North Texas Daily

Art professors earn fellowship

Art professors earn fellowship

April 08
23:46 2013

Trent Johnson

Senior Staff Writer

UNT liberal arts professors have numerous talents other than the ones flaunted in the classroom. Next semester, three will be paid to expand their portfolios as each dives deep into the world of art.

Studio art professor Robert Jessup, English professor Bonita Friedman and dance and theatre professor Claudia Queen were all selected as faculty fellows in UNT’s Institute for the Advancement of the Arts for the 2013-14 academic year.

The IAA, founded in 2009, awarded the three of them with a semester off from teaching with pay, allowing them to focus specifically on their own pieces of work.

Each were asked to submit a resume and an essay describing what they planned to do with the time off, Jessup said. The opportunity to continue working on a passionate subject uninterrupted was a dream.

“I wanted to use the fellowship to keep doing what I am doing,” Jessup said. “It gives me an opportunity to get more supplies and just do more painting.”

With the time off Jessup plans to continue to develop his own “child-like” abstract drawings in his Denton studio before eventually transferring the ideas to a larger canvas.

“I want to produce large oil paintings that are similar to my drawings,” Jessup said. “My paintings are usually rather large so it takes a good amount of time to physically create them.”

Queen plans on using the semester to travel to Celtic regions in Ireland, according to a UNT news release. There she will develop a 20-minute score inspired by “Celtic mysticism.”She plans to unveil the musical dance piece in New York. Freidman found out about the award about three years ago and had applied for it in the past.

While she has wanted it previously, she said this year the award would allow her to complete an upcoming book of essays she has been piecing together for years.

“I felt that if I could get the fellowship then I could hold the whole book in my mind,” Friedman said. “It’s hard as a writer to keep an entire book in mind during a semester. The entire interplay of ideas you want for a book is hard to keep in mind.”

The book of essays features the central topic of immigrants in New York City who are trying to escape tough circumstances.

“They are trying to break out from these tough places,” Friedman said. “They’re all trying to live a more free life.”

In order to get a feel for the story, Freidman plans to spend time in New York next fall with the goal of getting in the right state of mind, she said.

While the trio may miss teaching, the ability to step away and truly focus on their work is a special opportunity. It also gives them a chance to recuperate, leading to a fresh mind when they return.

“From the moment I heard this news I’ve been in a different mood,” Friedman said. “I will be tremendously recharged. I’m sure I’ll come back renewed.”

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