Student success in the spotlight as Pellissippi State presents first Purchase Award Showcase

A graphite drawing
“Tempest,” a graphite drawing by former Pellissippi State art student Tavish E. White, is among 14 works that will be on display Aug. 26-Sept. 13 in the college’s first Purchase Award Showcase. “Tempest” won Best in Show in spring 2014.

Former and current art students whose work has been chosen as Best in Show at Pellissippi State Community College since spring 2011 will have their winning works displayed Aug. 26-Sept. 13 in the college’s Purchase Award Showcase.

This free exhibition in the college’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery kicks off The Arts at Pellissippi State for fall 2019 by offering the public an opportunity to view all the art works on display around the college as part of Pellissippi State’s permanent art collection.

For three weeks, all the works that have been purchased by Pellissippi State from the student artists between spring 2011 and spring 2019 will be moved into the Gallery for viewing.

“In 2007, the Bagwell Gallery was completed and, with that, came the opportunity to have an additional learning and exhibiting space for our students and the community,” explained Pellissippi State Art Program Coordinator Jeffrey Lockett. “Out of this, we established an annual student juried show, which offers students a chance to participate in the whole process of entering, being accepted to and showing in a public space. It has grown into an excellent showcase of student talent.”

In 2011, under the guidance of former Pellissippi State Vice President Rebecca Ashford, the college’s administration began offering a $500 purchase award to the student whose work was selected as Best in Show. Now those works – drawings, paintings and sculpture – are displayed on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley and Blount County campuses.

Fourteen works will be on display in the Purchase Award Showcase, as more than one winner was chosen during some shows.

“We certainly look forward to having them on all five campuses as more works are selected at subsequent student shows,” Lockett said.

The Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery is located on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, and is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

###

Pellissippi State alum reprises theatre role on New York City stage two weeks after graduation

Cast of "Soft Animals" in New York City
Pellissippi State graduate Katharine Wilcox-Chelimsky, in red shirt, poses with her fellow cast members of “Soft Animals” in New York City, as well as playwright Erin Mallon, far left; Pellissippi State director Grechen Lynne Wingerter, fifth from left; and Farm Theater Artistic Director Padraic Lillis, second from right.

A recent Pellissippi State Community College graduate was the only student invited to participate in a staged reading of an original play in New York City.

Katharine Wilcox-Chelimsky, who graduated Summa Cum Laude in May with her Associate of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts – Performance, reprised her role as Emily in “Soft Animals” in the May 20 reading. The reading with professional actors, a form of theatre without sets or full costumes, was the culmination of Pellissippi State’s 2018-19 collaboration with The Farm Theater in New York.

“I am incredibly grateful to have been offered the opportunity to share the stage with talented people who are currently living out my dream of leading successful lives in the New York theatre scene,” said Wilcox-Chelimsky, a native of Knoxville. “This being my first professionally produced show, I made sure to observe what I could about the interactions between the cast and artistic staff as well as processes and methods everyone used to bring the characters to life and pull the reading together in such a limited amount of time.”

“Kat was really holding her own with the New York City actors,” said Associate Professor Grechen Lynne Wingerter, who directed the world premiere of “Soft Animals” at Pellissippi State in November. “If you didn’t know she was a student, you wouldn’t know she was a student. She was great.”

As part of its College Collaboration Project, the Farm Theater commissioned playwright Erin Mallon to write “Soft Animals” for Pellissippi State. Based on those initial performances last fall, Mallon tweaked the play, a comedy that explores the perceptions we have about physical appearances and our relationship with our bodies, for the production of “Soft Animals” at Arkansas State University in the spring. She completed additional rewrites of the script before the public reading in New York City.

Katharine Wilcox-Chelimsky rehearses "Soft Animals" in New York City
Katharine Wilcox-Chelimsky, in red shirt, rehearses “Soft Animals” in New York City in May, the lone student among professional actors.

“Overall, the story didn’t change, as far as the plot, but there were character clarifications and relationship clarifications,” Wingerter explained. “With one character in particular, her connection to the story became much clearer. She was so much on the outside it was hard to have sympathy for her before, but we knew that we should. Her arc is stronger now.”

