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Last week the world received a shock when it was reported that Prince had died. So much talent had left this earth all too soon. Word got around that Barbara Grubel, dance professor and interim associate dean of the CAC and Jay Craggs, student services program manager had worked with Prince before working at UW-Whitewater. Here are the stories:

Barb Grubel, danced At Prince’s nightclub Avenue One in an opening act prior to his show. Here’s the story. She was dancing with a Minneapolis-based dance company when they received word that there was a call for dancers to be in a big show. She auditioned, was cast and danced on stage prior to a Prince show. The choreographer was Donald Byrd, a very notable choreographer. She wore a black sexy outfit with her hair in a high ponytail all frizzed out and danced around on stage as an opening act for a Prince performance! She saw Prince from a distance surrounded by bodyguards and his entourage. This certainly was a brush with greatness! As she said, “We were just fluff on the real dessert!”

Jay Craggs, in the 90’s was involved with an audio electronics start-up called Uptown Technology. The team was creating really innovative new pro audio products for the music industry.  At the time, Jay was a full-time guitarist making a living doing sessions and performing, his role with Uptown was to come up with ideas and to prototype new pro audio devices, and then work with artists and help them understand how cool these new devices were.  The company started out with a prototype opto-switcher that ended up with Sammy Lanas of the BoDeans, Jay etched the first circuit board for that product in his kitchen.  They also did custom tech work for guitarist Adrian Belew, who was at that time playing on the David Bowie  “Sound + Vision” tour.  Other artists started hearing about Uptown Technology and they ended up working with many national acts.  Prince was one of those, along with Living Colour, the Bowie Tour,  Rush, Lou Reed, Paul Pesco, the Tom-Tom club, there were a ton of them! That was incredibly fun and exciting time for Jay Craggs.

Jay worked with Prince showing different approaches to switching, routing, layering, MIDI control, and running parallel audio in guitar systems.  At the time, Prince did some of that, and he had a lot of series stomp boxes in his rig as well.

Jay, unfortunately, did not play with any of Princes’ bands but did play alongside him in the studio working on guitar tones, routing, and switching. When asked what Prince was like when he wasn’t on stage, Jay states, “He was a more private person off stage, compared to his show persona. I think that he was about a foot shorter than I am physically, but he had a larger personal presence that was much more powerful.”

When asked to share a favorite story about this incredible artist Jay shared this: A friend, Gary Brandt, is an outstanding recording engineer who recorded all of the tracks for Prince’s first major album “Prince.”   At the time, Prince was still an unknown artist and Prince’s management had scheduled enough time with Gary to record, but no time for mixing and finishing the project.  Gary did top notch work recording the songs, and the management then requested that Gary also mix the record.  Gary was in demand and already had a very busy schedule and declined to take on the project, which eventually became an important record for Prince and a great mix project to be involved with.   When your schedule is full you have to choose which projects to accept and which to pass on – but it illustrates the fact that you never know what the next “big thing” is going to be!

Prince was really a Big Thing and his influence in the music industry will live on for a long time. It is fun to know that the faculty and staff at UW-Whitewater are just a few degrees of separation from amazing artists.

CoAnna Tracy.ngratulations to Anna Tracy, Jocelyn Kopac, and Stephen Olson on Winning the Warhawk Business Plan Competition
Anna Tracy won first place and $2500 in the April 6th Warhawk Business Plan Competition for her company Emajin Shoes. Click here for a video of her business pitch. Candid Brilliance Music, founded by Jocelyn Kopac and pitched by Maria Hilgers, was awarded 2nd place and $1500. Stephen “Luke” Olson placed third and won $750 for Illumicase. The Warhawk Business Plan Competition is organized and hosted by UW-Whitewater’s chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Click here for photos from the competition.

The Creative Enterprise Symposium 16 coming up this Monday, April 11 will feature in the 2:00 – 3:15 Candid Interviews in UC Room 68 the following creative people: Michael Cesario (hosting the interview) Heidi Lofy (interviewee #1) and Matt Schliesman (interviewee #2).

