YEAR IN REVIEW 2017-2018

Messages   Leadership  Events   Artists   Partners


This past year was an exciting one for Partners for the Arts as we provided once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunities and financial support to fund grants, scholarships and arts education at Southern Miss. Membership funds underwrite projects in the 5 art programs. Read more about the projects and events supported for 2017-18 below.



23 Art Projects and Events




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Art and Design

The 2018 Visiting Artist Series: Alexis Gregg and Tanner Coleman

Faculty Sponsor | Allen Chen

Awarded | $2,500

The 2018 Visiting Artist Series welcomed artists Alexis Gregg and Tanner Coleman, whose work focuses on sculptural methods for public art and permanent installation techniques using materials like clay and brick. Professors Gregg and Coleman conducted a 3-day workshop and built a large scale-site specific ceramic mural with the students. In addition, they held student critique sessions and a public lecture. 


The 2017 National Juried Painting Exhibition 

Faculty Sponsor | Mark Rigsby

Awarded | $1,000

2017 National Juried Painting Exhibition

The Southern Miss Museum of Art presented the 2017 National Juried Painting Exhibition, juried by renowned artist Peter Van Dyck. The exhibition displayed different forms of artwork of varied painting mediums ranging from oil to pastel and airbrushed fresco with styles such as hyper-realism, extreme sizes and landscapes. Prior to the awards ceremony, Van Dyck gave a lecture—gathering art students, professors, and visiting painters. Serving as an effective source for the audience to learn from, Van Dyck explained how he progressed in his career and improved upon his painting techniques.


Creative Writing

The Visiting Writer Series: Natasha Trethewey

Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Angela Ball

Awarded | $2,750

Visiting Writer Series: Natasha Trethewey 

As part of the English program's Center for Writers Visiting Writers Series and Mississippi’s Bicentennial Celebration, Southern Miss welcomed a major voice in contemporary poetry and acclaimed Mississippi-born author—Natasha Trethewey. Trethewey, former Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014) and the state of Mississippi (2012-2016), did a poetry reading and moderated a conversation about her craft and creative process during her two-day visit.


The Hub Dance Collective

Faculty Sponsor | Stacy Reischman Fletcher/Kelly Ferris Lester

Awarded | $750

Hub Dance Collective 

Hub Dance Collective’s (HDC) fifth annual summer concert series enhanced the Southern Miss dance program’s mission to bring dance experiences to our community through performance and education. The series included a “Work-in-Progress” showing, a performance as part of FestivalSouth, a FestivalSouth Artie event to introduce kids and parents to modern dance, and a performance to kick off the 2017 Fall semester at Southern Miss. HDC is a contemporary dance collective formed by Southern Miss Dance faculty, including Kelly Ferris Lester, Elizabeth Lentz-Hill, Stacy Reischman Fletcher, and Julie White, as guest chorographer, and serves as the only professional contemporary dance company in Southern Mississippi. HDC’s creative work is regularly presented in adjudicated festivals across the country.


The Guest Artist Residency: Zac Whittenburg

Faculty Sponsor | Elizabeth Lentz-Hill/Julie Hammond White

Awarded | $2,500

Guest Artist Residency: Zac Whittenburg 

The Southern Miss Dance program presented six days of contemporary dance classes, criticism, community outreach, pedagogy, and arts advocacy seminars and presentations, as well as performances with Zachary Wittenburg. Whittenburg, a multi-faceted dance professional, has performed professionally in both renowned ballet and modern dance companies. He is a dance critic/editor for national dance publications, including Dance Magazine, and is a recognized authority in the areas of arts advocacy, community and engagement practices, and educational policy and research. In this residency, he shared his extensive knowledge and experience and the many professional pursuits possible in dance with students from Southern Miss and those who participated in the Mississippi Dance Festival.


