A motivational actor and wounded U.S. Army veteran, productions of “The Nutcracker” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and a rising star on the Caribbean music scene highlight the University of the Ozarks’ 2019-20 Walton Arts & Ideas Series.
The theme for the upcoming series is “Art in Motion,” and the lineup will feature six engaging and captivating events throughout he academic year. The public is invited to attend all the events and there is open, general seating and no fees or tickets required for admission.
The Walton Arts & Ideas Series, in its 27th season, is made possible through an endowment by the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.
The 2019-20 lineup:
Sept. 19, 2019
7 p.m., Rogers Conference Center
Jose Rene “J.R.” Martinez, an American actor, author, motivational speaker and wounded U.S. Army soldier, will speak on “Facing Adversity with Optimism and Resilience.” In March of 2003, Martinez was deployed to Iraq and one month later he sustained severe burns to over 34 percent of his body when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb. Since his recovery, Martinez has since become a highly sought-after motivational speaker. He has traveled around the country speaking about his experiences to corporations, veteran’s groups, schools and other organizations. Martinez began his acting career on the Emmy Award winning daytime drama “All My Children.” Since then he’s appeared on numerous television shows. Many remember best him as the Season 13 champion on “Dancing with the Stars.” He is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit.” Martinez serves as a spokesperson for Operation Finally Home, as well as for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, and Glasswing International.
Institute of Jugglology
Oct. 17, 2019
7 p.m., Walton Fine Arts Center
Based in Fayetteville, AR, the Institute of Jugglology is where the science of juggling and the art of performance meet. Arkansas native Galen Harp juggles to get out what’s inside. His performances explore the interaction between humans and objects. Humans are object manipulators, constantly moving things around to suit their needs. Juggling is a state of arrested decay: a pattern woven through time and space that is constantly falling apart only to be rebuilt in the same moment. The Institute of Jugglology’s performances create giant sand paintings using innovative juggling props filled with sand. The sand slowly spills out, creating an ethereal environment where every throw becomes a line, and every catch is a splash of color. In 2014, Harp won the world championship of juggling awarded by the International Jugglers Association. The Institute of Jugglology has been creating unbelievable juggling tricks and amazing audiences all over the United States for over a decade.
Nov. 30, 2019
7 p.m., Walton Fine Arts Center
The Western Arkansas Ballet Company will present a one-show performance of the classic Christmas story ballet, “The Nutcracker.” Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's 1816 fairy tale, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” it tells the story of a little girl who goes to the Land of Sweets on Christmas Eve. Ivan Vsevolozhsky and Marius Petipa adapted Hoffmann's story for the ballet and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed the music. Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov designed the dances. “The Nutcracker” was first performed at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, in December 1892 to a modest success. Despite the failure of its initial performance, “The Nutcracker” has become the most frequently performed of all ballets and has served as an introduction to classical music for many young people. Founded in 1979 as the Fort Smith Civic Ballet, the Western Arkansas Ballet Company is comprised of 25 members under contract for all productions with members selected from an annual open audition. Company members take class and rehearse at the Western Arkansas Ballet studios. “The Nutcracker” is in its 34th year of production by the company.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Feb. 22, 2020
7 p.m., Walton Fine Arts Center
For one night only on the U of O campus, the American Shakespeare Center on Tour will present William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Shakespeare casts a theatrical spell powerful enough to make audiences of all ages believe in anything. This mischievous comedy of lovers, heroes, fairies, and rude mechanicals is his tribute to humankind's power of imagination, and reveals that the "course of true love" can alter with just one touch of magic. The American Shakespeare Center recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. Year-round in Staunton, Virginia’s Blackfriars Playhouse — the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre — the ASC’s innovative programming and “shamelessly entertaining” (The Washington Post) productions have shared the delights of Shakespeare, modern classics and new plays with millions over the past 30 years.
Documentary: Fly Like a Girl
March 17, 2020
7 p.m., Rogers Conference Center
The directorial debut of Floridian Katie McEntire Wiatt, “Fly Like a Girl” is an award-winning, feature-length documentary about young girls and women relentlessly pursuing their passion for aviation, a field currently dominated by men. This film features first-hand stories from girls and women who dared to aim higher. From a Lego-loving young girl who includes female pilots in her toy airplanes, to a courageous woman who helped lead shuttle missions to space, “Fly Like A Girl” shows us that women are in charge of their own destiny. Wiatt is a producer/director at the Lakeland, Florida, film company, Indie Atlantic Films. Before joining Indie Atlantic Films, she was an elementary educator. It was during her time as a primary school teacher that she first developed the idea for “Fly Like a Girl.” As part of the Indie Atlantic Films team, Katie has produced, edited, and directed films for broadcast and web. Wiatt is a member of Women in Film & Television-Florida and is a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University.
