May 2015

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May 2015

Conference & Stage Expo

Student Scenic Painting Challenge

Becca Smith University of Pittsburgh 2016

Images/ Becca Smith, Jon West, and University of Pittsburgh.

Walking into my first USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio, I had no idea the magnitude of possibilities available through such a unique organization of students and professionals within the industry. I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity available, and decided to sign-up for the Student Scenic Painting Challenge.

At the University of Pittsburgh, I am a junior and primarily a stage manager. Due to the nature of the BA program, I have been able to explore other departments and apply my skills across the board. A year ago, I began scenic painting under the guidance of my advisor, Gianni Downs, and was even awarded a Chancellor’s Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Fellowship to assist him with the Scenic Painting Course.

In Cincinnati, I was excited and nervous to paint alongside other students, especially given the strict time constraints and excitement of being on the Stage Expo floor. The day of the event was quite a whirlwind; we were given a rendering, all the materials we might need, and sent off with four hours to complete our flats. Throughout the process, the students were encouraged and guided by extremely informative professionals.

I met some incredibly talented students from a myriad of universities and just generally had a lot of fun! The day of critiques following the painting was my favorite part of the event. As a group, we talked through our pieces and discussed things we did well, and areas for improvement that we can take with us and employ in our future work.

In just the few hours painting and critiquing, I learned numerous valuable lessons and made great connections that will last beyond the conference!

Here is a time lapse of the challenge:

Photos & Video / Becca Smith, Jon West, University of Pittsburgh