Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Reel Disruption

Posted on: November 11th, 2016 by Brendan Tapley

As virtual reality changes the language of film, where it leaves the filmmaker has become an open question.

By Richard Gershman

Disruptive art may be a redundant term since arguably all art, in forcing us to look at the world differently, disrupts. But traditionally, when we think about art that disrupts, what we’re really thinking about are disruptive artists. That notion, however, may be changing, given the influence of technology across artistic disciplines, and in particular in filmmaking.

Virtual Reality by Sean Walton

Virtual reality, or VR, is increasingly becoming one such disruptive technology. VR first began as a construct of science fiction writers, and then, with the advent of video gaming, appeared in the mainstream as clunky arcade games. At that time, early adopters of the technology also included the health, automobile, and military industries, but it was not until computing power developed sufficiently that what we now regard as VR—a streaming, immersive, 360-degree image that surrounds us in a created “world”—could emerge. This evolution has largely occurred only in the last five years.

VR essentially asks the viewer to stand inside a globe. The realities it creates can be photographically authentic or completely fabricated, but in most respects VR requires the viewer to guide her or his experience. This may seem like a nuance, but its implications are significant. While VR may not have begun with the idea of infringing on, or perhaps supplanting, the artist, what’s interesting—or troubling, depending on your viewpoint—is how the technology challenges us to do things independently of the artist. In ways the artist may not necessarily control.

Consider the fundamental tool of filmmaking (also of painting and photography): the frame. In VR, the frame is eliminated. Instead, VR offers a “canvas” where the viewer bears the responsibility of deciding where to look. Once a viewer is handed the responsibility of deciding what’s important, it becomes logical to ask: What is the artist’s role?

In that same spirit, if an artist loses his or her ability to orchestrate an experience fully, do audiences also lose something?

Since VR is a first-person experience, filmmakers wading into VR quickly realize and must embrace that their audience of one will be experiencing their stories differently. For VR proponents, that may connote a more personal and intense encounter with the work. A car crash becomes much more horrific if you are in the middle of it, a love scene more voyeuristic if you are seated in a chair in the bedroom. For critics, however, the “detachment” that audiences encounter when the artist is more in control actually allows them to be less distracted and to better focus on and wrestle with the ideas the work summons.

The question becomes: Does participation ultimately render a work of art more temporal and disposable—“been there, done that”—or does VR allow us to embody it more? Put another way: Do we need artists to guide us in order to have a transcendent moment, or are we capable of generating that on our own?

Then there is the question of genre.

Just as VR creates new possibilities, it challenges us to rethink some of the old models. Some things do not work as well in VR. Comedy, for instance, relies heavily on a group experience. That challenge faced programmers in the early days of television. That’s why laugh tracks were added to sitcoms as viewers sitting alone in their dens were not as apt to laugh unless cued by others’ laughter. Of course this has since become hackneyed and annoying and now only sparingly used. But, if you are watching a comedic scene in VR by yourself, are you as likely to laugh?

Action sequences, so far, don’t seem to work as well in VR because they have to either be elaborately staged where you don’t see the artifice involved or depend on extensive editing, which has also proven to be challenging. In today’s film lexicon, we accept the ability to constantly change the point of view of a scene by editing different angles and shots together. In VR, hard cuts are unsettling and more self-conscious. So, most VR films stay in a singular point of view and make few transitions, usually by fading in and out or by dissolving from one scene to another.

All of this begs another debate about the communal nature of art. What do we lose or gain by strapping on a VR mask and plugging in? With the adoption of VR technology, will audiences see any reason to go out to a movie theatre?

For some, the experience of a dark movie theatre and being transported to a galaxy far, far away is why driving 10 miles and enduring eight-dollar cartons of popcorn is worthwhile. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would do the same to don a headset and watch a film in isolation. So will VR just be a home device that appeals mostly to gamers? Or will it evolve to the point where other people will inhabit your film as themselves or their own avatars? Maybe that’s the next evolution for VR.

VR technology has already been successfully adapted to many areas. In sports, athletes can experience real-time game dynamics without risking injury. In the military, pilots can train in combat without losing a $20-million plane. In travel, the vacationer can sample a stateroom on a cruise ship or a walk through the Kasbah before buying an expensive vacation. If VR is to succeed as a new way to tell stories, artists will have to figure out what those stories are and how to build a cinematic language to tell them.

Sound, for example, becomes more important. Sound can cue the viewer to look in a particular direction, seeing something the artist wants him or her to experience. Moving the observer’s point-of-view is another technique that can create focus, as most viewers in a VR setting will naturally want to see where they are heading.

As with all disruptive technologies, virtual reality presents artists with the opportunity to invent new ways to express themselves and connect to an audience. But it also forces artists to examine basic and fundamental concepts that define their art form. At the same time VR encourages the creation of new paradigms, it raises questions about whether those paradigms fulfill the purpose of the artist or the artful moment.

It has been said that there are no new stories to tell, only new ways to tell a story. VR may be new proof of this truth.

Richard Gershman is the chair of the film department at Watkins. He began his career in theatre where he served on the staff at the Mark Taper Forum and the Seattle Repertory Theatre. He has more than 50 stage productions to his credit, and his television and film work includes direction of multiple episodes of Judging Amy and Chicago Hope, and the award winning short subject, Joni & the Whales (HBO, A&E Network). He has also worked on such features as The Hunt for Red October and Queen’s Logic. The illustration above was created by Watkins student Sean-Tyler Walton. 

Making Space

Posted on: October 17th, 2016 by Steve Wilkison

Students in Watkins’s graphic design program talk about the drafting that went into their senior show.

By Dan Brawner

One of the first tasks for graphic design seniors at Watkins is to develop a concept for their senior exhibition, one that promotes the group. The selected concept and design inform the show’s poster, website, and physical exhibition. The process involves discussing the merits of solutions from prior years before students explore potential ideas individually; then the students make proposals to their classmates and faculty. Interestingly, this semester’s seniors presented multiple design proposals that probed a singular theme: space. Literal and figurative, real and absolute, physical, synthetic, curved, digital, outer, inner, negative, private, and public space.

A pivotal moment in this year’s discovery sequence occurred when one student presented the work of Bruce Nauman and James Turrell as artists she was studying in another class and ones who were guiding her thinking. I asked if she and the class had seen the Turrell room “Blue Pesher” at Cheekwood. They hadn’t, so off we went. After a group lunch, we walked into Turrell’s subterranean chamber and gazed up and out the circular hole above us. Through it we saw distant jets, cloud formations, and a Mourning Dove—then suddenly the sky cleared and the opening appeared to become a flat blue dot on the ceiling. The sky came down and perceptual space became subjective, an illusion—art.

