Category Archives: Arts

U.S. Air Force Band of The West To Perform at Richland College
U.S. Air Force Band of the West performs music.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force Band of the West.

The United States Air Force (USAF) Band of the West is coming to Richland College to perform as part of its Holiday in Blue tour. This performance will take place at 7 p.m. on December 3 in the Fannin Performance Hall. This concert is free and open to the public.

“At this time, the U.S. federal government is considering a severe reduction in U.S. military band travel, and we will be able to experience the tremendous benefit of the program before such a decision is made,” said Derick Logozzo, Richland College director of instrumental music. “Also, the interaction that Richland students will be able to have with these career musicians on the day of the event in separate sessions is very valuable. Our students will get to hear and see the level of ability of experienced competitive symphonic music professionals and learn more about how to reach such a goal.”

The USAF Band of the West has been presenting Holiday in Blue concerts for more than 40 years as a way of bringing the community together to celebrate the holiday season and our veterans through music. This 90-minute concert will include a variety of works, styles and genres featuring the excellent display of musicianship from the symphonic concert band and soloists.

For more information about the USAF Band of the West, visit bandofthewest.af.mil. For more information about the Richland College music department, visit richlandcollege.edu/hfp/music.


Richland College Dance Program Raises Environmental Awareness with ‘Fire and Ice’ Fall Concert
Two students dancing in sync

Richland College students audition for “Fire & Ice.” Photo by Paul Knudsen.

The Richland College dance program’s movements will go green as it raises awareness of the environment during its fall dance concert, “Fire & Ice,” at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4.

Directed by Richland College dance director Gina Sawyer, “Fire & Ice” will involve both students and faculty in choreography and performance roles, with dance genres including contemporary modern, lyrical, jazz, tap and hip-hop.

“’Fire & Ice’ is about creating a greater awareness for our environment through dance performance,” said Sawyer. “The Richland College dance program is collaborating with Richardson Recycles to promote sustainability within our community.”

Each audience member who attends the afternoon show will receive a blue recycle bag from the city of Richardson. The bags can be used as a reusable grocery bags and later can be repurposed into cleaning cloths.

Dance faculty choreography and film work will include original pieces by Claire Augustine, Christie Nelson, Lauren Schieffer and Sawyer. The program will also feature guest performers and choreographers Matt Rivera, the Big Rig Dance Collective and Rhythmic Souls, which is under the direction of Katelyn Harris.

Rivera’s professional experience includes theatrical performances such as “Mamma Mia!” in Las Vegas and the first national runs of “Swing!” and “Movin’ Out.” He also has performed with a variety of dance companies, including Twyla Tharp’s THARP, Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago, Cirque du Soleil and more.

The Big Rig Dance Collective is based in north Texas and produces contemporary dance works that investigate questions big and small through physical experience. Since 2010, the Big Rig Dance Collective has been creating a myriad of dance experiences in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and has presented at many regional and national festivals throughout the United States.

Rhythmic Souls, under the direction of Harris, is a small company of rhythm tap dancers known for their unique blend of style, charisma, innovative choreography and rapid-fire footwork. Rhythmic Souls strives to bring the spirit of tap dance back to the stage and continues the legacy of this American art form. Their cross-genre repertoire infuses rhythm dance with body percussion, sand dancing, contemporary movement, flamenco, swing dance and anything else that might lend itself to rhythmic persuasion.

The Richland College dance program provides a challenging teaching and learning environment for students that values diversity and develops artistic excellence, fosters creative and collaborative practices and encourages personal agency and social responsibility in appreciating dance.

Richardson Recycles encourages people to recycle common items such as paper, cardboard, plastic and glass  not only to save landfill space, but  also to help the environment. The City of Richardson offers blue bag collection twice per week for single family homes and annually collects an average of 5,500 tons of recyclable material.

“Fire & Ice” is free and open to the public in the Fannin Performance Hall on the east side of the Richland College campus. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road.


Richland College Art Faculty Raise Awareness of Child Sex Trafficking with ‘In You We Trust’ Exhibit on Campus
rows of ceramic coins

2,000 ceramic coins line the wall of the Brazos Gallery at Richland College at the “In You We Trust” exhibition, with each coin depicting a child potentially sold into sex trafficking in Dallas each year. Photo by Keenan Cobb.

Richland College art professors Jen Rose and Marian Lefeld are raising awareness about the epidemic of sex trafficking in the U.S. with “In You We Trust,” an art exhibit that gives a tangible representation of children sold on the streets each year. The exhibit is on display now through Oct. 16 in the Brazos Gallery on the Richland College campus.

