FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 2, 2014
Media Contact: Jonathan Dye, firstname.lastname@example.org, (478) 308-1660
Art Matters announces third symposium
Third symposium focuses on theater and theater criticism in Middle Georgia
MACON, Ga. — Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists is pleased to announce the third in its series of six public symposia on the role of criticism and arts journalism in fostering an informed and engaged community. “Theater and Theater Criticism in Middle Georgia” will be held at Middle Georgia State College’s Professional Services Center, Room 211, on the Macon Campus, January 28 at 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the public and is hosted by the Department of Media, Culture, and the Arts in the School of Liberal Arts with support from the Middle Georgia State College Foundation.
The discussion at this symposium will focus on the role of theaters in Middle Georgia and how local media covers theater and theatric productions. Featured panelists will be Sydney Chalfa, Jim Crisp, Larry Fennelly, Fred Hardin, John Jones and Adam Ragusea. Art Matters Critic-in-Residence Steve Murray will moderate the discussion.
Sydney H. Chalfa is an associate professor of Theatre at Middle Georgia State College. She joined the faculty of then Macon State College in 1990 as Director of the Impromptu Players, the college’s theater company at that time and she has directed over 65 shows for the college in that capacity. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Saint Andrews University and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting and Directing from the University of Georgia. At Macon State and Middle Georgia State College, she has directed Angels in America (Parts One and Two), Big River, Once on this Island, the rock opera Tommy, Marat Sade, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, The Rocky Horror Show, Lonely Planet, Waiting for Godot, The Heidi Chronicles, and Howard Zinn’s The People Speak, to name a few. Her primary interest is studying new plays by contemporary American playwrights. She is currently directing Rabit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire to be seen at MGSC in mid-February.
Jim Crisp, Jr. is the artistic director of Theatre Macon. Jim will be celebrating his thirty-first year in Macon in August 2013. Having lived the life of a “gypsy” all over the United States, he is happy to have finally made his home in a place as great as Macon. Jim earned a B.A. in theater from Western Illinois University and his M.F.A. in acting from the FSU / Asolo Conservatory in Sarasota, Florida. He lived in New York City for two years and Los Angeles for four years teaching, directing, acting and pursuing the illusive actor’s career. Jim arrived in Macon in 1982 to become director at the Macon Little Theatre during their fiftieth season celebration. In 1986, with a lot of help and support from friends and the community of Macon, he founded Theatre Macon, now in its twenty-seventh season. He is proud of Theater Macon’s accomplishments that have brought state and regional recognition to the theater. In addition, many of the Youth Actors’ Company graduates are working and studying professionally. His life’s work has largely been dedicated to recognizing and developing young talent. Jim has directed over 250 productions in his career and continues to search for new works that will entertain and challenge his audiences.
Larry Fennelly is a long-time observer of theater and music whose columns and reviews have appeared in The Telegraph since 1979. He holds a B.A. degree from the College of William & Mary and a Ph.D. from Florida State University, where he served as University Fellow. In addition to teaching in the journalism program at what is now Middle Georgia State College, Fennelly has taught at Wesleyan College and is currently senior lecturer at Mercer University. A perennial student, he continues to study at Georgia State University and can be found at three or four events each week in Macon or Atlanta.
Fred Hardin, originally from North Carolina, moved to Warner Robins in 1967 after accepting a teaching position at the Robins AFB School System. He is now a retired educator, with 41 years of experience with high school, technical school, college, and elementary school. Fred has always had a flair for theatrics, and he has been deeply involved with the local theaters in Central Georgia since 1972. He has been seen on the theater stages in Warner Robins, Macon, and Perry. He directed over 30 plays and acted in almost that many Warner Robins Little Theatre productions. He has served as production co-coordinator for numerous presentations. He is an active member of the WRLT Board of Governors and served as president for many years. Fred has been involved with publicity, season membership, and, most recently, chaired the 50th Anniversary Masquerade Gala for WRLT. Fred works to promote the performing arts wherever he can. Fred has been married to Nancy for almost 45 years. They have two married sons, Greg (an actor and computer tech) and Jeff (a freelance artist). They have three grandchildren.
John Jones is theater manager at Macon Little Theatre. John is a retired educator who taught Language Arts/Drama for 33 years in the Bibb County School System. He has been active in community theater since 1970 appearing in over 50 productions at Macon Little Theatre, Macon ACT, Theatre Macon and Wesleyan College. In 2004 he began a three-year term as Board Chairman at Macon Little Theatre and continues his service as theater manager.
Adam Ragusea is the site director of GPB’s bureau in Macon, where he locally hosts NPR’s Morning Edition. He also coordinates GPB’s day-to-day involvement in the Center for Collaborative Journalism – a partnership between Mercer University, GPB, and the Telegraph of Macon – working with student journalists and exchanging material with Middle Georgia’s largest newspaper. Before coming to GPB, Adam worked at WBUR in Boston and WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana. A classical composer by training, Adam spends his spare time making music, gardening, and riding bicycles. He lives with his wife, author Lauren Morrill, and their dog Lucy in Macon’s Vineville neighborhood.
Steve Murray is the critic-in-residence at Macon Arts Alliance as part of the Art Matters project. He is an award-winning writer, reporter, critic and playwright with years of experience as both a theater and film critic. He began his career at the weekly newspaper Southline in Atlanta as a staff writer and theater critic. He went on to be a staff writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Over his years at the paper, he was an arts writer, a film and television critic, and an adjunct editor for its weekly film section, Movies & More. Since 2009, Murray has worked as a columnist and film critic for ArtsATL.com, one of Atlanta’s leading arts blogs, covering all forms of art in the Atlanta metro area.
Art Matters: Engaging the Community through Embedded Arts Journalists is a one-year initiative designed to engage the community through high-quality arts journalism. A $40,000 National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant and a matching $40,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation support the $80,000 project. The project received one of only four national arts journalism grants funded by the NEA in 2013 and is the first time in seven years that Macon Arts Alliance has been awarded an NEA grant.
The Macon Arts Alliance (MAA), in collaboration with Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, will embed paid journalism interns in various arts organizations served by Macon Arts Alliance. These journalists will create news articles, blogs, video reports and more for local news outlets, the CCJ’s newsroom, and Macon Arts Alliance’s Ovations365.com and other publications. The program provides for a critic-in-residence at the CCJ and a series of public symposia that will pair different artists and critics to discuss the state of various art forms and criticism.
About Art Matters
Art Matters is an arts journalism partnership of Macon Arts Alliance and Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism that seeks to engage the community through embedded arts journalists. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works. Matching funding provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
About Macon Arts Alliance
The mission of the Macon Arts Alliance is to foster and support the advancement of arts and culture in Central Georgia. Macon Arts Alliance works to create an environment where arts and culture thrive and Central Georgia is recognized as an unparalleled cultural destination.
About the Center for Collaborative Journalism
The Center for Collaborative Journalism (CCJ) is a unique partnership between Mercer University, The Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Peyton Anderson Foundation. The Center’s groundbreaking collaboration has students, faculty and veteran journalists working together in a joint newsroom. Learning in a “teaching hospital” model, students engage the community.