The Art Museum of WVU is scheduled to open to the public in late August with a number of programs and activities planned for the campus and community during a week-long celebration.

Designed by Stanley, Beaman & Sears of Atlanta, the building is located next door to the Creative Arts Center, facing Patteson Drive.

It will be home to WVU’s collection of nearly 3,000 works of art, as well as visiting exhibitions—all open to the public with free admission.

The building has two galleries totaling 5,400 square feet, a classroom seating 25 students, collection storage, and a collection research room.

“The Art Museum is a beautiful place for people to see and experience art,” said Director Joyce Ice.

The WVU art collection has been assembled for more than 40 years and includes everything from Korean pottery of the Silla Dynasty to 19th- and early 20th-century landscapes and prints, African masks and sculpture, to works of art created just recently by contemporary artists.

The collection has strong Appalachian roots with works by West Virginians such as woodblock artists Blanche Lazzell and Grace Martin Taylor, and gifts from the Appalachian collection of Ramona Lampell, which highlights self-taught artists throughout the region.

But the collection also houses works by names almost everyone is familiar with, including Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams. And there is a substantial collection of African art of more than 300 pieces.

See the schedule of events for the opening of the Art Museum below. All events are free and open to the public!

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 1 p.m. – Dedication ceremony at the Museum Education Center. Reception following.

Tuesday, Aug. 25 – The inaugural exhibition opens. Titled “Visual Conversations: Looking and Listening,” it highlights connections among the works of art in the WVU collection and presents the work of dozens of different artists.

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., “WVU Student Evening at the Art Museum,” with music, food, games and tours for WVU students.

Wednesday, Aug. 26, 5 p.m., Bloch Hall (Room 200A), Creative Arts Center – Dan & Betsy Brown Lecture by Sean O’Harrow, Director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art: “What does an Art Museum have to do with University Education?”

Thursday, Aug. 27, 7 p.m., Bloch Hall (Room 200A), Creative Arts Center – J. Bernard Schultz Lecture by Roger J. Crum, Professor of Art History at the University of Dayton: “Renaissance Florence as Prequel to the Art Museum of West Virginia University.”

Friday, Aug. 28, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Opening Party with tours, live music and DJ, food, door prizes and art activities.

Saturday, Aug. 29, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., “Family & Community Day at the Art Museum” with hands-on art activities, tours, music and refreshments.

For more information, see the Art Museum website at or call 304-293-7790.

The School of Theatre and Dance in the WVU College of Creative Arts has joined only a handful of universities across the country offering a Master of Fine Arts degree in Technical Direction.

The WVU Graduate Council approved the new major this spring and it will be available to students beginning in the fall of 2015.

The School of Theatre and Dance currently has an MFA program that includes majors in Acting, Lighting Design & Technology, Scene Design & Technology, and Costume Design & Technology. The MFA in Technical Direction will be the fifth major in the MFA program, which is accredited by the National Association of the Schools of Theatre (NAST).

“We are pleased to offer this new program that will be overseen by School of Theatre and Dance Technical Director and Production Manager Steven Neuenschwander,” said College of Creative Arts Dean Paul Kreider. “This program will allow students to train with Professor Neuenschwander, who is the only Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP) Certified Theatrical Rigger in the state of West Virginia. We are confident in the superior quality of training students will receive from this program.”

Neuenschwander, who has been at WVU since 2009, received his MFA in Technical Design and Production from the Yale School of Drama. While attending Yale, he worked for ShowMotion Inc., a commercial scene shop, building productions for Broadway and national tours. He has also served as an independent contractor. He is currently co-chair of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Technical Production Commission project for Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Standards. Prior to joining WVU, he worked for Sunbelt Scenic Studios, an events and themed design company, where he served as senior project administrator.

According to Neuenschwander, the new MFA is an intense three-year course of study that gives students professional preparation in all aspects of theater production, including set design, lighting design, production planning, automation, entertainment rigging, theatre health and safety and AutoCAD, as well as use of computer applications to support these functions.

“We are excited to be adding Technical Direction to our successful existing MFA program in Design and Technology,” Neuenschwander said. “We now have the only MFA program in Technical Direction in the state of West Virginia and we have put together a tremendous curriculum and outstanding faculty to provide an elite hands-on training opportunity.”

The course of study covers the implementation of different technical and production practices, including planning, management, documentation, and the use of materials, tools, equipment and construction techniques, as well as theater history and stage design.

As part of their hands-on training, students will complete five to six major theater production assignments in conjunction with the School of Theatre and Dance’s fully staged theatrical productions. These assignments will provide them with hands-on experience working in professionally equivalent positions such as master carpenter, assistant technical director, technical director or production manager.

In their final year, students will complete a research thesis or practical performance project, documenting their participation in a project as the technical director.

“There is a high demand for technical directors throughout the entertainment industry, in both the national and regional theater markets and in concerts, film, corporate venues and academic institutions,” Neuenschwander said.

“As the industry has changed, the specialized training needed for this position has increased. Our new program will train technical directors in a quality graduate program that already has a highly established national reputation.

“Nationally, only a handful of universities are capable of offering such a degree and WVU is one of them.”