Wingerter and Wilcox-Chelimsky traveled to New York City for two days of rehearsal with the professional actors before the public reading, which was held in a small studio theatre near downtown. The reading, which was directed by Farm Theater Artistic Director Padraic Lillis, was followed by a post-show discussion with the playwright and the cast.

“Erin says it’s still not finished,” Wingerter said. “Some playwrights say a play is never finished. Who knows where it will go next? But this was the end of the road for us.”

And what a road it was.

Katharine Wilcox-Chelimsky in costume in "Soft Animals" at Pellissippi State
Katharine Wilcox-Chelimsky performs the role of Emily in “Soft Animals” at Pellissippi State in November 2018.

“This is unique for our students, to be the very first to bring a play to life,” Wingerter said before the November performances at Pellissippi State. “When you do the classics – say, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ or ‘Death of a Salesman’ – there are preconceived notions of how those plays are supposed to be done, and there always will be comparisons. With a new play, our actors are allowed to experiment, to explore character development, and they’re focusing on applying what they’re learning in the classroom to the stage.”

“Soft Animals” also was unique, Wingerter added after the New York City reading, because Mallon wrote the play with college students in mind.

“They were not asked to play 50 year olds, so they felt a little more ownership,” she explained. “This gave them the chance to develop their roles, and one of the reasons Kat was chosen is how she brought that character to life.”

Wilcox-Chelimsky said she felt an immediate connection with the character of Emily when she received the script last year.

“She has an innocence and this sense of naive bravery that reminds me of how I was feeling as I graduated high school and went on this brave new adventure that was college,” Wilcox-Chelimsky said. “An acting choice that I made in rehearsal ended up in the stage directions of the final draft we worked with in New York. The thought that that decision I made on Pellissippi State’s stage could potentially end up in a published script one day and maybe even influence future performances of this character just completely blows my mind.”

As a director, Wingerter also learned from Pellissippi State’s participation in the College Collaboration Project.

Katharine Wilcox-Chelimsky in "Soft Animals" at Pellissippi State
Katharine Wilcox-Chelimsky originates the role of Emily in the world premiere of the play “Soft Animals” at Pellissippi State.

“I went to see the Arkansas State production, and I’ve never done that before – directed a play and then went to see it somewhere else,” she said. “It was interesting to see the different interpretations, but it’s still the same story. And that validates the story of the play and helps the playwright figure out, ‘Is this the story I want to tell?’ because if all these different people get it, she’s on the right track.”

For more information about the degrees Pellissippi State offers in Theatre Arts, visit www.pstcc.edu/theatre/course.

###

Event showcases work of Pellissippi State’s final Communications Graphics Technology students

The last graduating class of students in Pellissippi State Community College’s Communication Graphics Technology concentration will present their final portfolios 4-8 p.m. Thursday, April 25, in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The CGT Student Design Showcase is free and open to the public.

Students will exhibit examples of their best work, along with self-promotional items produced specifically for the showcase. This is the final project before these students graduate in May with an Associate of Applied Science degree.

This is also Pellissippi State’s final CGT Student Design Showcase, as the college no longer offers a degree in CGT. Pellissippi State now offers an Associate of Applied Science in Media Technologies with a Design for Web and Print concentration.

In addition to the CGT Student Design Showcase, work from Pellissippi State’s Video Production Technology students who are studying animation will be on display April 23-27 in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery. The exhibit will include a reel of students’ work and stills from their productions. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays.

The showcase and the exhibit are part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances, lectures and fine arts exhibits. For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

###

Pellissippi State’s Spring Choral Concert caps a year of music education, tour of Italy

Choral director directs student choir
Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys directs Concert Chorale during a Fall Choral Concert at Pellissippi State.

A year’s worth of music classes, rehearsals and even a study-abroad opportunity will be on display next week at Pellissippi State Community College’s Spring Choral Concert.

The annual concert will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The event is free.

