News Around The College


Peter Weishar - Dean of College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance Effective July 1, 2013

Peter Weishar has been appointed Dean of Florida State University’s College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance, effective July 1, 2013.

Most recently, Weishar served as Dean of the Savannah College of Art and Design’s School of Entertainment Arts, where he started in 2004.  Prior to his time at SCAD, Weishar served as a Professor of computer animation and new media, as well as acting Director of the animation program at New York University Tisch School of the Arts.  He is the author of three books on animation arts and his private sector experience includes design and animation development management and work with a number of video and new media technology companies, as well as creative firms and advertising agencies.  He earned his degree at Union College in 1983.  He also studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and Tel Aviv University.

"Peter Weishar has that unique combination of practical real world experience in the fast evolving visual arts field, along with the solid academic credentials and experience at the Dean level that we need to head our College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Garnett S. Stokes.  “We are very excited about Peter joining us later this year at Florida State."

"I am honored to be offered this opportunity at Florida State University,” Weishar said.  “I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues and continuing the tradition of innovation and excellence when I assume my new leadership role at FSU."
Please join us in welcoming Peter Weishar to the College of Visual Arts, Theatre & Dance and the Florida State University community!



The College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance would also like to recognize Jawole Willa Jo Zollar from the School of Dance for receiving the Doris Duke Artist Award. She will receive an unrestricted grant of $225,000 over a three to five year period, as set through a schedule to be determined by the recipient.

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, School of Dance

"I am so honored and in a state of deep gratitude for this award.  It means so much for me to be in this great company of the 2013 awardees.  On the eve of Urban Bush Women’s 30th anniversary and in my 6th decade, the Duke Award means more than words can ever express.  I have experienced so many ups and downs on this journey of art-making and life.  There have been times when I have not been able to see the road ahead of me, through this award I am again reminded of the power of staying with your passion and life’s work.  My work through Urban Bush Women and FSU has had positive impact on so many countless lives and this will help the work continue.  I’d like to thank the Duke award and all of the wonderful people who have brought me to this beautiful moment in time.  Can you feel me smiling?  Big thanks to all of you for believing and supporting the vision" 

–  Jawole

Please visit our blog to read the full story on Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.

Art History

Lesley Wolff (MA 2013) Receives Prestigious Wilson Fellowship

Lesley Wolff (MA 2013), who will be entering the doctoral program in Art History in the fall, has been awarded the Fellows Society Adelaide Wilson Fellowship by The Graduate School at Florida State University.  The Wilson Fellowship is FSU’s most generous and prestigious university-wide graduate fellowship.  Recipients serve as leaders of the Fellows Society, the university’s interdisciplinary community of scholars who hold nationally competitive fellowships.  The fellowship provides five years of full financial support for Doctoral study.

Wolff Receives Prestigious Wilson Fellowship

Lesley’s primary field of study is the Visual Culture of the Americas, crossing over into critical museological and cultural heritage studies.  She is particularly interested in the artistic traditions of the folk art of Latin America.  Her work has investigated the ways in which these traditions have been presented as part of a visual rhetoric of national identity and the performance of indigeneity.

The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago has invited Lesley to curate an exhibition on the arts and history of the Jewish Diaspora in Latin America.  Students and faculty who attend CAA in Chicago next year will have a chance to visit the exhibition, which will run in conjunction with an installation of Pre-columbian art from the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.


FSU/Asolo Conservatory

Class of 2013

Graduation Time: FSU/Asolo Conservatory Students Seek New Stages

Excerpts from

For three years they have stretched, danced, tumbled, crawled like creatures, vocalized and played many different types of people.  They have stuck together, encouraged and supported one another through difficult challenges and personal setbacks.

Now, the 12 acting students in the FSU/Asolo Conservatory class of 2013, who have been the subject of a series of Herald-Tribune articles through their three years of study and performances, are ready to pursue their careers.  On Monday, April 29, they received their Master of Fine Arts degrees from Florida State University in a ceremony at the Historic Asolo Theater, with family, friends and scholarship donors cheering them on.

They are, as Conservatory Director Greg Leaming likes to say, “the future of the American theater.