For more information about the new MFA in Technical Direction at WVU, visit, call 304-293-2020, or email

Four new faculty members will join the WVU College of Creative Arts in August 2015, in the areas of voice, music theory & composition, music education and the new music therapy program. In addition, two interim music faculty members will also be returning next year.

“I am excited about our newest crop of faculty in the College of Creative Arts,” said Dean Paul Kreider. “They bring an extensive array of professional and academic credentials that will most assuredly contribute to the excellence that exists among our faculty ranks. We are extremely proud to have recruited this group of outstanding talent to WVU.”

Robert Chafin

Tenor Robert Chafin will join the School of Music as assistant professor of voice. A native of Virginia, Chafin has garnered accolades for his dramatic interpretation and versatile creativity on the international opera, concert and recital stages. He has more than 70 operas in his repertoire and has performed as a guest artist at New York City Opera and at Carnegie Hall. He has performed internationally in Berlin (the Deutsche Oper and Philharmonie), Paris, Salzburg Summer Festival, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Vienna, Frankfurt, Brussels, Madrid, Milan, Leipzig and in Israel (Tel Aviv and Jerusalem). He has critically acclaimed recordings of the operas of Franz Schreker (“Flammen” and “Christophorus”), Richard Strauss (“Die Liebe der Danae”), Leonard Bernstein (“Candide”), and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Upcoming engagements include concerts in France and Germany. In March, Chafin sang “Das Lied von der Erde” with the Ensemble du Monde in New York. He will be returning to the faculty of the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh and also the international Napa Opera Festival in Napa, California, this summer.

Dena Register

Dena Register, formerly of the University of Kansas, will join the School of Music as coordinator of the new Music Therapy program in Music Education. Register earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the Florida State University and previously worked as a private practice music therapist in Florida, providing services to early intervention programs, students with special education needs, bereaved children and battered women and children. Her research interests include music therapy in early intervention and literacy skill development, as well as working with early childhood educators on incorporating music in their classrooms. In 2009, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach and conduct research at Mahidol University, Thailand. She has trained more than 100 professionals, initiated numerous clinical sites and offerings and consulted on research projects across Thailand. She continues her work there as a consultant for the first music therapy training program in the country.

Matthew Heap

Matthew Heap, who is joining the School of Music as assistant professor of Music Theory and Composition, is an internationally performed composer whose music has been featured in several American and English cities and on WQED and WCLV radio. He is also very involved in the theater community as an actor, director, and writer. Matthew received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, MMus from the Royal College of Music in London, and doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh. His theory interests center around the analysis of mid- and late-20th century works. Recent projects include a full analysis of Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia with a focus on the narrative function of various elements within the work. Currently, he is researching how theories of perception can be applied to works of current composers such as Matthias Pintscher. His compositions range dramatically from completely atonal concert music to musical theater. One of his most recent works, “Loki,” for orchestra, was selected by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for a reading.

Lindsey Williams headshot

Lindsey Williams joins the Music Education faculty as associate professor. Williams earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kansas and his doctoral degree from Florida State University. His public school teaching has included experiences in elementary, junior high, and high school instrumental and choral music in Kansas, Florida, and Georgia, and he has served in various leadership roles within professional music organizations. Williams is an active performer, conductor and clinician for music educators and young musicians throughout the United States and Southeast Asia. In 2012, he was named a Fulbright Scholar and he continued his work with music educators in Thailand in spring 2013. His research interests include musicians’ focus of attention, musical complexity, life-long learning and music teacher training. He is a founding co-editor for the ASEAN Music Journal and is on the editorial boards for the International Journal of Music Education and the Missouri Journal of Research in Music Education.

In addition to the four new music faculty members, two other interim faculty members will be returning to the School of Music next year.

Kym Scott

Kym Scott, interim director of the Choral Program, graduated from Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 1997 and was a member of the state committee of the Australian National Choral Association, and on the organizing committee of a national male voice festival. She also worked with Stephen Leek and The Australian Voices, facilitating both national and international tours. In 2010, she received a Master of Music degree from the University of Queensland and taught choral music at the Brisbane Girls Grammar School and contemporary music and theory at the Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE. Scott is currently completing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Music at the University of Southern California. While at USC she conducted the USC Thornton Oriana Women’s Chorus. In 2013, she conducted members of the USC choirs in several performances with The Rolling Stones during their “50 and counting” world tour. She also went to China and South Korea in 2014, performing with the USC Thornton Chamber Singers.

Robert Lauver

Robert Lauver, who came to the School of Music as visiting professor of horn last year after the death of long-time Horn Professor Virginia Thompson, will continue as interim horn professor for the next two years. Lauver received a bachelor’s degree from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and studied at Northwestern University. He has performed professionally with the Chicago Chamber Brass and the Austin, Alabama, Columbus and St. Louis Symphony Orchestras. In 2000 he began his tenure with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where he is currently second horn. He has toured worldwide in South Africa, Europe and Asia, including a special performance at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II. Since 2000, he has spent his summers performing in the Grand Teton Music Festival, and occasionally the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. He also teaches privately at his home in Pittsburgh and has taught at Southern Illinois University, the University of Missouri, Carnegie Mellon University and The Barry Tuckwell Institute.

