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Arts & Culture

Jazz Foundation Scholarship Awarded to Chloe Boelter '17


PUBLISHED ON Feb 02 2016

Vocal Performance major Chloe Boelter, a junior from Algonquin, Illinois, has been awarded an Indianapolis Jazz Foundation scholarship.

chloeBoelter, who also plays the piano and has produced two solo albums, has performed as a vocalist with the Butler Jazz Ensemble since 2014 and also is a member of a jazz combo. She is one of five central Indiana college students to receive the $1,000 award from the foundation, which works to preserve the legacy and promote the future of jazz in Indianapolis.

“I was honored and extremely humbled to have received the scholarship,” she said. “It was even more surprising to find out at the event that I was the first vocalist to be nominated for that honor. Receiving the scholarship will help tremendously with my fund for participating in La Musica Lirica, a five-week intensive Italian Opera program over the summer.”

Boelter grew up in what she described as “a classical home,” played cello for ten years, and sang with a children's chorus since the age of 7. But she hadn't taken voice lessons until her senior year of high school. She started singing jazz in high school, and with the aid of multiple directors and teachers, “fell in love with the genre.”

“Some of the best experiences with jazz for me have been when I'm jamming with friends at 1:00 AM,” she said. “We're all tired and vulnerable, and yet this raw passion takes over, allowing us all to sync up and follow where the song is taking us. Even if that moment lasts for a few measures, it's always rewarding to walk away feeling like you've learned more about the art, yourself, and the other musicians you have the privilege of working with and calling your friends.””

After graduation, Boelter plans to take a year in Chicago to record more and research graduate schools. She also will look into travelling and performing within multiple genres, including jazz, musical theater, or opera.


Media contact:
Marc Allan



Arts & Culture

World Premiere of Vonnegut Opera to Take Place at Butler


PUBLISHED ON Jan 28 2016

An opera version of Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday, Wanda June, written by Vonnegut and Butler Director of Instrumental Activities Richard Auldon Clark, will have its world premiere performed by Indianapolis Opera, September 16-18 at the Schrott Center for the Arts.

4436575“Kurt always thought Happy Birthday, Wanda June would make a great opera, and I was thrilled when he presented me his only play to create this new work,” Clark said. “It was his wish that the story and his words be of great significance and that the music would really enhance rather than supersede it. I know Kurt would love this new opera and would be thrilled that it was being premiered in Indianapolis, his hometown.”

Season tickets for the Opera begin Monday, May 2. Single ticket sales start on Monday, August 1.

Clark’s work with Kurt Vonnegut began in the early 1990s when they created new works based on Breakfast of Champions, Mother Night, Cat's Cradle, and Fates Worse Than Death.

“Kurt Vonnegut was not only a great friend and collaborator, but also the most significant influence on my professional life,” Clark said.

Happy Birthday Wanda June began life as a play by Kurt Vonnegut in October 1971 at New York’s Theater de Lys. The play was Vonnegut’s first attempt at a stage work. Written to protest the Vietnam War in 1970, the play blends the sacred and the profane to produce off-the-wall and strangely funny satires.

Wanda’s plot is based loosely on the Greek legends of Odysseus and Penelope – it involves the unexpected return of a mercenary career solider/hunter named Harold Ryan and his wife, Penelope. When Harold left Penelope, she was a ditzy carhop; when he returns after eight years lost in the Amazon, he finds that she has gone to college, majored in English lit and changed her attitude about the macho man she married.

Indianapolis Opera will engage Metropolitan Opera Stage Director Eric Einhorn to direct the premiere. Einhorn will work with set designer Cameron Anderson, lighting designer Shawn Kauffman, and costume designer Candida Nichols.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Arts & CultureCampus

The Stage Manager, Emily, George ... and the Provost?


PUBLISHED ON Nov 05 2015

When she makes her theatrical debut on Wednesday, November 11, Butler University Provost Kate Morris hopes to portray a professor with the same competence she has demonstrated in 20 years as an actual professor.

“I’m having some first-time stage jitters,” acknowledged Morris, who will be the first of several Butler guest stars to have a cameo in Butler Theatre’s production of the classic American play Our Town, November 11-15 in the Schrott Center for the Arts. “I don’t know how well I’ll do, but I’m sure the rest of the cast will be great.”
Butler Theatre rehearses "Our Town," November 11-15 at the Schrott Center for the Arts.

