Faculty Achievements

The faculty at FAA are dedicated to the advancement, practice, and understanding of the arts. Their central focus is the synergy among research, public engagement, and the preparation of students for lives in the environmental, visual, and performing arts. Deeply related to that focus is the commitment to elevate and sustain the study of the arts as both a necessary mode of understanding and a vibrant expression of human experience within the local, national, and international communities. We've compiled some of their recent awards and accomplishments in research.

Cynthia Oliver
Cynthia Oliver, PhD, Professor, Department of Dance and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation

Cynthia Oliver Receives U.S. Artists Fellowship

Cynthia Oliver Receives U.S. Artists Fellowship

Dance professor Cynthia Oliver was one of 60 United States Artists Fellows selected for 2021 and one of five fellows in the field of dance. This competitive fellowship is awarded to recognize the accomplishments of artists across ten creative disciplines. Fellows receive a $50,000 unrestricted cash award to support their artistic and professional development. A celebrated choreographer and performer, Oliver has danced with several professional companies before joining the faculty at Illinois including the David Gordon Pick Up Co., the Bebe Miller Company, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, and Tere O’Connor Dance. Oliver’s work is a blend of dance theatre and spoken word that incorporates Caribbean performance with African and American forms. 

Cynthia Oliver
Cynthia Oliver, PhD, Professor, Department of Dance and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation

Kathryn Anthony
Kathryn Anthony, PhD, ACSA Distinguished Professor, School of Architecture

Kathryn Anthony Awarded 2021 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion

Kathryn Anthony Awarded 2021 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion

Kathryn Anthony was awarded the 2021 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) awards this honor to individuals for their demonstrated dedication to the education of and their influence on architecture students. An ACSA Distinguished Professor and the longest serving female faculty member, Anthony amplified the conversation about how spaces and places affect people – chiefly addressing issues of gender and diversity in design.

Kathryn Anthony
Kathryn Anthony, PhD, ACSA Distinguished Professor, School of Architecture

Susan Becker, assistant professor in the School of Art and Design, Terri Ciofalo, director of production at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Jorge Lucero, associate professor and Chair of Art Education in the School of Art and Design, and John Boesche, faculty member of the Department of Theatre specializing in media design
From top left to right: Susan Becker, Assistant Professor, School of Art and Design; John Boesche, Associate Professor, Media Design, Department of Theatre; Terri Ciofalo, Director of Production at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre; Jorge Lucero, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair of Art Education, School of Art and Design.

FAA Researchers Awarded Funding for Two Arts CO+RE Program Projects

FAA Researchers Awarded Funding for Two Arts CO+RE Program Projects

The Arts CO+RE (Community + Research Partnership) Program, launched just last year, is strengthening relationships between University of Illinois researchers, artists, and community members. The creative local arts community is still in the process of recovering and moving forward from the ongoing pandemic. These exciting new projects support local artists and showcase the creativity and vibrancy of our diverse and talented community. 

The multidisciplinary research team of CETACEAN (The Whale): The 6th Performance in the Unreliable Bestiary will use collected, recycled plastic to create a full-scale blue whale skeleton built by local students and student-led organizations. This multi year communal process will culminate in a public performance that will include music, a live chorus, costumed performers, and a large-scale video projection while the 110-foot-long whale skeleton is suspended “swimming” through the air of the University of Illinois Stock Pavilion. Among the research team is Susan Becker, assistant professor in the School of Art and Design, Terri Ciofalo, director of production at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Jorge Lucero, associate professor and Chair of Art Education in the School of Art and Design, and John Boesche, faculty member of the Department of Theatre specializing in media design.

The Disability Aware Cities project that incorporates public art, oral history, and storytelling will engage and spotlight members of the arts and disability communities. The research team will pilot a public art project that exposes pre-health professional students to the lived experience and embodied understanding of disability which will support and promote artists and individuals with disabilities living in Urbana-Champaign. The project furthers the university’s mission of discovery, engagement, and innovative learning by prioritizing learning through first-hand experience in sustainable and equitable partnerships. “UIUC has a large number of students with disabilities, more than 3,000 registered with Disability Resources & Education (DRES) and likely many more who are not registered, so it’s critical to develop programming in support of that community, in support of their voices and their experiences,” shared Liza Silvestre, multimedia artist, curator of academic programs at Krannert Art Museum, and project lead. The research team will work with students and community members to identify sites on campus and in Urbana to create an oral history or subjective storytelling that explores the experiences of a person who has a disability. Sylvestre added, “We’re excited for the Arts CO+RE support, and it comes at an important time. We have the chance to explore what art should become in thinking about long-term access and how the pandemic has forced us to reckon with what access is and what access should be.”

