Christal Brown teaching

Art Alumni Kyle Webster – awarded the Fellow Award 2017

Kyle T. Webster’s name is synonymous with digital painting.  This bold statement was true even before he joined the Adobe team in 2017 and released his custom brushes to every licensed user of Adobe Creative Cloud.  The drop down menu of brushes in adobe applications now include his simulated media based brushes ( oh and his name ).  These are the brushes that so many have used, purchased, and cherished for over 10 years; one million users, 1600 custom brushes.

How did he ever find the time to make so many? Why does anyone need 1600 brushes?  The answer to both is easy….urgent necessity and endless curiosity.  Drawing and painting is a fundamental need of humanity, for many it is the core of the creative process, a springboard for the ideation process and also the end of a tireless creative journey.  For Kyle it is like breathing. Kyle has always been looking, observing, and searching for new ways to make and express his observations.  As a student, he was always in the studio, not just the digital studio but in the life drawing, the painting studios, really every studio.  He was searching for connections and opportunities to make and see more.  He makes brushes because he needs them to make new marks and they thrill his creative adrenaline and spark new possibilities…  endlessly.

He shared them with the world generously and humbly, often having free give aways along with bargain bundles for sale and downloading.  One million users later, he had Adobe’s attention and had already found his way into the hearts and creative practices of many.

Kyle is now developing with Adobe a touch surface digital painting project named Gemini which integrates vector and pixel brushes and revolutionary live brushes that show real time blending and media interaction.  Gemini was announced at the Adobe Max conference last month with Kyle T. Webster as the keynote performing a live demo of digital painting. It is to be released in 2019 and to use Kyle’ s words…its bananas!

His innovations have generated an ecosystem of digital brushes which inspire, inform, and sustain creatives from many disciplines.  He has been invited to present to Pixar, IDEO, and the national AIGA where he was given the very prestigious Fellow award in 2017 which recognizes designers who have made a significant contribution to raising the standards of excellence in practice and conduct.

Conduct…..  His recent illustrated children’s book, Please say Please, lays a beautiful foundation for inspiring considered conduct; something we are is desperate need of today.  Kyle has consistently done this through his generosity and community engagement.  Earlier today several students said, “ I love Kyle….he came to my high school and talked with us about careers in art and digital painting.”  Kyle has always given to the people around him, his time, his energy, and his insights which are significant.  He is a creative citizen par excellence!  He is an Adobe Design Evangelist, an Illustrator Wizard, and a Design Gangsta!

Kyle Webster is everywhere. We see his work in grocery store on the beer aisle with the standout design work for Foothills IPA.  His work can frequently be found in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Entertainment Weekly, Scholastic, Nike, IDEO, and many other distinguished editorial, advertising, publishing and institutional clients. He is on our phones with two top 50 mobile games, White Lines and Plates, which offer smart, addictive play, for a mere 99 cents each!

Moments like this, welcoming back an alumnus of distinction to share their work and accomplishments with our students today, is the cherry on top of all the hard work of teaching.  I will always cherish the memory of arriving for class and seeing Kyle with his charismatic smile and sleep deprived eyes.  The screening of his first animations which are now both classics, Sleepy Head and Auto Portrait, will stay with me and many others forever for their playful and intelligent portrayal of the human condition.

The first line in Kyle’s bio is < Kyle T. Webster was lucky enough to grow up overseas in Singapore, Cyprus, Pakistan, and Taiwan, where there was always something interesting to draw.>  I would like to parallel this with UNCG is lucky to have Kyle as an alumnus and member of our creative community.  His inventiveness and conduct is a credit to this institution and a challenge to all to believe in power of creative curiosity, generosity, and the benefits of best conduct.  I know that his stellar career will continue to provide him with limitless interesting things to draw and I look forward seeing it all!

Congratulations Kyle T. Webster!

New York City Alumni Lunch

Alumni from all arts disciplines and class years attended a CVPA lunch for reminiscing and networking with large servings of laughter and great Italian food.   The gathering was held at Trattoria Dell ‘Arte on October.  It is one of two annual arts alumni reunions in NYC-  the next one will be following the Theatre Industry Showcase on April 15, 2019 (location TBD).   Watch Facebook and email for more details!

2018 CVPA Distinguished Alumna in Dance Announced

The College of Visual and Performing Arts and the School of Dance are proud to announce their selection for the 2018 Distinguished Alumna in Dance: Tiffany Rhynard.

Tiffany Rhynard is an artist, dancer, and filmmaker compelled to make work that examines the complexity of human behavior and addresses current social issues. Having created numerous works for stage and screen, Rhynard’s choreography, dance films, and documentaries have been presented nationwide and internationally. Her dance films have screened at festivals including Dancing for the Camera at the American Dance Festival and ScreenDance Miami 2015 where she won First Prize for her short “Invisible Queens.”

Rhynard’s award-winning documentary, “Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America,” was honored with the Social Justice Film Award from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Freedom Award from Outfest Film Festival. “Forbidden” is currently airing on LogoTV and is sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Her recent dance documentary short, “Black Stains,” created in collaboration with Trent D. Williams, Jr. about black male identity in the United States, is currently screening at film festivals. Now in the pre-production phrase, “A Right to Kill,” is a feature-length documentary questioning the ethics of capital punishment.