As a professor, it is this investment in the creative process—which includes interdisciplinary inspiration, labor, mindfulness, time, and space— that becomes central to the education and formation of the artist and, in our case, the designer. Research, experimentation, failures, and discoveries are integral to turning the development of an idea that lives only in one’s mind into a work of art. “The aim of the poet is to inform and delight,” as the philosopher Horace once said, and the same is true for the designer. The selected senior show concept succeeds by combining the two without explanation; and the poster the class eventually chose (the third one below) is an invitation to an event and an invitation to think. How artists get “there,” though, is an equally important discovery.

That’s why, looking back on the evolution that was “Space,” I asked each senior to offer a short meditation on his or her initial concept. Here is what they said:

Annabelle Arnold

“While discussing the theme for our senior show, we talked a lot about space. We contemplated both the literal interpretation of this word, the great expanse that is the universe, as well as a more conceptual interpretation, in terms of space in relation to design. I decided to pursue a more conceptual path, and worked with the name ‘whitespace.’”

— Annabelle Arnold

Angelique Camacho

“All of the seniors decided they wanted the theme to involve space in some way, whether outer space or conceptual space. My idea for the senior show was ‘moonshot minds.’ Referencing outer space by invoking the moonshot, which is defined as launching of a spacecraft to the moon, this was a metaphor for the seniors launching themselves into the market as designers.”

— Angelique Camacho

Noelle Grimes, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

“I began thinking about this project at the same time I was researching Bruce Nauman for another class. Nauman is an artist who works fluidly across mediums and questions society’s expectations of artists and of art itself. A quote of Nauman’s that really struck me was this one: ‘What I am really concerned about is what art is supposed to be—and can become.’ Reading into his process led me to ask questions about graphic design. What does design mean? What role do designers play in society, and do we have an obligation to fulfill those expectations?

“I explored the idea of space in the literal sense, and looked into artists like James Turrell who work with perception and light. The senior show is an opportunity to work with a space that will host a large part of Nashville’s creative community. I intended to address this audience and the experience of the location’s physical space. By exploring the concept of space in different mediums like installation, animation, and interactivity, I wanted to challenge preconceived notions about design. My senior show concept aspires to start a conversation with the creative community about what design is and could be.”

—Noelle Grimes

Chris Hughes

“My concept for our senior graphic design show was to explore and combine spaced typography with a designer’s natural environment to create a look and feel of contemporary, relevant design—modern, elegant, minimalistic, and simple. My goal with this simple design concept was to use typography as the foundation and allow the viewer to spend time observing how space can be used in design. I’ve always liked the saying, ‘A simple concept is hard to forget.’”

—Chris Hughes

Jessi Knight

“Space is representative of the wide unknown, limitless potential and possibility; going ‘into orbit’ in terms of beginning our careers and the next phase of our lives. Exploring space as a frontier also seemed metaphoric for the stage we are in. Finally, space is representative of the concerns of physical space we deal with as designers. Exploring space as a means to a creative solution is critical in our work.”

—Jessi Knight

Dan Brawner is an associate professor and chair of Watkins’s graphic design department. Watkins’s graphic design senior exhibition “Space_” features Annabelle Arnold, Angelique Camacho, Noelle Grimes, Chris Hughes, and Jessi Knight. It will be held at redpepper on November 30, 2016, from 5 to 8 PM. 

Pushing the Needle

Posted on: September 21st, 2016 by Steve Wilkison

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by Steve Wilkison
Associate Professor, Graphic Design

I still have the first album I ever bought. Snoopy vs The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen. (Hey, I was only 10 years old!) Shortly after that I joined the infamous Columbia Record Club (11 albums for $1.00!) and soon albums by Bob Dylan, The Doors, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, and more were being delivered to my turntable. I was never the same.

Over the years my collection has grown to the point where I now have more than 4,000 vinyl albums, 2,000 vinyl 45 rpm singles, and around 13,000 CDs. While the music has certainly been my main interest, I’ve also always been fascinated with the artwork on album covers. In fact, I’ve bought more than a few albums that I never had any intention of listening to, I just wanted the cover art.

When I began teaching full-time at Watkins in 2011, I had an idea. Most of the students who pass through our program today listen to music online where “cover artwork” is practically non-existent. Why not offer a class on the history of album cover design, something most students are unfamiliar with?

I proposed my idea to Dan Brawner, the chair of the graphic design department. My basic premise was that every single one of the “principles of graphic design” could be taught via the rich and vibrant history of album covers. Photography, illustration, typography, color, texture, layout, and composition are all things that can be explored via album covers. Concepts like points, lines, shapes, unity, emphasis, pattern, perspective, light, shadow, and so much more are all represented in thousands of different 12″ by 12″ canvases. You can literally study the history of graphic design in the later part of the 20th century by examining album covers.

Dan approved and we’ve now offered “History of Record Album Cover Art” four times. Over the course of 15 weeks during a semester we explore various genres and time periods. For instance, one week we might study “psychedelic rock covers from the late 1960s.” Another week we explore “jazz covers from the 1950s and 1960s.” Or “punk covers from the late 1970s.” Or “heavy metal covers from the 1980s.” We work our way through the various decades from the 1940s up until the 1980s, the end of what we generally think of as the “golden age” of album covers.

Each week the students are given an assignment to design an album cover with the look and feel of the particular genre and/or period we are studying. I give them three artists related to the era and then they design an album cover for one of those artists. For example, when we studied “singer-songwriters from the 1970s” they could choose between Carole King, Carly Simon, or Cat Stevens. They are responsible for the title of the album, which gives them some creative leeway in each project. The goal is that I should be able to place their cover design in with a mix of other actual covers from the period and most people should not be able to pick out the “counterfeit.”

The course has been one of the most popular at Watkins. Take a look through our gallery where we share some of the highlights of the students’ work.

Film School’s Fall 2016 Auditions Set for September 10th

Posted on: September 2nd, 2016 by Steve Wilkison

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film will hold a general casting call for Fall 2016 student film projects on Saturday, September 10th, at the Watkins campus in Metro Center.  Directors of approximately a dozen productions from the BFA film program at Watkins will be looking for actors of all ages. Student films are being made under the SAG/AFTRA student film agreement and therefore all current union members are allowed to participate. Actors are asked to bring résumés and head shots for each audition (or a photo can be taken at the reading).

Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script (with on-camera readings at the discretion of each director). Casting breakdowns and proposed shoot dates (usually over a 3-day/Friday–Sunday period) for individual productions will be posted to this page and distributed on site.

Audition slots will be divided according to gender and age throughout the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Individual appointments are not available.

10 to 11 a.m. – Leading men, age range 19-40
11 a.m. to noon – Leading and character men, age range 40 and up
Noon to 1 p.m. – Leading women, age range 19-40
1 to 2 p.m. – Leading and character women, age range 40 and up
3 to 4 p.m. – Young men and women, age range 8-18

NOTE:  No overall make-up audition session will be offered. However, after production breakdowns are posted, actors who cannot attend the September 10th casting day may contact specific directors concerning particular roles. If headshots and résumés are submitted electronically, please include name in file title.

All cast members will be invited to a screening of projects at the end of the semester and will have access to an online copy of the film and a quick-time file (without music) to cut into a reel.

For any questions not answered here, email Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in Metro Center (across from the Looby). Free parking is available in the campus lot.

EXTRA OPPORTUNITY: Film School Actor/Director Workshop

The Film School is looking for actors who want to participate in our directing workshop, working with student-directors who will be filming scenes this semester [September through November] during  3-hour sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (6-9 p.m.) Each class session is devoted to one scene; therefore, the commitment is only for 3 hours, unless an actor is cast in multiple scenes.

Sides will be available on September 10th outside the casting room. There will be plenty of roles to consider as up to 15 student-directors will be casting 30 scenes. Please indicate to the students present if you are not available on certain days. Callbacks may be held at the discretion of the student-director. Actors will be provided with an edited, digital copy of their scene.

The instructor is Richard Gershman, Chair of the Film School who has directed nationally for theatres like the Mark Taper Forum and Seattle Repertory Theatre and for CBS dramas Chicago Hope and Judging Amy. He has worked with many notable actors including Adam Arkin, Amy Brenneman, Tyne Daly and Mark Harmon.

Projects for Fall 2016 Semester

Production Title: Star Killer

Director: Aaron Scott
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production II) With Dialogue
Project length: 15-20 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville
Shoot Dates: October 14th-16th

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Set in 1984, Star Killer follows 17 year old Adam Anderson who runs the Galaxy Arcade in Nevada. When his world is threatened by local bully Crash Boyd, Adam must find the strength within himself to beat Crash in his favorite arcade game, Star Killer, or lose everything.


Crash Boyd: Lead:  Early- to mid-20’s, Crash will stop at nothing to get the high score on the Star Killer arcade machine. He is relentless, ruthless, and will go to any means necessary to get what he wants, even if it means doing harm to others. Crash is an alpha male, causing him to butt heads with Adam when it comes to his behavior in the arcade.

Billy Sanchez: Lead: 12 years old, Billy is Adam’s right hand man in the arcade. He is always willing to help Adam with whatever it is he needs, and always strives to show Adam what he is capable of. Billy is a great friend and tries his best to encourage Adam in his battle against Crash. Billy is fierce, daring, and always ready for whatever is thrown at him.

Production Title: A Monster Like You

Director: Ben Voorhees
Union/Non-union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non-Union)
Production Type: Student Production II with dialogue/ Dark, Crime Thriller
Production Length: 16 minutes
Shooting Locations: Nashville, & possible neighboring town within (30) minutes of town.
Shooting Dates: October 21-23

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis: A fun night on the town quickly turns two friends’ lives upside down and onto a dark path into the world of crime. Stan & Rob think they have their wits about them; as the stakes heighten fuses dwindle.


Stan Callahan: Lead: Male, 30-50. A methodical and somewhat nervous man seeks the safety of his wife and himself. This protagonist is self conflicted and has a history of making bad decisions, one of which was befriending his best friend Rob. Though Stan graduated from college with a bright future, he decided to move back to live near his friend Rob, his only living “family.” Stan plays both victim, and enabler. Through the main arc of the script, Stan first wants his life back to normal and to leave his surroundings of crime. By the end of the script however, Stan just wants a grip on his reality and who he has become.

*(Preferably someone who also would be willing to read as a narrator.)

Rob McVay: Lead: Male, 30-50. Stan’s best friend from college didn’t succeed in his studies as Stan did. Instead, Rob began doing odd jobs and becoming very good at the art of deception in gambling with cards. Rob is a bit of a misfit and a declining alcoholic. While gambling has brought him success through the years, he trusts himself too well one night. He gets both himself and Stan into big trouble cheating against a crime boss at cards.

Cindy Callahan: Supporting: Female/30-50. The sweet and loving wife of Stan. Cindy wants none other than the best for her husband and their relationship. After she is dragged into a life-threatening situation, her trust for Stan begins to diminish. Cindy is the voice of reason in the story; perhaps she is an angel in a dark town. When faced with adversity, she begins to see her world crumble.

Adrian Thompson: Supporting: Gangster-Male 30-50. The head facilitator and best man of the Big Boss’ underground crime organization. He is a sly don with a great sense of humor. He wants to persuade people around him to get what he wants. However, when he is crossed, there will be massive repercussions.

Big Boss: Deep Voice: Male/30’s and up. This man is very mysterious and is never shown on screen, however his impending nature is very present in the script. He is ruthless and violent. Big Boss runs the town.  *Voice Actor.

Production title: Now Introducing  (Dark Comedy)

Director: Jason Hassell
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student Production II With Dialogue
Project length: 12-15 minutes.
Shooting Location: Nashville
Shoot Dates:  October 9th and October 30th

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Now Introducing is a story that will take you on a ride into situations unknown to every day people. A man walks into a venue to enjoy a show with his girlfriend and ends up lost and confused in a world he’s never seen before. He has one goal now, to find his way back to where he came from.


Reed Davis: Lead: (Male, Mid 20’s) A young guy from the east side of town. You will always find Reed out at a venue with his friends. He’s young but feels experienced. He dates Zoe and has for some time.

Damon Connors: Lead: (Male, late 20’s early 30’s) Damon comes from the slums in Great Britain but grew up listening to bands like the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and more 70’s and 80’s British Punk music which explains his harsh attitude towards authority. He is a little psychotic, speaks super fast and along with his cockney accent you can barely understand him. He lives and breathes punk music.

Zoe Stanley: Supporting: (Female, early 20’s) Zoe is always the one to bring the party down. She has dark features, always wears black and is a total buzzkill. She dates Reed, and although they have been dating for quite some time, she can’t stand him sometimes.  It shows in her attitude.