The graduates will also perform in their New York City Showcase on Monday, May 6 at the Theatre Row Studios.  Performances will be at 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm with a reception following each performance.



Summer & Fall for Dance

April brought the usual goodbyes to both our graduating students and those preparing to spend the fall semester in our FSU in New York City program.  We are excited for them and look forward to hearing about their adventures in future articles.  As an example, alumni and FSU in NYC adjunct faculty Tom Pearson, and Jennine Willet, along with their partner Zach Morris’s company, Third Rail Projects’ production of Then She Fell has been extended through September 29, 2013.
“Wildly imaginative… Wonderfully written, directed, and choreographed.”The New Yorker

”One of the most hauntingly lovely pieces of theater that I’ve ever experienced”VOGUE

FSU in Paris

April also brought awards and recognition. Dr. Jennifer Atkins and Dr. Tom Welsh were recipients of the University Undergraduate Teaching Award, and Harper Addison received the Academic Leadership Award from the college.  MA candidate Nikki Caruso was selected to represent the College at the Florida Statewide Graduate Student Symposium held at the University of South Florida.  Her presentation was "The 610 Stompers of New Orleans: Mustachioed Men Making a Difference through Dance.”

Summer also means that our students are busting out of Tallahassee and exploring the world.  In its second year, the FSU program in Paris will have our students in dance classes and exploring the city for the month of May.  The FSU International Program in Valencia, Spain, is our Dr. Sally Sommer’s home for the month, where she offers classes in Flamenco Dance History and Dance and Culture for FSU students.  Our support organization, Friends of Dance, makes much of this possible with over $5,000 in summer scholarships.


Facility for Arts Research

"Lining" by Denise Bookwalter and Lee Emma Running

FAR’s Small Craft Advisory Press (SCAP) released its newest artists’ book Lining earlier this week.  Designed in collaboration with Lee Emma Running of Grinnell College in the the Spring of 2013, Lining investigates the layer of fabric in clothing intended to be worn next to the skin.  The book is made of an engraved birch plywood enclosure with a living hinge lined with rabbit fur.  Pages were letterpress printed with poems about the fabrics under investigation, laser cut with interpretations of the fabric as seen under the microscope, and lined with actual fabric.

Lining by Denise Bookwalter and Lee Emma Running

Learn more about the book and its unique form at


Interior Design

Students Amy Griffin and Melanie Guerra

Interior Design Students Receive National Honors

Two interior design students recently received national recognition for their research and leadership accomplishments.  In April, graduate student Amy Griffin was announced as the recipient of the 2013 American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers (AAHID) Graduate Research Fellowship.  The fellowship of $7,500 is funded by AAHID and Steelcase.  Amy will present her research findings related to professional caregiver needs in cancer treatment centers at the AAHID national conference in November. 

The second award goes to Melanie Guerra, a senior and the president of the FSU student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers.  Melanie was recognized as the outstanding student leader nationwide.  The department is extremely proud of both of these students. 



MANCC Fellows Continue to Receive Awards Following Their Time at FSU

2011 MANCC Choreographic Fellow, Faye Driscoll, and 2007 Choreographic Fellow, Luciana Achugar, have both received 2013 Guggenheim Fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.  The Fellowship is designed to assist in research and artistic creation for individuals who have exhibited exceptional ability in their field.  The two were amongst 175 scientists, scholars and artists selected from nearly 3,000 applicants. 

Driscoll is currently touring You’re Me, which she developed during her 2011 MANCC residency.  Achugar is set to return to MANCC in 2014.

Driscoll during her 2011 Fellowship exploring transformation with FSU dance students

Previous MANCC Fellows that have received Guggenheim Fellowships include:
  • Art Bridgeman & Myrna Packer
  • Wally Cordona
  • Ann Carlson
  • DD Dorvillier
  • Miguel Gutierrez
  • Koosil-ja
  • Ralph Lemon
  • Tere O’Connor
  • Morgan Thorson
  • Yasuko Yokoshi
  • Jawole Zollar (Urban Bush Women)
  • Pavel Zustiak


Master Craftsman Studio

Gilchrist Elementary School Aluminum Pour

MCS Aluminum Pour at Gilchrist Elementary School

MCS artists Charlie Scott-Smith and Phil Gleason spent the day with third, fourth and fifth grade students at Gilchrist Elementary School on April 10, 2013, for a special aluminum pour held on their campus.  The students had been collecting scrap aluminum ranging from pull tabs to construction materials throughout the school year in anticipation of this special event.