Stevenson & McGowen
Keith Stevenson and Neil McGowan in Stevenson’s 2012 film “Out There on Fried Meat Ridge Rd.”

Neil McGowan and Keith Stevenson, two WVU School of Theatre and Dance alumni who graduated in the mid-1990s, have been working together on numerous stage and film projects in Los Angeles during the past few years. Their latest film, “Loners,” went into production at the end of May.

McGowan (BFA Acting ‘95) is from Finleyville, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and Stevenson (BFA Acting ‘96) is from Keyser, West Virginia. After graduating, the two moved separately to L.A. to become actors and then reconnected and found they worked well together and had a mutual interest in comedy.

“Loners” sounds like it could be a hit. According to McGowan, who wrote the screenplay, it is “The Breakfast Club” meets “Dr. Strangelove.”

“These days it seems like every time there is a mass shooting in this country, the media people reporting on it use the same sound-bitten cliché—’He always kept to himself’—to scapegoat loners for society’s ills and to shame them for being themselves,” McGowan said.

“In our comedy, we pursue this even further. We follow a group of eccentric loners who are forced to endure government-mandated group therapy. Led by a less-than-competent therapist, they are thrust into a conspiracy created by politicians to justify a failing government program and, in the end, they are forced to do what terrifies them the most—to stand up for their right to be alone—together!”

The movie started out as a play called “Lone-Anon,” written by McGowan and named one of the ten best plays in Los Angeles for 2013 by LA Weekly. He wrote it for a festival at the Pacific Residence Theatre, and it premiered at the award-winning Rogue Machine Theatre.

Around the same time, Los Angeles producer David Welborn asked fellow producer and actor Tyson Turrou if he had any material that would make a good film. Since Tyson was acting in “Lone-Anon” at the time, he suggested an adaptation of the play. Turrou also brought in his USC film school friend, director Eryc Tramonn, and Tramonn’s producing partner Rob Miller.

After a year and a half of rewrites, tweaks and table reads with the cast, the team now has an amazing script that went into production on May 26.

McGowan and Stevenson are both starring in the film and have put a lot of their own money into the project. They also raised enough funds through the crowdfunding source Indeigogo to cover the basic costs of production.

“Neil and I have worked together on several film and theater projects over the last 15 years,” Stevenson said. “I’m very excited that a large audience will finally get to see the work of one of my favorite writers—Neil McGowan.”

McGowan has been particularly successful as a writer. His screenplay, “Numbered,” won the 2008 Slamdance Screenplay Contest, and was a finalist in the 2007 Final Draft Big Break Screenplay Contest and the 2007 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Contest. His play “Tracks in the Snow” won the 2008 Mildred and Albert Panowski Playwriting Award and was produced in 2008 at Northern Michigan University.

Stevenson has acted in, produced, directed and written numerous plays, films and short films, and also became well-known for the play, “Out There on Fried Meat Ridge Road,” a comedy that took Pacific Resident Theatre by storm in 2012. The real fried Meat Ridge Road is located in Stevenson’s hometown—Keyser, West Virginia.

In the play, Mitchell answers an ad for a roommate and finds himself in a West Virginia countryside motel with JD, an affable hillbilly of mysterious origins. Soon JD’s neighbors—curmudgeonly Flip, meth-head Marlene, and her hot-headed boyfriend, Tommy—have all but taken over the tiny room and Mitchell finds himself in a hopeless situation, until he discovers the power of dance.

“Out There on Fried Meat Ridge Road” immediately became a cult-hit among fans and ran for six months to tremendous popular acclaim. Stevenson has since written two more Fried Meat plays and received an Ovation Award nomination for “Best Playwriting for an Original Play” for the Fried Meat comedy series.

Stevenson and McGowan starred in the “Fried Meat” plays together (McGowan as Mitchell and Stevenson as JD) and both are both members of Pacific Resident Theatre. One of the founding members of the theatre is Joe Olivieri, who was head of the acting program at WVU when they were students in the School of Theatre and Dance.

They previously co-founded the production company Wee Small Films and together they have created several festival shorts, including “In the A.M. of Dec. 26th at the Corner of Kogosak and Cunningham in Barrow” and “All That Glitters,” as well as “Like Old Times” and “Trip and Sloan,” both of which were nominated for Best Short Film at the Austin Film Festival.

Shooting for “Loners” will take about two weeks and then will go through the editing process. When it is finished, they hope to get it on video-on-demand services, including Netflix and Amazon. They would also love to get it distributed through a studio and shown at a major film festival.

For more information about “Loners,” or to contribute to the production, see the website: Indiegogo.

What's Your Story?

Charlene | June 1, 2015

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Dan Fisher (MFA, Technical Theatre, 1986)

Dan Fisher, a graduate of the School of Theatre and Dance, who is currently a property master for some of today’s best-known films and television shows, visited the Creative Arts Center in April to speak to students about his career.
The talk was part of the College of Creative Arts Alumni-in-Residence Series, in which outstanding alumni of the College return to work with students.

