From revolution to fairy tales: the dean’s expectations for 2013-2014

CALTABIANO: Dean of the Jordan College of the ArtsThe Butler Collegian: What changes, big or small, should art students expect this year from JCA?

Caltabiano: One thing is that I have asked for more contact with students. I’ve asked for meetings with students from each program in both semesters.
Mostly, the contact I get now is from going to performances, and you really don’t get a chance to talk to people with that. I sort of know what students are doing, but I don’t really understand those concerns.
We are also beginning efforts to do programming specifically for high school students.
(Another thing is) the theatre department will be doing matinees this year as well as evening performances.
And then, later in the year, when we do “A Soldier’s Tale,” that will also have a high school outreach component.
Another change that people will notice in music is that music, for the first time, will have a ticket price for ensembles when they are in the Schrott Center. What we have figured out is a very low-cost, low-price ticket all around.

There are a couple of special things happening in theatre. We have the famous British actor Tim Hardy coming back.
He’ll be doing a performance of his piece, “Galileo,” but he’s also directing the first mainstage theatre department performance in Schrott, “Romeo and Juliet.”

BC: Can you talk a bit about this year’s ArtsFest?

RC: I can’t wait. The theme for 2014 is “Fables, Fairy Tales and Physics.”
That’s an interesting collection of things, of topics there, but the theme arose kind of organically by circumstance.
The thought process was that we wanted something that was, at least at first blush, lighter than the idea of revolution from last year. The physics part came in when we started to talk about the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, (which) wanted to be part of ArtsFest this year.
They had this idea for a program they wanted to do at Schrott, about music and science.
Some things we have on this year: the dance department was already scheduled to do “Cinderella,” and there is, wrapped up in one, a fable and a fairy tale. We’re doing Igor Stravinsky’s “A Soldier’s Tale,” which is a collaboration of music, dance and theatre. The orchestra is bringing in a guest soprano—the contract hasn’t been signed, so I can’t tell you who she is, but she’s quite a famous lady—and the theatre department is doing a Russian fairy tale play called “The Two Maples.”
Something new about the festival this year is that it will be free for Jordan College of the Arts students.

BC: What do you see as JCA’s biggest success last year?

RC: I would say that our biggest success was coming together to produce ArtsFest.
We had 90 percent of JCA students involved and 90 faculty and staff involved across campus.
That we managed to produce ArtsFest with all of those different people and open the Schrott Center at the same time was, I think, a pretty great achievement for the college.

BC: What was your greatest disappointment from last year?

RC: There wasn’t much to be disappointed at. I’m an impatient New Yorker, and I always want things to move as fast as possible.
I’m impressed at Butler that we move as fast as we do, and, at JCA, the faculty are so open to change that I sometimes wish we could move faster.
But we understand that we need to deliberate and talk things out fully.

BC: Where do you see the art program moving this year?

RC: The art program is now quite firmly established. This year, Elizabeth Mix starts her first semester as chair, and Steve Nyktas is a permanent faculty member, so we’re back up to full speed.
This is the real launching point of that program. From here, we can move forward.
It can grow as quickly as we let it, so it’s important for us to develop the art program in a steady way. We can’t let it explode.
Simultaneously, we’ve got to continue to improve the space.
Facilities is probably the biggest challenge to that program.
We’re doing okay, but we need to make the Jordan College Annex even more useful for our students.
In comparison to what other universities have to offer, I think we can do better.

BC: Is there anything else you want to say to arts students before we begin the year?

RC: We can become better artists by working with each other than we can by working separately.

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