Silas: Supporting: Male 30’s or 40’s. Silas works at The End as a bouncer. Silas is a big guy and has little to no patience whatsoever.

Kourtney: Supporting: Kourtney is a pretty blonde girl in her 20’s who is in the wrong place in her life.

Production Title: Living Together

Director: Julian R. Cole
Union/Non-Union: Non-Union
Production Type: Student Production II, with dialogue, Art-house, Drama
Project Length: 20 minutes
Shoot Dates: October 14th, 15th/ October 28th, 29th (if needed)

Shoot Locations: Shelbyville & Murfreesboro

Compensation: DVD copy, digital file, and meals.

Synopsis: When two young writers move in together, the line between their personal and professional relationship begins to blur.

Additional Information: Living Together is an extrapolation and critique of life imitating art. The film is rooted in the Indian/Bengali literary structure known as “Rasa”, which is the usage of emotion and/or intellectual properties as the key component of a narrative arc.

“If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company.”
— Jean-Paul Sartre


Marshall: Lead: 18-25. Central focus. The moral compass by default; the baseline of all quandaries, even with his inherent inconsistency. Contradictions are rife within his personality; often speaking and thinking from opposite ends of an inconclusive spectrum. He is open; an almost fluctuating beacon of understanding, which is mired and ensnared in a hindering condition. Loss and gain. With, and without. Not at all, and all at once.

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”
— Norman Cousins

Dane: Lead: 18-25. Void. Negative space. He exists only in reaction; the lacking of the ability to initiate and properly reciprocate. There is no ambiguity to his spectrum; he is stripped of even that. Manifested only as a formality; recessive beyond that of cellular. Living as if he’s died before; a death that still continues. He hides it well; tamps down the dull gray ash with callousness.

“One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.”
–Friedrich Nietzsche

Teacher: Supporting: 30-55. A straight-forward professor who is more concerned with the practicality and completion of an assignment, rather than the testing of new intellectual or artistic boundaries in the world of filmmaking.

Production title: Attract & Raquel

Director: Michael P. Hamm
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student Production II, With Dialogue, Romantic Comedy
Project length: 12 – 15 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville/ Murfreesboro
Shoot Dates: September 30-October 2.

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Austin settles for a woman he later regrets marrying. He falls, for a young attractive looking girl, who he sees every quality he ever wanted in a partner. Will he go through with the marriage that he’s in? Will he give up his life to be with the other woman?


Austin: Lead: A young fit looking man in his 20’s to early 30’s. Very down to Earth. Very easy going. He works as a professional trainer at a nearby fitness club. He jogs to work. He now wants to settle down and have a life with someone that he has only been with for about 10 months. He realizes that he is broken. (Must be OK with jogging)

Kelly: Lead: A young successful curvy woman in her mid 20’s to early 30’s. She is brutally honest. She only cares about herself most of the time and has little sympathy. She comes from a wealthy family, who owns a fitness club franchise that caters to single people.  Kelly works at a Healthcare company downtown. She does love her husband.

Raquel: Lead:  A young, sophisticated, athletic girl. Her age is Mid 20’s to early 30’s. Raquel is the adventurous and fun type. She loves to run as well as workout when she can.

Boss: Lead: An older man around the age of, mid 50’s to mid 60’s. Very tough. Very to the point. He only settles for the best in people. He has served a number of duties in the army and now focuses on his growing franchise. He is Kelly’s father who owns the Fitness club franchise as well as Austin’s Boss.

Lucas (Younger): Supporting: His age ranges from very late teens to mid 20’s. Not the best in shape, but with AUSTIN’s help he’ll be a hunk. A young buck at the gym. Loves to talk. Cocky. Thinks he’s all that. The kid really makes Austin think.

Travis: Supporting: The employee working the front desk. Smart. Single. Does his job well. An aspiring personal trainer. Enjoys correcting people including his employees.

Rayline (Older): Supporting: An older woman. Her age range is early 50’s to late 60’s. Married. Goes to the fitness club to hit on personal trainers in secret. Cougar. She has a wild side about her. Wealthy.

Greg: Supporting: A young man, between the ages of mid 20’s to late 30’s. Easy going guy. One of Austin’s old friends. Greg likes to workout when he can. He works for a private business. Single.

Couple Running Together: Supporting: The couple that Austin sees while running to work each day.

Couple Hanging Out: Supporting: A couple hanging out enjoying themselves at the gym. Helping each other train.

Workout Extras: Calling all extras! Doesn’t matter what type you are! You’re the star!

Production title: All Great Stories

Director: Sarah Southern
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student Production II, With Dialogue
Project length: 12-15 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville/Brentwood Area
Shoot Dates:  September 30th-October 2nd

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Maggie Claremont is a world-famous author who writes a popular series starring Mason A. Jar, a cocky action hero. But Mason isn’t like most characters—Maggie sees and hears him as if he is in the room with her. Unfortunately author and character do not get along. Maggie is tired of writing his story and wants to move on, but the books make money so she’s stuck in a rut. When Maggie gets the news that her publisher wants her to finish off the series by killing Mason in the final book, she is more than happy to do so; of course, Mason isn’t going down without a fight.


Mason A. Jar: Lead: A cocky action hero in his mid-to late-20s, completely full of himself. In his mind, no one in the world could possibly dislike him and if someone does, he dislikes them right back. Normally, he struts through life with the attitude of an immortal being, but when his existence is truly threatened, he will do all he can to survive.

Maggie Claremont: Lead: A creative, passionate, good-humored author in her mid to late 30s who has now lost all of her qualities. Her creativity and passion has been washed away by a publishing house demanding a series of books she no longer likes writing. Her good humor has been replaced by sarcasm and hate specifically towards the lead character in the series, Mason A. Jar. Dealing with the book series that doesn’t seem to ever die has lead Maggie to hallucinate the lead character she hates.

Amanda: Supporting: A perky, outgoing book editor in her 30s. She’s Maggie’s editor and knows the author like the back of her hand.

Donna: Supporting: A well organized, secretary in her late 30s to early 40s.

Shannon: Supporting: An enthusiastic, book-loving college student in her 20s.

James: Supporting: An enthusiastic, book-loving college student in his 20s.

Unknown Man: Supporting: A dark, mysterious gunman who works for The Firm, a fictional corporation in Maggie Claremont’s book series.

