenager and not relate to something in this show.”

Dean consulted with Dr. Tom Wrobel of UM-Flint Psychology for insight on the script, and to learn about the validity of the portrayed treatments in today’s fields of psychology and psychiatry. She also talked with practicing therapists.

Stephanie Dean and the "Next to Normal" cast rehearse in the UM-Flint Theatre

Stephanie Dean and the “Next to Normal” cast rehearse in the UM-Flint Theatre

Now that the show is in rehearsals, the preparation is paying off: “I feel like I have command of the material, and am well prepared to address the issues in the script in a way that is effective and within the scope of reality. I also feel prepared to work actors through these difficult topics and the emotions that come with that. Understanding the content and context at a deeper level allows me to find subtleties in the script and makes me better equipped to guide the actors to more nuanced performances and to speak to the designers about a unified vision.”

Working with a Student Cast

During the summer, Dean also spent time considering the emotional toll the production could have on its student actors and stage crew. “When you are working on a musical, it is not an exaggeration to say the music does not exit your head for the entire two months,” said Dean. “Between rehearsals, memorizing lines, working on music, etc., the actors and I are spending four to eight hours a day with this material. I had to ask myself, ‘how do I bring the students in and out of rehearsals in a way that is mentally healthy for them?'”

Dean works with UM-Flint Theatre student Shelby Coleman on the set of "Next to Normal."

Dean works with UM-Flint Theatre student Shelby Coleman on the set of “Next to Normal.”

Part of Dean’s work to answer that question took place during the summer in North Carolina where she studied a method of evoking emotion using breathing, posture, and facial expressions, rather than actual emotional stimuli. Dean has used this to inform her work with students, when she has had to help them be comfortable with difficult emotions like anger, fear, and sadness. She hopes it will also help her student cast process the heavy emotions that come with the Next to Normal script. “I’m interested in focusing the actors energies in rehearsals,” said Dean. “It is important to step into rehearsal as a group, leaving personal problems at the door, and to develop a supportive ensemble that can talk about problems if this story is hitting too close to home. Likewise, the actors have to be able to leave the characters and their problems in the theatre to avoid having an ’emotional hangover’ when they leave rehearsal.”

“Maybe the songs will be stuck in our heads, and some days it will be harder than others to put the show away outside of rehearsal; I recognize that,” continued Dean. “Alice Ripley, the actress who played the lead role in this musical on Broadway, talked in her interviews about having a very difficult time living this story night after night and not feeling it during the day.”

Dean hopes that what students are learning as UM-Flint Theatre performers will serve them well after graduation. “Part of my job as a teacher and as an acting teacher is to teach students to be physical and vocal vessels for the tough emotions their characters experience on stage without tying that too closely to their personal lives. Theatre reflects humanity. Humanity is messy. Therefore, the actors face this challenge throughout their entire professional career. I’m excited for this challenge.”

Her cast has responded very well to Next to Normal, and embraced its difficult themes. “On the first night I asked each of the cast members why this show was important to them,” remembered Dean. “I got some really interesting answers about how they each related to the material. Lots of stuff I wasn’t expecting. They each bring a lot of insight to this show.”

Stephanie Dean sits with Assistant Director Michaela Nogaj and Stage Manager Taylor Boes during rehearsal

Stephanie Dean sits with Assistant Director Michaela Nogaj and Stage Manager Taylor Boes during rehearsal

Connecting with the Audience

“It’s important to me to help people understand that theatre doesn’t always have to be about entertainment. It can make you think about life and help you to relate to others and still be an incredibly wonderful, fulfilling, and positive experience that you want to have again.”

Because of its relatable material and high entertainment value, Dean hopes that Next to Normal can entice audiences to the UM-Flint Theatre. “This show has a profound and immediate purpose. It’s a show that invokes conversation about a topic that our society is afraid to address, and yet mental health effects everyone to different and varying degrees on a daily basis.”

During the October 28-30 and November 4-6 weekends, performances will be held Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online or at the UM-Flint Theatre box office (please arrive early if purchasing tickets at the door). The Sunday, November 6, performance will feature a talk-back session with the cast, crew, and director. All are invited to attend.


