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Arts for the Community (ACTU)

ACTU combines the gifts and energies of Thomas University personnel and students (Act One) with those of community members (Act Two) to provide excellent arts events for the community. For this reason, we have named this organization ACTU: Arts for the Community at Thomas University.

Watch ACTU Live Streams on Facebook

ACTU programs include:

+Art Talks at Six

Virtual art history lectures/discussions and artist interviews. (www.facebook.com/actu31792/live)

Nan Liu

6 p.m. Sept. 24, 2020: Nan Lui, Chinese ink and brush painter

Nan Liu, Ph.D., brings his Chinese Heritage and his Western training together in his art. Working in the style of the old masters, Dr. Liu prepares his canvases with handmade gesso, using layers of glaze between the application of oil paint, immortalizing his numerous students at Florida A&M University and creating still life compositions reminiscent of the Dutch masters. A student of Chinese calligraphy all his life, he uses the intricate art form paired with landscapes created in the traditional Chinese style using ink and bamboo brush. Nan is currently professor of drawing, painting and art education classes at the Department of Visual Arts, Florida A&M University. 

 

Alberto Aguilar

6 p.m. Nov. 5, 2020: Alberto Aguilar, Chicago-based installation artist

Alberto Aguilar is a Chicago-based artist whose creative practice often incorporates whatever materials are at hand as well as exchanges with those around him or people who encounter his artwork. Aguilar’s work bridges media from painting and sculpture to video, installation, performance, and sound. His work has been exhibited at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Queens Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. He holds a BFA and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently teaches at Harold Washington College, one of the city colleges of Chicago.

 

George Hirose

6 p.m. Feb. 18, 2021: George Hirose, NYC art photographer

George Hirose is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, having taught at Kingsborough Community College, Ramapo College, and the University of Alabama. His photographs have been exhibited in many one-person and group shows nationally and abroad. Hirose also documents works of art, exhibition installations, events, and public programming for various nonprofit organizations in New York City, including the Japan Society, the Noguchi Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Henry Street Settlement. Hirose lives in Manhattan with his wife Hillary and daughter Ryoko. 

 

Rich Curtis

6 p.m. March 25, 2021: Richard Curtis, TU art professor

Rich Curtis was born and raised in North Alabama. He received a BFA in painting from the University of North Alabama in 2000, and an MFA in performance and time-based art in 2004 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since that time, Curtis has been a professional artist with projects in a variety of media from painting and drawing to performance and installation art. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including Canada, Kenya, Germany and Serbia/Montenegro. In his current work, Curtis creates paintings using pigments made from found materials. His recent body of artwork has been exhibited regionally at the Tallahassee Airport, Plough Gallery in Tifton and Albany Area Arts Council. Rich Curtis is Associate Professor of Art at Thomas University. 

+Fridays at Noon

ACTU’s Fridays at Noon offers lunch-time concerts that feature regional and national performing artists. 

Trio Nobile

12 p.m. Sept. 25, 2020: Trio Nobile — Violin, Cello and Piano
(www.facebook.com/actu31792/live)

Praised for their “cohesive energy, intelligent musicality, and technical prowess,” Trio Nobile’s members have extensive experience as chamber musicians performing in Asia, Europe, North, South, and Central America. They have played in prestigious halls including Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York and Seoul National Theatre in South Korea. Trio Nobile made their debut in Italy at the Sala Lunga at Palacio di Piobbico and also performed at the Palazzo Ducale di Urbino. Most recently, the trio has worked directly with composers including receiving coachings from Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. They have also been featured on WFSU Public Media Radio. The trio’s members collaborate with each other in other ensembles, such as Duo Mythes and Eppes Quartet. Trio Nobile’s members are doctoral graduate teaching assistants at Florida State University.

Hub New Music

12 p.m. Oct. 23, 2020: Hub New Music — Flute, Clarinet, Violin and Cello
(www.facebook.com/actu31792/live)

Called “contemporary chamber trailblazers” by the Boston Globe, Hub New Music — composed of flute, clarinet, violin, and cello — is forging new pathways in 21st-century repertoire. The ensemble’s ambitious commissioning projects and “appealing programs” (New Yorker) celebrate the rich diversity of today’s classical music landscape. In recent seasons, HNM’s performances have been described as “gobsmacking” (Cleveland Classical), “innovative” (WBUR), and “the cutting edge of new classical music” (Taos News). Hub New Music is a group of passionate educators whose approach to teaching melds the artistic and entrepreneurial facets of modern musicianship.