The Dallas Independent School District reports that approximately six thousand of its students are homeless, and studies from the National District Attorneys Association estimate that one out of every three children will be approached by a pimp within 48 hours of being on the street. Staggeringly, this means that 2,000 children are potentially sold each year in Dallas alone.

With that devastating number in mind, Rose and Lefeld created plaster molds of coins and recruited volunteers to help cast 2,000 ceramic coins, one for each child in Dallas potentially sold into sex trafficking. Each coin has a face on the front that was designed by Lefeld, and Rose designed the crown depicted on the back of each coin. The coins represent the practice of using children as currency, and the exhibit name, “In You We Trust,” is a call to action for the audience to not turn a blind eye to sex trafficking.

“We aimed to create an installation that would bring attention to this social issue and open pathways for discussion and awareness to a wider public,” said Rose. “As artists, we want to start conversations. This conversation about sex trafficking of children is one that can literally save someone’s life. ‘In You We Trust’ is about action. In you we trust to say something. In you we trust to do the right thing. In you we trust to save a life.”

“In You We Trust” began in January when Rose and Lefeld attended a training session and lecture hosted by Traffick911, a group who works with law enforcement to identify victims of sex trafficking. Rose and Lefeld were interested in applying for a grant from the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and after attending the session with Traffick911, they knew what their subject matter would be.

“The coins give a tangible representation to the statistic of 2,000 children sold on the streets each year,” said Rose. “We chose coins because pimps view these children as currency and have also been known to brand their victims with coin tattoos. The use of coin imagery was told to us anecdotally by a Traffick911 volunteer.”

After spending several months developing prototypes and perfecting a creative process that would allow for volunteers to assist, Rose and Lefeld began the process of creating the 2,000 coins. The project is culminating in the exhibition at Richland College. During the exhibition, lecturers from Traffick911 and other organizations will educate the community about sex trafficking.

“Our main goal with this project is to make people aware that this is happening in Dallas,” said Rose. “The more people know this exists, the more likely they are able to identify situations where children may be in danger, and the more likely they are to speak up.”

“’In You We Trust’ is a wonderful example of how art meets activism,” said John Spriggins, the Richland College gallery coordinator. “Jen Rose and Marian Lefeld have demonstrated their willingness to tackle a very controversial topic in a creative and thoughtful way. Both Rose and Lefeld are reaching beyond the college campus into the community, conducting work sessions with organized community groups that participate in their creative process. The benefit of having resourceful, socially conscious and community-minded faculty like Jen and Marian at Richland College will have a lasting impact on students, faculty and staff. Having secured funding from the Office of Cultural Affairs, this exhibition is proof that supporting the arts can have substantive results.”

Upon the ending of the exhibit at Richland College, Rose and Lefeld hope to raise enough money to have 1,000 of the coins travel to other parts of Texas and the U.S. to be put on display and raise additional awareness of sex trafficking.

To help cover some costs that were not funded by the grant and to realize the goal of traveling the exhibit, a GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up, with donors receiving one coin for each $50 donation to the project. Any money raised that surpasses their goal will be split with Traffick911.

Those wishing to donate to “In You We Trust” can visit gofundme.com/inyouwetrust. Additional information on sex trafficking is available at traffick911.com.


Richland College Dance Student Attends Joffrey Ballet Dallas Summer Intensive Program

Being a good dancer requires grace, poise and hard work; being an expert dancer also requires a keen mental and physical alertness, strength, balance, control, sensitivity to kinesthetic awareness and an ability to connect with an audience – all things that Richland College dance student Leah Brashear has. And the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School has noticed.Leah Brashear and three other Richland College dance students perform in True Colors

Brashear recently completed her first year of studies in Richland College’s dance program, which helped her to get accepted into the Joffrey Ballet Dallas Summer Intensive Program and the Joffrey Ballet School four-year program of Jazz and Contemporary Dance in New York City.

“When I found out that I got accepted into the Joffrey summer intensive program, I was so glad that I could learn from one of the best dance schools in the country,” said Brashear. “When I also found out that I was accepted to four years of study at the Joffrey Ballet School, I was more than happy! I have always had some self-esteem problems, and finding out that I was accepted at such a prestigious dance school made me believe in myself.”

The Joffrey Ballet School was founded by Robert Joffrey in 1953, and has been cultivating dancers for more than 60 years. It has produced professional dancers, choreographers, studio owners and professionals in the industry. Many graduates are currently dancing with Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Nevada Ballet, Complexion and Ballet West among other companies across the United States. The Jazz and Contemporary Dance program is designed for dancers who want to focus on jazz and contemporary styles of movement, while also incorporating a wider knowledge of classical ballet and modern dance.