Production title: Meeting Moreheads (Working Title)

Director: Tess Reynolds
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production II) with Dialogue
Project length: approx. 13min
Shooting Location: Davidson County
Shoot Dates:  October 22nd-23rd

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis: Based on real events, this comedy follows Tom Morehead and his girlfriend Charlotte as he introduces her to his family for the first time. What starts out as a quick Thanksgiving dinner, becomes a never-ending swirl of embarrassment.


Tom Morehead: Lead: The youngest of the Morehead family, Tom is the odd one out. Tom is a college senior who is bringing his girlfriend, Charlotte, home to meet his family for the first time. He has strong reservations about the meeting due to his embarrassment brought on by his family’s behavior.

Charlotte: Lead: The sweet, optimistic, alternative, college junior girlfriend of Tom Morehead. Charlotte’s personality and interests are the complete opposite of the Morehead family.

Peggy Ann Morehead: Supporting:  A mother of three young adults, Peggy Ann is in her late 50’s, is a grandmother to a toddler and a wife to her high school sweetheart. Conservative when it comes to politics but a little bit crazy about everything else. Her ditziness, lack of filter and misunderstanding of social cues makes her an unusual matriarch of the Morehead family.

Richard (Dick) Morehead: Supporting: In his late 50’s/early 60’s, Richard, a.k.a. Dick, is a classic, all-American, smoking, beer-drinking, sports loving man of few words. Dick married Peggy Ann, his high school sweetheart, and fathered 3 children through adulthood.

Tammy Morehead: Supporting:  Late 20’s and married to Timmy, like her mother Tammy has no filter, is out spoken, blunt and loud. She’s the middle child to Peggy Ann and Richard but doesn’t let her opinions get over-shadowed.

Timmy: Supporting:  Married to Tammy, Timmy is right on the edge of being a deadbeat. A very carefree man in his late 20’s, Timmy speaks his mind yet will not fight back to his out-spoken wife.

Tim Morehead: Supporting: Practically a copy of his dad, Tim is the oldest Morehead child. He’s a classic, all-American, and sports loving man of few words who puts up with his wife’s constant nagging.

Lee: Supporting:  In her early 30’s, Lee is married to Tim, the oldest Morehead child, and a mother to infant, Carly. She’s a money-pinching, uptight woman.

Carly: Supporting:  The infant daughter of Lee and Tim, and the only Morehead grandchild.

Production title: (Closure)

Director: Zealand Linton
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production II) With Dialogue
Project length: 10-12 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville and Cookeville, TN
Shoot Dates:  October 7-9

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Lacie died in 1979, so why is she bumming on her best friend’s couch in present day? That’s what she and Misty must figure out.


Misty: Lead:  A sophisticated, 55 year old woman who’s experienced her share of death. She may bare a quiet persona, but she also has no trouble taking command of the events in her life.

Lacie: Lead:  A happy-go-lucky 18 year old with her share of quirkiness.

Young Misty: Supporting:: (older teen) An untainted, young Misty, before life takes her for a spin on the dark side.

Young Isaac: Supporting: (older teen) A strong, supportive friend to the girls (Lacie and Misty).

Woman With iPad: Supporting: An upbeat saleswoman who makes it hard to brush her off.

Production title: Picture Perfect

Director: Karina Castelan
Union/ Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non-Union
Production Type: Student Production II with Dialogue
Project length:  10-15 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville, TN
Shoot Dates: October 29-30

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or Non-Union for no pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Luna, a lonely, but normal teenage girl is spending her summer mostly alone. She begins a job at an art center, begins a love for collages, piecing together bits of paper that become her reality. She gets a bit lost in her own art world she’s created.


Luna: Lead: A lonely, but normal girl in her late teens, is spending her summer mostly alone. She begins making collages, developing a bit of a bond with them rather than the world around her. She gets carried away, both physically and mentally. All she wants is company, and tries to fill that void with her art.

Maurine: Supporting: A caring widowed single mother, in her late 30’s, who works many shifts as a nurse. She only wants to make sure her daughter is seemingly okay when she has the time to be with her.

Shannon: Supporting: An easy-going, eccentric woman, in her late 30s to early 40s, who is in charge of a community art center. She speaks quickly, with lots of energy. She gives Luna a job to help her out around the place.

Production title: Lucia (working title)

Director: Gabriela Jimenez
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production II) With Dialogue
Project length: 10 minutes
Shooting Location: Hermitage, TN
Shoot Dates:  October 14,15

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis: A girl escapes an abusive relationship in an unexpected way. Film will contain strong language and suggestive scenes.


Lucia: Lead:  A simple young Latina woman, early- to mid-20’s. All she wants in life is to be the happy with her boyfriend.  She overlooks the toxicity of their love. Although, if pushed to choose between survival or love, she is capable of seeing past her idealistic relationship.

Julio: Lead:  A calculating and manipulating man in his early- to late- 20’s who has to be in charge.  He is used to things happening his way.  He has never had to sacrifice anything so he is not use selflessness.

Other Lucia: Supporting:  A simple young Latina women in her early- to mid-20’s, she is the very image of Lucia, but her purpose is Lucia’s deepest most darkest subconscious need.

Production title: The Stray

Director: Keevan Guy
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production II) With Dialogue
Project length: 12 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville, TN
Shoot Dates:  October 28 – October 30, 2016
Email: Director:, Producer:

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  In a city of violence, a young man named Alex desires to help the innocent from danger, but he fears the consequences of being brave. Unlike him, his older brother, Jack, is confident and fearless of the world around him, living the life of a street gang leader.  Can Alex overcome this fear to help others? Is it worth him sacrificing his life?

Content warning: Strong language, sequences of abuse, and violence


Alex: Lead:  A young man in his early 20s, struggling to overcome the fear of death when doing an act of valor. He knows that only his older brother can help him.

Jack: Lead:  An optimistic street gang leader in his late 20s. He cares dearly for his younger brother, Alex, and always tried to make him see that. He wishes to help Alex overcome his fears, but worries he is too inexperienced.

Abusive Neighbor: Supporting:  A man in his early 30s who lives next door to Alex.  He’s a drunk who frequently abuses his prostitute partner, Liz, forcing her to do a job she doesn’t want.

Kelly: Supporting:  A female bounty hunter in her mid 20s, working for Jack’s street gang. She’s a punk who finds satisfaction in killing a target for the sake of others.

Howard Thompson: Supporting:  A gangster in his late 30s who intimidates others easily. He is Alex’s target to kill, but when the assassination doesn’t go as planned, Howard grows angry and tries to kill him.

News Reporter (Male or Female): Supporting: A television reporter, 40’s, who briefly explains the death of a young man before Alex changes the channel.

