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«Fine Arts Faculty Director John Mixon John Mixon currently serves as the Director of the Fine Arts Division at Northwest Mississippi Community ...»

Fine Arts Faculty

Director John Mixon

John Mixon currently serves as the Director of the Fine Arts Division at

Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he is responsible for the

Visual Art, Music and Theatre Departments. He has over 30 years of

experience as an educator at the middle, high school and community

college level. He received his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees from

the University of Mississippi. During his tenure as an instrumental music

educator, programs under his leadership received numerous awards at the regional and national levels, including the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Grammy Signature School Award and Best 100 Communities in America for Music Education.

Mixon has been recognized as Mississippi Band Director of the Year, Teacher of the Year and Star Teacher by the Mississippi Economic Council. He was selected to serve as Concert Director for the Mississippi All State Band and has been featured in School Band and Orchestra Magazine as one of ‘50 Directors Who Make a Difference’.

Lawayne House Chair of Art Department Lawayne House grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1976, he graduated from the then-Memphis Academy of Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Advertising Design. Recruited by the greeting card giant, Hallmark Cards, Lawayne moved to Kansas City, Missouri and began his career as a designer. Over the next 25 years he balanced his art pursuits with a successful career in both illustration and advertising. Seeking an opportunity to help young artists pursue professional careers, Lawayne began working for Northwest as an adjunct instructor in 2001. And, in 2002 he entered the graduate program at the Memphis College of Art. In 2004 he was awarded the terminal degree in Studio Art, the Master of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in painting.

Lawayne began working for Northwest full-time in 2004 and became Chair of the Art Department in

2006. He currently teaches Art Appreciation, Art History, Design and Painting. He is a member of the eLearning Committee and teaches both Art Appreciation and Art History online. As a co-sponsor of the student art club, Les Fauves, he shares in the responsibility of maintaining and coordinating exhibitions held in the Northwest Art Gallery. Through his many creative pursuits, Lawayne has designed numerous illustrations and advertising collateral for a variety of corporate and retail accounts. In his studio, he continues to explore the unlimited possibilities of paint and paper. His work has been exhibited in various venues both local and national exhibitions.

Ashley Chavis

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Ashley began working for Northwest Mississippi Community College in 2007. He currently teaches Drawing and Ceramics. He also helps curate and maintain the department’s art gallery and is an advisor of the students’ art club, Les Fauves.

Ashley also enjoys an active studio schedule. Most of his creative energy is devoted to producing functional pottery that has a unique since of tactility and surface design. However, he also experiments with mixed-media drawings and prints. He has shown his work in over one hundred exhibitions. His work can be found in numerous regional and national exhibitions and locally at Southside Gallery in Oxford, Mississippi. He is a member of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC), Southern Graphics Council International (SGCI), and Sycamore Arts Council. Ashley lives with his wife, Virginia, who is also an artist, and two children in Oxford.

Danita Lloyd

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Danita is the Graphic Design Instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College and teaches courses in Computer Arts, Advertising Design, Design I & II and Art Appreciation. Danita’s personal artwork concentrates on Painting and Mixed media. Her subjects focus on two areas, local landscapes and text.

Mackey Harrison Mackey Harrison, Adjunct Art Instructor holds a bachelors degree from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, FL and a Master of Fine Arts from The University of Mississippi. He has taught as a graduate student and visiting assistant professor of art for The University of Mississippi and as a gifted art instructor for Tate County School District. With twenty years of teaching experience, Mackey has conducted workshops for The University of Mississippi Museum's after school program and Sycamore Art Council's Art Smart Summer Camp.

Harrison has previously served as Vice President and is currently an active board member of the Sycamore Art Council. His work has been shown in numerous exhibitions and is in the permanent collection of The Masur Museum, Monroe, LA and collection of actor Morgan Freeman.

