Michael Kirk Lane '05, Theatre/Speech Communication

Introduce yourself and tell us when you graduated from Siena?

I’m Michael Kirk Lane (just Mike Lane back in my SHU days.)   I graduated from the Adrian campus in 2005.

What academic program did you study at Siena and at what campus?

I majored in Theatre/Speech Communication with a contract minor in Musical Theatre (just to have something to fall back on)

What is the most important thing you want students considering Siena Heights to know?

Siena is a very special place.  The sense of community on campus, fostered from the traditions given to us by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, is unlike anything my friends experiences at other colleges and universities.  You will never be just a number at SHU, you’ll end up having dinner at professors’ homes, eating lunch next to Sr. Peg and the Deans, and be friends with students from all areas of campus and walks of life. 

Still to this day, over 10 years after graduating, I am in contact with many friends and professors (now good friends) from my time at SHU.  I make a point to visit with Mark DiPietro whenever I’m back in Michigan, and he’s been known to consistently school me in games of Scrabble and Words With Friends

How is this degree going to help you in the future or has it already helped you in your professional life?

The liberal arts tradition, and Theatre Siena’s philosophy of every student learning all areas of theatre, has made me much more versatile as an artist and in the work force. It has allowed me to , in between performance contract, always have a job somehow involved in theatre.  I’ve taughttheatre to all ages, I’ve managed budgets for films and theatre projects, I’ve stage managed, I’ve house managed, and yes like most actors I’ve been a waiter from time to time, but even then I was singing in piano bars and cabaret spaces.  I’ve even gotten a higher pay rate on perforamce contracts, because I knew my way around power tools from my hours in Theatre Siena’s scene shop.

Did this degree change your thought process in daily life or in your projects at work?

I am definitely drawn more to social conscious art, than I think I would be if it wasn’t for my time around the Adrian Domincans, and my time in discussion with Trudy McSorley on how theatre can change us and the world around us.   Perhaps this is also the Siena Mission coming through my work as well.

Tell us about a project/show you are working on or something else that you wish to share with the Siena Community.

Last fall I did a three and a half month run Off-Broadway in Hell’s Belles.  I also recently produced and stared in my own theatre piece/cabaret reflecting on some experiences I’ve had since leaving SHU.  You can find the most current information on my performance schedule, and see some videos of recent performances at my website: www.michaelkirklane.com 

Next up, I’ll be back in my role as Associate Producer for No Strings Productions as we do our next set of puppet films for children troubled or developing areas of out world.  This time we will be working on Public Health and Natural Disaster awareness for children in Madagascar and South Sudan.  Previous projects have included Trauma Healing and Peace Building for Syrian Refugee Children, HIV/AIDS Awareness for Children in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Trauma Heeling forChildren effected by the Tsunami a few years ago in Haiti. You can find more information on the work we do at www.nostringsproductions.org.

Theatre and Musical Theatre Students Present at Research Symposium

Three senior Theatre and Musical Theatre students present research at the annual Siena Heights University Research Symposium.

Dawn Purcell presented on her process and research into playing the Nurse in Theatre Siena's January production of Romeo and Juliet. Dawn discussed the history of the play and her process. Her process includes marking in where thought changes, why her character says what she says, what does the character hope to achieve by saying this, and finding out 'who' is the nurse.

Alissa Reader recently directed the production of VESTA, a collaboration with the Hospice of Lenawee. Vesta is a story of a family dealing with the illness and the eventual death of their matriarch, Vesta. The goal of the production was to educate the community on Hospice and to have the entire production directed and acted by Siena students. Alissa's research included meeting with social workers at Hospice and watching videos on what happens after a person has a stroke to better direct the characters.

Jocelyn Near presented on her processional research into playing Lady Capulet in Theatre Siena's January production of Romeo and Juliet. Jocelyn's research talks about how she discovered her version of the character and how she filled in the gaps creatively. She developed the character through text analysis and abstract thinking.

Mr. Smith Goes to Hollywood

Siena Heights Graduate Enjoys Distinguished Career as Director of Photography


Darryl E. Smith casts a long shadow standing 6 feet, 8 inches tall. However, that shadow pales in comparison to the one he has cast as a director of photography in Hollywood.

The 1985 Siena Heights graduate has an impressive list of credits and clients, including MTV, Disney, Coca-Cola, CBS, the NFL Network and HBO. The owner of his own production company, Darryl E. Smith Productions, for the past 14 years, he said his path to success was a winding one. And his starting point was Siena Heights.

Originally recruited to play basketball at Siena by former coach Ben Braun, Smith said Siena Heights was the only school that showed interest in him as a student – not just as a basketball player.

“(Coach Braun) basically recruited me on my interests instead of what they needed,” said Smith, who planned to study biology at Siena Heights. “He was guaranteeing my mom that I would graduate. He said ‘Basketball is important, but so is education.’ I played basketball to get an education.”