Production Title: Shaken not Stirred

Director: Roxanne Nawrot
Union/Non Union:  SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student Production III with dialogue
Project Length: 20-25 minutes
Shooting Location: Davidson County
Shoot Dates: September 30th – October 2nd

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment. DVD copy, digital file, and meals. Non-union: DVD copy, digital file and meals; no pay.

Synopsis: Chaos ensues when Larry and Michael try to search for the perfect surrogate to bear their child. Michael is unaware that Larry is hiding a huge secret that will potentially damage not only their relationship, but also his dream for starting a family with the one he truly loves.


Larry: Lead:  Age 35-60. A narcissistic, sassy, selfish, and convoluted spray tanned man who misleads his partner, Michael, into thinking that he actually wants to have kids. Truth is, he despises kids of all ages. He purposely sabotages their search for finding a surrogate and is completely disinterested about the whole process. Larry can hardly maintain any friendships and is notorious for falling out of his commitments at the most unreasonable times. He puts on a front to cover his insecurities and inner want for love and acceptance. Ultimately, he finds love and friendship in the most unexpected way, with the most unexpected person, making him realize what he truly wants in the end.

Michael: Supporting:  Age 30-45. Larry’s partner who is full of heart and extremely genuine.  His dream is to start a family with the one man he’s ever truly loved, who is Larry. Trouble in paradise occurs when he finds out how disinterested Larry is in the process of seeking the best suited surrogate. Through Larry’s sabotaging of their surrogate search, Michael throws a curve ball at his partner, soon introducing his best friend, Sylvia, and her 17-year-old daughter, Piper, to him as they come by for a visit. While Michael hangs out with Sylvia, he forces Larry to face his fear and hatred of kids and to bond with the teenage girl.

Piper: Supporting: Age 18-25.  A 17-year-old girl who is well beyond her years. She’s bold, wise, sarcastic, and painfully honest. She visits Larry and Michael with her mother, Sylvia, and forms an unexpected friendship with Larry.

Sylvia: Supporting: Age 30-45. Sylvia went to college with Michael where they became best friends. The two of them shared an inseparable bond that led both of them to sleep together. Eventually, Sylvia became pregnant with Piper when she was only 22. Regardless of the orientation Michael chose, Sylvia still holds a perpetual love for him. She agrees to be his surrogate in hopes that they can eventually be together again.

Pretty Woman: Age 20-35. A gorgeous surrogate candidate that is very self-absorbed, detail oriented, and too honest. She comes across as a rude know-it-all.

Tattooed Woman: Age 20-35. A Wiccan with lots of tattoos and facial piercings. She’s the second surrogate candidate. She seems to be very deep in thought and serious in regards to her religion.

Transgender: Age 20-45. A man who is undergoing the process of becoming a woman. He makes a fairly convincing woman but the deep voice doesn’t help make the cut. He/she is the third surrogate candidate.

Phil: Age 20-40. Larry’s past love interest who makes a slight appearance as he tries to meet up with Larry again. He’s very good looking, well groomed, and charming.

*** In need of four attractive young adult men for minor speaking roles as well as a lot of extras, (both male and female, aging anywhere from 18-60) for a bar/club scene

Production Title: Minimal at Most (comedy)

Director: Ben Parsons
Union/Non-Union: Non-Union
Production Type: Student Production III With Dialogue
Project Length: 20-25 minutes
Shooting Dates & Locations: September 23-25, Nashville, TN

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis: A quiet dinner party at Tad and Jane’s new apartment quickly descends into chaos when Jane’s sister Mal comes to visit.


Tad: Lead: (mid to late 20s) A witty, neurotic comedy writer. He is committed to his relationship with Jane and making a good first impression with Mal, but falters and quickly runs to Lionel for help.

Jane: Lead: (mid 20s) Tad’s longterm girlfriend and Mal’s sister. She is very kind and sweet, unfortunately naive to Lionel and Tad doing drugs to help with their comedy writing.

Mal: Supporting: (early to mid 20s) Jane’s unemployed sister who comes to visit Tad and Jane. She can be very dry and unwelcoming, and her accidental taking of drugs quickly sends the night spiraling downhill.

Lionel: Supporting: (mid to late 20s) Tad’s friend and a fellow comedy writer. He institutes conflict by bringing drugs into the apartment to help calm Tad down during dinner.

Production Title: White Lies

Director: Cobi Noblin
Union/Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory or Non Union
Production Type: Student (Production lll) With Dialogue
Project Length: 20 minutes
Shooting Location: Parc Apartments, Germantown, Cumberland Park, and Watkins College
Shoot Dates: Oct 7-9

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals or….No pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals

Synopsis: A pathological liar meets a girl and lets his inability to tell the truth send his life into a downward spiral.


Harry Westford: Lead: A 20-something scumbag with a charming personality. He’s a pathological liar who always wants people to like him.

Erica Summers: Lead: A 20-something woman who gets dragged into Harry’s life by chance. She’s smart and independent but open to trying a relationship with this seemingly nice guy.

Trever: Supporting: A 20-something alcoholic who wants nothing more than to party all day and night.

Therapist: Supporting: A 30-something therapist who wants to help Harry get over his affliction.

Jason: Supporting: A 30s man who manages a run-of-the-mill pizza store.

Production Title: Mother Of the Beast

Director: Micah Atkinson
Union / Non-Union: SAG-AFTRA Signatory
Production Type: Student Production IV With Dialogue
Project length: 30 minutes
Shooting Location: Nashville TN, Smyrna TN
Shoot Dates: February 3-5/ February 10-12 (TBD)

Compensation: SAG-AFTRA deferred payment plus DVD copy, digital file and meals. Or….No Pay, DVD copy, digital file and meals.

Synopsis:  Folkloric tale of a woman who fell in love with a man who was half beast. She is now faced with the task of raising their child, who is beginning to genetically manifest the same beastly traits of the father. The mother must now protect her child, love her child, and survive her child.


Arwin: Lead: (mid twenties-early thirties) Arwin, the mother, has grown weak under the burden of the many secrets she keeps. Because of this, she appears fragile and vulnerable, though beneath her cautious tone is fierce love for her child, and a relentlessly steadfast conviction to both protect and reunite her family.

Conrad: Lead: (mid twenties-early thirties) Conrad is Arwin’s brother-in-law. In the temporary absence of her husband, Conrad has taken it upon himself to provide a father figure to the child, and a confidant to Arwin. Conrad is noble and honest, though he fears his own subdued romantic feelings towards Arwin.