Dan attended WVU from 1982 to 1986, graduating with a BFA in Technical Theatre. After graduation, while living in Beckley, West Virginia, he was hired to work as a Set Dresser on the John Sayles film “Matewan” and soon afterward moved to New York City to continue working in film and television production. For almost 30 years, Dan has been involved in props and set decoration on productions including “Mississippi Burning,” “The Adventures of Pete & Pete,” “Men in Black,” and “Law & Order.” In recent years, he has worked exclusively as a Property Master on feature films including “Black Swan” and “American Hustle” and on television productions including Season One of HBO’s “Girls” and TNT’s upcoming “Public Morals.” Dan has been married to Helene Eisman Fisher for more than 20 years and they have two teenage children, Augustus and Phoebe Fisher. He said his children are his proudest accomplishment.

“I grew up in Middlebourne, West Virginia, population around 800,” Dan said. “From an early age, I was enamored with movies, TV, and comic books. I decided to go to WVU when I was offered a full academic scholarship. My dad was not thrilled that I chose Theatre as my major, but since my tuition was free, he felt that I had earned the right to study whatever I wanted.”

Some of the professors who were most influential to Dan when he was a student at the CAC from 1982-86 included Jon Whitty, Angela D’Ambrosia, and Frank Gagliano.

“I came in believing I would emerge as an intense method actor, but by my senior year, I felt more encouraged to write and stage plays, courtesy of Frank Gagliano,” Dan says. “But I would also say that my peers in my classes were as influential as anybody. We had a very talented, interesting class. I felt competitive with them, but also inspired by them.”

Dan’s most memorable experience at the CAC was being part of the cast of Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming,” playing the part of Joey, a boxer.

“For that part, I had to lose 15 pounds, adding muscle as I learned how to box, perfect a Liverpool accent, and be part of a steamy, controversial sex scene,” he said.

“The big thing I would like all WVU Theatre students to be aware of is how many opportunities are out there for them in the ever-expanding world of show business.

“With a gazillion TV channels, streaming-only films and shows, and an international appetite for all American entertainment, there are more opportunities than ever before for people with a background in the creative arts.

“I want them to know that, at age 51, I am still learning, still trying to figure out how to do what I do better than I did it the last time. I have experienced success, but I have also made plenty of mistakes along the way. I get up every day and I go out there hoping I will have learned from the mistakes and to not linger too lovingly on memories of success. Every day is, and always will be, an opportunity to prove myself.”

Commencement 2015 Highlights

Charlene | May 29, 2015

The beautiful voice of music student Faith Snyderman singing “Simple Gifts” was one of the highlights of the College of Creative Arts Commencement on Saturday, May 16, as 115 graduates of the College of Creative Arts received their diplomas during a special ceremony featuring School of Art and Design alumnus Jacob Lewis, director of Jacob Lewis Gallery in New York City, as guest speaker.

Student Marshals, who led the procession of graduates, were undergraduates in the College who have achieved the highest cumulative grade point average in their division. The Student Marshals for 2015 were: Lindsay May Dieffenbauch, School of Art and Design; Ashley Ruth Elliott, School of Music; and Lauren Kimberly Waldron, School of Theatre and Dance.

Outstanding Graduating Senior awards for the three Schools included: Emily J. Hersman, School of Art and Design; James David Conkle, School of Music; and Rachael Anne Cowne, School of Theatre and Dance.

Rachael Anne Cowne was also named the College of Creative Arts Outstanding Graduating Senior for 2014-2015. The award was announced by Dean Paul Kreider during the Commencement ceremony.

Faculty Award Winners

From left: WVU Provost Joyce McConnell, Joseph Lupo, Travis Stimeling, Steven Neuenschwander, Michael Ibrahim, Rhonda Reymond, Kristina Olson and Dean Paul Kreider.

In addition to the student awards, the College of Creative Arts also presented Outstanding Faculty Awards for 2015 during the ceremony. These included Award for Adjunct Faculty Excellence: Maureen Kaddar of the School of Theatre and Dance; Outstanding Advising Award: Kristina Olson of the School of Art and Design; Excellence in Internationalizing the College Award: Rhonda Reymond of the School of Art and Design; Outstanding Teaching with Technology: Michael Ibrahim of the School of Music; Outstanding Service Award: Steven Neuenschwander of the School of Theatre and Dance; Excellence in Research and Creative Activity: Travis Stimeling of the School of Music; and Outstanding Teacher Award: Joseph Lupo of the School of Art and Design.

Jacob Lewis

Guest Speaker Jacob Lewis was born in Huntington, West Virginia. In 2001, he received a Bachelor of Arts with a focus in painting and printmaking from West Virginia University. Upon graduation, Lewis moved to New York City, where he began a 13-year career with Pace Prints. In 2007, he was instrumental in inaugurating Pace Prints’ Chelsea gallery as its first director.

During his seven years as director, Lewis developed many personal and professional relationships with the artists whose work he has championed. With their encouragement and support, he opened Jacob Lewis Gallery to present a breadth of imagery and artistic mediums that resonate with the aesthetics of the Millennial generation.