And Smith was well on his way to a biology degree when a teammate asked him to participate in a campus theater production his junior year. He called that experience a “pivotal point” in his life.

Acting was OK, but it was behind the scenes that intrigued Smith. He began working with former theater professor Doug Miller on set building and lighting. It was then that the literal “light bulb” went on for Smith.

We lit a couple of small lab theater plays, then Tennessee Williams’ play ‘The Glass Menagerie,’” Smith recalled. “(Miller) allowed me to implement an idea. There was a symbol on top of the statue, and he allowed me to put a light up through it. At a certain time in the play when someone went to reach for (the statue), I pulled the lever and the light streamed out. And the whole crowd went ‘Oooohhhh.’ The hair stood up on my arms, and that was it. After that, I was over there (at the theater department) the whole time.

In fact, he spent many nights rewiring old VCR machines and other video equipment for the department, and then decided to spend his summers volunteering to work for video departments at places like the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Education.

By then, he wasn’t just interested in cinematography, he wanted a degree to show for it. Problem: Siena Heights didn’t have a concentration in that area at the time.

No problem: Working with faculty, he created his own degree path.

“With Ben Braun’s help, I called a meeting with the dean of students, the dean of the college, Sister (Eileen) Rice and (former English faculty member) Morency,” Smith said. “And everybody came. I presented my proposal, and said ‘This is what I wanted to do.’ … They allowed me to pretty much re-write my own curriculum.”

Graduating with a degree in theater/speech communications with a concentration in television and film, Smith got a job as a production assistant with WGTE, the public television station in Toledo, Ohio. Within two months, he was filming programs for the station, and “everything took off from there.”

Soon, he was filming and lighting commercials as a freelancer, and then went to work as the creative director for Koontz Advertising, which had him working with companies such as Owens Corning, Libby Glass and Owens-Illinois. He eventually moved back to his native Detroit, taking on clients such as Ford and Kmart, and had built a solid career path there.

But then the Hollywood bug bit.

He was constantly watching television shows and trying to figure how scenes and the actors were lit.

“I was drawing lighting plots and figuring out where (the lighting) they were on the TV show,” Smith said.

After watching an episode of “Growing Pains” and stumped on how one of the main characters were lit, he decided to write the show’s director of photography to ask how it was done.

“He wrote me back,” Smith said. “He actually called, and we spoke. He asked me if I ever had been to California. I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘If you ever come to visit, look me up.’”

Smith took him up on the offer, and flew out to Los Angeles and visited that director.

“I stayed on the set the whole week,” Smith said.

During that time, they were shooting a scene with a car and were having trouble with reflection. The director asked Smith for his opinion.

“You couldn’t work in Detroit if you couldn’t light a car,” Smith said. “And I could light a car. … I made a suggestion, and he took me in front of all these Hollywood producers and said, ‘We’re going to do that.’ They did exactly what I said. He came back and said ‘I should move out (to Hollywood).’ ”

Smith didn’t realize that his director friend also happened to be the president of the camera union. Three years later, Smith revisited his friend, earned his union membership, and he was in Hollywood to stay.

Nearly 25 years later, Smith is a fixture in the industry. He was the director of photography for the popular “MTV Cribs” show that ran from 2000-2011.

“It’s one of the milestones of my career,” Smith said of the show. “I took it over from the pilot, and we took the pilot and escalated it.”

His other claim to fame is lighting beautiful women such as Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez.

“It kind of what I do,” he said. “I’m very blessed to do it, and Siena kind of helped me start it.”

When the lights go out, there’s still plenty of work to be done, Smith said.

“As director of photography, it’s not a photographer,” Smith said of his job title. “It’s a cinematographer that controls not only the lighting of the program and the angles, but it controls the cameras, all the lenses, crew and electricity.”

He said the days are long – very long.

“Most of my days are a minimum 12 hours,” Smith said. “I’ve been blessed to work on a lot of shows and behind-the-scenes specials.”

He’s worked on outtakes for the Grammys, handled audio for the ESPY Awards and shoots player featurettes for the NFL Network. He recently completed working on two pilot shows, and recently work on “The Voice” television show.

His advice for others wanting to follow his career path?

“It’s highly competitive, so be willing to work for free,” Smith said. “If you really want to work with somebody, be willing to make their life easier. … The best thing you can do is anticipate. Don’t keep asking, ‘Can I have a job?’ Anticipate. Clean a lens. Set up a tripod. It’s those anticipation moments that means you are paying attention. And if you can anticipate, then you have a shot at getting in.”

And he said there are plenty of opportunities in his career field.

“Don’t walk away from a movie at the end of it. Read all those credits,” Smith said. “All those credits are nothing but jobs. For every one person who’s up there (on the screen), there’s three people who didn’t get a credit.

“It’s been a great career.”

SHU Student Nate Adams is Making a Name for Himself as a Movie Reviewer

Originally featured in the Fall '15 issue of Reflections.
By Doug Goodnough

Nate Adams ’17 has been a movie buff since childhood. Now, the Siena Heights University junior theater major is The Movie Buff.