For more information on showtimes, ticket sales, and performances, visit umflint.edu/theatredance/season-information or call (810) 237-6522. To reach Director Stephanie Dean, email scdean@umflint.edu.

09/21/16

Women of STEM: Bev Smith

The College of Arts & Sciences at UM-Flint is proud to recognize some of the exceptional women of its STEM disciplines. As leaders, mentors, and educators, these women bring passion and talent to students in classrooms and the world of science, technology, engineering, and math.


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Unearthing a Passion

When Dr. Beverley Smith, archaeologist and associate professor of anthropology in UM-Flint’s College of Arts & Sciences, was a little girl, she would show up early for her piano lessons to look through her teacher’s collection of National Geographic magazines. Recalled Smith, “I learned about the search for human ancestors in Africa and exotic sites in places like Peru, Cambodia, and North America. I also found the articles about animals fascinating. It wasn’t until much later I found that I could integrate these two interests into a wonderful career. As an aside, I didn’t know my piano teacher knew I was coming so early to read, but when she moved, she dropped off all the magazines in our garage. My parents were shocked but I was thrilled.”

Years later, as an undergrad at the University of Toronto, Smith took courses in both biology and anthropology. “I came to realize that, while I would have to specialize in a targeted area of study in biology, whether fish, birds, mammals, or invertebrates, as an archaeologist I would have the opportunity not only to study the bones of all of these animals, but to make them meaningful by considering how the various species were procured, how they contributed to human survival, and what they symbolized in ideology and ritual to the people who relied on them within their environments.”

As a student with potentially disparate interests, Smith was fortunate to find a mentor in Dr. Howard Savage, described as a “pioneer in the field of zooarchaeology.” Remembered Smith, “this extraordinarily kind and patient professor taught me the analytic tools for my future work.”

Her unique path was further defined when she was recruited to Michigan State University by Dr. Charles Cleland for her graduate studies. His “work on fishing techniques and the application of his research to a pivotal court case in Michigan, which supported Indian people with the right to use gill nets, made me realize that my research could benefit Native people in contemporary concerns,” said Smith. “I have, ever since, worked closely with Native communities to facilitate their interests in their past, their concern for the destruction of archaeological sites, their struggle to repatriate ancestors, and their efforts to challenge restrictive jurisdictional and subsistence related laws in the courts.”

Smith is now an established expert who specializes in the study of bones. Her work involves “identifying, quantifying, and analyzing the various animal species used by people [which] helps us to better understand the food sources, seasonality, and technologies used to hunt and fish.”

Added Smith, “My work also extends to the analysis of human bones, which can tell us a great deal about the health, activities, origins, and belief systems of the population. Consequently, my work overlaps considerably with more traditional STEM fields, such as biology, chemistry, and environmental studies as well as with the social sciences and the arts.”

Teaching and Research at UM-Flint

At the University of Michigan-Flint, Smith’s teaching interests lie in introductory archaeology, Mesoamerican archaeology, historical archaeology, biological anthropology, and Native Americans. She is consistently lauded as a favorite faculty member by her students, noted for her caring and excellence.

Student Jonathan Henneberry described her as, “a dedicated educator who has enlightened me in the practices of anthropology and archaeology through lecture as well as practice. In addition, she possesses great knowledge within the field of anthropology as well as being a wise counselor and steadfast mentor.”

UM-Flint students on an archaeological dig with Dr. Bev Smith at Flint’s Stockton House.

UM-Flint students on an archaeological dig with Dr. Bev Smith at Flint’s Stockton House.

Smith’s archaeological digs and expeditions have been the subject of both UM-Flint News stories and those by the wider media. To her, they are an important way to connect her students to lessons. Said Smith, “The most effective tool for engaging students in archaeology and biological anthropology is to talk about my own experiences and research in the field. When students engage in a course in which the material is a shared experience, it becomes a powerful tool for learning and opening up possibilities for their own future of inquiry. This is one of the many reasons an active and diverse research agenda by professors is essential to our legitimacy and success in a place of higher learning.”

