Making a Career in Art

The opening in late January of the third Alumni Biennial exhibition at the Contemporary Art Galleries served not only as a display of recent juried art by UConn MFA graduates, but also as a forum for students to learn about what it takes to pursue a successful career in the world of art.

Judith Thorpe, professor of photography and director of the MFA program, says many UConn MFA graduates are still making art, despite statistics showing a large fall-off nationally for fine arts graduates after leaving school. “We have a good network of alums. Almost 80 percent were still exhibiting,” she says. “They’ve done it through nonprofit galleries, teaching, in museums, and galleries. There’s been a whole way of having a life in the arts that doesn’t deter art-making.”

'Pittsburgh left,' oil on canvas (2014), Deborah Zlotsky '89 MFA.
‘Pittsburgh left,’ oil on canvas (2014), Deborah Zlotsky ’89 MFA.

The four alumni whose works are exhibited include printmaker Jennifer Dierdorf ’08 MFA, installation artist and sculptor Jared Holt ’14 MFA, video artist Siobhan Landry ’11 MFA, and painter Deborah Zlotsky ’89 MFA.

Barry Rosenberg, director of Contemporary Art Galleries and associate professor of art, says the alumni exhibit is the one show he does not curate. Instead he recruits an outside curator, which for this exhibition was Jay Lehman, co-owner of Morgan Lehman Gallery in New York City, who reviewed an artist’s statement, resume, art images, press clippings, and work submitted by more than 20 MFA alumni.

“Each artist [selected] makes a strong and thoughtful work about seemingly contradictory ideas and emotions, such as hope and longing, distance and intimacy, and sorrow and joy,” Lehman says.

To read the entire article, visit UConn Today!

“Alumni Biennial” at the Contemporary Art Galleries, 830 Bolton Road, Storrs, continues through March 13. For more information go to the Galleries’ website.

Fine Arts Graduate Wins Marshall Scholarship

Recent graduate Antonio Campelli ’15 (SFA) has been named a winner of the prestigious Marshall Scholarship. He is one of just 32 selected from among 916 applicants this year.

As the fourth Marshall recipient in UConn history – and 10th finalist since the 2005-2006 academic year – Campelli joins an impressive lineup of students who have gained the attention of the Marshall selection committee. Of the 10, he is the first to have graduated from the School of Fine Arts: the others have come from a variety of majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering.

The Marshall Scholarship is Britain’s flagship government-funded program for American students who represent some of the finest and brightest college graduates in the United States. It is named after former Secretary of State George C. Marshall, and was established as a gesture of gratitude to the people of the United States for the assistance the U.S. provided after WWII under the Marshall Plan.

Campelli, who grew up in Tolland, Conn., was home-schooled by his mother in traditional academic subjects. He also learned about wiring a house for electricity and how to shingle a roof while still a pre-teen, guided by his dad and friends from church.

He started picking vegetables for a local farmer when he was 11, took the makings of a greenhouse she offered him, and built his own flower propagation business in his backyard. He used the money he made through this business to start attending Manchester Community College when he was 15.

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‘The Wanderer’ Combines Dance & Classic Music

Baritone Ryan Burns ’12 MM likens the preparation for his performance with the Jessica Lang Dance Co. presentation of “The Wanderer” at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 19 to having the lead role in an opera.

“It’s not something you can put together in a couple of weeks,” Burns says of singing Franz Schubert’s “Die schöne Müllerin” (The Lovely Maid of the Mill), a song cycle of 20 songs sung over an hour. “It’s been a unique challenge to prepare this body of music in such a way that you can maintain all that good technique and language and stay focused. It’s been a challenge, but a really great one.”

A doctoral candidate in music who has performed with the Connecticut Lyric Opera and the Opera Theater of Connecticut, Burns was selected by the contemporary ballet choreographer for the unique joining of dance and classical music that has been described as “a true work of art” by the Boston Globe and “a work of high craftsmanship” by The New York Times.

Read the entire story at UConn Today!

Graduate student, Ryan Burns practicing singing at Jorgensen Performing Arts Center on Nov. 17, 2015. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)
Graduate student, Ryan Burns practicing singing at Jorgensen Performing Arts Center on Nov. 17, 2015. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Puppet Festival: A Homecoming of Alumni

In the 50 years since legendary puppeteer Frank Ballard started teaching puppetry classes in UConn’s School of Fine Arts, alumni of the Puppet Arts Program have performed on Broadway, in films, on television, and on stages worldwide.

Many of these alums will return to campus this week among the more than 500 puppeteers from across the country and around the world who will attend professional workshops, participate in panel discussions, and present performances as part of the 2015 National Puppetry Festival, kicking off celebrations for the half-century of UConn puppet arts.

The entire article is available at UConn Today!

The Puppeteers of America on parade from South Campus to Storrs Downtown on Aug. 15, 2015. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)