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Jody Kielbasa
Vice Provost for the Arts
Director, Virginia Film Festival

Sponsored by
the office of the Provost &
the Vice Provost for the Arts


Grant Achievements
University Award for Projects in the Arts
through the Center for Undergraduate Excellence
The University Award for Projects in the Arts is intended to expand students' opportunities for creative expression and showcase significant accomplishments in the arts. The program funds outstanding undergraduate projects in the arts to be carried out in the summer and the upcoming academic year.
2010-2011 Grants

Lindsey Arturo, with an undeclared major, plans to make a short film.

Kelsey Nix, 21, double majoring in art history and studio art cinematography, plans on making a film with fellow arts award winner Lindsey Arturo.

Maura Tousignant, 19, double majoring in comparative literature and Middle Eastern studies, with a dance minor, plans to study dance in Yalova, Turkey. There she will "participate in a dance intensive to study whirling, as a form of Sufi mysticism still practiced by dervishes today. I will also receive private sessions to learn Persian folkloric dance forms."

This summer I traveled to Turkey, to study Persian classical dance and Sufi ritual dance (whirling) with an Iranian-American choreographer, Banafsheh Sayyad. I will use the research I conducted to choreograph a dance piece based on the Iranian novel, Women Without Men, by Shahrnush Parsipur.

—Maura Tousignant, August 2010

Aishwarya Sriram, 20, majoring in commerce with a minor in dance, plans to study the evolution and relevance of Bharata Natyam, a classical Indian dance, in the Western and modern world.

My project involves a thesis and a choreography focusing on the relevance of Bharata Natyam (classical South Indian dance) in today's modernized and globalized world. My information will be gathered both in the US and in India, through research, interviews, and training with the Dhananjayans, legendry performing artists and teachers in the field. A relevant link is their dance school's website.

—Aishwarya Sriram, August 2010

Alexandra Dimitri, 21, majoring in American Studies and Studio Art, plans to research shifting spaces and navigating the grid.

For my project, I'm concentrating on "borderlands" and the space between the known and the unknowable, influenced by nature. Nearly all of my imagery has been derived from my experiences in the woods, and for this specific project, the Washington coast.

—Alexandra Dimitri, August 2010

Hannah Meredith, 20, a biomedical engineering major, plans to explore the science of artistic cooking.

Molecular Gastronomy, More than Just a Mouthful is a study of modern cooking techniques that are shattering the traditional views of food's flavors, textures and presentation. I will observe professional chefs using these avant garde techniques and then will design and cook my own menu of novel dishes.

—Hannah Meredith, August 2010

Debra Cohen, 20, a rising fourth-year student majoring in studio art with a concentration in cinematography and photography, who will create three short films and series of 10 to 15 photographs that deal with the creation of atmospheric spaces and the perception of time.

William Brumas, 19, majoring in aerospace engineering, plans to make a documentary about his summer swim team to investigate the social workings of a unique community.

I plan to create a short-feature documentary film about my neighborhood swim team, of which I was a coach the summer of 2010. The film will investigate the fundamental elements of the ideal team, and how these qualities affect its members and community.

—William Brumas, August 2010

Melanie Ashkar, 20, majoring in music and linguistics, plans to explore the use of the mezzo-soprano voice in 18th- through 20th-century music to express both male and female characters and narrators. She plans to attend the American Institute of Musical Studies program in Graz, Austria.

I am examining the character traits that define mezzo soprano characters in opera. Mezzos sing both male and female roles, and I intend to discover what leads these characters to be sung by mezzos rather than by men or sopranos. I will present my findings in the form of a DMP recital and an accompanying paper. I took a six week-long trip to Austria this summer to investigate this more.

The recital will be on Sunday, March 27th at 8 pm in Old Cabell Hall, and it will be free!

—Melanie Ashkar, August 2010

Alex Wallace, 19, majoring in music and Spanish, who will be researching composing music based on data collected from sensors (accelerometers, light sensors, brain wave sensors) used during various human endeavors, many of which have an ecological bent.

I use data from electronic sensors, such as accelerometers and Ph sensors, to create sound and multimedia. My main and most 'out-there' data set comes from a ten-day, 262 mile solo canoe paddle from Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico on the Chattahoochee River.

—Alex Wallace, August 2010

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