He currently has a budding career as an Internet movie reviewer. After starting a movie review blog in high school, his web site host noticed that traffic to his site was “abnormal.”

“I was averaging 75 visitors a day,” said Adams of his web site, which is hosted by Weebly. “(Weebly) took notice of that. And I wasn’t going out of my way to tell people, either.”

Adams is now paid by Weebly to review movies of all kinds, which gives him special viewing privileges.

“I get to see movies early all the time,” said Adams of the pre-screenings he attends sometimes weeks before films hit the theaters. “That would be enough for me. It’s kind of cool to see a movie weeks early before the general public can see it. Then, I can tell people about it.”

He said his reviews have improved since his Clinton High School days.

“The first thing I like to do in all of my reviews is I like to give at least a brief summary of the film,” Adams said of his review process. “That way, no matter what I say, they can decide for themselves if it’s something they want to go see. It’s just my opinion. I’m not stopping anybody from going to see a movie that they want to go see.”

And Adams definitely has an opinion.

“The only thing about this job, is even though I get see the good movies, the award films, I also have to see movies like ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,’ ” he said. “An ideal movie is one that makes us contemplate, but a movie that also can make us appreciate what is being done in front of us. … It’s a movie you want to tell your friends about or a movie you want to go see again.”

He said he often has people who disagree with his reviews. Take the movie “Southpaw,” released last summer.

“Everybody that I knew loved it. I didn’t,” Adams said. “And I had to face all the backlash from it. I’m not writing for everybody. If I like a movie, I like it. And if I don’t, I don’t.”

Being a college theater student and an acting hopeful also gives him a different perspective from other reviewers.

“One thing I don’t like to criticize is the acting,” Adams said. “I never like to single out anybody’s performance. It’s not fair. I know how I would feel if someone said, ‘Nate Adams gave a terrible performance.’ In my reviews, you will never see me down on somebody unless I know they are better than what they are doing.”

So what is his favorite movie?

“Forrest Gump,” said Adams, who patterns his style after famous reviewer Richard Roeper. “Just because there’s so much there in symbolism and imagery that you could talk about for hours.”

In case movie reviewing and acting careers don’t pan out, Adams is also a budding stand-up comedian. He uses his quick wit and background growing up on a dairy farm in rural Lenawee County as fodder for his material.

“I wear normal clothes. I don’t wear jeans or overalls, the typical stereotype that farmers face every day,” Adams said. “I use it as a punchline of a joke, because nobody expects it. … In my jokes I make it a point to make fun of myself at some point. It’s OK for the audience to laugh then, because they know that it’s you doing it.”

He often uses the “poor college student” shtick in his comedy, as well as material from his other part-time job, which, not surprisingly, is working at a movie theater.

“I’m just going to see what happens,” Adams said of his career options. “Anything in the entertainment industry I would be happy doing. I’ve done drama, I’ve done comedy. I would really like to be in a horror film and get mutilated or die. I’m weird like that.”



Student Work from Intro Art Courses

Digital Foundations:

Digital Foundations is required of all art majors and focuses on the application of design principles through the use of digital tools such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Premiere Pro. Below is a selection of student work from the fall 2015 course. Digital Foundations was taught by Adjunct Professor Angela Sieler.


Intro to Photography:

Students were asked for their final project to create a photo series based on a subject of their choosing. The Intro to Photography course is taught by Adjunct Professor Laura Marsh.

"The Emotions of Eyes" by Ryan Dukes

I find eyes very intriguing. I love drawing eyes all the time and its the first thing that I notice when I look at someone. This piece was inspired by my appreciation for the human eye. Each photo captures an emotion on the female subject. I did not tell them how to look when the photos were taken, I just simply asked if I could take a picture of their eyes. The emotions from the photos were what I read from each person and how they presented their self at the time being. According to the particular emotion that I read from them, determined how I edited the photo to give it a more dramatic affect. 

Final Project by Tabitha Ferguson

When I first started to think about the projectI had a lot of different ideas in my head. But one idea that seemed to make the most sense for this project for me was to tie it into beauty. The reason for this is that I am always changing my style and I know that there are a lot of others thatdo too. So I decided to take five different pictures on how people change their looks for beauty. So I first started to think about myself and how I have changed mylooks. Like shaving part of my hair, make up, and tattoos. So I used myself for those three pictures. Then for the other two, I was thinking what else do people change. Then I was like, people dye their hair and get piercings! So I found two of my friends and took their pictures. I also was thinking that I wanted them to all be close up photos, so that the viewer can see the texture and it would give them a different story then if they were taken further apart. I really like how they came together and look like they belong together, even though they are different photos.

