UConn SFA Professor Oscar Guerra Wins Big at Emmy Awards


University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts professor Oscar Guerra was a winner at the 42nd Annual NewsOscar Guerra and Documentary Emmy Awards Tuesday night. He won Best Story in a Newsmagazine for his documentary film, Love, Life, & the Virus, which tells the story of a local immigrant Guatemalan family and the impact COVID-19 had on their lives.

The film aired on PBS Frontline, which also won two additional awards for its programming. Univision also aired the film in Spanish.

“It was already an honor the be nominated in two different categories, but the win feels amazing! Love, Life & the Virus is simultaneously a story of uncertainty and hope, darkness and light, but above all, what happens when people come together and support each other. Miracles do happen!” said Guerra. “And I am grateful to share this win with my family, my Frontline team, and UConn.”

“All of us at UConn are very proud of Oscar and his achievement,” said Dr. Carl Lejuez, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “This transformational film makes an important statement about an immigrant family’s experience in the Covid era, giving a voice to those who are marginalized in our society and disproportionately affected by the pandemic. It’s also a great example of why community engaged scholarship and creative work among our faculty is so important to our role as a research University for the State of Connecticut.”

In Love, Life, & the Virus, Guerra follows the family as mother, Zully, is admitted to the hospital due to her COVID-19 diagnosis and pregnancy with her second child. Her husband, Marvin, and son, Junior, also contract the virus. With the entire family ill and unable to care for the baby, they turn to Junior’s teacher who agrees to care for the newborn.  Cameras follow the family through every step of their lives as the Stamford community rallies around the family until they eventually reunite.

Guerra Productions Team“Oscar’s Emmy win is huge and comes at a wonderful moment for our young Digital Film/Video Production major. Just last year, we announced a new Human Rights Film and Digital Media Initiative, partnering with our Human Rights Institute at UConn, and this is evidence of the quality of our program and the kind of impact we intend to have on the medium – and in society,” said DMD Department Head, Heather Elliott-Famularo. “Oscar’s dedication to human rights filmmaking and our ongoing partnership with PBS Frontline are integral to this future.”

Guerra and his team are currently working on their next film which focuses on the aftermath of the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance immigration policy and family separation. This is a collaboration between UConn, Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and PBS Frontline.


As seen on Broadway World.

Dr. Stefanie Acevedo Named Assistant Professor of Music Theory


Following an extensive national search, the UConn Department of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Stefanie Acevedo as Assistant Professor of Music Theory.

Dr. Stefanie Acevedo

Dr. Acevedo (she/her) specializes in music psychology and popular music studies; her main research interests include musical expectation, the analysis and cognition of musical form, cognitive underpinnings for musical categorization and segmentation, and music theory pedagogy. Her work encompasses the analysis and cognition of common-practice, avant-garde, popular, and non-Western musics.

Dr. Acevedo received her PhD in music theory from Yale University, a master’s degree in psychology from the University at Buffalo, a master’s degree in music theory in from Bowling Green State University, and a bachelor of music in composition from the University of Florida. Before coming to the University of Connecticut, she taught at the University of Dayton, where she and her colleague (Dr. Toby Rush) redesigned the four-semester music theory curriculum to better serve the needs of twenty-first-century music majors.

She has presented and published her work in Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, the Society for Music Theory (SMT) annual conference, the European Music Analysis Conference (EuroMac), the Society for Music Perception and Cognition Conference, and the International Conference for Music Perception and Cognition, among others. She has two upcoming co-authored articles in the Oxford Handbook of Music and Corpus Studies and is currently working on a Spanish translation of Tan, Pfordresher, and Harre's Psychology of Music: From Sound to Significance with Dr. Julian Cespedes-Guevara.

As a Latina immigrant, Dr. Acevedo is committed to diversifying the field of music theory and as such has served in various capacities including on the Society for Music Theory's Committee on the Status of Women (2013-2016) and as board member for the International Alliance for Women in Music (2009-2015). She currently also serves on SMT's SMT-Pod editorial board, SMT's Networking committee, and as SMPC's networking and communications chair.

When not teaching theory, Dr. Acevedo plays trombone, participates in her local gamelan ensemble, and has recently resumed her interest in carillon playing.

