Hello, my name is Matthew Shaftel, Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Ohio University. And I'm absolutely thrilled about what we have to share with you today. You wouldn't be here if you didn't already know that the Ohio College of Fine Arts is different than any other school. We aren't just different because we have nine nationally ranked programs. We are different because we believe that the power of the arts should be harnessed to transform and serve the people in communities around us. The College of Fine Arts supportive environment provides the foundation for your personal and creative growth. No matter what your major is or where your career takes you. As a future Fine Arts graduate, you'll carry with you the experiences of our highly diverse, inclusive and welcoming learning community. We are a family that champions mutual support, and the development of everyone's potential to create positive change. Each of our colleges six schools, dance, film, theater, music, art plus design, and interdisciplinary arts is distinct. In each have world class faculty artists ready to work with you in your creative practice on stage, in the studio, and on screen and in the field. From day one, our students are provided the resources, facilities, training and access needed to thrive. But we aren't just six schools, our college and our students are integrated into every aspect of our community. From the tantrum professional theater, to the Athena art house cinema, the Kennedy Museum of Art and well beyond. We offer professional experiences for our students in real world settings. And with our new one year master's degrees in arts administration, art education, theater, education, community dance, and soon our degree in arts and health, we offer both a bachelor's degree and our career oriented master's degree in five years or less, with the same unique Ohio tuition guarantee plus, from the start are celebrated award winning faculty, as well as our academic and career advisors will assist you in mapping your journey toward a successful first year, and a path to a graduation, a career and a lifetime of success. In fact, almost 90% of our alumni since 1950, report that their Ohio fine arts education prepare them for success. And several of our majors continue to have 100% job placement. Some of the most famous artists in today's world our oh you alumni. Indeed our alumni are found on Broadway on TV and professional dance companies, top performance ensembles, leading major arts organizations, and in every major Contemporary Art Museum in the country, the arts matter. Collectively, we have seen just how essential the arts can be in surviving our present global challenges, from virtual concerts to collaborations online, and performances that help us understand one another. The arts benefit human mental and physical health, and can function as a catalyst and bringing people together, even from a distance. As you spend time with us today, I asked you to imagine what it would be like to join our College of Fine Arts community, to work together to maximize your potential, and to work with us to transform our community and our world through the power of creativity. Next up, you'll be hearing from our Assistant Dean, Maureen Wagner and some of our students. I'm sure they'll answer some of your questions. But if you think of anything, anything along the way, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to help you find the best path towards your career in the arts.
Thanks so much, Dean, Shaftel. Hi, I'm Sheldon Andrus, and I'm really excited to be with you today. When I was a student here at Ohio University, I had tons of great professors, mentors, people who really took the time to pull me aside and set me straight. And I get to sit down today with one of my favorite people here at the university in the College of Fine Arts. And that's our Assistant Dean, Maureen Wagner.
Hi, Sheldon, thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here.
We're a little socially distant here. But that's okay. But we have a lot to talk to you today about the College of Fine Arts. There's a lot for you to learn. And there's no better person for our students to connect with then our system dean of students and that's marine and so Marine, I guess let's start from the very beginning because when you think of a College of Fine Arts, your first thought is dance studios, music spaces, theaters, kind of like the one we're sitting in the forum theater here. What's a typical classroom look like in the college?
Well, I would say that there's probably nothing typical about a classroom the College of Fine Art It could be a theatre could be a location for your film. It could be your art studio, it could be your acting studio. It could be Memorial Auditorium. It could be the trestle in a gallery, or the print shop or the ceramics shop. What we do is do things, right. So your hands on, you're getting sweaty, you're getting dirty, you're making messes, you're making mistakes, you're making good work. But from day one, at Ohio University and the College of Fine Arts, you are working in your field, the same field that you've been working on this whole time.
That's exciting. I think one of the things I've heard said a lot around the college is like the process is messy, but it's all worth it in the end. Definitely, definitely true. So you talked about, you know, first day, I'm a freshman coming in first year student do I get to get in studios do I get to paint and or am there a bunch of prerequisite classes I have to take.