Each of Julie McBride's students created their own scratch block, a single use mold used to create a shallow relief tile of their original designs in poured aluminum.  The students really enjoyed watching Charlie and Phil pour molten aluminum and asked excellent questions about the properties of metal, as well as the process they were watching and safety issues involved with working with such a hot material.  They were fascinated with this lesson, and we will look forward to delivering all of their poured relief sculptures soon.

Not only did each child create an individual piece to keep, but they also participated in designing an aluminum sculpture as a permanent public art installation on their campus.  This piece will also be created using aluminum collected by the students.  Our sincere thanks to MCS Advisory Board member, Joanna Angelos, for coordinating this event as well as for her enthusiastic support.  Thanks as well to Gilchrist Elementary School Principal, FSU Alum, Mr. David Solz for his support of this project.  It is always a pleasure to see kids so excited about the arts!


Museum of Fine Arts

The Lake Bradford cover of the Generations catalogue is a painting by James Gibson, courtesy of the Tallahassee Museum. Generations will include artwork by Maya Lin, architect of the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington, DC, and her father as two generations of artists.  Pictured here: Maya Lin,The University Atlas, 1984, 2006, recycled atlas, 12.25 x 19 x 1 inches. Courtesy The Pace Gallery.

Generations May 10 - July 12

MoFA will be hosting Generations May 10 - July 12Generations features a mix of international, national, regional, and local artists who utilize a broad array of media, styles, and subject matter.  In a unique partnership that has received congratulations from museum professionals, Generations was curated by a team of teachers from the Leon County School System and educators from several other local institutions coordinated by MoFA's Curator of Education; the exhibition theme revolves around the idea of artistic legacy.  The curatorial team came together to offer the theme and title for the exhibition, assist with the catalogue content and design, and develop the exhibition’s accompanying program: teachers from the curatorial team are integrating the exhibition artists and works into the curriculum of their schools and a number of artists are directly, and indirectly, interacting with these teachers and their K-12 students.

A public reception and opening for Generations will be held on May 24th from 6:30 - 8:00pm.



School of Theatre Alum Receives Prestigious Fulbright Scholarship

BA Theatre graduate Alicia Richardson, class of 2009, has recently been awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to study at York University in the fall.  Richardson will be working toward an MFA in Acting with a Concurrent Voice Teacher Diploma, which will culminate in the performance of an original piece.  Her current concept is a play called "Dirt,” which will explore the stigma surrounding various cultural perceptions of dark skin, or ”black-ness.”  The piece will be a series of vignettes of characters decribing some of these different cultural myths, and representing how they apply to cultural perceptions in the present day.  Current MA Theatre Studies candidate Joshua Inocencio will be serving as dramaturg for the play.

Richardson was originally awakened to this idea when she was teaching abroad in South Korea in 2011.  While she has always known she wanted to act and be part of the creative process, the teaching experience informed her career by showing her the potential greater expanse of her impact.  She realized that in utilizing her craft to influence other people, she was able to…"not just entertain people, but to inform them and challenge them…to stir them, to plant a seed…

Alicia Richardson, School of Theatre Alum receives Fulbright Scholarship


Richardson describes her experiences at FSU as heavily influential on the foundation of her current pathh.  She refers specifically to working on the Social Issues Project with Director Allison Frost, during which she was first introduced to the idea of theatre as a tool for change.  She also fondly remembers her experience with the London Theatre Experience, where she recalls seeing a lot of post-modern theatre, forcing her to become comfortable with the idea of theatre moving through time and space, not simply reading like a story.  Most importantly, she was deeply influenced by the concept that identity is chosen, or performed, rather than innate.  She traces this back to a class she took at FSU called ”Disability and Representation,” taught by Dr. Carrie Sandahl.

All of these very dynamic experiences have shaped her future research and creations in a way that reflects highly on the School of Theatre.