Now for a little about each of them.


Michael Cesario currently serves as Artistic Director of Drum Corps International.

He is known for his work on Broadway, Television and Repertory stages across the country, including Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Princeton’s McCarter Theatre, Houston’s Alley Theater, Cleveland’s Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Stratford’s American Shakespeare Theatre, New York’s Playwrights Horizons and Lincoln Center.

He has been a member of the Costume Society of America, the Costume Society of England, United States Institute for Theatre Technology and United Scenic Artists Local 829, where he headed the Examination process, establishing the evaluative leading to certification by this national professional design body.

Respected as an educator, Cesario was honored as Professor Emeritus by New York’s Purchase College where he headed the Graduate Programs in Design and served as Director of Design/Technology for the Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film. He has been a lecturer and teacher at the Julliard School (NYC), School of Visual Arts (NYC), Bennington College (VT), Dartmouth College (NH) and the University of Illinois.

His work has been featured in numerous gallery shows and is prominent in two texts for the training of designers, “The Magic Garment” by Rebecca Cunningham and “Costumer’s Handbook” by Ingham and Covey.

Recognized as a national leader in Pageantry Arts, Cesario is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician for high school bands nationwide. He has also worked as a consultant for the World-Champion Cadets, Phantom Regiment and Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, and he was inducted into the Drum Corps International Hall of Fame in 1996. He is responsible for creating the trademark uniforms of America’s finest bands, drum corps, and color guards through FJM Inc., and he also produced the original DCI Tour of Champions. Michael is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Theatre major, Speech minor class of 1971.


Heidi Lofy.jpg.320x320px
Heidi Lofy is the vice president of sales and marketing for the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. She has responsibility for sponsorship, ticketing, group & corporate sales, marketing, public relations, facility rentals and Marcus Center programming. She has bee with the Marcus Center for 12 years. Prior to joining the Marcus Center in 2002, Heidi worked in the technology and banking fields for 18 years. She worked for 16 years at M&I Data Services (which became Metavante/FIS) in software development, sales, PR, advertising, and brand management.

The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts offers the best of cultural and community programming. We are home to the finest performing artists in Wisconsin, including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Ballet Company, Florentine Opera Company, First Stage and Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra plus the host of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration.

Heidi is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater BBA, Management Computer Systems 1981-1985.

Matt Schliesman sq imageMatthew Schliesman – http://entertainingarts.net/projects/ 

Matthew Schliesman is a Nonprofit Arts Executive,  an Arts, Entertainment and Business Consultant, a writer, producer, director, teacher and Theme Park Entertainment Executive.

  • Creative work on multiple fronts continues while I have the pleasure of running a charming and historic performing arts center in the warm and memorable community of Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
  • Long based in Los Angeles, at the end of 2010, my work brought me back to the state-of-mind-and-being where my roots begin.
  • Looking back, I’m pleased with the depth and breadth of my experience.  Looking ahead, the best is yet to come.
  • Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre/Directing, Lindenwood College, St. Charles, MO.  1987.   As a graduate assistant, coordinated theater management activities and taught arts administration courses.  Concurrent voice studies with the St. Louis Conservatory of Music.  Published research
  • Bachelor of Arts with double major in Theatre (Acting/Directing emphasis) and Communications (Radio/TV emphasis), University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  1978.
  • Awarded THE BIG-E Award by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) for the leadership of and service to the association as chair of Entertainment-related professional outreach for their international conferences, 1997-2000.
  • Distinguished Alumnus Service Award from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.  1999.

In addition to the interviews, there will be roundtable discussions facilitated by Michael Cesario, Matthew Schliesman, Heidi Lofy, Janet Rortvedt, James Caldwell, and Amy Arntson. Please join us for a portion of the day. Find the schedule at: www.uww.edu/cac/creative-enterprise-symposium


In the next few weeks, this blog will introduce you to the creative minds of our Creative Enterprise Symposium on Monday, April 11th. We are taking a look Inside the Creative Mind and will interview four different creative people to find out the path they took on their creative journey.