So when you start when you come to orientation, and you work with your orientation, visor, and we pick your fall semester schedule, if you're a dance major, you are going to be in dance classes. From the very beginning, if you're an art major, you're going to take foundations, courses in art. So you're going to be taking all of the things that you need to take as a cohort learning together to get you prepared for the next classes. But you're acting classes, your music classes, your dance classes, your film classes, you're making, you're editing, you're producing, and you're creating from the very beginning, not only are you having that experience for yourself, but you're developing that cohort with your colleagues, your studio mates, and the friends that are going to help you get a job for the rest of your life.
I love that hands on from day one. You talked a little bit about faculty, some amazing talent, crazy, talented human beings that work here. I'm blown away all the time. Are these who what are these people? Like? Are they people who spent their lives studying books about this stuff? Are they artists who've come back to college and work Tell me a little bit about like, what it would be like or who or a character profile so to speak of a faculty member faculty in the College of Fine Arts are working professionals who are exhibiting and performing and making films all around the world. They are industry leaders in education, and in best practices. They are researchers, they are teachers. And they are drawn to the work of being an teaching artist because they enjoy teaching as much as they enjoy making. So the teaching in the making come hand in hand. And that's really important because there are some people who are great artists, and there's some people who are great teachers. And here on the College of Fine Arts We are so fortunate that our faculty are actually both.
I know for a lot of you watching with us today and joining us virtually you may be interested in multiple disciplines across the arts. And that's fair, that's totally normal here, okay. Don't think of something of that is weird. I'm curious, the Marine, what do you think? Are the opportunities for students to work across disciplines? Like if I'm an artist, do I only get to paint do I do I only get to do sculpture? Are there opportunities for me to branch outside of that in my studies,
So when you start at Ohio University, and you are so excited, right, you are here because you are drawn to a particular form, often you will find that that form is a springboard into something else, or you need to add something else. So you might be making a really interesting ceramic piece. But you might think this would be interesting if it could also make sound and you might need to consult with some friends in music. And because we're in the College of Fine Arts and because we have everything you need to do the making that you want to make, you're going to find it here. So we're big enough to have the tools and the resources that you want, and to explore and to research and to do your individual practice, but small enough so that our network of faculty and staff, and lab technicians are here to connect you where you need to be connected. It's really a rich and wonderful place to do the making that you're going to make.
So we talked a little bit about those, you know, that multidisciplinary approach being a good career. It's been good for career exposure, talk, talk to us a little bit about chances for internships, professional work, you hit you talked a little bit about it with professors going out and bringing their students with us. But what's their real like? What are opportunities for me to do internships and professional practicums as I get closer to graduation,
So in your very first year as a music education major or music therapy major, you're probably going to be spending some time working in the field. No matter What your discipline is in the College of Fine Art, you are going to start having opportunities to get hands on experience, whether it's through a professional internship, or practical experience from your very first semester. And that's important, because sometimes it takes several iterations to figure out what it is you want to do, right? So if you're interested in music education, you might think, Hey, I really like the younger kids, I really like Kindergarteners through third grades, then you might get some experience and say, oh, wow, I didn't realize Middle School is it for me, this is my this is my population, our music therapy students also will often find that there's a specific population that really speaks to them, and that they really enjoy working with through that experience. So it's super important in all of our fields for students to get hands on experience, while they are figuring it out, right, so that you don't get to graduation, and then figure it out. We're figuring it out. As we go through the guarantee plus, and through our relationship with the career and Leadership Development Center, every step of your way, you are going to have opportunities to have a maybe it's not a full internship, maybe it's not a big experience. But you might have a weekend, you might have an opportunity to go and be an assistant with one of your faculty members, when they're installing work at a major exhibition facility. They're going to take the people that they trust to handle their work, the people that they trust to handle their work, or the people that they know are well trained. The people that they trust are well trained are their own students, because they've done the training themselves. So that sort of opportunity presents itself regularly. So we encourage our students to be sure that you're making excellent connections with both your faculty, guests, artists, visiting artists and each other. Because these opportunities come up. And sometimes a weekend load in loadout crew at Memorial Auditorium for the performing art series might turn into a summer internship. So it's really important to keep your eyes open, and to keep your heart open. Because you're going to find it, you're going to find it here at Ohio University.
