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College of Arts and Sciences

The Department of Art presents Resa Blatman’s "Gaia Series" Nov. 3 from 5-7 p.m. in the Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery.

Art gallery presents Resa Blatman exhibition

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Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery presents an exhibition of Resa Blatman’s “Gaia Series,” a multimedia installation that addresses the causes and effects of climate change.

An opening reception to launch the exhibit will take place Nov. 3 from 5-7 p.m.in the gallery. Blatman will discuss the exhibit before the reception at 4 p.m.

Blatman’s exuberant, multi-layered paintings have always been inspired by nature, but in recent years, her attention has turned to the alarming signs of climate change – global warming, shrinking arctic icecaps, rising water levels, extreme weather conditions, extinction of animal species, migration of species and the growing scarcity of natural resources.

The title of Blatman’s series derives from the Gaia hypothesis developed by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis which provides a model for understanding the threats caused by environmental pollution, industrial exploitation of natural resources, and the growing world population. The theory sees our planet as a complex, synergistic, self-regulating system that helps to sustain conditions for life on Earth. 

Blatman recently completed a residency in the Arctic, where she could observe the effects of climate change firsthand. Many of the works in the exhibition were directly impacted by her experiences there. She does not claim to be a scientist but speaks from the perspective of a concerned citizen. She hopes her work inspires discussion and raises awareness of the issues while also providing her audience with an engaging visual experience.

Blatman is an independent artist from Somerville, Massachusetts. She earned a MFA from Boston University and a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has had one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia; Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts; Hartnett Gallery at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York; and other places. Additionally, she has been included in numerous group exhibitions, most recently at the Spartanburg Art Museum in Spartanburg, South Carolina . Her work is in public and private collections across the United States, Europe and South Africa.

The exhibition will run until Dec. 8.

Gallery hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information, visit the Department of Art’s website at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/art/, or contact 662-846-4720. For updates and announcements of upcoming events, follow Delta State Art Department on Facebook, or join the email list.

Join the Delta Music Institute for a DMI All Access event featuring Rodeo & Juliet Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.

Rodeo & Juliet scheduled for DMI All Access

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The Delta Music Institute, an entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University, will host Rodeo & Juliet for their upcoming DMI All Access event. The event, free and open to the public, will be held Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. in DMI Studio A on the campus of Delta State.

Chris and Jan Harris — Rodeo and Juliet — have been producing, writing and singing for a wide array of artists for over 40 years, including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Loretta Lynn, Amy Grant, Kristin Chenoweth, Dolly Parton, Michael W. Smith, CeCe Winans and more.

Throw in 15 years of writing, producing and singing on hundreds of commercials, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch, McDonalds, Transformers, Chick-fil-A and Southwest Airline. Additionally, they have raised two musically gifted sons while residing in the Music City — Nashville, Tennessee.

In 2008, the duo sold their farm and figured out a way to sing sweet, soul harmonies and formed Rodeo and Juliet. After spending time recording in the studio, they decided to work up 100 love songs and hit the road at the seasoned age of 55. They released a self-titled debut CD full of their timeless American roots music.

The DMI is an independent center of study under the College of Arts & Sciences at Delta State, 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 more information, visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

For information about the DMI All Access event, call 662- 846-4579, or email dmi@deltastate.edu.

Dr. Brian Becker, assistant professor of history

Becker honored with Humanities Teacher Award

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The time has come again to recognize arts and humanities across Mississippi colleges and universities.

The Mississippi Humanities Council celebrates each October by awarding one humanities faculty member at each state institution with the Humanities Teacher Award.

Dr. Brian Becker, assistant professor of history, is the 2016 award recipient for Delta State.

“It is indeed a true honor to be this year’s recipient of the Mississippi Humanities Council Humanities Teacher Award for Delta State,” said Becker. “It is humbling, yet also gratifying, to receive an award from an organization such as the MHC, with which I share the goals of promoting humanities programs and also an understanding of cultural heritage through public discourse in particular, as well as working to improve said programs however I am able. The MHC provides a wonderful service to the state of Mississippi, and I could not be prouder to be associated with it.”

Becker will be officially recognized Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Howorth Room of the Capps Archives and Museum. That night, he will also give a presentation entitled, “Going ‘Viral’ is Nothing New: Martin Luther and the Use of Propaganda during the Reformations.”

Becker’s presentation will examine how Protestant reformers and Catholic counter-reformers in the 16th century used the “social media” of their day to communicate powerful ideas that still resonate with us.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Becker earned his masters and doctorate in medieval history from Western Michigan University. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelors in history.

Becker has been a member of the Delta State faculty since 2011. He specializes in the study of medieval Mediterranean history, Byzantium, the Latin language and paleography.

Becker’s Nov. 7 presentation is free and open to the public. The event is made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to the Mississippi Humanities Council. Learn more about council at www.mshumanities.org.

Dr. Jovanni-Rey V. de Pedro

“Viva Ginastera! A Centennial Celebration” by guest pianist Jovanni-Rey V. de Pedro

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The Department of Music at Delta State University presents guest artist Dr. Jovanni-Rey V. de Pedro in a master class at noon and recital at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 in the Recital Hall of the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

In celebration of the centennial of Alberto Ginastera’s birth, de Pedro will perform piano solo works written by the Argentine composer and two other composers, Christopher Norton and Sonny Chua, at the evening recital. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Delta State Department of Music at 662-846-4615.