Alumnus Thomas Steele agreed: “Dr. Smith used text, supplementary readings, and videos that provided engaging, real-world experience to augment her instruction. She expected a great deal of academic maturity in order to grasp the complex cultural concepts of each course, particularly that of the Mesoamerican civilization and Native Americans . . . I carried this level of expectation, cultural appreciation, and connection to community with me throughout my studies, which in no small way helped play a role in my academic success.”

Outside of the classroom, Smith is currently “working on an National Science Foundation funded project that involves a group of scholars concerned with understanding the changing use of aquatic resources identified from inland eastern Woodlands archaeological sites during the Archaic period—about 8,000 to 3,000 years ago.” She and the other researchers are “using a program called, tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record) to integrate our datasets and to make this data available for other scholars in the future.”

Using Expertise to Inspire

Smith’s work as a mentor and teacher continues in the community. She is a part of the American Association of University Women’s annual Explorathon—a spring event aimed at helping girls develop science literacy while being inspired by a dynamic selection of scientists and fields of study. According to the AAUW site, the event’s “focus on women in science prepares and inspires girls by giving them role models and by showcasing state-of-the-art careers for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

Dr. Beverly Smith, anthropologist, archaeologist, and associate professor at UM-Flint

Dr. Beverley Smith, anthropologist, archaeologist, and associate professor at UM-Flint

Added Smith, who presents on the popular topic of Forensic Anthropology, “This is an extraordinary opportunity for girls to learn that senior women in their aspired professions are approachable, interesting, and, hopefully, not nearly as nerdy as they expected. They value our advice which is, of course, to study and excel in as many sciences as possible in their high school coursework, and that sacrifices and hard work will reward them in their future endeavors. It is only with a broad range of knowledge and experiences that they may find something as interesting and wonderful as, for example, zooarchaeology.”

Smith’s expertise will be available to community members in the Flint area on September 22, 2016, as she presents Archaeology in our Backyard at the Sloan Museum. Her special lecture will “provide an overview of the prehistoric past in the Flint region and will be geared to a general audience.” She’ll discuss methods and tools of archaeologists and the ways in which artifacts help reconstruct the past. Highlights from recovery efforts at a local ancestral burial site will be included.

For event information visit sloanlongway.org or call (810) 237-3450.


To learn more about anthropology and archaeology at UM-Flint, visit the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice’s website at umflint.edu/SAC or email bevsmith@umflint.edu.

08/18/16

UM-Flint Engineering’s Off-Road Racer Visits the “Bricks”

Downtown Flint during Back to the Bricks

Downtown Flint during Back to the Bricks

Each August, Back to the Bricks celebrates Flint’s legacy as part of the automotive industry and brings nearly half a million visitors to the downtown area. On the Friday of this famous weekend UM-Flint hosts Go Blue on the Bricks, its annual alumni gathering. This year visitors to both events can get up close and personal with UM-Flint engineering‘s most recent student project: an off-road racer created for a Baja SAE competition.

The racer’s presence will give those gathered a chance to see the level of work being done by current students—more notable, perhaps, as it was completed in their free time outside of class.

The vehicle is student-designed and built. They cut, shaped, and welded steel and aluminum into automotive parts, developed an electrical system, and repurposed brakes from mopeds in the university machine shop. It is a great example of UM-Flint engineering’s dedication to hands-on learning, but it was also fun for the students—especially driving it in competition. Said junior Hassan Freeman, “It was awesome. When you drive this car, nothing exists except you and the track, and maybe the guy you are passing.”

UM-Flint engineering students and faculty with their off-road racer

UM-Flint engineering students and faculty with their off-road racer

On Saturday, August 20, the racer and members of UM-Flint engineering will join other area educators at the Hot Rod High (HRH) display during Back to the Bricks. Noted HRH co-founder Robert Ayre, “This year’s exhibit will feature all of our local colleges, and some of our best high schoolers in the city. We try to give our area youth an opportunity to explore the mechanical side of the automobile. We are encouraging their active participation in our auto-related careers, education, and hobbies.”

