Theatre chair named to Alabama School of Fine Arts Board

By on July 4, 2014

Kelly Allison, chair of the Department of Theatre, has been invited to join the Alabama School of Fine Arts Board of Trustees.

Allison’s connection to ASFA began several years ago when Executive Director Michael Meeks asked him to serve on the search committee for a new chair of theater.

“I was very excited to learn that the ASFA Board of Trustees had identified me as a candidate for the board,” Allison said. “The opportunity to work with Dr. Meeks and the other members of the board is very appealing.”

Allison says he respects the ASFA students as much as he does their leadership.

“I have always been impressed with the ASFA graduates who have pursued college training in our program at UAB,” he said. “Many of them go on to earn terminal degrees at some of the most prestigious graduate programs in the country. This rarely happens without a strong foundation of intellectual curiosity and academic inquiry. The cornerstone for that foundation is laid at ASFA. I look forward to serving everyone in the ASFA family, the Birmingham community and the state of Alabama as a member of the board.”

Allison received his MFA in scenography from the University of Minnesota and a BFA from Stephens College. He has worked with a number of institutions and theater groups, including 14 seasons with the Tony award-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Opera Birmingham, the American Folk Ballet, Alabama Ballet and more. He has served as a designer or production manager for more than 250 productions.

In addition, Allison has designed lighting for a number of well-known performers and artists, including Aaron Neville, Judy Collins and Aretha Franklin. He has served as Birmingham’s local lighting or production director for Ben Vereen, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Amy Grant and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Robert L. Palazzo, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, says he and the college are proud of Allison and he appreciates the trust that ASFA is placing in him.

“UAB and the Alabama School of Fine Arts are two extremely important institutions for the state of Alabama,” Palazzo said. “We look forward to future interactions and collaboration.”

The Alabama School of Fine Arts is a public high school in Birmingham that was formally instituted in 1971. Located downtown since 1992, the school includes a math/science wing and a fine arts facility. The new Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre was opened in 2013 to support the school’s burgeoning performing arts programs. In addition to a full college preparatory curriculum, the school’s six specialty areas are creative writing, dance, math/science, music, theater, and visual arts.

ASFA students regularly place at the top in state and national competitions in the six areas, are selected as National Merit Scholars at the rate of 5 to 9 percent annually, and average a 94 percent matriculation rate to four-year institutions. It is ranked as one of the best public high schools in the nation.

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