Connect News

Donnetta Lavinia Grays Views Theater as a Place ‘Where Community Can Flourish’

By Richard Chang UC Irvine M.F.A. graduate Donnetta Lavinia Grays (acting, ’02) was already an accomplished actor and playwright when she received news this year that would change her life. In February, she was informed that she had won a prestigious Whiting Award, a $50,000 annual grant that...

Arts Advocates: Rick Stein

COMMUNITY STRATEGIST Q&A with Rick Stein   Rick Stein has served as the president and CEO of Arts Orange County, the local nonprofit arts agency, since 2008. He was previously the executive director of the Laguna Playhouse for 17 years and, prior to that, managing director of the...

Raising Community Voices

Director and playwright Juliette Carrillo helps bring hidden stories to the stage By Christine Byrd When Juliette Carrillo's play Plumas Negras was performed in 2013 in the East Salinas, Calif., community where it was set, some audience members were brought to tears. Not only had Carrillo...

Zooming to UCI

Artists from around the world paid virtual visits to UCI students, opening new windows of opportunity By Christine Byrd When music major Cassandra Leisher asked the New York Philharmonic’s Ryan Roberts, a classical French horn and oboe player, how he calms pre-audition nerves, she was...

A Natural Artist

By Christine Byrd Ivy Guild’s art studio evokes a dystopian greenhouse. Ribbon-like strips of redwood trees and a 9-foot-long aloe vera trunk hang from the walls, as fungi thrive on various other biological materials. Guild, who completes her M.F.A. in June 2021, envisions her thesis show in...

New book by alumni Kitty Felde ’76

Children’s book author Kitty Felde (’76) released her newest book, Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza, on Dec. 3, 2020. Felde’s story — that has since been adapted to an audio drama and taped as an episodic podcast — tells the story of the 10-year-old daughter of a Los Angeles congressman who...

Alumni Darcy Prevost, M.F.A. ’09, creates things larger than life

If you’ve seen Disney+’s original TV series, Earth to Ned, you’ve seen the work of Darcy Prevost, a UCI alumnus who worked as the production designer on the show. Prevost, who has worked for several major television companies including HBO, ABC Studios and Warner Bros., completed her Bachelor of...

21C Supports Faculty and Graduate Student Creative Research in the Arts

  Since its founding in 2017, the Institute for 21st Century Creativity (21C) has sought to cultivate experimental and arts-based research to innovate and challenge creativity for this century and beyond. With support from the UCI Office of Research, Dean Stephen Barker founded the...

Letter From a Senior

I never knew my favorite college experiences would be rooted in performance By Lauren Knight As someone who joined the Department of Drama during their third year at UCI, my biggest fear was feeling like an outsider amongst a tight-knit group of drama majors who all knew and bonded with each...

Renaissance Man

Graduate student Jesús López Vargas reflects a new generation behind the scenes in theatre By Christine Byrd Director, stage manager, producer, poet, photographer, videographer, designer, and an advocate for underrepresented voices: Jesús López Vargas wears many hats. As an M.F.A. candidate...

Arts Advocates: Sheila Peterson

MOTHER OF ARTISTS Q&A with Sheila Peterson   Sheila Peterson is passionate about arts education and student support — in part because she raised children who became artists. In addition to serving on the Dean’s Arts Board for the last decade, she co-chairs the CTSA Scholarship...

Choreographing the Future

Dance department chair and UCI alumna Molly Lynch prepares students for long, diverse careers By Christine Byrd Molly Lynch wants UCI dance students to envision careers beyond professional dancer — from choreographer to artistic director, and nonprofit administrator to teacher.  As...

Animals in My Classroom

By Marcy Froehlich, associate professor of costume design in the Department of Drama The little yellow bird was hopping across her head, which made my student’s presentation even more cheerful. The subject was hats, so was the bird itself becoming a moving, breathing hat, or perhaps instead...

Art in Absentia

UCI’s first professional exhibition in a virtual format, The Black Index, benefits from processes developed for student showcases during the pandemic By Christine Byrd When the artists, curators and preparators painstakingly install an exhibition in one of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts...

Alumni Headed to the Grammys

Kalbasi (B.Mu, ’10) performed as a soloist and with the Los Angeles Master Chorale on “IVES: Complete Symphonies,” nominated for Best Orchestral Performance. Allen (M.F.A., ’14) performed on “Choirmaster” by Ricky Dillard, which has been nominated for Best Gospel Album. Kalbasi is a SAG-AFTRA...

Alumni Ryan Rost, M.F.A. ’14 produces new album

Jazz musician and UCI Music alumnus Ryan Rost released his jazz trio album, “I Was Here,” on Oct. 29, 2020. The album features Doug Carter on piano, Peter Buck on drums and Rost leading on bass, and explores Rost’s curiosity through a unique compositional framework. “I’m constantly asking...

Rachel Fine discovers her calling by leading arts organizations

by Richard Chang Not everyone who studies piano and music in college grows up to be a world-class, professional artist. Some grow up to be world-class, professional arts executives. Rachel Fine attended UC Irvine in the 1990s as a transfer student, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta...

Practice Makes Perfect

Miles Vinson created an app for musicians with help from the Medici Scholarship Program By Christine Byrd Violinist Miles Vinson wanted to replace his handwritten practice journal with an iPhone app to help him track his practice sessions, similar to a fitness app that might help a runner...