April 4, 2020
6 p.m., Rogers Conference Center
Michael Brun is a Haitian DJ and record producer, known for blending electric dance music (EDM) genres such as progressive house with native Haitian styles. Born to a Haitian father and Guyanese mother who loved music, Brun’s influences stretched from the percussion-heavy Rara and Afro-groove music of his native Haiti, to Hip-hop and R and B. He played guitar and piano from a young age, and took up DJing and music production as a hobby at 16 after winning a full scholarship to attend military school in the U.S. Today, Brun has emerged as the face for a new generation of Haitians, working with international stars and home-grown musical heroes to share the richness of his island’s culture with a wider audience. His singular take on traditional Haitian sounds have caught the ears of tastemakers like Diplo and Arcade Fire, seen him land consulting work for Spotify, collaborate with superstars like J Balvin, sell out multiple headlining U.S. tours and notch up tens of millions of streams across tracks like Bayo, Soweto, Gaya and Spice. Esquire magazine said, “Michael Brun might be the biggest thing to come out of Haiti in the 21st Century.” In June, Brun released to rave reviews his new album, Lokal, a collection of contemporary Haitian music. Brun will present a talk followed by a concert at U of O.The University of the Ozarks’ music department will present a recital of classical, pop and Broadway standards by baritone Steven Field and pianist Lynn Jost at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, The concert will be held in Munger-Wilson Memorial Chapel and is free and open to the public. Field is a former high school student of U of O Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Jonathan Ledger at Osbourn High School in Manassas, Virginia. He currently works as the music department recruiter at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. In addition to working steadily as a professional opera singer in eastern Virginia, he also serves as the contemporary worship coordinator at Grace United Methodist Church in Manassas. Jost was one of the collaborative pianists at Osbourn High School when Ledger was the director of choral activities there. She continues in the role today, in addition to serving as a music associate at Grace United Methodist Church in Manassas. On Friday, May 3, Field and Jost will participate in a Q&A session with U of O music majors and minors about how life led them to their current careers in music. University of the Ozarks senior art major Stephanie Payton will present her Senior Exhibit, Atmospheric Anomalies, from May 6-18 in the Stephens Gallery. As part of her senior show, Payton will present an artist’s talk at 7 p.m., May 8, in Baldor Auditorium in the Boreham Business Building. There will also be a reception from 7-8 p.m. on May 11, in the gallery, which is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. Payton, from Hackett, Ark., is a sculptor and installation artist who creates compositions that express the idea of contrast by exploring the complexities of geometric forms in relation to organic forms. She experiments with techniques such as slip casting and sculpting with plaster. Payton said she uses art to communicate her life experiences and to express what she cannot through language. “My fascination with geometry and abstraction is based in an attempt to control forms because of an inability to control certain areas of my life,” she said. “My work is a response to dramatic changes in my life and demonstrates my inner struggle with perfectionism and control. I am drawn to geometry and simplified forms because they exemplify the possibility to dominate and minimize the complex. The soft, organic forms serve as a relief from the throes of the strict order of the geometric pieces.” Payton said Atmospheric Anomalies juxtaposes clean lines and crisp geometric forms with unconstrained organic shapes. “This contrast, both intentionally and unintentionally, manifests through form, surface detail, or color,” she said. “I simplify imagery, reducing it to abstraction, which can be seen in Domicile Disparity, in the clouds, mountains, and houses. Imagery in my work includes forms seen in nature such as cubes, spheres, and pyramidal shapes. A variety of surface textures provide contrast as is seen in Order >>> Atrophy. I favor sharp, defined lines in my structural pieces and allow loose lines to describe softer, organic forms. The color palette accentuates my aesthetic of contrast through the duality of deep black and pure white. I also use gray and slate blue to balance the color scheme, to accent or to emphasize important elements of the piece. Additionally, I vary my use of matte and glossy finishes to communicate contrast and to emphasize elements of a piece.” Payton’s three-dimensional sculptural forms use a variety of media, including plaster, plastic and wood. She primarily creates work using molds, slip casting and hand-building in clay. Her artwork is predominantly installation based. “The slip casting technique is essential because it allows me to create a repetition of forms that I arrange into diverse compositions,” Payton said. “These compositions contradict how forms traditionally interact and can cause discomfort due to the viewer’s expectations of a gallery setting