Tremura and Lee

12 p.m. Nov. 20, 2020: Tremura and Lee — Trumpet, Guitar and Voice
(www.facebook.com/actu31792/live)

Formed in 2018 by two University of Florida music professors from different areas (Dr. Tremura Welson – Latin Studies and Ethnomusicologist and Dr. Randy Lee – School of Music, trumpet), this eclectic trumpet and Brazilian guitar/vocal duo features classical transcriptions, Brazilian songs, jazz, and more as you have never heard them before. Since their founding, they have performed at UF as well as done a couple of tours to Spain with invited tours regionally and abroad. In addition to performing, they are passionate about education and enjoy outreach concerts and masterclasses ranging from Brazilian music workshops, trumpet/brass pedagogy and arts advocacy.

Astralis Chamber Ensemble

Feb. 19, 2021: Astralis Chamber Ensemble — Flute, Trumpet and Piano
Location TBA

The Astralis Chamber Ensemble is an innovative and dynamic ensemble performing with much acclaim across the globe. Through creative programming and presentations on the works performed, ACE aims to make classical music more accessible and for audiences to make a lasting connection to the music. These musicians have performed together for many years and some for over a decade on major concert series and at notable venues. Another focus of the ensemble is to support the development of art through new compositions and bring recognition to the composers that surround us today.

Leon Anderson

March 5, 2021: Leon Anderson and Friends — Jazz
First Missionary Baptist Church, Thomasville

Leon Anderson, Jr., Associate Professor and Director of Jazz Studies, joined the Florida State University faculty in 1998. His musical experience includes that of a classical and jazz percussionist, educator, clinician, and composer. In 1997 Mr. Anderson was a featured soloist with The Marcus Roberts Trio’s performance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl, and he was the selected drummer for the “Great Saxophone Legends” concert at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, featuring Jimmy Heath, David Sanchez, Javon Jackson and Red Holloway. Mr. Anderson has also performed at the International Association of Jazz Education Conference with Bunky Green, Ellis Marsalis and the New Orleans Jazz All-Stars, and has served as an artist/clinician for several jazz festivals in the United States, including the Bill Evans Jazz Festival; Savannah Music Festival (Swing Central Jazz); Loyola University (New Orleans) Jazz Festival; Governor’s Honors Jazz Camp; Broward County All-City Jazz Ensemble; “Jazz in the Schools” program in Jacksonville, Florida; Florida Music Educators All-State Jazz Ensemble; Louisiana Music Educators All-State Jazz Ensemble,  and numerous All-County Jazz Ensembles throughout the state of Florida.

Jan and Gordon Scott

April 23, 2021: Jane and Gordon Scott — Traditional music with fiddle, banjo, guitar and voices
Thomas County Public Library, Thomasville

Jane and Gordon Scott have been performing and teaching Irish, old-time and bluegrass music in the Tallahassee community since the 1990s at Gordon’s String Music. Jane teaches fiddle, mandolin, ukulele, guitar and piano. Gordon teaches guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro, dulcimer, ukulele, autoharp and harmonica. They have hosted sessions and jams regularly as well as playing for dances, parties and weddings. Jane was the recipient of the 2019 Florida Folk Heritage award for her work with old-time and Irish fiddling. The Scotts have an old-time CD titled “Old-time Duets,” and Gordon made two CD’s with the Greasy String Band, which included fiddler Lindsey Smith and guitarist Roger Eudy.

+Georgia Poetry Circuit

Founded at Mercer University in 1985, the Georgia Poetry Circuit is a consortium of 10 Georgia colleges and universities working together to bring three poets of national and international repute to all member campuses each year. This provides important access to the literary arts for Georgia residents across the state.

At each school, each circuit poet gives a free and open reading of his/her work. Visiting poets also meet with creative writing students at each campus for workshops, talks or extended question-and-answer sessions. In addition to the opportunity to hear work from diverse writers, circuit events provide Georgia students with an immensely valuable educational opportunity for interaction with excellent contemporary poets in the United States.

