All-star faculty to lead Governor’s School for the Arts

More than 100 of the state’s best young artists are on the Davis & Elkins College campus for the Governor’s School for the Arts, a three-week session that immerses them in developing their passion. And according to GSA Dean and D&E Associate Professor of Theater Tom Hackman, a star faculty is on campus to lead this year’s program.

This is the third year Davis & Elkins has hosted the prestigious program for high school students from throughout the state, who spend structured time focusing on their art in creative writing, acting, dance, digital media, visual art, vocal music and instrumental music.

“We are working with 115 of the most talented young artists that West Virginia has to offer,” Hackman says. “They can expect to work hard, but also have a lot of fun. For many young people, the Governor’s Schools programs prove to be life-changing experiences.”

Teaching staff for the 2013 GSA program include faculty from Davis & Elkins College as well as instructors from throughout the region.

D&E Assistant Professor of Art Michael Doig will instruct Visual Art for a third year at GSA. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from West Virginia University and his Master of Fine Arts degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. While teaching in Buffalo, he began working on paintings inspired by Appalachia and decided to return home to help foster the arts in West Virginia.

Brett Kern, adjunct professor of art at D&E, will instruct Digital Media. In addition to teaching at D&E, he also instructs classes at the Randolph County Community Arts Center and Augusta Heritage Center. His works in ceramics are on display at Taylor Books in Charleston, The White Room in Thomas and the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, Calif. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from West Virginia University in 2010 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2007 from California University of Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Marshall-MacVean, choral director of the Davis & Elkins College Concert Choir and music instructor at Jennings Randolph Elementary School, will instruct Vocal Music. She was a public high school choral director for 15 years and founding conductor of the highly acclaimed Elkins High Madrigals. She has served as an adjudicator and guest conductor for various statewide all-county choral festivals and competitions. Marshall-MacVean holds a bachelor’s degree from Fairmont State College and a master’s degree in music education from Duquesne University.

Laura Treacy Bentley, book editor for WV LIVING magazine, a poet and a novelist, will instruct Creative Writing. Her debut novel, “The Silver Tattoo,” was released in April. Her work has been widely published in the United States and Ireland in literary journals such as The New York Quarterly, Art Times, Poetry Ireland Review, Antietam Review, Rosebud, Blink, Ginseng, Wind, The Stinging Fly, Kestrel, ABZ, Crannog, Now & Then, 3×10 plus, Grey Sparrow Journal, and numerous anthologies, including The Southern Poetry Anthology.

April Daras, who most recently served as the chair of the Davis & Elkins College Fine and Performing Arts Department, will instruct acting. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting and a Master of Fine Arts degree in directing from Florida State University. As an actor, she has worked in several Florida theaters including Theatre Southeast, New Theatre, Florida Stage, The Caldwell Theatre, Fort Lauderdale Public Theatre, Oasis Theatre Company and Hollywood Playwright’s Theatre.

Donald Laney, the co-artistic director of the West Virginia Dance Company, will instruct Modern Dance. He graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a Master of Fine Arts in dance, and has performed with the W.Va. Dance Company, Houlihan & Dancers in Miami, Fla.; Randy James Dance Works in New York, the X-Factor in North Carolina and the Trillium Performing Arts Collective.

Jesse McBee, a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Louisville, will instruct Instrumental Music. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in jazz studies from WVU in 2010, and is pursuing a master’s in jazz performance at the University of Louisville. He has performed as a jazz/commercial trumpet player in West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Also instructing Instrumental Music will be Seth Young. He is a professional musician and a music teacher at Jennings Randolph Elementary School. He holds a degree in music from D&E and has studied at West Virginia University and the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Barbara Yurick, a member of the Dance faculty at WVU, returns for her third year as master teacher of ballet. She has been teaching in her own private studio, Dance-It! Oak Hill Dance Center as well as guest teaching for private studios, arts camps, artist-in-residence programs, public and private schools, and college and university settings for more than 30 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from WVU, and studied dance at North Carolina School of the Arts.

In addition to Hackman, members of the administrative staff are D&E Director of Business Enterprises Joyce Nestor, assistant dean; D&E Academic Secretary and Writing Center Coordinator Erin Young, administrative assistant; West Liberty State University Production Specialist and Adjunct Teacher of Communications and Digital Media Design Jared Thompson, videographer and web content producer; and Aaron Kuhn, photographer.

Members of the residential staff include D&E students Andrew Carroll, Lakota Jonese, Millie Omps, Alyse Prince, along with Kelly Roidt, Joey Hochgesang, Madalyn Humphrey, Candace Kenney, Kim Savarino and Julianna Warner.

GSA students will also have the opportunity to explore regional heritage arts by taking advantage of the college’s extensive Augusta Heritage Center summer program. The center is known nationally and internationally for its dedication to preserving and celebrating traditional folklife and folk arts of many regions and cultures.