Top-ranked Art Programs in Stephens College Need More Attention

COLUMBIA — Obscured by the reputation of the much bigger University of Missouri, Stephens College has strong and top-ranked art and art-related programs.

Teachers in Stephens College think not enough people know how great these programs are.

These art and art-related programs emphasize the importance of providing practical experience to the students. In the digital filmmaking program, students have the chance to work with professional filmmakers at the annual Citizen Jane Film Festival.

Kerri Yost, an associate professor of digital filmmaking at Stephens and founder of the Citizen Jane Film Festival, said students can learn the real world life of film and what happens after a film is finished, which is hard to find in other filmmaking programs.

“We need to raise our profile because we can help our students more in getting employed and navigating the business side compared with other filmmaking programs,” said Yost.

One of Yost’s students is interested in film archiving, which is a small and specific area of the film industry. Yost said they have helped her gain experience and got an internship in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in film archiving in Los Angeles.

“This is not atypical. We have streamlined our program for their careers goals,” said Yost. “It would be attractive if more potential students know about this.”

As a digital filmmaking student from the Stephens College, Gabby Galarza said she is grateful for the program. She said she has learned everything including directing, cinematography, editing, lighting and producing. Galarza also has the opportunity to work for the Citizen Jane Film Festival.

“I think what I have learned in Stephens is so helpful in the future because you are ready for any field that you want to go in,” said Galarza.

The theater program in the college is also strong, ranked 6th in the U.S. by the Princeton Review. It also wants more attention from the community.

During the summer, first-year theater major students have the chance to participate in the Summer Theatre Institute, produce and perform their own shows. The director of the Summer Theatre Institute and associate professor of the theater arts, Lamby Hedge, said the biggest challenge of the summer program is to have more audience.

“It is important for students play to the audience,” said Hedge. “As first-year students, they need feedback and approval.”

On June 2, the show “The Blessed Unrest Project” was presented in the Warehouse Theatre. Around 50 people came to watch the show and filled half of the playhouse.

“We still have a lot of room to grow,” said Hedge.

Hedge said the limited budget has influenced them to promote their program more effectively. She refused to give the exact number of the budget that they have, but she said they have done much volunteer work to promote the program.

“We have already used very well the money that we have,” said Hedge. “But we still want a bigger budget, which can allow us have bigger artistic ambition.”