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College of Arts and Sciences

Fighting Okra Records to host album release party

By | College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Delta Music Institute, Students, Uncategorized | No Comments

Fighting Okra Records, the student-run record label within the Delta Music Institute’s entertainment industry program at Delta State University, is hosting an album release party to celebrate the newest addition to its ongoing compilation series, “Fighting Okra, Round 3.”

The event will feature live performances from artists featured on the album and take place on the campus Quadrangle on Oct. 12 at 5 p.m.

Six student artists will perform at the event, each providing a different style of music, including hip-hop, electronic, alternative and soul. All artists are featured on the CD and will be performing their contributions to the album, as well as some of their solo material. Free refreshments will be provided, and entry to the event is free.

In addition to the musical performances, the release party will include raffles, contests and a photo booth for attendees.

“Fighting Okra, Round 3″ is the third entry in FOR’s compilation series, and fifth release for the student-run record label.

“I’m excited about a new release on the Fighting Okra Records label,” said Tricia Walker, DMI director. “This release marks the beginning of the search for the label’s next artist to be signed and produced in the DMI studios. There is so much great young talent here at Delta State, and this current release showcases a lot of that talent.”

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelor’s degree in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information about the DMI or Fighting Okra Records, contact 662-846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

Biology credits available for new course in Bangladesh

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Faculty/Staff, International, Students | No Comments

Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, associate professor of biology at Delta State, is leading another international field course this winter in his homeland of Bangladesh.

The new three-credit study abroad course will take place during the winter intersession Dec. 11-23 and is open to students from any major. Community members are also welcome to sign up for the trip. The official name for the class is BIO 492: Tropical Field Biology.

The two-week field experience will provide hands-on practice in the ecology and conservation of unique wildlife species in two highly biodiverse ecosystems — Lawachara National Park, a tropical evergreen forest in northeastern Bangladesh, and the Sundarbans Reserved Forest, the world’s largest mangrove forest in southwestern Bangladesh.

“The overall objective of the course is to introduce students to tropical wildlife and their habitats, taxonomy, natural history and biogeography, with an emphasis on the conservation challenges and prospects faced by these animals,” said Reza. “Best of all, students will be offered truly unique field experiences not available in a traditional classroom.”

Additional topics covered will include wildlife monitoring, evergreen forest ecology, mangrove forest and estuarine ecology, and applied conservation biology. During the course, theory will be delivered through lectures and in-house discussions, followed by hands-on activities to practice field methodologies.

The fee for the course is $2,600 and includes the following:

  • Food and lodging for the entire course
  • Round-trip travel to Sundarbans Reserve Forest and Lawachara National Parks within Bangladesh
  • Experienced instructors and field equipment

The course fee does not include:

  • International travel to and from Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Travel or health insurance (proof of health insurance is required for course attendance)
  • Rubber boots, binoculars, flashlight and insect repellent (all of which are required to take this course)

Reza said those interested in attending should explore potential scholarship opportunities at https://fieldprojects.org/participate/courses-2/scholarships/. The deadline for scholarship applications is Oct. 15.

For more information, visit https://fieldprojects.org/course/bangladesh/. For questions and trip information, contact Reza at areza@deltastate.edu.

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“Take Me To The River: Live” educates Arkansas State and Delta State students

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Center, GRAMMY, Students | No Comments
Arkansas State University public administration student team at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi with the International Delta Blues Project banner featuring Delta State’s Blues Okra.

 

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State recently hosted a group of public administration students from Arkansas State University of Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Their visit coincided with GRAMMY Museum Mississippi’s “Take Me To The River: Live” program, partially sponsored by The Delta Center’s International Delta Blues Project, in order to learn how cultural heritage is an effective tool for educating and engaging diverse communities.

Led by Peggy Wright, director of the Delta Studies Center at ASU, the group included master’s-level graduate students from the Arkansas Delta, Seattle and Saudi Arabia. The students are learning about the importance of communications in community engagement and economic development.

“We appreciate being so warmly received by everyone at Delta State and the GRAMMY Museum during this valuable learning experience,” said Wright. “Dr. Herts [director of The Delta Center] and I were in the Delta Regional Authority’s Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy together, where I learned more about The Delta Center and Delta State. Site visit exchanges among leadership network colleagues represent a strategic opportunity for our students to gain professional insights, exposure to networking, and knowledge of the Delta’s culture. We look forward to visiting again.”

“The trip to Delta State University and the Mississippi Delta truly opened my eyes,” said ASU student Ali Alghofaili. “While visiting the GRAMMY Museum and hearing the musicians interact with local youth, I saw that they all focused on education, communication, and passing on the Delta’s musical history. The beautiful landscape reminded me of the Al-Qassim region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Al-Qassim region is well known for its agriculture just like the Delta region. This trip helped me to see the importance of understanding culture when serving the public, which is what I will be doing when I graduate in December.”

