School of Arts and Communication

February 2012

BennettAs Dean of the School of Arts + Communication at Pacific Lutheran University, I welcome you to the inaugural season of SOAC’s Focus Series, which will be highlighted in this month’s SOACtivities. Our goal is to bring together our talented students and faculty to focus on a common theme through a multi-disciplinary approach. Each year, the theme selected will be relevant, timely, and appropriate to the mission of SOAC and PLU.

For 2011-12, the theme of “Compassion” is one of relevance in these challenging times in which we live and certainly a cornerstone of social interconnection and human values that bring each of us together. Our four events this year present each SOAC area – art & design, communication, music and theatre – dynamically interpreting this common theme through the panorama of their respective discipline. It promises to be an exciting and thought- provoking journey.


Cameron Bennett
Dean School of Arts + Communication

National Print Exhibition ``The Human Experience``

Take a front row seat to the world of printmaking at the opening of PLU University Gallery’s the National Print Exhibition: The Human Experience, Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 5 p.m.

The National Print Exhibition brings printmaking from the nation to PLU. With numerous juried entries from across the country, attendees can get an idea of techniques and styles used in printmaking today while connecting with fellow art and print lovers and printmaking experts. Learn about the national and local printmaking scene with Craig Cornwall, clinical assistant professor of art and design at PLU, who will offer printmaking demonstrations and give a few lucky gallery attendees an original print to take home.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing for PLU to be able host this national show, not only for PLU but for other universities and colleges in the area who will bring their students and get a nationwide perspective on today’s printmaking,” Cornwall said.

All prints are made with hand pulled processes – incorporating the human element in each piece.

“I think [compassion] really tends to draw interest from printmakers because everything they do becomes a very great part of who they are – that human experience is reflected because you have to do so much preliminary work to get the results, and I think the human experience is often like that,” Cornwall said.

The print exhibition is held in the University Gallery in Ingram on the PLU Campus; it is a biannual event.  Can’t make the opening reception? The University Gallery in Ingram is open 8am to 4pm Monday through Friday and always free. Exhibition will be up until March 7, 2012.

MediaLab Film Examines ``Compassion Fatigue``

People who are repeatedly exposed to tragedy and trauma, such as health care workers, fire fighters and law enforcement officers, may be susceptible to a condition known as “compassion fatigue, “according to a new documentary produced by PLU’s MediaLab.

“Overexposed: The Cost of Compassion,” makes its South Sound premiere Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, at 7 p.m. in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center’s Lagerquist Concert Hall.

“After reading a little bit about what compassion fatigue is,” Katie Scaff, a junior and MediaLab member, says, “we realized that this was an important issue that more people need to be aware of.”

The title of the film, which came to the filmmakers during one of the more than 60 interviews they conducted across North America, is evocative of the human toll associated with repeated exposure to trauma and suffering.

The team traveled some 12,000 miles across the U.S. and Canada by car, train and plane in search of people with unique stories to tell. In New Orleans, the researchers met survivors of Hurricane Katrina, a nationally renowned expert who wrote the first book about compassion fatigue and a sexual trauma nurse at Louisiana State University Hospital. The filmmakers’ work also took them to California, Illinois, Washington D.C., New York City, and Kingston, Ontario, where they attended the first annual Compassion Fatigue conference.

“It’s been a busy year. But we’ve learned so much,” Scaff says. “Our goal now is to bring awareness to this issue so people can identify it and know how to cope.”

“Overexposed” marks the seventh film produced by MediaLab, which has received numerous national recognitions for its work, including one Emmy Award and three consecutive Emmy nominations.

The world premiere of Overexposed was held in October 2011 at Seattle Central Public Library. The film is free and panel discussion are free.


Rabbit Hole - A Studio Theater Production

rabbit-hole-webTheatre, as a communal form of art, is an ideal forum in which to experience the kind of shared compassion that helps us persevere in difficult times and bring us closer together.

The opening night of PLU’s Rabbit Hole, on March 9, 2012, provides an opportunity for thoughtful discussion on theatre and compassion. We welcome theatre alumni back to PLU for a panel at 5:30 p.m. in Ingram 100 and a reception prior to the Rabbit Hole curtain at 7:30.

Director and Assistant Professor of Theatre, Brian Desmond, will host the panel discussion. Attendees will discover how compassion informs the work of theatre professionals as they audition for roles, develop characters, rehearse with fellow cast members and perform for an audience. Theatre alumni on the panel include Kristina Corbitt ’10 (Jet City Improv Company Member), Kirsten Helland ’10 (Oklahoma! at The 5th Avenue Theatre), and Justin Huertas ’09 (Spring Awakening at Balagan Theatre and on a National Tour).

Rabbit Hole, which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, is a story of loss, heartbreak, and forgiveness as a family attempts to move on after a life-shattering accident.

“The play demands an intense level of naturalistic acting that requires the performers to be unfailingly honest in order to get the most out of both the humor and the pathos in the text. Our students have been aching for that kind of challenge, and I wanted to give it to them,” Desmond said.

Rabbit Hole, offers a real, raw journey that author David Lindsy-Abaire describes as “not a tidy play.”

“During the course of the play, each of the five characters has to learn how to deal with a variety of very challenging situation,” Desmond said. “Regardless of how they act (and react) to each other and to the circumstances, it is ultimately compassion for themselves and for their fellow human beings that allows the characters to move on in their lives with some measure of understanding and grace.”

Rabbit Hole will open in the Studio Theater – PLU’s new black box venue. The venue provides an intimate experience for the audience members. Rehearsals begin Monday, February 6, 2012.

“It is a truly incredible play… it’s not just sad, it’s also incredibly funny and so real, so honest that I think audiences will really enjoy not just watching the show but being a part of these people’s lives,” Abigail Pishaw, cast member, said.

For tickets please call the Campus Box Office: 253-535-7411. Tickets are $8 General Admission and $5 with student or PLU ID. Tickets are available three weeks prior to opening night.

Drum Taps: Nine Poems on Themes of War

ellsworthwebCompassion for victims of injustice is often cited as a reason for war. Compassion for victims of war (including those who fought) is a frequent outcome, often spurring another cycle of conflict.

Drum Taps: Nine Poems on Themes of War by Gregory Youtz, composer, is a 55 minute oratorio for four vocal soloists, mixed choir and orchestra. Four poems by Walt Whitman written during the United States’ Civil War (1861-65) from his series Drum Taps, provide an evolving view of war from an American perspective: from excited anticipation of a quick and heroic experience, to a somber reflection on the human cost of war. Interspersed amongst these are five poems by writers from other lands and other times- perhaps not coincidentally places where the US has been involved in wars: Vietnam, China, the Middle East and Europe.

Please enjoy a pop-up art gallery in the Lagerquist lobby before and after the show. Art works will showcase students’ perspective on “themes of war.” Stay tuned to the Focus Series website for additional information on the night’s events – they will be posted as they unfold.

For tickets please call the the department of music at 253-535-7602. Tickets are $8 General Admission, and $5 senior citizens (55+), $3 with student or PLU ID and free to children under 18. Tickets are available.