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Past CIRCA Presents Events

Cara Ober

Wednesday October 25, 12 – 1pm, lunch provided
216 Performing Arts and Humanities Building

The Center for Innovation, Research and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA) is pleased to present Baltimore-based cultural organizer and artist Cara Ober, who will speak about her experiences as founding editor of BMoreArt, Baltimore’s celebrated online art magazine and print journal.

Named “Best Art Scene Doyenne” by Baltimore Magazine in 2017, Cara Ober is an innovator, cultural organizer, artist, and producer of digital and print media. Ober’s writing in the form of critical reviews, essays, and opinion editorials have explored the political and economic impact of the arts in Baltimore and the way artists maintain a professional practice and thrive in a city full of rich and diverse cultural traditions as well as deep and troubling social issues. As the founding editor of BmoreArt, Baltimore’s online art magazine and print journal, Ober has spent a decade building a local, national, and international audience for arts and culture produced in Baltimore. She founded BmoreArt in 2007 to encourage accessible and rigorous dialogue about arts and culture in the Baltimore region. Named “Best of Baltimore” by Baltimore Magazine in 2017 and 2014, BmoreArt questions and analyzes issues of gender, race, social justice, and cultural institutions with emphasis on artist-centric issues of material and process and how they influence content and artistic output. In 2015, Ober launched BmoreArt: A Journal of Art + Ideas, a bi-annual, full color print journal that explores Baltimore’s cultural landscape thematically, offering a deep and diverse perspective on individuals and cultural institutions. Ober has also penned art reviews for Art Papers, ARTnews, Hyperallergic, and BurnAway and numerous other national publications.

Cara Ober earned an MFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2005 and a BA in fine arts in 1996 from the American University. She is a recipient of grant funding from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, as well as the winner of a Mellon Arts Innovation Grant from Johns Hopkins University in 2015, a Grit Fund Grant from The Contemporary via The Andy Warhol Foundation in 2015, and a Warhol Grant for Emerging Curators in 2006.

Susan McCully

Wednesday, September 13, 12 – 1pm, lunch provided
216 Performing Arts and Humanities Building

 The Center for Innovation, Research and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA) presents playwright Susan McCully, who will speak on her new work All She Must Possess, a play inspired by the life of Etta Cone.

Along with her sister Claribel, Etta Cone was a Baltimore bon vivant who moved in avant garde circles in Europe during the first decades of the 20th Century. The sisters were friends of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and their social circle included Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. The Cone’s extensive modern art collection is on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Susan McCully, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre, is a scholar of feminist theatre and a dramaturg, as well as a playwright and performer. She is the artistic director of the Grrlparts festival at UMBC. She has performed her one-woman show Cyber Becomes Electra at colleges and universities across the country, University of Toronto, University of Exeter and the Kolibri Pince in Budapest. In 2004, she opened the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival with her show, Inexcusable Fantasies. which she has performed at a number of festivals including Prague Fringe Festival and the New York Fringe Festival in 2013. Her play Still the One was performed at Manhattan Theatre Source and has been published by Hawarth Press (2004). At UMBC, she teaches a range of courses in theatre history, dramatic literature and she works on the department productions in the role of dramaturg. She is a specialist in cross-gender casting and gender performance; she also teaches courses in queer performance and feminist representation for the Gender and Women’s Studies Program. She earned her B.A. in Theatre and Dance from DeSales University; her M.F.A. Playwriting from The Catholic University of America, and her Ph.D in Theatre History, Theory, & Criticism from the University of Wisconsin.


Donato Giancola Artist Talk

Co-presented with the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery
Thursday, May 4, 2017 5:00 PM
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery

Concurrent with the exhibition The Korshak Collection: Illustrations of Imaginative Literature running April 10 – May 16,
award-winning illustrator Donato Giancola, best known for his endlessly creative and exquisitely rendered science fiction and fantasy illustrations, will discuss his broad range of illustrative work.

Giancola’s diverse clients include: DC Comics; Sci Fi Channel; Wizards of the Coast (Magic: The Gathering); Tor Books; National Geographic, Milton Bradley; Microsoft; Penguin; Random House; Hasbro; Scholastic; Simon & Schuster; The Village Voice; CNN; United Nations; U.S. Postal Service.


Visual Arts Corrie Parks: Fluid FramesCFP_SandStudio-2_web-632x427

Special Book Launch and Screening Event
Thursday, November 3, 2016 · 6:00 – 7:00 PM, Reception Follows

CIRCA Presents Visual Arts professor Corrie Parks as she launches her new Focal Press book Fluid Frames at UMBC. Accompanying the book launch is a screening of experimental animation, which is a centerpiece to the publication.

