Written by Phil Cerroni
By Andrew McElwee
The Irving Black Arts Council kicked off this year's Black History Month with The Diaspora: From Motherland to the Homeland. A reception for art exhibit was hosted at the Irving Arts Center on Feb. 2. Featuring a gallery of cultural portraits and wood carvings, the exhibit treats art-lovers to impressionistic landscapes, ethnic realism pieces and carvings reminiscent of African heritage.
Three prominent African-American artists, George Cephus, Jr., Willie James Johnson, and Murielle White, created the works. It's not often you get to meet the masters behind the masterpieces. But all three artists could be seen mingling about the reception, enjoying refreshments with patrons, and later engaging in a Q & A session.
George Cephas, Jr., originally from Louisiana and a graduate of University of North Texas graduate, was pleased to show off his realism portraits and landscapes. An artist for 40-plus years, he continues to paint and runs a design studio in Dallas.
"I think it has a real strong impact," said Cephas, when asked about his artistic influence. "I think [people] are amazed at how my colors go well together in my paintings, and they like how much effort I put into it."
Many of the carvings on display also belonged to Mr. Cephas, whose woodworking further spurs on his creativity. Like Michelangelo, he possesses the ability to see the work of art in the raw material, waiting to be released.
Willie James Johnson, a Dallas native, offered a more spiritual side to his works. An evangelical minister for over 50 years, his artistic prowess has developed alongside his preaching. Both talents seem to provide a sort of back-and-forth inspiration between them.
"I have been painting for 60 years and an evangelist for 52 years," said Johnson. "God gave me this ability, because I've never been to school. So I feel good about being out here."
Without any formal training, Reverend Johnson's ability to create striking renditions of Christ or the America bald eagle is truly a spiritual gift.
If diversity could be embodied in someone, it is definitely Ms. Murielle White. Born and raised in Paris, her parentage is a unique blend of Asian, Indian, and French. Skilled in traditional Chinese landscape painting and educated at the University of South Florida (and UNT), her portraits bring out her multicultural identity through the abstract and the impressionistic.
"It's very different for me because I'm not American," said White, when asked about displaying her work locally. "I feel very privileged to showcase my work here, and make it all fit in."
Though not from the United States, her diverse background nonetheless enables her to connect with the African-American community. Ms. White has also been a featured artist in several national competitions, and currently teaches holds a professorship in art at the University of North Texas.
The Diaspora: From Motherland to the Homeland is truly an experience to share, no matter what your heritage. If anything, it is a reminder of how ethnicity and creativity has helped shape America into what it is today.
The exhibit runs through Feb. 28. For more information, visit www.irvingartscenter.com or call 972.252.ARTS.
Last Updated on Sunday, 10 February 2013 22:05
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Alice Canham
His voice dried our tears after September 11, 2001 – now former New York Police Officer Daniel Rodriguez will be the featured performer as the Entertainment Series of Irving launches its 2012-2013 season.
On Thursday, Sep. 27at 7:30 pm, patrons at the Irving Arts Center/Carpenter Hall will hear the acclaimed tenor as he is joined by his wife, soprano Marla Kavanaugh of New Zealand.
“It was the events of 911 that brought acclaim for Daniel Rodriguez, but he was actually a classically trained musician before he started singing ‘God Bless America’ for all those baseball games and so forth,” said Marlene Steward, President of the Entertainment Series, now entering its 57th year.
It will be a diverse season for the group. “We’re not just an orchestra, we’re not just plays and we’re not just musicals,” said Cathy O’Donnell who handles publicity for the city’s oldest arts group.
“We’re first class entertainment at affordable prices. And we’re glad to be part of the wonderful entertainment offerings in Irving.”
Other performances will include hometown favorite Amy Stevenson Nov. 16, the Abrams Brothers on Jan. 29, 2013 and Floyd Cramer’s grandson, Jason Coleman, on April 8, 2013.
Learn more at www.entertainmentseries.com.
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 September 2012 21:19
Written by Phil Cerroni
By Alice Canham
The Irving Chorale has an exciting 26th Anniversary season ahead. Four concerts are scheduled, beginning with the ‘Grand Celebration’ concert on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 3:30 pm in Carpenter Hall at the Irving Arts Center.