Gina Sawyer, Richland College dance program director, is proud of the skills that Leah has developed in Sawyer’s jazz, tap dance and performance classes.

“Leah’s dancing skills have certainly improved during her time at Richland,” said Sawyer. “She listens and develops during the rehearsal process. During the past year, she has taken greater risks in dancing. She also has a strong inner awareness about her, she picks up movement quickly, she understands the quality of each movement, and she shines. She’s one of many dancers in the program who really shine. She will do great at Joffrey and any professional dance setting that she is in.”

In addition to teaching dance classes, Sawyer also directs and sets choreography for the formal dance concert performed each semester at Richland College. Brashear performed as one of the lead dancers in Richland’s spring dance concert, True Colors, which was a contemporary lyrical piece choreographed by Sawyer. The show was about empowering individuals to discover their unique voice and imagine the possibilities. Brashear sent a recording of that performance as her audition tape to Joffrey, and was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet School and the summer intensive program based on her exceptional skills and graceful movements showcased in that performance.

“My goal in creating the choreography for True Colors was for each of the four dancers to have a sense of equality among them in their performance,” said Sawyer. “It wasn’t about featuring one dancer, it was about each dancer being featured and having a unique voice. Dancers are not always featured in a piece each semester, and it took a lot of work to create four different, lead dance roles. Joffrey required candidates to submit a piece in which they were featured, so Leah had the chance to share this performance with them. They obviously liked what they saw!”

The Dallas Summer Intensive Program was hosted at Texas Woman’s University, and lasted three weeks in August. The program focused on jazz, contemporary and modern dance forms. Other classes included classical and contemporary ballet technique, street jazz, Pilates and yoga. At the end of the intensive program, each student performed in a professionally produced theatre performance.

Now that she has completed the summer intensive program, Brashear will continue to study dance for one more year at Richland College before deciding where to attend school in Fall 2017. She is considering accepting the offer to study at the Joffrey Ballet School or attending the American Dance Academy in New York or Ballet Austin in Austin, Tex. Once she graduates, Brashear plans either to dance professionally or be a dance instructor for young children at a school or dance studio.

“I decided to stay at Richland for another year, so I can mentally and physically prepare myself and be ready to make such a big move,” said Brashear. “Richland has helped me a lot with dance. Gina Sawyer is one of the best dance instructors I ever had. She has taught me skills that none of my past dance instructors ever taught me. She encourages dancers and non-dancers to get out of their safe zone. With her guidance, I have become a stronger, better and more confident dancer.”

The Richland College Dance Program provides a challenging teaching and learning environment for students that values diversity, develops artistic excellence, fosters creative and collaborative practices, and encourages personal agency and social responsibility in appreciating dance. On November 2 at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., the dance program will perform the Fall 2016 dance concert, Fire and Ice. This will showcase a variety of dance styles including contemporary modern, jazz, tap and hip hop dance styles.

For more information on the Richland College dance program, visit our website at www.richlandcollege.edu/hfp/dance-program.


Richland College Dance Program to Showcase Individual Empowerment in ‘True Colors’ Spring Dance Concert

The Richland College dance program will strive to empower individuals to discover their unique voices and imagine their possibilities during its spring dance concert, “True Colors,” at 7:30 p.m. April 1 and 2.

Directed by Richland College dance director Gina Sawyer, “True Colors” will involve both students and faculty in choreography and performance roles, with dance genres including contemporary modern, lyrical, jazz, tap and hip-hop.

In keeping with the theme of empowerment, the April 1 performance will be dedicated to the girls of Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, many of whom will attend. Girls Inc. awakens the potential in girls and young women from low income neighborhoods and inspires them to make strong, smart and bold choices that positively contribute to our communities. This collaboration is made possible by Sawyer and Sherry Dean, Ph.D., former Girls Inc. board director and current Eureka! advisory council member, who is also a Richland College speech communication professor.

Dance faculty choreography and film work will include original pieces by Whitney Coleman, Shaté Edwards, Gina Sawyer and Lauren Schieffer. The program will also feature guest performers and choreographers Darryl Cleveland, Nicole Langi, the imPULSE Dance Project under the direction of Anastasia Waters and Rhythmic Souls under the direction of Katelyn Harris.

