Current Students

  • Graduating students present gritty play about oil in Canada

    The cast of Lac/Athabasca takes the stage from April 12 to 14 in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre for the last Dramatic Arts production of the 2017-18 season.

    For the final production of the regular 2017-18 season, Brock’s fourth-year Dramatic Arts students will tackle some hard-hitting Canadian issues.

    The DART 4F56 ensemble will present Len Falkenstein’s award-winning play Lac/Athabasca in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre. The production, inspired by the Lac-Mégantic train explosion of 2013, tells the dark truth of the forces behind the disaster.

    Co-directed by Professor Gyllian Raby and student Mark Dickinson, the play premiered at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on Thursday, April 12 and will continue nightly until Saturday, April 14.

    Production poster designed by Michelle Mohammed. click to download a PDF copy.

    Audiences follow the train filled with explosive fuel as it journeys across time and place, beginning with townsfolk sharing their experiences of the tragic event and lamenting for the lives lost. The crowd is taken to tour the magnificent Athabasca glacier and meets workers at the oil sand companies in Fort McMurray, witnessing Canada’s exploitation of its land and peoples from the 1800s to now. The beauty and terror of these encounters reveal a Canadian dream as twisted as the train tracks that stretch across it.

    The DART 4F56 students unanimously picked the play not only because of its Canadian roots, but also because “it’s about something that matters,” says Raby. The production tells the story of the train explosion, but audiences can also “expect to see a First Nations story play out,” she says.

    “We were fortunate enough to be advised by Adrienne Smoke of the Six Nations and William Constant, a Cree mentor, to make sure we were approaching the Indigenous story correctly.”

    On a daily basis, Canadians are reading about the problem of oil and the exploitation of natural resources. Lac/Athabasca is a deeply Canadian play that provokes reflection on corporate greed, environmental policies and the future transportation of oil.

    In addition to Dickinson, the 2017-18 Dramatic Arts fourth-year ensemble features cast members Mackenzie Kerr, Adrian Marchesano, Sarah Marks, Michelle Mohammed, Tarndeep Pannu, Naomi Richardson and Kaylyn Valdez-Scott. Set construction is by Helena Ciuciura, costume design by Samantha Mastrella, properties design by Rebecca Downing, sound design by Jillian Wardell, lighting design by Meryl Ochoa, and projections design and production management by Chelsea Wilson, assisted by guest instructor and Brock University Dramatic Arts alumnus, James McCoy. The production team also includes Allie Aubry as stage manager and Candice Burn as head of publicity.

    Lac/Athabasca plays Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the MIWFSPA in downtown St. Catharines. Tickets are $5 (plus taxes and fees) from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre box office at 905-688-0722 or online. Tickets will also be available at the door. Limited parking is available onsite.


    see the preview article by Mike Balsom on YourTV Niagara/Cogeco

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Rodman Hall hosts Visual Arts honours exhibitions

    The opening reception for the first instalment of the honours exhibitions on Friday, March 23 drew a large crowd to the Rodman Hall Art Centre. Photo: Danny Custodio.

    Graduating students from the Honours Studio course (VISA 4F06) have been busy all semester creating their pieces for the two-part Brock University Department of Visual Arts Honours Exhibition. Students were mentored by Rodman Hall Art Centre gallery staff and Visual Arts Professors Donna Szoke, Shawn Serfas, Derek Knight, and Donna Akrey.

    The first instalment of the honours exhibition: Just Resting My Eyes is currently on display at the Rodman Hall Art Centre (109 St. Paul Crescent). The current exhibition features work from students: Denise Apostolatos, Victoria Morinello, Jill Newman, Jacob Primeau, and Aaron Thompson.

    These honours exhibitions are vital to students’ education in the Brock Visual Arts program because “the nature, purpose and intended outcome of Honours Studio is that once the students graduate from the art program, they become practicing artists. Art making, as a practice of research-creation, is inherently experiential learning” says Szoke.