Last January, Lewis brought the New York artists How and Nosm to the WVU Creative Arts Center, where they showed their works in the Mesaros Galleries, presented the Deem Distinguished Artist Lecture in the School of Art and Design, and created a special mural that will be unveiled at the dedication for the new Art Museum of WVU in August 2015.

“It is a huge honor to be back here,” Lewis told the audience at Commencement.

He talked about his days as a student in the School of Art and Design, where he studied printmaking. When he graduated in 2001, he said, all he knew was that he wanted to go to New York City. Internships helped integrate him into the life of the city and he was lucky enough to join Pace Prints during his first few years in New York. He worked his way up and in 2007 was tapped to open Pace Prints Chelsea.

Now he said he works to show people that printmaking is as important as painting and sculpture.

“This all started in my very first class in freshman year,” he said.

He urged the graduates to come back and share their stories and experiences with the next generation of students.

“Thanks to WVU for everything you have done for me,” he said in conclusion. “I can’t tell you how much I love this school.”

Outstanding Seniors

Rachel Cowne

Rachael Cowne
Outstanding Graduate, WVU College of Creative Arts
Outstanding Graduate, WVU School of Theatre and Dance

Rachel is from the small town of Warrenton, Virginia. She began dancing at the age of three when she started her first ballet class. As she grew older, she continued to study tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and contemporary dance, as she became a member in the company. At the age of 14, she then became an elite company member at Stage Door Dance Studio and traveled with the company to numerous local and national competitions. When she began high school, she realized that dance was what she really wanted to do with her life after she graduated. During the summer of 2007 she attended Point Park’s Conservatory of the Arts Summer Intensive and during her junior year of high school she was awarded the opportunity to work with the owners of Pushing Progress in New York and received a scholarship to their summer program. She began her first year at WVU in the fall of 2010 with intent of majoring in business and minoring in dance, but in her junior year WVU created a dance major and she immediately switched her major over to dance and was accepted into the program. At WVU she has had the opportunity to perform in three of the annual “Dance Now!” concerts, worked with Pilobolus Dance Theatre, and got accepted into guest artist Adam Barruch’s dance piece that was presented in the 2015 “Dance Now!” concert. She traveled with the Dance Program to the West Virginia Dance Festival and the American College Dance Association conferences and she will be teaching this summer at the WVU Summer Dance Academy. Rachael has been accepted into the training program at Broadway Dance Center in New York City, where she will receive training from elite artists and choreographers who will help her accomplish her dream of becoming a Radio City Rockette.

Let's Go

James Conkle
Outstanding Graduate, WVU School of Music

James Conkle is a percussionist from Washington, Pennsylvania. While growing up, he was influenced musically by his parents and experienced music through community groups and church. While attending Washington High School James studied with Bill Galvin and Jack DiIanni and performed in school ensembles and various state and national groups. He also performed with the Washington Symphony Orchestra as a percussionist and soloist. James came to West Virginia University in 2011 as a Music Education major and began studying percussion with Professor George Willis. While at WVU, James was a member of the Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, Steel Drum Band, and Percussion Ensemble. This past semester, James was a student teacher with John Brosky at South Middle School in Morgantown, and with Mark Santore at Laurel Highlands High School in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. This fall, James will be attending Duquesne University to pursue a M.M. in Percussion Performance.

Emily Hersman

Emily Hersman
Outstanding Graduate, WVU School of Art and Design

Emily Hersman is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Student Award from the School of Art and Design. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, she graduated in the Sycamore High School Class of 2010. Throughout her high school and college career Emily was an active member of the marching band, playing a variety of instruments ranging from piccolo to tuba. Emily completed both a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography while at West Virginia University. She is a member of Phi Sigma Theta, Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Emily’s diverse interests serve as inspiration for her art. She is always interested in exploring new mediums and materials for expression and pushing the boundaries of art as a whole. After graduation, Emily will be returning to Cincinnati where she will work as an intern alongside the Art Conservation professionals of the Cincinnati Art Museum in the Works on Paper Department. She plans to continue her education at the graduate level, pursuing a Master’s degree in Art Conservation.

Congratulatons Graduates!

Following the conferring of degrees, there was a reception in the Douglas O. Blaney Lobby of the Creative Arts Center for the graduates, their families and friends, as well as College of Creative Arts faculty and staff.

View a video capturing the thoughts, emotions and images of WVU Commencement Weekend 2015: Sights and Sounds Video

Commencement photo

Hope and student in hallway

Joseph Jefferson DMA

Congrats to Connor Haupt and family

Yoav and student

Let's Go
Bob Shreve, MFA Technical Theatre, 1980

Bob Shreve is a graduate of the School of Theatre and Dance who has had an outstanding career in theme park design management. Currently corporate vice president for Attractions Development at Herschend Family Entertainment in Atlanta, Georgia, he previously worked for Universal Studios, where he was executive producer for projects such as “Revenge of the Mummy,” “Shrek 4D,” and Universal Studios Shanghai,” as well as the Jurassic Park attractions. At Disney (EPCOT) he worked on projects such as Muppets 3D and the concept phase of Tower of Terror.