Matt Johnson sq image


UW-Whitewater Creative Enterprise Symposium

Profile: Matthew A. Johnson – Johnson Media Consulting LLC, Milwaukee

Milwaukee native, Matthew A. Johnson graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from Northern Michigan University and is the youngest of eight children. All eight children graduated from high school, college and hold several advanced degrees. Matthew first gained national entrepreneurship attention in Milwaukee as the founder of a nonprofit organization called The Strive Media Institute, an after-school program that helped to train central city minorities and at-risk teens in broadcast media and journalism.

Over a span of 18 years, between 1990 and 2008 the institute garnered a national reputation for providing a diverse population of young people access to employable skills in media that helped to teach teens to become better thinkers, writers, and producers. As many as 500 students went through a rigorous yearlong four-year training program offered by Strive. Many of the students that came through the doors of Strive went on to become successful media industry professionals with networks such as ABC, Black Entertainment Television, CNN and NBC. Johnson helped finance those early ventures with savings he built up from years of working as a cigarette sales executive for Philip Morris, a company he quit in the late 1980s because he didn’t believe in the job anymore.

Several year later after lack of support for the institute and it’s eventual closing, Matthew remained committed to helping people in the Milwaukee area and became focused on a mission designed to promote better health care among a population of African-Americans, Latinos and people of color that he believes need the support to help address disparities in health care, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, infant nutrition, breast cancer, mental illness, nutrition and cardiopulmonary disease.

In 2009 Matthew became the publisher of “Girlfriends Health Guide,” and “Fellas a Men’s Guide to Healthy Living,” dual quarterly advertising-supported magazines focused on the latest in healthy living that he publishes through his firm, Johnson Media Consulting LLC, Milwaukee. Through these latest efforts, he also established a  foundation dedicated in memory of his late mother and father: The Rayfield & Ida M. Johnson Foundation. The foundation is designed to support health care needs of minorities in Milwaukee by disseminating valuable information to targeted male and female audiences — minority populations in Milwaukee.

These publications serve as communication tools while engaging and inspiring men and women to come together for the improvement of our entire community. Matthew states that: “I’m just trying to make a difference. Wherever I go and whatever I do, I want to make a difference.”


In the next few weeks this blog will introduce you to the creative minds of our Creative Enterprise Symposium on Monday April 11th. We are taking a look Inside the Creative Mind and will interview four different creative people to find out the path they took on their creative journey.

Amy Arntson sq image

Amy Arntson – Artist – UW-Whitewater Emerita Art Professor

Amy received her BFA from Michigan State University her MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and her career path includes graphic designer, author, art and design professor and as a constant thread through it all . . .  Artist. She is a member the College of Arts and Communication Advisory Board and is currently a working artist. Her work can be viewed here (http://www.amyarntson.net/home.htm)

She grew up in the Great Lakes Region and water has been a powerful symbol throughout her life. Her art reflects her fascination with water both in her choice of medium and subject matter.  “I’ve examined a wide variety of media and concepts, but consistently line and wash and watercolor are the most beautiful to my eye.” – Amy Arntson

Amy Arntson was a professor of Art & Design at UW-Whitewater from 1982-2004 and during her time on campus was Department Chairperson, Graphic Design Area Head, and Interim Associate Dean. She wrote several of the classes in the departmental curriculum on disciplines ranging from Illustration to Design History to Computer Graphics.  She authored multiple editions of the national/international publications Graphic Design Basics I-VI, 2011, and Computer Graphic Basics, 2006. In addition to creating art she currently teaches workshops and participates in Artist in Residency programs in the Great Lakes region.