An Interview with Kenneth Fuchs

Award-winning, American composer and conductor Kenneth Fuchs is Professor of Composition at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. He has composed music for orchestra, band, chorus and various chamber ensembles.

The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta, has recorded five discs of Fuchs’s music for Naxos American Classics.


Digital Media Discovery Evening at UConn Stamford on November 3, 2016

Are you interested in the intersection of business, design, communication, film, and entertainment?

Digital Media is a disrupted medium that is forever-evolving and transforming our culture.

Please join us at the Digital Media Discovery Evening on November 3rd, 6:00PM – 7:30PM in the Multi-Purpose room at the Stamford campus.  The event is open to high school students interested in learning more about the Digital Media & Design program.

For any questions regarding the event, please contact Matthew Worwood at


Imagine Yourself Here: An SFA Experience for Prospective Students is Monday, October 10, 2016

Imagine Yourself at UConn SFA!

Monday, October 10, 2016
School of Fine Arts
Storrs Campus

The UConn School of Fine Arts offers professional arts training in Art & Art History, Dramatic Arts, Music, and Digital Media & Design. As an SFA student, you have the opportunity to study with an outstanding arts faculty in small classes. At the same time, you have access to leading scholars in over one-hundred fields and all the resources of a top-ranked university. You can be a painter who loves biology, a drama student who is intrigued by engineering, a musician who has a passion for Africana studies, or a savvy social media user who writes poetry – why limit yourself?



UConn to Present UConn School of Fine Arts Student Short Film Festival Sept 23-25

UConn’s Theatre Studies Program, Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, Digital Media & Design Department, Department of Art and Art History, and the Dean’s Office of the School of Fine Arts will present the first-ever UConn School of Fine Arts Student Short Film Festival from Friday, September 23 through Sunday, September 25 at von der Mehden Recital Hall located on UConn’s Main Campus at 875 Coventry Road, Storrs CT 06269. Admission to this event is free.

The newly created UConn School of Fine Arts Student Short Film Festival will present works by cutting-edge young filmmakers enrolled at the University of Connecticut. The categories include animation, short fiction, and documentary films. On the final night, a reception will be held in the lobby of von der Mehden Recital Hall after the screening.

The three-day schedule includes:

Friday, September 23, 7:00 p.m.: Animation Films, including both shorts and animated storytelling, and short-shorts and animated experiments. The screening will feature commentary by UConn faculty members and a post-screening talkback.

Saturday, September 24, 7:00 p.m.: Short Fiction Films, including films related to the themes of cause and effect and wander and seek. The screening will feature commentary by UConn faculty members and a post-screening talkback.

Sunday, September 25, 6:00 p.m.: Documentary Films, including works that reflect on personal identity and identity in the UConn community, as well as UConn faculty member Alison Paul’s new film “Equinox.” The screenings will feature commentary by UConn faculty members and post-screening talkbacks. After these events, we invite attendees to stay for a reception in the lobby of von der Mehden Recital Hall.

For more information about the festival, screening times, and scheduled presentations, see or contact Robyn Genzano at

New and Exciting SFA Fall Courses for Non-Majors

Dear Students:

You might not have heard about some of the new and exciting courses in the School of Fine Arts.   This Spring, several courses that were previously open only to majors are now open to non-majors! Please see below for the list of open and eligible courses.   For a permission number to enroll in these courses (unless otherwise noted) contact Eva Gorbants or stop by her office (Art Building room 203). There is still time to register!

Art & Art History Department

ARTH 3020 Asian American Art and Visual Culture
MW 10:30-11:45am
Interested in contemporary art and artists? Explore how Asian artists in the United States, ranging from recent immigrants and refugees to the American-born deal with issues of identity, cross-cultural connections, and community through the visual arts. View artworks, artist videos, films, and guest lectures that vividly bring these issues to life.
Professor Margo Machida:

ARTH 3440 19th Century American Art
TuTh 11am-12:15pm
Revolution, civil war, railroads, robber barons, and more. Come learn about the visual culture of the United States in the long 19th century.
Professor Alexis Boylan:

