Exhibit: Arts and Humanities Showcase

Dean’s welcome

Welcome to the fall! We begin the season in joy, hope, and deep gladness as we celebrate our new and returning students and faculty. This year we welcome Assistant Professor of Art Alison Stigora, joining us from Maine, and Assistant Professor of Communication Nivea Castaneda, from Colorado. In this edition of Exhibit, you will learn more about these new colleagues, as well as other faculty, students, and alumni who are creating marvelous works.

My thanks to all of you who have continued to embrace and contribute to the arts and humanities at Seattle Pacific University. I am grateful and humbled by your support for what we do all year long. Soon enough we will be entering Advent and enjoying the Sacred Sounds of Christmas at Benaroya Hall (November 26).

Let us continue this academic year with its numerous possibilities by using the gifts that God has given us. May God’s presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to speak, sing, dance, write, praise, and love.

Debra Sequeira, Dean
College of Arts and Sciences – Division of Arts and Humanities


Abundant scholarships await the abundantly talented

Bring it. Whether you sing, act, sculpt, paint, or play an instrument, if you’ve got the chops, we’ve got $300,000 in arts scholarships. Get your share by auditioning in the new year on-campus at Seattle Pacific University.

The 2018 auditions will be held February 2, 3, 23, and 24. During your audition, you will be evaluated on overall talent, diversity of skills, and repertoire.

If you live far from campus, it is possible for you to audition electronically. Don’t let anything stop you from showing us your best! For complete scholarship audition details and to apply online, visit spu.edu/finearts.

Music Therapy

SPU Music Therapy Program named one of nation’s Top 20

The Best Schools, an independent organization of educators, authors, and writers recognizes Seattle Pacific University’s Music Therapy Program as one of the nation’s 20 Best Music Therapy Programs for undergraduates.

Simply stated, music therapists use music to help others heal. At Seattle Pacific, a music therapy major can choose from three academic emphases: physical therapy and exercise, psychology, or special education. Music department scholarships are available to music therapy students.

Highlights of the program abound. Here are two:

  • Productive internship. Music therapy graduates are valuable resources. Amy Whitley Sweetin graduated from SPU in 2012. She is a music therapist at Denver Children’s Home in Colorado and provides therapeutic and educational care for the region’s abused, neglected, and traumatized children, and their families, addressing the mental health issues such trauma creates. In Winter Quarter 2017, Sweeten was contacted by SPU senior music therapy student, Karley Gordon, in pursuit of a potential six-month required internship to complete her bachelor’s degree. Sweetin accepted Gordon as her first intern.

    Reports of Gordon’s progress have been encouraging. “Karley is doing extremely well,” says Carlene Brown, director of Music therapy at SPU. “Amy says she has a natural ability to engage with teens and impressive musical skills. It is a joy to know that Amy and Karley have a great mentoring relationship. And that such internships provide a great opportunity for our alumni to stay engaged with our therapy program.”
  • Music and traumatic brain injuries. In February 2016, a new SPU music therapy practicum site was created at Seattle BrainWorks, a nonprofit organization that helps individuals with traumatic brain injuries fulfill their vocational pursuits through personal and educational enrichment. Advanced level music therapy students are supervised by adjunct faculty members and certified music therapist Patti Catalano to oversee how music interventions are used to meet an individual‘s goals. Feedback from the BrainWorks staff has been consistently positive in how well SPU music therapy students have engaged with this community.

Learn more about SPU’s Music Therapy Program at spu.edu/musictherapy.

Tent City 3

You can major in changing the world

Professor of English Kimberly Segall’s students wanted to change the world. They continuously came to her office with desires to study social justice issues and pursue careers that would make a difference in the midst of the inequity, injustice, and turmoil they saw around them. They wanted to create documentaries shining light on the refugee crisis, found nonprofits, serve overseas, and learn to effect change through human rights law.

And they wanted to start now.

In response, Segall selected co-director, Brian Bantum, professor of theology, and partnered with multiple departments to create the new Social Justice and Cultural Studies major, launching in fall 2018.