The Hot Rod High display will be located on the south side of the flat lot along 1st street.

John O’Brien, UM-Flint engineering technician, hopes that over the two days he and his students will be able to meet individuals interested in pursuing a degree in engineering and community members who want to be involved with the UM-Flint engineering program. Said O’Brien, “The Baja Racer and projects like this show the outside world that we have an engineering program. . . This is a win for the university and a win for the students as well.”


For more information on UM-Flint Engineering, call 810.762.3131 or visit umflint.edu/engineering.

06/21/16

Phenom Fire 2016 at UM-Flint

PhenomFire 2016 logo

On Friday, June 24, 2016, the University of Michigan-Flint will host Phenom Fire: A Talk About Feminism, Womanism, and Female Fusion. This symposium aims to be “intentional about cross cultural conversations. A dialogue about intersectionality.”

The event will feature break out sessions, a lunch with performances, a panel discussion, and end with a finale performance in the UM-Flint Kiva. Phenom Fire is free and open to the public.

Says organizer and faculty member in the UM-Flint Communication Studies program Dr. Traci Currie, “This event comes out of a lunch conversation with two colleagues who are passionate about the work women do and the way we as women and men define ourselves (i.e. womanist, feminist, neither, both, activist, ally, so forth). With the support and encouragement from so many like the Women’s Educational Center and community partners, this symposium wonderfully [came] together. This event is a labor of love.”

Dr. Erica Britt, Assistant Professor of Sociolinguistics in UM-Flint’s English Department added, “I’m basically looking forward to the chance to have real conversations about our different experiences of race and gender (among other things) and the ways that our personal insights can influence a broader movement for social change within our institution and in the community.  I am particularly eager for this given that women, men, and queer people of color are often marginalized in institutional structures.  This symposium will allow us to really amplify voices that are often not ‘heard.’  Overall, I’m looking forward to having uncomfortable but deep and healing conversations, because I really believe that these types of conversations are key for building solidarity and stimulating our collective desire to create lasting social change.”

Dr. Erica Britt, Assistant Professor of Sociolinguistics at UM-Flint

Dr. Erica Britt, Assistant Professor of Sociolinguistics at UM-Flint

Dr. Britt will be speaking in Breakout Session 1: Race & Feminism at 10:30am in Michigan Room A.


Phenom Fire 2016 Schedule:

10am: Introduction, UCEN Happening Room

Emcee for the symposium is Leah Bailey.

10:30am-11:50am: Breakout Sessions, UCEN Michigan Rooms

  • Session 1, Michigan Room A: Race & Feminism – Drs. Rushika Patel & Erica Britt
  • Session 2, Michigan Room B: Men as Feminists – Jeff Bean, Tom Moore & Delma Thomas-Jackson
  • Session 3, Michigan Room C: Socio-Political Activism and Spirituality – Do They Mix? – Natasha Thomas-Jackson
  • Session 4, Michigan Room D: How to Heal & Create Solidarity between Women  – Ayanna Jordan

12pm-1:15pm: Luncheon, UCEN Happenings Room.

Special luncheon performances by:

  • Speed Painter Martina Hahn
  • UM-Flint Poets: Linda Samarah, Jordan Johnson, Jessica McLone, Tiffany Harris,

1:25-3pm: Panel Discussion, UCEN Kiva

Panelists include: Kristin Lindsey, Mama Sol, Muna Tareh-Sahouri, Jia Ireland, Lilianna Angel Reyes, and Elena Herrada

3:30pm: Finale Performance, UM-Flint Theatre

Finale Performers: Crystal Turner, Cherisse Bradley, Brinae Ali, La Shaun Phoenix Moore, Mama Sol, and Closing Out with Raise It Up. Emcee Amber Hasan

Phenom Fire finale performer Brinae Ali

Phenom Fire finale performer Brinae Ali


Jordan Johnson, a pre-med student in the Psychology Department, will be one of the Phenom Fire luncheon performers. Says Johnson, “My poetry/performance’s main themes are being happy with who you are, enjoying your personal journey, and not allowing anything to get in the way of your self worth, especially [as] a woman. It will show that women are strong beings and that we must give ourselves credit and the freedom to live.  My performance will display my own story as a young woman who had struggles with these things.”

