CSU Voices and Views

A Little Otter than Before

Photos and captions by
Brad Polzin and Erik Fallis

Throughout the month of July, CSU Monterey Bay hosts hundreds of young and aspiring artists, university faculty and accomplished art professionals from throughout the state.  The campus becomes a setting for exploration of students’ talents, artistic risk-taking, sharing of experiences, peer collaboration and professional constructive criticism.  All of this excitement occurs under the banner of CSU Summer Arts, the university system’s intensive and immersive arts program.

CSU Summer Arts is truly a little otter than before.  The program fully embraces their new home campus and its rather adorable mascot.  Several otter appearances punctuate the summer, including a costume for Zac — the son of CSU Summer Arts Office Manager Kelley Lansing-Moreno.

CSU Summer Arts is truly a little otter than before. The program fully embraces their new home campus and its rather adorable mascot. Several otter appearances punctuate the summer, including a costume for Zac — the son of CSU Summer Arts Office Manager Kelley Lansing-Moreno.

A good way to incite panic among a group of animators is to take away their pencils and computers.  With the aid of 30 expressive masks and an acting coach, CSU Summer Arts animation students start their class as performers and film a scene.  The students then animate by hand or animate through computer-based 2D and 3D programs.  The class spends many late nights (often turning to early mornings) creating characters that capture emotion as well as movement.

A good way to incite panic among a group of animators is to take away their pencils and computers. With the aid of 30 expressive masks and an acting coach, CSU Summer Arts animation students start their class as performers and film a scene. The students then animate by hand or animate through computer-based 2D and 3D programs. The class spends many late nights (often turning to early mornings) creating characters that capture emotion as well as movement.

For cutting-edge art, CSU Summer Arts offers a stage combat course.  These skills often dovetail nicely with another course offered by professional actors and directors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  From top left, clockwise, is a performance of the immortal bard's The Taming of the Shrew, class exercises with rapiers, a public lecture demonstration on daggers, and a group utilizing a classroom appropriate choice of stage weapon — chairs.  Students in the stage combat class are able to earn weapon certification from the Society of American Fight Directors.

For cutting-edge art, CSU Summer Arts offers a stage combat course. These skills often dovetail nicely with another course offered by professional actors and directors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. From top left, clockwise, is a performance of the immortal bard's The Taming of the Shrew, class exercises with rapiers, a public lecture demonstration on daggers, and a group utilizing a classroom appropriate choice of stage weapon — chairs. Students in the stage combat class are able to earn weapon certification from the Society of American Fight Directors.

What can $750,000 of audio and video equipment accomplish?  Nothing without the artists in front of and behind the camera.  Still, it is incredibly kind of donors to provide the equipment rent free for CSU Summer Arts.  This gives students the opportunity to create compelling stories working with the same tools used in today's cinemetography industry.

What can $750,000 of audio and video equipment accomplish? Nothing without the artists in front of and behind the camera. Still, it is incredibly kind of donors to provide the equipment rent free for CSU Summer Arts. This gives students the opportunity to create compelling stories working with the same tools used in today's cinemetography industry.

Scores of people are in the audience and these students have no script, no stage direction and no props — not that they would want it any other way.  Chicago-Style Comedy takes center stage as the class improvises one hilarious scene after the other.

Scores of people are in the audience and these students have no script, no stage direction and no props — not that they would want it any other way. Chicago-Style Comedy takes center stage as the class improvises one hilarious scene after the other.

Silent stage performances are perfectly acceptable, as long as that is the intent.  If not, chances are that artists rely on sound technicians, who in turn rely on the "Big Board."  Here, students from the sound design class get an overview of the board.

Silent stage performances are perfectly acceptable, as long as that is the intent. If not, chances are that artists rely on sound technicians, who in turn rely on the 'Big Board.' Here, students from the sound design class get an overview of the board.

All due respect to the Big Board, but sometimes acoustic is where it's at.  These guitar students gather for a quick outdoors practice.

All due respect to the Big Board, but sometimes acoustic is where it's at. These guitar students gather for a quick outdoors practice.

Looking for something up-tempo with movement and a solid bass beat?  Students in the hip-hop dance class entertain peers and community in one of CSU Summer Arts most energetic performances.

Looking for something up-tempo with movement and a solid bass beat? Students in the hip-hop dance class entertain peers and community in one of CSU Summer Arts most energetic performances.

Micah Thomas of Sacramento State (left) works with a classmate to assemble his sculptural vision.  The skeletal art instillation bound to the floor by a trailing ball and chain (right) is made entirely of clay and fabric.

Micah Thomas of Sacramento State (left) works with a classmate to assemble his sculptural vision. The skeletal art instillation bound to the floor by a trailing ball and chain (right) is made entirely of clay and fabric.

Ahhhh!  Plots bordering on the absurd, stylized characters and playful disregard for the "fourth wall" all lead to a raucous and thoroughly enjoyable Commedia dell'Arte performance by students of The Actors' Gang.

Ahhhh! Plots bordering on the absurd, stylized characters and playful disregard for the 'fourth wall' all lead to a raucous and thoroughly enjoyable Commedia dell'Arte performance by students of The Actors' Gang.

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