“We’ve tried to make collaboration with other local arts groups a priority,” said Artistic Director Harry Wooten.
“The New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving is just beginning its 25th Anniversary season, so we’re collaborating with them for our first concert. It gives us an opportunity to use some orchestral pieces.
“On Dec. 14 we’ll work with students from the MacArthur High School Choir in a concert we’re calling ‘Rejoice and Be Merry’.
“Then on March 2, 2013 we’ll have our Side by Side concert with the Irving ISD Honor Chorus. We’ve commissioned a multi-layered piece on the theme of bullying – the problems it poses and possible solutions.
“Finally, on May 17 we’ll have music from the Beatles in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, our pop concert. For that, we’ll be joined by students from the Jack Singley Academy High School.”
Learn more about the Irving Chorale and its programs online: www.irvingchorale.org.
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 September 2012 21:18
Written by Phil Cerroni
The Irving Arts Center exhibitions calendar is filled with variety and styles for the coming year. Photography, mixed media, pottery, sculpture, book illustrations and work by young artists are just some of the featured work on display.
Global Relay: Around the World in 80 Ways
Aug. 4 – Sept. 30 | Dupree Theater Lobby
The 2012 Transportation Art Contest exhibition showcases award-winning entries by Irving students, ages 6-17. The exhibition is organized in conjunction with the Transportation and Infrastructure Summit, a national conference hosted by the City of Irving.
2012 Edith Baker Art Scholarship Exhibition
Sept. 15 – Nov. 18 | Focus Gallery
This juried exhibition features scholarship finalists from the seven Dallas County Community College District campuses: Arjoon KC of North Lake College, William Benitez of Eastfield College, Jessica Braddock of Richland College, Jonathan Gruchawka of Cedar Valley College, Fernando Johnson of Brookhaven College, Hannah Tyler of Mountain View College, and Candy Warth of El Centro College. The Reception and Scholarship Award Ceremony is Friday, Sept. 21, 6 – 8 p.m.
Myth and Magic: The Artwork of Gerald McDermott
Sept. 22 – Nov. 11 | Main Gallery
Creator of over twenty-five books and films, McDermott combines ancient imagery with contemporary design to portray the transformative power of myth through his bold, graphic renderings of timeless tales from around the world. Organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, TX.
Faces of Classical Music: Photographs by William McEwen
Oct. 6 – Jan. 27 | Dupree Theater Lobby
For a decade, William McEwen has been photographing classical musicians. These intimate black and white portraits with the musicians were taken at their homes and in casual dress. McEwen uses a Wisner 8”x10” view camera and makes contact prints in his traditional wet darkroom. This is the first public exhibition of this body of work.
The Magic of Christmas
Dec. 1 – 31 | Main Gallery
The 20th Annual Holiday Exhibition and Tree Decorating Competition transforms the Main Gallery into a holiday wonderland filed with festive trees decorated by Irving parent-teacher organizations and beautiful artwork by IISD elementary students. This art and tree décor is created based on the magic of Christmas theme. Trees compete for cash prizes and bragging rights awarded by celebrity judges and viewer votes.
Black and White: An Exhibition of Paintings and Flowers
Jan. 6 – 20 | Main Gallery
This annual exhibition presented by The Association of Oriental Arts features Chinese brush paintings by members of TAO Arts and Ikebana (the Japanese art of floral arranging) by members of the Dallas and Fort Worth chapters of Ikebana International. Artists Reception and demonstrations, Sunday, Jan 6, 2 - 4 p.m.
Haiti Series: Photographs by Terry Cockerham
Feb. 2 – May 26 | Dupree Theater Lobby
Showcasing photographs by long-time Irving resident and journalist, Terry Cockerham, the exhibition documents his trip with a medical team to Haiti in early 2012.
Irving ISD Artwork
March 1 – April 14 | Main Gallery
Two and three dimensional works from IISD Elementary through High School students will be on display in the Main Gallery.