Additional luncheon performers include Tiffany Harris – Health Care Administration Major; Jessica McLone – Social Work Major; and Linda Samarah – Communication Studies Major.

Johnson continued, “I believe events like this are a great way for the UM-Flint Campus & Flint Community to come together and love on each other. With all the negative things that have been happening in our city and our world, events like this are reminders that not all are bad and that there is hope and love in our communities. Events like these keep me encouraged and grateful.”

In closing, Dr. Currie noted, “It’s is key that we not only own our voices but that we also share our personal narrative as a way of helping people understand how we live out our activism in our local, national, global communities, especially in the 21st century where we are inundated with 20 second sound bites and endless digital catch phrases.”


Phenom Fire is brought to the Flint community by its partners/sponsors: UM-Flint’s Women & Gender Studies program, Women’s Education Center, Black Student Union, and Communication Studies program and 3W Beyond Words and a Share Art Flint grant.

Additional gratitude goes to Shon Norman for the Phenom graphic art AND to Brittini Ward for creating the programs.


For more information on Phenom Fire, visit facebook.com/PhenomFIRE.

The University of Michigan-Flint University Center (UCEN) is located at 400 Mill St, Flint, MI 48503. Parking is available in the Mill Street Parking Ramp.

06/1/16

2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

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Janice McCoy, student artist at UM-Flint

The Greater Flint Arts Council (GFAC) Gallery is currently filled with a wide variety of artwork created by UM-Flint students. The exhibit opened in May with a an awards ceremony and reception honoring the student artists. It will remain open until June 6.

This annual exhibition gives UM-Flint students a chance to not only display and sell artwork, but, as a juried show, it allows them to receive critiques and praise from an expert in the field.

Chris Waters, Professor of Art and the Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at UM-Flint, was instrumental in starting the first Student Art Exhibition years ago. When asked about the importance of such an event, she said, “The ability for students to show their work is vital to their Visual Arts education. It is also vital they understand art as a communication and learn if their work is effective in this regard. 
Having work selected for the exhibition, and then having an independent juror select awards helps students develop critical thinking skills about their own work and that of others while also preparing for what they will be asked to do in their professional careers in art.”

In addition to the juried awards that recognize individual pieces of art at the show, the students are eligible for “choice” awards if their pieces are selected by state government officials or university administrators, and department awards that take into consideration the students’ larger body of work and academic performance.

Senior Janice McCoy, pictured above, is pursuing degrees in Visual Arts Education (B.S.) and General Studio Art (B.F.A.) and a minor in Art History. She is also a member of the University of Michigan-Flint Honors program. McCoy won two awards this year: “I was not only recognized for Exceptional Merit for ‘Carousel in Motion’ by guest juror Donovan Entrain, but I was also awarded the Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts by the faculty of the visual arts [program]. Both of these awards were extremely exciting and humbling to receive. All of our students are talented and hardworking, so to be recognized as exceptional among this talented group is something really special. I am overjoyed that my hard work this year has led to this recognition from my instructors and the local art community. Being acknowledged in this way only motivates me to further develop my skills and strive to create more exceptional pieces of art.”

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“Carousel in Motion” by Janice McCoy received an award for exceptional merit at the 2016 annual student art exhibition.

Continued McCoy, “I was inspired to create ‘Carousel in Motion’ by a photograph I took during a study abroad program with Dr. Sarah Lippert last year to Paris, France, and surrounding areas. The photograph was of a display mimicking a carousel in the Château de Chantilly’s Museum of the Horse, located in their Great Stables. I loved the drama and movement created by the dynamic poses of the carousel horses, bathed in flickering lights. Additionally, I have some fond memories of riding the carousel repeatedly as a child. These experiences inspired me to research and create an original composition driven by an exciting combination of movement, light and color, divided between two canvases. I love this piece because of my nostalgia attached to the carousel and the trip to France, and the movement that draws the viewer’s eyes across the canvases.”