ART105: Foundations I: Core Concepts

ART105 focuses on helping students to become more purposeful, creative, and articulate. Students learn creative strategies and research skills that help them to find original solutions to visual problems. They also develop the vocabulary and presentation skills needed to document, describe, and share their artwork with others. Below is a selection of final projects. Students were asked to reinterpreted a historical painting by changing both its meaning and formal attributes to match a new theme of their choice. The course is taught by professors Tim Van Beke and Peter Barr.

Amber Koprin  --  Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942, oil on canvas, 33-1/8 x 60 inches (The Art Institute of Chicago)

For my final project I selected Nighthawks, by Edward Hopper. It is a very famous painting from 1942. The theme I chose to work with is transformation and along with that I chose depressing. The colors do not alone represent depression but the meaning of the content on the outside of the bar verse the inside is where it is depicted. The change from mostly gray scale (outside) to rich colors (inside) is my connection to my stylistic adjective. 

To give a brief explanation of my piece as a whole I will start by stating that I portrayed transformation by separating my image into two different worlds if you will. The outside and the inside are separated from each other by color, content, and then window of the bar. The outside is created of found objects and collaged images that are related to my childhood and my main focuses in life as I was growing up. The inside of the bar is mostly drawn and painted with a few found objects. The inside of the bar is of content that surrounds my life today and my main focuses that are most consuming of my time in my life.

The three creative strategies I selected were collaged thematic images, manipulating found objects, and color scheme. I also added in used a photograph of myself that is relatable to my theme. First, I used collaged images in my piece in the third window as well as the book that was placed to represent the door to the building in the back with windows. The book and third window are where the objects of my childhood are placed. The book represents that peoples past are held in our minds but best looked back on by documenting our experiences by journaling. Writing in journals and pasting little pieces of papers, receipt, tickets, quotes etc. is something I religiously do and felt it was a great choice to use as the door. We enter doors to see the inside as we open books to see the content. The window has wire over it that represents jail bars; my memories are locked up in my past and I find this very dawning. This is where my strong relation to depression is connected to.

Found objects are used both in inside and outside. I explained them on the outside in the paragraph above. As for the inside, I used found objects in place of the original characters heads and for the poster on the wall next to the door. There are three people that has visible faces in the original and I replaced them with objects that consume my life today, almost completely in fact. I spend all of my time painting (artwork), putting in time to track and field (the turf represent this), and then lastly the bartenders head is representational of film. I cut the side off of a reel of sewing string and glued the edges of film strip and a ticket to it. Films are easily one of my favorite hobbies and am heavily captivated by the film industry. 

The colors I chose are colors that reflect me as a person. This is easily stated as if you had to look at a person as just a color(s) those would be the ones I would be displayed as. My favorite color used to be blue which is used but my favorite color has transformed into green. My biological mother, guardian Mary, and Darwood all loved the color green. Not sure if that is the reason I was drawn to this color over time but I see it as one of my parents’ characteristics that rubbed off on me. So the man that is not facing the front view is represented as myself, therefore being dominantly green and also yellow which is extremely fitted with this color visually (which is visible in the clothes I wear a lot of the time). The black on my back is representational of the past creeping of on me and my life now is transforming into memories. Along with this, I put a lot of yellow in the front of my face that symbolizes my present life and experiences are filled of life and “the now”. Also in relation to color, I drew my eyes in the frame on the wall. Half of it is in color and half in gray scale that is symbolic of my transformation of my life the living in the moment of each day and then the other part is lacking color and becoming a memory.

My time in my life today is reflected from my past. My interest in art and horror films is easily passed on from my biological parents (both pasted in the collage section in the back). The colors as well which was mentioned earlier. Another connection of the outside to the inside is the water the sits behind the silhouette image of myself, the water is gray and flows into a colored section of water that is rushing up and hitting the wall of the bar. Water lack controls and is very consuming. Further, water is hard to hold, mold, and manipulate to a specific way (our experiences, things we face). A body of water can be very consuming and so if the fact of life that nothing stays the way we may wish for.

The original piece I kept from the artwork was the people’s upper bodies but I changed the colors of each of them. The elements of design I used are color and is obvious in the lack of color on the outside verse the large amount used on the inside. I used shape because I wanted to replace the building with different objects, ex. the knife.  There is balance in this piece, outside and inside. It is split by the window to give a sense of past and present.

Brandon page -- Francisco Goya's The Third of May

In Art 105 I have learned about creativity, usefulness and color theory. In each of my projects I have used different methods of creating useful, non-cliché pieces. We also have discussed art themes and created our pieces around our theme of choice. In my collage I used the themes, power, protest, and humor. My final project uses humor as its theme, and excited as its adjective. For my creative strategies I used silhouettes relating to the theme, expressive use of line, and coded communication.

The painting I based my piece on was Francisco Goya’s, The Third of May, 1808 in Madrid, 1808. It was a little ironic that my theme was humor, as Goya’s painting is depicting a mass shooting of people against a hill. A big part of my life was watching cartoons. I watched all different styles and developed my taste in humor. Watching new episodes of Spongebob with my sister was on the couch was extremely humorous. Viewing so many cartoons is what made me want to be and animator/illustrator. I replaced the row of guns men with my couch and two people watching the television. These two people represent my sister and me. The television contains silhouettes of Patrick, Mickey Mouse, and Bugs Bunny.

