The University of Southern Indiana’s contributions to the regional arts community were recognized with the announcement of the annual Arts Awards winners at the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana’s Bower-Suhrheinrich Foundation Gallery on Thursday.
Regional Art Award
Elliot Wasserman, professor of theatre and chair of the Department of Performing Arts, is the recipient of a 2013 Regional Art Award. Wasserman, who joined USI in 1991, serves as producing artistic director at New Harmony Theatre and was artistic director at Lincoln Amphitheatre, where the University produced theatrical productions through 2005.
He established the Repertory Project, a collaboration between USI Theatre and New Harmony Theatre that allows USI students to work with professional Equity actors and earn points toward membership in the prestigious actors’ labor union.
Wasserman teaches courses in acting, directing, and playwriting. He has directed major musicals at professional venues around the country, and worked with stars of Broadway, television, and film. He is also an actor and playwright.
In 2005, he was selected as one of eight theatre educators nationally as a Directing Fellow of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, and in 2006 he was awarded the KCACTF Gold Medallion Award for Excellence in Theatre Education.
Artist of the Year
Rob Millard-Mendez, associate professor of art, is the Art’s Council’s 2013 Artist of the Year. His work largely consists of large, toy-like, kinetic, interactive sculptures made primarily of wood. His pieces are meant to involve the viewer on many levels: physically, visually, and intellectually.
Millard-Mendez has exhibited his work in over 275 shows in museums and galleries in 40 states. He has had a number of one-person exhibitions and he has received over 50 awards for his work. His sculptures are in over 30 private and public collections.
Since he joined USI in 2006, his sculptures have been in 206 exhibitions throughout the U.S. His work was recently accepted into his first international exhibition.
He is a recipient of the University’s Outstanding Teaching Award and shares his talents in the community through public art projects such as Sculpt EVV and the Public Art Commission. Each year, he works with children in arts programs at Patchwork Central and has donated 23 of his own works to benefit local nonprofit organizations.
Arts Advocate of the Year
Scott Wylie, chair of the USI Society for Arts and Humanities board of directors, accepted the 2013 Arts Advocate of the Year Award on behalf of that organization, which works to bring awareness to the community about the diversity and excellence of USI’s art programs and events. A major supporter of New Harmony Theatre, the society also contributes to the RopeWalk Visiting Writers Reading Series, lectures by visiting artists, scholarships, and travel for students and faculty in the arts.
Mayor's Art Award
The 2013 Mayor’s Art Award winner is Neal Franklin, former chair of the USI Society for Arts and Humanities board of directors and a member of the USI Foundation board. She and her husband Dr. Joseph E. Franklin are members of the President’s Associates and the Varsity Club. They are supporters of New Harmony Theatre, other arts programs, and athletics.
The Arts Awards will be presented at the annual banquet on Thursday, August 22, in the Walnut Atrium at Tropicana. For more information and tickets, call the Arts Council at 812/422-2111.
Photo Credit: USI Photo Services
Wasserman and Millard-Mendez