Pieces at UM-Flint's 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

Pieces at UM-Flint’s 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

2016 Juried Award Winners:

  • Best in Show: SARAH COULTER “Map” Cast Glass
  • Exceptional Merit: JANICE McCOY “Carousel in Motion” Diptych, Oil on Canvas
  • Artist’s Voice: EMILY LEGLEITNER
  • Patty Morello Memorial Award: NICOLE FENECH “Octavia” Mixed Media Sculpture
  • Best Art-Historical Recreation Award: KERRY ANN MOREY “Cleopatra Recreated” Oil on Canvas

2016 Choice Award Winners:

  • The Arts in the Legislature Award: BREANNA KERRISON “Bits and Pieces” Digital Print
  • Chancellor’s Choice Award: RACHEL PAPPAS “Magical Forest” Stained Glass and Wood
  • Provost’s Choice Award: WENDY BROWN “Imagine, Believe, Achieve” Digital Print Collage
  • Dean’s Choice Award: LINSEY CUMMINGS “Lego Logan” Digital Print
  • Library Collection Choice Award: SARAH COULTER “Map” Cast Glass

2016 Academic Award Winners:

  • Achievement in Research (Symposium Presenters): ANGELA WHITLOCK, LEON COLLINS, MARY KELLY, MARTA WATTERS
  • Excellence in Art Education: CHEYENNE SERRATO
  • Excellence in Civic Engagement: MARY KELLY and LENA GAYAR (tie)
  • Outstanding Overall Achievement: JANICE MCCOY
  • Excellence in Art History Award: TAYLOR FRITZ
  • Excellence in Ceramics: SYMANTHA FOREMAN
  • Excellence in Drawing: KERRY ANN MOREY
  • Excellence in Graphic Design: HEIDI HALS
  • Excellence in Media Design: ALEXANDER THEODOROFF
  • Excellence in Painting: ASHLEY THORNTON
  • Excellence in Photography: ALICIA MUSIC SHAVER
  • Excellence in Sculpture: RACHEL PAPPAS
  • Martin Anderson Excellence in Printmaking: EMILY LEGLEITNER
Pieces at UM-Flint's 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

Pieces at UM-Flint’s 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

Graduate student Mary Kelly received awards for Excellence in Civic Engagement and a Certificate of Award for Research for her work “Overlooked Ornamentation: Italian Devotional Art as Images of Power” that was presented at the Art & Art History Student Symposium at the Flint Institute of Arts in April 2016. Kelly also works with the Visual Arts faculty to promote department and student work through social media and the Art Scene blog she created.

Said Kelly, “I came to UM-Flint intending to complete a degree that had been delayed through interruption in my education.  Once here, I accomplished not only that goal with my BFA in Painting & Drawing, but I added a second degree with my BA in Art History. The offerings at UM-Flint inspired me to approach art from both of these perspectives and to continue my education with the Arts Administration [graduate] program with the goal of using my knowledge to aid other artists to navigate the many options available to them as professional artists as a bridge between these artists and institutions organizations and venues.”

Pieces at UM-Flint's 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

Pieces at UM-Flint’s 2016 Annual Student Art Exhibition

Senior Breanna Kerrison’s digital print “Bits and Pieces” received the Arts in the Legislature Award. Said Kerrison, “I feel very honored to receive an award like this, the past semester has really pushed me into becoming the artist that I want to be and I am ecstatic to have it recognized!”
Breanna Kerrison stands with her photograph "Bits and Pieces"

Breanna Kerrison stands with her photograph “Bits and Pieces”

 When asked about her experience as a UM-Flint Visual Arts student, Kerrison replied, “My experience as a UM-Flint art student has been challenging, engaging, and an incredible journey. There will never be anything else like it and for that I am grateful. The  art professors at U of M not only teach you, but inspire you to become something the world will never forget.”

