This Week at SOTA

NKU School of the Arts - Jan. 11, 2021

Welcome Back from the SOTA Director

Hello and welcome to a new year. Following a tumultuous 2020, I sincerely hope 2021 brings more hope, joy, and connection for us all, despite the rough start so far. With unprecedented impacts on instructional delivery over the past two semesters, most of our courses have engaged in some degree of remote instruction. Our performance stages are empty, our studios are sparse, and the hallways are all too quiet. So much of what we do in SOTA is about connection and the last half of 2020 severely impacted our normal ways of teaching and celebrating the arts. What happened, though, was that our instructors rolled up their sleeves and found new ways to continue connecting. I have never been more impressed with an already impressive group of faculty, staff, and students as performances went virtual, classes went to Zoom, and exhibitions went online. Faculty learned new ways of delivering course content and holding discussions and critiques. Students learned new skills in production, recording, and online dissemination of creative work. The results, in the end, have the potential to reach a broader audience; engaging people when they need it most. There are links below to many of these efforts and I urge you to take some time to connect and recharge through the arts. With hopefulness, I do look forward later this year to a boisterous building full of the sights, sounds, and smells of the creative process; stages and gallery walls full; and once again, the sound of thunderous applause for the efforts of our amazing students and faculty. I wish us all well in 2021.


Matthew Albritton

Director, NKU School of the Arts

In Memorium: Austin Dale Moore

The School of the Arts fondly remembers former student Austin Dale Moore who passed away of kidney disease on Dec. 27, 2020, at the age of 25. Austin was an active participant in Music and Theatre at NKU, sharing his bright and shining spirit with all who knew him. Some may remember his ebullient personality as a barista on campus at Starbucks. “He always strived to put a smile on the face of everyone he met.”


A GoFundMe has been established to help Austin’s mother with medical expenses.

Interconnected: Jessica Bellamy on Jan. 21

Join us for our third Interconnected lecture: Jessica Bellamy, Thursday, Jan 21, 7 p.m. hosted by the University of Louisville Hite Hite Art Institute with support from AIGA Louisville. This free, online event is open to the public.


International speaker, Adobe Creative Residency alumna, and award-winning infographic designer, Jessica Bellamy, is a co-principal investigator at the Root Cause Research Center in Louisville, Kentucky. As a former Neurodevelopmental Science research analyst at the University of Louisville and community organizer, in 2015, Jessica created a social enterprise that combined grassroots organizing, research, and information graphics. She named that business GRIDS: The Grassroots Information Design Studio.


She has since been featured in Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, as well as in Forbes, Communication Arts Magazine, The Great Discontent, Creative Mornings, The Dieline, and on Revision Path podcast.


Bellamy is a 2012 summa cum laude graduate from the University of Louisville with BFAs in Graphic Design and in 2D Studios, a BA in Pan African Studies, and a minor in Communication.


Upcoming Interconnected Lectures:


  • Feb. 25, 7 p.m. Maurice "Mo" Woods (Executive Director and Founder of the Inneract Project (IP); Principal Designer, Microsoft)
  • March 2021, TBA: Carahna Magwood (Creative Director to the White House)
  • April 9, noon. Andrea Pippins (Stockholm-based Illustrator and Author)
Big picture

Final hours for SOTA t-shirt fundraiser

Today is the last day to purchase a School of the Arts t-shirt! All funds raised will be paid directly to Northern Kentucky University School of the Arts for SOTA Support. The estimated delivery is Jan. 28.

Visual Arts announces new diversity scholarships

The Visual Arts Program is proud to announce two new diversity scholarships for incoming students.


Diversity in Visual Arts Scholarship

To encourage diversity and inclusion in Visual Arts. This award defines diversity in broad terms (ethnicity, race, gender identity, age, abilities, or socio-economic status).


Visual Arts Diversity Scholarship in Memory of Craig Haskins

To encourage diversity and inclusion in Visual Arts. Open to incoming freshman, international, or transfer students.


Craig Haskins was an African American student that made a large impact on the Visual Arts Program. He was an exceptional student that was kind and diligent in his studies. Craig showed great courage in pursuing his degree at NKU while battling several health conditions. Many students and faculty did not know of his health issues as he focused on a strong work ethic, not letting his health stand in the way of his studies. Craig’s father brought him to campus in a wheelchair so he could turn in his final art and design projects the day before his passing. This scholarship serves as a memorial to Craig’s life and his creative pursuits.

Benavides releases second jazz album

Pablo Benavides, director of NKU Latin jazz, recently released "Didgeridoo Encounters" and features jazz area coordinator, Brian Hogg on a few tracks. Check out the full album on YouTube (below).
Didgeridoo Encounters-Full Album

AfroFusion "Norse-Tok"

This past Fall, students in the African Dance course did a cool Norse-Tok (TikTok) project in which they partnered up and merged African dance techniques with contemporary music and movement. Each group had to learn another group's choreography. Check out the video below and more videos on our YouTube channel.

NORSE- TOK SUBMISSION! (Je'Shaun,Grace,Lindsey)

Emeritus Faculty featured in “The Museum Project”

Emeritus Faculty Barry Andersen (photography) has been fortunate to be included in “The Museum Project” put together by one of his undergrad professors Robert Von Sternberg. While it’s listed as stopping at 2015, it’s risen again. The project has placed Andersen's work in over 60 public collections. A bonus has been the occasional exhibition featuring either all of the participants or sometimes selected work to fit a show. Currently, Andersen's pictures are on the wall at the Musee national d’histoire ed d’art, Luxembourg and the Flint Institute of Arts (Flint MI); and were recently added to the permanent collection of the Tampa Museum of Art.

Behringer-Crawford Museum highlights photography alumni

Photography Alumni Malcolm Wilson was featured in a video by the Behringer-Crawford Museum with support from FotoFocus. BCM had planned an exhibition of his work in Appalachia but had to make a shift due to the pandemic. The full video is below.
Here I Am: Making Photographs with Malcolm Wilson

Alumni Update: Eden Smock

Eden Smock (BM Music Education, 2017) is currently in her 3rd year of teaching at her alma mater, Wynford Local Schools. She teaches elementary music and grades 6-12 choir. Eden is engaged to be married in July 2021 and owns a house with her amazing fiancé and our 2 pups, Juniper and Zadie.


Why did you choose to study at NKU SOTA?

I chose NKU because it was down to earth. The small class sizes allowed me to get the most out of my education and truly excel! I loved being a Norse!

Alumni Update: Anna Schindler Brown

Anna Schindler Brown (BFA Musical Theatre, 2019) is currently the Music Teacher at Queen of Peace Catholic School. After graduation, she toured for 9 months with the Missoula Children's Theatre as a Tour Actor/Director. She traveled all around the U.S., teaching an hour-long show to kids ages 5-18.


Why did you choose to study at NKU SOTA?

I felt like the faculty really cared about my education and helped me succeed. I was able to define myself creatively and make life long connections with faculty and fellow students.

Calling All Alumni!

We have revamped our Alumni pages and would love to have you share your story with us! If you graduated from any SOTA program, fill out our Alumni Update form and you may be featured on our website and other publications!

SOTA In The News