Bob was born in Fairmont, WV, but his father was a career army officer, so he grew up all around the US and Europe. When his family returned to West Virginia, he went to Fairmont State to study theater and then came to WVU as a graduate student, which he says were “two of the most thrilling years of my life.”

His advisor was Professor Chuck Neal and professors who inspired him included Craig Martin, who taught him to seek out-of-the-box solutions; JoAnn Siegrist, with her tireless dedication and focus on students; Kathy Brindle with her exuberance and sheer love of theater; and a young Egyptian professor named Adel Mageed, who Bob says was the most talented and earnest teacher he has ever had. “He was the first to recognize that I had worth as a designer. His encouragement and instruction remain with me today, as I can still hear his broken English explaining color theory and line weight. He pushed me to extend myself and believe that, if I only tried, I would do better.”

Bob did the lighting design for Patrick Murphy’s production of “Hamlet,” and lit all of the Orchesis Dance Ensemble shows directed by Kacy Wiedebush.

“I was privileged to work with Phil Faini’s Percussion Ensemble on some of the most thrilling entertainment spectacles I have ever witnessed,” he said. “Also, we had Morris Carnovsky in residence performing “King Lear” and I had to redo the props multiple times to meet his exacting standards. Another memorable experience was the Julliard Acting Studio in residence with a young Patti Lupone as part of the ensemble. Those were some fun parties!

“Most of all, it was the people – students and faculty alike – who will always be with me and who helped me pass from student to teacher to professional. The core of who I am rests in the halls of the CAC.

“Life is such a mixture of so many different things—who succeeds and who fails is just a small part of it and really depends on the definitions you wish to apply. Life is about working to understand those definitions every day and then applying what you have learned. I started out to become an actor and ended up being a designer, a technician, an arts administrator and now an attraction designer turned design manager. The best thing I can advise students is always do your best, keep your eyes and your mind open and adapt. It makes for a very interesting journey. And who knows, you might just end up where you want to be.”


WVU School of Art and Design alumnus Jacob Lewis, the director of Jacob Lewis Gallery in New York City, will be the guest speaker for the College of Creative Arts Commencement ceremony, Saturday, May 16.

The ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre of the Creative Arts Center and is open to the public.

Jacob Lewis was born in Huntington, West Virginia. In 2001, he received a Bachelor of Arts with a focus in painting and printmaking from West Virginia University. Upon graduation, Lewis moved to New York City, where he began a 13-year career with Pace Prints. In 2007, he was instrumental in inaugurating Pace Prints’ Chelsea gallery as its first director.

During his seven years as director, Lewis developed many personal and professional relationships with the artists whose work he has championed. With their encouragement and support, he opened Jacob Lewis Gallery to present a breadth of imagery and artistic mediums that resonate with the aesthetics of the Millennial generation.

In January, Lewis brought the New York artists How and Nosm to the WVU Creative Arts Center, where they showed their works in the Mesaros Galleries, presented the Deem Distinguished Artist Lecture in the School of Art and Design, and created a special mural that will be unveiled at the dedication for the new Art Museum of WVU in August 2015.

For more information, see the Jacob Lewis Gallery website:

Commencement Details
During the May 16 Commencement ceremony, the College of Creative Arts will individually recognize approximately 100 graduates, including those who completed their requirements in August or December of 2014. Alison Helm, director of the School of Art and Design, Keith Jackson, director of the School of Music, and Joshua Williamson, director of the School of Theatre and Dance, will recognize each of the degree candidates by name and they will receive congratulations from Dean Paul Kreider, Associate Dean William Winsor, and Assistant Dean John Hendricks.

There will also be several special presentations, including awards to outstanding students in Art & Design, Music, and Theatre & Dance.

Student Marshals, who lead the procession of graduates, are undergraduates in the College who have achieved the highest cumulative grade point average in their division. The Student Marshals for 2015 are: Lindsay May Dieffenbaugh, School of Art and Design; Ashley Elliott, School of Music; and Lauren Kimberly Waldron, School of Theatre and Dance.

Outstanding Graduating Senior awards for the three divisions include: Emily J. Hersman, School of Art and Design; James David Conkle, School of Music; and Rachael Anne Cowne, School of Theatre and Dance.

The College of Creative Arts Outstanding Graduating Senior for 2014-2015 will be announced by Dean Kreider during the Commencement.

Doors to the Lyell B. Clay Theatre will open at 5 p.m. Tickets are not required for admission and seating is open except where reserved for degree candidates. The academic procession begins sharply at 5:30 p.m. Parking is available at various locations near the Creative Arts Center. Families and friends of graduates are welcome to take photos during the ceremony.

Following the ceremony, there will be a reception in the lobby of the Creative Arts Center for the graduates, their families and friends, and College of Creative Arts faculty and staff.

One night only!


School of Theatre & Dance presents MFA Acting Candidate Original Production of ‘Love, Sweet Love: The Story and Songs of Burt Bacharach’

MORGANTOWN, W.Va—What the world needs now is love, sweet love! WVU School of Theatre & Dance presents “Love, Sweet Love: The Story and Songs of Burt Bacharach,” written by and starring MFA Acting Candidate Vincent Pelligrino, May 2 at 7:30pm in the Gladys G. Davis Theatre, located in the Creative Arts Center on the Evansdale Campus.