Cleveland is a professional dancer, choreographer and instructor with 20 years of experience in ballet, jazz and modern dance forms. His experience includes teaching at Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas, dancing with Toni Braxton and En Vogue, eight seasons with the Dallas Black Dance Theater and choreographing and starring in statewide Texas Lottery commercials.

Langi earned a B.A. in dance with an emphasis on ballet performance from Brigham Young University in 2012. Her professional credits include the Kinuko Modern Dance Company, Mountain West Ballet Company and the Utah Opera. She currently teaches ballet and tap at the Texas Ballet Theatre School in Dallas.

imPULSE dance project was founded in 2012 by Waters with the vision to open the mind, eyes and heart of the general public to the beauty of modern dance by integrating dance works into untraditional dance environments and spaces.

Rhythmic Souls, under the direction of Harris, is a small company of rhythm tap dancers known for their unique blend of style, charisma, innovative choreography and rapid-fire footwork. Rhythmic Souls strives to bring the spirit of tap dance back to the stage and continue the legacy of this American art form. Their cross-genre repertoire infuses rhythm dance with body percussion, sand dancing, contemporary movement, flamenco, swing dance and anything else that might lend itself to rhythmic persuasion.

The Richland College dance program provides a challenging teaching and learning environment for students that values diversity and develops artistic excellence, fosters creative and collaborative practices and encourages personal agency and social responsibility in appreciating dance.

“True Colors” is free and open to the public in the Fannin Performance Hall on the east side of the Richland College campus. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road.


Richland College to Exhibit Historical Photographs from Sepia Magazine
Black and white photograph of a matador

Richardo Chibanga in 1967. Photo courtesy of the Sepia Magazine Photographic Archive.

Richland College recently announced the opening of an exhibition featuring 50 historical photographs spanning three decades of the Fort Worth-based magazine Sepia, to run from Feb. 1-29.

The exhibition, a collaboration between Richland College and the African American Museum in Fair Park, will feature the photographs from the out-of-print magazine that include noteworthy figures and editorial images from the Sepia Magazine Photographic Archive, which contains more than 10,000 photographs owned by the African American Museum.

Black and white photo of Aretha Franklin standing in front of a microphone

Aretha Franklin. Photo courtesy of the Sepia Magazine Photographic Archive.

John Spriggins, Richland College gallery director, is curating the exhibit. Spriggins also has previously served as interim curator for the African American Museum.

“This is the first time an exhibition has been created from the archive, solely about the archive,” said Spriggins. “It is also a chance for the two institutions to work together. It’s exciting!”

Headshot of Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor. Photo courtesy of the Sepia Magazine Photographic Archive.

Sepia magazine began in Fort Worth in 1947 as Negro Achievements and highlighted African American success articles. It also featured reader-submitted true confessions stories. In 1951, two years after the death of its black founder, Horace J. Blackwell, Sepia found new leadership in white business mogul George Levithan. With Levithan’s guidance, the magazine became the longest standing competitor to the more successful African American magazine, Ebony.

The Sepia exhibition is free and open to the public. It will be housed in Richland College’s Brazos Gallery, located in Crockett Hall on campus. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Rd.


Richland College Choral Department to Present ‘Choral Dimensions’ Fall Concert

Michael Crawford directs a choral concert.The Richland College choral department will present a fall concert, “Choral Dimensions,” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13. The program will feature five ensembles, including Chamber Singers, Jazz Singers, the men’s chorale RichMen, Camerata and Grupo Latino.

The Chamber Singers, a 40-voice auditioned choral ensemble, will feature works by F.M. Christiansen, Z. Randall Stroope and Johannes Brahms. The award-winning Richland College Jazz Singers will perform vocal jazz standards, such as “Four Brothers” and “Java Junkie.” The RichMen will perform a variety of male chorus music, including “It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish.”

Camerata and Grupo Latino are new ensembles at Richland College. Camerata is a student-led choral ensemble co-directed by students Alex Gonzales and Rachel Trevino, and it will feature the premiere of new choral work recently composed by Gonzales. Grupo Latino is a fusion of the choral and instrumental sides of music and will feature Latin American rhythms and styles.

“Both Camerata and Grupo Latino were formed by motivated students wishing to explore exciting new styles of musical performance,” said Michael Crawford, Ed.D., Richland College’s associate dean of humanities, fine and performing arts and choral director.

The Richland College Jazz Singers will be traveling to the Pacific Northwest in March 2016 to participate in the 40th DeMiero Jazz Festival. In April 2016, the Richland College Chamber Singers will sing in the Irving Symphony’s performance of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9.”