    The collaboration with the professional team of the Rodman Hall Art Centre is a essential learning experience for Brock Visual Arts students. Akrey says the Rodman Hall staff’s “consultation with each student teaches them the importance of the entire process of art making and exhibiting, and the importance of their individual work in a collaborative event.” Serfas adds that the importance of having Rodman Hall embedded into the Bachelor of Arts program is that “it gives our students a distinctive experiential learning opportunity.”

    Knight says that the audience can expect to see “broad cultural themes with emphasis on the impact of mass media, environmental or social issues” throughout the work created by these honours students in this two-part exhibit.

    The second instalment, Turnin’ This Car Around, is set to be exhibited from Saturday, April 14 to Sunday, April 29, with the opening reception on Friday, April 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. This upcoming exhibit will feature pieces by Rachel Dove, Lauren Mucciarone, Victoria Reid, Brittany Thomas-Clapp, and Lorraine Zandvliet.

    For more information about Rodman Hall Art Centre and their programs see brocku.ca/rodman-hall


    see the article by John Law in the St.Catharines Standard: Brock’s top art students gather for one last show

    see the video report by Stephen Parr for YourTV Niagara

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  • Three exhibits this week for Visual Arts

    This is a busy week for exhibitions under Brock’s Department of Visual Arts (VISA).

    From April 2 to 6, students in the VISA department are presenting three exhibitions: CORESITE-SEER, and (un)hidden.

    Now open in the Rodman Hall Art Centre is the exhibit CORE. VISA students will have their smaller works in Rodman Hall’s Flex Space, which will be imagined as a larger site and a centre from where the work branches out to the other destinations in the show. CORE is open to view at Rodman Hall from now until April 13. Gallery hours can be found on their website and admission is by donation, but free for members and students.

    When visiting Rodman Hall be sure to see the Brock University Department of Visual Arts Honours Exhibition: just resting my eyes, on display until April 8.

    The second exhibit, SITE-SEER, is an extension of the first. SITE-SEER is a one-night exhibition being held Wednesday, April 4 from 4 to 9 p.m., where the downtown area of St. Catharines will serve as gallery space. Students from Donna Akrey’s Advanced Art Practices course are taking their creations from the CORE exhibit and dispersing them throughout downtown St. Catharines in hopes that their pieces will lure locals into seeing sites in a new way.

    Participating artists for both CORE and SITE-SEER include: Hani Ahmed, Jess Angelevski, Teresa Badgley, Jessica Bradley, Tom Denton, Isabella Domaradzki, Kylie Haveron, Emma Hutchison-Hounsell, Laura Levesque, Avery Mikolic-O’Rourke, Amanda Misale, Anna Podvalni, Victoria Reid, Kourtney Spadoni and Desiree Veino.

    Maps with more information about the artworks, their locations and times will be available at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts on Wednesday night when SITE-SEER is held.

    Change, a contemporary exploration of Hidden Mother photography. One of many polaroid emulsion lifts featured in the upcoming show (un)hidden by Amber Lee Williams.

    Change, a contemporary exploration of Hidden Mother photography. One of many polaroid emulsion lifts featured in the upcoming show (un)hidden by Amber Lee Williams.

    A third show, (un)hidden by Brock Visual Arts student Amber Lee Williams, opens in the Visual Arts Exhibition Space of the MIWSFPA on Thursday, April 5 with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Williams is both a student and a mother of two, who gave birth to her second child while preparing for this exhibit. She is now in the process of installing her show while carrying her two-month-old baby in a sling.

    In the (un)hidden exhibit, Williams presents photographs, sculptures and installations investigating motherhood, relationships within the family and loss. (un)hidden will be open at the MIWSFPA until Saturday, April 28. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

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    Categories: Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Music@Noon season to end on high note

    Sherry Yu is one of six pianists who will perform in the last Music@Noon concert of the 2017-18 season on Tuesday, April 3.

    The curtain will close next week on this season’s RBC Foundation Music@Noon Recital Series.