I created my silhouettes from hand drawing them onto paper, and then tracing them onto construction paper. I then used an exacto knife to cut out the images and collage them to the television. Behind them is a piece of construction paper that I colored with primary colors to symbolize wild and crazy antics that are in cartoons. It may seem weird putting Patrick Star, Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse on the same screen, but I did so to represent the cartoons I love, and find the most humorous. I used silhouettes to signify these characters, because if I just drew their faces it would be cliché.

Expressive line is another key element to my piece. Excited lines appear to shoot out of the television and into the minds of the people on the couch. Those individuals also have lines coming from their mouths to indicate they are laughing at the humor on screen. The adjective, “Excited” was used because when I was little I was always excited to watch new episodes of a show. I used primary colors for my expressive lines because simple cartoons typically use very bright and high saturated primary colors in their design.

In the sky you can see stars. These stars are my coded communication strategy. I used braille to spell the phrase, “Humor is Happiness”. This was the part of the piece that I changed frequently. At first I had the stars in a straight, small line that only took up a little space on the sky. I changed this by expanding the distance between each star. To create depth, I changed the size of each dot, and also changed the color from white to grey to draw attention away from the sky. The one element I kept from Francisco Goya, The Third of May, was I kept the style and color scheme of his painting. The colors do not represent humor at all, but it is what makes my painting unique and not cliché. I mixed green, yellow, and burnt umber to recreate Goya’s gloomy design, and also leaving shadows that were in the original. I also wanted to keep his sloppy style with the brush. I accomplished this by not making perfectly straight lines, and making my brush strokes clearly visible.

To conclude, I really enjoyed this project. I had fun with it, and I believe it is one of my most unique pieces. It is not cliché, and it is completely original. I was happy I could imply that the piece takes place at night, with the use of my dark color scheme. If I could change any thing, it would be to add more people standing behind the couch, as an homage to the original (which contains more people). Learning these creative strategies will really help me in the long run, because they help generate creative masterpieces that I will hopefully make in the future. To me, humor is about simply sitting on the couch, watching cartoons.

Emily Cueto -- Édouard Manet, Olympia

For my reinterpretation of a historic painting I decided immediately that I wanted to use “romance” and “ecstatic” for my theme and adjective that would expressed through my artwork. I chose these two words once I found out the work had to relate to us personally, and one of my favorite things to do is talk about my relationship. The painting I chose to reinterpret is Édouard Manet, Olympia, which I chose solely because it had a pair of ladies posed in a vaguely romantic stance. My chosen personal experience for this project was the first time I had ever met my girlfriend in person, so a painting of two women was more than enough for me to work with.

I chose to use three different color schemes in my work, the first being various tints and shades of pink and purple for the romance aspect,  yellow and orange for ecstatic, and grayscale for the main subjects of the piece. I have my main form, Jasmine, lying on top of the fabric layered together to create a couch and pillows. I wanted to make the couch warm and loving because those were vibes I felt coming off of her the moment she walked out of the bus station. The orange and yellow that seem to be bursting off of me are an accurate representation of what my mind was experiencing in this moment. There was a blissful, surreal feeling of joy and shock that just seemed to hit me all at once and I felt this was best expressed with bright, warm colors. As for the two figures I went with grayscale because I wanted to show that we were both people in the same situation, thinking and feeling the same things, and yet handling them in two completely different manners.

When we saw each other Jasmine kept it pretty cool; she smiled broadly and kept mostly quiet. This made her stand out more than anything else around me; I’d never seen anyone or anything more clearly than I saw her in that moment, which is why she is so realistically cut out of paper. I on the other hand had immediately broken into a cold sweat, thrown up in my mouth, and started shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t form a comprehensive thought and stuttered out every word I tried so desperately to get out. I wanted to show my state of disarray and ecstasy through the use of expressive line to create a vague silhouette of myself. Lastly, I placed some subtle braille code throughout the fabric of the couch that can be translated into some of the thoughts that were buzzing around my head, such as; “Wowie!” and “This is actually happening!”  

KaCee Costello -- John Singer Sargent, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit

The theme that I chose was fantasy because I absolutely love fantasy novels and movies. It wasn't hard for me to think of a memory to go along with this theme as Ihave read a lot of fantasy books in my life. For my memory I decided to choose the time I locked myself in the room for a week to read the Percy Jackson series. This lead me to decide to turn the people in the original picture to mythological creatures that could be found in the books. These two creatures are a water nymph and a satyr. 

My adjective was grim because the original picture was already pretty creepy so it inspired me to make it even more dark and creepy to be grim. Also I thought that the adjective grim could fit very well with fantasy because some fantasy books are very dark and creepy to the point that I would consider them grim.