ARTH 1140-01 & 02 Introduction to Asian Art
Sec 01: MW 3:35-4:50pm
Sec 02: MW 12:20-1:35pm
Art of China, Japan, India, Korea, Cambodia, Java etc. In this multicultural course we will study major artworks produced in Asia from the bronze age to the modern period. CA 1
Professor Yan Geng:

ARTH 1141 From Sun Gods to Lowriders: Introduction to Latin American Art
Sec 01: TuTh 12:30-1:45pm
Sec 02: TuTh 3:30-4:45pm
Mammoth pyramids and human sacrifice; conquest and revolution; skeletons riding bicycles; the Guadalupe Virgin and Frida Kahlo — this course has it all. Discover the art and culture of Latin America from the Aztecs to today. CA 1 and CA 4-INT
Professor Robin Greeley:

Dramatic Arts Department

DRAM 2711 Introduction to Directing
MW 10:10-11:00pm
Emphasis on theory and play analysis from the director’s point of view.
Professor Derron Wood. Open to non-majors – contact Nisha Hardnett ( for a permission number.

DRAM 4122 Theatre Administration and Organization
MW 11:00-12:15pm
A survey of the organizational structure of the theatre in the United States, including community, university and regional theatres, and “on”, “off”, and “off-off” Broadway. Personnel, budgeting, unions and audience development will be covered.
Professor Frank Mack:

DRAM 4135/4135W Period Studies, “Experiencing Shakespeare”
TuTh 9:30-10:45am
This course will examine Shakespeare as an enduring cultural force whose works continually find new and exciting ways of being expressed and experienced. We will analyze Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, and histories through printmaking workshops, puppetry seminars, Connecticut Repertory Theatre performances (e.g., King Lear), dialect presentations, and yet-to-be-released film screenings.
Professor Thomas Meacham:

Music Department

MUSI 1002 Sing and Shout! History of America in Song
Tu 11:00 – 12:45pm (Sec 1D 11:00 – 11:50am Th; Sec 2D 12:00 – 12:50pm Th)
Develop an understanding of American people, history and culture through the study and singing of American folk songs. CA 1. CA 4.
Professor Mary Ellen Junda:

MUSI 1003 Popular Music and Diversity in American Society
Tu 2:00 – 2:50pm; TuTh 5:00 – 5:50pm
An introduction to popular music and diversity in America: jazz, blues, Top-40 pop, rock, hip-hop and other genres. Musicians and their music studied in the context of twentieth-century and contemporary American society, emphasizing issues of race, gender, class, and resistance. No prior musical training or knowledge required. CA 1. CA 4.
Professor Glenn Stanley:

MUSI 1107 Steel Pan Ensemble
MW 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Performance of a repertoire that varies from the traditional calypso and soca styles of Trinidad and Tobago to today’s pop music. No previous musical experience required.
Professor Robert Stephens:

‘Be Not Afraid of Greatness:’ Shakespeare’s First Folio Coming to UConn

Recent news coverage of the discovery in Scotland of a previously unknown first edition of William Shakespeare’s collected works has brought increased interest to the national traveling exhibition “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare.” That exhibition is coming to UConn in the fall, and will be on display at the William Benton Museum of Art from Sept. 2 to 25.

First Folio, title page.
First Folio, title page.

The “First Folio” is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays published by two of his fellow actors in 1623, seven years after the Bard’s death on April 23. The collection includes 18 plays that would otherwise have been lost, including “Macbeth,” Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Tempest,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “The Comedy of Errors,” and “As You Like It.”

The national tour is being hosted by one institution in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s passing this year. The tour is a partnership between The Folger Shakespeare Library, Cincinnati Museum Center, and the American Library Association.

Table of contents from the First Folio.
Table of contents from the First Folio.

“As an institution with a strong history of championing the dramatic classics through our resident theater, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, we are very proud to have the opportunity to host this exhibition for our state,” says Anne D’Alleva, dean of UConn’s School of Fine Arts. “This is an important document in the life of the arts, and for our students and wider community to experience here on campus.”

During the month-long run of the exhibition, UConn will also present a variety of related academic and cultural programming in its venues, including the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, libraries, and lecture halls. The activities will include a Connecticut Repertory Theatre production of a Shakespeare play, workshops for high school English teachers, a festival of Shakespeare in film and popular culture, a puppet adaptation of “Macbeth,” a menu from the Elizabethan era served at the Benton Museum café, and other events.

