Gina recently brought her mural design for the Newport Flood Wall on Dave Cowens Drive to completion for the city's 225th Anniversary! This mural, entitled "Education Empowers", tells the story of the Southgate Street School; the original building stands today and is now the home of the Newport History Museum. It was the first and only school for Black children in Newport immediately following the Civil War. The 19-panel wall will eventually become a chronological timeline of Newport's rich history.
Why did you choose to study at NKU SOTA?
I chose NKU's Visual Arts program first and foremost because of its professors. I researched their personal artwork and found a diverse array of styles unified by their respective excellence. I believed that these artists and teachers could expand my perspective and lead me towards a path that would elevate my own unique skill set, which is exactly what happened. I am eternally grateful for Kevin Muente, JeeEun Lee, Marc Leone, and Steven Finke.
Oen Michael Hammonds (BFA Graphic Design, 1999), Design Principal, Employee Experience Design at IBM, was recently selected to be one of the jurors in Fast Company’s international 2020 Innovation by Design Awards.
Hammonds travels the globe as a design advocate and onboarding leader within IBM’s enormous design and engineering teams. In 2015, as part of Cincinnati Design Week, he conducted an in-class design workshop and spoke at NKU about his work in radical collaboration, user-centered empathy, and the legacy of IBM’s innovation-based culture that he has been integral in evolving.
Roderick Justice (BFA Musical Theatre, 2007) is a member of The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and has been producing theatre for nearly two decades. He’s an award-winning choreographer, actor, director, costume designer, playwright, adjudicator, and mentor to hundreds of young performers. Originally hailing from the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Roderick has trained and worked in cities all over the United States, in Canada and Europe, but now proudly calls Cincinnati his home.
The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT) welcomed him in 2008 as the company’s first full-time Associate Artistic Director. He became the Program Director of The STAR Program, the highly-acclaimed musical theatre training program for young performers ages 9 to 18. Many of his STAR alums have gone on to great success on Broadway, TV, and film.
Roderick’s tenure has been driven by his passion for live theatre-for-youth, the impact the arts have on early childhood development, and harnessing the power of storytelling to change the world for the next generation. Since becoming the Producing Artistic Director of TCT in 2015, he has commissioned and produced over a dozen new musicals, plays, and world-premiere adaptations.
He often works as a free-lance guest artist, director, and choreographer for other arts organizations, including as his alma mater, Northern Kentucky University’s School of the Arts (SOTA), The School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), the award-winning Commonwealth Theatre Company, The Carnegie, and The Lincoln Amphitheater (Lincoln City, IN).
Most recently Roderick accepted the Sara Spencer Child Drama award on behalf of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati at the 2020 Southeastern Theatre Conference.
Gary Ruschman (BM Performance - Voice, 1997) is an ASCAP award-winning composer, with music featured on BBC Two and commissioned by Minnesota Opera and the American Composers Forum. He currently serves as music director of St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Ovation Chamber Choir, and Mixed Precipitation's annual Picnic Operetta in his home of the Twin Cities.
Gary enjoys an international performing career, recently appearing in concert in Prague, Paris, and Urbino, and released his solo debut album, Biggest Sky, in December of 2019.
Why did you choose to study at NKU SOTA?
I began at NKU as a visual art major but quickly moved over to the music program due to the hands-on interest of the faculty into my future as a performer, and the camaraderie of fellow students. I came out prepared for a graduate program in voice and professional singing work, and once out working in the industry, I found that my musical education was comparable to colleagues from some of the top music schools in the country.
Kat Wolf (BA Integrative Studies Creative Arts, 2016) recently opened Northern Kentucky Dancewear (NKY Dancewear) just three minutes from NKU! The mission of Northern Kentucky Dancewear is to serve the dancing and performing arts community in order for all performers, teachers, and students to find quality products and superior service. We provide onsite fittings, delivery and support to studios and the performing arts community. We are committed to supporting the arts within Cincinnati, and foster individuals who are confident, competent and growing while learning the art of dance. Northern Kentucky Dancewear provides dancers the availability of quality products and services every single day at affordable prices.
Kat was a part of the NKU Athletics Dance Team, a member of the NKU SOTA Dance Tour Troupe, and involved in numerous faculty dance concerts as well as showcasing her own choreography. She also founded the Emerging Choreographers Showcase (ECS); a fully student-run production to increase visibility of choreographers. Studying within SOTA allowed Kat to pursue all avenues of her arts abilities and passions!