The first strategy that I chose to use was college. I decided to make the pond that the nymph is in a college of pictures of water. After I was done with it I decided it was too bright to be considered grim so I watered down some black paint and painted over top of it to help it fit in and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

The next strategy I chose to use was color scheme and that was very easy to pick. I chose cool colors keeping everything close to my theme and adjective. To me cool colors go very well with the adjective grim because a cold person with a dark outlook on life is considered to be a very grim person.

My third strategy was expressive line, this one is hard to see in the final picture but if you look closely you can see the lines in the trees and a little bit in the grass which I used to help add texture and depth as well as express my adjective grim. The lines are all very short which to me resembles a life being cut short by a tragic event or something of the sort which is very grim.

I decided to keep the little girl who I thought was creepiest which happened to be the one standing off to the left but since I already had planned a new character to go there she had to be moved. There was another problem with this little girl though, she was wearing a red dress which didn't fit with my color scheme. So I put her into Photoshop on my laptop and used what knowledge i have to recolor her dress and scale her to the exact size I would need for my larger version of the painting.

The elements I used were line, texture, and color while the principals I used were emphasis and movement. I used texture to give both the trees and grass more detail and I used line within this texture to express my adjective. I used color to further express my theme. I used emphasis to draw your eye to the water nymph in the front of the picture because the eyes of the other two characters pull your gaze away from her so I tried to create a sort of balance, this also caused the movement in my picture as your eyes move between the three points.

John Bucher -- Gustave Caillebotte, "Paris Street; Rainy Day"

This project reinterpreted Gustav Cailbotte's Paris Street; Rainy Day, as pictured above, while retaining the umbrellas. The Art 21 theme used was "secrets", and the three creative strategies used were: coded communication, silhouettes of shapes, and expressive line. Overall, the painting has to do with lies, in this particular case, cheating. This piece, through working with it, has quickly become an emotional attachment to me. A lot of myself, specifically that of past relationships, is poured into this piece, but not explicitly. I wanted to make it as abstract and indirect as possible (while at the same time being aesthetically appealing) but just direct enough where someone can sort of get the idea as to what the figures were, humans/individuals and maybe a trace of its symbolism. 

The coded communication, which is done in morse electric telegram messaging, reads "Lie" and is seen on the sides of the building in the distance as well as in red paint on the yellow figures, and also on the rectangular shape between them. 

The silhouettes are of people, or other bodies. These represent association with the figure with the red dot for a head. In fact, the warm colors in this piece are of association with this figure. Notice the targets all over the figure's body and those colors' distribution throughout the painting. 

Expressive line wasn't used primarily throughout the piece, but it's there. (I didn't fully read the criteria before I started the painting, so it was sort of implemented late into the process which is a fault on my part). The intentional expressive lines are the wavy ones, which represent uneasiness/disorientation. This again is symbolic, and all ties into to a specific idea within secrets. 

I enjoyed this piece overall. Even though I made errors early in the work, It turned out to be one of my favorite pieces ever for me on a personal level, as a lot of my emotion was translated into this piece while still retaining the original paintings proportions and general placement. 



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Lanese Installation is on Cover of Akron Art Museum Magazine

Natalie Lanese is finding success with her recent installation Depthless Without You as part of the NEO Geo exhibition at the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio. NEO Geo features recent work by artists in the surrounding region who explore the potential of geometric abstraction. Natalie is an Assistant Professor of Art and Director of the Klemm Gallery here at Siena Heights University. View the magazine here.

The exhibition runs November 21, 2015 - April 24, 2016. Learn more about the exhibition at the Akron Art Museum's website. 

Process Photos of the Installation:

Praise for Natalie's installation:

The Cleveland Scene wrote an article of the exhibit revealing more on Natalie's process.

Anderson Turner for the Akron Beacon Journal wrote "Art review: Open your mind to 'Neo Geo' at Akron Art Museum." Below is a snippet where he specifically talks about Natalie's work,

"One of the most patron-friendly and interactive parts of the show is the work of Lanese. The artist has taken over a large portion of the exhibition space to create a giant patterned painting/installation all over the walls and floor. The piece took a couple of weeks and a crew of helpers to install.

The painting is giant and active and full of patterns, most often chevrons, in a wild assortment of colors. Because of the size, it really gets your body moving. First you start looking around with your eyes, then you find your feet trying to keep up with where your eyes are going.

Not surprisingly, this is a hit. In the short amount of time I was at the opening reception, I saw children and adults alike climbing around it. I say climbing, because people were sitting, leaning up against walls and spinning in place to take it all in."


Background on Natalie Lanese:

Working primarily in collage, painting and installation, Lanese’s work is recognized for its vintage style, satire and wit. The Village Voice described her collages as "enigmatic narratives heightened by keen color clashes and jazzy textures" when covering her exhibition at Jack the Pelican Presents in Brooklyn in 2007. Her work has been seen most recently at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Mass., and at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Mass. 

