Photos: Prestidge, Johnson, and Cress in Twelfth NIght; Camille Skye with Dr. Jaynne Middleton; Tabitha Vanderstoep; Pearl Pierce with Mike Jones; Kelsey Prestidge with Larry Wheeler
“Higher education in the visual and performing arts has been a keystone since the founding of Simmons College in 1891,” says Dr. Robert Brooks, dean of the Hardin-Simmons University College of Fine Arts, as he addresses students gathered in Van Ellis Theatre for the Fine Arts Convocation, April 16, 2013.
Brooks established the performance and awards ceremony last year to bring together the students studying music, visual arts, and theatre. Separated among three different buildings across the HSU campus, Brooks says the occasion is so all students in all divisions of the College of Fine Arts can see what others students are doing.
Three major awards are handed out during the ceremony while others have been selected to show off what they are learning and creating.
Tabitha Vanderstoep, a senior from Elgin, Texas, clicks through the PowerPoint presentation she has prepared to showcase her graphic art, describing each of the pieces. “This is one of my favorites because it is so lighthearted,” she says as she reveals “The Coffee Cat,” a cup of brew over the silhouette of a smiling cat.
The theatre department shows off its craft in a presentation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by student performers Kelsey Prestidge, Jeremiah Johnson, and Sam Cress. The play was presented this past December, in Steam Punk costumes rather than renaissance.
Master’s level graduate student, Camille Skye, gives a rousing vocal performance of The Jewel Song from Faust to represent the largest division of the COFA, music.
Receiving awards, professor of art and visual arts department head, Mike Jones, presents the Kappa Pi Award to Pearl Pierce, a sophomore from Midland, Texas, studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Pearl says she wants to be an animator for Pixar, the company behind now classic movies like Toy Story.
Professor of theatre, Larry Wheeler, surprises Kelsey Prestidge with the Artist of Dionysus Award. Kelsey one of the performers in Twelfth Night, is an upcoming May graduate from Peaster, Texas, majoring in music and theatre.
For music, the substantial Presser Scholarship is awarded to Abilene junior, piano performance major Lauren Maurer. She is the daughter of HSU professor of psychology and family ministry, Dr. Randall Maurer.
Brooks tells the students that HSU has a responsibility to train them as student-artists and to transform them from a university community of scholars into artist-entrepreneurs. He also charges the students with their mission, to realize social responsibilities as citizens of the arts. “Our Creator God has given you creative, artistic abilities. Now is the time, in this place, you can develop your talents so that you will make a difference in this world in the fine arts,” Brooks charges. “Soli Deo Gloria – To God Alone be Glory. So Be It!”