A cross-disciplinary artist, Rhynard has worked with esteemed collaborators including choreographer Christal Brown, internationally renowned composer Lei Liang, real-time digital media artist Marlon Barrios Solano, and mezzo-soprano Sahoko Sato Timpone. As a performer, Rhynard has danced for choreographers including Gerri Houlihan, Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians, and Chavasse Dance and Performance Group. She has taught at colleges and universities throughout the country and currently teaches dance and technology in the FSU School of Dance.

In addition to other events that will take place during the week of November 5, Tiffany will be screening her film, Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America. The screening will take place on November 5 in room 225 of the Curry Building on the UNCG campus.

Congratulations to Tiffany and all of the 2018 CVPA Distinguished Alumni!

Marriage of Figaro characters

Alumna Gretchen Krupp Grand Finalist in Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions

For Opera in America you can’t hit any higher note than the Metropolitan Opera stage.

And that is exactly where Gretchen Krupp, BM ’15, will stand on Sunday, as a Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Krupp is just one of 9 singers, chosen from across the country and Canada through a series of district and regional competitions, to audition at Lincoln Center.  Accompanied by the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, she will perform before a sell-out audience that will include opera company director and agents.

The experience means high-level exposure in the profession, with invaluable career connections.   Gretchen has made it through preliminary rounds twice before, and she says this is something she’s dreamed about since watching the MET documentary, The Audition.

Gretchen and Carla-Met
Gretchen with Carla Lefevre

“It was kind of like a “backstage view” of the competition, and I found it to be incredibly inspiring!  My first two times, I made it to the Regional and received an Encouragement Award both times. This year I moved on and well, you know what they say, third time’s a charm!”

Krupp, a Mezzo Soprano, says she knew UNCG was the right place for her, from the moment she met Dr. Carla LeFevre, Professor of Voice. “The right teacher is crucial for your vocal development. I had a lesson with Dr. LeFevre and knew immediately that she was the right fit. I also loved the fact that UNCG put on multiple opera productions each year. I got very lucky and performed multiple roles by the time I left. This helped me immensely going into my Masters degree at Indiana University and beyond!

While at UNCG, she performed in over 10 operas, including UNCG’s 2014 production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and the inaugural season of Greensboro Light Opera and Song’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore.

And on Sunday, she’ll perform the role of a lifetime-  that of a Grand Finalist on the Metropolitan Opera stage.

“It’s been so incredible being at The Met this week. Everyone is so supportive. No matter what happens on Sunday, I already feel like a winner.” 

Brava Gretchen!  UNCG is cheering for you.

This year UNCG had a total of 4 district winners in the MET Opera Auditions.  In addition to Gretchen Krupp, the university also congratulates:

  • Matthew Reese, MM ’13, current DMA candidate, student of Robert Bracey:  two-time District Winner
  • Lyndsey Swann, MM ‘17, student of Clara O’Brien:  first-time District Winner
  • Shelley Mihm, MM, ’17, student of Carla LeFevre,: two-time District Winner
  • Megan Callahan, BM ‘16 student of Carla LeFevre: District Encouragement Award

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions take place in 42 Districts and 12 Regions throughout the US and Canada.  Started in 1954, the annual competition has helped launch some of opera’s greatest stars.  Some notable past winners include Renee Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Thomas Hampson, Eric Owens and Frederica von Stade.

Alumni News – March 2018

Beth Leavel MFA ’80 (School of Theatre)

Beth Leavel MFA ’80 (School of Theatre) returned to campus for a multi-day colloquium for theatre students.
Leavel, 2006 Tony winner, heads back to Broadway this fall for the opening of  The Prom.
Photo:  Leavel high-fiving School of Theatre Director John Poole.  credit Scott Hoffman/News & Record

Suzanne Eggleston Henneman ’77 (School of Dance)

Suzanne Eggleston Henneman ’77 (School of Dance) is serving as President of the Maryland Dance Education Association and is President-elect of the National Dance Education Organization 2017-18.  Henneman is a retired dance educator for Baltimore County Public Schools and runsTeaching Artist: Bearfoot Dance Consulting.

Julie Maloney MFA ’71 (School of Dance)

Julie Maloney MFA ’71 (School of Dance) is the founder of Women Reading Aloud, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting women writers, and will have her first novel released in April.  A Matter of Chance  is a psychological suspense novel that follows a desperate mother’s search for her missing daughter.

Emma Ford ’14 (School of Theatre)

Emma Ford ’14 (School of Theatre) was nominated for Best Costume Design in a Professional Production for 2017 New Hampshire Theatre Awards

Dani Keil MFA ’14 (School of Theatre)

Dani Keil MFA ’14 (School of Theatre) a University of North Carolina at Greensboro graduate is the assistant stage director of Tulsa Opera in Oklahoma, is guest-directing the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Disgraced” at Cape Fear Regional Theatre this month.

Phoebe Lustig ’14 (School of Music)

Phoebe Lustig ’14 (School of Music) is the Schools Program Manager with the Charlotte Symphony.