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Ted King-Smith Achieves 3rd Place Nationally in The American Prize Competition |

Categories: 2010s | Award or honor | College of Arts and Sciences | Featured

Ted King-Smith

Ted King-Smith

Composer TED KING-SMITH of Kansas City, MO has achieved 3rd place nationally in The American Prize competition, 2014, in the student band/wind ensemble division, for his work entitled “Manhattan.” Mr. King-Smith was selected from applications reviewed this summer from all across the United States. The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit competitions unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States based on submitted recordings. The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually in many areas of the performing arts. Complete information on the website: www.theamericanprize.org.
The composer provided this autobiographical sketch:

Ted King-Smith’s music is a hybrid of vernacular and contemporary music, exploring the vast sonic space between an energetic drive and a surreal stillness. Hailing from the Hudson Valley of New York, Ted began his studies in music on the saxophone at age 8, and then went on to attend and graduate from the Hartt School of Music in 2010, and Washington State University in 2012. He is currently pursuing his DMA in composition at the University of Missouri – Kansas City where his current teachers include Chen Yi and James Mobberley.

Awards for Ted’s music include the 2012 Washington-Idaho Symphony Young Artist Competition and 2011 Sinfonian Saxes Composition Competition, as well as selected performances at College Music Society Conferences in Vancouver, British Columbia and Knoxville, Tennessee. Notable performers and ensembles include the Saxophilia Saxophone Quartet, University of Tennessee Symphony Band, and others. For more information visit http://www.tedkingsmith.com

Among judges’ comments: “off-beat, jazzy, humorous and…convincing.”

For runners-up in this category and for additional winners already announced in 2014 in other competitions, please follow this link: http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/

Finalists for The American Prize receive professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition based on their recorded performances. In addition to written evaluations from judges, winners and runners-up are profiled on The American Prize website, where links will lead to winners’ websites.


The American Prize grew from the belief that a great deal of excellent music being made in this country goes unrecognized and unheralded, not only in our major cities, but all across the country: in schools and churches, in colleges and universities, and by community and professional musicians.

With the performing arts in America marginalized like never before, The American Prize seeks to fill the gap that leaves excellent artists and ensembles struggling for visibility and viability. The American Prize recognizes and rewards the best America produces, without bias against small city versus large, or unknown artist versus well-known.

David Katz is the chief judge of The American Prize. Professional conductor, award-winning composer, playwright, actor and arts advocate, he is author of MUSE of FIRE, the acclaimed one-man play about the art of conducting. Joining Katz in selecting winners of The American Prize is a panel of judges as varied in background and experience as we hope the winners of The American Prize will be. Made up of distinguished musicians representing virtually every region of the country, the group includes professional vocalists, conductors, composers and pianists, tenured professors and orchestra, band and choral musicians.

“Most artists may never win a Grammy award, or a Pulitzer, or a Tony, or perhaps even be nominated,” Katz said, “but that does not mean that they are not worthy of recognition and reward. Quality in the arts is not limited to the coasts, or to the familiar names. It is on view all over the United States, if you take the time to look for it. The American Prize exists to encourage and herald that excellence.”

By shining a light on nationally recognized achievement, winners of The American Prize receive world-class bragging rights to use in promotion right at home. “If The American Prize helps build careers, or contributes to local pride, or assists with increasing the audience for an artist or ensemble, builds the donor base, or stimulates opportunities or recruitment for winning artists and ensembles, then we have fulfilled our mission,” Katz said.

In addition to composition awards, in The American Prize sponsors competitions for conductors, ensembles, vocalists and pianists.

The American Prize
is administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit performing arts organization based in Danbury, Connecticut.


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Author Yvonne Higgins Leach Published her First Collection of Poems |

Categories: 1980s | Professional or career event

Yvonne Higgins Leach ’83 has published her first collection of poems, Another Autumn.

