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October 2011

Alumnus-Led Firm Designs Bold and Engaging New Website for University of the Arts 


On September 12, the University of the Arts launched a new website (top) that offers a dynamic user experience to current and prospective students, parents, alumni, faculty and other key audiences. Designed by global strategic branding firm Siegel+Gale, which is led by Co-CEO and Chief Creative Officer Howard Belk BFA '81 (Graphic Design), the striking Studio Spotlight is the centerpiece of the new community-generated content. Students, faculty and alumni can easily post their work to the site using a simple upload page, resulting in an evolving and ever-growing repository of visual art, performances and music.  

"This new site creates a platform to present the University of the Arts' innovative new approach to educating artists in the 21st century," said Sean T. Buffington, the University's president. "It was vital for the website to reflect our new academic plan, which envisions an environment in which creative people of every kind can work collaboratively, challenge traditional disciplinary boundaries, and devise their own pathways to become the artists and creative leaders they want to become."


Faculty Member Meets with Secretary of Education, Appears with President Obama 


President Obama and Jason ChuongSchool of Music Senior Lecturer and University of the Arts alumnus Jason Chuong BM '08 (Percussion), MAT '09 (Music Education) was seen standing next to President Barack Obama on television screens around the world as the President presented the American Jobs Act on September 12. Chuong, who also teaches instrumental music in the School District of Philadelphia, was selected to attend the speech by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. A former member of Rumble, UArts' innovative, alternative percussion ensemble, Chuong has received widespread acclaim for his work creating similar alternative music ensembles in Philadelphia schools with little or no funding for traditional music groups.


Film Alumnus Garners Third Emmy Nomination for PBS Documentary


Seth Kramer

Seth Kramer BFA '96 (Film) [holding camera] was nominated for a 2011 Emmy Award in Outstanding Business and Economic Programming for his most recent documentary, "The New Recruits." Airing on PBS, "The New Recruits" follows three business students turned social entrepreneurs who travel to Pakistan, India and Kenya and struggle to use market principles to tackle global poverty. Kramer is a writer, producer and director, and a principal in Ironbound Films, Inc., a documentary and new media company. His film "The Linguists," funded by the National Science Foundation, was nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Science and Technology Programming in 2010, and in 2003, Kramer was nominated for Outstanding Historical Programming for "Resistance: Untold Stories of Jewish Partisans."


Faculty, Alumni Take Top Honors at 2011 Barrymore Awards


Aaron Cromie
Faculty and alumni from the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at the University of the Arts took home three top honors and a dozen nominations at the 17th annual Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theater, held October 3 in Philadelphia. 

Alex Bechtel BFA '08 (Musical Theater) won Outstanding Direction of a Musical for "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" and Michael Doherty BFA '10 (Musical Theater) was named Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

UArts Brind School Professor Aaron Cromie (above) was also a Barrymore winner, taking home the honors for Outstanding Choreography/Movement (with Waldo Warshaw) in "The Lieutenant of Inishmore." He also received a nod for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance in "The Flea and the Professor." 

Other nominated alumni included John V. Bellomo BFA '94 (Theater), Jennifer Childs BFA '90 (Theater), Megan Nicole O'Brien BFA '05 (Applied Theater Arts), Ryan Touhey BFA '09 (Musical Theater), Carl Clemons-Hopkins BFA '09 (Musical Theater), Alex Keiper BFA '07 (Musical Theater) and Sarah Van Auken BFA '11 (Acting)
University of the Arts Welcomes Class of 2015


New Student Orientation 2011On August 31, the University of the Arts welcomed over 500 new graduate and undergraduate students. The undergraduate class of 2015 is the most internationally diverse in the University's history, with 11 foreign countries represented -- including 20 students from South Korea. U.S. students hailed from 31 states. Representing the best and the brightest in the performing arts, visual arts and design, the class of 2015 was welcomed with a dance and music performance of "Excerpts from Variations and Improvisations" based on "The Vile Parody of Address."


Above: A freshman adds his name to the Class of 2015 banner at this year's New Student Orientation.  


Animated Video by Multimedia Junior Showcased on PECO's Crown Lights


Still from Dancers

The rooftop LED lights of Philadelphia's iconic PECO building will feature "Dancers," an animated video by James Simpson BFA '13 (Multimedia), on Friday nights through December 2011. The video was selected as part of a digital art initiative, ART in the AIR, designed to utilize the energy company's Crown Lights system in a new and different way, and provide recognition to local artists working in a digital format.


The 21-year-old UArts junior was recently featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer, saying, "The most incredible part for me was just watching something that I pieced together in my makeshift home studio be on display in such a massive way."


Family and Alumni Weekend: October 21-23


Family & Alumni Weekend logo

This year's highlights include:

  • The President's Reception
  • The Making IT Exhibition, showcasing the work of graduates from 2001 to 2011  
  • Student dance and musical performances and workshops with faculty
  • Theatre presentation of "High Fidelity," directed by Megan Nicole O'Brien BFA '05 (Applied Theater Arts)
  • Young Alumni and Golden Arts reunions
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