Past exhibitions include the 2007 Scope International Art Fair in Basel, Switzerland, and in East Hampton, New York.


Follow Natalie: @nlanese on instagram, @natalielanese on twitter, and www.facebook.com/nataliejlanese


SHU Nursing Program Teams Up with Social Work, Theater to Earn National Innovation Award

SHU Director of Nursing Dr. Sue Idczak (second from left) as well as SHU nursing faculty member Kelli Kusisto (second from right) and SHU theater faculty member Mark DiPietro (far right) accept the Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award Oct. 26 from American Association of Colleges of Nursing representatives during AACN’s fall meeting in Washington, D.C.

SHU Director of Nursing Dr. Sue Idczak (second from left) as well as SHU nursing faculty member Kelli Kusisto (second from right) and SHU theater faculty member Mark DiPietro (far right) accept the Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award Oct. 26 from American Association of Colleges of Nursing representatives during AACN’s fall meeting in Washington, D.C.

Collaborative Creativity
(Article from Fall 2015 Reflections Alumni Magazine)
By Doug Goodnough

Siena Heights University’s nursing program was the recipient of the Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

SHU earned the honor in the Small Schools category. The awards program recognizes the outstanding work of AACN member schools to re-envision traditional models for nursing education and lead programmatic change. Innovation awards, including monetary prize of $1,000, are given annually in four institutional categories: Small Schools; Academic Health Center (AHC); Private Schools without an AHC; and Public Schools without an AHC.

According to Dr. Sue Idczak, SHU’s director of nursing, the program was honored for a unique series of live training simulations conducted in 2013-14 that involved students from nursing, theater and social work programs. Under the faculty’s guidance and supervision, specific scenarios involving the care of older adults were recreated.

“Inter-professional education is becoming such a big thing,” said Idczak, who credited SHU Assistant Professor of Nursing Kelli Kusisto for the creation and development of the simulations. “It really brought liberal arts into the nursing field.”

Kusisto, whose specialty is teaching gerontology courses, got the idea after attending a nursing conference that addressed improving the care of older adults.

“I had to come up with a project that would advance the whole concept,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to work with other disciplines around campus. I thought, ‘What if we used theater students to be our patients, and social work student could collaborate with our nursing students?’ ”

Using a National League of Nurses simulation, Kusisto worked with SHU nursing, theater and social work faculty for more than a year before the simulations were implemented. After researching and studying their patient’s condition, groups of approximately 8-10 students went through an “authentic experience,” Kusisto said. Nursing students were charged with transitioning patients from an acute care facility to a rehabilitation center, working with social work students.

“We didn’t make the patients look old, but it came off as if they were really old,” she said of the roles theater students played as patients and family members. “They had a specific role to play out.”

“Theater students were responsible for the full research of each illness,” said SHU Professor of Theater Mark DiPietro on the role his students played. “Coming together and integrating disciplines gave each student a unique perspective on students outside his or her discipline. An hour of watching the film and debriefing gave students the opportunity to integrate ideas and deconstruct actor, nurse and social work performers. Students mentioned over and over again how beneficial and rewarding the collaboration was.

“And they had to memorize a great deal, including lists of medicines and what each one did,” he added.

The simulations were so successful Idczak said SHU’s nursing program is developing a “Simulation and Clinical Reasoning” course that will be available in the fall 2016 semester.
“Kelli’s creativity in nursing has stimulated other faculty,” Idczak said. “This is part of what liberal arts and critical thinking is all about.”

SHU received the award during the AACN’s fall meeting Oct. 26 in Washington, D.C.


Our current technical director Dan Walker on panel and also involved in two theatre productions in Ann Arbor

The Mitten Lab hosted a Kick-Off Event at the Detroit Opera House’s Chrysler Black Box and Sky Deck on Sunday September 13, 2015. The event will include two panel discussions: “What Do We Even Mean by ‘Emerging’ Artist?,” focused on the nebulous “emerging artist” label, and “The State of Theatrical Work in the Michigan Landscape”, which explored the art form’s current position within Detroit’s artistic renaissance as well as in other Michigan cities.

Founded by Katherine M. Carter and Rachel Sussman in 2015, The Mitten Lab, A Michigan Incubator for Theatre Talent Emerging Now, is an artist residency located in Northern Michigan aimed at providing emerging theatre artists with the time, space, and support to develop new theatrical works.

Find out more at themittenlab.org, facebook.com/themittenlab, Twitter: @mittenlab



SHU Assistant Professor of Theater Dan Walker is currently working on two productions in the Ann Arbor area. He directs the play "Bright Half-Life" through Oct. 25 at Theatre Nova in Ann Arbor. To read a review of play, click here. Also, he constructed a set for the Broadway musical "Bonnie and Clyde," which is playing at the Encore Theater in Dexter, Mich. 