These poems connect to the world in a big way—through an empathetic heart that seeks to understand the mysteries of the human experience. They fully embrace the seasons of life and do so splendidly through perfectly chosen images, simple language, and a genuine voice. This first collection is full of intimate poem

s about family, love, loss, community, work, separation, and connection, and each poem invites the reader to consider his or her own life more thoughtfully.

Peter Serchuck, author of Waiting for Poppa at the Smithtown Diner and All That Remains, says of Another Autumn: “It is everything its title suggests: at once full of brilliant color and crisp detail while it gathers things past, things loved, things lost. The poems in the fine collection are about seasons and, more specifically, seasons passing. Seasons of childhood, parenthood, friendship and love. Each poem charts the weather of each head on, unflinchingly, yet with great heart.”

Higgins Leach has spent decades balancing a career in communications and public relations, raising a family, and pursuing her love of writing poetry. She splits her time living between Snohomish and Spokane, Washington.

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Dave Cohen begins a “second career” as a Manager with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. |

Categories: 2010s | College of Business | Featured | Professional or career event

Dave Cohen ’12 MBA spent over 26 years as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force, rising to the rank of Colonel. As a pilot with over 2,500 worldwide flying hours, including combat and combat support time, he held command and leadership positions at nearly every level, to include the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Upon retirement, Dave began a “second career” as a Manager with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. In this role, he leads a team charged with managing the inventory levels and logistics for operational, entertainment, and character costumes, for the Florida and California Parks and Resorts, and the Disney Cruise Line, as well as providing support to the international Disney Parks.

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WSU alum to receive mental-health reporting award |

Categories: 2000s | Award or honor | Edward R. Murrow College of Communication | Featured

Jacob Jones '07. Courtesy Forefront.

Jacob Jones ’07. Courtesy Forefront.

Jacob Jones ’07, a graduate of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, has been named the 2014 winner of the Washington Mental Health Reporting Award. A staff writer for the Inlander in Spokane, he won for his series on how the criminal justice system handles people living with mental illness.

Jones will receive the award in Seattle at the Sept. 30 anniversary celebration for Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention. The annual award is co-sponsored by Forefront and the University of Washington Department of Communication Journalism program to honor Washington state journalism that improves the public’s understanding of suicide prevention, behavioral illnesses, treatment, recovery, public policy and related topics.

In honoring Jones’ work, the judges praised his exceptional reporting and compelling writing.  “Jones’ vivid storytelling helps readers understand the impact that mental illnesses can have on the family and friends of those in need of treatment, many of whom are also at high risk for suicide,” the judges’ citation said.  “His articles document the kinds of challenges facing criminal-justice systems that are increasingly overburdened by people who have a mental illness.”

Jones has worked at the Inlander since 2012, primarily covering criminal justice, mental health and natural resource issues. His prize-winning series ran as part of the weekly newspaper’s yearlong initiative, “State of Mind,” on reforms and challenges throughout the regional mental health system. Jones’ stories, “Locked Away” and “Changing of the Guard,” focused on the problems encountered when the Spokane County Jail becomes a mental health facility, as well as the rough road that Spokane and regional law enforcement traveled before adopting law enforcement Crisis Intervention Team training.

Jones said: “The Inlander took on the mental health system to inject a new, localized urgency into the ongoing national debate on how public and private agencies provide care for people with mental illnesses. The stories of Amanda Cook (who took her own life in the Spokane jail) and others stand as unsettling examples of how the system, despite good intentions, has failed.

“I will always carry Amanda Cook’s story with me. Her family maintains she could have been saved. Her suicide was not inevitable. Reading her letters, retracing her growing hopelessness, today reflects a broader sense of helplessness as others continue to sit trapped behind bars without treatment,” he said.

The award comes with a $500 prize. The judges were drawn from media, mental health, UW journalism faculty and individuals personally acquainted with suicide risk or loss. Next year’s contest will consider entries published, broadcasted or posted between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. Entries can be submitted any time to ffront@uw.edu with 2015 Media Award in the subject line.

