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Arts in bloom

Story and Photos contributed to the Press • Feb 6, 2012 at 9:24 AM

basic science: Winter cold results in contraction — doors, fingers, water freezing. In stark contrast, Mary B. Martin School of the Arts has a burgeoning winter/spring season, brimming with the fullness of the arts spectrum — illustration, photography, dance, culture, literature, classical music, new music, film, theater and discussion, much discussion, and interaction.

“While our fall season was rich in several genres of visual art, film, music and theater and attendance was our best ever, our spring 2012 season just naturally blossomed with virtually every aspect of the arts you could imagine,” school director Anita DeAngelis said. “If it’s in the arts spectrum, we have it covered this spring. We are thrilled to be able to appeal to almost every taste in the next few months.”

n Through Feb. 17, ETSU’s Slocumb Galleries will be the home of the “Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibit: Illustrators 53,” featuring 40 works, a representative sample of the best, award-winning commercial art from the past year. Artist Charles Vess, whose illustrations have been exhibited at the Society of Illustrators in New York, will present a lecture at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, in the Ball Hall auditorium, with a gallery talk and reception to follow. The exhibit, lecture, gallery talk and reception are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays, with extended hours during receptions.

n The second week of February expands to include prize-winning novelist, poet and short story writer Ron Rash, who will read from his work and, afterward, answer questions and participate in discussion in ETSU’s the Ball Hall auditorium, Room 127, starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7. The event and subsequent reception with the author, sponsored by Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, is free and open to the public. Rash, the Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Culture at Western Carolina University, is an Appalachian native from Buncombe County, N.C. In addition to nine novels — including his 2008 novel, “Serena” — he also has numerous collections of short stories and poetry in print.

n On Wednesday, Feb. 8, the sounds of strings and piano will swell as the Miami String Quartet, all music faculty at Kent State University, will perform with ETSU music faculty member Chih-Long Hu at 7:30 p.m. in Culp Auditorium. The quartet, lauded by the New York Times as “everything one wants in a quartet,” is known not only for its classical repertoire, but also for its strong interest in music education and encouraging new music, which has led to many commissions, premieres, festivals and scholarships. Tickets are $5 for students, $15 for senior citizens and $20 for general admission.

n On Monday, Feb. 13, Mary B. Martin School of the Arts will present “NY Export: Opus Jazz with Executive Producer Ellen Bar” as part of the South Arts Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers in Culp Auditorium. Following the free 7 p.m. screening of her film adaptation, Bar and the audience will engage in a discussion about the film and her work as a filmmaker. A reception with the filmmaker will follow the Q&A. Shot on location in New York City, “NY Export: Opus Jazz” takes Jerome Robbins’ 1958 “ballet in sneakers” and re-imagines it for a new generation, starring an ensemble cast of New York City Ballet dancers, and photographed on 35mm film. Southern Circuit is the nation’s only regional tour of independent filmmakers, providing communities with an interactive and communal way of experiencing independent film.

n To conclude its February events and in honor of Black History Month, the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts will welcome actor-director jeff obafemi carr to the VA Memorial Theatre stage on the grounds of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23. Carr will perform his one-man play, “How Blak Kin Eye Bee?” Termed by critics “a masterful work of theatrical art,” the play features carr portraying a full cast of true-to-life characters who take audiences on a funny, touching and thought-provoking journey of discovering what it means to be African-American in a changing world. The 90-minute play features music, multimedia and audience participation, as well as carr’s seven unique characters. Tickets are $5 for students, $15 for senior citizens and $20 for general admission.

n For the spring’s second South Arts Southern Circuit Tour screening, writer/producer/director Anne Makepeace will accompany her documentary “We Still Live Here” to Culp Auditorium at 7 p.m. Monday, March 12. Celebrated every Thanksgiving as “the Indians” who saved the Pilgrims, then largely forgotten, the Wampanoag of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard in this documentary are saying, “We still live here.” After the feature independent film, which recently won the Moving Mountains Award at Telluride, Colo., and the Full Frame Inspiration award in Durham, N.C., Makepeace and the audience will engage in a discussion about the film and her work as a filmmaker. A reception with the filmmaker will follow.

n The visual spectrum expands in late March to include still photography, spanning from decades-past to present. From March 26-30, Slocumb Galleries and MBM SOTA will present “Kingsport Revisited,” the culmination of a summer course taught by ETSU Visiting Assistant Professor of Photography Joshua Dudley Greer, featuring dozens of archival photographs of “The Model City,” paired with new images. For the class, students researched the photography collection of the Kingsport Public Library & Archives and re-photographed locations around Kingsport. The resulting exhibition illustrates the changes in landscape, architecture and culture in Northeast Tennessee by pairing the new photographs with the originals. Admission is free.

n April will feature “Sahkanga,” with writer/director John Henry Summerour, as the last Southern Circuit Tour screening for the 2011-2012 year on Monday, April 16, at 7 p.m. in Ball Hall auditorium. Summerour will answer questions after the film and be available during a reception, all free and open to the public. Based on actual events, “Sahkanaga” depicts a gruesome discovery in the woods, which sets into motion an unusual coming-of-age story as an Appalachian teenager copes with a secret that could destroy a family business and hopes of love.

n Mary B. Martin School of the Arts will conclude its spring season with a concert by Kingsport’s Symphony of the Mountains, featuring the world premiere of the winning piece in the “Magnum Opus: A New Composer’s Competition,” on May 5 at 8 p.m. The competition, a collaboration of SOTM and MBM SOTA, was established to highlight the quality of the performing arts throughout Southern Appalachia and to encourage the composition of new original works to be performed by a professional symphony orchestra. The winning composition will open this concert, followed by the world premiere of Mark Harrell’s Euphonium Concerto and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1. For tickets to the concert in Toy F. Reid Eastman Employee Center, call 392-8423.

For more information or tickets for any of these events other than the SOTM concert or to arrange special assistance for individuals with disabilities, call 423-439-8587 or visit www.etsu.edu/cas/arts. The Mary B. Martin School of the Arts may also be found at www.Facebook.com/ETSU.MBMSOTA.

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