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Visual and Performing Arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts at Northern Illinois University is one of the most vibrant and rich academic artistic communities in the nation. The College encompasses the School of Art, the School of Music, the School of Theatre and Dance, the NIU Art Museum, and the CVPA Office of External Programs. Faculty, students, and alumni contribute at all levels to the cultural landscape of the Chicago metropolitan region, the nation, and the world. “My experiences at Northern Illinois University prepared me for an active involvement in the art world after graduation. The contacts and opportunities that were made while in the program continue to push my presence on both a national and international level. ,,Beyond my experiences as a student, I was also able to teach multiple courses that allowed me to develop my teaching abilities and push my own studio work further.” Curtis Readel, M.F.A. Fine Arts Printmaking, ’09

School of Art Experiential learning

Northern Illinois University’s School of Art is one of the largest art schools in the country. The curriculum encompasses both traditional and contemporary practices. Studio art, design, art education, and art history offer a range of degrees including those at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Well-equipped studios enable students to produce work with both traditional and cutting-edge technologies.

opportunities to exhibit work and to visit galleries and world-class museums.

Expert faculty

to Europe, Asia, and Central America.

Professors have distinguished the program with awards, honors, and professional accomplishments at national and international venues. Faculty exhibit their work nationally and internationally, participate in high-profile residencies, and lecture in both the U.S. and abroad. As leading scholars with a serious commitment to student success, School of Art professors have authored many academic and scholarly publications that contribute to research in art theory and practice.

Alumni outcomes NIU School of Art graduates are successfully employed in the areas of design, illustration, visual communication, photography, filmmaking, digital arts, arts administration, and studio practice, and teach in primary and secondary education as well as in colleges and universities throughout the country.


• Students work with visiting artists and scholars. • NIU’s close proximity to Chicago offers many • The Study Abroad program offers faculty-led trips •

The school provides support for student travel to conferences, where they present original work in portfolios and papers.



“NIU’s combination of a world-class faculty, superb facilities, a cutting-edge and varied curriculum, and an administration that supports the needs of each student provided an ideal environment for study and research. It gave me a foundation of information that will nourish my performances and teaching for the rest of my life.” Kurt Baldwin, Performer’s Certificate ’96 Member, Arianna String Quartet Associate Professor of Music, Cello University of Missouri, St. Louis


Points of pride

• Continuing a 40-year history of artists-

in-residence, the renowned Avalon String Quartet has been NIU’s faculty string quartet-in-residence since 2007.

• The school holds a lasting commit ment to world music studies and performance.

• The jazz studies program enjoys a

long history of excellence, including top 10 rankings by U.S. News and World Report.

• NIU student ensembles carry on a

tradition of excellence in perfor mance through repeated appearances at national and international choral, jazz, and percussion conventions.

• The school is the world’s only institu tion offering both B.M. and M.M. degrees in steelpan performance. 6

School of Music The School of Music enrolls over 350 majors from throughout the world and offers the B.A. in music; the B.M. in music education, performance (including jazz), and composition; the M.M. in music education, performance (including jazz), and individualized studies; and the Performer’s Certificate.

Renowned faculty The school is recognized nationally and internationally for the activities of its distinguished faculty of 40 full-time and 20 part-time performing artists, composers, conductors, and scholars. Faculty hold leadership positions in national and international organizations and serve as guest artists and clinicians in significant venues. Together, faculty and students present well in excess of 200 performances on and off campus annually.

Excellent facilities The Music Building provides outstanding instructional spaces, administrative/ staff offices, ensemble rehearsal rooms, student practice rooms, and performance spaces adequate for the current music student population, as well as the Music Library branch

of the University Libraries. Students and faculty are provided the latest in music technology, including Internet2 resources.

Beyond graduation Alumni of the NIU School of Music perform with some of the world’s most recognizable artists and ensembles that include, Anita Baker, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Phil Collins, Gloria Estefan, Arianna Quartet, Atlantic Classical Orchestra, Avalon String Quartet, Baltimore Symphony, Berlin Opera, Buffalo Philharmonic, Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, Hong Kong Symphony, Ju Percussion Group, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Madison Symphony, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, Opera Delaware, Percussion Group Cincinnati, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Shanghai Quartet, Singapore Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, U.S. Army Field Band, U.S. Youth Ensembles, Vermont Jazz Ensemble, and the Wisconsin Conservatory.

Alumni also teach in many respected music programs that include, Arkansas State University, Bowling Green State University, Bradley University, Canadian University College, College of DuPage, Columbia College, Eastern Michigan University, Idaho State University, Knox College, Michigan State University, Ohio University, Rice University, Roosevelt University, University of Cincinnati, University of Connecticut, University of Kentucky, University of Maine, University of Miami, University of Michigan, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of Mississippi, National Institute of the Arts (Taiwan), University of Texas, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia University. Our alumni also work for major corporations and organizations like Disney World, Getzen Company, Woodstock Chimes, Yamaha Musical Instruments of America.



“I left NIU with a thorough sense of who I am as an artist, confident in my ability to work with and continue to hone my craft. I don’t think I could have gotten to that place had it not been for the deep care and the constant dedication of my teachers and fellow students to challenge me and push me to stretch as high, wide, and far as I could as an actor. The hours were long, rehearsals intense, classes difficult, and challenges unending, but it was the time of my life. I’m forever grateful to this school for making me into the artist I have become.” Mary Holland, B.F.A. ’07


School of Theatre and Dance Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre and a member of the University/Resident Theatre Association, the NIU School of Theatre and Dance enrolls over 200 majors from across the nation and offers the B.A. in theatre studies; the B.F.A. in theatre arts with emphases in dance performance, design/technology, and acting; and the M.F.A. in theatre arts with emphases in acting and design/technology.