    The final performance of the 2017-18 season takes place Tuesday, April 3, with first- and second-year Bachelor of Music piano students taking the stage at Cairns Recital Hall.

    Short videos of this season’s Music@Noon performances are available on the Department of Music Instagram page.

    The free recital series will return to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in late September.

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    Categories: Announcements, Current Students, Department/Centre News, Events, In the Media, News

  • Dramatic Arts students explore the theme of Expectation and Reality

    The popular One Act Festival is coming back to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts this weekend. Pictured is the performance of All by Myself from the 2017 One Act Festival directed by Naomi Richardson, designed by Chelsea Wilson and featuring Rebecca Downing, Jessica Johnson, Alex Boychuk, Lauren Reed and David Poirier.

    The popular One Act Festival is returning to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts this weekend.

    Students from the Dramatic Arts Directing II course (DART 3P54) have been hard at work developing their plays under the supervision and guidance of instructor Neil Silcox and teaching assistant Kevin Hobbs. The experiential course offers students practical and real-world experience as directors, dramaturges, performers, designers and theatre technicians, often for the first time.

    Silcox says “Brock does a great job of balancing out the theoretical and experiential aspects of dramatic arts” compared to the other programs he’s worked for.

    “Developing a strong understanding of theories and then being able to get on your feet and actually do it is the only way to learn to do performing arts,” Silcox says.

    Directing II students are responsible for selecting a script, auditioning a cast, rehearsing, designing the show and co-ordinating with the dramatic arts production team on all technical needs.

    This year, the festival is presenting six shows under the theme “Expectation and Reality.”

    Silcox says he discovered the theme “after reading through each of the students’ chosen acts side by side.”

    “We didn’t offer this theme to the students and make them try to select something,” he says.

    This process allows the students to have full control and individuality with their acts, but also challenges them to tweak their shows in a way that highlights the theme more.

    “Although it may seem cliché, audience members should expect the unexpected,” says Silcox.

    The shows range from century old to extremely contemporary, absurdism to strongly political, all exploring this year’s theme from a unique angle.

    Shows being presented this year include Articulation by Alicia Richardson, Your Mother’s Butt by Alan Ball, Echo by Joseph T. Shipley, The Little Stone House by George Calderon, The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco, and The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre by Allan Knee.

    All shows take place in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre of the MIWSFPA on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25 starting at 7 p.m. each night. Admission is pay-what-you-can and limited paid parking is available nearby. For more information on the 2018 One Act Festival, visit the Dramatic Arts website.

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  • Art exhibit receptions to mark International Women’s Day

    The opening reception of “Silent Areas: The Spaces in Between,” Cat Stambolic and Sarah Martin, takes place Thursday, March 8 at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    Brock’s arts community will mark International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8 with two art exhibition receptions.

    On display at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Visual Arts Gallery and student exhibition space, “Silent Areas: The Spaces in Between” features the work of third-year Visual Arts student Sarah Martin and recent Brock Visual Arts graduate Cat Stambolic (BA ’17).

    The exhibition, which initially opened Feb. 15 and runs until Saturday, March 24, explores the disconnect between mind and body, deemed ‘silent areas.’

    Exploring the theme separately through their previous work, the pair came together to create the exhibit, which investigates “connections between mind and body; specifically, what happens if and when that connection is interrupted,” explained Stambolic.

    Both women are strong advocates of mental health.

    “Our work hangs in conversation with each other’s,” Stambolic said, and is “truly representative of the open dialogue we need to create regarding mental illness.”

    Her work featured in the show is directly related to her own sensory experiences, which resulted in feeling a disconnect from her physical body.

    “The process of making these pieces was a way to resolve these sensations and emotions, re-envisioning them as tangible sculptures,” she said.

    Martin uses her photographs to create visual representation of “restlessness and unconsciousness, how feelings of anxiety can create out-of-body experiences and feelings of existentialism.”