It's not a secret that Athens is sort of off the beaten path, one might consider it you know, as you said, nestled in the foothills. How does that play into who comes to campus visiting artists? guest lecturers, talk to us a little bit about who I would see as a student kind of coming to Athens and do they come to Athens or do we need to go up to Columbus or Cleveland or Cincinnati in order to see these people.
Every day, every weekend, every moment there is something to see and do here in Athens, right through the Kennedy Museum of Art at the Athena cinema uptown, in student galleries and student theaters, there's always work being made, there's always an opportunity to hear a concert, hear a band, whatever it is that you want to do. One of the really unique and interesting things about Athens is when we have guests come in guests, artists, visiting artists, lectures, scholars that come to work with our students. They're here on campus, right? We are not in a large metropolitan area, they don't fly in and then fly out. They're here on campus. They're right here with us. So if you go to the International Film and Video festival, you are probably going to be having coffee at the coffee place. That's right next to the film house, which is going to be the exact same place where all of the International filmmakers, producers, actors, directors are also having their coffee. So because we're in this small spot, we're concentrated, and that gives you access, right? It gives you access in ways that you don't expect. So the International Film and Video festival is a great example of during the festival week, you are going to bump into incredible artists from all over the world who are doing the same thing you're doing who enjoyed the same thing that you want to do. It's a great way to have a conversation. It's a great way to learn and grow. That's just one tiny example. Right? All of our guests, artists that come in to spend time with our students leave feeling like they want to come back. Athens, Ohio and Ohio University are a special place and the College of Fine Arts is really the glue that holds it together.
So I wasn't in college that long ago, believe it or not. And there's a little there's a little bit of an adjustment that comes from high school, moving into a residential campus living on campus, commuting to campus. It's a lot to take in right off the bat. And in addition to your classwork and the organizations you'll become a part of how does the College of Fine Arts in Ohio University supports students in that transaction that transitions are the
College of Fine Arts has a fabulous partnership with the first year learning communities Learning Communities at Ohio University are an incredibly valuable structure for our first year students to come in and figure out how to be a university student, not just the How do I use the library part, although Aldean library is very important, and that's a great place to start. But also, how do you how to figure out the dining hall? How to, you know, how do you want to where do you want to live? How do you want to meet other people? What is the structure for that? It's hard, right? Because when you come to college, you have all of these ideas about what college is going to be. And then you have the reality of doing it. In the College of Fine Arts, we have designed a learning community structure so that our students get to meet other artists. So learning communities, sometimes on other places on campus, it's major specific, ours is college specific, so that your first year learning community class is going to have some filmmakers in it, it's going to have some dancers in it, some musicians, some theater students, some Production Design Technology students, some art history students, some visual artists, some graphic designers. And that's a really important mix, right? Because we're building your toolbox, and people and resources and knowledge and experience as part of the tools and resources that are going to make your educational experience extend from the beginning of your first year, long after you graduate. So that first year cohort in that first year learning experience where we can be together as a community and talk about things like what is the word practice mean in your field? And what does rehearsal mean? And what does this mean? And what does that mean? Because a lot of times we use the same vocabulary, but it means different things. So it's important for us to be able to learn those differences, hear those differences, and respond to them. It's a great rich way to understand all of the resources that you have at Ohio University. So it's not uncommon at all for my dance students, right for our dance students to meet someone in their first year learning community and they eat at Lincoln, or they live in Lincoln together, and they eat at Jeff together. And you know, they play frisbee golf on the green and it's great. And they're like, Oh, this is fun learning community is great. And two years later, when that dance student is choreographing a work, and they need original music, the person that they're going to ask to make that composition is that friend that they met in their first year learning community. The film students who are looking for actors or who are looking for someone to make a poster for them, nine times out of 10, they are going to reach out to that friend that they met in learning community. So our first year experience is so rich with students getting right into their major, our majors are small, you're going to form a nice tight cohort within your major. So we use our learning community to extend that network a little bit. So you understand all of the art making parts. modern artists tend to not just be one thing. So there tend to be a lot of things and they want to be able to have a side hustle over here and do this project over here. And having a lot of exposure to a lot of different kinds of folks, in a lot of different ways. helps make that happen.