Spring House Institute Fundraiser

The Spring House Institute in Tallahassee hosted a Fundraiser this past Saturday, April 27th.  This fundraiser featured a silent auction of artwork from Florida State University’s Department of Art.  Attendees of this inaugural fundraiser also enjoyed food and drinks from the Hotel Duval, music by the Fried Turkeys and a screening of Pete Winter’s document about the Spring House restoration with a presentation by Kevin Schweizer, lead architect on the restoration program, about the plans for the future of this project.

The Spring House is the only private residence in Florida designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Spring House Institute Fundraiser

This house, designed in 1952 for George Lewis, is the focus of a restoration effort to preserve this local jewel.  With the help of community support through fundraising, the Spring House will one day be used for a broad spectrum of classes, workshops, seminars, and other cultural events. Several FSU art instructors took students to the Spring House to work and study over the past few months.  During this time the students studied the nature and architecture of the area to create incredible works of art.

The Department of Art faculty and students thoroughly enjoyed working and learning in the Frank Lloyd Wright environment and the students enthusiastically created works for the auction.  We look forward to participating in future benefits and many more scholarly projects with the Spring House Institute.

For more information on the Spring House Institute visit:


Art Education

Dave Gussak Introduces New Book: Art on Trial: Art Therapy in Capital Murder Cases

A book signing and lecture will be held Sunday, May 5, 2013 from 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm at Hofstra University in NY and another at the American Art Therapy Association Conference in Seattle at the end of June.

"Seven years from the day I was first asked to consider being an expert witness for this case, the book is finally available! I am so very excited." - Dave Gussak

Available at:
Columbia University Press

Art on Trial: Art Therapy in Capital Murder Cases by Dave Gussak


Art on Trial: Art Therapy in Capital Murder Cases - Synopsis from

A man kidnaps his two children, murders one, and attempts to kill the other.  At his trial, the prosecution seeks the death penalty, while the defense exhausts all available resources to avoid the sentence.  They ultimately turn to more than one hundred examples of the defendant's artwork, created over his lifetime, to determine whether the man was mentally ill at the time of his crimes.  Describing an outstanding example of the use of forensic art therapy in a criminal case, David Gussak, contracted by the defense to analyze the evidence in this instance, recounts his findings and presentation in court, as well as the future implications of his work for criminal proceedings.

Gussak details the role of the art therapist in a murder trial, how to use art as evidence, and the conclusions and assessments experts can draw from a defendant's art.  He examines the effectiveness of expert testimony as communicated by the prosecution, defense, and court, and weighs the moral, ethical, and legal consequences of relying on such evidence.  For professionals and general readers, this gripping volume presents a convincing account of art's ability to reflect a damaged and dangerous psyche.  A leading text on an emerging field, Art on Trial demonstrates the practical applications of an innovative approach to clinical assessment and treatment.

More Information

Art Education
Art History
Asolo Conservatory
Interior Design
Master Craftsman Studio
Museum of Fine Arts

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Upcoming Events

May 4

May 5
Book Signing and Lecture at Hofstra University
Art on Trial: Art Therapy in Capital Murder Cases
Authored by Dr. David E. Gussak
Published by Columbia University Press
Order the book!

Art Therapy

May 6
Music Theatre Showcase – New York
The Ailey Citigroup Theatre
The Joan Weill Center for Dance
Performance Times – 4:00pm & 7:30pm
*Corner of 55th Street and 9th Avenue*


May 6
FSU Arts Admin Alumni Gathering – New York
5:30pm – 7:30pm
Characters NYC
243 West 54th Street btwn Broadway and 8th Ave


May 6
New York City Showcase - Graduates Perform
Theatre Row Studios
1:00 pm and 6:30 pm
Reception following each performance


May 9
Acting Showcase – Los Angeles
The Falcon Theatre
Performance Times – 3:30pm & 7:30pm
4252 Riverside Drive
Burbank, CA 91505


May 10 - July 12
"Generations" Exhibit

May 13 - May 25
Visiting Artist Dayna Hanson
More Information


May 24
Public Reception and Opening for "Generations"
6:30 - 8:00 pm

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