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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

ETSU Martin School announces fall arts season

August 18, 2014

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. Cultures coalesce, visual arts blend activity, and history and music, dance, theater and storytelling comingle this fall for a tapestry of more than a dozen events from the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at East Tennessee State University.

The School of the Arts' fall season starts in September with a public art project and residency by Dennis McNett and the opening of a photographic and historical exhibition on DeVault Tavern. During McNett's 10 days at ETSU, the artist, known for his bold woodcut prints from folk tales and Nordic lore, works with students to create a piece of art inspired by the hanging of Big Mary the elephant in Erwin.

The DeVault Tavern Exhibition overlaps the residency, running from Sept. 11-Dec. 11 at the Reece Museum. It will include a reception and talk with curator and photographer Paul Kennedy Sept. 11 from 5-7 p.m. and related activities, such as a talk about history, a workshop on family archives and a discussion about contemporary photography.

On Sept. 22, the School of the Arts kicks off its returning South Arts Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, which brings a series of three films to campus each semester. Each free film is followed by a "talkback" and reception with the filmmaker, all at ETSU's Martha Street Culp Auditorium.

This fall's screenings include "My Toxic Backyard," concerning the residual effects of the CTS Superfund site in south Asheville, N.C., on Sept. 22; "Valentine Road," a look back at a teen's murder by a classmate and its repercussions, on Oct. 20; and "Good Ol' Freda," the story of The Beatles' loyal secretary's long-secret decade of adventures with the legendary band, on Nov. 10. "Good Ol' Freda" herself, Freda Kelly, is expected to attend and participate in the discussion afterward.

On Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m., Sweet Honey in the Rock brings its unique mixture of a cappella five-part harmony, African American cultural roots and American Sign Language interpretation to the Culp Auditorium. Founded in 1973, Sweet Honey weaves a "complex journey of celebration and struggle rooted in the history of the African American legacy," according to

Visual artistry, music, dance, stories and more intertwine in November with the Mystical Arts of Tibet, storyteller Ariana Ross' "Story Tapestries" and five performances of the American classic stage musical "Oklahoma!"

The Tibetan monks of Drepung Loseling monastery visit ETSU from Nov. 10-14. In a noon ceremony on Nov. 10, they initiate a four-day mandala sand painting project in the Reece Museum, which is open each day from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. for the public to observe the process and artistry. A closing ceremony is held at 5 p.m. on Nov. 13. On Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m., the monks combine music, dance and traditional costuming for "Sacred Music/Sacred Dance," in which each of the main chantmasters simultaneously intones three notes, thus each individually creating a complete chord. The Tibetans are the only culture on earth that cultivates this vocal ability, also known as "overtone" or "multiphonic" singing.

"Story Tapestries" also features multiple arts (acrobatics, dance, history, storytelling and music) and cultures in a family-oriented performance on Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. It is based on Ross' work as a storyteller and teacher in India, Brazil and Vietnam.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" concludes the fall season, showcasing the talents of the department of music and the division of theatre and dance in the department of communication and performance at ETSU. The romantic musical comedy runs Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 19-22, at 7:30 nightly and Sunday, Nov. 23, at 2 p.m.

For information about the Martin School of the Arts, call 423-439-8587 or visit