The National Dance Artists Series: Nicole Taylor Tartt

Faculty Sponsor | Elizabeth Lentz-Hill/ Stacy R. Fletcher

Awarded | $1,000

The National Dance Artists Series: Nicole Taylor Tartt 

The National Dance Artists Series connects Southern Miss and Hattiesburg communities with choreographers and dance companies from around the nation. This year dance alumna Nikki Taylor returned to share her artistry through a repertory and master classes from her work with the contemporary ballet company, Collage. The style of her residency is very rooted in classical ballet with a daring edge—pushing training and technique to the limits.


The Phantom of the Opera

Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Michael Miles

Awarded | $2,500

Phantom of the Opera at Southern Miss 

The Southern Opera and Musical Theatre Company’s production of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera was a sold-out hit. Capacity crowds enjoyed the most iconic and longest running show on Broadway. Directed by Mike Lopinto, with music direction by Jay Dean and Michael Miles, the production featured an all-Southern Miss and the venerable Symphony Orchestra in an elaborate spectacle featuring an ensemble of 40 students.


The Southern Invitational Choral Conference

Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Greg Fuller

Awarded | $1,000

The Southern Invitational Choral Conference 

The 14th annual Southern Invitational Choral Conference (SICC) at Southern Miss provided students the opportunity to take part in intense rehearsals and high-quality performances, while meeting fellow musicians from all over the Southeast. Also, at SICC, students had the opportunity to audition for choral scholarships at Southern Miss, and teachers can earn continuing education units (CEUs) by attending various sessions.


The 2017 Viola Festival

Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Hsiaopei Lee

Awarded | $1,000

USM Viola Festival 

The 2017 Viola Festival, in collaboration with Gulf Coast Viola Society, presented a number of viola master classes, lectures and concerts to the Hattiesburg community at the Southern Miss campus. The festival provides educational and outreach programs for local schools and pre-college students. The festival’s featured artists were Kathryn Steely, Professor of Viola at Baylor University; Michael Fernandez, Viola principal at the Alabama Symphony Orchestra; and Jacob Adams, Assistant professor of viola at The University of Alabama. 


The Holiday Spectacular

Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Michael Miles/Dr. Greg Fuller

Awarded | $1,000 

Holiday Spectacular  

Sounds of the season reverberated throughout the sanctuary at Main Street Baptist Church as the Southern Miss Symphony Orchestra and Choral Activities presented its Holiday Spectacular. The special evening of music featured the combined voices of the Hattiesburg Choral Union and other magnificent choral ensembles.


The Connoisseur’s Chamber Music Series

Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Alexander Russakovsky

Awarded | $2,250

USM Connoisseur’s Chamber Music Series 

The Connoisseur’s Chamber Music Series is committed to bringing world-class artists. The 2017-2018 season included performances by Leon Fleisher and the Ying Quartet, US Naval Academy Band Brass Quintet, Tetraphonics Saxophone Quartet, Pacific Arts Woodwind Quintet, and Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans. In addition, each of the ensembles provided an educational outreach program to students in Hattiesburg and its surrounding communities.


The 2018 Trombone Day: Guest Artist Denson Paul Pollard

Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Ben McIlwain

Awarded | $750

USM 2018 Trombone Day 

The world-renowned bass trombonist, Denson Paul Pollard, Professor of Trombone at Indiana University, formerly Bass Trombone of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, was the featured guest artist of the 2018 Southern Miss Trombone Day. He performed a solo recital, gave a master class, provided a lecture, and was featured with the Southern Miss Trombone Choir. Pollard is a passionate champion of the bass trombone as a solo instrument and has performed concertos and played solo recitals in various places around the world. Pollard has recorded three solo CDs entitled "Up From Below,” “Point in Time,” and “Listening.”


The American Choral Directors Association/Mississippi Music Educators Association 2018 Conference

Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Greg Fuller

Awarded | $500


A joint endeavor sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association/Mississippi Music Educators Association in cooperation with the Southern Miss Choral Activities, the conference provided educational opportunities for students and allowed them to experience and work with a premiere international vocal ensemble. In this case, they were able to attend and participate in a master class with award-winning ensemble— Chanticleer. In regard to recruitment, it exposed prospective students to the advantages of campus life here at Southern Miss.