Righteous: Supporting: (mid twenties- early thirties) Righteous, Arwin’s husband, is a man first, and a cursed beast second. He fled his family to keep himself safe from others who wanted him dead, as well as to protect Arwin and their child from himself. Much of his personality is ethereal, as he deals heavily in the spiritual.

Silas: Supporting: (mid twenties- early thirties) Silas is a worker and companion of Conrad’s. He is dark and cynical, especially when it comes to Conrad’s connection with Arwin and the child, as Silas has suffered personal loss at the hand of Righteous. Silas has a deep seeded hatred for the beast and the family.

Hann: Supporting: (the child) Hann is not one for words, but a strong observer. Arwin attempts to keep Hann in the dark as it pertains to Righteous and the beast.

Professor Steve Womack Publishes a New Book

Posted on: July 6th, 2016 by Admissions

Long-time Watkins Film School Professor Steven Womack writes a lot more than screenplays. With eleven novels under his belt, he’s now started a small independent press and has just published his first nonfiction work on American politics. Called Why Politics Sucks With Just A Few Modest Proposals That Might Make It All Suck A Little Less, Womack calls the book a “broadside,” the first of eight he’s going to publish tackling the problems and issues facing Americans. In this first installment, Womack writes with humor and attitude about the dysfunctional circus we call politics in America.

Appropriately enough, the book was published on July 4, 2016 and has cracked into the top 25 Best Sellers on Kindle’s “Short Reads/Political and Social Commentary” List.

You can read more about Why Politics Sucks on Professor Womack’s website

The book is available on most major Ebook retailers, and on here.

Co. H’s ‘Don’t Drink the Milk’ On View Through July 21

Posted on: June 26th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents the 2016 student summer show Don’t Drink the Milk, a mixed-media group show from Co. H and Friends, now through July 21 in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery on campus.

A closing reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 21.

Carly Piccione

Carly Piccione, from “living room” (oil and sculpy on panel)

Curated by members of the Watkins collective Co. H, Don’t Drink the Milk explores forms of communication and language. This body of work uses the structure of the gallery to demonstrate ways in which art works can simulate language. A prescribed format for a gallery is similar to the construction of a good fiction novel, or an informational document. These pre-existing frameworks in forms of communication are not employed as rigid guidelines, but templates for a new understanding each time. As fallible as language is, Don’t Drink the Milk speaks differently to every viewer, as personal experience and historical reference offer numerous routes for interpretation.

Rafer White, from "Corn" (acrylic on roll paper)

Rafer White, “Corn” (acrylic on roll paper)

The nine featured artists are:
Stevie Bailey (photography)
Kevin Dietz (screen print, drawing)
Holden Head (hydrographic)
Tristan Higginbotham (photography)
Corrina Joyner  (mixed media)
Kay Kennedy (mixed media)
Micah Mathewson (mixed media)
Carly Piccione (painting)
Rafer White (painting)

Don’t Drink the Milk is comprised of 16 pieces from Co. H council members, collaborators and studio mates in order to present a survey of some of the best work from Watkins students. Featuring current students and recent graduates from the Art, Fine Art and Photography departments, Don’t Drink the Milk showcases work across several disciplines, including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, installation, and printmaking.

Holden Head, "Buildings Block" (hydrographic on rock)

Holden Head, “Buildings Block” (hydrographic on rock)

Kevin Dietz, from series "Always Crashing in the Same Car" (acrylic and graphite on paper). Top image also from series

Kevin Dietz, from series “Always Crashing in the Same Car” (acrylic and graphite on paper). Top image also from series.











The show title is referent to a phrase from an Our Gang comedy short in which the Little Rascals whisper, “Don’t drink the milk; it’s spoiled!” down the line, similarly to the telephone game, in which repetition can cause misinterpretation and loss or alteration of meaning. This transformation from the original message and meaning through time and individuals’ personal understandinga feels similar to methods of trying to “understand” an art exhibition, but ultimately, meaning is interpreted different to each viewer.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Stephen Jones’ ‘The Poke Show’ Plays at Summer WAG

Posted on: June 26th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents The Poke Show: Inquiries for the Made-Up Mind, an exhibition of illustration work by alumnus Stephen G. Jones, at its downtown gallery WAG during the July 2 and August 6 editions of the First Saturday Art Crawl, from 6 to 9 p.m.Stephen Jones b_w headshot Wweb

Through linocut, letterpress and Risograph prints from digital and traditional means, The Poke Show is dedicated to questioning different societal programs, systems, individual beliefs and the status quo in our daily lives. The heaviness of these themes is subdued by the approachable nature of the storytelling mechanisms. From food systems and gun control to armed conflict and other government policies, the work straddles the lines of commentary, incitement and self-evaluation.

Hailing from bourbon country and thirsty for new experiences, Stephen G. Jones explored the world as a U.S. Navy Photographer prior to his branding and design career. Armed with a strong work ethic and empathy for different spices of life, he’s taken those experiences and applied them toward his creative practice. A 2011 graduate of Watkins’ Graphic Design BFA program, he is owner/creative director of GoGo Jones, a Nashville-based branding studio.

He has partnered with great organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Crowned Heads Cigars, Mill Creek Brewing Company, West Coast Wine • Cheese (San Francisco), Marcus Whitney, and the Unlikely Co. He was also an instrumental part in getting Creative Mornings Nashville, a monthly breakfast lecture series, off the ground with counterparts and fellow Watkins alumni Kristin Schleihs and Alicia Waters Binkley.

“Stephen is a force to be reckoned with: a principled, smart-as-hell artist/designer who assists clients by listening, distilling, discussing, then making,” said Dan Brawner, chair of the Department of Graphic Design. “He’s a force for good, improving the visual landscape one well-kerned phrase, one well-crafted, well-positioned brand at a time.

“This new work is evidence of a powerful voice, proof that one working within the commercial realm, untethered, has a similar agenda of promoting truth, beauty, and goodness as a personal/political agenda. Go, man, go.”

Food Fight Series-101

FYI: Risograph is a high-speed digital printing system designed mainly for high-volume photocopying by means of an internal stencil. Manufactured by the Riso Kagaku Corporation, it was first released in Japan in 1986.

