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News & Notices
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record
Scene Design Commission Promotes Conference, Projects

Karen Maness
Scene Design Commission

The Scene Design and Lighting Commissions will jointly host a Friday night reception at the 50th USITT Conference & Stage Expo in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to food, drink and conversation, a slideshow will celebrate the Commissions' activities over the years. Contact Casey Kearns, who is coordinating the show, at with any images from past conferences to share.

The Scene Design Commission is sponsoring a number of special exhibits. They include The False Faces of W.T. Benda, The Evolution of a Designer, and By the Hand of a Scenic. Details on these exhibits can be found here. By the Hand of a Scenic submission and exhibit information are available here.

The Commission thanks Michael Devine, Elizabeth Popiel, David Shuhy, Mary Heilman, Karen Maness, and Nadine Charlsen for making these exhibits possible.

There are still spots available for the workshops on Monday and Tuesday of Conference week.

Let's Render – A Fear-Buster Theatre Rendering Workshop will be held 8:30 6 p.m. March 30. Painting on Open Weave & Napped Fabrics will be held 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 30.

Other conference highlights include The False Faces of W.T. Benda, an in depth look at his life and work, followed by a guided tour of Stage Expo for the W.T. Benda Exhibit on April 1, at 3:30. Plan to head to Mask Making - New Materials and Old Techniques afterward.

An exciting session on Light Sensitive Paints, Application and Uses, and a regional session featuring the large-scale painting at the MUNY Theatre in St. Louis is planned. To Celebrate Our Heritage:Preserving our Past will include Chair Lance Brockman discussing how to document, wash, and restore old scenery. New Trends; An Immersive Design session, presented in partnership with 5D, will be the first in a series of programs that will be featured at future conferences.

Don't miss the design work of Joe Tilford and John Ezell at Stage Expo. A designer will talk with some of the legendary designers featured in the "Evolution of a Designer" exhibit 3:15 p.m. Thursday, April 1.

Portfolio Reviews will be offered again at this year's conference. Those interested in being a reviewer or a review candidate should contact Rob Eastman-Mullins at

In addition to planning conference programming, the Commission would like to become just as active in the promotion of special projects and the celebration of its members' scholarship. Members are invited to propose projects at the conference meetings. Planning for the programming for the 2011 Conference & Stage Expo began at last year's conference in Cincinnati and the process will be completed and topics for future conference sessions identified at the Commission meetings.

The Commission is seeking a new Student Representative as well as a new Vice-Commissioner of Scenic Art. A heartfelt thank you to Susan Crabtree and Joan Newhouse for their exceptional work in this capacity. Contact Frank Ludwig or Karen Maness to express interest or nominate a colleague.

In the long term, the Scene Design Commission is considering some larger changes. The dialogue occasioned by the 50th anniversary celebration has brought to light a number of challenges. Social media and the speed of professional communication has elevated the need for a structure that can respond in real time to the needs of its constituents. Though it will remain the cornerstone of the Commission's activities, the annual conference can no longer be regarded as the only game going. Projects will be a greater focus in the future and ways to share the discoveries and challenges of members throughout the year must be found.

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