Susan Becker, assistant professor in the School of Art and Design, Terri Ciofalo, director of production at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Jorge Lucero, associate professor and Chair of Art Education in the School of Art and Design, and John Boesche, faculty member of the Department of Theatre specializing in media design
From top left to right: Susan Becker, Assistant Professor, School of Art and Design; John Boesche, Associate Professor, Media Design, Department of Theatre; Terri Ciofalo, Director of Production at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre; Jorge Lucero, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair of Art Education, School of Art and Design.

Presidential Initiative: Expanding the Impact of the Arts and the Humanities

Presidential Initiative: Expanding the Impact of the Arts and the Humanities

Now in its second year of system-wide funding, this presidential initiative is providing up to $2 million in support of proposals that will expand the impact of the arts and the humanities. FAA-affiliated faculty are involved in the following four proposals that received funding this year totaling $619,000. 

Karyn Sandlos and Jorge Lucero
Karyn Sandlos, PhD, Associate Professor, Art Education Coordinator, Department of Art and Art History, UIC and Jorge Lucero, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair of Art Education, School of Art and Design. UIUC

Cripping the Arts Karyn Sandlos (UIC) and Jorge Lucero (UIUC)

Cripping the Arts—Karyn Sandlos (UIC) and Jorge Lucero (UIUC)

Cripping the Arts will build an art-focused collaboration to allow students, faculty, and disabled community members across the U of I System to take advantage of the well-recognized educational opportunities for people with disabilities at universities in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago. The project will begin with an exhibition in Chicago and Urbana-Champaign that will serve as the launch point for new community partnerships, teacher training, and artist residencies. Project leaders plan to transform spaces dedicated to the arts as well as art education and studio practice through new ideas about disability. Students from UIUC and UIC will be involved in all stages of programming.

Karyn Sandlos and Jorge Lucero
Karyn Sandlos, PhD, Associate Professor, Art Education Coordinator, Department of Art and Art History, UIC and Jorge Lucero, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair of Art Education, School of Art and Design. UIUC
Jennifer Novak-Leonard, Andrew Greenlee, and Magdalena Novoa
Left to right: Jennifer Novak-Leonard, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Department of Urban & Regional Planning; Andrew Greenlee, Associate Professor, Department of Urban & Regional Planning; Magdalena Novoa, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Urban & Regional Planning

Informing and Enabling Illinois’ Arts Ecosystem Jennifer Novak-Leonard, Andrew Greenlee, and Magdalena Novoa (UIUC)

Informing and Enabling Illinois’ Arts Ecosystem—Jennifer Novak-Leonard, Andrew Greenlee, and Magdalena Novoa (UIUC)

This arts-focused project will highlight the impact of the arts in communities around the state and help identify factors that can better support the arts and artists in different regions. The project intends to help propel the newly launched Arts Impact Initiative within the UIUC College of Fine and Applied Arts in collaboration with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. The project also will include a series of public forums, along with generating a series of evidence- and data-driven issue briefs and an applied workshop course in Urban and Regional Planning that will pilot curricula that explores how arts and artists are a part of community development.

Jennifer Novak-Leonard, Andrew Greenlee, and Magdalena Novoa
Left to right: Jennifer Novak-Leonard, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Department of Urban & Regional Planning; Andrew Greenlee, Associate Professor, Department of Urban & Regional Planning; Magdalena Novoa, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Urban & Regional Planning
Gabriel Solis and Terri Ciofalo
Gabriel Solis, PhD, Head, Department of Theatre and Terri Ciofalo, Director of Production at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre

The Neverland, or “Why Are there American Indians in Peter Pan?”: A Collaborative Work on New Theatre – Gabriel Solis and Terri Ciofalo (UIUC)

The Neverland, or “Why Are there American Indians in Peter Pan?”: A Collaborative Work on New Theatre – Gabriel Solis and Terri Ciofalo (UIUC)

The project’s leaders plan to produce a new work of theater, The Neverland by Madeline Sayet, executive director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program, in spring 2022. Sayet will serve a residency as a guest artist as part of the project. The play will be designed, performed, managed and studied by UIUC students and faculty, leading to the production of undergraduate and graduate research. The goal of this project is to substantially increase knowledge and understanding about Indigenous performance. Please see page 6 for the full story.

Gabriel Solis and Terri Ciofalo
Gabriel Solis, PhD, Head, Department of Theatre and Terri Ciofalo, Director of Production at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre

Africana World Studies at UIUC and UIC

Africana World Studies at UIUC and UIC

Teresa Barnes, Maimouna Barro, Mary Gathogo, Erik McDuffie, Tekita Bankhead and Sam Smith (UIUC); and Lynette Jackson and Kirk Hoppe (UIC)

The development of a joint Africana World studies project on the UIC and UIUC campuses will help break down long-standing academic silos of African studies and African-American studies. Through a three-semester sequence, the project is expected to lead students to new opportunities for language learning and community engagement, and it will impact the curriculum at both universities. The project leaders anticipate that the primary participants will be undergraduate students.

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