Her paintings are widely shown and collected. While a faculty member at UWW she exhibited artwork internationally in the Florence (Italy) Bienniale as well as locations in China, England and more. She served as an art/design consultant to the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education. Recently the acclaimed American Artist “Watercolor” magazine featured several of Arntson’s paintings in a six-page article.  Her recent solo and featured artist exhibitions include the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) on the Lake, Water Street Gallery, Capitol Lakes Gallery, Wilson Center for the Arts, Piante Gallery, James Watrous Gallery, as well as many group exhibitions.

Together with UWW Communications faculty, Arntson has given lectures and presentations on visual communications concepts on several continents speaking on topics such as: “Images and Identities in a Global Society”, “Technology and Visual Language”. Her solo shows are accompanied by presentations such as “Art and Ideas”, “Nature as Metaphor” and “The Visual Dance” that emphasize connections between disciplines.  Much of her artwork explores the concepts of time and place through paintings of water.

Arntson’s students in the UWW Art and Design program have gone on to jobs in art education, art directing, illustration, Graphic Design and Social Media Management. Many of them continue to create their own Fine Art. They use a wide variety of visual and conceptual skills.

poster ignition_final 2

The Crossman Gallery in the Greenhill Center of the Arts is ever changing and ever evolving. Each exhibit brings us new insights, different perspectives and creative outpourings that expand our experience and our minds. The newest experiment is IGNITION it takes over the Crossman Gallery from February 17-March 18 . The exhibit is organized by Arts Media Center Director Dale Kaminski who received sponsorship for this exhibit from the Visiting Artists Program. The Ignition Event, an exhibit featuring guest artists who created new work in during their residencies in the Crossman Gallery, will end its run with a closing reception on Wednesday afternoon, March 18.  We will be featuring guest artist Max White that day and will be serving Chinese loose leaf tea and cookies during the reception.

See images from the exhibit on Instagram at #artatuww #crossmangallery #Ignition

This project evolved from last summer’s displacement of the Arts Media Center during the media center’s remodeling. The Media Center took up residence in the Crossman Gallery and moved the large scale digital printer to the gallery. Various faculty artists and visiting artists dropped by to create digital art which was then printed in large scale and hung up in the gallery. The gallery became an interactive studio, Dale was welcoming to all and would offer tea and conversation. Throughout the summer the students, summer campers and other visits and campus employees wandered in to find out what was happening and this blossomed into an idea that has come to full fruition now.

Ignition lights up with the first visiting artist, Rebecca Lessem, Wednesday, February 17. She is exploring “wrongness.”  Lessem states, “To define this “wrongness” I point to that unsettling feeling we experience when something strikes us as oddly disturbing or uncomfortable in a way which is hard to define or explain, and we are left in confusion, wondering what is wrong and why it is upsetting to us.” Stop in and see what happens when artist are let loose to create in our space.”

On Thursday, February 18th we are joined by Nathanial Stern who is well regarded in the media arts world. He has exhibited in South Africa and recently at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Stern is a Professor of Media Arts at UW-Milwaukee. Here is a TEDX Talk  he did with his colleague Ilya Avdeev. Nathaniel will be joined by Wyatt Tinder, a graduate student in the Media Arts program at UWM.

All in all, over 20 different artists will come to work and collaborate during Ignition, producing large scale digital prints that will be displayed in the Bad Weather Gallery in the lower level of the Greenhill Center of the Arts. During this exhibit there will also be a series of music performances taking place in harmony with the artists work. Some artists are creating works specifically for this project others will bring existing images to be enlarged. Artists include: Derrick Buisch, Steve Burnham, Eddee Daniel, Anwar Floyd-Pruitt, Adrienne Foster, Bill Miller, Susan Messer, Meg Mitchell, Paul Mitchell, Chee Wang Ng, Hal Rammel, Nathaniel Stern, Fred Stonehouse, Wyatt Tinder, Max White and Koala Yip.

Come be a part of this creation project. Stop in, enjoy a cup of tea, watch the process, interact with the artists, engage in the process of creating! Ignite in you the power to create!


gary vaughn imageIf you are an artist, you have probably had someone suggest that you should get a degree in a field that will      pay the bills, and save your art as an avocation? And yet we all know people who have followed their passion in the arts to a lucrative and fulfilling profession.

