The Arts at the University of Houston
The University of Houston’s McGovern College of the Arts hosts its School of Art, Moores School of Music, School of Theatre & Dance, and Arts Leadership Program. In addition, U-H is home to the Blaffer Art Museum and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, which is dedicated to innovate collaborations among the performing, literary and visual arts.
a2ru Campus Contacts
Andrew Davis is the Founding Dean of the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts. He has been on the faculty of the Moores School of Music since 2003. He was previously Director of the Moores School of Music, Director of Graduate Studies in the Moores School of Music and an Associate Dean in the Honors College at the University of Houston. He holds a faculty appointment in the Moores School of Music as a music theorist, and he holds an appointment on the faculty of the Honors College.
As a researcher, Davis studies music of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He authored the 2010 book Il Trittico, Turandot, and Puccini’s Late Style (Indiana University Press), and he is the author of a forthcoming book, Fragments: Romanticism and Musical Narrative in the Piano Sonatas of Brahms, Chopin, and Schumann, focused on rhetoric and narrative in the nineteenth-century sonata repertoire. He has published and delivered presentations nationally and internationally on the works of Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Puccini, Strauss and Gershwin.
At the University of Houston, Davis was co-chair (with Honors College Dean William Monroe) of the university-wide committee charged with bringing a chapter of the prestigious honor society Phi Beta Kappa to the University of Houston. He was named a Fellow of the Honors College in 2010, and he earned a 2010 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award. He has twice been nominated for the Ross M. Lence Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.
In the profession and in the community at large, Davis serves as the treasurer for the Texas Society for Music Theory and as president of the Houston chapter of the national music honor society Pi Kappa Lambda. He is an active member of the National Association of Schools of Music, including that organization’s team of members that recommend accreditation actions for schools of music nationwide. He is secretary of the board of directors of the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Houston, and he serves on the board of directors of the Immanuel and Helen B. Olshan Foundation in Houston.
Davis holds the Ph.D. in music theory from Indiana University, an MM in music theory from the University of Massachusetts, and a BA in music (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and with a certificate in saxophone performance and a minor and honors in Geography) from the Pennsylvania State University.
Fleurette is the founding director of the M.A. in Arts Leadership Program at University of Houston. She is a graduate of Claude Watson School for the Arts, the National Theatre School of Canada’s Directing Program and holds an M.F.A. in directing from York University. Fernando has worked as a director, choreographer, educator and arts administrator in arts organizations across Canada and the U.S., including San Francisco’s Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Richmond’s East Bay Center for the Performing Arts and Brooklyn Academy of Music. She is a former executive director of Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center, where she also served as performing arts director and development director. She has previously served as the artistic director of Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop and was the recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts’ first John Hirsch Prize for Young Directors, as well as a Fellowship of the Americas from the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Most recently, she served as the director of grants for Houston Arts Alliance and as an adjunct professor of theatre studies at the University of Houston, Downtown. Fleurette currently serves on the UH Faculty Senate and on the board of MATCH (Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston) and the Association of Arts Administration Educators. In 2018, Fleurette received the Teaching Excellence Award from UH for her work in community engagement.
After completing a degree in painting from the University of Texas at Austin, Beckham Dossett returned to the university to study design. This experience led her to Cranbrook Academy of Art where she earned an MFA in Design. In 2000 she founded Small Project Office, a studio focused on working with educational and arts organizations. Her clients include the contemporary art quarterly Art Lies, Station Museum of Contemporary Art and The International Graphic Arts Education Association.
Dr. Courtney Crappell serves as the Director of the Moores School of Music and as Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at the University of Houston. He is author of the book, Teaching Piano Pedagogy: A Guidebook for Training Effective Teachers, published by Oxford University Press (2019). He has also published over forty articles on music teaching and has presented more than sixty teacher workshops at local, regional, national, and international conferences. His articles and reviews have appeared in the journals American Music Teacher, Clavier Companion, Piano Pedagogy Forum, and the MTNA e-Journal. He authors the regular column titled, “Teaching Tomorrow Today” for the journal, American Music Teacher. He received the 2012 American Music Teacher “Article of the Year” Award in 2012, and in 2018 received the Texas Music Teachers Association (TMTA) “Outstanding Collegiate Teaching Achievement” award.
Since 2008, Dr. Crappell has been as a member of the executive steering committee for the National Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum (GP3) and he also serves as co-chair of the Committee on Teacher Education in Higher Ed Committee for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP). An active participant of several national and international professional organizations, Dr. Crappell is a member of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s (RCM) College of Examiners, and he is an RCM Certified Teacher. He has also served as an examiner for the International Piano Performance Examination Committee in Taiwan. He is a member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and holds the MTNA credential of Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM).
Dr. Crappell graduated summa cum laude with his Bachelor of Music degree from Louisiana State University and received his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. During his graduate studies, he was a winner of the University of Oklahoma concerto competition. Before joining the faculty at the Moores School, Dr. Crappell taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio and he has maintained a private teaching studio for pre-collegiate and adult students since 1998. When he is not working, he enjoys running, eating really spicy food, and building Lego with his children.