Morris will be playing the part commonly known as “Professor Willard,” a character who interrupts the play to make announcements. She’ll be followed by:

-Vice President for Student Affairs Levester Johnson, with an after-party featuring live mascot Trip (Thursday, November 12, at 7:00 PM).

-Performing and Fine Arts Librarian Sheri Stormes (Friday, November 13, at 7:30 PM).

-Jordan College of the Arts Dean Ronald Caltabiano (Saturday, November 14, at 7:30 PM)

-Jon Van Ness ’71, whose final Butler Theatre production as an undergraduate was Our Town (Sunday, November 15, at 2:00 PM).

Butler Theatre Professor William Fisher will handle the role at the student matinees on November 12 and 13 at 9:30 AM.

Tickets are $8 students with ID, $13 seniors, and $19 adults for the public performances. They are available during regular business hours at the Clowes Hall Box Office, and anytime online at

Fisher said there were two distinct ideas behind using guest actors. One was that “we wanted this production to feel grounded in Butler and be here—and not to pretend we’re in New Hampshire.” So there will be no period or stylized costumes, and no New England accents. But the location—Grover’s Corners—and historical references remain intact.

The other influence was a British comedy called The Play What I Wrote, which featured a revolving cast of celebrities playing themselves in an otherwise fictional setting.

“I thought it was interesting having recognizable, real people playing themselves,” Fisher said. “It’ll be fun.”

The rest of the show will be instantly familiar to those who have seen Our Town, a play that Fisher said has taken on even more relevance with its message about the importance of being present in the moment.

“Most of our experiences with this play are through high school productions that either we were in ourselves or saw,” he said. “And this is a giant step in looking at this play as a serious piece. There’s real humor and darkness in this play, and I think it’s a very important American play.”

The cast-with role (and hometown):

Olivia Anton-Sam Craig and Wedding Guest (River Grove, Illinois)

Jeffrey  Bird-Joe Stoddard and Wedding Guest (Muncie, Indiana)

Alexander Borrello-Stage Manager (Novi, Michigan)

Adam Bridges-Joe Crowell and Si Crowell (Nashville, Tennessee)

Sean Caron-Simon Stimson (Chicago, Illinois)

Brendan Daly-Constable Warren (Elmhurt, Illinois)

Corbin Fritz-Mr. Webb (Noblesville, Indiana)

Taylor Galloway-Dr. Gibbs (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Nick Gehrich-Howie Newsome (Greensburg, Indiana)

Sonia Goldberg-Mrs. Gibbs (Chicago, Illinois)

Nathan Haston-George Gibbs (Noblesville, Indiana)

Julia Hren-Ensemble (Lake Villa, Illinois)

Peter Jones-Wally Webb (Lakewood, Ohio)

Gianna Kujawski-Ensemble (Crown Point, Indiana)

Ariel Laukins-Stage Manager (West Lafayette, Indiana)

Casey Lowenthal-Mrs. Soames (Westville, Indiana)

Charell Luckey-Rebecca Gibbs (South Bend, Indiana)

Emma Shafer-Mrs. Webb (Des Moines, Iowa)

Elliot Waples-Ensemble (Indianapolis)

Lexy Weixel-Emily Webb (Columbus, Ohio)

Lindsay Vallance-Ensemble (Champaign, Illinois)


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Arts & CultureCommunity

JCA, Indiana Arts Commission Forge Partnership


PUBLISHED ON Nov 02 2015

Butler University’s Jordan College of the Arts has forged a partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission to become the IAC regional granting office for central Indiana, covering Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, and Shelby Counties.
Lilly Hall

Butler’s role through 2017 will be to set up independent citizen advisory panels that will review grant applications. The citizen panels adjudicate and score grant applications, and the state awards the grant funds. Last year, the state awarded about $400,000 in grants to Indianapolis-area arts groups.

“We are excited about having the Jordan College of the Arts at Butler University join this new partnership arrangement for Region 7,” IAC Executive Director Lewis C. Ricci said. “The College has a long history in, and commitment to, the arts in this region.”