Agreed. I, my closest friends to this day, I met most likely in the first three weeks of being here just to this day, we still talk all the time. I'm in their weddings, godfather their kids like this is what you're saying is absolutely exactly how it goes. Talk to us a little bit about we talked about the ability to be multidisciplinary. We talked about transitioning into college, we've talked about professors and how important they are and how their work informs our work. And we can do that together. We've talked about the collaborative nature of all of this talk to us about the outcome. What are the success stories? What happens after I get my theater degree or my music degree from Ohio? What happens to students who are studying art and dance? Where are they working? What are they doing? How are they using all of this experience that they've gained?
So a lot of our students upon graduation have internships have jobs already. Music Therapy, students, music education students into your architecture students often go directly into the field, right? The way they're set up, they know this is what they want. That is a direct line. We have a lot of other students who are very successful and go into many, many different fields. Not because of what they studied, but because of the way they studied. When you study in the College of Fine Arts, yes, you have great craft skills. And yes, you can develop characters. And yes, you can do all of these very technical things. But when you study through the arts, you also learn how to solve problems creatively, work with other people communicate ideas, and information in multiple formats, meet deadlines, like there's not a job in the world that doesn't require these skills. So our students leave equipped to do the thing that they want to do. And often, our students will go into very traditional sort of fields, you are an actor, you move to Chicago, you moved to New York, you moved to Atlanta, I moved to London, and you work, right. And that's great. That's wonderful. And there's nothing wrong with that. Certainly, we're very proud of those students. But what makes us super happy, is when our students make work for one another. And they don't wait for someone else to give them a job. Because we believe in the transformational power of an arts education means that you don't need that you can do it yourself, if that's what you want to do. Other people choose other paths. So our whole idea in philosophy is to make sure that you have all of the paths open for you to choose from. And that's really important. Because you don't want to be so locked in that you only have one option. Right? We We hope our students have a lot of options. We know our students have a lot of options. And sometimes they take all of the tools and resources that we've given them, and they go in and completely different direction. And that's okay, too. Right? So for example, I'm thinking about Michael Cordy. Right. Michael Cordy is a student you know, Michael Cordy, was an acting student and is now a giant musical producer, right? We didn't expect that from him, except for we did, because we saw him developing relationships, and creating and making great things happen while he was here.
I think the and this is probably one of the one of the last questions is, you know, there may be you may be watching this today. And you may just be exploring all of the options that you have been presented to you as a talented student. And you may be wondering, why Ohio, I know I I'm very interested in the arts and in the arts community, I'm looking for one that I can belong to Dean Wagner, I'm curious if you could talk a little bit about why an artist would choose Ohio.
Students are going to come to Ohio University for many reasons. It's beautiful here. Athens is a gorgeous campus. And that is a wonderful reason to come to Athens, Ohio, I love it here. I live here it is beautiful. There, there's something very unique and special about Athens. And Athens is a college town. And it's hard to articulate sometimes, but it's the reason why you should. And the reason is, is because we are this fabulous supportive network that is really interested in you, and your voice, and how your voice changes our choir. There are so many different ways to approach making a college decision. And there are lots and lots and lots of things that make colleges similar and colleges different. Here at Ohio University, where you will be surrounded by faculty and staff who are invested in your success, who are invested in watching you grow and develop as an artist who are more proud of your work than they are of their own. That's important. That gives you space to succeed far beyond your wildest current dreams. And that gives you space to fail. And I know that that sounds crazy, and I'm sure your parents just cringed a little bit because I said the fail word, right? But it's so important to be able to take risks. Because when we take risks, and we make mistakes, we learn and we grow. And here, I trust that you can do that in a space that is going to pick you back up when you fall down and is going to correct you when you say the wrong thing. And is going to help you develop and learn and grow into the artists that is going to change our world. And that's what I'm interested in. I'm interested in the change that you're going to make, because it's going to be great.
Wagner, thank you so much. Coming up next you're going to hear from one of my favorite people, one of our current students.
