UT News » Arts and Letters

UT News


Search News



Arts and Letters

Filmmaking workshop to take place this summer at UT

Visual Storytellers: Own Your Narrative will be held from Monday, July 9, through Friday, July 20, at The University of Toledo Center for Performing Arts.

This workshop is a filmmaking summer camp for high school juniors and seniors who wish to grow their narrative video-making skills. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Students will learn to conceptualize, write, light, shoot and edit films, with an emphasis on creating visually. The camp will help students grow creatively while also allowing them to experience college-level seminars lead by Quincy Joyner, assistant lecturer in the UT Theatre and Film Department.

Workshop objectives include articulating the components of a story, character and narrative; explaining the effectiveness of communicating visually; and conceiving, designing and communicating a story while cinematically employing practical filmmaking techniques.

Students also will have the opportunity to learn about narrative storytelling, understanding the frame, lighting, video editing and more.

The cost of this workshop is $350 and is due Monday, July 2. The fee covers all materials that students will need, and lunch also will be included each day.

To register for this event, click here.

Two faculty members recognized by Ohio Arts Council

Dr. Jim Ferris, professor and Ability Center of Greater Toledo Endowed Chair in Disability Studies, and Dr. Benjamin Stroud, associate professor of English, are recipients of the Ohio Arts Council’s 2018 Individual Excellence Award.

The Individual Excellence Awards are peer recognition of creative artists for the exceptional merit of a body of their work that advances or exemplifies the discipline and the larger artistic community.

These awards support artists’ growth and development and recognize their work in Ohio and beyond.

“It’s an honor to receive the Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council,” Ferris said. “Making poems is a lot of fun all by itself, and having my work recognized by my peers is a great bonus.”

“It’s a really nice thing to happen,” Stroud said. “You submit your work anonymously, and send it off and hope. For the panel to choose your work is really gratifying. And it’s great that Ohio continues to support artists and the arts in this way.”

Applications for the $5,000 awards are accepted in the categories of choreography, criticism, fiction/nonfiction, music composition, playwriting, and poetry.


Ferris has a passion for poetry and uses his words to influence his commitment to diversity and inclusion within the Toledo community.

His books include “Slouching Towards Guantanamo,” “Facts of Life: Poems” and “The Hospital Poems.” The Lucas Count poet laureate also is the author of “Laborare,” a poem he wrote by request for Wade Kapszukiewicz and read when the new mayor of Toledo was sworn in.

“Words are one of the most important ways we clothe ideas,” Ferris said. “Poetry can help people find better ways not only to experience this world, but to imagine new ways of being in the world.”

Ferris said he plans to use this accomplishment as motivation to follow his passions and enhance his commitment to the community.

“Making poems that are meaningful to people is important to me,” Ferris said. “I try to do work that is useful, and making compelling experience with language is one of the most useful things we humans can do.”


Stroud specializes in creative writing and 20th-century American fiction.

“Writing is in part about making sense of some aspect of the world that surrounds us by building a little world in a story,” Stroud said. “It’s that chance to build these worlds and keep thinking about the people who inhabit them that’s always drawing me back to the page.”

Stroud is the author of the story collection titled “Byzantium,” which won the 2012 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Fiction Prize and was selected as a Best Book of the Summer in 2013 by Publisher’s Weekly and the Chicago Tribune.

His stories have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, One Story, Electric Literature, Boston Review and more.

Bee proactive: UT students to compete in Biodesign Challenge in New York

A team of University of Toledo students is buzzing with excitement, preparing to compete against 29 schools in the Biodesign Challenge Summit in New York this month.

The four students will present “Apigiene Hive: Rethinking Bee Hygiene” at the international contest Thursday and Friday, June 21-22, at the Museum of Modern Art.

“We decided to focus on bees because of the recent problems with colony collapse disorder,” said Madeline Tomczak, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science in May.