The choirs will be accompanied by acclaimed local violinist Wana Hong and directed by Crawford.

“Choral Dimensions” is free and open to the public in the Fannin Performance Hall on the east side of the Richland College campus. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road.


Richland College Dance Program to Showcase Cultural Heritage and Folklore in ‘Americana’
Dancer poses with red fabric

Richland College dancer Liz Nguyen. Photo by Keenan Cobb.

The Richland College dance program will present “Americana,” a multi-genre performance celebrating America’s heritage and folklore, involving students and faculty in both choreography and performing roles, with two performances Nov. 6 at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Dance genres featured in the performance will include contemporary modern, ballet, jazz, tap and hip-hop.

Gina Sawyer, director of Richland College’s dance program, will direct “Americana,” and she will debut her contemporary modern piece, “This War,” inspired by the poetry of Vietnam veteran Ted Jason Bishop. Rich in visual imagery and powerful movement, “This War” has dancers weaving among a long piece of red fabric that represents the blood of all humanity.

“This piece is about honoring those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom,” said Sawyer.

Dance faculty members Whitney Coleman and Shaté Edwards created other original pieces within “Americana.” The program will also feature guest choreographer Lonnie J. Hightower, and guest performers include the Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet Company under the direction of Emilie Skinner and Rhythmic Souls under the direction of Katelyn Harris. An art installation, “Divisible by Eight,” is on loan by guest visual artist and Richland ceramics faculty Jen Rose.

A Dallas native, Hightower is an award-winning dancer and choreographer. The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts recognized his choreography and skill in West African dance, and he became one of two choreographers in the U.S. to be named Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He has choreographed or danced with many companies, including New York Baroque, Dallas Black Dance Theater First Company, Beckles Dance Company, Contemporary Ballet Dallas, Images Contemporary Dance Company and Paul Taylor Dance Company. His television credits include American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

The Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet (DNCB) was founded in 2011 under the direction of Emilie Skinner and Victoria Tran with the goal of collaborating with Dallas-Ft. Worth-area visual artists and musicians in order to create a link between the art communities. DNCB also creates opportunities for experienced professional dancers looking to use their classical ballet training and bring exceptional dance to the community.

Rhythmic Souls is a small company of rhythm tap dancers known for their unique blend of style, charisma, innovative choreography and rapid-fire footwork. Rhythmic Souls strives to bring the spirit of tap dance back to the stage and continue the legacy of this American art form. Their cross-genre repertoire infuses rhythm dance with body percussion, sand dancing, contemporary movement, flamenco, swing dance and anything else that might lend itself to rhythmic persuasion.

The Richland College dance program provides a challenging teaching and learning environment for students that values diversity and develops artistic excellence, fosters creative and collaborative practices and encourages personal agency and social responsibility in appreciating dance.

“Americana” is free and open to the public in the Fannin Performance Hall on the east side of the Richland College campus. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road.


Richland College President Assists in Creation of Commemorative Ceramic Poppies for Veterans Day Event

Richland President Kay Eggleston and ceramics faculty member Jen Rose create ceramic poppies.

Richland College president Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D. (left) creates a ceramic poppy with ceramics professor Jen Rose (right). Richland College students, faculty and staff have been creating 5,171 ceramic poppies that will be displayed lakeside on campus and dedicated on Veterans Day. Each poppy represents a Texas soldier killed in World War I. Poppies will go on sale after Veterans Day, with proceeds benefiting Puppies Behind Bars, an organization that trains inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans. Photo by Keenan Cobb.


2014 Richland College Carnival of Steel to be April 26

Richland College announces the line up for its 11th annual Carnival of Steel (COS) Festival on April 26.

The 2014 COS Festival will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will feature performances by Jeff Narell, steel pan recording artist; Jose Aponte, drum set and world percussionist; and Shelly Irvine, steel pan and percussion artist.

The Richland College Steel Band and high school, elementary school and college steel bands from around the state will also perform.

Vendors in music and Caribbean cultures will be on-site with food, clothing and other items for sale. The Carnival of Steel is presented by Richland College in partnership with the Caribbean Association of Texas and Dallas West Indies United.

Admission to the day concert at 11 a.m. is free. Tickets for the performance demo at 5:30 p.m. are $5 and tickets for the guest artist evening concert at 8 p.m. are $10.

To purchase tickets in advance, contact Derrick Logozzo at derricklogozzo@dcccd.edu or 972-238-6254. Tickets may also be purchased on-site the day of the performance.

For more information, visit www.richlandcollege.edu/carnivalofsteel. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas.