Director of Blue Like Jazz visits campus

Steve Taylor shows students how faith and Christians in the entertainment industry can be influential in the types of everyday films that are released in Hollywood. Taylor is a Christian record producer, director and songwriter. He has earned multiple recognition awards for his work, including Grammys, Billboard and Dove awards. His most recent accomplishment is directing the film Blue Like Jazz. He spoke in Chapel Feb. 20 about faith and Christians in the arts. Associate Professor and music department Chair Dr. Mark Aaron Humphrey thinks Taylor is a great representation of what a Christian artist should be. “Obviously, he’s a talented guy, and he’s succeeded in many different areas, as a pop musician, as a producer of videos and of albums and now as a filmmaker, so I think that’s one of the things that I really found fascinating about him…how he’s reinvented himself,” he said. Sophomore finance major Kristina Liu enjoyed the chapel service. She explains what her favorite moment was during the assembly. “When he was talking about the movement of creating new and original art instead of recreating ideas that have already been done, I agree with it. A lot of the art, music and movies that have been coming out lately have traced back to things that have been done years or decades ago,” she said. After Chapel, students were encouraged to attend the free screening of the film directed by Taylor. It is a film adaption based on Donald Miller’s semi-autobiographical novel by the same name. The book is a collection of essays chronicling the author’s understanding of God and his experiences at Reed College. Humphrey thinks the novel can have a strong impact on those who read it, regardless of what their religious background is. “It’s one of those books where I think no matter where you are in belief, is worth reading. No matter what your beliefs are, you are going to have a lot you can identify with in the book,” he said. Fans of the book shouldn’t expect the film to play out the same way. “This is kind of a coming-of -age tale when he goes to Reed College in Portland. I think they do a good job of telling the story of Don’s life, but a lot of the commentary and things Don wrestled with are just a little part of the overall movie. If you’re a Blue Like Jazz fan, you definitely want to watch the movie, but know that it only tells the narrative from the book,” he said. Blue Like Jazz recounts the tale of a young man on a journey of self-discovery after he...

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Tom Richard’s work showcased
Mar06

Tom Richard’s work showcased

The Baugh Center for the Visual Arts opened an exhibit of the work of Tom Richard Feb. 6 titled Guys or Dolls… and, oh yeah, Bombs and Peeps. Richard is a professor of art at the University of Arkansas at Magnolia.  His art has been displayed in several different exhibits in locations such as Chicago, New York City and New Orleans. Professor and department Chair of the visual arts department Hershall Seals makes note of the apparent quirkiness and somewhat comical approach in Richard’s work. Seals compliments his techniques with his take on a lighthearted gallery structure. “One of the things (I find) interesting is the way in which it is hung. I’ve chosen to do playful arrangements of the works of art so that it conjures up a sense of fun. This is hallowed ground. This is kind of an experiment of levity, and how art can be a lot of different things. It doesn’t always have to be real serious,” he said. Sophomore fine arts major Sarah Wright enjoyed all of the pieces included in the exhibition, but Jokes and Bombs stood out to her the most. The artwork consisted of five colorful drawings of atomic explosions. “I really like the idea of having something blurred, but incorporating outlines to make it pop. I can just look at it from the other side of the room, and I can definitely see it stand out, and I like the vibrant colors,” she said. Junior graphic design major Chance Alvis views the art exhibit as a fresh learning experience for all art students. “He uses peeps and action figures, and he makes it work really well, especially in the overall painting. He does it in a way that goes beyond the objects. That’s something, as artists, we need to keep in the back of our minds ….You can always interpret something different,” he said. The visual arts department will host a gallery talk with the featured artist Feb. 28 at 5:00 p.m. Fine arts experience  credit will be available. The exhibit goes through March 1. Richard will serve as a juror for the upcoming UMHB student competition. He will decide which entries will be shown in the next exhibit, which will begin early next...

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Festival to feature renowned writers
Jan29

Festival to feature renowned writers

The annual Writer’s Festival hosted by the literary journal Windhover is right around the corner. Once again, students, faculty and staff will get the opportunity to participate in workshops, keynote sessions and readings by select artists. The line-up of events begins Feb. 6. Assistant Professor of English Dr. Jessica Hooten made note of the success of last year’s Writer’s Festival and the surprisingly positive student reactions. She hopes for the same outcome again. “I think most students were surprised at how much they enjoyed the festival. Many of them attend for extra credit and then find themselves attending more than one session because they really love the writers,” she said. Some of the guest speakers for this year’s event include Ron Hansen, Leslie Leyland Fields and Andrea Dilley. Hansen is the author of The Assassination of Jesse James, which has a film adaption starring Brad Pitt. In addition to being a fisherwoman, Fields is a Christian writer who has published a total of eight books. Dilley is the author of the memoir Faith and Other Flat Tires: Searching for God on the Rough Road of  Doubt. She is also a documentary film producer with work airing on American Public Television. Most of the same events, like Open Mic Night, will return this year, but some changes have been made in order to give students a chance to interact with the guest artists. Hooten said, “This year Chapel will co-host one of our writers, so more students will have the opportunity to encounter the great speakers we bring to campus. Also, all of the events will occur during the week, again to give more students more chances to see writers,” A few other surprises will be in store for attendees. “The Sigma Tau Delta society will have a time to lunch with our keynotes, which has never been provided before. Finally, there is a free concert with Lamar Stockton that I think the students will love,” Hooten said. Senior Christian studies and psychology double major and student assistant for the Writer’s Festival, Laura Phipps, attended last year for academic credit. She sat through most of the poetry sessions and found them to be interesting. This time around, she is excited for one special event in particular. “Probably hearing Lamar Stockton play. I really enjoy him. But in regards to literature and the Writer’s Festival, I’m excited to listen to memoirs by Andrea Dilley. She has some interesting pieces that we’ve got to look at, and I’m excited to meet Leslie Fields. She seems really fun, eccentric and outgoing,” she said. Assistant Professor of English and editor of the Windhover Dr....