The new major invites students to grapple with issues involving equality, representation, gender, race, class, and sexuality through the lens of cultural studies, in an approach informed by Christian theology. All students take four core requirements introducing topics of justice, the methods of cultural studies, the theology of social justice, and representations of race and law. From there, students choose one of four tracks that focus their courses toward specific vocational areas: pre-law and public policy, art for social change, mediators of conflict resolution, and continued graduate school studies.

Preparing students for a job market demanding interdisciplinary and intercultural skills, the course list features a wide range of cultural studies classes — such as literature, art, and filmmaking — alongside a systemic focus on structures and histories — such as political science, sociology, and cross-cultural ministry. Students can also take their studies to the next level through study abroad trips and local internship opportunities in the increasingly diverse Seattle area.

“One of my students plans to pursue relief work with Amnesty International in the Middle East,” says Segall. “She can take Middle Eastern literature, Middle Eastern history, and Gender and Globalization, covering writing, history, and sociology under the umbrella of understanding the culture she’s called to serve.” Courses on the history of charity, global health care, and bioethics will also help her toward her vocational vision.

Even before the official launch of the program, students are already lining up to declare the new major — to prepare to serve as educators, human rights lawyers, policymakers, social workers, nonprofit leaders, filmmakers, authors, entrepreneurs, professors, and more. “Global and intercultural knowledge and competencies are in high demand in today’s changing world,” says Segall. “These are the students who will engage the world effectively.”

Costume Design Student Hard at Work

New costume design major opens stage doors

For nearly three years since Disney’s hit musical Aladdin opened on Broadway, Bonnie Prather ’07 has worked as the dresser for three performers in the female ensemble. For eight shows in six days each week, she brings them their show underwear; irons, steams, and repairs their costumes; and helps them backstage with quick changes. After the final bow, she helps them out of their costumes and delivers laundry to the laundry room.

Prather “couldn’t be happier” to learn that this is the inaugural year of Seattle Pacific University’s new costume design and production major and minor. To realize her dream of becoming a costume pro, as an undergraduate she had to stitch together a combination of classes in two departments: Theatre (for comprehensive production skills) and Family and Consumer Sciences (pattern drafting and advanced sewing skills).

“I’m paid an excellent wage,” says Prather, who as an SPU student worked part time with top Seattle theatres before tackling a master’s degree in costume design from Arts University Bournemouth in the U.K. This year her Broadway union wages allowed her to make trips to New Zealand, France, and back to SPU for the 2016 Grand Reunion, where she was honored as a notable graduate, one of “125 Ones to Watch.”

Working hard to make the streamlined costume design major happen for today’s students is Sarah Mosher, a 2002 SPU theatre major, adjunct instructor, and coordinator of the new program. She has taught the costume design course since 2009 and has designed costumes for every SPU mainstage theatre productions for the past three years. Her work on King Lear received a commendation from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

“This major is unique in the region and among schools in the Christian Colleges Consortium,” says Mosher. “Our emphasis is on student professionalism, the highest standards, and exposure to guest directors and designers in the industry. As people created by the Creator to create, shouldn’t we take the lead?”

Through the study of general theatre, stagecraft, fashion design, clothing construction, and more, students gain the preparation and skills to become costumers, wardrobe managers, and costume designers in professional theatre, film, dance, and other performance genres. Other options include working as a stylist in the fashion industry, a proprietor of a costume shop — or in Mosher’s case, a popular teacher of costume magic.

Prather has worked theatre productions in London’s West End, and now in New York. As a student, she was inspired whenever Mosher would return to SPU to design a show. “It was incredibly helpful to see another young woman who loved costuming and knew how to make a career of it.”

Mosher loves telling stories visually, something costume designers and wardrobe dressers understand. Aspects of a character’s journey can be hidden, revealed, or otherwise influenced through clever costume changes and design.

Senior Lydia Megalaa of Cairo, Egypt, will graduate this year with a major in English literature and a minor in costume design. In the future, she’d like to work in the film industry as a writer and costume designer. While at SPU, she has worked in the costume shop on four different theatre productions.

