The Hughes Project: CCM partners with high school students on light show

Hughes STEM High School will light up with projections of student artwork on Friday, April 2

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) Theatre Design and Production students are working with Hughes STEM High School art students on a light show that will be projected onto Hughes’ beautiful and historic façade on Friday, April 2, 2021. Themed around Afrofuturism and visions of the future, the installation is made possible by the generous support of Prestige AV, Vincent Lighting Systems, Lightborne Communications and UC Forward. 

A CCM student-designed poster for The Hughes Project.

The collaboration began when CCM Lighting Design and Technology Professor Sharon Huizinga connected with industry colleagues to discuss how to make careers accessible to those who may dream of working in the arts, but don’t know where to begin. She wanted to connect with young students and show them that a career in the arts is possible for a wide variety of personalities and goals.

“I thought, ‘maybe I could ask for access to middle school and high school populations who might not know how many different career options there are in the arts',” Huizinga says. “I have the sense that people think of theatre and they think of something that doesn’t feel like a viable or secure career choice.”

There are a variety of career paths both on stage and behind-the-scenes that students can explore and pursue.

“Your favorite music artist — or your favorite awards show, play, major sporting event and so on — has whole team of people working to create those shows,” she says. “There are production managers, technical directors, tour managers, lighting directors, sound designers, costume designers, hair and make-up artists, lighting vendors, equipment manufacturers, and more — all who represent a broad spectrum of career options."

“In lighting design and technology, there are artistic jobs and technical jobs,” she adds. “There are jobs that are freelance, jobs that are salaried and 9-5, jobs that include travel and ones that are fixed in a single place, as well as everything in between.”

Huizinga attended a Cincinnati Public School Board meeting in the summer to pitch a collaboration with CCM and interested public schools. Several people reached out, including Mary Green, the Visual Arts Coordinator at Hughes STEM High School. Hughes’ location at 2515 Clifton Avenue is walking distance from the CCM Village.

“It sounded like a perfect fit, since we are in such close proximity,” Green says. “I had no idea that UC had a Theater Lighting Program, so the partnership is just as exciting for me as it is for my students!"

Since moving to Cincinnati last year and attending the BLINK Festival, I dreamed of doing a project with my students to light up the tower. Little did I know that we would be able to realize such a dream through the UC partnership!

Mary Green, Visual Arts Coordinator at Hughes STEM High School

“It sounded like a perfect fit, since we are in such close proximity,” Green says. “I had no idea that UC had a Theater Lighting Program, so the partnership is just as exciting for me as it is for my students! Since moving to Cincinnati last year and attending the BLINK Festival, I dreamed of doing a project with my students to light up the tower. Little did I know that we would be able to realize such a dream through the UC partnership!”

Green’s 7th grade students are submitting artwork for the CCM students to project onto Hughes STEM High School. The building is “one of the premier examples of Tutor architecture in the country” and boasts a 145-foot Tudor tower designed by J. Walter Stevens that can be seen for miles.

CCM students working on “The Hughes Project” include majors from the college’s Lighting Design and Technology, Technical Direction and Stage Management programs. CCM students will project the artwork onto the building’s 145-foot tower using two 30,000 lumen projectors from Prestige AV and will light the rest of the building with LED lights provided by Vincent Lighting Systems.

The light show is the first step in CCM’s collaboration with Hughes STEM High School. Next year, Huizinga will work with Green to show CCM Idea Lab films to the high school students  to foster continued conversation about the entertainment industry and how it works

I hope that doing this project with the high school students helps us increase engagement in the community and light sparks of interest.

Sharon Huizinga, Prof. of Lighting Design and Technology at CCM

“If there are high school or middle school students out there who are potentially interested in the arts, I want to be part of showing them that there is a spectrum of possibilities that they could get involved in and get training in,” she adds. “Whether that is here at CCM or somewhere else, I don’t actually mind, it just improves the industry as a whole to involve everyone who is interested.”

The Hughes Project

A projection and lighting experience projected onto Hughes STEM High School

Standing room only. Face masks and social distancing required.

The Hughes Project is made possible by the generous support of CCM, Hughes STEM High School, Prestige AV, Vincent Lighting Systems, Lightborne Communications and UC Forward.

Faculty Advisors:

  • CCM Master Electrician Greg Falcione, Project Advisor
  • CCM Lighting Design and Technology Professor Sharon Huizinga, Project Advisor
  • CCM Technical Director Professor Stirling Shelton, Project Advisor
  • Mary Green, Hughes High School Visual Arts Coordinator
  • Kenneth Daugherty, Hughes High School Facilities Manager
  • Kathy Wright, Hughes High School Principal 

Project Management:

  • Lighting Design and Technology student Tayler Durantini, Project Manager
  • Lighting Design and Technology student Natalia Carlson, Asst. Project Manager (Projections)
  • Lighting Design and Technology student Dionte Mercado, Asst. Project Manager (Lighting)
  • Stage Management student Kelsey Qualters, Stage Manager
  • Stage Management student Piper Morgan, Asst. Stage Manager
  • Stage Management student Kaylin Story, Asst. Stage Manager

Team Lighting:

  • Lighting Design and Technology student Christyna Nowakowski, Master Electrician
  • Lighting Design and Technology student Tal Kochav, Asst. Master Electrician 

Team Projections:

  • Lighting Design and Technology student Jason Bowden, Media Programmer/Content
  • Lighting Design and Technology student Ian MacIntosh, Screens Producer/Content

Technical Direction:

  • Technical Production student Justin Levine, Technical Director

Show Times

8:30 p.m., 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Friday, April 2, 2021.

Location

Hughes STEM High School
2515 Clifton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45219


About Hughes STEM High School

At Hughes STEM High School, students are immersed in a creative focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with a strong liberal arts foundation. Students take part in rich and meaningful experiences that expose them to a wide range of STEM careers. Project-based learning is at the heart of a Hughes STEM education.

Hughes students graduate ready for school, work, and life in the 21st century. They benefit from internships and real-world, workplace experiences. Each student receives personalized advisory support, ensuring that all students graduate college-ready and with certification in a variety of marketable skills.

Learn more at hughesstem.cps-k12.org

About CCM Theatre Design and Production

CCM’s Department of Theatre Design and Production (TD&P) offers Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts with specialization in the following areas:

The Theatre Design and Production program features cutting-edge facilities and technology, with:

  • 8,500 square foot scene shop
  • 3,000 square foot costume shop
  • Wig, make-up and prosthetics studios
  • 3 different production venues
  • 800 square foot light lab

Learn more at ccm.uc.edu/tdp


Featured image at the top: A test of the light projections onto Hughes STEM High School.