For more information on UM-Flint programs in Art and Art History, visit the visual arts website or call (810) 766-6679.

The Annual Student Exhibition will be on display at the GFAC Gallery through June 6. The gallery is open to the public and free of charge. They are located at 816 Saginaw St, Flint, MI 48502. Visit their website or call (810) 238-2787 for hours or more information.
05/11/16

Lumber City Baseball Returns for 2016 Season

LumberCity1If you have a passion for baseball, then here is an invitation for summer fun in Flint. Lumber City Vintage Base Ball Club is ready to step to the plate for their fourth season. For the past few years, Flint’s historical baseball team has taken to field withover 30 teams all over Michigan. Each team dresses in period uniforms, uses replica equipment, and plays by rules of the 1860s to recreate the earliest days of America’s past time. This year, Lumber City will be hosting two tournaments on their field at the University of Michigan-Flint. The Stockton Cup, named for Flint’s Colonel Thomas B. Stockton will showcase four clubs playing for the trophy on May 21. On June 11, the team will host the Carriagetown Classic in a “Gatling-gun” style tournament where three teams compete in a single game. The remaining home games are select Saturdays. Most games begin at 2:00 pm with earlier start times for tournaments. You can see the full schedule by visiting the Whaley House website www.whaleyhouse.com

The team is sponsored by the University of Michigan-Flint Department of History and the Whaley Historic House Museum. Spectators get to see more than an authentic competition. During the game, Thomas. Henthorn, Wyatt Professor of U.S. History, treats the crowd with interesting stories about the history of the sport and why Americans took to the game in the nineteenth century.  “Our history department is always trying to come up with unique ways to engage the community with history,” remarked Henthorn. The team also serves as part of the outreach programming for the Whaley Historic House Museum. The Museum is currently being restored from damage by a fire on November 30, 2015. “The baseball team has been a very successful way for use to reach people offsite,” said Samantha Engel, the museum’s director. “This year, the team will help remind people that the museum is still busy promoting history, even though the house itself is being repaired.”

For fans who think they may want to do more than watch, the Lumber City team is looking to add players to its roster. “Anyone is welcome to join,” said Henthorn. “We even have special incentives for University of Michigan-Flint students.” Prospective players must be at least eighteen years of age and do not have to be associated with the university to be members. Practices have already begun with a special scrimmage match and information session scheduled for April 16 at 1:00 pm at the University of Michigan-Flint. Anyone wishing to join should contact Prof. Thomas Henthorn at the University of Michigan-Flint. 810-762-3366.

04/15/16

Spring 2016 Dance Concert Program Announced

dance image

Join our Department of Theatre & Dance students and faculty, April 15-17, 2016, for the annual Spring Dance Concert. This year’s theme is the Five Elements: ether, water, air, earth, and fire. The pieces feature both classic and original choreography, presented in a variety of styles. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30pm; Sunday is at 2pm. Please arrive early if purchasing tickets at the door. All performances are in the UM-Flint Theatre, located at 303 E. Kearsley Street, Flint, MI.

The program will include:

The Wilis – (Excerpt from the Ballet Giselle)

  • Original Choreography: Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot
  • Choreography Adaptation: Beth Freiman
  • Composer: Adolphe Adam
  • Dancers: Jermariana Chandler, Danielle Emerson, Ashlynn Feige, Kacee Myczkowiak, Brooke Olney, Ashinique Wesaw, Frieda Yang

Water

  • Choreography: Emma Davis
  • Lighting Design: Briannah Rench
  • Music: “Water Dripping” by Priscilla P. Wood; “Soothing Water Stream” by Mistral Wind; “Rushing Stream” by SwiftDK; “2 Ghosts” by Nine Inch Nails; “Dirty Water (instrumental)” by Lecrae
  • Dancers: Frederick Fields, Jameel Gilbert, Dominique Hinde, Shakeda Mitchell, Nataniel Morales, Lydia Parker