Dr. Rob Shimko has served as the Director of the School of Theatre & Dance at the University of Houston and the Executive Director of the Houston Shakespeare Festival (HSF) since 2016. He also has the dual role of Literary Director for HSF, plus he serves as head of the BFA program in Playwriting/Dramaturgy. Rob is also the Company Dramaturg for The Catastrophic Theatre, Houston’s leading avant-garde theatre company. Outside of his ongoing dramaturgy positions with HSF and Catastrophic, Rob has over seventy professional dramaturgy credits including several productions at the Alley Theatre as well as productions at the Guthrie Theater, Stages Repertory Theatre, Harlem Stage, 4th Wall Theatre, and the Classical Theatre Company, among others.
Rob is a proud recipient of the University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award. He is co-editor of the book Public Theatres and Theatre Publics, a former Book Review Editor for the journal Theatre History Studies, and a recipient of the Robert A. Schanke Theatre History Research Award. Rob’s scholarly writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Theatre Journal, Theatre History Studies, The Wiley Encyclopedia of British Literature 1660-1789, Theatre Historiography: Critical Interventions, and Querying Difference in Theatre History. Favorite productions as a director include: Evening at the Talk House for The Catastrophic Theatre and the premieres of UH student-written plays The Narrator, Brick Wall, The End of Side A, Cuckoo, Thicker than Honey, Winners, and The Debasers. He is the author of the play Specks, available through Samuel French, Inc.
Michael Ray Charles was born in 1967 in Lafayette, Louisiana, and graduated from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1985. In college, he studied advertising design and illustration, eventually moving to painting, his preferred medium. Charles also received an MFA degree from the University of Houston in 1993. His graphically styled paintings investigate racial stereotypes drawn from a history of American advertising, product packaging, billboards, radio jingles, and television commercials.
Charles draws comparisons between Sambo, Mammy, and minstrel images of an earlier era and contemporary mass-media portrayals of black youths, celebrities, and athletes—images he sees as a constant in the American subconscious. “Stereotypes have evolved,” he notes. “I’m trying to deal with present and past stereotypes in the context of today’s society.” Caricatures of African American experience, such as Aunt Jemima, are represented in Charles’s work as ordinary depictions of blackness, yet are stripped of the benign aura that lends them an often-unquestioned appearance of truth. Charles says, “Aunt Jemima is just an image, but it almost automatically becomes a real person for many people, in their minds. But there’s a difference between these images and real humans.” In each of his paintings, notions of beauty, ugliness, nostalgia, and violence emerge and converge, reminding us that we cannot divorce ourselves from a past that has led us to where we are, who we have become, and how we are portrayed. Charles lives in Texas and teaches at the University of Houston.
Steven Matijcio is the Director and Chief Curator of the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston. Prior to this he served as Curator at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio (2013-2019) and Curator at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (2008-2013). Matijcio achieved an MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, New York and an HBA from the University of Toronto. He has held positions in a number of important galleries and museums including the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the National Gallery of Canada.
Matijcio was honored in 2010 with a prestigious Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award for his exhibition project paperless. In the summer of 2011 he was chosen from an international pool of candidates to participate in curatorial residencies in Gwangju, South Korea and Berlin, Germany. Matijcio was the Artistic Director of the 2012 edition of the Narracje festival in Gdansk, Poland, and has recently been named the Commisaire of the 10th edition of Manif d’Art, the 2021 Quebec City Biennial. He has lectured on theory and criticism at the University of Manitoba, written for numerous catalogs and journals (including the Guide to the 27th Sao Paulo Bienal), and was commissioned in 2003 by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to curate one of their first online exhibitions.
Melissa Noble has been on the faculty of the School of Theatre & Dance in the McGovern College of the Arts since 2013, where she has taught movement techniques to actors and dancers and served as Head of Recruitment for the Dance Program. She has had a national professional career as a movement consultant and choreographer, spanning 25 years in theatre, dance, and opera. Her work has been seen with the Pacific Performance Project, Stages Repertory Theatre (Houston), Aero/Betty Aerial Dance Theatre (Portland, OR), Madison Opera, Opera Carolina, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, the Meany Hall of the Performing Arts (Seattle), On the Boards (Seattle), BluOrange Gallery, (Houston), The Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University and the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center in New York.
She has held positions at the University of Washington, Juniata College, the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and the Houston Grand Opera Studio. As a dancer, she toured with Robert Davidson Dance Company of Seattle, Aero-Betty Dance of Portland, OR. She danced with Seattle companies AC Peterson and Dancers, Crispin Spaeth Dance, Circus Contraption and The Cabiri. Noble has an interdisciplinary education, with a B.A. in Art and Art History from the University of Northern Iowa and the M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Practices and Emerging Forms from School of Art at the University of Houston. Currently, she is movement instructor at Houston Grand Opera Studio and the Shepherd School of Music. She is facilitator/curator of Convergence Research, a program sponsored by the Blaffer Museum of Art that supports and presents interdisciplinary projects and performance.