“This concert is the culmination of our year and features a video presentation of our spring break tour to Italy,” said Associate Professor Peggy Hinkle, music program coordinator for Pellissippi State.

Fifty students in Pellissippi State Concert Chorale and Pellissippi State Variations will perform a wide variety of selections, from the traditional Appalachian spiritual “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” to “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, from Mozart to Paul Simon.

Both choirs are led by Pellissippi State Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys and accompanied by Hinkle on piano.

This is the final concert offered in The Arts at Pellissippi State this semester. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

###

Pellissippi State presents play about determined women versus corporate greed, based on a true story

Four women students, one looking at the camera.
Kat Wilcox-Chelimsky, Rachael Allion, Peyton Southworth and Grace Elyn Berry star in “These Shining Lives,” the next production in The Arts at Pellissippi State series.

The strength and determination of women workers considered expendable in their day are at the center of “These Shining Lives,” the next production in The Arts at Pellissippi State series.

There are six chances to see “These Shining Lives” at Pellissippi State Community College: 7:30 p.m. April 5-6 and April 12-13, as well as 2 p.m. April 7 and 14. All performances will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Based on a true story, “These Shining Lives” chronicles Catherine Donahue and her friends who are dying of radium poisoning after spending the 1920s and 1930s painting glow-in-the-dark markings on watch dials. Despite their dire situation, the women refuse to allow the company that stole their health to kill their spirits – or to endanger the lives of those who come after them.

The real Donohue died in 1938, shortly after testifying before the Illinois Industrial Commission. The women won damages against the real Radium Dial Company in 1938, although Radium Dial appealed over and over, taking the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1939 the Supreme Court decided not to hear the appeal, and the lower ruling was upheld.

“This is an important story because it shows how historically, and even today, those possessed of wealth and power – in this case, corporate America – often care first about maintaining that wealth and power even over the lives of those they deem less worthy than their own,” said Theatre Program Coordinator Charles R. Miller, who is directing the play at Pellissippi State. “This play is about the callousness of corporate America and how they often put profit above people’s lives, to a criminal extent, and how they will do anything to protect themselves from the truth of their actions.”

With the exception of a guest lighting designer from the University of Tennessee’s award-winning lighting design program and Associate Professor Claude Hardy, who is handling set design and technical direction for the play, everyone backstage and on stage during “These Shining Lives” is a Pellissippi State student, Miller noted. There are six actors in the cast and about a dozen other students involved in the production.

“One might say this is a capstone project for our first graduating class of Associate of Fine Arts students,” Miller said. “The AFA students graduating this spring with their AFAs in Theatre will be the first ever in the state’s history.”

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for Pellissippi State faculty, staff and students. Tickets are available online at www.pstcc.edu/tickets.

For more information on upcoming visual arts and music events, as well as the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Aerialists, acrobats and other circus artists bring amazing feats to Pellissippi State

Two aerialists and two acrobats perform at Pellissippi State in 2016
Performers with Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio entertain audiences at Pellissippi State during the annual Circus Extravaganza in 2016.

Knoxville’s own Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio brings its 8th Annual Circus Extravaganza to Pellissippi State Community College next week in a show designed to appeal to all ages.

Titled “Dominion” this year, the Circus Extravaganza will include about 40 performers – a mix of professionals, teachers and students – entertaining audiences through aerial arts, acrobatics, stilt walking and more.

“People love the shows,” said Jake Weinstein, who is directing the Circus Extravaganza and is on the management team of Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio. “It’s very family-friendly, story-centered and thought-provoking. With spectacles, amazing feats and humor, there is something that appeals to everybody.”

Four shows will be offered this year at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road:

  • 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23; and
  • 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. All proceeds benefit circus classes for at-risk youth.

“From the beginning, the Circus Extravaganza has supported our scholarship fund that helps at-risk youth and underserved groups attend circus classes and summer camps,” Weinstein said. “We also do circus work in the community.”

The Circus Extravaganza is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

For more information about Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio, visit www.dragonflyaerialartsstudio.com or contact Weinstein at 203-843-7444 or dfaas11@gmail.com.

