2020 was unforgettable, let's recap

December 15 2020

It's hard to believe that the year 2020 is coming to a close.

A year with more adaptation, collaboration, flexibility, and innovation than any of us can remember — this one will not soon be forgotten. 

At the College of Fine Arts, 2020 was a year of immense achievement in spite of rising challenges. Let's look back: at how we came together, the new discoveries we made, the milestones we crossed, and the highlights we shared. 

Department of Art & Art History 

  • Student work was shared at the MFA Interim Show "Mixed Bag," Photo and Sculpture Clubs' group show "Things & Pictures of Things," the Valentine's Print Sale, BFA Show "Social Distance (online), Capstone Exhibitions (online), Interdisciplinary Capstone Exhbition (online), the Juried Student Art Exhibition 2020 (online), Contemporary Photography Projects Exhibition (online), Open Studio showings, and more. 
  • The department hosted fantastic guest artists Bryan Czibesz, Tanja Softić, Anna Hansen, Brad Evan Taylor, John F. Simon Jr., Jeannette Ehlers, and Michelle Bowers. 
  • Advanced Digital Imaging students, under the guidance of associate professor Ed Bateman, responded to current events in a "New Decameron," a collection of original photography. 
  • In the fall, the department began offering a brand new illustration emphasis, and a new Illustration 1 course with Professor Michael Hirshon. 
  • Students had the opportunity to learn from artist Kei Ito, Marva & John Warnock Artist-In-Residence. 
  • Graduate student Bryce Billings, with a team of undergraduate students, created a 151' work in the Art & Art History building, titled "The Remains of a Dream." 

School of Dance 

  • School of Dance faculty and students kept moving no matter what, adjusting to technique class via video, rehearsing outside, and learning choreography from guest artists over Zoom. 
  • Students showcased their work in Spring Utah Ballet, Fall Utah Ballet, Performing Dance Company, the Gala performance, and in the student led concerts including the Modern Senior Concert, Graduate Thesis Concert, and Ballet Showcases. 
  • The school hosted guest artists Heather Gray, Katlyn Addison, Melanie George, Darrel Grand Moultrie, and Penny Saunders. 
  • The annual Utah Ballet Summer Intensive was held for the first time entirely online, bringing together world renowned faculty, including current artists, ballet masters, and Artistic Directors. 

Department of Film & Media Arts 

  • Students started the Film Production Club who, in their first few months of meeting, hosted film discussions, script competitions, and screenwriting workshops!  
  • MFA alumna Lee Isaac Chung swept top honors at Sundance with his film "Minari," which earned both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. 
  • Producer-in-Residence Emelie Mahdavian was awarded both a Peabody Award and an Emmy for her film "Midnight Traveler." 
  • Assistant professors Miriam and Sonia Albert-Sobrino, started the "Alone Together" online film festival as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting cancellations that eliminated public screening opportunities for emerging filmmakers.
  • Assistant professor Sarah Sinwell released a new book, "Indie Cinema Online," exploring emerging trends in indie cinema and streaming services.
  • To accommodate social distance while still sharing student films, the department hosted its first ever drive-in F&MAD Fest, where viewers were able to enjoy films from the safety of their cars. 

School of Music 

  • Dozens of recitals were livestreamed via Live at Libby, the School's YouTube channel, showcasing the work of undergraduate and graduate musicians. 
  • The School of Music Student Success Initiative allowed special events for students focused on wellness, including panel discussions, Alexander Technique workshops, discussions on diversity, and masterclasses. 
  • Celebrating the end of the academic year with an online watch party, the virtual 2020 Student Showcase highlighted student performances from each area. 
  • The Michie Jazz Quintet recorded an exciting EP, capturing the unique blend the group had honed over years of practicing and performing together. 
  • The Jed Moss Memorial Concert, not only celebrated the life of a beloved member of the Utah music community, it helped establish an endowed scholarship in collaborative piano. 
  • The online Camerata Awards Gala, hosted by Kirsten Chavez, featured video performances from all of the School of Music ensembles and honored this year's award recipients, Roger H. and Colleen K. Thompson. 

Department of Theatre 

College of Fine Arts

Here's to celebrating where we have been, and looking forward to all that is sure to come.
From all of us at the CFA — Happy New Year, indeed!