What is their secret?
Did they have rich parents?
Do they have more talent than you?

Not necessarily. What is more likely is that they learned how to make a business plan and get financial assistance to get things started.

Do you want to follow your passion and have a career in a field you love? Do you want a job where going to work never feels like work? Then we have the seminar for you! The title of this blog sort of gave it away. . . huh?

Mark your calendar for Thursday, November 19, 2015 from 1-4 pm. Find a way to get to the Whitewater Technology Park Innovation Center for “Dollars and Sense for Arts Entrepreneurs,” a workshop featuring Gary Vaughan of Guidant Business Solutions.  Gary will teach the basics of balance sheets, understanding profit and loss, pricing your art to make a profit, calculating income and profit (there is a difference) all in a language that you can understand. Find out what a banker looks for before they lend you money for your start up.

In addition to being an entrepreneur, Gary Vaughan is on the Self-Emplyment in the Arts Advisory Board and is currently an instructor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Coordinator of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Interdisciplinary Area at Lawrence University.

Admission is $20, but free to UW-Whitewater students with valid ID. Call 262-472-2222 to reserve your seat now!

Did you know that anyone can audition to be in music ensembles? If you used to be involved in choir or a musical ensemble and brought your instrument to campus you can still play or sing! Check out all the opportunities to become involved in a musical ensemble at UW-Whitewater.

Here is the information for the various ensembles and when the auditions are held:

All UWW Choirs are open to ALL STUDENTS!

Concert Choir, Meistersingers Men’s Chorus, and Women’s Chorale do not require an audition. Simply attend the first rehearsal:

Concert Choir: Thursday, Sept. 3, 4:30 pm, Center for the Arts room 30 (in the basement)
Men’s and Women’s Choruses: Wednesday, September. 2, 4:30 pm, CA room 30

Chamber Singers and Vocal Jazz do require an audition. Sign up for an audition time outside CA room 1005 (just past the elevator by the front entrance to the CA).

Audition times:
Wednesday, 9/2, Noon – 2:00pm and 3:30-4:30pm (Chamber Singers only)
Thursday, 9/3, Noon – 3:00pm (both choirs) and 3:30-4:30pm (Chamber Singers only)
Friday, 9/4, 10:00 – Noon and 2:00 – 3:00pm (both choirs)

More info about individual choirs and the audition process at http://www.uww.edu/cac/music/choral-/choral-ensembles

Vocal Jazz is an auditioned group, so you will need to audition to be part of this group. The ensemble will likely have between 10-16 singers (2-3 people/part). Auditions will be on Wednesday & Thursday, September 2 & 3. The sign-up sheet for an audition time will be posted on the choir bulletin board across from the instrumental rehearsal room (CA1005) by August 25. The audition location will also be listed on that sign-up sheet.

How to prepare for your audition:
1. Please come warmed up.
2. Range check – for highest & lowest comfortable pitches.
3. Sightsinging.
4. Aural skills – copying a few short melodies played first on the piano.
5. Please come prepared to sing about 60 seconds of a song – preferably a song in the jazz or pop idiom that you feel very confident to sing. Please bring sheet music with you. Someone will try to accompany you. Even if you prefer to sing a cappella, bring the sheet music – it is always helpful, especially if it’s a song with which the director is unfamiliar.

Please let Dr. VanAlstine (vanalsts@uww.edu) know if you have any questions. Once the auditions are completed on Wednesday, she will send out an email with a roster of the selected singers.

Jazz Band Auditions:
Horns: CA Room 1
Wednesday, September 2 from 5:00 – 8:00pm (all groups)

Rhythm Section: CA Room 1005
Wednesday, September 2 – 10:00 – 10:50am (all groups)
Thursday, September 3 – 1:00 – 1:50 pm (all groups)
For more information- Go to uwwjazz.com
or Sign-up CA 2004 bulletin board.

