Chris Kawolsky ’85 is a theater arts IWU alumnus and Producing Director of Downstairs Cabaret Theatre in Rochester, NY. He flew in from Rochester, NY when he heard that Chuck was retiring and met him for a drink after his last day at IWU. This was a “celebration” after Chuck’s retirement. Chuck Adam was director of Campus Security at IWU and retired after nearly 36 years.
Renee McGinnis class of 1984 BFA
My Next Solo Show ! Exhibition Dates: September 28 – October 31, 2018
Reception Time:Opening: Friday, September 28, 2018, 7 – 9 p.m.
Art Crawl: Friday, October 26, 2018, 6 – 9 p.m.
Artist Talk: Renee McGinnis is scheduled to give an artist talk during the Art Crawl at 7:00 p.m.
Gallery Space: Elizabeth M. Sinnock Gallery https://quincyartcenter.org
We are deeply saddened to announce that Laura Christine (Peterson) Roman ’85 recently passed away on Sunday, August 12, 2018.
After her time at IWU, she received her MS in School Psychology from Illinois State University. Her devotion to children ultimately led to a career as a school psychologist in the Wheaton school district, and she received glowing reviews from colleagues, administrators and parents. When Laura left the district her friends created WWLD (What Would Laura Do?) bracelets, as a reminder of her ability to find solutions to almost any problem.
A link to her obituary can be found here.
Bill Damaschke ’85 is a former Chief Creative Officer at DreamWorks Animation and as of recently, current president of Animation and Family Entertainment at Skydance Media.
After graduating from IWU with a B.F.A. in musical theater, Damaschke spent several years in New York working as an actor both on and off Broadway, and as an assistant for producers and executives at movie studios and record labels, along with “a million other things.” But after moving to Los Angeles on a whim, he decided to pursue a job as a production assistant and ended up spending over 20 years at DreamWorks Animation, which at the time was a startup company led by film director and producer Steven Spielberg, former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and music executive David Geffen.
He rose from an entry-level position to the company’s Chief Creative Officer. Damaschke served as a production assistant on Prince of Egypt, the company’s first animated film, and since then has worked on 27 other DreamWorks animated films – including box office hits How to Train Your Dragon, the Madagascar franchise and the Shrek franchise. He also helped launch the company’s theater and television divisions. All the while, DreamWorks was constantly expanding, as a whirlwind of animators, writers, storyboard artists, directors and other creatives under Damaschke’s purview made film after film, sometimes as many as five films every two years. Damaschke’s journey also eventually lead to the creation of his own production company, StoryKey Entertainment, which is producing musicals such as Moulin Rouge! and The Prom, coming to Broadway later this year.
Now, as president of Animation and Family Entertainment at Skydance Media, Damaschke looks forward to continuing to lead creative teams in crafting animated feature films that will leave a lasting impression on viewers of all ages.
Founded in 2010, Skydance Media specializes in film, television, interactive platforming, and most recently, animation. Damaschke was brought on board in 2017 to head the company’s animation division, which has partnered with Ilion Animation Studios in Spain for two upcoming fantasy films Luck (March 2021) and Split (TBA), as well as several others in the production pipeline.
At the helm of this new branch of Skydance, Damaschke finds himself in a similar “startup mode” to when he first began at DreamWorks Animation. “It requires you to be super excited and roll up your sleeves, and certainly in the environment and culture we have here at Skydance, every single person’s contribution matters,” said Damaschke.
The chance to create movies from an entirely clean slate is an exciting prospect for Damaschke. “We live in a world where there’s so many reboots and so many remakes. And I love going to all those movies. But that’s the one very clear thing about Skydance. We’re starting from scratch and we are making original films.”
Read the full article here.
Amy (Kistner) de Lannoy ’87 recently reconnected with Alumni Association President, Scott Huch ’86, at a lunch at the legendary Sardi’s Restaurant in NYC.
Amy and Scott laughed a lot, but also spoke of their professional journeys since their college days at IWU. Amy subsequently shared with Scott a clip from a recent stint on TV.