“And we simply found those tiny yellow-and-black insects adorable,” added Domenic Pennetta, a sophomore majoring in art. “By focusing on bees and their problems, we could help both bees and apiarists here in Ohio, and also have solutions that could potentially be used to benefit others around the globe.”

Solving problems creatively is what the Biodesign Challenge is all about. The Genspace NYC program offers college students the chance to envision future applications of biotechnology by working together interdisciplinarily.

At UT, the Biodesign Challenge class in spring semester brought together students majoring in art, bioengineering and environmental science, as well as peers from the Jesup Scott Honors College.

“The really wonderful part about participating in this challenge is it started with the students — they approached us about having the class,” Eric Zeigler, associate lecturer in the UT Department of Art, said.

“One thing we thought was paramount in teaching this class: We were their peers. We were in the trenches with the students, asking questions, learning together,” Brian Carpenter, lecturer and gallery director in the UT Department of Art, said. “It’s been so inspiring. I tell everyone this is my favorite class I’ve taken.”

Carpenter and Zeigler will travel with the team to the Big Apple, where the UT students will vie with teams from across the country, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Guatemala, Japan and Scotland for awards, including the Animal-Free Wool Prize sponsored by PETA, Stella McCartney and Stray Dog Capital.

“These finalists were selected from a pool of 450 participants,” Daniel Grushkin, founder and director of the Biodesign Challenge, said. “I firmly believe that they are leading us into a sustainable future with their visions.”

Tomczak and Pennetta worked with Jesse Grumelot, who graduated in May with a bachelor of science degree in bioengineering, and Lucya Keune, a senior studying visual arts, to create additions for the popular Langstroth hive to fight one of the bees’ biggest foes: mites.

“A fibrous brush filled with zebra mussel diatoms will target Varroa destructor mites on the surface of adult bees,” Grumelot said. “In addition, mint-infused wax frames will eliminate Acarapis woodi mites, as well as Varroa destructor juveniles.”

“We researched the problem, talking to specialists and professionals, and focused on natural ways to give bees a better environment to thrive,” Keune said.

Part of that new environment includes placing a brush at the hive entrance to use what beekeepers call the sugar shake — but in a new way. To encourage bees to be more hygienic, beekeepers sometimes put powder sugar on the insects so they’ll clean off the sweet stuff — and the nasty Varroa destructor mites.

“We use powdered zebra mussel to increase hygiene behaviors, which in turn helps kill the mites,” Tomczak said.

The zebra mussel powder acts like diatomaceous earth, which, when crushed, can be used as a treatment for fleas and ticks on household pets.

“Since diatomaceous earth is often from oceanic rocks, we wanted to bring this part of the hive closer to home by looking at Lake Erie,” Tomczak said. “Zebra mussel shells are abundant and easy to collect, and can be ground down to a fine powder.”

The powder is then baked, sterilized, and made finer with a mortar and pestle. It will prompt the bees to clean up and get rid of the mites, and it will help kill any mites inside the hive.

And to tackle the Acarapis woodi mites, which invade the hive and lay eggs, the team turned to a natural deterrent: mint.

“We wanted to avoid the chemical sprays that can be harmful and stressful to the bee colony,” Keune said. “We learned mint is used to fight mites; it’s better for the bees and the honey.”

“Our new hive features starting frames of beeswax infused with natural corn mint and peppermint,” Grumelot said. “This method is a more accurate way to focus on the mite infestation, and it avoids spraying the entire hive, leaving the honey untouched and the bees happy.”

In New York, the UT students will present their project to more than 200 scientists, designers, entrepreneurs and artists.

“This is a great resumé-builder for our students,” Zeigler said. “Their design is economically feasible; beekeepers would just add two simple modifications to their existing hives. It’s a happy solution, and one that could have tremendous market impact all over the world.”

“This challenge is fantastic. It encourages students to think creatively, take risks, and gather science and data. They realize their designs can work,” Carpenter said.

“I hope that by participating in this challenge that others will begin to look at relevant issues critically and try to find better solutions in creative ways,” Pennetta said.