Delta State University media students pose after a conversation with GRAMMY Award winning Blues legend Bobby Rush.

“Take Me To The River: Live” also served as an experiential learning opportunity for a group of students enrolled in the Digital Media Arts program, a degree in the Depertment of Art at Delta State. The students documented the concert through photography and videography. They also had a group conversation with GRAMMY Award-winning blues legend Bobby Rush.

“Meeting Bobby Rush was amazing,” said Ashliegh Jones, a senior art major from Vicksburg. “My mother and grandmother have listened to his music for years, but have never been to a concert. They were thrilled that I was able to do so, and also to have a one-on-one conversation with him where he encouraged me to keep working hard, and if I do, perhaps one day I might be hired to be his photographer. That was a really cool thing to hear.”

The Delta Center joined forces with GRAMMY Museum Mississippi to host “Take Me To The River: Live.” The program was an official bicentennial project made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council through support from the Mississippi Development Authority.

The event was also supported by The Delta Center’s International Delta Blues Project. The program served as a pre-event for the upcoming International Conference on the Blues at Delta State University and as an educational Blues Leadership Incubator event for students and the broader community.

“We are pleased that Ms. Wright and her students chose The Delta Center and ‘Take Me To The River: Live’ as a case study. We also were impressed that Delta State students were involved in documenting the concert as part of Will Jacks’ class,” said Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center. “Cultural heritage offers powerful ways to bring people together to communicate and understand our shared stories. It also has become a vehicle to educate and prepare students for career opportunities.”

The students joined hundreds of residents and visitors who visited GRAMMY Museum Mississippi that day for the Take Me To The River program.

Delta State students documenting GRAMMY Award winner William Bell’s performance during the Take Me To The River: Live concert.

The program included a morning panel discussion featuring music legends discussing the importance of music and art in the world today; an afternoon conversation with GRAMMY-winning Blues artist Charlie Musselwhite reflecting on the life of Mississippi blues legend John Lee Hooker; and a night-time live performance experience based on the award-winning film and record, “Take Me To The River.” Senator Willie Simmons also hosted a post-concert meet-and-greet the artists reception at his famed soul food restaurant, The Senator’s Place.

Hundreds attended the concert on the museum’s front lawn featuring GRAMMY Award winners William Bell, Bobby Rush and Charlie Musselwhite, backed by GRAMMY Award winner Boo Mitchell, the Hi-Rhythm Section and the Stax Academy Alumni Band. The concert included special appearances from two Memphis-based rappers, Academy Award winner Frayser Boy and Critics Choice Award winner Al Kapone. Remarks from GRAMMY-nominated filmmaker Martin Shore and GRAMMY Trustees Award-winner Al Bell provided important historical and social context about the film and Stax Records.

The film “Take Me To The River” connected multiple generations of iconic Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians to record a historic new album and re-imagine the utopia of racial, gender and generational collaboration of Memphis in its heyday, including Stax and Hi Records. In October 2016, The Delta Center and GRAMMY Museum Mississippi hosted a sold out public screening of the film which included a live performance on the Sanders Soundstage.

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Art faculty exhibit to open Sept. 28

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community | No Comments

Delta State University’s Department of Art invites the public to a reception celebrating the opening of its annual faculty exhibition on Sept. 28 from 5-7 p.m.

Delta State’s art faculty are practicing artists, designers and filmmakers who regularly exhibit in venues across the nation. The annual faculty exhibition, held at the Fielding Wright Art Center, offers the campus and community an opportunity to view new work created by these artists.

This year, the department welcomed four new faculty members — Nathan Pietrykowsky, Kayla Selby, John Stiles and Robyn Wall — as well as the return of Sammy Britt, a Delta State retiree.

Britt is represented by a series of landscape paintings that explore the language of light and color to distinguish the different light keys in which they are seen.

Pietrykowsky will show part of a series that chronicles the history of a surreal cosmos called Too Dee. Pietrokowsky draws images from his unconscious, theories of cosmology and various mythologies in the creation of this imaginary universe.

Selby’s work is part of an ongoing exploration in utilizing science and research as artistic media while reinterpreting scientific data. Her interest in the possibilities of using scientific data began with a collaboration with a St. Jude scientist who began re-contextualizing human samples in Petri dishes as literal human portraits.

Stiles, who teaches graphic design, works in a variety of media and will present examples of his collages, paintings and digital work. He approaches collage in a manner similar to painting, considering each piece of paper a stroke of his brush. The subject matter of the collages was inspired by his love of skateboarding and surfing. Stiles’s paintings are inspired by hurricanes which he experienced while living in Florida. Although awe-inspiring, Stiles also sees a certain beauty in hurricanes, especially when viewed from space. With their swirling motion, they remind him of paintings such as Vincent Van Gough’s “Starry Night,” and he approach them with an Impressionist’s brush.

Wall has been involved in examining her personal history of homes. She reconstructs these homes as they exist in her memory. While reconstructing real and imagined spaces, her work acknowledges the fluidity of memories.