Hi, my name is Ria Vahi. I'm an international student from India. And I'm a senior BFA in dance performance and choreography major and I'm pursuing a certificate in social media. It was a long kind of research for me to find the best school that would give a degree in performance and choreography and the reason that I chose it Higher was because the curriculum included history of modern dance and history of ballet. And then there's African dance, there's hip hop, there's jazz. And there's so much more to modern and just performance and choreography in general. So I think School of Dance has provided this holistic experience for me that has just led to my growth as an overall artist, and not in just performance and choreography. Being an international student, it's kind of hard because I came from a completely different dance background. And I really wanted to study what the dance industry is in the US. So back in 2018, I decided to do some internships with dance companies in New York. And I think the School of Dance was the one that actually helped me make it possible. The School of Dance is such a small community in itself that everyone knows everyone, it was just so warm and so welcome that I literally whenever I think of all you, I can think of all the rehearsals that I've been in all the performances that I've been a part of, and the rush of just being in front of an audience. I think that is the biggest highlight of my experience at Ohio University. I think COVID has made us realize that artists are resilient. They're very adaptable, they're very open to change. If a problem exists, they will find a way around them. And I think artists are already designed that way. Don't be scared, as intimidating as coming to college might sound I think o u is a place that will make you feel warm. I felt like I belonged. I felt like I made the right decision. So again, don't be scared, it's gonna seem intimidating. But once you're here, I think everything will make sense. And you will feel welcome.
My name is Cody Gue, I am a junior music education student. And I'm from South Pointe, Ohio. So I came to college pretty much with no idea what to do. I was a first generation student. So Marine, my advisor was a really good part of me just figuring out what I needed to do whenever I got here. A really cool thing about the school music is that they give everybody the option to explore kind of all the different modes and music. So you can either you know, do education, you can do performance, you can do composition, really whatever you want. So whenever I got here, they were definitely really accepting to us not knowing exactly what we wanted to do with music, just knowing that we wanted to do music, really good class that I take, and I have to take it every semester as my trumpet studio. It's being around a bunch of people who are like me, and they enjoy playing the same instrument as me enjoy making music with me. So it's great being there and making music with people who also want to do the same thing. I think most of my highlights have come from probably student orientation and being in the learning community. So at orientation, I met my entire friend group and we made a group chat right there on the spot. And in that group chat, we it's kind of been my group ever since I've gotten here, my learning community leader gave me a lot of information about what there was within the College of Fine Arts to go to like the events, and all the resources, the libraries, all the specific things that are specifically for fine arts majors. And in the learning community, I was just able to find even more people within my major that became my group from the start. It's kind of just showing that even though we're all different, and we're making different kinds of art, we're all really the same as well. I would definitely encourage you know how university students who join a learning community, I think that was the best option for me, it gave me all of my friends gave me that sense of belonging, check everywhere out and make sure you take a walk on the campus and just get a feeling for what it feels like because once you're here, you know that it's where you're supposed to be.
I am Victoria Menendez and I am a junior in the School of theater, and I'm an acting major, and I'm from Woodbridge, New Jersey, when I first was accepted to Ohio University, I had never even been to Ohio before I saw that not only was oh you an amazing place for creative people, there's a lot of activities outside of campus that are creative. And there's a lot of amazing people that decide to come to Athens because it has a very specific culture, as well as the opportunity to meet people outside of the arts that could inform my work. I always loved performance. But I knew that there was more that I wanted to do. And my first year in the theater program, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of productions and in a different number of shops and learn kind of every aspect of theatre, which not only gave me an appreciation for my collaborators, but it also showed me that I can do multiple things involved in theater. There's a lot of great organizations that are related to my theater major specifically. There's madness and soup shows which are opportunities where people in the playwriting programs can collaborate with those in the performance programs to produce new works and kind of workshop things that they're currently working on. Another great and new program is vibrancy theater, it's a theatre collective that focuses on creating space for bipoc artists. A really lovely thing about the School of theater is that we work with grad students as well. And amazing professors and advisors that are also super passionate about the work. I think it's really helpful to have people who have that real world experience and can I don't know people that you can admire and work with any advice. For someone who is attending, oh, you next fall, it would be to explore Athens. I think outside of the EU, there's also a ton of opportunities to kind of find yourself and take space to figure out what's going on in your head and let that inform what you create. There's so many different things that can create theater, not everything has to be going and making an assignment and turning that in for class. Athens is really a place where creative people come together and I think that's one of the awesome things about being here.