UT director to conduct choral concert for Father’s Day

Join whateverandeveramen for “Songs of Fatherhood,” a concert celebrating dad, Sunday, June 17, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 316 Adams St. in Toledo.

Dr. Brad Pierson, UT assistant professor of music and director of choral activities, will conduct the 3 p.m. concert.

Founded in 2014, whateverandeveramen performs regular events in Toledo, Seattle and Las Vegas. Singers for the concert will include area students and professionals.

The concert will feature “A Father” by Sylvania-based composer Kevin Foster, who also will sing and play piano at the event.

The central piece of the concert will be “Songs of Fatherhood,” a five-song-cycle composed by David V. Montoya, commissioned and premiered by whateverandeveramen in 2014.

In lieu of traditional concert programs, guests will be given an 11×17 poster featuring artwork created specifically to pair with the music. Children will be provided crayons, making this a family-friendly event, according to Pierson.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and are available at songsoffatherhood.brownpapertickets.com. Admission is free for children 12 and younger.

UT students dig into history during archaeology field school at Side Cut Metropark

If you walk the trails at Side Cut Metropark in Maumee, you may catch a glimpse of University of Toledo students armed with shovels and trowels on an archaeological dig.

“Our work in this area is intended to better understand the Native American use of the floodplain of the Maumee River,” Dr. Melissa Baltus, archaeologist and assistant professor of anthropology, said. “We want to know if people were using this landscape for long-term villages or short-term resource extraction and campsites and when in the past this usage may have changed.”

Dr. Melissa Baltus, archaeologist and UT assistant professor of anthropology, sifted through the soil from the excavation site at Wildwood Preserve Metropark.

With permission from the Metroparks of the Toledo Area and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, Baltus is running the UT Archaeological Field School as a summer class to combine hands-on learning of archaeology techniques and local history research.

Artifacts students found last week during a survey at Side Cut led the team to this week’s site in the park’s Riverview Area.

“The refuse pit and the amount of pottery indicate likely habitation, and the different kinds of pottery suggest re-use of the site over many generations,” Baltus said. “On the other hand, if we find the different types of pottery in the same contexts or in association with each other, this may suggest different groups of people gathering together at the same time.”

The initial survey yielded grit-tempered pottery from the Late Woodland Period after A.D. 700, as well as shell-tempered pottery from the Late Pre-Contact Period between around A.D. 1300 and early contact with Europeans.

Students are receiving training in excavation techniques, record keeping, artifact identification, processing, cataloguing and classification.

Baltus ran an Archaeology Field School at Wildwood Metropark in 2016.

UT Department of Music to offer workshops this summer

Looking to further advance any musical skills this summer? UT’s Department of Music is conducting multiple workshops at the Center for Performing Arts.

These workshops revolve around flute and piano playing, along with a choral conducting workshop and concert for community singers taking place.

Flute Camp

A camp dedicated to flute players will take place, Monday through Friday, June 18-22, for students of elementary age to adults.

During this event, Toledo Symphony flutists Joel Tse and Amy Heritage will conduct classes centered on all aspects of flute playing and performance, including chamber music, flute repair, piccolo workshop and more.

Tse is a principle flute for the Toledo Symphony and flute instructor for The University of Toledo, while Heritage is second flute in the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and instructor at the Toledo Symphony of Music.

Classes in yoga, drumming, eurythmics, and music theory also will be taught by the guest instructors and are included in the fees.

Three tracks are available to choose from to learn during the weeklong course.

Track one is geared toward first- and second-year students. Heritage will be the instructor for this track, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The cost for this workshop is $150 for the week.

Track two is for flutists with a minimum of two years of private study and is from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tse and Heritage will both be the instructors for this workshop, and the cost is $300 for the week or $65 per day.

Track three is specifically for high school, college and adult flutists and is also taught by both Tse and Heritage. It will run from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A fee of $300 is required for the week or $65 per day.

A free, public concert also will be performed by students to conclude the workshop at noon on Friday, June 22.