    Her work in this exhibit depicts women exclusively in order to “refocus the narrative of women creating work featuring women, instead of from a male perspective,” she said. “Using the female figure in a powerful way reclaims ownership of the female body and creates a new narrative of empowerment and self-reflection.”

    Both artists will be at the exhibition’s reception to discuss their work on Thursday, March 8 from 5 to 8 p.m.

    Also that evening, from 6 to 8 p.m., is the opening reception of “Expressions of Today/Expressions d’aujourd’hui” at the Niagara Arts Centre, 354 St. Paul St.

    Featuring work from Brock’s Studies in Arts and Culture, and French Studies students, the exhibit explores contemporary expressions in art and literature, with pieces creating unusual stories mixing narrative and art-making.

    “Expressions of Today/Expressions d’aujourd’hui” will be on display at the NAC until Friday, March 16.

    For information on upcoming events, visit the MIWSFPA website.

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, Events, In the Media, News

  • Recital series to showcase student talent

    Second-year violinist Jessica Tigchelaar takes centre stage at the Concordia Seminary Chapel on Friday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m.

    The stage is set for the stars of Brock’s Department of Music to shine.

    Student talent will be highlighted during a month-long recital series that begins Friday, March 2.

    The inaugural performance will feature violinist Jessica Tigchelaar, a second-year student, accompanied by Luis Molina on the piano. The show will take place at the Concordia Seminary Chapel on campus, where half of the recitals will take place. The remaining shows will happen at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in downtown St. Catharines.

    Luis Molina solo recital

    Fourth-year pianist Luis Molina accompanies Jessica Tigchelaar on stage Friday, March 2. Molina then has his own solo performance Monday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cairns Recital Hall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

    The series will feature Brock’s most talented performers, who enrol in recital courses for credit following a rigorous audition process.

    Details for the following performances are available at the respective links:

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  • Exhibition – Silent Areas: The Spaces in Between, opens Feb. 15

    Brock Visual Art student Sarah Martin and Brock Visual Arts Alumna Caterina Stambolic present photographs and sculptures investigating the interruptions between mind and body.

    Exhibition: Thursday Feb. 15 to Saturday Mar. 24

    Regular visiting hours are Tuesday through Saturday 1-5 pm.

    Opening Reception: Thursday Mar. 8, 5 – 8 pm

    Location: Visual Arts Exhibition Space, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University

    15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, ON

    This is a free community event!

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    Categories: Alumni, Current Students, Events

  • A Special One Night Art Exhibition

    On January 17, students from Donna Akrey’s 3M90 Advanced Art Practices will be “transplanting their work into the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts building”. Everyone is invited to explore this one night exhibition between 4 and 9 p.m. Maps will be given out to help navigate the space to see the works – some easy to find, others more hidden.

    Invasive Species is a collection of self-directed works from third and fourth year students in the 3M90 ADVANCED ART PRACTICES course. This exhibition focuses on themes of information, architecture, the archive, regionality, subjectivity and objectivity, death, resilience, ecology, mental health, space, the institution, invasive and symbiotic species, and site-specific art. The works are comprised of painting, drawing, video, projection, animation, performance, and installation. All of the artists respond to the unique specificities and conditions of the facility and its site.

    Victoria Reid, visual arts student in Donna Akrey’s 3M90 course says her objective is “to personify objects in the architecture and space around us to show our connection to the architecture. I chose to do this in order to bring awareness to our relationship and contribution to the growing industrial landscape around us.”

    This event marks the mid-year point as the student progress to a final site-specific exhibition proposed to take over parts of downtown St. Catharines in April 2018.

    In order to provoke creativity and thought into this exhibition, Akrey asked her students, “if your work was to fit in this space (the MIW) and not the white cube – where might it go?” She says, “This allows the students to consider their work outside of the gallery and in effect pushes research further (as well as the logistics of mounting visual art in difficult spaces). The students have risen to it and are doing a great job.”