and of reality itself. This concept is found in Domicile Disparity, where clouds are arranged on the floor and mountains are installed upside-down from the ceiling. To further enhance the atmosphere, I include sound and lighting effects in my work. These sectioned installations form a larger environment, which creates a gallery experience that is unified by my aesthetic of contrast, color scheme and texture.” A life-long Arkansan, Payton will graduate with honors from Ozarks on May 18. She has received several awards and scholarships which include the Amanda Alders Pike award in Art, an art scholarship from the University of the Ozarks, a scholarship from Carroll H. Rowbotham, and more. Payton also served as the president for OzArts art club. In addition, she has served as an intern at Terra Studios in Fayetteville, Arkansas, has worked with artists in Project Space at the NCECA conference and has worked as a tutor and studio assistant for several years. University of the Ozarks Theatre will wrap up its 2018-19 season with a three-show performance of A.R. Gurney’s modern comedy Sylvia on April 26, 27 and 28. The production, which contains mature language and content, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on April 26 and 27 and at 2 p.m. on April 28 and will be held in the Seay Theatre in the University’s Walton Fine Arts Center. The public is invited to attend and tickets are $8 each. Sylvia revolves around Greg and Kate, who have moved to Manhattan after 22 years of child-raising in the suburbs. Greg’s career as a financial trader is winding down, while Kate’s career, as a public-school English teacher, is beginning to offer her more opportunities. Greg brings home a dog he found in the park—or that has found him—bearing only the name “Sylvia” on her name tag. A street-smart mixture of Lab and Poodle, Sylvia becomes a major bone of contention between husband and wife. She offers Greg an escape from the frustrations of his job and the unknowns of middle age. To Kate, Sylvia becomes a rival for affection. And Sylvia thinks Kate just doesn’t understand the relationship between man and dog. The marriage is put in serious jeopardy until, after a series of hilarious and touching complications, Greg and Kate learn to compromise, and Sylvia becomes a valued part of their lives Rebecca Bailey, assistant professor of theatre, is the director of the play. The cast includes, Tiffany Quinton as Sylvia, Rhett Sells as Greg, Haley Hanks as Kate and Haley Wheeler as Tom, Phyllis and Leslie. The crew includes, Lucas Hoiland as lighting designer, Jimmy Reiner as stage manager, Petron Brown as assistant stage manager, Billy Wilburn as costume designer, Quinton as assistant costume designer, Mason Clough as set designer, Hannah Bradow as sound designer, Wheeler as graphic designer, Nichole Finch as props master, Daniel Hall as technical director, Sydney Ward as light board operator and Kenzie Lewis as sound board operator. Other crew members are, Fion Chen, Taylor McFarland, Kevin Nawa, Lacye Day, Ethan Lubera, Haley Grace Clark and the stage craft class. The New York Times said, “Dramatic literature is stuffed with memorable love scenes, but none is as immediately delicious and dizzy as the one that begins the redeeming affair in A.R. Gurney's new comedy, Sylvia…” The New York Daily News said, “I can only call it one of the most involving, beautiful, funny, touching and profound plays I have ever seen…” Backstage said, “Gurney's mad comedy is the most endearing good time to trot down the pike in many a moon. Howlingly funny…” Local musician Ryan Harmon will highlight the second First Friday in downtown Clarksville, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 3. Presented by University of the Ozarks and the Clarksville-Johnson County Chamber of Commerce, First Friday is a community event held on the corner of Main Street and the Spadra Trail. It will feature live music, a variety of food trucks and vendors as well as lawn games. There is no charge for admission and the public is invited to attend and encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Harmon is a singer-songwriter from Lamar. With musical influences like Travis Tritt, Ray Charles and Bob Seger, and lyrical influences like Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson and Roger Miller, Harmon carries on the long tradition of "three chords and the truth." Combined with a commanding stage presence and fun, lively performances, he seeks to push the boundaries of what a solo acoustic act can be. Though commonly categorized as country music, Harmon's music more specifically fits Americana, a sub-genre of country. He describes Americana by saying, "You can put Hank Williams, Bob Seger, Ray Charles and Bill Monroe all in the same room, and it makes perfect sense." In 2017, Harmon released his self-titled, debut album. Taking all modern production standards and throwing them out the window, Harmon created a stripped-down, low-fi recording that allows the songs to stand on their own, good or bad. "I hear so much stuff where it seems like they put more focus on the production than the song. I love listening to old Hank Williams or Robert Johnson records where the word 'production' didn't even come into it. Press the 'record' button, and off you go! Get a performance of the song and that's it," Harmon