Campers are welcome to bring their own lunch or purchase from restaurants open on campus. It’s recommended that students bring $7 to $1010 each day if purchasing a lunch.

Registration must be completed by Monday, June 11, and fees are due by Monday, June 18.

For more information about this workshop, contact Tse at 419.471.0044 or joel.tse@utoledo.edu.

Piano Fusion

Piano Fusion is a musical workshop for classical and jazz pianists taking place from Monday through Friday, June 25-29.

Dr. Michael Boyd, UT piano professor, and Tad Weed, UT jazz professor, will lead this workshop that aims to help pianists incorporate both classical and jazz piano skills into their playing.

The classical aspect of the workshop focuses on use of technique to achieve musical ends, sound production, sight reading, collaborative skills and stylistic elements. Through the jazz aspect of the workshop, students will learn more about accompanying, arranging, solo piano techniques for jazz, blues and show tunes, and more.

The Piano Fusion Workshop is available to students of high school age to adult who have some proficiency in either jazz or classical piano. This event is not for beginners.

Each day the workshop takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost for this event is $350, which is nonrefundable.

To register for this class or pay workshop fees, click here.

Choral Conducting Workshop

A Choral Conducting Workshop will take place from Tuesday through Thursday, July 24-26, and is intended to serve and educate individuals as conductor, teacher, leader, scholar and performer.

Led by Dr. Brad Pierson, UT director of choral activities, and Dr. Richard Schnipke, assistant professor of conducting at Bowling Green State University, this workshop will give conductors the option of attending a three-day immersion workshop or a one-day workshop.

The three-day workshop will provide conductors with extensive podium time and look in-depth at conducting gesture and pedagogy. This workshop in particular allows for more individual attention to conductors and helps build a community of learners.

Topics to be covered during this will include conducing gesture; mirror and empathy; repertoire and music selection; and one-to-one teaching technique.

Registration is $300 if registered by July 1; $325 if registered after July 1.

The one-day workshop, taking place July 26, is designed for conductors seeking a quick refresher, new ideas for the upcoming year, or who may not wish to have individual podium time.

Those in attendance to this workshop will perform as a choir for those participating in the three-day workshop and be active in commentary, feedback and learning.

Registration will be $100 if registered by Sunday, July 1; $125 if registered after July 1.

All sessions will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a break for lunch, which will not be provided.

The final deadline to register for either workshop is Tuesday, July 17, or until the class is full.

For more information, contact Pierson at bradley.pierson2@utoledo.edu.

Summer Big Sing

Summer Big Sing will take place Saturday, July 28, in UT’s Doermann Theatre.

Singers of all types are encouraged to sign up for this event, which will include rehearsal from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a free, public concert at 7:30 p.m. Registration check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m.

A fee of $25 is required and includes lunch, music and all instruction for the day.

For any questions regarding this event, contact the Music Department at 419.530.2448.

For more information on these workshops and to register, click here.

Toledo Choral Society to honor legendary jazz pianist at scholarship benefit concert

The Toledo Choral Society will feature “Celebration for Art Tatum” by Dr. David Jex, UT professor of music, at its “Tributes” concert Sunday, June 10, at 3 p.m. in Doermann Theatre.

“Celebration for Art Tatum” is a suite of five expressive movements, each based on Langston Hughes poetry. It starts with the question “Can you love an eagle, tame or wild,” urges listeners to “Bring me all of your dreams,” and concludes with a rollicking “Fantasy in purple.”

During the concert, the innovative jazz spirit of Tatum will be honored by world-renowned guest pianist Alvin Waddles, a Detroit native.

The show also will feature traditional American folk songs and gospel music.

Richard Napierala, musical director of the Toledo Choral Society, will conduct the concert. He received bachelor of education and master of music performance degrees from the University. 

The Toledo Choral Society is a nonprofit organization aimed at contributing to the local musical community through the performance of significant choral works. It is Toledo’s oldest continuously performing musical organization, with its 100th anniversary celebration to be held during the 2019-20 concert season.

