Joe Wyatt
Published January 27, 2017

The School of Creative Arts at Amarillo College will showcase both student creativity and the vast expertise of its music faculty during the commemoration of a new gallery space on the Washington Street Campus.

Common Lobby 2inThe Common Lobby Gallery, located in the Music Building, will enjoy an extraordinary grand opening beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at its home in the foyer at the entrance to the Concert Hall Theater.

Patrons of the arts will be treated first to a reception honoring the Common Lobby Gallery’s inaugural exhibition which features student submissions based on AC’s Common Reader, which this year is Jamie Ford’s bestselling novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. The book spotlights the volatile period of American history when thousands of families were relegated to U.S. internment camps during World War II.

Following the reception will be a crowning recital featuring the entirety of the College’s renowned music faculty.

The entire event is free and open to the public.

“Coordinating a faculty recital with the Common Reader art show is a wonderful way to commemorate our new gallery space,” Victoria Taylor-Gore, dean of the School of Creative Arts, said. “The Common Lobby Gallery is something we’ve envisioned for a long time – a space to foster collaboration and creativity between all the arts at AC.”

The celebration begins at 5 p.m. with a reception to mark the opening of an exhibition of works by students who took part in AC’s juried Common Reader Visual Arts Competition. Monetary awards totaling $500 will be announced at 5:15 p.m. for first, second and third place. Honors students of music will perform during the reception.

The all-faculty recital is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and will feature music by Bach, Mozart, Schumann, as well as some original works from AC faculty.  Sixteen full-time and adjunct faculty will be featured on piano, voice, guitar, violin, viola, cello, flute, harp and saxophone in chamber music ranging from duets to piano quintet.

Highlights of the recital include performances by such AC faculty notables as world-renowned dramatic soprano Mary Jane Johnson, and Dr. Diego Caetano, winner of more than 40 international and national piano competitions. And the recital will mark the premiere performance of a song set for voice and piano composed by Nathan Fryml, AC’s new director of vocal activities.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our faculty to collaborate in an environment different from the norm, and to provide artistic examples for our students beyond the classroom,” said Caetano, who is serving as both organizer and collaborative pianist for the faculty recital.

Among other contributing performers are; Katy Moore, violin; Beverly de la Bretonne, violin; Homero Campos, guitar; Jim Laughlin, clarinet & saxophone; Camille Day Nies, viola; Tiffany McDaniel, violin; Carlie Cates, violin; Kay Fristoe, flute; Russell Steadman, cello; Pundita Panyadee-Stover, piano; Cassandra Hussey, harp; EP Simmons, piano; and Candace Carpenter, voice.

Steven Cost, associate professor of art, will serve as curator of the Common Lobby Gallery. He sees a bright future for the spacious showroom and is excited by the possibilities it presents.

“This will be a place where artwork can be displayed professionally,” Cost said. “It will be a real gallery where we can have as many as four or more exhibitions each semester. We also anticipate having all the different departments from within the School of Creative Arts involved in various aspects of the gallery.

“There’s a lot yet to be worked out, but we’ve got big plans for this space.”

From themed class projects to shows featuring the creativity of individual students, faculty, alumni or others, exhibits in the Common Lobby Gallery will be framed when appropriate, displayed at eye level, and accompanied by title cards and pertinent information. Art exhibit openings might be supported by themed poetry readings, music, theatrical presentations or other specialties from with the division, Cost said.

Alex Gregory, curator of art at the Amarillo Museum of Art, and Courtney Milleson, chair of the Common Reader Team, served as jurors for the inaugural Common Reader Visual Arts Competition.

For more information about the Common Lobby Gallery and/or the celebratory grand opening on Feb. 18, please call AC’s School of Creative Arts at (806) 371-5290.