Top 15 highlights from 2017-2018

As another school year comes to a close, we reflect on the many ways our students, alumni, faculty and staff have brought art, light and love to the world. Here are some of our favorite highlights: 

1. All about that rank
Three conservatories were recognized by national publications this year: Design & Production was ranked second among the Top 10 BFA Theatre Design & Tech Programs in the country by OnStage blog and The Hollywood Reporter named the Costume Design Program as one of the nation’s best

The School of Drama was ranked #5 in the world by The Hollywood Reporter, and the School of Filmmaking was ranked #14 by The Hollywood Reporter and #8 in the country by The Wrap.

Costume design ranking

2. More prospective pickles
Applications for admission to UNCSA increased approximately 30 percent this year, and deposits toward enrollment were up 86 percent. Admission inquiries from prospective students on the universitys website have more than doubled year over year.

Increased applications

3. New leadership for Drama
We welcomed Scott Zigler as the Dean of the School of Drama. He was previously Director and Head of Actor Training at the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theatre School Institute for Advanced Theater Training (IATT) at Harvard University for 20 years.

Scott Zigler

4. Inaugural artpreneurs gain support
Alumnae Tonya Sheffield and Christal Schanes were recipients of the inaugural Chancellor’s Creative Startup Artpreneur Grants for local enterprises.

Additional artpreneur grants were awarded at the end of the academic year to alumnus Christopher Baine and students Ebony Cawthorne (Film), Douglas Rowe (Music), Jordan Medley (Dance) and Carina Mae Marquez (Film).

Christal Schanes

5. “The School of Doing: Lessons from theater master Gerald Freedman”
Drama alumnus Isaac Klein published a tribute to the teaching of Dean Emeritus Gerald Freedman. Half of the profits from the self-published volume will benefit the Gerald Freedman Excellence Endowed Fund at UNCSA.

"The School of Doing"

6. Pickle in Pyeongchang
Kimani Griffin, who studied guitar in the School of Music as a high school student, competed as a speed skater in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Kimani Griffin

7. Hosting the industrys best
Guest artists worked closely with students in all conservatories this year—each offering a unique perspective to the students’ studies. Some familiar faces returned, including Drama alumni Wes Taylor, Billy Magnussen and Shane Anders, and Film alumnus Zene Baker.

Billy Magnussen and Shane Anders guest artists

8. Stop, Grammy time
School of Music graduate student Luis Sanz performed on the quarto, a Latin string instrument, on Residente’s recording of “Hijos del cañaveral,” which was nominated for Best Tropical Song at the Latin Grammys.

Robert Young, assistant professor of saxophone, contributed to an album that won a 2018 Grammy Award. He performed as guest saxophonist with the PRISM Quartet, which is featured on the album, “The Fifth Century,” winner of the Grammy for Best Choral Performance.

Luis Sanz

9. Dancing her way through Switzerland
Daniela Thorne, the second recipient of the Gillian Murphy Endowed Scholarship in the School of Dance, competed at the Prix de Lausanne, one of the world’s most prestigious competitions for young ballet dancers.

Daniela Thorne

10. Visual Arts students rack up awards
Students in the High School Visual Arts Program earned 11 awards at the 2018 Scholastic Art Awards, including seven gold keys, two silver keys and two honorable mentions.

Aidan Powers

11. On an island together
UNCSA’s five conservatories worked together to bring the Broadway revival of “Once On This Island” to life, including newly minted 2017 Drama graduate Isaac Powell, who made his Broadway debut in the role of Daniel.

Once On This Island

12. Music student scholarships double
Scholarship funds for the School of Music doubled for next school year, thanks to two gifts totaling $4 million: an estate gift of $3 million from an anonymous donor; and a $1 million gift from the estate of Jenny Lillian Semans Koortbojian.

music scholarships

13. UNCSA Presents: American Music Series
Announced in the spring, the inaugural summer performance series will feature six Americana artists at the Stevens Center May-August. Additional performances will be offered throughout the year.

Las Cafeteras

14. A decade of lights
The Winston-Salem Light Project, led by Design & Production faculty member Norman Coates, celebrated its 10th anniversary in April at its original location, the Millennium Center in downtown Winston-Salem.


15. Powering the creative economy
UNCSA artists are at the center of the creative economy, with arts and culture industries generating $2.12 billion in direct economic activity in North Carolina alone.


by Hannah Callaway

May 08, 2018