Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 1:43 pm | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley
Today we continue our "Divisional Spotlight" series with a focus on Fine Arts. The work of faculty and students in the Fine Arts Division may be more familiar to readers of this column because of their many fine performances and shows. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the faculty and their work in Art and Music.

The Art Department has two full-time faculty who are both practicing professionals in their respective areas. Mr. Armando Ramos has attended artist-in-residence events the past two summers in Vermont and California. Last October, he had a solo exhibition at the Dairy Art Center in Boulder, CO, and he is currently participating in an exhibition at the North Dakota Museum of Art. Professor Linda Whitney curated an International Mezzotint Exhibition that opened at the VCSU Art Gallery and is touring throughout North Dakota, Montana, New York and California.

Art students develop professional skills throughout their career at VCSU, and the Art faculty provide opportunities for students to participate in professional events. For example, printmaking students this semester are participating in a print exchange organized by the University of Iowa and are developing professional skills they will need as working artists. Three VCSU Art alumni exhibit work at DK Gallery in Fargo and have been invited to exhibit in the Jamestown Art Center opening exhibition. A recent graduate, Jacob Leno (December 2011), accepted a prestigious ceramics apprenticeship with well-known artist Richard Bresnahan, currently an Artist-in-Residence at Saint John's University in Collegeville, MN, whose work has been on solo exhibit at several nationally-known galleries.

The Art Department offers evening Ceramics courses for community members through the Community School of the Arts. The Art Gallery, located on third floor McCarthy and open to the public, offers a variety of shows each year, including exhibitions of local, public school student art, university student art and graduating senior shows, and traveling art exhibits.

The Music Department similarly supports a group of active professional faculty. Dr. Beth Klingenstein has published two books for music teachers and serves on the editorial committee for the American Music Teacher; Dr. Jorge Variego has premiered several works this year-'Colors' for orchestra (Rosario, Argentina, in August 2011), and a group of work for the Vandoren Clarinet Ensemble Festival in November 2011.

Dr. Sara Hagen and Dr. James Adams are both active presenters and officers in state and national music organizations, while Dr. Leesa Levy has recently returned from a choir tour to Seattle and Vancouver, a tour that included the VCSU Concert Choir, the Valley Voices Women's Chorus, and the VCSU Quantum Brass.

The music department provides an active, on-campus presence with frequent recitals and concerts open to the public and many opportunities for lessons and ensemble participation for both students and interested community members. In addition, under the direction of department chair Dr. Diana Skroch, the faculty have developed an online music major, making most of the academic program available to citizens across the state and nation. This unique program, one of only a handful nation-wide and fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), offers place-bound students the opportunity for a music degree.

VCSU's Fine Arts faculty are interested in working with both students and community members who share their interests in making music and art. Contact any of the professors or be sure to visit with them when you attend the next concert, recital, or gallery show. Your presence and support make a difference!