WAG–an acronym for Watkins Arcade Gallery–is located in suite 77 upstairs in the historic Arcade and is open the first Saturday evening of the month during each Art Crawl (from 6-9 p.m.), and by appointment.

firstsaturdayartcrawl-bordered WwebWAG joins approximately 20 participating Art Crawl galleries along Fifth Avenue of the Arts and upstairs in the Historic Arcade. Admission is free, and the Nashville Downtown Partnership provides two free shuttles traveling among the venues. For more information on the First Saturday Art Crawl, visit

CREDITS: Images from the Food Fight Series (digital collage/Risograph) by Stephen G. Jones


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Sixth Edition of Handmade & Bound Unfolds Sept. 30-Oct. 1

Posted on: June 21st, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Watkins presents the sixth annual edition of Handmade & Bound Nashville (H&BN), a two-day celebration of print, paper and book, on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1. Free and family-friendly, H&BN focuses on handcrafted and affordable book creations and features an interactive gallery exhibition and marketplace with dozens of vendors.

The Nashville Scene described this unique gathering as “one of the most eagerly awaited art events of a season that’s packed to the gills with good stuff. By combining literary and artistic elements with highbrow and lowbrow techniques, [H&BN] has something for everybody…Bring your wallet — this is the perfect place to buy something weird and unique for your favorite hard-to-please friend, and you’ll probably want to take something home with you, as well.”

H&B_2016_SaveTheDate poster WwebComplete exhibition and festival information is available at Deadline for gallery show submissions and marketplace vendor registration is August 30.

9/30/16: Gallery Exhibition Opening Reception
On Friday, September 30, the festival’s exhibition, Stitches + Stories, opens in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery on campus with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

Stitches + Stories will showcase handmade books of poetry and collage work inspired by the healing power of art, memory and storytelling. The exhibition is the culmination of a series of collaborative workshops with various local community groups and will remain on display through October 14.

Call for Artists: Nashville artists are invited to submit work that fits the theme of Stitches + Stories. Special consideration will be given to artists who incorporate fiber art and/or personal essay into their creative practice. Submission details, with August 30 deadline, here.

10/1/16 Handmade & Bound Nashville Festival

H&B2015 9448 Terry Sledd WwebOn Saturday, October 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Watkins’ main academic building, artists and indie publishers will sell, trade and buy handmade and affordable publications, printed matter and book-themed creations at the book arts market-place. Vendors will also lead demonstrations and hands-on activities for children and adults.

Call for Vendors: Marketplace tables are available to creators of artists’ books or other printed media; independent publishers of zines, mini-comics, chapbooks, etc.; small distributors of zines, graphic novels and other printed media; and producers of book arts, handmade journals, one-of-a-kind book objects, paper and book-themed jewelry, gifts and accessories, and sellers of book, art and printmaking materials.

Register for a table in the marketplace by August 30 here.

The Handmade & Bound Nashville festival is an official event of Artober, a broadly collaborative initiative designed to highlight, inform and inspire the community’s participation in a wide range of arts activities offered in the Nashville area during October (

H&B2015 9269 reader WwebHandmade & Bound Nashville, 6th Edition is hosted by Watkins Community Education and the Watkins Library and funded in part by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Watkins receives funding from the Metro Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in Metro Center. Free parking is available in the campus lot.








Watkins Artists Featured in OZ Pod Installation, June 21-25

Posted on: June 17th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

One of the summer’s most anticipated arts events is the Modular Art Pods installation at Oz Arts, June 21-25 — and more than a dozen Watkins talents are participating.

Curated by Tony Youngblood, MAPs (first presented in a one-night collaboration in 2015), allow artists to create individual “pod galleries” of various sizes.  In addition to the interactivity inherent within each pod, audiences will be given multiple opportunities to “choose their own adventure” within the journey through dozens of unique pods, each designed and constructed by a different artist or collective.

Tony Youngblood’s Modular Art Pods are part of the Oz Arts Festival.

60 pods by 80+ artists including work by

Watkins alumni and faculty
Mika Agari, Alexine Rioux & Kayla Saito
Tyler Blankenship & Sarah McDonald
Paul Cain
Patricia Earnhardt & Elizabeth Sanford
Rhendi Greenwall
Brandon Greer
Jaime Raybin
Emily Holt
Jennifer Knowles
Emily Sue Laird
Ariel Lavery
Marlos E’van
plus incoming student Abbey Skojec

•  Tuesday, June 21, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. FREE
•  Wednesday, June 22, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. FREE
•  Thursday, June 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. FREE
•  Thursday Night Things, June 23, 6 to 9 p.m., featuring special interactions, Tickets: $15
•  Friday, June 24, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., $20 (includes admission for both Fri & Sat)
•  Saturday, June 25, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., $20 (includes admission for both Fri & Sat)

Friday and Saturday admission includes access to the entire OZ Arts Fest.

OZ Arts is located at 6172 Cockrill Bend Circle (37209); click for parking info.

Six Watkins Artists Chosen for Learning Lab Program

Posted on: June 13th, 2016 by Caroline Davis

Congratulations to the six Watkins’ talents selected to participate in the first Learning Lab Artist Training Program, professional development designed to train artists in civic, public, social and placemaking practices. Alumnus Xavier Payne, faculty Ariel Lavery, Robin Paris and Tom Williams, Admissions staffer David Hellams, and adjunct/CE teaching artist Elizabeth Sanford are among the 25 Nashville-based artists in the  program, which is designed to help deepen knowledge around community-based work and create capacity for neighborhood activation through the arts.

The series of lectures, individual assessment exercises, group activities and one-on-one coaching will take place between June and October 2016 and is presented by national art leader and artist Michael Rohd of the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, the Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville, and local subject matter experts.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Learning Lab is a program of Metro Arts in partnership with the Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville and the Center for Performance and Civic Practice. Metro Arts is also supported in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

The inaugural 2016 Learning Lab cohort:

David Hellams, Crappy Magic experience

David Hellams, Crappy Magic experience

Rebekah Alexander
Julia Whitney Brown
Kimberly Brown
Lexander V. Bryant
Michael Cooper
Tinsley Anne Dempsey
Jake Elliot
Michael Ewing
David Hellams, admission recruitment officer
Robbie Lynn Hunsinger
Elisheba Israel

Xavier Payne, "The Chosen Boy"

Xavier Payne, “The Chosen Boy”

Jay Jenkins
Courtney Adair Johnson
Megan Kelley
Ariel Lavery, assistant professor, Department of Fine Art
Jessika Malone
Bryce McCloud
Robin Paris, associate professor, Department of Photography
Xavier Payne, BFA in Graphic Design, 2013
Elizabeth Sanford, adjunct faculty, Department of Fine Art
Tara Thompson
Vadis Turner
Elizabeth Williams
Herb Williams
Tom Williams, assistant professor of art history, Department of General Education