Costume design and production takes advantage of rich resources in both Theatre and Family and Consumer Science. Megalaa says her favorite course so far has been “Global Dress and Behavior.”

“Coming from a multicultural background, I find that it is no longer enough to just have an understanding of Western history and tradition to be a fully rounded designer, or fully rounded member of the artistic community in general,” she says. “The future of the film and theatre industries is becoming increasingly inclusive.”

This article first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine.

sacred sounds choir and orchestra

Hark the Sacred Sounds!

Sacred Sounds of Christmas returns to magnificent Benaroya Hall this year, and tickets are on sale now. Bask in the best of sacred Advent music from around the world on Sunday, November 26, at 7 p.m. Performed by the Music Department’s nationally recognized student and faculty musicians, Sacred Sounds is our gift to Seattle — and always sells out.

Audience members come from throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond to enjoy a one-of-a-kind celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons by the Concert Choir, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Women’s Choir, Men’s Choir, and the SPU Gospel Choir.

Performance and ticket details at spu.edu/sacredsounds. Sample the Sounds at spu.edu/about-spu/events/sacred-sounds.

SPU alumni, Ben Stuart

SPU alum takes reigns of prestigious high school theatre department

Watching his older brother perform in a high school production of Guys and Dolls, 10-year-old Ben Stuart ’10, MED ’12, decided to teach theatre someday. Today, he lives his dream — as co-director of the Roosevelt High School Theatre Department in Seattle, one of the premier high school theatre departments on the West Coast and, arguably, in the nation.

Stuart and his co-director Katie Greve took on the role in 2015 when legendary Roosevelt theatre director Ruben Van Kempen retired after an unprecedented 37 years. Nationally recognized, Van Kempen left open one of the most competitive theatre education positions in the state.

Stuart met Van Kempen in 2006 on SPU’s campus, when he appeared in an SPU musical guest-directed by Van Kempen. He went on to complete his student teaching requirement with Van Kempen. “The SPU Theatre Department is really dedicated to people pursuing theatre education,” said Stuart. “Both the School of Education and the Theatre Department supported me in taking many different theatre classes that helped prepare me for this position.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree, Stuart began his master’s of education degree in literacy at Seattle Pacific. During this time, he became a familiar face at Roosevelt, guest directing and substitute teaching. “Ben is energetic and engaging, and the students responded wonderfully,” said Van Kempen. “The world of theatre is very taxing, and I knew he wasn’t afraid to take risks and spend extra time getting the job done.” Stuart went on to expand and direct theatre at Seattle’s Aki Kurose Middle School before returning to Roosevelt as co-director. Two of his Roosevelt productions — The Game’s Afoot and The Grapes of Wrath — received Double Superior honors at the Washington State Thespian Festival, and he was elected to serve on the Educational Theatre Association national board.

Roosevelt students historically go on to pursue professional theatre careers, attend prestigious universities, perform on Broadway, and work as directors and producers. But no matter where his students’ careers take them, Stuart believes theatre builds an invaluable foundation. “Theatre teaches communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking,” he says. “Most importantly, we get to share human experiences with each other and audiences as we create new worlds that make sense of our own.”

Two people acting out a play, both looking happy and dreamily towards something far away

The stage set for 57th theatre season

The 57 years of theatre at Seattle Pacific University represent untold numbers of lines and lights, costumes and songs, sets and scenes, tears and laughter, colorful characters galore, and in the breadth of its productions, fabulous food for thought to nourish minds and hearts.

Much thought and collaboration go into play selection each season. Here are this year’s hand-picked productions:

November 9–11, 16–18, 2017; matinee November 18

*The Hatmaker’s Wife by Lauren Yee. Directed by Andrew Ryder.

A whimsical and poignant play in which a young woman moves into a new home expecting domestic bliss. Instead, she finds conflict and confusion. Her strange new house seems determined to help — even the walls are talking. They reveal the bittersweet tale of an old hatmaker, his long-suffering wife, and his favorite hat. E.E. Bach Theatre.