Filipino-American pianist de Pedro enjoys an artistic career that has brought him to concert venues and musical institutions in Asia, across North America, South America, Australia and Europe. Winner of the Boesendorfer Stipendium and Grand Prizewinner of the Fidelio Competition sponsored by the city of Vienna’s Cultural Affairs Department, de Pedro also acquired top prizes in several competitions including the United States Open Music Competition, Pacific Piano Competition in Canada, Ibiza Competition in Spain, and the Beethoven Society of Europe’s Intercollegiate Piano Competition in England.

Upon graduation from Trinity College of Music, he received the Isabelle Bond Gold Medal for Performance Excellence. He was recently given a first place award at the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, which led to a performance in Weill Recital Hall. His artistic and educational activities have been further supported by grants from the Solti Foundation in Belgium, the Irish Arts Council and the American Women’s Association in Vienna.

de Pedro ’s academic research and pedagogical interests have led to numerous presentations at conferences for the Music Teachers National Association, College Music Society, European Piano Teachers Association/World Piano Teachers Association in Serbia and the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Association. As a passionate and dedicated educator, he has presented numerous master classes in institutions in the U.S. and abroad. He has served on the teaching staff at City University London and the New Ross Chamber Music Festival (Ireland), and he currently is on the piano faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan.

As a chamber musician, de Pedro has collaborated with numerous instrumentalists and vocalists. Together with Irish cellist Tara-Lee Byrne and Portuguese clarinetist Sergio Neves, he founded the Tarvangio Trio in 2008. After making their debut at the Yamaha Chamber Music Series in London, they joined with Hungarian violinist Gwendolyn Masin for a tour of Ireland performing Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.” Tarvangio continues to bring entertaining and innovating programs to audiences in the U.S. and Europe.

He continually seeks to serve the music profession and wider community. Through benefit and outreach recitals, he has raised funds for various community, educational, religious and non-profit organizations. As president of the University of Michigan’s MTNA Collegiate Chapter, he established the Piano Pedagogy Symposium, a national pedagogy conference for university students, which aims to promote communication, fellowship and collaboration among these future music professionals.

A California native, de Pedro holds a Konzert Diplom (with auszeichnung) from the Vienna Conservatory in Austria, where he spent six years as a scholar of the ASCAP/Leiber and Stoller Foundation, a Master’s of Music from Trinity College of Music in London, and a doctoral degree in piano pedagogy and performance from the University of Michigan. He has worked with pianists Robert Ward, Aries Caces, Gerhard Geretschlaeger, Yonty Solomon, Mikhail Kazakevich, Deniz Gelenbe and Louis Nagel, and he coached with Menahem Pressler, Martino Tirimo and Pierre Laurent Aimard. He received additional studies in pedagogy with John Ellis and collaborative piano with Christopher Harding and Eugene Asti.

de Pedro recently served as a visiting professor of music at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, and an instructor of piano and chamber music at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C. He joined the faculty at the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton School of Music in 2014 as an assistant professor of piano and piano pedagogy and co-director of the preparatory division.

Honors Program boosting curriculum

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Delta State is committed to providing its students superior academic experiences. With that in mind, Delta State University Provost Dr. Charles McAdams has charged the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. David Breaux, with leading a task force to develop a more robust Honors Program at the university.

The task force will be comprised of faculty from across campus and will begin work soon. While the group is conducting their work, Michael Smith, associate professor of English, will serve as interim director.

“As Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, I want to thank professor Leslie Fadiga-Stewart, former director of the Honors Program, for her undying commitment to the Honors Program and its students,” said Breaux. “Delta State is truly blessed to have faculty like professor Fadiga-Stewart and Smith, who go beyond the call of duty to ensure that its students receive a first-rate education.”

Currently, the Honors Program provides enhanced educational and cultural experiences for talented and academically committed students within an environment that fosters discovery and creativity.

“We are in the process of revamping the curriculum to increase the sense of identity and community an honors program can provide,” said Smith. “We are also expanding our vision of the program to include engagements off campus and outside of the classroom, including attendance at state and national conferences, as well as retreats that will bring current fellows together with alumni of the program. The Honors Program also includes a very active student organization, the Honors Program Association, which meets monthly on campus.”

Students accepted into the program become Honors Fellows and enjoy benefits such as smaller class size, priority for early registration each semester, and recognition at the university commencement ceremonies.

In addition, Honors Fellows have access to opportunities for extra-curricular activities, including but not limited to cross-cultural experiences, civic engagements and lectures. The program also provides mentoring and advising opportunities for participants.

“Delta State benefits from a great number of high-achieving students, so the application process is competitive and the curriculum is rigorous,” added Smith. “Each Honors Fellows class is capped at 20 spots per year.”

A select number of high school students who apply to Delta State as incoming freshmen are selected as fellows each academic year. Guidelines for consideration include: a composite ACT score of 26 or higher (no sub-score may be below 17), a high school GPA of 3.5+ (4.0 scale), and documented evidence of leadership and community engagement.

“I’m honored to have been asked to serve as interim director, and I’m excited about the direction the program is headed,” said Smith. “As a scholar, I’ve always been interested in cross-curricular dialogue and study, and the Honors Program, although housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, is a university-wide initiative. I feel it’s important for scholars to occasionally move beyond the limits of their own disciplines and see the interesting work being done across campus — and inter-disciplinary programs like the Honors Program allow students and faculty to do just that.”

For a program application, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/honors-program/. For more information, contact Smith at honors@deltastate.edu.