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New Horizons: Messages from the Directors

KGMCA leaders look forward to the 2018 – 2019 academic year.

From new degree programs and community projects to a rich season of performing and visual arts events, the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts has a ton in store for the 2018 – 2019 academic year. As students, faculty and staff alike gear up for the fall semester, which begins August 20, the directors of UH’s arts areas are excited to usher in the new year. 

Learn more about what’s on the horizon for the School of Art, Moores School of Music, School of Theatre & Dance and Arts Leadership Program in the welcome messages below!


The School of Art is ready for another fantastic academic year. We will open the semester by welcoming new faculty and students, including two visiting faculty — Visiting Assistant Professor Dorota Biczel in art history and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts Visiting Artist Tia-Simone Gardner in photography/digital media; two graduate cohorts — the M.A. class of 2020 and the M.F.A. class of 2021 — and, finally, the creative and energetic undergraduate class of 2022.

The School continues to expand opportunities for students to engage with artists, designers, art historians and critics through lectures and conferences. In the fall we will launch the School of Art Lecture Series and, in November, the Art History Program will bring the Ladis Memorial Trecento Conference to campus. Looking forward to the spring, the School of Art is proud to be part of the Latino Art Now! 2019 conference, spearheaded by the Center for Mexican American Studies under the umbrella of the Inter-University Program for Latino Research.

Program initiatives in 2018 – 2019 include the interdisciplinary collaboration between the Art History Program, the Department of Hispanic Studies, the University of Houston Libraries and the MFAH’s International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), and a collaboration between the Graphic Design Program, community partners and local graffiti artists to plan and design a “gateway” mural for the newly illuminated underpass at Cullen and I-45.

Finally, the School is watching, with great anticipation, the first signs of construction on “Garage 5,” the future location of much needed parking space and, most important to me, the future home of our sculpture and M.F.A. programs. Stay tuned for more on this and all fronts as the year gets underway. 

Beckham Dossett
Director, School of Art


In the Moores School of Music, we are committed to enriching lives through music education and creative endeavors. During this past summer, we have fulfilled this mission in remarkable ways. Throughout the month of June, the Texas Music Festival was in full swing under the artistic direction of Alan Austin. In July, Dr. Jeb Mueller directed the Cougar Choir Camp, and Cameron Kubos coordinated the Cougar Band Camp. Throughout this time, our students and faculty have enjoyed incredible successes. The University of Houston’s Concert Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Betsy Cook Weber, won the Grand Prize at the Béla Bartók International Choir Competition in Hungary. Rhiannon Bishop and Joshua Painter, piano students of professor Nancy Weems, won first and second prize, respectively, at the Texas Music Teachers Association Young Artist Piano Solo Competition, and another of professor Weems’ students, Robert Levinger, was selected to compete in the 27th New Orleans International Piano Competition. Two of our composition students, Carlos Cordero and alumna Madeline Styskal, are making achievements abroad. Carlos, a student of Dr. David Ashley White, is the first Marie T. Bosarge Affiliated Fellow in Rome, and Madeline, who studied with Dr. Rob Smith, is currently teaching English in Russia this year as a Fulbright recipient.

This flurry of summer activity promises to launch us into our new academic year with energy and excitement! We look forward to the opening of our season with the first “Fridays at Moores” concert by the AURA Contemporary Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Rob Smith, and to welcoming our returning and incoming students.


Courtney Crappell, D.M.A.
Director, Moores School of Music 


The UH School of Theatre & Dance will be a hive of activity in 2018 – 2019! We are especially excited about a host of amazing guest artists joining us this year to teach masterclasses and/or direct plays for our theatre season, including: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright  Suzan-Lori Parks, Obie Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno, Broadway star and Tony Award nominee Sally Mayes, film and TV star Brett Cullen, Artistic Director of the Peterborough Players Gus Kaikkonen and Producing Director of the Virginia Shakespeare Festival Christopher Owens. We have a tremendous season of plays lined up, ranging from all-time classics to exciting new works. It’s going to be a banner year in the UH School of Theatre & Dance! 

Robert B. Shimko, Ph.D.
Director, School of Theatre & Dance


The Dance Program is pleased to announce the launch of our new B.F.A. degree plan this fall. The B.F.A. will provide a strong emphasis on the creative act of choreography, balanced with comprehensive dance studies designed to provide a foundation for success in the field of dance. This summer, under the direction of Rebecca Valls and Sophia Torres, the Dance Program partnered with Young Audiences of Houston to launch a new innovative teaching program titled Arts for Learning Lab. We also forwarded two initiatives that investigate connecting our larger Houston dance community to our institution through projects and archival opportunities. The 2018 – 2019 academic year will bring three choreographic premieres by dance faculty to Houston.

Stay’s going to be a great year! 

Karen Stokes
Director, Dance Program

Arts Leadership

The M.A. in Arts Leadership Program is embarking on its 6th anniversary in the 2018 – 2019 academic year. I couldn’t be more proud of all we have accomplished together as a program alongside our incredible community partners. I am looking forward to more personal and professional success stories to emerge from our students and alumni this year. 

The Arts Leadership Program will be offering two new and exciting courses this school year: Introduction to Museum and Gallery Management and Introduction to Arts and Health. We hope to expand these offerings in the years to come as graduate certificate programs in their respective fields and will be working diligently to ensure the curriculum is aligned with the needs of our community. Stay tuned!

Wishing you all a fantastic 2018 – 2019 school year. GO COOGS!

Fleurette S. Fernando, M.F.A.
Director, M.A. in Arts Leadership Program