Music plays an important role in lives and work of faculty members Ky Johnston and Michael Stanley. Johnston is a practicing musician, and Stanley has created a number of sculptures inspired by music, including the “Blues Man” that is featured in the Sculpture Garden at the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. Stanley, who is a woodworker and sculptor, took on the challenge of making a guitar from scratch, along with Johnston, a potter. Over the last two years, the two have experimented and perfected their designs of electric guitars, a series of which will be on exhibit.

Filmmaker Jon Mark Nail has a simple and effective recipe for making a successful film. “ Step one — place the audience into the characters’ immediate dilemma. Step two —complicate further. Step three — repeat step two until you reach the conclusion, i.e. somebody gets kissed, somebody gets killed, beautiful sunset, etc. Step  fours — fade to black. Cue the music. Hit the lights. Clean up the popcorn,” said Nail. His work will also be projected at the show.

Michaela Merryday has been taking furniture making classes the past two years. The amount of wood waste produced in the process inspired Merryday to recycle the material into small functional objects such as lamps and jewelry. The work presented combines her interest in minimalist design and sustainability.

Mollie Rushing is a textile artist whose quilts use pattern and color to create the illusion of texture and space. A selection of her textiles will be included in the exhibit.

Over the past year, Kim Rushing has been testing his personal limits with a photographic tool that is accessible to almost everyone — a cell phone camera. While the cell phone camera has its limits, especially compared to the sophisticated equipment Rushing usually works with, he has been exploring its unique possibilities.

The exhibit will be viewable until Oct. 26. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, contact the Department of Art at 662-846-4720. Join the department email list to receive regular updates on upcoming events, or follow the department on Facebook.

Dept. of Music to host traditional Korean musicians

By | Academics, Bologna Performing Arts Center, College of Arts and Sciences, Community | No Comments
Left to right, Dr. Jiyoon Kim, Yoon Jeong Bae and Eunhye Jang

The Delta State Department of Music will host “In the Beauty of Gugak: Korean Traditional Music,” Sept. 26-28, featuring three performers of Korean traditional music, Dr. Jiyoon Kim, Yoon Jeong Bae and Eunhye Jang.

The program will include a workshop for Delta State woodwind students on Sept. 26, a lecture on Korean traditional music and instruments on Sept. 28, and evening recitals on Sep. 26 and Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. These lecture and recitals, all held at the Bologna Performing Arts Center Recital Hall, are free and open to the public.

“In the Beauty of Gugak” is sponsored by the Department of Music and the DSU Quality Enhancement Plan.

Dr. Jiyoon Kim is a Certified Apprentice of Korean National Intangible Cultural Heritage 46 Piri Jeongak & Daechwita, and the first Ph.D. in the field of Piri, a Korean traditional woodwind instrument. She distinguished herself as a performer by winning awards in various competitions such as the Dong-A Korean Traditional Music Concours and the Chun-Hyang Korean Traditional Music Contest. As an artist from Art & Culture Management CloudPoseidon, she has received both critical and public acclaim through solo performances such as “Cloud Way,” “Scent of gratitude,” “Wind blowing from the East,” and “Harmony.” She has also been invited to perform at concerts organized by the National Gugak Center in Seoul, Busan and Jeollanam-do. Since she won the Korean Association of Critics Special Award in 2015, she has internationally publicized Korean Traditional Music by performing in Yakutia White Night International Music Festival; TNB International Music Festival in Brno, Czech Republic; the Composers Festival of Krokow, Poland; and Dolby Concert in USA. She is CEO of Sound Research Association Sori Soop and Music Director of Hecabe SE Company. She has earned her bachelor’s, master’s,and docroral degrees at the Department of Music of Seoul National University. A former lecturer at Seoul National University and Ehwa Womans University, she currently teaches at Dankook University and Chugye University for the Arts in South Korea. She will present solo works for piri and collaborate with DSU music faculty members at the recital.

Yoonjeong Bae, who will present a Gayageum performance at the Tuesday recital, graduated from Korean Traditional Cultural High School in Busan. She is currently attending Busan National University. She has performed with the Youth Orchestra of the Busan National Gugak Center and has been selected as Young Artist by Art & Management CloudPoseidon to perform ‘Tradition n Trend.’

Also featured in the Tuesday recital, Eunhye Jang, has played Haegeum, a Korean traditional string instrument, since 2012 when she was 13 years old. She graduated from the National High School of Traditional Arts in Korea and currently attends the Korea National University of Arts (K’Arts). She participated in Korea-Germany Electromobility Forum (2015), and K’Arts’ ‘2017 Sound from Spring’ and ‘Soul.’ She has also been selected as Young Artist by Art & Management CloudPoseidon to perform ‘Tradition n Trend.’

For more information about the program, contact the Department of Music at 662-846-4615 or visit http://www.deltastate.edu/artsandsciences/music/events/ .