The Sept. 30 celebration will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Mountaineers Club, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.  Reservations can be made at intheforefront.org.

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Washington State University Alum, Joel S. Allen among 102 selected for State of the Art exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art |

Categories: 2000s | Award or honor | College of Arts and Sciences | Featured | Professional or career event

State of the Art exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

September 13, 2014 – January 19, 2015


Work by Joel Allen '01. Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Work by Joel Allen ’01. Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. recently announced that the exhibition State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now  will feature 102 artists from all over the country. Washington State University Alum (2001) and Steamboat Springs, CO-based artist, Joel S. Allen’s work will be included in State of the Art, which debuts at Crystal Bridges on September 13.

Crystal Bridges President Don Bacigalupi and Assistant Curator Chad Alligood interviewed Allen earlier this year as part of the search for the most compelling American art being created today.

This studio visit was one of nearly 1,000 stops made by the curatorial team during a year-long, 100,000 mile journey across the country to discover artists whose work has not yet been fully recognized. The result is a one-of-a-kind exhibition that draws from every region of the U.S., offering an unusually diverse and nuanced look at American art. The 102 artists selected range in age from 24 – 87, including 54 male and 48 female artists from across the country.

Five sculptures by Allen from his ongoing series Hooked on Svelte will be included in State of the Art. Joel works with twine, yarn, wine corks, pill bottles, wood, copper, irrigation tubing, acrylic sheeting, paper pulp and rubber to create large-scale hanging fiber sculptures. Allen completed his Master of Fine Arts at Washington State University in 2001 in Pullman. He credits much of his success to the extraordinary faculty within the Department of Fine Arts, especially Professor Emeritus Jack Dollhausen. Allen continues to work full-time as a practicing artist while also teaching part-time at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs.

“The complexity of themes in the work mirrors the diversity and individuality of the makers. Each artist represents meaningful conversations happening in rural communities, small towns, and more densely populated urban centers all across the country,” said Crystal Bridges assistant curator Chad Alligood. “The artists are responding to the same things we’re all responding to in our daily lives. We hope that this exhibition will inspire new ways to experience contemporary art and the evolving narratives that make up our cultural fabric.”

From works on canvas and paper to photography, video to installation, sculpture to ceramics and more, the diverse range of styles and voices from across the U.S. reflects what’s happening in American art right now.

“The exhibition is a glimpse into the state of art in our nation at this moment,” said Crystal Bridges president Don Bacigalupi. Presenting the exhibition at Crystal Bridges provides us an opportunity to see contemporary art in the broader historical context. By examining a wide range of works by artists from across the country, we can gain insight into our nation as a whole: our collective passions, challenges, and concerns.”

The State of the Art exhibition, featuring more than 200 works by the 102 artists, will reach beyond the museum’s temporary exhibition spaces, extending into the permanent collection galleries and activating community areas indoors and out. Visitors to the exhibition will traverse through the museum’s permanent collection galleries, featuring masterworks such as Asher Brown Durand’s Kindred Spirits and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Radiator Building—Night, New York, before arriving at the museum’s 20th century gallery and the beginning of the State of the Art exhibition. The exhibition continues in the temporary exhibition galleries, occupying a total of approximately 19,000 square feet of gallery space.

For additional information on State of the Art, please contact:

Beth Bobbitt at Beth.Bobbitt@crystalbridges.org or (479) 418.5700

About the Artist


For information about Crystal Bridges, visit CrystalBridges.org. To learn more about State of the Art, visit the Huffington Post blog and Crystal Bridges website. For news updates, follow Crystal Bridges on Facebook or Twitter #StateoftheArt.

Work by Joel Allen '01. Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Work by Joel Allen ’01. Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art 

Work by Joel Allen '01. Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Work by Joel Allen ’01. Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art 

Joel Allen installing his work.
Joel Allen installing his work.

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