Category Archives: Arts

Bitten Arts Fest provides taste of otherworldly traditions
Bitten Arts Fest concluded with the spooky "Mourn the Monster" funeral parade and flash mob.
Bitten Arts Fest concluded with the spooky “Mourn the Monster” funeral parade and flash mob.

Richland College celebrated the traditions and beliefs about death and the supernatural through “Bitten,” the 2013 Richland Arts Fest.

The festival honored cultures including Mexico, the Caribbean and New Orleans with events such as musical performances, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) face painting, sugar skull decorating and a New Orleans-style jazz funeral parade that transformed into a vampire flash mob.

“Bitten was a fantastic success,” said Jen Rose, event organizer and Richland College ceramics professor. “This event really grabbed students’ attention and increased awareness of the arts at Richland College.”

“Bitten” was a collaboration of several areas of study within Richland College’s School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts, including music, dance, art, ceramics, history and theatre.

The festival continues with the world premiere on Oct. 17 of “Fire & Blood,” a musical by Andy Long and Adam C. Wright. This haunting re-imagining of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” is set in modern day New Orleans. “Fire & Blood” is recommended for mature audiences. Admission is free. Visit for show times and dates.

Ms. Rose said she hopes “Bitten” piqued the interest of students who are not arts majors and those who are not yet students at Richland College.

“In each arts field, students who take those classes learn skills they can use in other areas of study,” she said. “For example, in ceramics, we teach 3-D and spatial reasoning. We teach problem solving and critical thinking. When you’re asked to create something out of nothing but a bag of clay, that’s 100 percent problem solving. The arts are a surprising way to reinforce some of those skills that are most needed by today’s employers.”

Vampires and voodoo at Richland College Arts Fest

Richland College invites you to sink your teeth into “Bitten,” the 2013 Richland Arts Fest, Oct. 14-17.

Explore the cultural and artistic side of death and the supernatural through “Bitten.” The festival celebrates the traditions and beliefs of cultures including Mexico, the Caribbean and New Orleans.

Unearth the truth about the real-life monsters that formed the vampire myth in folklore. See the legend begin in cinema through classic vampire horror films, “Nosferatu” and “Vampyr.” Search for hidden, one-of-a-kind, handmade tumblers in the Cup of Blood Scavenger Hunt.

Journey farther into “Bitten” by learning about the spiritual, historical and artistic aspects of voodoo, a unique religion that gives Louisiana its special flavor.

Listen to the macabre melodies of Richland College’s Steel Band, Orchestra and Jazz Band. Feel the “vampire’s kiss” by giving blood at the Bitten Blood Drive by Carter BloodCare.

Embody the colors and traditions of Mexico by having your face painted in the style of calavera candy skulls used during the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday. Make your own mask of the living dead.

Watch in horror as “Mourn the Monster,” a New Orleans-style jazz funeral parade, erupts into a vampire flash mob.

Experience the undead with the world premiere of “Fire & Blood,” a musical by Andy Long and Adam C. Wright. This haunting re-imagining of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” is set in modern day New Orleans. “Fire & Blood” is recommended for mature audiences. Admission is free.

“Bitten” is a collaboration of several areas of study within Richland College’s School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts, including music, dance, art, ceramics, history and theatre.

Visit for specific times and locations of “Bitten” events. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas.

Richland College instructor competes in Cliburn
Alex McDonald performing Liszt's Sonata in B Minor at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Alex McDonald performing Liszt's Sonata in B Minor at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Alex McDonald, Richland College adjunct instructor, is competing in the prestigious 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Dr. McDonald performing in the preliminary round of the Cliburn competition on May 24.

Dr. McDonald performing in the preliminary round of the Cliburn competition on May 24.

Dr. McDonald is the first Dallas-area native to participate in the competition. He took a break from teaching piano at Richland College to prepare for the Cliburn. Dr. McDonald, who also teaches part-time at Texas Woman’s University, received doctoral and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School and earned a bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music.

The Cliburn, held every four years in Fort Worth since 1962, will run from May 24 to June 9 at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall.

From 133 pianists, 30 Cliburn competitors were chosen. During the preliminary round, all competitors perform two 45-minute solo recitals. On May 30, the field will be narrowed to 12. Six competitors will be chosen for the final round which culminates on June 9. Winners and runners-up in the Cliburn receive substantial cash prizes and international fame. First prize is $50,000 and three years of career management.

