Today, we talk to MTSU about a Project in the Amazon, the Arts and a Photographic Exhibit

Feb 20, 2023 at 09:42 am by WGNS News

GUESTS: Will Perkins, assistant professor of music, and Kristi Shamburger, associate professor of theatre
TOPIC: Upcoming MTSU Arts Celebration Concert on Feb. 25

MTSU invites the community to Tucker Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. for a special MTSU Arts production celebrating 11 years of MTSU Arts, proudly presented by Ascend Federal Credit Union.

Broadway star Laura Osnes joins us as a performer and host of an evening of art, dance, music, and theatre, featuring the talented faculty and students of MTSU’s College of Liberal Arts. MTSU will also be inducting a founding MTSU Arts Patron Society member, Andy Womack, into the MTSU Arts Hall of Fame.

Performances will include:

  • Students from the MTSU Dance Program with a piece by Dance faculty member Aaron Allen
  • A special preview of MTSU Theatre Program’s upcoming presentation of Cabaret and a performance by Kristi Shamburger’s Musical Theatre Students
  • A creative writing reading by MTSU English student Ashley Barrientos
  • Selections from several MTSU School of Music Ensembles, including the Chamber Orchestra led by Dr. Andrea Dawson, MTSU Singers led by Dr. Cedric Dent, Schola Cantorum led by Dr. Raphael Bundage, MTSU Opera led by Dr. Will Perkins, and the Steel Pan Ensemble led by Lala Davila

Tickets are on sale now at and  

GUEST: Paul Chilsen, associate professor of video and film production in the MTSU Department of Media Arts
TOPIC: Monday, Feb. 20, event titled “In Defense of Biocultural Conservation in Amazônia Film & Presentation”

On Monday Feb. 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building, Room 103, filmmaker Brkwyipoi Kayapó, along with her village chief/environmental advocate Kaket Bepuneiti, and their anthropology colleague Dr. Andre Demarchi, and others, will share their experiences and discuss their productions and their role in the struggle for cultural and environmental survival with MTSU faculty, students, and the general public.

The event is hosted by MTSU Media Arts professor Paul Chilsen and MTSU anthropology professor Richard Pace.

The Amazon Forest is at a tipping point following decades of clearing for agribusiness, timber, and mineral extraction. The possible loss of rainforest resilience, triggering "dieback" to other less biodiverse landscapes, will have devastating implications for global biodiversity, global climate change, and the people living there. Indigenous Peoples, such as the Mêbêngôkre-Kayapó, are well documented as having livelihoods that preserve rainforest and its biodiversity. The media makers/environmentalists traveling to speak at MTSU, who now self-designate as filmmaker warriors, are vital to raising awareness through their productions about the global consequences of local conflicts unfolding in Amazônia, as well as share the beauty of their culture.

 Since 2017, professors Paul Chilsen (Film and Video), Richard Pace (Anthropology), and over a dozen MTSU students have been training Mêbêngôkre-Kayapó Indigenous filmmakers in the Brazilian Amazon to produce documentary and narrative films. In 2022 this collaboration culminated in the awarding of a National Geographic Foundation grant to shoot the film “Indigenous Filmmaker Warriors in Defense of Biocultural Conservation.”

GUEST: Shannon Randol, assistant professor of photography and curator of the Baldwin Photographic Gallery at MTSU
TOPIC: The Drake photo exhibit through March 4 and Feb. 21 interdisciplinary panel discuss

The Baldwin Photographic Gallery presents The Drake, a photographic exhibition by Tamara Reynolds which includes portraits, still lifes and streetscapes that document the lives of people existing just above survival on one square block in the shadows of the Drake Motel in Nashville, Tennessee.

Although the historic motel has a storied past with rumored visits by Elvis Presley and as a popular film location for film shoots with stars such as River Phoenix and Dolly Parton, in The Drake Reynolds turns her lens on those less known living with addiction on the margins of society.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, in the Academic Classroom Building, Room 104, Reynolds will be joined by the following MTSU faculty for a moderated panel discussion. 

  • Dr. Vickie Harden, MSW Coordinator – Department of Social Work
  • Dr. Elizabeth Quinn Wright, Associate Professor – Department of Criminal Justice Administration
  • Dr. Thomas Black, Associate Professor – Department of Elementary and Special Education
  • Dr. Ashleigh E. McKinzie, Assistant Professor – Department of Sociology and Anthropology 
  • Dr. Bethany Ann Wrye, Associate Professor – Department of Health and Human Performance

Gallery reception to follow at the Baldwin Photographic Gallery in Bragg 269. Food and refreshments provided. Limited copies of Reynolds book will be available for purchase at the gallery reception. Exhibition runs through March 4.