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Digital production arts degree to be offered at new Zucker Family Graduate Education Center

From Charleston Regional Business Journal Article by Ashely Heffernan

The first two of several degree programs that will be offered at the new Zucker Family Graduate Education Center in North Charleston have been announced. Clemson University will offer a doctorate in computer science and a master’s degree in digital production arts at the $21.5 million facility when it opens in the fall of 2016. Eileen Kraemer, director of Clemson’s School of Computing, said the first two degree programs are just the beginning. “The digital production arts (degree) will probably be the first out of the gate, but by the fall of 2016, we hope to have a presence for all of the programs,” Kraemer said, referring to all of Clemson’s graduate-level engineering programs. Students can begin applying for the Lowcountry programs beginning this fall, and Kraemer said the goal is to have a 10-student starting class for the digital production arts degree, which would eventually scale up to about 70. An additional 200 students are expected over time for the graduate engineering programs. Two professors are already scheduled to move from the Clemson area to Charleston to teach classes for the degrees, including Robert Geist, who is the interim director of the digital production arts program. Geist has taught at Clemson for more than 30 years and was credited in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for his visual effects work. He also co-founded the digital production arts program at Clemson, which prepares students to do animation, visual effects and electronic gaming work. “Our graduates go to lots of the studios, of course, and gaming companies,” he said. “They go to DreamWorks, and they go to Pixar and Disney. They go to Industrial Light & Magic, which is Lucasfilms, as well.” Since the program started in 1999, more than 150 alumni of the program have garnered film credits in movies including Frozen, The Croods and How to Train Your Dragon 2, according to the university. Creating “everything that’s fake” in a movie — most of the water in James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic was created by a university alumnus, for example — doesn’t come cheap for studios, according to Geist. “I’m sure those who are out there for a few years are making over $100,000. I would imagine the starting salaries are in the 80s somewhere,” he said. The new center, which is expected to be 70,000 square feet, is under construction near the Clemson University Restoration Institute on the former naval shipyard in North Charleston. On top of the $21.5 million building price tag, Nikolaos Rigas, executive director of the institute, said it will take several million dollars more to get the programs up and running. “I think there will probably be in the order of another $5 million to $10 million invested in equipment, startup packages to get professors here, hiring and things like that invested just in the educational programs themselves,” Rigas said. “Obviously those professors then bring in more money to set up their labs.” Students can expect to pay the same tuition at the North Charleston campus as they would if they were pursuing the same program at the Clemson campus, Rigas said.
Image: rendering of Zucker Family Graduate Education Center

Park Circle Film Society accepting submissions for Lowcountry Shorts Film Festival

Entry deadline is August 30. North Charleston's Park Circle Film Society's annual Lowcountry Shorts Film Festival is accepting submissions. The two-day festival celebrating the best new short films is hosted by James Island's Terrace Theater and takes place September 28-29, 2013. Now in its ninth edition, Lowcountry Shorts is Charleston's festival dedicated to screening high-quality short films by local, national and international filmmakers. The fest has screened more than 70 films from eight countries to date. In an effort to support independent filmmakers everywhere and further our mission -- enriching the community through film -- there is no fee for submission. Prizes will be awarded by a jury in two categories:

  • Best of the Fest
  • Regional Spotlight Award, for SC/NC/GA filmmakers
Additional awards will be considered in the following categories:
  • Audience Award
  • Best Student Film
  • Best Foreign Language Film
Entry requirements:
  • Entries must be received by August 30.
  • Documentary, narrative, music video and experimental films are encouraged.
  • Films must have a running time of at least one minute and not longer than 40 minutes.
  • Only complete entries (including entry form and full-length digital or DVD screener) will be accepted.
  • Films previously submitted to other festivals are eligible. Films previously submitted to Lowcountry Shorts Film Festival are NOT eligible.
  • Entries must be in English or subtitled in English. Non-English entries submitted without subtitles are not eligible.
To enter, please apply online. For more information, contact Nicholai Burton at (404) 669-6243 or festival@parkcirclefilms.org. Via: Park Circle Film Society