Jordan College faculty and staff will also provide technical assistance and guidance to on public funding to artists and arts organizations of all sizes.

“I’m excited for the opportunity this will provide for our students,” said Susan Zurbuchen, Associate Professor of Arts Administration. “The students will learn about how public money is disbursed, and they’ll have hands-on opportunities to be part of the process.”

Zurbuchen said she believes no other undergraduate arts administration program has such a hand in grant administration.

Ronald Caltabiano, Dean of Butler’s Jordan College of the Arts, said the partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission “helps to strengthen our academic programming and further reinforces Butler University’s role as a nexus for arts in central Indiana. This is a tremendous opportunity for our students and for Butler.”

Media contact:
Marc Allan

Arts & Culture

Woods Lecture: 'Why Skin Color Matters'


PUBLISHED ON Oct 28 2015

Butler University’s J. James Woods Lectures in the Sciences and Mathematics finishes the fall 2015 series with Nina Jablonski speaking on December 2 at 7:30 in the Atherton Union Reilly Room about “Why Skin Color Matters."

Nina JablonskiAll events in the series are free and open to the public without tickets. For more information and to sign up for the series email list, visit For accessibility information or to request disability-related accommodations, please visit

Jablonski explores the evolution of human skin color in response to environment, and what skin color means in modern life, health, and society. Jablonski, a Professor of Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University, has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and other major honors for her scholarship and social action against racism.


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Arts & Culture

Woods Lecture Series Presents Michael Mann


PUBLISHED ON Oct 21 2015

Michael Mann (“The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”) will speak in the Atherton Union Reilly Room on October 27 at 7:30 PM as part of the J. James Woods Lectures on the Sciences and Mathematics.

Michael MannAll events in the series are free and open to the public without tickets.

For more information and to sign up for the series email list, visit For accessibility information or to request disability-related accommodations, please visit

Mann’s “Hockey Stick graph” presents understandable data that connects global warming to increased industrialization and fossil fuel use. Mann, the Director of Pennsylvania State University Earth System Science Center, pioneered statistical analysis of historic climate change. He actively defends climate science against “scamming” detractors.

He will be followed in the series by Penn State Professor of Anthropology Nina Jablonski (December 2, 7:30 p.m.) speaking on "Why Skin Color Matters."

Media contact:
Marc Allan

Arts & Culture

Visiting Writers Series Presents Denis Johnson


PUBLISHED ON Oct 15 2015

Award-winning novelist Denis Johnson will speak in the Atherton Union Reilly Room on Wednesday, November 11, at 7:30 PM as part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

Admission is free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.

Denis JohnsonJohnson is the author of numerous novels, including Fiskadoro (1985); Tree of Smoke, winner of the 2007 National Book Award; and Nobody Move (2009). Jesus’ Son (1992), his collection of short stories, was made into a movie of the same name. Johnson's latest novel, The Laughing Monsters, was released in November.

Johnson, who typically writes about people on the margins of society, published his first collection of poems, The Man Among the Seals (1969), at the age of 20. Subsequent collections include Inner Weather (1976), The Incognito Lounge and Other Poems (1982), and The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly: Poems Collected and New (1995). He has received a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction and a Whiting Writers’ Award.
Media contact:
Marc Allan


Arts & CultureCommunity

Butler to Hold Peace Festival


PUBLISHED ON Oct 08 2015

Butler University will hold a Peace Festival October 19–22 that will feature discussions about topics such as sustainability and the Darfur refugee crisis, and culminate with an address by Holocaust survivor Eva Kor called “The Triumph of the Human Spirit: From Auschwitz to Forgiveness.”
Butler's Peace Pole stands between Jordan Hall and Atherton Union.

“The purpose of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program is to reach out to students of all backgrounds and show that social justice issues, as well as opportunities to promote reconciliation and peace, can exist within many different parts of life,” said Annika London ’17, the coordinator of the festival. “We want the Peace Festival to reflect on that concept by giving students a chance to learn about some of the biggest current conflicts here and abroad, and how they can participate in making a positive change both as individuals and as a community.”

Here is the schedule of events:

October 19–22
• “Remembering Our Youth,” Boots Display by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 49, 11:00 AM–2:00 PM, at the Peace Pole outside Starbucks.