 

Nov. 10, 2020, 12:30 p.m. 

Tiana Clark  

Tiana Clark is the author of the poetry collection, I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and Equilibrium (Bull City Press, 2016), selected by Afaa Michael Weaver for the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Clark is a winner for the 2020 Kate Tufts Discovery Award (Claremont Graduate University), a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, a recipient of a 2019 Pushcart Prize, a winner of the 2017 Furious Flowerís Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize, and the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. She was the 2017-2018 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. Clark is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writersí Conference, Sewanee Writersí Conference, and Kenyon Review Writers Workshop.  

She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (M.F.A) and Tennessee State University (B.A.), where she studied Africana and Womenís studies. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, The Washington Post, VQR, Tin House Online, Kenyon Review, BuzzFeed News, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Oxford American, Best New Poets 2015, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. 

 

February 9, 2021, 12:30 p.m. 

Victoria Chang  

Victoria Chang has received degrees from the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and Stanford University, as well as an MFA from Warren Wilson College. She is the author of OBIT (Copper Canyon Press, 2020), winner of the 2018 Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America; Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017); and The Boss (McSweeneyís, 2013), winner of a PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award, among others. 

Chang is also the author of the middle grade novel in verse Love, Love (Sterling Childrenís Books, 2020) and the picture book Is Mommy? (Beach Lane Books, 2015), illustrated by Marla Frazee, as well as the editor of the anthology Asian American Poetry: The Next Chang, who received a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship, serves as a contributing editor of Copper Nickel and a poetry editor of Tupelo Quarterly. Chang also serves on the National Book Critics Circle Board. She teaches in the MFA program at Antioch University and co-coordinates the Idyllwild Writers Week. She was the Poem-a-Day Guest Editor for May 2019, and lives in Southern California. 

 

April 6, 2021, 12:30 p.m. 

David Kirby  

Poet, critic, and scholar David Kirby grew up on a farm in southern Louisiana. He received a BA from Louisiana State University and, at the age of 24, a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. Influenced by artists as diverse as John Keats and Little Richard, Kirby writes distinctive long-lined narrative poems that braid together high and popular culture, personal memory, philosophy, and humor.  

Kirby is the author of more than two dozen volumes of criticism, essays, childrenís literature, pedagogy, and poetry. His numerous collections of poetry include The Ha-Ha (2003), short-listed for the Griffin Poetry Prize, and The House on Boulevard Street: New and Selected Poems (2007), a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Florida Book Award and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Award.  

Kirby has also won several Pushcart Prizes, the Guy Owen Prize, the Kay Deeter Award, the James Dickey Prize, the Brittingham Prize, and the Millennium Cultural Recognition Award. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Florida Arts Council. His poetry has been featured in numerous anthologies, including several issues of Best American Poetry. 

Kirby is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Since 1969 he has taught at Florida State University, where he has received several teaching awards. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, poet Barbara Hamby. 

 

+Jazz Ensemble

The Thomas University Jazz Ensemble performs at a wide range of community events in Thomasville, Tallahassee and throughout the region. Visit the ACTU Facebook page for performance dates, venues and updates.

+Sundays at Four

ACTU’s Sundays at Four

September 13, 2020
Happy Birthday, Sondheim!                                      facebook.com/actu31792/live

Award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Joshua Sondheim has shaped musical theatre since the 1950s. An award-winning musician, he has received an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Some of Sondheimís best-known works include ìWest Side Story,î ìGypsy,î ìA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,î ìSweeney Toddî and ìInto the Woods.î This virtual performance will salute Sondheim, who turned 90 this year.  

October 4, 2020
Chamber Music, Trinity Anglican Church

Join us for our annual Chamber Music series featuring the talents of ACTU’s performing artists as they work together to make music! Come see the combinations of instruments and the creativity that inspires these musicians.

November 8, 2020
Gospel Celebration, 
First Missionary Baptist Church

The roots of Gospel music date back to the oral traditions of the 17th century. Influenced by blues music, bluegrass and country music, Gospel music is performed around the globe. The songs feature testimonies and religious praise. Join us as we explore this popular music genre.

December 13, 2020
Thomasville Singers: Lift Your Voice!

This virtual concert will feature songs and stories special to the members of Thomasville Singers. This virtual or livestream concert experience will also offer audience members a chance to sing along. We will lift our voices and encourage you to lift YOUR voice as well.