Proceeds from this concert will benefit the Bernard Sanchez Memorial Scholarship at The University of Toledo. A beloved professor and performer, Sanchez made an impact on the Toledo musical community for more than 50 years.

Tickets are $20 each and are available at toledochoralsociety.org.

Those who wish to contribute to the Bernard Sanchez Memorial Scholarship may contact Nick Butler at the UT Foundation at 419.530.5413 or click here and search Bernard Sanchez.

UT alumna’s exhibit invites viewers to share dreams

UT alumna and artist Leslie Adams will present an exhibition at the Center for the Visual Arts on the University’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus.

The exhibition, “The Handwritten Dreams Project,” will open Friday, June 1, and be on display through Saturday, July 7.

“Drawing is my first love, but I’m infatuated with cursive — with signatures, poetry and long letters from friends — anything written in one’s own hand,” Adams said. “And I love dreams. I love the dreamers of dreams.

“The Handwritten Dreams Project” includes this self-portrait by Leslie Adams learning cursive in grade school by writing her dreams. Her interactive exhibition invites viewers to write down their dreams and pin them near her work.

“A self-portrait, ‘Handwritten Dreams’ celebrates the hopes and aspirations that we, as children and adults, universally share. It is a drawing, installation and interactive work that provides the space and time where viewers can pause, reflect and write their own dreams on paper. Each then pins their hopes to an endlessly growing ‘wall of dreams’ in the symbolically staged 1970s’ classroom that I remember as a child,” she said.

“As a young school girl, I was taught to be curious, inspired to dream, and encouraged to record my dreams in perfect penmanship. It made them real,” Adams said. “I am so fortunate that my dream of becoming an artist came true, and my goal as an artist is to inspire others to believe in possibility.

“Reflecting on the great cursive debate confronting today’s society, ‘Handwritten Dreams’ seamlessly marries the elegance and beauty of line found in both cursive and drawing with the very marks that are the expressions of our individuality and pure imagination.”

In 2016, “Handwritten Dreams” was presented as part of ArtPrize Eight at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich. Over 19 days, 196,000 visitors to the museum viewed the work, and approximately 50,000 people recorded their hopes, dreams and aspirations, according to Adams.

“Through the beauty of line — from nearly indecipherable scribbles to precise manuscript writing and elegant cursive — individuals conveyed their dreams for themselves, their families and for our world,” she said. “Subsequently, we are given a time capsule of our current culture. Because the dreams echo our lives. They anticipate our future.”

The artist would like to see the wall of dreams continue to grow. In April, a portion of the project was presented at the Portrait Society of America’s International Art of the Portrait Conference and more dreams were collected.

“I am grateful to the Center for the Visual Arts for inviting me to share the installation,” Adams said. “Before ‘The Handwritten Dreams Project’ travels to other venues throughout the world, I invite you to contribute to the work by taking a moment to share your handwritten dream.”

Adams followed her dream and pursued art. She received a bachelor of fine arts degree from UT in 1989 and in 1990 won the International Collegiate Competition in Figurative Drawing, which was sponsored by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. She was awarded the grand prize, a full tuition scholarship, which enabled her to attend the New York Academy of Art.

Since earning her master of fine arts degree from the academy, Adams has established herself as an eminent Ohio artist. She has been commissioned to paint more than a dozen official portraits for the state of Ohio. In addition to painting the most recent official gubernatorial portraits, she has portrayed many leaders of the Ohio State Senate, House of Representatives and the Supreme Court of Ohio. Adams also has received commissions from universities, corporations and institutions throughout the United States.

The recent years have characterized a significant turning point in Adams’ already successful career. Her major solo exhibition, “Leslie Adams, Drawn From Life,” part of the Toledo Museum of Art’s 2012 Fall Season of Portraiture, received both critical and public acclaim. As the exhibition was drawing to a close, greater recognition followed. Adams was one of 48 artists in the country whose work was selected for inclusion in the celebrated 2013 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. That same year, her work, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl,” was awarded the William F. Draper Grand Prize in the Portrait Society of America’s 15th Annual International Portrait Competition.