October 19
• “2016: Can Elections Make Room for Peace?” Panel Discussion with Veterans, Students, and Peacemakers, 7:00 PM, Pharmacy Building room 150.

October 20
• Yoga at the Blue House, 8:00–8:45 AM, Center for Faith and Vocation.
• “Privilege and Opportunity, It’s All in the Game,” with Professors Vivian Deno and Terri Jett, 4:30–6:30 PM, Pharmacy Building room 106B. Snacks provided.
• Luminaries for Domestic Violence Awareness, 8:00 PM, at the Peace Pole.

October 21
• Darfur Women Information Table, 11:00 AM–1:00 PM, Starbucks.
• Sustainable Indiana 2016, followed by a dance piece by the Movement Exchange called “On the Edge,” 4:30–5:30 PM, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall.

October 22
• Thoughts and Prayers for Peace, 12:20-12:50 PM, at the Peace Pole.
• Beyond Right and Wrong, film screening sponsored by the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice, 6:30 PM, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall.
• “The Triumph of the Human Spirit: From Auschwitz to Forgiveness,” an address by Holocaust survivor Eva Kors, Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series, 7:30 PM, Clowes Hall. Free tickets available at Clowes box office.

For accessibility information or to request disability-related accommodations, please visit,


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Arts & CultureCommunity

Visiting Writers Series Presents Laila Lalami


PUBLISHED ON Oct 06 2015

Author Laila Lalami will speak in the Atherton Union Reilly Room on Tuesday, October 13, at 7:30 PM as part of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series.

The event is free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.Laila Lalami

Lalami is the author of the novels Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize longlist, and The Moor’s Account, which was a New York Times Notable Book, a Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year, a nominee for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, the Guardian, the New York Times, and in many anthologies. Her work has been translated into 10 languages. She is the recipient of a British Council Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship. Lalami is a professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside.


Media contact:
Marc Allan


Arts & CulturePeople

Ty Sutton Named Executive Director of the University Arts Center


PUBLISHED ON Sep 11 2015

Ty Sutton, the General Manager of the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center in Midland, Texas, has been named the new Executive Director of the Butler University Arts Center, which includes Clowes Memorial Hall, Schrott Center for the Arts, Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, and the Black Box Theatre in Lilly Hall.

Sutton, who will start at Butler on October 19, has more than 16 years of event and venue management experience—from Olympic venues to the position he’s leaving at the 1,827-seat, University of Texas-owned theater.

Ty Sutton“I enjoy working in an academic environment, and I think Butler has a lot to offer,” Sutton said. “I run a University-owned building now, and it’s one of the busiest in the country. So this move made sense in a lot of ways.”

Sutton has been at the Wagner Noël for three years. Previously, he was General Manager of The Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. He also has worked in several arts administration positions, including Programming Director at the University of Utah and Audience Services Manager at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, California.

He was a partner at Encore Entertainment, a Salt Lake City-based concert and event touring company, and worked as a Venue Manager for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games.

“It was a fantastic experience to see the highest level of customer service and event planning,” he said. “You have one shot for 16 days to get something right, and, if you don’t get it right, there are no do-overs. That can be really intimidating, but I found it empowering.”

He also held the position of Event Services Manager for Anaheim’s Honda Center, home of the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks and one of the busiest arenas in the country.

“Ty brings a background and skillset that will serve both Butler and the Central Indiana community well,” said Ronald Caltabiano, Dean of Butler’s Jordan College of the Arts. “He will build on the great work that’s already been done in these venues, and his commitment to the highest quality of student, community, and professional performances is evident. Indianapolis is a world-class city with a burgeoning arts scene, and the Butler Arts Center is well positioned to thrive under Ty’s leadership.”

A native of Danville, California, in the San Francisco Bay area, Sutton earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Utah and is a graduate of the International Association of Venue Manager’s Venue Management School. He and his wife, Polly Creer Sutton, a retired professional ballerina, have a 6-year-old son, Cooper, and a 1-year-old daughter, Tatum.

He takes over Clowes Memorial Hall from longtime leader Elise Kushigian, who retired in August after more than 20 years, and Interim Executive Director Karen Cromer. The newly created position at Butler has him overseeing operations of all performance venues.

