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Official Statement

Current as of July 21, 2020

Northern Kentucky University’s School of the Arts (SOTA) commitment to the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and guests is our top priority. We are continuing to monitor COVID-19 (Coronavirus) news, including regular updates from NKU’s Coronavirus Preparedness Team, the State of Kentucky, Center for Disease Control, and local health agencies. Decisions are made based on this information, as well as directives from government agencies.

On June 15, a plan to return to campus was announced by the university entitled NKU Moving Forward. Future SOTA activities and events have not been addressed at this time but will be assessed as conditions evolve.

We’ll continue to keep everyone updated through multiple formats, including email and social media. Your patience and understanding are much appreciated as we all do our part to ensure the health and safety of our community and country.

From the Sota Director

Director Matt Albritton by Loch Norse

The School of the Arts is the creative engine of NKU. That has never been on display more so than this past Spring when, following schools across the state and the country, we finished out the semester remotely. Despite having only a week to prepare, our faculty and students stepped up to the challenge with creative solutions, engaging projects, and new ways of approaching the creative learning process. While I hope to see students and faculty back on campus in the Fall, we are busy planning for a wide array of possibilities to continue teaching the creative and performing arts with care always focused on the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

For 18 years now, I have loved walking into our building each and every day where the creative spirit is all-encompassing. It is in the snippets of music emanating from our practice rooms, the stretching of our dancers creating forms in space, the gradual forming of clay on the wheel, the clacking of keys and clicking of mice in our computer labs, the smells of turpentine and paint in our studios, the pensive reflection and quiet of the art gallery, and the thunderous applause at the end of a concert or production.

I became quite emotional walking through a dark and quiet building this past Spring in the absence of all activity. However, as I have witnessed our faculty and staff rise to meet all challenges and continue instruction remotely, I am reminded that creativity does not only occur within the boundaries of a building. Nor does insightful and effective instruction, mentorship, guidance, or personal growth. No matter what the Fall semester holds for us all, we will showcase the very best of what an arts education instills – complex problem solving, cognitive flexibility, personal growth, critical thinking, and creativity, always creativity.

Matthew Albritton
Director, NKU School of the Arts

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Inspiring Stories

Mural in Newport

Artists work on floodwall murals commemorating Newport’s 225th anniversary

Artists are working on the first in a series of murals commemorating Newport’s 225th anniversary that is planned for the city’s floodwall that runs along Dave Cowens Drive along the Ohio River. The lead artist on the mural project is Gina Erardi, who recently graduated from NKU SOTA with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art in Painting. The public art project is a joint effort between the city, Southbank Partners, the Northern Kentucky University Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, and the Newport History Museum, which now operates in the former Southgate school building.

WLWT Article  WCPO Segment and Article  Northern Kentucky Tribune Article  River City News Article


Adil Akhatar photographing from his window

NKU Student Uses Photography to Capture Cincinnatians in Quarantine

With residents across the region staying at home in compliance with recommendations to self-quarantine, feelings of boredom and loneliness have spread across the tri-state as fast as any virus. In response to a growing sense of disconnectedness, one Northern Kentucky University student is using photography to bring people together. Adil Akhtar spent his time in isolation developing a photo project dubbed “Staying Safe,” which features a series of portraits showcasing Cincinnatians’ everyday quarantine experiences.

Cincinnati Magazine Article


Embracing Change in the Challenge - Music Prep

The quarantine has affected Music Prep in the same way that it’s affected everything and everyone in education worldwide. If it had to be labeled with one word, it would be challenge. But in the arts, we love a good challenge! And as they say, “the show must go on!” And on it has! Online!


Randel Plowman Fox19 graphic

NKU SOTA Offering Online Art Workshops for Adults

Visual Arts faculty member Randel Plowman appeared on Fox19 to talk about our upcoming online summer art workshops for adults, which includes Collage Workshop and 'Zine Workshop.

Fox19 Video Segment


Bridge over Loch Norse

NKU Gets Tier 1 ranking for coronavirus preparedness

Educate to Career, a California-based education nonprofit, ranked four-year schools into tiers based on how adaptable they are to life during the coronavirus. To be in Tier 1, the highest group, schools had to be able to "deliver full curriculum online and in-classroom (and have) a minimum of 3 years of experience in delivering online curriculum." Educate to Career also weighed each school's tuition and fees.

Cincinnati Business Courier Article


Multi-Instrument Remote Percussion Final

Freshman Patrick Medovich recorded all instruments heard on this video for his first semester Latin Percussion jury. Patrick studies Latin percussion with Professor Stan Ginn and concert percussion with Professor Michael Culligan.


Two opera singers on stage

How COVID has impacted NKU: From the perspective of Dr. Kimberly Lazzeri

As musicians, we rely upon togetherness.

We sing together, play together, listen together, breathe together, and even tune together so that we are completely in sync with one another. And what’s more, we rely upon togetherness with our audiences—the bond that is formed between human beings all searching for connection through the power of music.

So what happens when we can’t be together? When the rehearsal spaces, concert halls, piano labs, and audio-production studios go dark?

We are left with a profound sense of loss. Grief. Emptiness. Questions of how to move forward when the larger organism of which we are a part is disbanded … indefinitely.

We go quiet. But not for long.

The Northerner Article


Dance class using Zoom platform

NKU faculty coming up with learning solutions in pandemic

As college students finish their school semesters from home, NKU professors are turning to new teaching methods. They are even finding some benefits that may continue next semester. Dance is a community-based art form and Assistant Professor of Dance, Tracey Bonner, was faced with a challenge in moving learning online.

Local 12 Video Segment/Article


Toddler crawling through color tube

NKU offers program for toddlers, children to learn about the arts

FOX19 did a story on NKU Music Prep Early Childhood Virtual Open House! Check out the news segment to hear one of our teachers, Betsy Williams, discuss the classes.

Fox19 Video Segment

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Virtual Art Galleries

With the art galleries being closed to the public, we hosted our Juried Student Exhibitions and BFA Senior Exhibitions online with virtual tours and artist talks.

Juried Student Exhibition Virtual Tour and Awards Presentation


Spring 2020 BFA Senior Exhibitions Virtual Tour and Artist Talks

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SOTA Stream Videos

As venues around the world go dark, we're launching a series of performances and creative endeavors by NKU SOTA students, alumni, and faculty. The show must go on...

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

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Second Floor Atrium Renovations

Over the summer, the lobby space near Corbett Theatre underwent some renovations, which included new gallery lighting, new paint on the walls, and new flooring. We are thrilled to announce that the SOTA Community Showcase Atrium is now ready to showcase artwork from our students, classes, campus, and community.
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