A Bird in The Hand

  • Choreography: Beth Freiman
  • Music: Tres Para Uno A Cinco by Christian Matjias Mecca
  • Dancers: Ashlynne Feige, Brooke Olney, Ashinique Wesaw

Earth

  • Choreography: Adesola Akinleye
  • Costume Design: Lydia Parker
  • Lighting Design: Nicole Stafford
  • Dancers: Ashlynn Feige, Jodi Jaruzel, Charity Lloyd, Nataniel Morales, Octavish Morris, Hannah Nettleton, Farrell Tatum
  • Music: Karsh Kale

The Firebirds – Inspired by George Balanchine’s “The Firebird”

  • Choreography: Beth Freiman and Classical Repertory students
  • Costume Design: Adam Dill
  • Lighting Design: Tyler Rankin
  • Dancers: Jermariana Chandler, Danielle Emerson, Ashlynn Feige, Kacee Myczkowiak, Brooke Olney, Ashinique Wesaw, Frieda Yang
  • Music: Igor Stravinsky

Air

  • Choreography: Adesola Akinleye
  • Dancers: Ashlynn Feige, Jodi Jaruzel, Charity Lloyd, Nataniel Morales, Octavish Morris, Hannah Nettleton, Farrell Tatum
  • Music: Restrung, Vitamin String Quartet
  • Film: Barry Lewis

For more information, visit umflint.edu/theatredance.

04/7/16

Students Present 2016 Symposium at FIA

UM-Flint Visual Arts students are presenting the 5th Annual Art & Art History Student Symposium at the Flint Institute of Arts on Sunday, April 10, 2016. The celebration of research and creative scholarship in the arts will run from 1pm to 3:30pm. It is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. The Flint Institute of Arts is located at 1120 E Kearsley St, Flint, MI 48503.

Says Visual Arts faculty member Sarah Lippert, “The 5th Annual Art & Art History Student Symposium will feature exceptional scholarship from both undergraduate and graduate students at UM-Flint. Topics will have popular appeal, addressing famous African-American artists inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, how to manage vandalism in art museums, the tradition of still-life painting, and others. Door prizes and light refreshments will be provided, and everyone is welcome to this free event, in support of our student scholars.”

Student Presenters & Topics:

  • Emily Legleitner – Moka Hanga: A Lost Art & Its Revival
  • Angela Whitlock – Tony Shafrazi and Guernica: How Museums Can Benefit From Acts of Vandalism and Prevent Future Incidents
  • Mary Kelly – Overlooked Ornamentations: Italian Devotional Paintings as Images of Power
  • Leon Collins – Modern Day Renaissance Men
  • Marta Watters – Chardin: An Innovative Mind
CAS_Legleitner

Emily Legleitner with a mural she painted at Genesee Health System’s Children’s Autism Center.

Says student Emily Legleitner, “Through my studio art and art history studies at the University of Michigan-Flint, I have learned how art both influences and defines a culture and its history. Historically, visual art documents and portrays events and messages from nearly every angle of society. Studied in context with the artist’s environment, motives, and influence, one is presented with invaluable insight into the depths of history. This will be the second time I have participated in the Art and Art History Symposium. Last year I presented on the influence ancient Buddhist artwork has had on my own creative work. This year I will be presenting on the dying art of Mokuhanga printmaking, or Japanese watercolor printmaking. I am very excited to be discussing this topic, as the first student to take the new printmaking concentration offered at UM-Flint, I hope it will be an opportunity to introduce a topic not well known in the Flint artistic community.”

At the symposium, Leon Collins will be presenting “Modern Day Renaissance Men.” He says, “The definition of a Renaissance Man or Woman is tough to define in the 21st century world of transdisciplinarian visual artists. In the spirit of those who have influenced me in the creation of my art forms, I have become a self proclaimed ‘metamorphic’ artist of digital photographic images”

Leon Collins of UM-Flint's Visual Arts program

Leon Collins of UM-Flint’s Visual Arts program

For more information on the Art & Art History Symposium, and other offerings of the visual arts program at UM-Flint, please visit their website or call 810.766.6679.