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Dorm children impact university students
Jan29

Dorm children impact university students

If you’ve ever come across a tiny little girl with springy blonde curls bouncing around outside on campus, she would probably be the daughter of Resident Director Sarah Hammond, who recently introduced herself and her family to Remschel Hall. She has since had her second child, a 7-month-old boy named Eli. Although many people would be afraid to raise small children on a college campus, Hammond was up for the challenge. Hammond moved into Remschel Hall with her then 10-month-old daughter without the slightest hesitation. “I wasn’t nervous. I was excited about it because I felt like it would be a good place to raise my kids, and I felt like they would be around a lot of different people,” she said. Hammond had no worries about her daughter. She was certain she would be able to adapt to the new environment quickly. “Knowing my daughter, I knew she had the personality that would flourish with a lot of people around. I thought it would be great for my family,” she said. The women of Remschel Hall have blossomed into a tight-knit group because of the warm surroundings. Hammond is thrilled the students have been able to bond with her children so quickly. “They love my kids, and obviously my kids love them. There’s something about girls and babies. Girls love babies, and Emeline is so cute. How can you not love her? It’s nice to have a family in the dorm. It’s nice for the girls. Having little kids around kind of makes it feel a little more like home,” she said. Hammond’s commitment to her job and the love she shows for her family have certainly made a lasting impression on the residents of Remschel. Junior Christian ministries major and Remschel resident Kaitlin Burks thinks the children make a huge difference in the dorm room experience. “It’s been wonderful to watch the residents brighten up and play with Emmie, or ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over the baby. I have had girls who just gush over them and heard them talk about how they help them get over being homesick for their own little siblings. I can’t imagine living here without Sarah and her family,” she said. Resident director Wendi Fitzwater has been living in McLane for 12½ years with her family. She has three children. Jacob is a 16-year-old junior at Belton High School who plays the tenors for Belton Drumline. Drew is 13 and both boys are avid swimmers and are active in their church youth groups. After dealing with medical complications during and after her second pregnancy, she and her husband adopted a baby girl named...

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More C3 conversations: exploration for students
Jan08

More C3 conversations: exploration for students

This semester, the university will be sponsoring some events to help ease the pain of transitioning into unfamiliar class schedules, and lighten the burden of hectic course loads students will have to endure throughout the spring semester. The school will host another C3 event Jan. 14. The events seek to create a community dedicated to exploring the relationship between Christianity and culture. The latest conversation will feature Makoto Fujimura, an artist known for his lectures, books and paintings. Some of his work includes The Splendor of the Medium, Water Flames and Charis. Associate Professor, department chair of the music department and director of C3, Dr. Mark Aaron Humphrey, is excited about Fujimura’s visit to the university, and believes students can relate to him in many ways. “He is a deep thinker about important issues facing artists of faith. There are some great blogs and accessible books about these things, and there are some great scholarly works on the topic as well. He represents both accessible and scholarly work, which makes him a great fit for us. People from a variety of backgrounds in the arts and faith can relate to his thinking,” Humphrey said. University transitions program director and advisory board member of C3 Kristy Brischke was pleased with the results from a conversation with Christian recording artist, Michael Gungor at the C3 event Nov. 9. “We had a great turnout, nearly 200 students on a Friday afternoon. What I loved about it is it wasn’t just another concert or event. It was an intimate conversation with Michael Gungor, where the students really got to know him, his motivations, his beliefs (and) his personality. It was really neat,” she said. So far, the C3 conversations have been a hit with the student body. Brischke said, “Students really seemed to enjoy it. It was different. I think they were impressed with the newness. As the provost said, it was one of the best events he has seen on campus since his time here. That says a lot.” Even though some students may not be aware of the Fujimura’s work, Brischke is optimistic that the turnout of the next C3 event will be just as good as the last. “Makota Fujimura is not as known or popular as Gungor. I really hope students will grasp onto the idea of C3 and come out to hear him,” she said. The conversation with Fujimura will be held in the Baugh Center for Visual Arts Jan. 14 at 1:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The next C3 event will be with Leslie Leyland Fields, author and essayist, Feb. 5. at...

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