Cornish College of the Arts NEWS

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BFA EXPO 16, Microsoft HoloLens Demo, Thrill Viewers

This year’s Art and Design seniors explored digital media, installation, interior architecture, painting, performance, photography, print, sculpture, UX design, video,and writing, this BFA exhibition launches a new generation of superlative talent. Look out Seattle!

“For the last year, our visual arts departments have been participating in a number of partnerships with major science and technology companies,” said President Nancy Uscher. “Microsoft has been incredibly generous in giving our students access to HoloLens. It is exhilarating to see the work produced by these partnerships at the Expo.”

Although the HoloLens demonstrations are ended, there are still two buildings full of art and design projects to view. The show remains up through May 15. Hours are 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. And be sure to visit the EXPO section of the website to see more samples of each senior’s work as well as their artistic statements and biographies.    Read More.

Image: Microsoft HoloLens demonstration, EXPO16 BFA art and design exhibition. Photo by Mark Bocek.

Cornish Commencement at McCaw Hall, May 14
Broadway legend Ben Vereen will give the Commencement address as part of the 2016 graduation ceremonies at McCaw Hall on May 14.

Cornish College of the Arts President Nancy J. Uscher has announced that Honorary Doctorate degrees will be awarded at this year’s Commencement to Broadway performer/activist Ben Vereen, visual artist Pae White, renowned jazz performer and educator Clarence Acox, and recent Oscar winner and Pixar director Pete Docter. The commencement ceremony for the Class of 2016 will be held Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 11 AM.  For the third year in a row, the event will be held at Seattle Center in the beautiful McCaw Hall (home to Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet). Read More.

Image: graduates at  2015 Commencement, photo by Mark Bocek. 

Summer at Cornish: Program Gets Bigger Every Year
Every summer, high school students from across the nation and many countries have come to Cornish for one-week to three-weeks intensives in art, design, dance, film, interdisciplinary exploration, music, and theater. Every year the program grows bigger. Now Summer at Cornish includes more classes for younger students as well as adults. No matter what your interests, you can explore the arts. There’s even a 10% discount for registrations received by May 6.

More information.

Image: Summer at Cornish 2015, photo W Westergard

9 Evenings re-presented – May 7

In October 1966, a series of 10 performances called 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering was held in New York City. The artists included, among many others, former Cornish faculty member John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, and Robert Whitman. They worked in collaboration with more than 40 engineers and scientists to develop and adapt technical equipment for use as an integral part of the performances. Now, students and faculty of Cornish, embodying the collaborative and interdisciplinary spirit of 9 Evenings, come together to re-create the evening from diverse backgrounds in media arts, theater, and music. Limited seating, 8:00 PM, MCC Room 109. Free.

Cornish Open House – May 7

Come have a look at Cornish today. Free and open to the public, Notion Building, 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM. More information.

Arise: a Spring Dance Concert – May 14-15

The Cornish Preparatory Dance Company Spring Concert offers intermediate and advanced students enrolled in the Preparatory Dance program the opportunity to work with choreographers and perform a variety of dance styles. This year’s concert features choreography by Stephanie Liapis, and Alicia Mullikin, along with Cornish Preparatory Dance faculty members Steve Casteel, Leigh-Ann Cohen-Hafford, Christine Juarez, and Paula J. Peters. May 14-15, 3:00 PM; May 14, 7:00 PM. Tickets & Info.

Cornish Presents: Drupad Days

Cornish Presents and Summer at Cornish once again host Dhrupad Days, Dhrupad Music Institute of America’s annual music festival, co-produced in the PONCHO Concert Hall.

Swara Yoga: Carnatic Concert by Sri Genesh Rajagopalan  – May 20

Sri Ganesh Rajagopalan will be presenting a meditation concert called “Swara Yoga”. Swara Yoga is an innovative technique developed by Rajagopalan to heal body, mind and soul through music; 7:30 PM.

Smt. Srivani Jade – May 21

Hindustani vocalist Smt. Srivani Jade performs with Sri Anand Karve on harmonium and Sri Ravi Albright on tabla; 4:30 PM.

Waves in Sound: Padmashri Gundecha Brothers – May 21

Padmashri Gundecha Brothers are Pandits Umakant (vocal), Ramakant (vocal) and Akhilesh Gundecha (pakhawaj); 7:30 PM.

 – A full listing of current and upcoming Cornish events.

Images: [1] 

9 Evenings Re-presented poster detail; [2] 

Arise poster detail; [3] Sri Ganesh Rajagopalan, courtesy of the artist; [4] Smt. Srivani Jade, courtesy of the artist. 