Once the realm of a few stalwart artists, animating with sand, clay, and wet paint is now accessible for all filmmakers with an experimental frame of mind. Created directly under the camera with frame-by-frame stopmotion, this “fluid frame animation” provides a completely unique visual world for animators. While pioneering animators such as Caroline Leaf, Alexander Petrov, and Ishu Patel paved the way, the availability of frame capture programs, compositing software and digital workflow is opening up new avenues of exploration for artists of all experience levels. This book will walk you through setting up your studio, choosing and working with your materials, and combining the physical under-the-camera production with digital compositing and effects to enhance your animation.
– Fluid Frames, by Corrie Parks

Animator and author Corrie Francis Parks presents a collection of international short films from contemporary animators featured in the book Fluid Frames: Experimental Animation with Sand, Clay, Paint, and Pixels. Created with wet paint, sand, clay, and charcoal, these films dazzle the eye with light, color, and texture, connecting the physical materials to the narrative and visual trajectory of each film. These artists revel in the process of animation as much as the end goal of the audience’s journey, leaving a memorable impact on not only our perception, but our deeper sensibilities. Q&A with the author will follow the screening.


  • Norman – Robbe Vervaeke – (Belgium, 10:00) – paint on glass
  • Tunnel – Maryam Kashkoolinia – (Iran, 7:20) – sand
  • Night Weaver – Joan Gratz – (USA, 6:00) – clay painting
  • The Well – Philippe Vaucher – (Canada, 12:10) – salt
  • A Tangled Tale – Corrie Francis Parks – (USA, 5:30) – sand
  • Ballad of Holland Island House – Lynn Tomlinson (USA, 4:19) – clay painting
  • Spring – Xin Li (Australia, 3:40) – paint on glass
  • Signum  – Witold Giersz (Poland, 14:00) – progressive drawing

Presenter Bio:

Corrie Francis Parks is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at UMBC and a freelance animator and photographer based in Baltimore. An alumna of Dartmouth College and University of Southern California, her award-winning films have been exhibited at over 100 national and international film festivals on every continent except Antarctica. She has been an artist in residence at the MacDowell Colony and Fundación Valparaíso, a Fulbright Fellow to New Zealand, and a recipient of a Sierra Foundation Grant for her work in experimental photography. Corrie’s animation and photography emphasizes the integration of digital and traditional mediums and a dialogue between technique and mediums.

Following the screening, chat with the author and enjoy light reception fare.


Naughty Dog Studios’ Marianne Hayden, UMBC ‘03 MH-MoCapSmall

In a special alumni focused CIRCA event
Monday, April 25, 2016 Noon – 1:00 PM
Performing Arts and Humanities Building room 102, Theater Rehearsal Studio

CIRCA Presents is a series championing important new work in the performing and visual arts. As UMBC celebrates its 50th anniversary CIRCA will highlight the accomplishments of exceptional Visual and Performing Arts alumni. A reception, with vegetarian options, will be provided by CIRCA. This event is co-presented with the Theater Department at UMBC.


Marianne Hayden, will discuss her work as a cinematics animator at Naughty Dog, one of the worlds leading video game companies, which is based in Santa Monica, California. She has worked on Uncharted 1,2,3,and 4, The Last of Us, The Last of Us: Left Behind, and many other titles. Hayden has contributed to the animation team, which has been awarded an Annie, BAFTAs, VGAs and numerous Game of the Year awards. She specializes in high quality, realistic, facial and animal animation.

Presenter Bio:

Marianne Hayden was an UMBC Linehan Artist scholar and graduated from UMBC in 2003 with a BA in visual arts and a BFA in theater. She continued her education at The California Institute of the Arts, earning her MFA in experimental animation in the Film/Video department. Marianne has worked at a range of studios, including Insomniac, Technicolor, Treyarch, Imagi, and Naughty Dog, Inc.

Along with being a professional animator Hayden uses her theater background to direct motion capture shoots as well as act on the motion capture stage. She earned her SAG card while on maternity leave, doing stunt work for Uncharted 3.

Marianne Hayden at IMDb.


Two Video Works by John Sturgeon

Archivist (2010)

Archivist (2010)

Monday, May 4, 2015 | 6:00 – 7:00 PM 
PAHB 132

This event marked the inaugural CIRCA Presents event.

UMBC Professor John Sturgeon of Visual Arts debuted his video with which we sleep (2015), and presented ARCHIVIST: cleaving among the houses (2010), both produced and directed by the artist. John Sturgeon engaged the audience in conversation around these two works, which served as a capstone to his career at UMBC.

John Sturgeon is a digital media artist-poet, practicing in video, installation, performance and interactive forms, with interests in tele-performative and streaming media collaborations. For over four decades, Sturgeon has exhibited, screened and lectured about his work both nationally and internationally, including solo commissions at The Museum of Modern Art, NY and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His work is represented in the collections of major museums worldwide, with a history of awards and fellowships including a Guggenheim Fellowship, several NEA Individual and Media Arts awards and two Fulbright Scholar appointments – most recently serving as: US-UK Fulbright Scholar 2012-13, University of the Arts London.