January 24, 2021
January Jazz: Location TBA

Join ACTU in its annual celebration of jazz in the Thomasville community! ACTU has invited several jazz groups from the area for a weekend of entertainment and learning. Groups will be coached in a masterclass setting and all will be invited for our Sunday afternoon concert.

February 14, 2021
Musical Valentines: Trinity Anglican Church

This annual concert features local musicians and artists doing that they love best – performing for the community! ACTU’s very own performing artists will present the concert. Enjoy a lovely selection of pieces about love and pieces that are dear to the musicians’ hearts. Joins us for a heartwarming afternoon of music!

March 14, 2021
Thomasville Performing Arts Concert and Scholarship: Thomasville Center for the Arts

Celebrating Music in the Schools Month, join us in appreciation of Thomasville’s young musicians as they perform and showcase their diligent work in the arts. Performers in this concert may receive up to $1,000 in scholarships to help guide their artistic endeavors by funding attendance at summer festivals to collegiate instruction. This performance is sponsored in partnership by Arts for the Community at Thomas University, Thomasville Entertainment Foundation and Thomasville Center for the Arts.

April 11, 2020
Thomasville Singers: Expedition, Location TBA

North. South. East. West. We are embarking on a journey and would love for you to come with us! We hope that you can attend Thomasville Singers’ Spring Concert. We are excited use the gift of music to travel across America.

+Night Hawk Review

The Night Hawk Review is Thomas University’s annual literary arts journal and an integral part of the ACTU offering. It features original poetry, short fiction, essays and literary nonfiction by students, faculty and staff. The journal also includes contributions of photography and visual art. The Night Hawk Review is published each spring semester, and a release party is scheduled for the end of the academic year. This event features readings by contributors to the journal, as well as a guest poet. Submissions of both creative writing and artwork are reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Students are also involved in the editing and layout of the journal. If you are interested in contributing to the Night Hawk Review, please contact Dr. Sandra Simonds for more information at thenighthawkreview@gmail.com.

+Theatre

TU Theatre features annual productions with free admission as parat of the ACTU programming.  Productions include staged readings, scene work, and short classroom presentations in the fall, and a one-act play in the spring.

 

Peggy Brady has been practicing theatre for the past 30 years as a Director, Educator and Playwright and looks forward to learning more from her students, actors and colleagues as the practice goes on. She has been directing and teaching theatre in all settings from commercial to higher ed, community to K-12 schools. As a playwright, she has 12 plays in production around the world at one time or another and 3 new ones still marinating. She just recently ended a 25-year run of her professional theatre company that toured the country and Canada making people laugh at our crazy world through musical comedy. A passionate advocate for the arts, Peggy served as Executive Director of the Council on Culture and Arts (COCA) in Tallahassee for many years bringing artists, arts educators and arts organizations together to build a stronger community.

+Thomasville Singers

The Thomasville Singers are a treasured part of ACTU offerings.  The Thomasville Singers is a community choir that has been a feature of
the music department at Thomas University since 1995, when it began as the Thomas College Community Chorus under the direction of Ed Lyon. The group began to operate in earnest as The Thomasville Singers in 2006.

The group performs in December and April as part of ACTU’s Sundays at Four series.

Now under the direction of M. Nicole Davis, the Thomasville Singers rehearse on Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. during the 2019-2020 season in Flowers Foods Executive Classroom in Smith-Bonvillian Hall on TU’s Forbes Campus. Thomasville Singers is a multi-generational, non-auditioned performance ensemble. For additional information, please email actu@thomasu.edu .

Join us as a Partner in the Arts!

We hope that you will join us as a Partner in the  Arts because we can’t ACT without “U”.  You are bringing great artists to the Thomasville community.  The reach of  our programming has been expanded by the efforts of the community behind it.  Please consider becoming a partner and join a community that makes a difference in the Thomasville area.

All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

For more information, or to become an ACTU Partner in the Arts, call 229-227-6964 or e-mail actu@thomasu.edu.

ACTU Live Performances

ACTU will live stream performances throughout the season. You can view them here at their scheduled dates and times.

Watch ACTU Live on Facebook

Thomas University

Education that Engages
...Empowers...
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