    Reid comments on what this course and the opportunity of this exhibition has taught her, “Through the process of making this work, I learned how to step outside my comfort zone and I learned that art can be art, even when in unconventional spaces apart from the gallery.”

    Donna Akrey is a part-time instructor of visual arts at Brock University. Her exhibition, Also Also held at Rodman Hall from February to April of 2017, was nominated for Exhibition of the Year: Budget Under $20, 000 (Monographic) Award by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG). Her collaboration as a member of the Hamilton Perambulatory Unit was recently seen in the Downtown/s – Urban Renewals Today for Tomorrow: The 2017 Windsor-Essex Triennial of Contemporary Art.

    Isabella Domaradzki, artist, member of the organizational team for Invasive Species, and student in the 3M90 course says what she looks forward to most about this one night exhibition “is seeing our hard work in creating our art and planning this show come to life. We have learned so many valuable lessons throughout this experience that have shaped our identity as artists, and I think it will be exciting to visualize our growth and progress!”

    This one night exhibition is a free event held at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts from 4 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday Jan. 17. Refreshments and snacks will be served in the MIWSFPA lobby. Visit the Invasive Species Facebook event page to stay updated with this exciting event.

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  • Brock photographers snap up art show awards

    Danny Custodio collaborated with his father to create compositions exploring tar’s organic forms and textures.

    (Source: The Brock News | Wednesday Dec. 6, 2017 by Alison Innes)

    Two Brock photographers were recently honoured for their ability to capture compelling imagery.

    Visual Arts student Denise Apostolatos and Administrative Assistant Danny Custodio, from the Rodman Hall Art Centre, both won awards at RMG Exposed: Out of this World, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery art show and charity auction held Nov. 25.

    Oil and Vinegar by Visual Arts student Denise Apostolatos, received first place in the youth category at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery Exposed: Out of this World annual photography show and auction.

    Oil and Vinegar by Visual Arts student Denise Apostolatos, received first place in the youth category at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery Exposed: Out of this World annual photography show and auction.

    Apostolatos’ work, Oil and Vinegar, won first place in the youth category from a shortlist of 40 works from across North America. 

    She says it was “truly an honour” to be named the winner of the youth category, and to receive two consecutive acceptances to participate in RMG Exposed.

    “As an undergraduate student, these opportunities are unique in that they provide a professional outlet to gain recognition and network in a larger context,” she says.

    Apostolatos credits the artistic and professional guidance she receives in the Visual Arts program for fostering her development as a creative professional.

    “As an undergraduate artist, it is important to see her work outside of the classroom and in the professional art community,” says Visual Arts Professor and Department Chair Donna Szoke. “We are thrilled to see Denise’s work being celebrated.”

    The award is also a means to recognize the “talent being produced here in Niagara in our Visual Arts program at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts,” she says.

    Rodman Hall’s Danny Custodio took first place in the Conceptual/Non-Representational category at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s Exposed: Out of this World annual photography show and auction. He is pictured with award sponsor Mason Bennett of Johncox professional Corporation.

    Rodman Hall’s Danny Custodio took first place in the Conceptual/Non-Representational category at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s Exposed: Out of this World annual photography show and auction. He is pictured with award sponsor Mason Bennett of Johncox professional Corporation.

    Custodio received the Conceptual/Non-Representational Prize for his image Tar, which explores themes of blue-collar labour.

    “Tar is a commonly used substance in roofing, the profession my father worked for 45 years,” says Custodio, who collaborated with his father to create compositions exploring tar’s organic forms and textures.

    RMG Exposed: Out of this World brings together artists, collectors and curators to celebrate digital photography and support free arts programming for kids and families. The event, now in its eighth year, includes both live and silent auctions of images carefully selected from 466 submissions.

    The event is designed to recognize contemporary photographers and draws artist submissions from across Canada and the United States.

    The Robert McLaughlin Gallery is a public art museum in Oshawa and features a collection of over 4,500 works including Canadian contemporary art and photography.

    To view this year’s images, visit the RMG Exposed website.

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