How CAPA continues to work with the ongoing pandemic

Mary Fletcher 


As a driving force for Northwestern State University since 1989, it’s not surprising that the Creative and Performing Arts department has pushed forward in spite of the current circumstances. The students and faculty have continued to find new ways to perform and exhibit work.  

For some productions, the process of streaming productions was second nature but for others it was a bit of a learning curve. Professor Scott Burrell, department head of CAPA, stated that while productions in Magale Recital Hall have always been streamed, streaming theater and dance productions presented more of a challenge.  

“CAPA is really fortunate as well, to have  the expertise of the faculty and staff in the New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts department to assist. They provided quite a lot of assistance recording our annual Christmas GALA so that we could offer to online to our patrons,” Burrell said.  

Burrell also said that productions would begin to be offered live again, albeit with a smaller audience size.  

“Our season is quite busy this spring with theater and dance performances, an opera, recitals, concerts and guest artists,” Burrell said. “Students, faculty and staff have really missed performing in front of a live audience, and even though the size of the audience is much smaller they are still excited to perform.” 

Professor Brett Garfinkel, head of the Department of Theatre and Dance, has stated that this semester will definitely be productive. The spring dance concert, titled “EMERGE”, and the musical “Working” will be offered to a limited live audience with streaming options available.  

However, the play “Bootycandy” will be rehearsed, performed and directed virtually. All shows will have a streaming option available in Student Messenger for the duration of that show’s run. 

“Everything has changed; from the way we decide what shows are performed, how the rehearsal process is conducted, and additional measures for the safety of the cast, crew and creative team,” Garfinkel said. 

Despite the current circumstances, non-theater and dance majors still want to take a dance course.  

“Every semester, two non-major dance classes are offered. One semester is ballet and tap and the other is jazz and modern,” Garfinkel said. If a student enjoys either of those courses Garfinkel suggests that the student add a minor in dance. 

Professor Terrie Sanders, interim head of the Department of Music also states this semester will be a productive one. The department will host 50 recitals and concerts by students, faculty, ensembles and guest artists.  

“Many things have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but what has not changed is the quality of education that students receive,” Sanders said. “Many classes have continued to meet face to face, but with smaller class sizes with COVID-19 protocols in place.” 

Sanders said that some classes including private lessons have moved to a synchronous online platform.  

“This has been quite an adjustment for many as music is a very collaborative experience and is best done in person,” Sanders said. “However, students and faculty have been creative and innovative so the music continues.” 

The Department of Fine and Graphic Arts department has also had to adjust to the changes imposed by the pandemic. However, Professor of Sculpture and Ceramics Matt DeFord remains optimistic.  

“I’m looking forward to many things this year! Each morning, I look forward to getting to work. There I see the wonderful faculty I work with and the students we love,” DeFord said. “ I see the wonderful faculty I work with and the students we love. I look forward each day to make art with them and help them improve. Their creativity and talents inspire me!” 

DeFord’s advice to students who intend to pursue a career in art is to be consistent in your daily art creation. 

“Each day is new, celebrate it with personal expression,”  DeFord said. 

Overall, the pandemic has caused many challenges but CAPA has continued to remain resilient in the face of adversity.  

CAPA students and faculty have continued to innovate and be creative in spite of the current circumstances.  

“All of us are looking forward to returning to some type of normalcy after the summer when most everyone will be vaccinated and COVID is a thing of the past,” Burrell said. 

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