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"A moment with ... Jeanne Harmeyer"

12/08/2011

Jeanne Harmeyer
"A moment with ... " is a Q-and-A column featuring Miami employees.

Today, take "A moment with ... Jeanne Harmeyer, marketing and communications director for academic programs in the School of Fine Arts."

Jeanne Harmeyer lives the Year of the Arts every day. Read on as she takes us behind the scenes.

Q: What is a day in the arts like for you?
A: It can be very crazy. I oversee the publicity for the academic programs within the School of Fine Arts for the departments of music, art, architecture+interior design and theatre. What I do is wide in scope in assuming management of web and print communications, audience development, and house management. On any given day, I have the opportunity to sit in on student rehearsals or performances, or engage in a design process. I do love the many opportunities that my job enables me to be a part of.

Q: What’s it like to be surrounded by all that energy, music and drama?
A: Compelling. To be a part of that energy is amazing. It’s so interesting to view what goes on behind the scenes. I have a deep appreciation of what all goes into a production from both a teaching and learning perspective for students and faculty alike. For instance, in the theatre department, I have the opportunity to see the very beginning of a design concept and observe that process as it unfolds, all the way to seeing the finished product on stage. My office resides in the corridor where music students convene. How many people get to listen to instrumentalists rehearse and to hear students sing in the hallways while they work? Today the CPA building was entertained by student flautists who played seasonal music in the lobby. What a wonderful thing.

Q: Can you recall a particular production or event that stands out in your mind?
A: It’s very hard to choose one event over the other, but since this is “The Year of the Arts” and special, one production comes to mind, which was the first performance of the season, a multi-media collage concert titled “Dancing Through Space and Time.” The conceptual designer of the program was music faculty member Harvey Thurmer. This interdisciplinary program involved a student graphic designer who designed images that were projected on stage, set to music and dance. It was a great demonstration of a collaborative effort involving graphic design, theatre, music and multi-media. We had a full house that evening and it was a beautiful show. The other outstanding fall highlight was Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with the participation of the Miami University Marching Band. My husband and I traveled to NY to watch the parade, which was a once in a lifetime experience that I will always treasure.

Q: Do you play an instrument, paint, or have an artistic hobby?
A: I took piano lessons for many years and at one time played for weddings and at very small performance venues. I recently converted a space in my house to a music room, and now only play for my own pleasure. A baby grand is on my wish list. I love photography, graphic design and art in general, all of which are part of me, as well as motivate and inspire me. I’m a true believer in the notion that art shapes a person and makes us all better human beings.

Q: What can we look forward to in spring semester?
A: Each and every semester SFA hosts over 100 events including student music and theatre performances, art exhibitions, lectures, master classes, and visiting artists. I would encourage people to visit the SFA website and check out our calendar of events for spring semester. The calendar is still being added to, and many of these offerings are free events. The Year of the Arts visibility has provided our division the means to showcase and celebrate the quality and success of our students and programming. We are also incredibly fortunate to have the Miami University Art Museum and the Performing Arts Series as part of the school's umbrella. The hope is that as many people as possible in our Miami and regional community have an opportunity to experience something new and invaluable by coming to a show or partaking in a visual art display. There's something happening in SFA nearly every day of the week in the months ahead.

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