Entries sought for 7th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition

African-American art quilt artists in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, age 18 and up, are invited to participate in an African American Fiber Art Exhibition, Once Upon a Quilt: Welcome to My Quilted Story Book. The seventh annual juried exhibition is presented as a component of the annual North Charleston Arts Festival, to be held May 3-11, 2013. A $25 entry fee allows artists to submit up to two entries; limit four entries per applicant. Applications may be downloaded from the Applications page at NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com. Deadline for submissions is Friday, March 15, 2013. Emerging quilt artists under the age of 18 may submit quilts for Our Next Generation, a parallel exhibition that will be on display at the Unity Church of Charleston. Organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, and curated by award winning and nationally exhibiting textile artist, Torreah “Cookie” Washington, Once Upon a Quilt offers African-American art quilters a showcase to display their original and innovative designs. This year’s show will feature art quilts inspired by beloved stories, whether they begin with, “Once upon a time…,” “In a galaxy far, far away…,” or “In the land that time forgot…” Artists’ muse may be a favorite bedtime story, Aesop’s fable, Gullah ghost story, young adult fiction, or an inspiring biography of an admired s/hero. Artists are asked to reach back onto the storybook shelf of their memory and create an original art quilt that tells a story that has encouraged, inspired, comforted or enchanted. The exhibition will be on display April 30-June 20, 2013, at North Charleston City Hall, with a public reception schedule for Thursday, May 9, 2013, from 6 - 8 p.m. Following the close of the show, up to 30 works will be selected to tour the state through the South Carolina State Museum’s 2013/2014 Traveling Exhibitions Program. Sites across South Carolina may request the exhibit to tour in their facilities, thus providing additional exposure for the selected artists. For more information, contact the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843)740-5854, email culturalarts@northcharleston.org, or visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com. Via: North Charleston Arts Festival [caption id="attachment_3792" align="alignleft" width="600"] "Under the Harlem River," fiber art by Kim Hall[/caption]

North Charleston Arts Festival Names Design Competition Winner

The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department is pleased to announce "A Train," an abstract acrylic painting by Linda Elksnin, as the winner of the 2013 North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition. Elksnin’s original design will be used to promote the 2013 North Charleston Arts Festival taking place May 3-11. In addition, the piece will become part of the City of North Charleston’s Public Art Collection. A Train, artwork by Linda ElksninAccording to Elksnin, "A Train" (pictured) is her attempt to capture the color and movement of jazz. “The painting is titled in honor of Duke Ellington, whose orchestra made the Billy Strayhorn standard, Take the ‘A’ Train, its signature tune,” she explains. “I believe "A Train" captures the excitement of the Festival. It depicts the interconnectedness of the people involved in the event – the visual and performing artists, the audience and the festival organizers.” Born in Pennsylvania, Elksnin’s passion for art began in elementary school when she took classes at the Philadelphia College of Art. After receiving her BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University, her career path took a different turn when she taught art to children with disabilities. After earning master’s and doctoral degrees in special education from the University of Virginia, Elksnin came to The Citadel to coordinate the special education graduate program. She retired in 2006 as Professor Emerita and returned to painting full time at her home in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. The inspiration for many of her works comes from eclectic sources such as textiles and self-taught and outsider artists, as well as mainstream artists such as Mark Rothko and Romare Bearden. Whether abstract or loosely based on reality, the common thread of her pieces is color and graphically pleasing design. Linda’s work has been shown throughout the Southeast in galleries and at juried art shows and festivals. She was awarded Honorable Mention for the Cooper River Bridge Run Poster Design Contest in 1998, as well as the Art in the Park Juried Outdoor Exhibit in Blowing Rock, N.C., in 2008. Most recently, her work was selected for an Award of Merit at the Art Market at Honeyhorn in Hilton Head, S.C., and as the official poster image of the 2012 Piccolo Spoleto Festival Poster Design Contest. An exhibition of Linda’s work will be on display at the North Charleston City Gallery throughout May. The gallery is located within the Charleston Area Convention Center at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and admission and parking are free. The public is invited to meet the artist at the gallery on May 4 and 5 during the Main Event of the North Charleston Arts Festival. T-shirts and posters featuring the winning design will be for sale. For more information about the North Charleston Arts Festival, or other competition and exhibition opportunities, contact the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843)740-5854, email culturalarts@northcharleston.org, or visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com. To see more of Linda Elksnin’s work, visit LindaElksninArt.com. Via: North Charleston Arts Festival