Alums Have Art in ArtPrize This Year

Lorenzo Cristaudo and Ann Gildner both have their work showcased at this years ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Lorenzo's work, Post Modern is composed of 80 digital transfers on canvas, and is on display at Grand Rapids Brewing Co., 1 Ionia St. Votecode for Lorenzo Cristaudo is 62076 (you have to be there to vote, so get to GR this weekend or next!)

Ann Gildner, an '81 grad of the art program in ceramics, has her work Free Fall. The work is showcased at the Grand Rapids Museum, 272 Pearl Street NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504. Vote Code: 62412 -- Click here for more information about her work: https://www.artprize.org/ann-gildner/2015/free-fall

Post Modern  by Lorenzo Cristaudo

Post Modern by Lorenzo Cristaudo

Free Fall  by Ann Gildner

Free Fall by Ann Gildner

Siena Showcase: Matt Leppek

Matt Leppek is a digital media major and in his second year at Siena Heights University. Below are a few of his recent video projects.

Smart phones have turned our youth into zombies in  Matt Leppek's Smart Phone Zombification. The video was part of ART Week that the Office of Student Engagement organized. ART stands for Appropriate, Responsible Technology. The concept is to show how society is wrapped up in technology and consumes our day-to-day lives. Gianni Chesnick, an art student at Siena is the talent.

The video above is a documentary following Patrick Wallace's journey to discovering Dagorhir and founding a club at Siena Heights University.

    Matt also heads a project called 'Siena Shorts', which showcase different parts of the university in an entertaining way.

    Glenn Crane Remembered for Work at Croswell, Siena

    (Editor’s Note: This edited article is reprinted with permission by the Adrian Daily Telegram.)

    By Arlene Bachanov
    Daily Telegram Special Writer

    A man devoted to the history of theater, a dynamic teacher who made sure his students and those he directed onstage paid attention to the details, and a person who was constantly teaching, both in and out of the classroom. 

    Those are only some of the ways Glenn Crane’s former students and theatrical colleagues have described him in the days since his Sept. 1 death in Florida, where he and his wife, Alice, were living in retirement. 

    Crane was part and parcel of Lenawee County’s theatrical community for years as a professor of theater at what is now Siena Heights University and at the Croswell Opera House. 

    One of the countless theater people whose lives Crane touched over his years in Adrian was Mark DiPietro, who today is the chairman of SHU’s Division of Visual and Performing Arts as well as a longtime Croswell actor and director. 

    “In 1975, I’d never heard of Adrian,” said DiPietro, who grew up in Livonia. But then he came to the Croswell’s production of “The Music Man,” in which Crane played Professor Harold Hill. 
    “I thought he was great,” DiPietro said. And, when DiPietro enrolled in Siena Heights’ theater program a few years later, Crane became his adviser and mentor in addition to directing him in both SHU and Croswell productions. 

    “He taught me the patience of being an actor,” DiPietro said. “I learned that (acting) doesn’t come easy, that you’ve got to work hard.”

    “He always was a strong advocate of doing the very, very best you can do in every aspect of theater,” said Doug Miller, also a professor of theater at SHU who was a student of Crane’s before eventually joining the theater faculty himself and becoming Crane’s colleague. Crane’s philosophy, Miller said, was to always “shoot for the highest and don’t accept the average.” 
    “He was dynamic; energizing; exciting to work with; very, very intelligent; creative; hardworking,” Miller continued. “He inspired a lot of students, and he pushed a lot of them, including me. …He was a great man.” 

    “He was a fine actor and a wonderful director, just brilliant,” said Trudy McSorley, who for many years was part of SHU’s theater faculty. “And he loved the Croswell.” 

    To McSorley, Crane and another legendary member of the SHU theater faculty, Sister Therese Craig, made a unique contribution to the lives of their students and, therefore to Siena Heights overall. “Glenn was a scholar. … He and Therese had a passion for making sure theater history was taught in their classes,” she said. “That was huge, because it set us apart as a small, Catholic college doing theater — students were prepared really well to go on to graduate school.” 

    Like her colleagues, McSorley remembers Crane as someone to whom “the little things” of doing theater were important — “what an actor does as part of his character. And because he was such a scholar of theater, he knew what was appropriate for that character. And it was always in an understated way, never over the top, because that way you make audiences dig a little deeper, think a little more.” 

    And, McSorley said, her former colleague was one of those people who always had something to teach others. “He was always a teacher,” she said. “Whether he was directing a show, or in the classroom, he was always teaching.”

    Gail Kowalski '77 Awarded Distinguished Alumni Award

    Gail Kowalski '77 recently received the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award from North Hills High School in Ross Township, Pittsburgh, Pa. This award honors an alumnus who demonstrates outstanding contributions to their chosen profession, high academic achievement, outstanding professional and business achievements and exceptional community consciousness. She gave the keynote address at the awards ceremony May 27. Her studio and retail store is Jewelry by Gail, Inc., in Gallery Row, Nags Head, N.C. She has won numerous national and international awards and honors, including both industry and Hollywood accolades.