Politics has once again made “change” a buzzword, or at
least a topic for conversation, in America. “Change” and
“variety” are bywords at Mary B. Martin School of the Arts,
which celebrates its fourth season with a fresh slate of events and
artists, but one thing simply will not change: the quality, said
director Anita DeAngelis.
“It’s always exciting to build a new season and experience
high quality artists, and bringing them here to Johnson City is
thrilling,” said DeAngelis, who in 2009 put together the first
visual and performing arts season for Mary B. Martin School of
the Arts at East Tennessee State University.
“We really want to make very high caliber art available and
accessible across our community to different socioeconomic
groups, different cultural groups, different parts of the community
that may not have experienced any arts activities previously. So
all of that is very important to us.”
The fall schedule includes a potpourri of arts, including
contemporary and cultural visual art, dance spanning ballet to
hip-hop, country and folk music, as well as a rousing
turn-of-the-century community band program, a storytelling
series and lectures by artists and critics.
“We’re bringing some artists who are really well-known
regionally and address regional concerns and artists that will
expose us to other cultures and ideas,” DeAngelis said.
New to Mary B. Martin School for 2012-13 is a
multicultural storytelling series titled “When Worlds Collide” that
will feature on Oct. 11 Noa Baum and her “A Land Twice
Promised” tales of her homeland and the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. Tellers Jay O’Callahan and Diane Edgecomb will
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complete the series in spring.
Bringing regional and arts concerns to the fore, as well as
her signature country/traditional melodies is Grammy Award
winner Kathy Mattea, who will be in concert at Martha Street
Culp Auditorium Nov. 11.
“She is so significant in the country music/bluegrass genres
of music but she is also a huge advocate for Appalachia, for issues
relating to coal mining and a huge supporter of the arts in our
everyday lives,” DeAngelis said. “As a result, she will also be the
keynote speaker at the Artists-in-Education Conference while she
is here. It’s so remarkable to have this opportunity in Johnson
City and at ETSU.”
In a different musical vein and era will be Mr. Jack Daniel’s
Original Silver Cornet Band — straight from Lynchburg, Tenn.
— tooting its horns Nov. 1 at Culp Auditorium.
“We have actually wanted to bring them to ETSU since the
very beginning of the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and they
were not touring for a while,” DeAngelis said. “Their music
reflects back on a time when community bands were really
important. There were literally thousands of community bands
across the United States in small towns in the late-19th-,
early-20th-centuries and you don’t see that anymore, but the
Silver Cornet Band gives us an opportunity to understand what
that hometown feel was about.
“They perform on period instruments, in period costume
and bring a gazebo with them. They have a whole show built
around that tradition, and it’s a tremendous amount of fun and
wonderful period music.”
The first ticketed event of the fall, on Sept. 20, will feature
the much more modern sounds of Afro-jazz and funk fusion as
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accompaniment for the hip-hop gyrations of Philadanco!, the
Philadelphia Dance Company.
The group, celebrated for its athleticism, innovation and
preservation of African-American traditions in dance, will be
performing choreography by Pew Fellow in the Arts Rennie
Harris, commissioned and funded by the National Dance Project,
as well as a diverse program that crosses genres from ballet to
Cultures and styles also will coalesce in two visual art
exhibitions at ETSU’s Slocumb Galleries and lectures
co-sponsored by Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, Slocumb
Galleries and ETSU’s Department of Art and Design. The school
of the arts’ season opened Aug. 20 and runs through Sept. 14 with
a show titled “Day on Fire: Apocalypse in Contemporary Art”
and a Sept. 11 lecture by fantastical painter Christopher Mir.
»» “I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough entries and
there were 147 artists and 483 entries from as far away as
Germany and Canada,” said Karlota Contreras-Koterbay,
gallery director. “That was really amazing. That was the most
entries for a juried show in years, record breaking, and it was
really a very wide range of submissions — printmaking, painting,
sculpture, photography, video art, some graphic design, poster
For most of October, Slocumb Galleries will house a
collection of 40 colorful ceremonial Mexican masks called Masks
of the Michoacán. On Oct. 22, Dr. Marion Oettinger, curator of
Latin American art from the San Antonio Museum of Art, will
present a lecture that will, DeAngelis said, “put the work we will
have in the gallery space into context.”
»» In two lectures, on Sept. 26 and 27, writer and art and
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music critic Crispin Sartwell will turn the topic to not only visual
art, but also bluegrass.
Finally, Mary B. Martin School will be bringing back one
special program from previous seasons — due to popular demand
— the South Arts Southern Circuit Tour of Independent
Filmmakers, which each year features independent films in groups
of six that tour the South along with their filmmakers and,
sometimes, actors. “We’re bringing back Southern Circuit Tour,
and while we are not new to the tour, every one of the films is
new to us,” DeAngelis said.
The fall portion of the series begins on Sept. 24 with the film
“Joe Papp in Five Acts,” featuring Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep,
Roscoe Lee Browne and a host of stage and screen stars, who
recall producer Joseph Papp’s impact on making theater and the
arts in New York more diverse and accessible to all.
On Oct. 8, Mary B. Martin School of the Arts will screen
“An Encounter with Simone Weil,” a documentary on the French
philosopher and humanitarian, and on Nov. 5, the film subject
will be a humorous-but-serious ecological look at plastics and the
environment with “Bag It.” Each South Arts film is followed by a
question-and-answer session with someone involved with the film
and a reception in the Culp Alumni Gallery. All films and lectures
are free and open to the public.
“I have friends who say, ‘Isn’t it great to get to meet these
talented performers and artists?’ and it is fun to get to meet them,
but it is also pretty remarkable when I see other individuals from
our community interacting with these artists, whether it be our
students when we do an outreach activity or from a community
organization,” DeAngelis said. “I’m really glad I’m in a position
where I can help share these individuals and events with our
For information about the ETSU Mary B. Martin School of
the Arts, call 439-8587 or visit www.etsu.edu/cas/arts/ or