Christal Brown teaching
picture of Natalie Sowell

New Director for School of Theatre Named

College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean bruce d. mcclung has announced the appointment of Natalie Sowell as the new Director of the School of Theatre.

Sowell has taught and served in administrative roles at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts for the past 16 years where she founded the Child Drama and Community program. Sowell currently serves as Dean of the School for Interdisciplinary Arts and Dean of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.

Specializing in applied theatre for social change, creative drama, critical literacy, and oral storytelling, Sowell is a trained Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner having studied with Augusto Boal, Julian Boal, TOPLAB New York, and the Center for the Theatre of the Oppressed NE.

Sowell has conducted applied theatre workshops, classes, and artist residencies in schools, prisons, community centers, and churches throughout the United States and in Nigeria. She has worked as the Artistic Director of UJIMA YOUTHEATRE and Associate Managing Director of Manbites Dog Theater, and has served on many arts organization boards.

Sowell has directed dozens of socially conscious plays for young audiences and adult audiences and is a consultant on issues of diversity, inclusion, and access for several organizations.

She currently serves as an Arts Ambassador for the Massachusetts Department of Secondary and Elementary Education and is the faculty consultant for Five Colleges Inc.’s Doors to the World: Global Children’s Literature for Critical Multicultural Literacies project.

Sowell received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Creighton University, and an MFA in Theatre for Youth from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Please join us in welcoming Natalie Sowell to the CVPA faculty!

Photo by Sigal Gerson Kadden

About CVPA
The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) at UNC Greensboro is the premier and most comprehensive set of visual and performing arts programs in North Carolina with Schools of Art, Dance, Music, and Theatre. CVPA has been designated by the UNC System Board of Governor’s as an “area of distinction.” CVPA transforms lives by providing exceptional artistic and academic experiences.

picture of artist Ashlynn Browning

School of Art Shines in Raleigh Exhibition

You might say Front Burner: Highlights in Contemporary North Carolina Painting has been on the backburner for a little while.
It was 2017.  Ashlynn Browning (’02 MFA Studio Art) was feeling what she describes as “burnt out”  after the recent election and plagued by negativity and devisiveness:
“Everything seemed to be precarious and overwhelming.  I wanted to feel some semblance of control over my environment again and to create something that was beautiful and positive.”
At about the same time, the Whitney Biennial was going on, and she noticed how prominently painting was being featured.   Confident that North Carolina is home to an abundance of outstanding painters, she put together a proposal for the North Carolina Museum of Art.
It was good timing.  NCMA curators had already been exploring such a show.  Browning was offered the opportunity to guest curate an exhibition, and Front Burner: Highlights in Contemporary Painting was born.
Front Burner operates on several levels for me. The idea was chiefly that painting, which periodically takes the back burner to trendier mediums, was being recognized in a significant way and was worthy of celebration; specifically, the celebration of excellent painting in our state. I wanted the show to contain a wide array of work and styles, as well as different stages of artistic careers.”

The 25 artist selections in Front Burner include pieces by Browning and fellow alumna Carmen Neely (’16 MFA Studio Art) and UNCG Art Professor Barbara Campbell Thomas: “I am thrilled to be part of this upcoming show of NC painting. Ashlynn is absolutely capitalizing on the presence of strong contemporary painting in NC in her organization of this show, and I am deeply proud that UNCG painting is connected to that vision.”

Front Burner will be up through July 26th in the East Building at NCMA.  You can read more information on the exhibition here.
Carmen Neely. “In an Alternative Reality,” oil on canvas with faux flower crown, 81″ x 63,” 2018
Barbara Campbell Thomas. “Heart Opener,” acrylic and textile collage on canvas, 72″ x 60,” 2018