Two VPA Faculty Members Awarded New York State Council on the Arts Grants

Two College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) faculty members were among the five Syracuse University faculty members who won highly competitive awards from the New York State Council on the Arts—a record in the number of awards in a single year for Syracuse University in its 20 years of participation with the council’s grant program.

“These awards demonstrate the high esteem in which our faculty are held and will help preserve and expand the rich cultural resources of New York state,” says Duncan Brown, the University’s vice president for research. “The broad range of projects showcase Syracuse University’s engaged scholarship in the arts and humanities from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the School of Information Studies.” The five awards total $80,000 and are a major achievement for arts and humanities scholarship at Syracuse University, he says.

“One of the aspects that I believe made these projects successful is their emphasis on underrepresented narratives, whether those were expressed in film, music, quilting or literature, along with their focus on community connection and interface,” says Sarah Workman, assistant director, research development for humanities, in the University’s Office of Research/College of Art and Sciences. “These projects all have inclusivity at their core; they emphasize access and representation in their own way as well as including the aspects of strong community ties and community-representative themes,” Workman says.

The VPA faculty winning awards and securing funding for their scholarship were the following:

Kara HeroldKara Herold portrait., associate professor of film in the Department of Film and Media Arts, for her film project, “The Callback.”

The project is an original comedy about an artist struggling to succeed within a backwards Hollywood dream machine. The storyline features an aspiring actor whose pursuit of a role through auditions calls out an industry that offers limited and/or stereotypical roles for women, and one where women are still underrepresented onscreen and off.

The original film is co-written by Herold and her collaborator, Lisa McElroy, and directed, produced and edited by Herold. The crew consisted of five professionals and 24 students, including those in the On-Set Production class co-taught by Herold and Film and Media Arts Instructor Joe Gabriel with assistance from Associate Professor Alex Méndez Giner. Filming was done on campus and at various City of Syracuse locations.

William KnuthWilliam Knuth, assistant professor of applied music and performance (violin and viola) in the Setnor School of Music.

Funding is providing Knuth and classical guitarist Adam Levin, as the group Duo Sonidos, to expand chamber music for violin and guitar and develop and premiere a new musical work. Their new album targets Brazilian composers.

Legendary Brazilian guitarist and composer Sergio Assad is working with Knuth and Levin to compose a new piece based on the paintings of Brazilian female artist Tarsila do Amaral, a leading global modern artist.

The projects supported by the awarded funds are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.