said. From the rocking, early Johnny Cash influenced "Hold On Sally," to the powerful "Ride The Wind," and the emotional "Find Your Heart," Harmon's songwriting focuses on real life and real people. One of the album's more prominent songs, the humorous, yet true, anthemic country heartbreak "You Left, My Dog Died, and My Heart Did Too," was featured on an NPR Music playlist of dog-themed songs in January 2018. In 2019, Harmon is continuing that same style of writing, with new music coming soon. "It doesn't matter if it's a love song, a sad song, a funny song, etc. Life throws all of those different emotions at us. As long as people can relate to it and enjoy it, I feel like I've done my job." This will be the final First Friday of the spring semester. It will start again in September when the fall semester is underway. University of the Ozarks will present The Ozarks Music Connection: The Latin American Ensemble of University of Arkansas in a concert at 7 p.m. on April 15, in Rowntree Recital Hall. The concert is sponsored by the U of O’s Division of Humanities and Fine Arts. It is open to the public and there is no cost for attendance. The Latin American Ensemble, under the direction of Fernando Valencia, features the richness and diversity of the music of Latin America and the Caribbean. The ensemble’s repertoire encompasses a wide range of styles, from old traditional forms such as Son, Danzon, Cha-Cha-Cha, and Mambo to newer music styles such as Latin Jazz and “pop” influenced music, including Salsa and Timba. A typical performance involves guest singers or instrumentalists performing the biggest hits of Latin music and music composed and/or arranged by the instructor and students. Rowntree Hall is located in the Walton Fine Arts Center on the U of O campus. For more information on the concert, please contact the University of the Ozarks’ Division of Humanities and Fine Arts Division at 979-1349. University of the Ozarks and the Clarksville-Johnson County Chamber of Commerce will present the inaugural First Friday in downtown Clarksville on Friday, April 5. The community event will be held on the corner of Main Street and the Spadra Trail and will run from 5-8:30 p.m. It will feature live music, a variety of food trucks and vendors as well as lawn games. There is no charge for admission and the public is invited to attend and encouraged to bring lawn chairs. The entertainment for the inaugural event will feature Arkansas singer-songwriter Shannon Wurst, whose musical style has been described as “indie folk country rootsy goodness.” A native of Alma who currently lives in Fayetteville, Wurst said her musical influences include Carol King, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, Alison Krauss, Elizabeth Cotton, Emmylou Harris and James Taylor. According to her website, “Blending classic country with traditional bluegrass, Wurst’s musical arrangements effortlessly push her style into new territory. This work has landed her national attention. The timeless, roots-based songs from her latest album Sugar and Kerosene (released in Spring 2018) like “Better Than Bourbon” and “Devil and Saint” have a yearning tension that she delivers with sweet smile.” A review from Sing Out Folk Music Magazine stated, “Shannon Wurst is among that rare breed who can make you sit upright and wonder aloud, ‘Who is that?’ She is unquestionably arresting. Shannon Wurst is a rising star who has opened for Robert Earl Keen, Railroad Earth and Carlene Carter.” The food trucks will also be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the same location on April 5. University of the Ozarks will examine the powerful therapeutic benefits of music and art in a program titled, “Healing Through the Arts,” on Thursday, April 11. The program, which is part of the University’s Walton Arts & Ideas Series, begins at 7 p.m. in the Rogers Conference Center on campus. It is free and open to the public “Healing Through the Arts” will feature Dr. Amanda Alders Pike (pictured, right), a 2005 U of O graduate and a board-certified art therapist from Florida, as well as Dr. Ellary Draper, assistant professor of music therapy at the University of Alabama. Art and music therapy is practiced in various clinical and community settings, including hospitals, psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, wellness centers, schools, crisis centers, forensic institutions, senior communities and private practice. After graduating from Ozarks, Pike moved to Mexico to focus on her art, teach English and attend an art therapy program. The experience helped her become bilingual in English and Spanish. Later, she earned a master’s degree in New York and a Ph.D. from Florida State University. From there, she developed an eclectic professional background, encompassing education, counseling, business and marketing. Pike established a private practice in South Florida as an art therapist which grew into a staffing company. She hired, trained, placed, and supervised art therapists in locations such as assisted living facilities, homeless shelters and eating disorder and substance abuse recovery treatment centers. In 2017, her company was purchased by a larger company. Pike currently works as in educational leadership and as a curriculum content manager with the American College of Education. Draper holds degrees in music