The Southern Flute Festival

Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Danilo Mezzadri

Awarded |  $1,000

Southern Miss Flute Festival 

The Southern Flute Festival (SFF) provides artistic education and entertainment to a broad population of flute enthusiasts living in the Gulf Coast region. Internationally renowned artists and pedagogues gather at Southern Miss to enjoy two days of flute music, participate in master classes and workshops, attend professional recitals and perform in the festival’s flute choir. The Southern Flute Festival’s fourth edition featured the internationally renowned Brazilian flutist Rogerio Wolf, president of the Brazilian Flute Association, professor of flute at Faculdade Cantareira, São Paulo Municipal Music School, and Baccarelli Institute.


The 2018 Southern Miss Clarinet Day

Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Jacqueline McIlwain

Awarded |  $750

2018 Southern Miss Clarinet Day 

Clarinet extraordinaire, Dr. Ben Redwine, was the featured guest for the 2018 Southern Miss Clarinet Day. Dr. Redwine performed with the Southern Miss Jazz Lab Band, under the direction of Professor Larry Panella, director of jazz studies at Southern Miss, taught a master class, and conducted a clinic on clarinet equipment. Dr. Redwine recently retired after 27 years in the U.S. military band system and four years as Assistant Professor of Clarinet at The Catholic University of America, and is known throughout the country for his inspiring classical and jazz performances.



Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Jay Dean

Awarded |  $500


FestivalSouth returned with an unprecedented line-up of events, performances, and presentations that celebrated Mississippi’s 200th anniversary. Now in its eighth season, The Hattiesburg Concert Association presented Mississippi’s only multi-week, multi-genre festival, with events that showcased the area’s rich creative economy. A champion of the arts, FestivalSouth has expanded to include everything from a film and lecture series to food and craft beer experiences, with a dynamic core of art, dance, music, and theatre—making Hattiesburg a cultural destination. Many students, faculty and staff from Southern Miss had the chance to be involved and perform throughout the festival.


The 2017-18 Symphony Orchestra Season

Faculty Sponsor | Dr. Jay Dean/ Dr. Michael Miles

Awarded | $5,500

 USM Symphony Orchestra

The 98th season saw the venerable symphony perform and continue to “Bring the World to Mississippi.” Opening with Continental Connections featuring Respighi’s Pines of Rome, and world famous Russian violinist, Alexandre Brussilovsky, performing Brahms’ Violin Concerto. Another season highlight included the Future Stars Concert featuring Richard Strauss’s fabulous Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, as well as winners of the annual William T. Gower Concerto Competition. The season culminated with the Mississippi premiere of Puccini’s last, and most spectacular opera, Turandot.


Southern Arena Theatre

Faculty Sponsor | Louis Rackoff

Awarded | $3,000


Southern Arena Theatre (SAT) returned for its 41stseason at Southern Miss with two classic plays, and after a wildly successful inaugural run last summer, the Improv Comedy Club delighted SAT fans throughout the Gulf South. Repertoire included Boeing Boeing, an international hit, and Ira Levin’s Deathtrap.  The Improv Comedy Club’s presentation of Improvaganza provided an evening of theatre improv, sketch comedy and comic relief. Trained by resident company Skip the Script, the club’s performers delighted audiences with only a few loose scenarios and prompts. 


Galileo by Bertolt Brecht

Faculty Sponsor | Louis Rackoff

Awarded | $2,000

USM Theatre 2017-18 Season 

Students and faculty in the Theatre program prepared for an exciting season of storytelling and adventure in the form of Greek mythology, magicians, race and religion, classic playwrights and more. The final production of the fall season was Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Charles Laughton and edited by Eric Bentley. In the Age of Reason, Galileo teaches a new science—that the Earth moves around the sun. His discoveries bring him into conflict with the church and lead to a critical moment in history. Written by one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century, epic in scale, Galileo is startling in its contemporary relevance. 


Annual Membership Party

Partners for the Arts Membership Party