In the preliminary round, Dr. McDonald plays Friday afternoon and Monday evening. All performances will be streamed live in their entirety and available on-demand at

10th Annual Carnival of Steel set for April 20

Richland College will host the 10th annual Carnival of Steel (COS) Festival from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on April 20.

The 2013 COS Festival will feature performances by Liam Teague, steel pan recording artist; Jose Aponte, drum set and world percussionist; Shelly Irvine, steel pan and percussion artist, and Peter Mugga, Ugandan world percussionist, with the Richland College Steel Bands. 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 or 972-238-6254. Tickets may also be purchased on-site the day of the performance. For more information, visit Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas.

30th annual Literary Arts Festival announced

Richland College’s 30th annual Literary Arts Festival will feature lectures and readings by authors, poets, scholars and a playwright. The four-day celebration of the written word, March 4-7, culminates with readings by Richland College faculty members and students. All events in the festival will be held in the Richland College Library and are free and open the public.

Monday, March 4

Miroslav Penkov
11:15 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.

Miroslav Penkov was born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria. His stories have won the BBC International Short Story Award 2012 and The Southern Review’s Eudora Welty Prize and have appeared in A Public Space, One Story, Orion, The Sunday Times, Granta magazine, The Best American Short Stories 2008 and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2012. East of the West (2012), his first book, was a finalist for the 2012 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and the Steven Turner Award for First Fiction by the Texas Institute of Letters. Mr. Penkov teaches creative writing at the University of North Texas, where he is a fiction editor for the American Literary Review.

Farid Matuk
12:20 – 1:20 p.m.

Farid Matuk was born in Peru to a Peruvian mother and Syrian father; he has lived in the U.S. since the age of six. Matuk is the author of This Isa Nice Neighborhood (2010) and Is it the King? (2006). His poems have appeared in 6X6, Barrelhouse, The Boston Review, Big Bridge, Cannibal and Mandorla. Mr. Matuk’s essays and reviews have appeared in Sentence, Cross-Cultural Poetics, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. This Isa Nice Neighborhood was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Arab American Book Awards, named a finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award by the Poetry Society of America, and chosen by Geoffrey G. O’Brien for inclusion in the Poetry Society of America’s New American Poets series. He serves as poetry editor for FENCE and is a recipient of Ford and Fulbright fellowships.

Tuesday, March 5

Karla Morton
9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Karla Morton, the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, has been described as “one of the more adventurous voices in American poetry” and has been featured on Good Morning Texas, NPR, ABC News, CBS News and in countless newspapers, blogs and magazines. As the first female Texas Poet Laureate in nearly 20 years, Ms. Morton created the Little Town, Texas Tour. As part of the tour, she has traveled across the state, sharing her poetry and love for the arts with high schools, universities, arts organizations, bookstores, conference attendees and more.

Fred Curchack
11 a.m.  – 12:15 p.m.

Fred Curchack has written and performed 78 original theatre pieces (51 ensemble works and 27 solos). His plays have been featured at dozens of international theatre festivals including Next Wave-BAM, Theatre of Nations, Theater der Welt and Theatre des Ameriques. Mr. Curchack has received the Gold Medal at the International Festival of Solo Theatre, the American Theatre Wing Award, and Critics’ Awards in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and Austin. His work has been “best of the week” in the Los Angeles Times, “top ten of the year” in The New York Times, “top ten of the decade” in The Austin Chronicle, and in the “top ten of all-time” in The Dallas Morning News. Mr. Curchack has taught theatre at the United Nations International School in New York and at Sonoma State University in California and is currently a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Wednesday, March 6

Matthew Henry
10:10 – 11:05 a.m.

Matthew Henry is currently a full-time faculty member in the Richland College English department, where he teaches courses in composition, African-American literature and cultural studies. He is the author of The Simpsons, Satire, and American Culture (2012), exploring the significance of the animated show’s satirical commentary on American social issues. Dr. Henry’s scholarly pursuits are not limited to “The Simpsons”; he has published articles on African-American literature and film as well as lesbian identity in film and television. As a Fulbright Scholar, he taught at the University of Potsdam in Germany during the 2010-11 academic year. Dr. Henry was a finalist in 2009 for Richland College’s Excellence in Teaching award for full-time faculty members.

Lori Ann Stephens
11:15 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.