The free, public exhibition can be viewed Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information, contact contact Brian Carpenter, UT lecturer of art and gallery director, at brian.carpenter@utoledo.edu.

Art workshops for teens, children to take place this summer at UT

Keep the creativity flowing this summer at art workshops presented by the Department of Art at The University of Toledo.

The workshops are for students of all ages and will take place at the Center for the Visual Arts on the University’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus. Different aspects of art will be explored: sculptures, ceramics, digital media and more.

Monday through Friday, June 4-8, two summer art camps will be held for elementary and middle school students. “Monster Hunters” will be held in the morning, while “Art Around the World” will take place during the afternoon.

Each session is $60 or $105 for both. All materials needed for projects are included, and supervision of children will be provided for students staying the entire day.

For high school students, two workshops will be held Monday through Friday, June 4-8. “Sculpture and Ceramics” will take place in the morning, and “Digital Media” will be held in the afternoon.

The “Sculpture and Ceramics” workshop will cost $75, while “Digital Media” is $60. The costs include all materials for required projects.

Lunch will not be provided during either workshop, so students are encouraged to bring a lunch and beverage.

To register for the workshops, click here.

Faculty members receive promotion, tenure

A number of faculty members received tenure and promotion for the 2017-18 academic year approved in April by the UT Board of Trustees.

Faculty members who received tenure were:

College of Law
• Michelle Cavalieri
• Bryan Lammon

Faculty members who received tenure and promotion to associate professor were:

College of Arts and Letters
• Daniel Hernandez, Art
• Dr. Thor Mednick, Art
• Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe, Disability Studies
• Dr. Jason Levine, Psychology
• Daniel Thobias, Theatre and Film

College of Business and Innovation
• Dr. Kainan Wang, Finance
• Dr. Joseph Cooper, Management

College of Engineering
• Dr. Halim Ayan, Bioengineering
• Dr. Eda Yildirim-Ayan, Bioengineering

College of Health and Human Services
• Dr. Aravindhan Natarajan, School of Social Justice

College of Medicine and Life Sciences
• Dr. David Heidt, Surgery

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
• Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata, Biological Sciences

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
• Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Faculty members promoted to professor were:

College of Arts and Letters
• Dr. Mysoon Rizk, Art
• Dr. Sujata Shetty, Geography and Planning
• Dr. Jami Taylor, Political Science and Public Administration
• Dr. Edmund Lingan, Theatre and Film

College of Business and Innovation
• Dr. Margaret Hopkins, Management
• Dr. Bashar Gammoh, Marketing and International Business

College of Engineering
• Dr. Scott Molitor, Bioengineering
• Dr. Sridhar Viamajala, Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Dr. Youngwoo Seo, Civil and Environmental Engineering
• Dr. Devinder Kaur, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
• Dr. Gursel Serpen, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
• Dr. Chunhua Sheng, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
• Dr. Hongyan Zhang, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

College of Health and Human Services
• Dr. Tavis Glassman, School of Population Health
• Dr. Sheryl Milz, School of Population Health

Judith Herb College of Education
• Dr. Tod Shockey, Curriculum and Instruction
• Dr. Florian Feucht, Educational Foundations and Leadership

College of Law
• Elizabeth McCuskey
• Evan Zoldan

College of Medicine and Life Sciences
• Dr. Azedine Medhkour, Neurosurgery

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
• Dr. Tomer Avidor-Reiss, Biological Sciences
• Dr. Maria Diakonova, Biological Sciences
• Dr. Michael Weintraub, Environmental Sciences

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
• Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry
• Dr. Frederick Williams, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Faculty members promoted to associate professor were:

College of Medicine and Life Sciences
• Dr. Sumon Nandi, Orthopaedic Surgery
• Dr. Terrence Lewis, Radiology