One of the most accomplished pop composers of the twentieth century, Burt Bacharach is known for a style all his own. Memorable melodies, unconventional time signatures, and a combination of jazz, pop, Brazilian music, and rock truly made Bacharach stand out among the rest in the 60s and 70s. Bacharach generated over 52 Top 40 hits and primarily collaborated with lyricist Hal David. “Love, Sweet Love” explores his personal life and working relationships with artists such as Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, and Cilla Black.

Vincent Pelligrino is a third-year MFA Acting student graduating in May. This original cabaret-style production of “Love, Sweet Love,” began as part of the one-man show development course in the MFA program and has grown into a fully realized independent study and research project.

“Singing this music brings me pure joy,” says Pelligrino. “I have always loved Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s music for its ability to be light and joyous but heartbreaking at the same time. I love working with these talented young women who have incredible singing voices, and sound great as a group. It’s a pleasure for me to get to sing, act, and sit at the piano for my final show at WVU.”

Songs featured in the cabaret include such Bacharach classics as “Say a Little Prayer,” “Alfie,” “Don’t Make Me Over,” “A House is Not a Home,” “Close to You,” and “What the World Needs Now is Love.”

“Love, Sweet Love” features Masters of Music in Vocal Performance students Denise Battle and Jocelyn Raychel, along with Theatre students Stefanie Lemasters, Ashley Koon, and Mya Brown.

Lighting design for “Love, Sweet Love” is by Rachel Lake and sound design is by Savannah Yost.

Admission is free for “Love, Sweet Love.” Attendance forms for classes will be made available after the show.


For more information on this production of “Love, Sweet Love,” please visit, call 304-293-2020, or email

The College of Creative Arts is offering a wide variety of camps and workshops during the summer of 2015 for students of all ages. Offerings include:

• Community Music Program (classes for all ages, including babies)
• Dance Academy (for ages 5 to adult, as well as for teachers)
• Teacher’s Institute: Smithsonian Certification Folkways Course in world music pedagogy (for K-12 teachers)
• Viola Boot Camp (ages 15 to adult)
• Percussion Camp (ages 14 to 18)
• Acting Academy (ages 10-17)
• Mountaineer Music Leadership Academy (high school students in grades 10-12)
• Piano Festival and Competition (for artists and students of all ages, as well as teachers)
• International Flute Symposium (featuring Junior High and High School Flute Camps, as well as a Collegiate/Amateur/Professional Category)
• Mountaineer Drawing Academy (ages 14 to 17)

See more information, in order by date:

Community Music Program – June-August, 2015

The WVU School of Music’s Community Music Program provides a comprehensive program of musical training for students of all ages and experience levels. The summer program features many different kinds of classes for children and adults, as well as private music lessons. Some popular classes returning this summer include: Piano For Fun For Adults, Eurhythmics For Children, Music For Babies, Explore & Enjoy for Toddlers, and Harp On It! New offerings include Vocal Choirs, Violin Camp, and more children’s classes and activities. See the entire schedule of classes, coming to the website soon.
Registration: Registration begins Tuesday, May 26 and classes begin June 1. To register, see the website or contact Karen Taddie, director, at, phone 304-293-6946.

Summer Dance Academy – June 13-20, 2015

Join us for another exciting and danced-filled week of technique classes and special workshops taught by WVU Dance faculty and special guest faculty. The programs include a Young Academy for children ages 5-10 years old, to be held June 15-19; a Teen Academy for ages 12-18 with at least 3 years of previous dance experience, to be held June 14-20; and a Teachers Academy for dance educators K-16, to be held June 14-20. In addition, this year there will be a one-day K-12 Dance Professional Development Intensive on Saturday June 13 (no registration fee). For questions or further information please see the website or contact the Dance Office at (304) 293-8623.
Times: All day; Young Academy daily 9 a.m. to 1 pm.
Registration: For registration information, email or call 304-293-2020. On campus room and board is available. A special tuition discount is offered to teachers who register their students.
Deadline: May 30 for early bird registration. Registration fee on or before May 30 is waived. After May 30 the registration fee is $30.

WVU Teacher Institute: Smithsonian Folkways Certification Course in World Music Pedagogy – June 14-20, 2015

West Virginia University’s School of Music will host its first Smithsonian Folkways Certification Course in World Music Pedagogy (WMP), June 14-20, 2015. Teachers will engage with world music in daily workshops featuring the musical cultures of West Africa, Brazil, and Central Appalachia led by WVU faculty and guest artists. Through this partnership with Smithsonian Folkways, teachers will develop a foundation in world music pedagogy and will have access to the rich ethnographic audio, film, and print resources of Smithsonian Folkways. This course is intended to help teachers build innovative curricula that connect K-12 music programs with local and global musical cultures. Teachers successfully completing the course will receive certification from the Smithsonian Institute documenting specialization in world music pedagogy. A limited number of scholarships are available for WV teachers.
Credits: 3 CEU or graduate credits
Registration: For information contact Dr. Janet Robbins at

Viola Boot Camp – June 15-18, 2015

Viola Boot Camp is a four-day intensive event is for violists, ages 15 to adult. All ability levels are welcome! The founder and director of the camp is Andrea Priester Houde, who is Assistant Professor of Viola in the WVU School of Music. The camp includes daily lessons, master classes, technique classes, lectures and ensembles.
Times: all day
Registration: Registration includes tuition and campus housing. Hotel accommodations are also available for adult participants. To register, contact Andrea Priester Houde, WVU Assistant Professor of Viola, at or call 304-293-5777.
Deadline: Students may register up until the first day of Boot Camp.