Talented faculty, thriving department A notable faculty of 19 theatre and dance artists maintains a national and international leadership profile through practice of their art forms and through professional organizations. The Stevens Building, which is home to the School of Theatre and Dance, currently houses three performance spaces, classrooms, production shops, and offices. NIU was recently granted $22.5 million for renovation and expansion of the Stevens Building, which will include a new black box theatre and a new scene shop.


Accomplished alumni Joan Allen (’89) is an original founding member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago and a two-time Academy Award nominee. She has starred in many movies, including Nixon, Face/Off, The Ice Storm, The Crucible, Pleasantville, The Upside of Anger, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum. Tracy Michelle Arnold (‘98) is a company member at American Players Theatre and has appeared on the stages of the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, and others. Dan Castellaneta (’79) is the well-known voice of Homer Simpson (and many other characters) on FOX Television’s animated series The Simpsons. Steve Harris (’89) has starred in Diary of a Mad Black Woman and other movies, including Minority Report, The Rock, Sugar Hill, and The Skulls. Harris was twice nominated for an Emmy Award in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role on ABC’s The Practice. Scott Marr (’82) is a USAA scenic designer and resident design associate for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Joe Minoso (‘04) plays the character Joe Cruz on the popular NBC series Chicago Fire Chris Solger-Binder (’82) is a Jeff Award-winning lighting designer at the Lyric Opera in Chicago and the Steppenwolf Theatre. Kurt Sutter (’97) is the creator and executive producer of Sons of Anarchy on FX.

Program highlights

• The dance program includes the only academic ballet training offered in the state of Illinois.

• SummerNITE, the school’s resident

professional company, works in close collaboration with Chicago’s Organic Theater Company, providing advanced students the opportunity to work side-by-side with seasoned professionals.

• The school presents a seven-

production main stage season as well as up to eight studio pieces annually.

• Moscow Art Theatre School

provides an integral part of the training of B.F.A. acting students and graduate acting and design students—all of whom have the opportunity to study in Moscow.


“I loved visiting as a student because of the high quality exhibitions and programming. I received inspiration as an artist with a renewed jolt of intellectual curiosity every time. The immersion into a culture or a concept through four simultaneous exhibitions on a theme was incredible.”

Jessica R. Witte, M.F.A. Studio Arts - Sculpture, ’04

NIU Art Museum The mission of the NIU Art Museum is to educate, preserve, exhibit, and enlighten. By balancing the challenges of contemporary art with the riches of traditional media, it offers a comprehensive examination of visual culture that engages a broad regional and campus audience. The museum’s Altgeld Hall gallery space is comprised of several distinct exhibition areas, allowing for the versatility to present up to four concurrent professional exhibitions which are typically changed out twice per semester during the academic year. Exhibitions are developed from the university collections as well as national traveling exhibitions. They include staff- or guest-curated thematic contemporary exhibitions of the work of regional, national, and international artists. In addition, the museum’s permanent collection is available for class study.

Student involvement NIU students have opportunities to work in the museum as guards, reception hosts, and information desk attendants. Those pursuing museum studies can assist staff in curating and installing exhibitions. The museum also employs graduate assistants to do design work, publication editing, office work, collections record keeping, and exhibition and gallery preparation/installation. Students have occasion to exhibit at the museum when collaborating in a workshop environment with visiting artists-in-residence. 12

Museum exhibitions are complemented by:

Artist slide talks, scholarly lectures, panel discussions, and symposia

• Demo and interactive workshops • Senior Art Breaks, which introduce

contemporary concepts to an elder audience

• Get-On-The-Bus art excursions • Publications including Gallery Notes, Museum

Notes, brochures, and catalogues

Office of

External Programs The Office of External Programs manages many of the outreach activities for the College of Visual and Performing Arts in coordination with the college’s three academic schools. The office oversees off-campus and online credit course offerings, Summer in the Arts at Northern (residential summer camps in theatre, art, jazz), and the NIU Community School of the Arts. More than 500 pre-schoolers, teens, and adults come to campus each semester to participate in the wide variety of arts instruction offered by the community school.

The Office of External Programs serves the College of Visual and Performing Arts in a number of important ways:

Providing teaching experiences to many NIU students through the community school and summer camps

• Showcasing college programs • Bringing the arts to the community through public events • Recruiting students to the college’s undergraduate programs • Helping faculty organize conferences and workshops

“Being in the NIU Community School of the Arts helped me as an undergraduate by exposing me to a wide variety of literature and to very committed musicians. I felt as though I had a leg up when I got to college.”

Garth Anderson, graduate student in music


NIU College of Visual and Performing Arts 815-753-1635 School of Art 815-753-1473 School of Music 815-753-1551 School of Theatre and Dance 815-753-1334 Art Museum 815-753-1936 Office of External Programs 815-753-1450 Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/ affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation. Printed by authority of the State of Illinois. E071 9/13 4M

NIU Visual and Performing Arts  

The College of Visual and Performing Arts at Northern Illinois University is one of the most vibrant and rich academic artistic communities...

NIU Visual and Performing Arts  

The College of Visual and Performing Arts at Northern Illinois University is one of the most vibrant and rich academic artistic communities...