Lauren Iida ’13 recently opened an exhibition of her work in the ArtXchange Gallery’s north gallery. The response has been warm.  ‘Each piece is a puzzle’: Japanese-American cut paper artist Lauren Iida in Art Radar  and Papercut and multimedia artist Lauren Iida: ‘Heaven to me is an Exacto knife and a blank piece of paper’ in the International Times. The exhibition run through May 28. Registration is still open for this weekend’s paper cutaway workshop with Lauren Iida at ArtXchange Gallery in Pioneer Square. It takes place on Saturday, May 7, 12:00-4:00 PM.


Cornish theater alum Kamaria Hallums-Harris ’15 was featured recently in Encore’s Five Friday Questions series. Hallums-Harris is currently starring in Eat Cake at Annex Theatre. “Chaos, comedy, and cake collide in … the Queer wedding of the century. Ariel and Addison are throwing their dream wedding, a DIY extravaganza, but the clock is ticking and everything is a disaster.”


Theater alumnus Joshua Conkel ’03 has added to an impressive list of produced plays with a screenplay Curmudgeons, produced as a short directed by Danny DeVito. Conkel is friends with DeVito’s daughter, Lucy, who recognized that Conkel’s one-act of the same name would make a great film. How good? Unseen Films was unambiguous in its praise: “Curmudgeons may very well be Danny DeVito’s best film.” The Daily Beast praised the film and noted the importance of its theme in light of LGBT rights. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won for Best Narrative Short.

Images: [1] Lauren Iida, detail, 

Self Portrait with Kabuki, 2016, hand-cut paper and oil pastel, 10×8″; image courtesy of the artist.; [2] Kamarla Hallums-Harris, courtesy of Encore publications; [3] Joshua Conkel, photo courtesy of the artist.

Visual arts Foundation student Annie Rocks ’18 has been accepted to the 2016 Alene Moris National Education for Women’s Leadership Institute, June 13-18, 2016. The Leadership Institute is an intensive six-day program open to undergraduate and graduate women attending two-year or four-year institutions in the state or to those who are enrolled out-of-state with residency in Washington. Held at the University of Washington.

 Cornish has had for a long time an active Latina/Latino involvement. With College community members taking part in the 2016 LTC Pacific Northwest Convening, the activism achieves a new level. Marco Voli ’17 was front and center helping to host the Latina/o Theater Commons in association with HowlRound during a convening in Seattle. Read about him on the Cornish home page in “Cornish Student Joins Alumni as Co-Host for Latina/o Theater Commons”.

Images: [1] Annie Rocks, photo courtesy of the artist; [2] Marco Voli, photo by Mark Bocek.

The Cornish community congratulates music faculty member Wayne Horvitz on becoming a recipient of a 2016 Doris Duke Award for Jazz, as reported in The Seattle Times. Horvitz joins a distinguished group of performing artists receiving awards this year, including Mark Morris, who has taught at Cornish and has deep Seattle connections. The awards provide sizable grants to its artists, amounts up to $275,000. Horvitz lists four key goals for his award period, including finishing several pieces, to record a back catalogue of chamber music, to find the freedom to focus on his playing, and, finally, to be afforded the time to consider future projects.

Seattle literary magnet Hugo House is falling to the wrecking ball, but it’s got one last hurrah, and a faculty member in art is in on it. Dawn Cerny was invited to be the first visual artist (for the Annual Hugo House Spring Literary Series. It should “be an extraordinarily special night as it will be the last thing ever that will happen in the Hugo House as we know it,” says Cerny. It takes place Friday, May 20 at 7:30 PM.  Get your tickets now as they are going fast.

The art faculty’s Gala Bent has an exhibition up and running at G. Gibson Gallery, GALA BENT – Biographic. The exhibition runs through June 11, with a gallery talk by Bent on May 14.

Images: [1] Wayne Horvitz, photo by Robin Laanenen; [2]  Dawn Cerny, courtesy of the artist; [3] Gala Bent, detail, Test Site for the Voluptuous Unknown, 2016, ink, acrylic, drawing pencils, gouache and graphite on paper, 52 x 45 inches.

This month, City Arts magazine, available on newsstands and online, has run a feature on theater faculty member Desdemona Chiang entitled She’s the Boss by Gemma Wilson. Chiang, who recently won the Vilcek Foundation 2016 Creative Promise Award in Theatre, is currently guest directing Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale at Ashland.

The Cornish Playhouse Arts  Incubator Residency is accepting applications for its Class of 16/17. The residency is designed to give artists time and space to “incubate” – to develop an idea or concept and explore it.  It encourages artistic risk-taking by supporting artists in the creation of work that is outside the boundaries of their usual genre, discipline or comfort zone. The residency is part of the Cornish Playhouse’s public benefit to the Seattle community.

Images: [1] Desdemona Chiang, photo by Steve Korn, courtesy City Arts. [2] Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, photo by Mark Bocek.