Percussion Camp – June 15-19, 2015

This popular week-long event is for young percussionists, ages 14 to 18. The founder and director of the camp is George Willis, who is also director of the Percussion Program at WVU. The camp includes daily workshops and clinics, solo performances, public percussion ensemble performances, and much more. Students will perform with and learn from some incredible guest artists. The camp will educate every level of percussionist and all of the students will perform in a percussion ensemble that will present a public concert at the end of the week.
Times: all day
Registration: To register, contact George Willis at or phone 304-293-5274. In addition to the registration fee, there is a housing fee that includes all meals. The fees will be paid upon checking into camp.
Deadline: Students may register right up until the beginning of camp.

Summer Acting Academy – June 22-26, 2015

A one-week professional theater training program for youth, ages 10 to 17, who wish to explore and develop the actor in themselves. Open to students of all levels of theater experience, the academy includes classes in acting, movement, monologues, voice & speech, character masks, improvisation, stage combat and rehearsal/production. All classes will be led by WVU School of Theatre and Dance faculty, and guest artists. Enrollment is limited, so that each student will receive training specifically geared to their experience level. The program culminates in a student presentation at the Creative Arts Center on June 26.
Times: Monday – Friday 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Registration: Please contact or call 304-293-2020. A copy of the registration form is also available on the website.
Deadline: Register by June 8 to guarantee enrollment.

The Mountaineer Music Leadership Academy – June 22-26, 2015

The Mountaineer Music Leadership Academy provides the finest experiential musical leadership training for all interested high school instrumental and vocal/choral students entering grades 10-12. All students attending, especially section leaders and drum majors, will be given increased musical skill and methods and materials for instructing and leading their peers. Our goal is to certify that every student attending leaves with a depth of knowledge and skill previously unknown to them that will provide greater enjoyment in the musical arts and a basis for lifetime accomplishment in leadership, regardless of the chosen field of professional endeavor.
Times: all day
Registration: Applications are available on the website or by calling 302-293-3097. Students should return the application via postal mail with deposit. Entire fee schedule includes instruction, meals and board. Commuter packages available.
Deadline: Reduced fees for early applications until April 30, 2015. Applications and payments in full due by June 8, 2015.

Intersection of Jazz & Classical Music Piano Festival and Competition
June 28-July 1, 2015

During this four-day celebration of the piano, set in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia, students, teachers and audience members explore how both jazz and classical styles inform, inspire and enliven the great art of playing the piano. This festival– the only one of its kind – offers outstanding artists, teachers, workshops, concerts, panel discussions, competitions and more. Guest artists for 2015 will be Ann Schein and Stefan Karlsson, as well as invited presenters from across the United States, and WVU faculty.
Times: all day
Registration: For registration information, contact Peter Amstutz at or call 304-293-4532. Registration fee required. Participants may also register for a Day Pass.
Deadline to register for competitions: May 20, 2015
Deadline for general registration: Attendees may register up until the day the festival begins.

International Flute Symposium – July 15-19, 2015

The WVU International Flute Symposium offers the widest variety of performances, workshops, and masterclasses as well as the largest roster of world-renowned flutists and university professors from the orchestral, classical and jazz fields of any university flute symposium in the United States. IFS is open to flutists of all abilities, ages 12 through adult. Events include daily flute masterclasses, flute choirs, and gala concerts as well as body mapping and flute repair workshops, high school and young artist competitions, and private lessons.
Times: 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, except July 15, which begins with a 7:30 pm concert, and July 19, which ends with a 1 pm concert.
Registration: Register online at the website for the Junior High/High School Camp or the Collegiate/Amateur/Professional Category. Registration fee, plus tuition, housing costs and meals required. Participants may also register for a Day Pass.
Deadline: July 15, 2015 (Discounts apply if register before May 30)

Mountaineer Summer Drawing Academy – July 22-25, 2015

Mountaineer Summer Drawing Academy provides West Virginia youth, ages 14 to 17, with experiences in art, so that they will have improved observational abilities and an understanding of how artistic skills activate an understanding of space, place, perspective, and structure. Campers will participate in workshops that will enhance their personal understanding and artistic skills. Guest speakers and assemblies will emphasize daily themes and field trips will provide the opportunity for artistic exploration inspired by interacting with the landscape and our natural environment. The camp closes with a Student Showcase and Reception on July 25.
Times: all day
Registration: Registration is available on-line at the website. Scholarships are available to those who register by July 1. Registration includes tuition and campus housing.
Deadline: July 22, 2015 (pre-registration deadline). Camp registration is 12:30-1:00 p.m. on July 22.