###

Audition-based Honors Recital gives Pellissippi State students chance to shine

Pellissippi State Community College students who complement their studies through private music instruction will have a chance to share their work with the community at the college’s Honors Recital.

The concert, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

“The Honors Recital highlights students who are (receiving) private instruction in voice or an instrument,” explained Associate Professor Peggy Hinkle, who serves as music program coordinator for Pellissippi State.

Students had to audition for the Honors Recital, she noted. Four music professionals from the community served as judges and selected 16 performers for the Honors Recital – vocalists, pianists, and musicians playing trumpet, guitar, marimba, bass clarinet and trombone.

The Honors Recital is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well as the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

###

Pellissippi State’s Winter Choral Concert welcomes Clinton High School Advanced Choir as special guests

Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys conducts Pellissippi State choral students during the Fall Choral Concert on Oct. 18, 2018.
Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys conducts Pellissippi State choral students during the Fall Choral Concert on Oct. 18, 2018.

More than 115 college and high school students will have an opportunity to show off their vocal talent this week in Pellissippi State Community College’s Winter Choral Concert.

The performance, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

This year’s Winter Choral Concert will feature three choirs: Pellissippi State’s Variations and Concert Chorale as well as special guests, the Clinton High School Advanced Choir.

“This concert is a wonderful opportunity to share our stage with a local high school choir,” said Pellissippi State Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys, noting the college has a couple of Clinton High School alumni in its music program. “This is a great way for high school students to get know about our music program here, and it also provides a really great performance venue for them.”

The Winter Choral Concert will feature music from a wide variety of genres, Humphreys noted – from classical to contemporary, from sacred to secular. Pellissippi State students will sing selections in English, Italian and Latin, Humphreys added, while Clinton High School students, led by Choral Director McCall Bohanan, will perform a piece based off a traditional Sioux Indian chant.

The Winter Choral Concert is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

###

Annual exhibition gives Pellissippi State photography students a chance to shine

Photo of a student in a black hoodie on a city street
This photo, taken by Pellissippi State student Nathanial Dault, is one of the images that will be on display Feb. 25-March 15 in the Annual Photography Student Exhibition on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus.

Photography students at Pellissippi State Community College will have an opportunity to show some of their best images in an exhibition Feb. 25-March 15.

The Annual Photography Student Exhibition, part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, will be on display in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The gallery is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, and the exhibition is free and open to the public.

“For a lot of our students, they’ve never been in a show in a gallery, so this gives them that experience,” said Professor Kurt Eslick, who will be curating the images for the exhibition with Associate Professor Ronald Goodrich, the program coordinator for Photography at Pellissippi State. “It’s a chance for them and their families to see their work on the wall. I love seeing families being very proud of their kids for having a picture in a gallery. It reminds you of what a big deal it is to have your work shown.”

The exhibition is open to any Pellissippi State student who has taken or is currently enrolled in Photography 2.

“There is no theme, but the exhibition is comprised of images that the students are really proud of,” Eslick explained, noting the show is not a competition. “This show lets us tell our students in a different way how proud we are of them, and it also lets the community know we’re proud of these photographs and of the people who took them.”

For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

###

Pellissippi State welcomes Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra, guest artist Jamie Simmons

The 20-member Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra returns to Pellissippi State Community College next week in a free concert that is open to the public.

The performance at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, is part of the The Arts at Pellissippi State and will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra is part of the educational arm of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and has been directed by Tom Lundberg, Pellissippi State’s brass instructor, for the past eight years. Open to high school-aged musicians, the auditioned ensemble rehearses once a week and performs eight to 10 concerts during the school year throughout the area.

“This year the Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra is excited to appear with guest artist Jamie Simmons,” said Lundberg. “Mr. Simmons is a trumpeter, composer and arranger who will join the band on several selections. The program will consist of jazz standards, music from the Great American Songbook, contemporary popular and original compositions.”

Simmons, who serves as director of jazz studies at Middle Tennessee State University, is appearing with the Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra through the generous support of an anonymous Knoxville Jazz Youth Orchestra donor, Lundberg added.

For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

###