Arts scholarship honors Summerfest icon and UWM alum Bob Babisch

For nearly 50 years, music fans and spectators from around the world benefitted from the work of UWM alum Bob Babisch. As Summerfest’s top talent booker from 1976 to 2022, Babisch brought names such as The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, and Prince to Milwaukee’s—and perhaps the world’s—biggest music festival. Now in retirement, Babisch (’74 BFA Theatre) is being honored by his former employer, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., and his alma mater with a named scholarship to support Peck School of the Arts students. Imanol Ruiz is one of those students. As a result, Ruiz graduated debt free, allowing him to explore opportunities in his field.

Musical theatre student branches out as dialect assistant

When an actor immerses themselves into a character, they sometimes need to develop an accent or dialect. Anyone who has heard a poorly executed accent knows it can be difficult to ignore. Luckily for most actors, they do not have to figure this out on their own, instead seeking help from those who specialize in this work. Recent grad Mason Shefchik (BFA 2024, Theatre Performance: Musical Theatre) is one of those individuals. He recently served as a dialect assistant for Renaissance Theaterworks while still a student.

PSOA students earn three competitive Distinguished Graduate School Fellowships

Three Peck School of the Arts students were selected for Distinguished Graduate School Fellowships for the 2024-25 academic year. The fellowships are awarded through one of the most competitive selection processes at the graduate level. The PSOA Department of Dance, Department of Music, and Department of Film, Video, Animation & New Genres each had one student selected to receive the support, which covers graduate tuition and provides an academic year stipend.

Research and collaboration set the stage for Once Upon A Mattress 

The Peck School of the Arts Department of Theatre is putting the finishing touches on their next production Once Upon A Mattress, a comedic and musical retelling of “The Princess and the Pea.” Through creative collaboration and dramaturgical research, students are achieving great heights as they fully immerse themselves in their roles. Here’s what several actors shared about their process.

Milwaukee Film Festival Roundup: Alumni and Student Edition

The 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival is underway, and Peck School of the Arts has a lot to be proud of. Nineteen alumni and a current MFA candidate will have their work screened across 15 unique works, including shorts, features, and music videos. The PSOA community of artists is excited to highlight the incredible work screening at this year’s festival. Check out the impressive list of films and filmmakers with strong ties to PSOA.

International art and media exhibition featuring work by PSOA artists on view at UWM 

Nine Peck School of the Arts students, recent alumni, and a faculty member are currently displaying their work in the Cross Connections 2024 International Exhibition and Competition of Visual Communication Design and Emerging Media Design. This juried exhibition is a global event that showcases top talent from higher education institutions worldwide, including the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. The artworks represent a wide variety of visual art forms that transcend borders, cultures, and disciplines.

Film and animation students heavily featured at Nō Studios Filmmaker Showcase

More than 10 film students screened their work at Nō Studios’ inaugural Filmmaker Showcase in Spring 2024, highlighting the wide breadth of work being produced in Milwaukee. Across five nights, the showcase featured a range of genres including horror, experimental, documentary, music video, anime, and more. Unsurprisingly, some of the best and most memorable shorts came from PSOA students.

Director of Pipeline credits theatre students with bringing the play to UWM 

In early 2022, Peck School of the Arts students Ethan Hightire and Nahjee Robinson sat in Milwaukee’s Next Act Theater, immersed in Dominque Morisseau’s critical-acclaimed play Pipeline. Both were astonished by what they saw. Hightire recognized that the character Omari was the role he was born to play. Hightire and Robinson immediately went to Katie Avila Loughmiller (Lecturer, Theatre) insisting that Pipeline was a show she had to see. Their intention? Advocate for an eventual UWM production of the piece.

Students inspired to push the boundaries of musical genres at two-day residency

Renowned vocalist Melissa Foster visited the Peck School of the Arts for a two-day residency last month as part of a growing effort to diversify the vocal stylings and teachings at PSOA. Foster’s expertise ranges across genres that vocal students do not always get to work with. During the two-day residency, she led workshops and taught lectures on Motown, disco, rap, musical theatre, and more, to expose students to contemporary commercial music.

Partnership with Kessler’s Diamonds results in one-of-a-kind pieces and experiences

For the past five years, UWM students studying jewelry and metalsmithing have gained career-defining experience thanks to a multifaceted partnership between Kessler’s Diamonds and the Peck School of the Arts. Kessler’s provides expensive materials and equipment, three scholarships each year, and exclusive availability to internships with the Wisconsin-based and employee-owned company. At a time when goldsmiths are difficult to come by, Kessler’s benefits from an expanding pool of talent already familiar with their business practices.