Sutton, who was selected at the conclusion of a thorough national search conducted by the Arts Consulting Group, described his approach to the arts as “very entrepreneurial.”

“Whenever we can drive revenue to the arts by selling tickets and creating sponsorships, the more opportunity we have to expand our offerings," he said. "I want us to create attention for our venues and programs, and provide experiences for our patrons that they'll remember for the next 20 years."


Media contact:
Marc Allan

Arts & Culture

Diversity Lecture Series Begins With Holocaust Survivor Eva Kor


PUBLISHED ON Aug 19 2015

Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor, who emerged from a trauma-filled childhood to become a brilliant example of the human spirit's power to overcome, will open Butler University’s 2015–2016 Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series on October 22 at 7:30 PM in Clowes Memorial Hall.

Tickets are free, but they are required for admission. They will be available at the Clowes Hall box office beginning September 14 at 10:00 AM.
Eva Kor

Born in 1934 in Portz, Romania, Kor and her twin sister, Miriam, were 6 when their village was occupied by a Hungarian Nazi armed guard. In 1944, the family was transported to a regional ghetto, then packed into a cattle car and transported to the Auschwitz death camp. There, Eva and Miriam were subjected to experiments by Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele.

Estimates are that 1,500 sets of twins—3,000 children—were abused, and most died, as a result of Mengele’s experiments. Eva herself became deathly ill, but through sheer determination, she stayed alive and helped Miriam survive.

When the camp was liberated on January 27, 1945, approximately 200 children were found alive, including Eva and Miriam Mozes. They returned to Romania to live with their aunt, then immigrated to Israel in 1950. Over the next 10 years, Eva received a good education from an agricultural school, and went on to attain the rank of Sergeant Major in the Israeli Army Engineering Corps. She met Michael Kor, a Holocaust survivor and American tourist. In 1960, the couple was married in Tel Aviv, and Eva joined her husband in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Eva became a U.S. citizen in 1965, and the couple raised two children, Alex (a 1983 Butler graduate) and Rina. In 1984, Eva founded CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors), a name she chose because she wanted to shed light on this dark chapter of the Holocaust.

Eleven years later, she opened the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute. Thousands of people, mostly school-aged children, have visited the center since then.

“Eva Kor’s life is one of the greatest examples of what we mean when we talk about ‘the triumph of the human spirit,’ ” Butler University President James M. Danko said. “In living an inspiring life powered by what she calls a ‘never-give-up attitude,’ she has served as a champion of human rights, a tireless educator, and a community leader.”

Kor was the speaker at Butler’s spring 2015 Commencement. In her talk, she advised graduates to never give up on themselves or their dreams. She said one of the great lessons of her life was learning to forgive the Nazis as well as “everyone who every hurt me.”


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Arts & Culture

Visiting Writers Series Presents Catherine Barnett and Ellen Bryant Voigt


PUBLISHED ON Apr 06 2015

Poets Catherine Barnett and Ellen Bryant Voigt will conclude the spring 2015 Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Clowes Memorial Hall Krannert Room.

All events in the series are free and open to the public without tickets. For more information, call 317-940-9861.

Catherine BarnetteEllen Bryant Voigt

Poet, editor, and teacher Catherine Barnett is the author of two collections of poetry: Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (2004) and The Game of Boxes (2012), which was the recipient of the 2012 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her other awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Writers’ Award. Barnett works as an independent editor and as Writer-in-Residence at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, where she teaches writing to mothers in the shelter system. She has been the Visiting Poet at Barnard College and teaches at the New School and New York University.

Ellen Bryant Voigt’s poems traverse the worlds of motherhood and family, the rural South, and music. Her 1995 collection Kyrie: Poems is a book-length sonnet sequence exploring the lives of people affected by the influenza epidemic of 1918–1919. She published a volume of selected poems, Messenger, in 2007. Her most recent book is Headwaters.

Voigt was a founder of the Goddard College low-residency MFA program, the first program of its kind, which is now the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, and she continues to teach creative writing. She has also written a study of the sentence in poetry, The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song, and a collection of essays, The Flexible Lyric (1999). With Gregory Orr, she co-edited Poets Teaching Poets: Self and the World (1996), a selection of essays on writing.

Media contact:
Marc Allan