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In the Community

Lily Afshar Releases New Album

Afshar new CD coverDr. Lily Afshar, professor of Classical Guitar, released "Musica da Camera," a new album that represents her first chamber music recording. It includes the world premiere of Russian composer Vladislav Uspensky’s “Musical Sketches on Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin” written for eight instruments including drums, bass, clarinet and strings and guitar. Along with Afshar, the performance features faculty members Jim Gholson, Daniel Gilbert, Tim Shiu, Anthony Gilbert, Leonardo Altino, John Chiego and Frank Schaffer.

The recording also includes the “Sonata Concertata Op. 61” for guitar and violin by Italian composer Niccolo Paganini and a dramatic live recording of Argentinean composer Astor Piazolla’s “Historie du Tango” for guitar and violin. Afshar performs the piece with Joy Brown Wiener, 2012 recipient of the CCFA Distinguished Achievement Award in the Creative and Performing Arts.

The album is available at (autographed CD),, iTunes and

Architecture Engaged in the Community

Undergraduate architecture students partnered with the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa and Chucalissa Archaeological Museum to re-imagine new facilities for one of the most important historic and cultural landmarks in the city. Students made facility proposals that respect the site as an important artifact to be protected, respected and used to educate the greater public. Facilities designed included a new auditorium, gift shop, exhibition hall, archive or repository, research labs, office space and a more impactful connection to the museum’s historic mounds.

Design 3 Studio students worked on an assignment to redesign the old Crave nightclub at 380 Beale and turn it into a youth hub and hostel. Although the project is academic in nature, city officials kept an eye on the project and could possibly use the best ideas when the property is seized by the city. Jeanne Myers and Jimmie Tucker, architects and U of M professors, led the student project. The Withers Collection Museum & Gallery on Beale displayed the student’s designs.

The Germantown Performing Arts Center (GPAC) engaged the Department of Architecture to redesign the interior and some exterior elements. GPAC will be celebrating 20 years of operation and would like to re-brand themselves as contemporary to their East Shelby County community. The students collaborated in groups of three to develop a comprehensive design concept including space planning and interior architecture redesign, interior lighting, interior finishes and furnishing, renderings of the concepts and a concept book. The students were challenged to create abstract representations of their materials and concepts to honor the nature of the center. GPAC intends to incorporate some of the design solutions presented by students.

Professor Named TAEA Special Needs Art Educator

Donalyn Heise headshotThe Tennessee Art Education Association named Associate Professor of Art Education Dr. Donalyn Heise TAEA Special Needs Art Educator of the Year. She received the award during a professional development conference sponsored in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

The Tennessee Art Education Association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance quality visual arts education through advocacy, leadership, professional development, and to promote a cohesive professional community.

Heise’s research focuses on the transformative power of art and its ability to foster resilience in diverse populations. In addition to recently publishing a variety of articles dealing with her research, she developed new courses that provide art education majors opportunities to teach art in a community setting to participants with a variety of needs, such as The Ronald McDonald House which supports cancer patients and their families, Martha's Manor which supports mentally challenged adult women, the Family Exchange Club which supports victims of domestic violence, and St. Peter's Manor which is a residential home for senior citizens.

Along with Dr. Bryna Bobick, Heise co-coordinates the University of Memphis Community Art Academy, which has been held at various locations, such as the Charles Powell Community Center, the Davis Community Center, Lester School, and Willow Oaks Elementary School. She collaborates with Dr. Laura MacGillivray, associate professor of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership, on an art and literacy, engaged scholarship program for mothers in recovery and their children in a homeless shelter.

U of M Singers Place at Local Competition

In November, the Memphis Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing held its annual competition on the campus of Rhodes College in Memphis. Of the 23 winners in the collegiate division, 10 were University of Memphis students studying voice with Evan Jones. Nearly 100 singers from West Tennessee competed in the event, including students from the University of Tennessee at Martin, Union University and Rhodes College.

1st Place: Gabriela Santos
3rd Place: Gabriella Galletti

2nd Place: Tyler McBride

1st Place: Diego Froget

2nd Place: Mark Blackburn

1st Place: Erin Kulinski

1st Place: Dale DeWood

1st Place: Matthew Queen
2nd Place: Danielle McKay
3rd Place: Catherine Grace Cox

Students, Professors and Alumni Receive 2013 Ostrander Awards

The Ostranders is an annual awards ceremony that honors excellence in Memphis theatre, in which winners are chosen in two divisions—College and Community. Listed below are winners from both. The College Division winners are University of Memphis productions. The Community Division features alumni and current faculty and students who perform in a variety of venues throughout the city.


Set Design:
Ken Ellis,
former assistant prof., Scenic Design 
"The Government Inspector"

Janice Benning Lacek,
Theatre assistant professor
"The Government Inspector"

Ken Ellis,
former assistant prof., Scenic Design 
"Becky Shaw"

Shelby Massot,
senior in Theatre Technology
"The Threepenny Opera"

Sound Design:
Matt Cantelon (MFA ’13) 
Euripides’ "Medea"

Brian Fruits (MFA ’13)
Euripides’ "Medea"

Supporting Actress in a Musical: 
Shakiera Sarai Adams (BFA ’13) 
"The Three Penny Opera"

Leading Actress in a Drama: 
Katelyn Nichols (BFA ’13)
"Becky Shaw"

Leading Actor in a Drama:
Teddy Eck,
MFA in Theatre candidate
"Becky Shaw"

Large Ensemble (Cast of 13+):

Small Ensemble:
"Becky Shaw"

Cameo/Featured Role: 
Christopher Calderazzo,
Musical Theatre senior, and
Drake Bailey,
Theatre Performance sophomore
"The Government Inspector"

Best Dramatic Production:
"Becky Shaw"


Best Direction: 
Stephen Hancock
Associate Professor in Theatre 
"Becky Shaw"

Lara Canon (MFA ‘80) 
"Into the Woods" 
McCoy Theatre

Music Direction: 
Kermit Medsker (MFA ’85) 
"Into the Woods"
McCoy Theatre

Supporting Actor in a Drama: 
Steven Brown (BFA ’03)
"As You Like It"
McCoy Theatre


Supporting Actor in a Musical: 
AJ Bernard,
Musical Theatre senior 
"The Color Purple"
Playhouse on the Square

Direction of a Musical:
Tony Horne (MFA ’99)
"The Color Purple"
Playhouse on the Square

Supporting Actress in a Drama: 
Liz Sharpe,
former Theatre student 
"Angels in America, Part I and Part II" Playhouse on the Square

Leading Actor in a Drama:
Jerre Dye (MFA ’93)
"Angels in America, Part I and Part II" Playhouse on the Square

The Eugart Yerian Lifetime Achievement Award: 
Gloria Baxter,
Professor Emeritus

Gypsy Award for Ensemble Dancer: 
Justin G. Nelson,
Liberal Studies student, Theatre focus

Lily Afshar Releases New Album

Architecture Engaged in the Community

Professor Named TAEA Special Needs Art Educator

U of M Singers Place at Local Competition

Students, Professors and Alumni Receive 2013 Ostrander Awards

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Last Updated: 4/8/14