Fine arts students implement their ideas in Lopes Live Labs


William Symington advises students of the College of Fine Arts and Production about numerous options available at the Lopes Live Lab.

Editor’s Note: This is an expanded excerpt from the Lopes Live Labs cover story in the August 2021 issue of GCU Magazine. To view the digital version of the magazine, click here.

By Ashlee Larrison
AVV magazine

From theater and dance to music and design, students at Grand Canyon University’s College of Fine Arts and Production get access to numerous Lopes Live Labs to hone their craft.

Dr. Juan Hernandez

One of these labs can be found in the implementation of musical ensembles.

“They put together everything they learned,” Assistant Dean of Music Dr. Juan Hernandez called. “It’s an opportunity for them to do what they’ll do when they graduate and have their own job.”

This is done by students who perform in a musical ensemble, as well as by students of music education who gain experience in leading an ensemble.

Productions of the second series are brought to life in the Black Box Theater of the GCU, where the shows are staged and produced by students after completing their directing course I. This can include creating simple backdrops, costumes, and sound effects / designs.

An opportunity that many students do not take for granted.

“Many of our graduates have said the second row really was one of the most important experiences they made during their college years,” said Assistant Dean of Theater and Dance William Symington called. “It’s really learning by doing, and it creates a kind of business environment where they have to do anything.

“It really is a laboratory in the truest sense of the word. It’s a place to experiment and try new things to create a safe space in which to gain that experience. “

Students participating in Ethington Theater productions are also offered experiences to prepare them for the professional world.

“Some of these professional theatrical and performing arts have one of the biggest expenditures when building things, be it costumes in the fancy dress store, hair and makeup, wig design, and of course, sets,” he said. “Nowhere else do you have the opportunity to get your hands on things like that and ultimately to practice, experiment, create things without this posing a great financial risk or difficulty.

“We not only have the materials, we also have the people to guide and guide them, and it’s an incredibly special opportunity that you don’t get anywhere else.”

The GCU dance studio offers students a space to create and study choreographies.

The GCU Dance Studios also offer students a creative space for concert rehearsals, choreographies, collaboration and other needs that are difficult to find in the professional world.

“It’s definitely a huge opportunity that we cannot stress enough,” says dance director Bekki Prize called.

The studios are equipped with the latest technology, including sprung floors for injury prevention, mirrors, and even cell phone holders to help students film their work. And on Monday evenings, dance majors and minors lead classes that are open to everyone on campus.

Design United lets students get a taste of the professional world of design. As a student club and advertising agency, the group carries out design work for nonprofits and plans to work more closely with various GCU departments to meet their design needs.

“I think what is rare are dedicated collaborative spaces and we also have a group of students who act as an advertising agency,” said assistant professor of design Chris Murphy.

Digital design students also have access to a photo studio and can rent high quality equipment for specific projects.

Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].


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