Questions? Email Professor Matt Sintchak: sintcham@uww.edu

Symphonic Wind Ensemble Auditions
Thursday, September 3 in Light Recital hall
There is a sign-up sheet in 5 minute increments from 3:30pm until 9:55 pm (9:10- 9:55pm times are reserved for Percussion).

Audition music is posted in envelopes on the SWE bulletin board in the music wing of the Greenhill Center of the Arts.

Whitewater Symphony Orchestra Auditions
Strings – Thursday, September 3 – 3:30 -5:00pm
Violin: 3:30 – 4:00pm
Viola: 4:00 – 4:30pm
Cello: 4:20- 4:40pm
Bass: 4:40 – 5:00pm

Woodwind- Thursday, September 8 – 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Flute: 3:30 – 3:50pm
Oboe: 3:50-4:00pm
Clarinet: 4:00-4:20pm
Bassoon: 4:20- 4:30pm

Brass – Tuesday, September 8 – 4:30 – 5:10 pm
Horn: 4:30-4:45pm
Trumpet: 4:45-5:00pm
Trombone: 5:00 -5:10pm


“Well it’s about time” . . . is a response we have been hearing quite a bit since hatching the idea of this reunion. The brilliant minds behind it are former professor Gorden Hedahl and alumnus John Bill with onsite help from Leslie (Wallace) LaMuro. For several months these three have been making arrangements, contacting Theatre alumni and hoping this all comes together later this summer.

Gordon created a Facebook page if you are on Facebook check it out to see who is already planning to attend. We plan to update the  College website with the invite letter, order form and the online sign up. (Note: there are added fees with the online order form.) Currently on the Facebook page there are at least 59 who have responded that they are attending and many will bring significant others along with them, but in checking with the ticket office only 20 people so far have officially signed up. Let’s Get Busy People! The deadline to sign up and pay is Friday, July 10 by 4:00 pm, but earlier would be appreciated.

We are looking forward to alumni returning and reminiscing about old times, sharing their current endeavors, remembering the good ol’ college days and the crazy antics behind the scenes!

It seems to be a busy weekend so hotel accommodations in Whitewater are tight. So if you know someone who lives nearby or are not opposed to driving there are plenty of hotels/B &B’s in the area.

Dr. Fannie Hicklin plans to attend and is very excited to see faces from the past. We may have to do “slow head rolls” just to make her happy!

Friday, July 31 will be a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres informal gathering in the Greenhill Center of the Arts Atrium staring at 6 pm. The cost is $15 per person.

Saturday, August 1 will be a more formal dinner taking place in the Young Auditorium facility and the dinner choices are listed on the online survey monkey site: or on the forms linked below.

theatre reunion invite

theatre reunion letter.

theatre reunion order form

If you are someone who Tweets feel free to use these hashtags;

#uwwTDreunion, #slowneckrolls, #backstage@barnett

If you are planning to send the order forms in via mail please send to:

Leslie LaMuro, Theatre/Dance Department Room 2046, 800 West Main Street, Whitewater, WI 53190

Please make checks payable to: UW-Whitewater

You may also call the box office to make reservations and pay via phone with credit card. Box Office Call 262-472-2222

If this is successful reunions may happen more than once every 20 years! Please join us for one or both nights and see what it’s like to remember the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd!

If you have questions call 262-472-1228.

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Have you ever wondered just what a Forensics meet is all about? Well this is your chance to find out and experience award-winning student performances. UW-Whitewater Forensics presents the 2015 Forensics Showcase at 7:00 pm, Friday, April 10, 2015 at the Cultural Arts Center, 402 W. Main Street, Whitewater.

This annual event highlights the Forensics teams best student work. It showcases events that have qualified for the pinnacle of college forensics, the National Forensics Association National Tournament. This event is free and open to the public and seating is on a first-come-first-serve basis. It is suggested that attendees are over the age of 16 due to adult language and themes.

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