African-American modern art topic of Pellissippi State faculty lecture

male smiling, standing in front of brick hallway

Herb Rieth, a faculty member at Pellissippi State Community College, presents a lecture titled “Flip, Flop and Freestylin’: Art of the African Diaspora in the 20th and 21st Century” at the college at 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12.

The event is free and open to the community. The lecture takes place in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

“I’m going to be talking about the history of African-American modern art,” said Rieth, an assistant professor in Liberal Arts, “especially from the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and onward.”

His presentation will feature discussions of the works and lives of artists Kara Walker; Willie Cole; Yinka Shonibare, MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire); and Kahinde Wiley.

Rieth’s presentation is just one event in the Faculty Lecture Series. The lecture series is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the arts series celebrates Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary.

For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

‘Elasticity’ brings award-winning contemporary artist’s ‘organic’ installation to Pellissippi State

posted in: 40th Anniversary, Events, The Arts | 0
picture of a person walking through colorful art exhibit display.
Artist Crystal Wagner’s room-sized installations are unique at each site. Pictured is a previous installation titled “Immersion.” At Pellissippi State Community College, Wagner will have an installation titled “Elasticity,” which will be exhibited from Jan. 19-Feb. 20.

“Elasticity”—a room-size multimedia exhibit that its creator, award-winning artist Crystal Wagner, describes as “fast forward to 2050, where plastic grows by itself”—is scheduled for display at Pellissippi State Community College Jan. 19-Feb. 20.

Visitors can experience Wagner’s mesmerizing exhibit, which takes a full week just to set up, in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The exhibit is free.

A reception takes place 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5.

“‘Elasticity’ is a conduit,” Wagner said. “It explores ideas related to human beings and the increasingly severe divide between themselves and the natural world by growing—as if the art itself were a life form—through the gallery.

“More and more of our natural world seems alien to us, but there’s a strange familiarity and attraction to the forms that people categorize as exotic. Even in our attempt to keep the outside ‘out,’ plastic plants occupy small corners of people’s homes.”

According to Nastia Voynovskaya in “Hi Fructose” art magazine:

“[Wagner] creates deceptively natural-looking environments with paper and other materials purchased from dollar stores and office supply chains. Whether working on drawings, installations or printmaking, Wagner begins all of her work with an organic mark, allowing shapes to emerge and multiply like moss or fungus from another planet.”

Wagner, who earned an M.F.A. from the University of Tennessee in 2008, is represented by Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco. This year, her work has been exhibited in California, Florida, Hawaii, Canada and England.

The artist recently won the Sculpture and Installation category at the SeeMe “Art Takes Paris” international competition (www.see.me/blog/art-takes-paris-winners). She has been featured in “Juxtapoz Art and Culture Magazine” and on the contemporary art blog www.arrestedmotion.com.

“Elasticity” is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. This year, the series commemorates Pellissippi State’s 40th anniversary.

For more about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call (865) 694-6400.

Band of stage fighters at Pellissippi State takes on Renaissance Festival

2 people fight with swords in Renaissance attire
In the photo, Steve Trigg, left, engages in a mock sword fight with Thomas Crout. Crout plays character Captain Pickle and Trigg plays Beryl Plectrum Codpiece Knackberry Folderol.

Stage-fighting students at Pellissippi State Community College took their unique combat skills to the next level when they performed recently for the East Tennessee Renaissance Festival.

“Our stage-fighting course is unique in Tennessee,” said Charles R. Miller, the college’s Theatre program coordinator and a professor of Liberal Arts. “We have one of the top two-year Theatre programs in the country.”

Students in the stage-fighting course learn the skills to perform mock combat for theatrical purposes. Participants are a mix of full-time students and people from the community enrolled only in the class.

The fighters from Pellissippi State—Greg Congleton, Jordan Cook, Carolyn Corey, Thomas Crout, Julianna Meyers, Steve Trigg and Debi Wetherington—worked as “street characters” at October’s Renaissance Festival in Harriman. Several also performed on stage twice a day in “In a Pickle,” a comedy stunt show, and all honed their skills in “Human Combat Chess,” featuring theatrical sword fighting.

“We were aiming for the highest level of quality and safety available,” said Barrie Paulson, vice president/manager and entertainment director of the East Tennessee Renaissance Festival. “These students from Pellissippi State were cast in lead roles. The word after the performances was that even though the student actors were new, they more than held their own beside other professional stage acts.”

Earlier this year, 10 students at Pellissippi State passed the skills proficiency test of the Society of American Fight Directors. It was the first time the test had been administered in the state in almost 20 years.

In the video, Debi Wetherington and Jordan Cook take part in the Human Combat Chess Match. Jordan plays William Black and Debi plays Mary Tailor, two characters who are engaged to be married, but pitted against each other in the chess match. The video shows their unwillingness to hurt each other even as they are forced to appear to battle.

The college’s stage-fighting course is taught by Bob Borwick, the only SAFD certified instructor in Tennessee. Borwick teaches exclusively at Pellissippi State. Paulson served as a volunteer fight assistant in the course. She, too, passed the SAFD exam earlier this year.

Miller, who taught the stage combat class for years, says he gladly stepped aside for Borwick’s expertise: “Bob has so much great experience, and the quality of our Theatre program comes first.”

“It turned out to be a great opportunity for me to keep current with my stage-fight skills and to scout quality actor-combatants for the Renaissance Festival,” Paulson said.

Paulson and the Pellissippi State students tested with Dale Girard, an SAFD fight master and director of stage combat studies at North Carolina School of the Arts. By passing the exam, the students earned a much sought-after skill status in the world of professional theatre.

The course to prepare for the SAFD skills proficiency test is THEA 2222 Special Topics (Stage Combat), and it will be available again in spring 2015. Business and Community Services also is offering a non-credit Stage Combat course.

“I would love to see Pellissippi State’s Theatre program become the place for stage combat training in East Tennessee, and the place talent scouts target for expertise,” Paulson said.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State: Arrive early for complimentary tickets to popular Holiday Spectacular

Female ballerina with other ballerinas in the back and lit christmas trees

Join in the holiday cheer at Pellissippi State Community College’s hugely popular annual Holiday Spectacular concert, offered in two performances, 6 and 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 4.

Part of Pellissippi State’s Music Concert Series, the Holiday Spectacular is free, and the community is encouraged to attend. Because space is limited, the college asks that guests arrive 30 minutes before each performance to receive a complimentary ticket. Tickets will be issued at the door to the first 485 guests, and having a ticket guarantees a seat.

The Holiday Spectacular, whose theme this year is “A Candlelight Christmas Evening,” takes place in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The concert features the talents of more than 150 Pellissippi State students and faculty in eight different musical ensembles, performing classical choral numbers, bluegrass, and jazz.

“The concert will feature exciting production numbers full of bright visual displays, as well as more quiet, intimate carols by candlelight to celebrate the warmth of the season,” said Bill Brewer, Music program coordinator.

“Every audience member will leave the show with a taste of holiday cheer.”

The Music Concert Series is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

While all events in the series are free, donations are accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship fund.

For additional information about the Music Concert Series or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

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