28th Annual Texas and Neighbors Exhibit
Apr. 21 – May 25 | Main Gallery
Presented by the Irving Art Association in partnership with the Irving Arts Center, this juried exhibit features mixed media works from artists in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Western Federation of Watercolor Societies
June 1 – July 7 | Main Gallery
38th annual juried exhibition of water media works from the WFWS, hosted in Irving by the Southwestern Watercolor Society. Nationally recognized water media artist, Mark Mehaffey is the 2013 juror. WFWS is an organization founded in 1975 that is made up of 11 water media societies with a combined membership of over 4800 members from the western states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Idaho and Oregon.
Irving Art Association Winners Exhibit
June 8 – July 7 | Focus Gallery
Award winning artwork from the IAA's annual juried members show.
KidsArts/ Kids’ Works 2013
July 13 – Sept. 1 | Focus Gallery
Painting, photography, sculpture and more by KidsArts 2013 camp participants.
13th Annual Art Connection Exhibit
July 20 – Aug. 24 | Main Gallery
This annual, non-juried exhibition is open to all members, current and new. Entry fee is $5 per work, and artists may submit up to two pieces. Eligible entries will be judged for cash awards in the three categories: Student/Youth, Non-Professional, and Professional. An overall "Best of Show" prize will also be awarded.
6th Annual Transportation Art Contest
Aug. 3 – Sept. 29 | Dupree Theater Lobby
The exhibition showcases award-winning entries by Irving students, ages 6-17 based on a different theme each year. The exhibition is organized in conjunction with the Transportation and Infrastructure Summit, a national conference hosted by the City of Irving.
George Mendoza: Colors of the Wind
Sept. 14 – Nov. 10 | Main Gallery
Featuring colorful paintings and textile designs by artist, George Mendoza who has been legally blind since the age of 15. A native of New York City, he has lived in New Mexico since he was 17. In addition to his art, he is working on a screenplay called “Touching the Sun” based on his autobiography Running Toward the Light and on a feature film based on his story as a runner, athlete, and artist. This exhibition is toured by the Ellen Noël Art Museum in Odessa, Texas, a sister Smithsonian Affiliate.
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 - 5 p.m. Sunday.
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 September 2012 21:17
Written by Phil Cerroni
The Irving Symphony Orchestra Association celebrates its golden anniversary season with a 50th anniversary bash before the 2012-2013 season’s opening night concert.
The black tie optional cocktail affair with live entertainment is set for 6:30 p.m. in the Irving Arts Center prior to the “50 Years of Broadway” concert beginning at 8:00 p.m.
“50 years, is an important milestone in the history of the Irving Symphony,” said Margarite Korkmas, ISOA president.
The ISOA was formed in 1961 with the first official concert performed in 1962 at Irving High School with 23 volunteer musicians. In 1963 the orchestra became the Irving Symphony Orchestra, establishing itself as the orchestra in Irving.
The 50th anniversary season opening night concert “50 Years of Broadway” at the Irving Arts Center at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13th under the direction of Maestro Hector Guzman features Broadway Performer William Park, whose Broadway credits include the Phantom of the Opera, Carousel, and Cats.
“It you like Broadway musicals, you’ll love this concert,” Ms. Korkmas said.
“Our Golden Anniversary 2012-2013 season offers something for everyone, from Broadway hits to Argentine Tango,to local Texas flair with the Texas Tenors, to the very popular Christmas concert, “said Maestro Guzman.
In addition to the 50 Years of Broadway concert, The 2012-2013 Golden Anniversary Season playbill includes: Tango Fire, exciting music of Argentina as featured in such films as Scent of a Woman, with guest violinist Rodrigo Puskas, Nov. 10; The Christmas Concert featuring baritone Donnie Ray Albert and the Richland College Choir, with Michael Crawford, director on Dec. 8,; Texas Tenors, “America’s Got Talent” number one vocal group on Feb. 9; Romance with Strings Attached featuring the world’s most enduring music for strings, on March 9 and the grand finale, Romantic Extravaganza on April 13.
“Our audiences are in for a delightful experience this season,” Maestro Guzman said.
For season tickets, or single tickets, contact the Irving Arts Center Ticket Office at 972-252-2787, or purchase tickets online at www.irvingsymphony.com .
The Irving Symphony Orchestra is a professional orchestra providing signature performances for North Texas since 1962. All performances begin at 8:00 p.m. at the Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving, Texas.
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 September 2012 21:16