February 1–3 and 8–10, 2018; matinees February 3 and 10

*Jane Eyre: The Musical by John Caird and Paul Gordon. Based on the novel by Charlotte Bronte. Directed by Candace Vance.

The story of trailblazing Jane Eyre inspires through the presence and power of mercy. This dynamic musical uncovers one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfillment on her own terms. Gothic, romantic, exhilarating. E.E. Bach Theatre.

April 19–21 and 26–28, 2018; matinee April 28

*Love’s Labours Lost by William Shakespeare. Directed by Carol A. Roscoe.

A comedy that follows the King of Navarre and his three companions as they attempt to forswear the company of women for three years of study and fasting, and their subsequent infatuation with the Princess of France and her ladies. Sparkling banter, outrageous disguises, songs, and dancing abound as love labors to overcome high-minded resolve. E.E. Bach Theatre.

May 22–26, 2018; matinee only May 26

*I and You by Lauren Gunderson. Directed by Rick Lorig.

On the night before a class assignment is due, Caroline and Anthony plumb the mysteries of a Whitman poem … unaware that a deeper mystery has brought them together. An ode to youth, life, love, and the strange beauty of human connectedness. McKinley Hall Backstage Theatre.

*Ticket required. Fine Arts Box Office: 206-281-2959 or spu.edu/boxoffice.

Faculty limelight

Knowing that your professors are at the top of their respective fields, current with their research, and engaged in professional pursuits beyond campus, breeds confidence that you have chosen your university wisely. Keep on your toes with these accomplished new arrivals to SPU’s faculty:

nivea castaneda

Assistant Professor of Communication Nivea Castaneda, PhD. Daughter of Mexican immigrant parents, Castaneda is a first generation, communication studies scholar. Situated within critical interpersonal and family communication and guided by indigenous, narrative, and creative methodologies, she studies the cultural, gendered, and familial discourses that challenge communication when people experience silenced trauma in the family. More specifically, her research focuses on Latino family communication with a special emphasis on child sexual abuse disclosures.

Some of her latest community work includes The Scraps of the Heart Project, a research collective dedicated to empowering families and educating communities about baby loss through research and art making. Currently, Castaneda teaches courses in health communication and public speaking and will teach interpersonal communication courses in Spring Quarter. Her favorite reading is literature highlighting the empowerment of young girls and women, particularly Latinas.

alison stigora

Assistant Professor of Sculpture Alison Stigora, MFA. Alison Stigora is a site-specific artist specializing in large scale sculpture and installation. She creates multi-sensory environments tailored for each location and audience, and enjoys exploring the mountains, water, and vegetation of unusual places, responding to natural structures as an ongoing part of her creative practice. Her love for travel has resulted in a variety of sculpted forms, and she has recently completed projects in the Mojave Desert of Joshua Tree, California; Arte Sella Sculpture Park in northern Italy; and in the Philadelphia International Airport. Her work has also taken her to Iceland as an artist-in-residence.

Stigora received an MFA degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, with additional coursework completed at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington. She has exhibited in New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Grand Rapids, among others, and teaches courses in sculpture, drawing, and 3D foundations.

Woodwind Ensemble

Free campus concerts open to the public

  • Faculty: Art Songs of Central and South America 
    • January 7, 2018 
    • Nickerson Studios*
  • Jazz Ensemble Concert
    • February 20, 2018
    • Nickerson Studios*
  • Symphonic Wind Ensemble Concert
    • February 23, 2018
    • First Free Methodist Church**
  • Gospel Choir Concert
    • February 27, 2018
    • First Free Methodist Church**
  • Symphony Orchestra Concert
    • March 1, 2018
    • First Free Methodist Church**
  • Percussion Ensemble Concert
    • March 6, 2018
    • First Free Methodist Church**

All concerts begin 7:30 p.m. and are handicapped accessible.
*Nickerson Studios, 340 W. Nickerson St.
**First Free Methodist Church, 3200 Third Avenue W.