To read the entire article, visit UConn Today!



Acting Alum Debuts as Director of Musical Comedy

There comes a time when many actors think about moving from the spotlight onstage to behind the scenes to direct.

For stage veteran Richard Ruiz ’98 MFA, that time came when he returned to Storrs to play a familiar role as Sancho Panza in the Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s 2012 Nutmeg Summer Series production of “Man of La Mancha” directed by his longtime mentor, Vincent Cardinal, chair of the dramatic arts department.

“Vince had not directed it before. He would consult me often and ask if this would be a good way to direct a scene,” says Ruiz, who had performed the role of Panza five times previously. “I ended up kind of semi-directing some of those scenes from the wings. I enjoyed that collaborative process. It sparked thoughts about being a director. I pitched it to him that someday I’d like to direct.”

Ruiz makes his directorial debut with this week’s CRT production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” the Tony Award-winning musical comedy based on the film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” the wacky British comedy troupe’s send-up of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table and their quest to find the mystical object in Arthurian legend that would provide eternal youth, abundant food, and happiness. “Spamalot” stars Richard Kline as King Arthur and Mariand Torres as the Lady of the Lake in performances from April 21 to May 1 in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre.

Ruiz, who last appeared onstage at CRT in 2014 with Kline in Neil Simon’s popular “The Sunshine Boys,” says he imagined that his first directing experience would be a small play with two or four actors, not a full-scale musical.

To read the entire article, visit UConn Today!

The CRT production of “Spamalot” will be performed April 21 through May 1 at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. For more information, go to the CRT website.



MFA Exhibition Explores Aspects of Self-Discovery

Sculptor Amanda Bulger and painter Kamar Thomas arrived in Storrs as MFA students in art through different paths.

Bulger grew up on her family’s farm in Wisconsin making art inspired by the rural landscape, and studied art at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Thomas first arrived in Connecticut as an undergraduate at Wesleyan University in Middletown, and returned to his home in Jamaica to teach art before heading north again to eastern Connecticut to create large, colorful paintings that draw viewers to the canvas.

Their creations are part of the cohort of works that is “The 2016 Master of Fine Arts Exhibition: Are We All Here?” at the William Benton Museum of Art, continuing through May 8.

Thomas calls his series of large, colorful self-portraits “Schizophrenic Masculinity.” The series  explores his journey of self-discovery during his time as a student in the United States at Wesleyan and at UConn.

“It was really about coming the U.S. and discovering I was black,” Thomas says about the inspiration for his paintings. “Outside of the U.S., [being black] doesn’t mean the same thing. There isn’t the culture and expectations that are here, having to reconcile those expectations and struggling with that, finding it in many ways. I would say it shows the more activist side of my life, struggling with those questions and just growing up, to be many things at once.”

His creative process involves painting his face with different colors and taking photos that he can use as the foundation of painting on large square canvases, each with a different dominant hue. He says working with a large image both helps him to better see his work through the thick eyeglasses he wears while also allowing him to stay engaged more fully with the painting because he must use his entire body while painting.

“And for the subject matter I’m dealing with, faces and masks, it’s the best format for the size,” Thomas adds. “I call it overwhelming intimacy. If you’re ever that close to someone’s face, you’re either making love or a fight is about to happen.”

Bulger says she was attracted to UConn because it would allow her to live in a familiar rural environment that also provides the found objects from farm life that she uses to create her sculptures. By sheer coincidence, she asked her sculpture professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to write a recommendation, not realizing that Jason Lanka, now an assistant professor of art at Sheridan College in Gillette, Wyo., was a 2005 MFA graduate from UConn.

“[Coming to Storrs,] I wouldn’t be suffering from a shift from being on the farm to moving to the city,” Bulger says. “Judith [Thorpe, MFA director,] told me in my interview that there are cows on campus. That kind of sold me.”

To read the entire article, visit UConn Today!

“The 2016 Master of Fine Arts Exhibition: Are We All Here?” continues at the William Benton Museum of Art, 245 Glenbrook Road, Storrs, through May 8. For more information, go to the Benton website.