Department Chair & Artistic Director Marilyn Skow, along with faculty members Jesse Dreikosen and Tony Galaska and 2 BFA Scenic Design students, Samantha Llanes and Ainex Carmona, participated in the recent USITT Conference and Stage Expo held in Fort Worth, Texas. Over 225 national and international companies attend this event to display their work and share innovative ideas and services.
At the Stage Expo, Marilyn displayed posters she designed, for past productions such as Julius Caesar, Sleeping Beauty, June Moon and many others. She participated in the portfolio reviews and attended many workshops/sessions.
Assistant Professor; Tony Galaska presented a poster he created for his new board game, Opening Night, in the “Poster Session: I Made it Myself.” The game is designed to teach time and people management skills and he intends to implement it into the classroom. Tony’s poster was one of 7 presented in the Education Commission and it did prompt some discussion on how to integrate gaming into teaching.
Jesse Dreikosen, Associate Professor & Head of Design and Production in the Theatre Department, had many roles at this year’s conference. He is Vice Commissioner for Education – Scene Design & Technology, at USITT. “The Scene Design commission furthers interest in scene design, scenic painting, and properties; provides easily accessible information about the latest innovations and trends within the field, and encourages improvement and evolution of teaching design.” He also did portfolio reviews along with Tony and he chaired a session called “Feng Shui Me, Creating an Efficient Studio Space”. In this session, the panelists discussed how feng shui techniques can be integrated into offices and classrooms. There may also be the possibility of a scholarly publication for Jesse on this topic. As the Regional Production and Design Chair for KCACTF, one of Jesse’s responsibilities was to set up the booth for KCACTF’s Allied Design and Technology Exhibit.
Samantha’s trip was a prize for winning 1st place in the Design, Technology and Management category at the KCACTF Regional Festival earlier this year. She was one of eight students who won the national competition and was invited to display her prop design from the fall production of Cardenio to working professionals from all around the country. The trip was a fortuitous opportunity for both Samantha and Ainex to get their portfolios reviewed as well as attend interviews and workshops.
Overall, this annual conference is an excellent occasion for professionals like Marilyn, Jesse and Tony to meet and network with others in the entertainment industry, theatre production and design education fields so that they can get an introduction to the newest products, services and technology available or being launched. It gives them the chance to share and learn fresh pedagogical techniques. Students are provided with invaluable services such as the chance to meet prospective employers/mentors, research internship/volunteer opportunities and get their portfolios evaluated on a national level which is a requirement for FIU BFA – Production and Design majors before they graduate.