Lori Ann Stephens’ book, Song of the Orange Moons, is a mosaic of stories that follow the intertwined lives of three girls coming of age. Two young girls from Jewish and Christian families and their elderly widow next door try to find happiness in a seemingly cruel world. In spite of their different cultural and economic backgrounds, Rebecka, Helen and Adelle all share the delicate and self-conscious journey to womanhood. All three search for love and meaning in a variety of places:  a charismatic church, a Depression-era orphanage, a moonlit Savannah park, and an orthodox Jewish boarding school and end up finding lasting strength in the power of their friendships. Ms. Stephens is a lecturer at Southern Methodist University.

Thursday, March 7

The Joe Stanco English Faculty Readings
11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Richland College English faculty members share their own original works of poetry and prose.

Student Readings
12:30 – 1:50 p.m.

Richland College’s brightest student writers share their original work.

Dance Jam to feature various genres, guest performers

Dan Jam PosterCelebrate the joy of movement at Richland College with the 4th annual Dance Jam from 12-1 p.m. on Dec. 4. The free event will be held on the outdoor stage in the breezeway between Lavaca and Fannin Halls.

Dance Jam, directed by Gina Sawyer, will include performances by Richland College students in genres including modern, ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop. The event also will feature 30 guest performers from the Thomas Jefferson High School Dance Company, under the direction of Richland’s Crysta Caulkins- Clouse. Audience participation is welcome during the final performance.

For more information, call 972-238-3775 or visit Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas.

Richland Dance presents fall dance concert: “Danse Macabre”

The Richland College Dance Department presents “Danse Macabre” at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Nov. 2, in the Fannin Performance Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“Danse Macabre” showcases innovative and diverse student and faculty performances that include contemporary, modern, ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop styles. Contemporary Ballet Dallas will appear as guests at Richland for the first time performing repertoire from “Excerpt from leave her…loving” choreographed by Tabor and “Elegant Ghosts Part II” choreographed by Danielle Georgiou. Gina Sawyer, director of the dance program, will debut a contemporary modern piece “Vociferous” starring international guest artist Sung Hun Lim. Sung Hun Lim will also be performing a solo to “Red Poppies” choreographed by Canadian artist Nika Stein. See additional dance works created by Richland dance faculty Cheryl Callon, Deb Jones and Julie Rowley.

Sawyer invites everyone to gather for an evening of “Danse Macabre,” which is sure to provoke frightful suspense.

For more information, call Gina Sawyer at 972-238-3775.

Storm-chasing photographer Mitch Dobrowner to speak at Richland College

Arm of God, Galacia, Kansas  2009Richland College will present photographer Mitch Dobrowner at 7 p.m., Thurs., Oct, 25 in the Fannin Performance Hall for an artist lecture and image presentation. This free event will be hosted by Richland’s School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts photography program. A reception, art sale and signing will follow the lecture.

Growing up on Long Island, N.Y., Dobrowner pursued photography out of a passion for the discipline. Inspired by the work of Minor White and Ansel Adams, he traveled the American Southwest at a young age to “see it for himself.” He left home at age 21, equipped with an Argus rangefinder, a gift from his father, and began tracking storm systems and capturing evocative images of thunderstorms.

Dobrowner travels with friend and storm-chasing expert Roger Hill, following super cells across the landscape. He explains, “I’m out there for days or weeks at a time…In order to capture the true feeling of these scenes, I’ve got to be there in more than a physical way. I wait for that internal, spiritual connection to come. It also makes for a more tangible, physical challenge. Once I’m in that ‘place’ I only wait for those moments that are just the right moments.”

Dobrowner’s awards include the Sony World Photo Award, The Jacob Riis Award, B&W Spider Award, numerous IPA/Lucie Awards and The National Geographic Society Visions of Paradise Award. His work can be viewed in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Portland Art Museum and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. His work has been exhibited in national and international venues including New York, San Diego, Chicago, Santa Fe, Paris, London and China.

Richland continues its commitment to excellence in photography by bringing world-class photographers to campus to interact with students over the course of a day concluding with a free public lecture, reception and folio signing. Past par¬ticipants in this distinguished series include Mary Ellen Mark, Jock Sturges, Ralph Gibson, Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor, Joyce Tenneson, Keith Carter, and Arno Minkkinen.

For more information, contact Wayne Loucas at 972-238-6078 or Michael Mazurek at 972-238-6339. Images and additional information can be found at