education from Westminster Choir College and music therapy from Florida State University. Her Ph.D. is in music and human learning from the University of Texas at Austin. She previously worked as a music therapist with a variety of ages and populations outside of Houston. She also has experience as an elementary general music teacher. Her research interests are in the areas of children with disabilities, particularly in inclusive music classrooms. Currently, she serves as the Chair of Special Education for the Alabama Music Educators Association and Chair of the Standards of Clinical Practice Committee for the American Music Therapy Association. A regular presenter at national and regional music therapy and music education conferences, her research is also published in the Journal of Music Therapy, Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education, General Music Today, imagine, and Ala Breve. University of the Ozarks will present a concert by up-and-coming Arkansas country music musicians Heath Sanders and Mallory Everett on Saturday, April 13, on the campus mall. The concert, which will begin at 6 p.m. on the campus mall, is part of the inaugural Ozarks Fest, an event for current and prospective U of O students. The public is invited to attend the concert and there is no cost for admission. Sanders, who grew up in Marshall, Ark., and graduated from Ozark (Ark.) High School, is a former oilfield worker turned full-time musician whose popularity skyrocketed after a performance on The Bobby Bones Show in early 2018. Bones found a cover that Sanders put online of Chris Stapleton’s “Either Way,” and invited him to perform on his show. While on the show, Sanders sang his song, “Bloodline,” which quickly went viral and has been viewed more than 1.2 million times. Since then, he has been selling out shows every weekend across the country. He’s opened up for Drake White and Cory Smith and has been invited to open for Bones’ own band, The Raging Idiots. In February he release a new single, “Down on the South.” Sanders is associated with L3 Entertainment, management home to Justin Moore, Tyler Rich, Leah Turner and Scott Stevens, and recently signed a publishing deal with Sony ATV. His music has been called authentic and country as they come, with a powerfully rich voice and a life story that needs to be told. Everett, who will open the concert with a 60-minute set, is a country music artist hailing from a rice farm in the Arkansas Delta. She learned to sing whatever the tractor's radio would pick up and now she plays acoustic acts throughout the mid-south. Her album "Arkansas" has sold in the thousands and her fan base continues to grow. Everett’s style has been described as “full of soul with a natural country twang that is sure to have you toe tapping.” Her second album is currently underway in Nashville and will be ready in 2019. There will be food vendors and food trucks available at the event for guests. Audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. University of the Ozarks Theatre will present three showings of Neil Simon’s iconic play, “Barefoot in the Park,” on March 8, 9 and 10. The romantic comedy will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on March 8 and 9 and at 2 p.m. on March 10, in the Black Box Theatre in the Walton Fine Arts Center. Tickets are $8 each and can be purchased online at Ozarks.edu/theatre or at the box office one hour prior to the showtime. Premiering in 1963 on Broadway, “Barefoot in the Park” tells the story of a newlywed couple, Corie and Paul Bratter. For their first home, they live in an apartment on the top floor of a brownstone in New York City. Corie is optimistic about their future together, while Paul, the more anxious and grounded half of the couple, worries about the various flaws in the apartment, such as a hole in the skylight, their leaky closet, and the lack of a bathtub. Shortly after moving in, Corrie attempts to set her mother up with their eccentric neighbor Mr. Velasco. During the course of four days, the couple learns to live together while facing the usual daily ups-and-downs. Corrie wants Paul to become more easy-going: for example, to run "barefoot in the park.” The play was nominated for three 1964 Tony Awards and was turned into a film in 1967 starring Robert Redford and jane Fonda. In the U of O production, Rebecca Bailey, assistant professor of theatre, will direct the play and Lucas Hoiland, assistant professor of practice of theatre, will serve as the technical director. The all-student cast includes, Haley Grace Clark as Corie, Petron Brown as Paul, Haley Hanks as the mother, Mason Clough as Victor Velasco, Rhett Sells as the telephone repair man, McKenzie Lewis as delivery woman number one, Haley Wheeler as delivery woman number two, Jimmy Reinier as delivery man number one and Kevin Nawa as delivery man number two. The crew includes, Ben Howard as stage manager, Sydney Ward as assistant stage manager and props master, Ethan Lubera as scenic designer, Eleazar Coronado as lighting designer, Lacye Day as costume designer, Sells as sound designer, Masey Wilson as graphic designer and Daniel Hall as window wizard. The sound board operator is Nichole Finch and the light board operator is Geoshan Lee. Other crew members include, Tiffany Quinton, Toria Matthews, Fion Chen, Poly Ojeda and Lily Olmsted.