Featured in a segment titled “Tips for Changing Your Career Path Later in Life” on Good Morning Connecticut at Nine, Amy noted that her career path was anything but direct. While she started her career in pharmaceutical sales, she then attended law school and became a corporate attorney. After 15 years as a corporate attorney, she “fell into a great opportunity” managing a medical practice. When she decided to re-enter the legal profession, she found a way to “package” together her pharmaceutical experience, years as a practice manager, and legal experience to retool herself as a Healthcare Attorney.
On the segment, Amy reminded others that “sometimes stepping away from your chosen field can help you reset your trajectory.” She encouraged people to “seek our certifications that tie together your unusual resume”, noting that she completed a one-year Healthcare Compliance Certificate Program that “filled in some of the gaps” and allowed her to repackage her experiences towards her new path as a Healthcare Attorney at Halloran Sage in Hartford, Connecticut. Amy was nervous about getting back into law after being out of the practice for almost 10 years, but says she feels fortunate that Halloran Sage viewed her varied experience as a valuable asset.
Amy’s flexibility and adaptability also came in handy when she was randomly chosen from the audience on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to be featured in a Valentine’s Day segment called ‘First Drafts’ of which you may view here.
Watch Amy’s feature on Good-morning Connecticut at Nine here.
Paintings by Renee McGinnis ’84 are being featured in a Summer Group Show at ZG Gallery in Chicago, Illinois that opened Friday, July 13th and will be on display until August 31st, 2018. The show also features works by artists Amy Casey, Gregory Jacobsen, Steve Hough, Eric Tucker, and more.
The work of artist, Dick Folse ’85, will be featured in the Illinois Wesleyan Merwin Gallery from July 28- August 25, 2018 and as a part of Bloomington First Friday on August 3, 2018 from 5-8 pm. From September 7- October 31, 2018, his work will be showcased in an exhibit entitled “Redefining” at the Springfield Art Association Collective at Hoogland Galleries in Springfield, Illinois.
For more information about Dick’s work visit https://dickfolse.com/.
You can visit the IWU Merwin Gallery during its Summer Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 12 – 2 pm; Thursday 4 – 6 pm; Saturday 10 – 12; or by appointment (email email@example.com).
More information about Bloomington First Friday on August 3, 2018 can be found here.
Here is a link to information about the Springfield Art Association Collective.
On what kind of singer she wants for the Tanglewood Program: “We look at the voice, and the quality, the talent in communication. We are also looking for students we think we can help guide—someone who’s open to working collaboratively. That’s what it’s all about. The singers in the program tend to be people who have just finished grad school. It’s a small enough group, and we get enough applicants, that we really are able to stick to a certain level of artist. That’s the level I was most interested in at Bard, too. I actually began at Bard in 2004, before I took the position at Tanglewood. When Bard first approached me, they were creating an undergraduate conservatory, and I said I didn’t want to create an undergraduate vocal program. I was more interested in the openness and the skill level of graduate-level students.
“Our program at Bard is centered on the core seminar classes. There are four semesters in a two-year program, so there are four core seminars. The course I love the most is called ‘Creating Unique Performance Opportunities.’ The students are put into two groups of three or four, and they do everything—they choose their program, they rehearse, they do the research, they do their program notes, they find the venue, they book the concert and do all the publicity. It has to be off-campus, and in the community around Bard. All of this is done by Thanksgiving. So it’s a very quick turnaround, very intense class, but it shows them that they can create their own performance opportunities. The impetus for that class comes from me believing things are constantly evolving in the business, and in the work. I truly believe that the most exciting thing about the future in music is the new young musicians that are coming along and saying they want to do this. They find a way to say what they want to say with their music. And so they need a place they can create for themselves in which to say what they want to say with their work.
“Our goal at Bard is to instill in the students excitement for collaboration and connecting with other people through the art form. It can be a lonely road, sometimes, being a singing artist. But I have found in my own experience that the greatest work that I can do has always been in collaboration with someone else”