Music Susanne Spencer Van Dyke Susanne Spencer Van Dyke began her teaching career in 1993 as Director of Choral Activities at Northwest Mississippi Community College and also serves as the chair of the Music Department. She is a graduate of South Panola High School. In addition to beginning her college studies at Northwest, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Delta State University and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Mississippi College. She has also taken post graduate courses in choral conducting with Dr. James Jordan at Westminster Choir College. She is featured in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” and is a contributor to the book “The Musician’s Spirit” by Dr. James Jordan. She is past president of the State Community College Choral Association as well a member of American Choral Directors Association and National Association of Teachers of Singing. In 2013, Van Dyke was awarded the prestigious Sandy Grisham Excellence in Teaching Award for her innovation, excellence and commitment in teaching music and in directing choral activities at Northwest Mississippi Community College.

In the past she also served as Vocal Director for NWCC musicals and in this position has directed “Cats”, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “Smoke on the Mountain”, “Sanders Family Christmas”, “Little Shop of Horrors”, ”Fiddler on the Roof”, “Man of La Mancha” and many others. She also served as vocal coach for the community theatre premiere of “Les Miserables” produced by Panola Playhouse.

Jonathan Bass

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Jennifer received a BM (flute performance) from the University of Mississippi, where she was extremely active in Sigma Alpha Iota, and earned a MM (flute performance) from the University of Memphis. She is a certified Suzuki and Orff teacher and has a very large private flute studio consisting of students from all over the Mid-South area. Each summer she coordinates the Desoto Flute Camp and the Memphis Flute Camp, and has served on the board of the Mid-South Flute Society as Secretary, Program Coordinator, and Exhibits Chair for the annual Mid-South Flute Festival.

A sought after woodwind adjudicator, both regionally and nationally, Jennifer has judged for Desoto County and the WTSBOA, served as taped round judge for the National Flute Association High School Soloist Competition in 2009, and, in 2011 and 2012, served as taped round for the National Flute Association Flute Choir competition.

Jennifer has performed at Wildacres Flute Retreat, Brevard Music Center, Domain Forget in Quebec, and was selected to perform with the National Wind Ensemble in Carnegie Hall. She regularly performs with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra in Tennessee on both piccolo and flute and performed this past year at the Single Reed Summit at the University of Mississippi.

John Ungurait

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As an ardent proponent of music by living composers, Shavers has participated in multiple commissions of new works and has also premiered works by North American composers David Maslanka, Bill Douglas, and Gary Schocker. Shavers holds degrees from Valparaiso University (B.M.Ed), Western Michigan University (M.M), and has completed advanced graduate studies at the University of Memphis. Shavers has been on Northwest Faculty since 2006 and currently teaches Music Appreciation courses at NWCC Desoto Center.

Speech/Theatre Bill Maze

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Some of her favorite acting credits include; The Bakers Wife in Into the Woods, Daisy in Sideshow, Pegeen in Playboy of the Western World, Popeye in The Miss Firecracker Contest, Pooty in Reckless, June in The Sanders Family Christmas. Sadie has presented at conferences such as the Southeastern Theatre Conference as well as been the guest speaker at several Musical Theatre workshops. She is a founding member of the Alabama Graduate Theatre Alliance and a proud member of VASTA.

Tracy Schaffer

Dr. Tracy Schaffer has been teaching a variety of communication classes for the past ten years, including Speech Communication, Organizational Communication, Health Communication, Research Methods, and Conflict Communication. Dr. Schaffer’s research interests involve mental health literacy, health narratives, addiction, social support, self-efficacy, and family systems. In April 2014, her dissertation titled “The Experience of the Addiction-Affected Family: A Communication Based Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis” won both the Morton Dissertation Award as well as the Department of Communication Research Award at the University of Memphis. Dr. Schaffer holds a B.A. in Political Science, M.A. in Organizational Communication, and Ph.D. in Health Communication from the University of Memphis.

Alyssa McElfresh

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After Northwest, she attended Mississippi University for Women where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and maintained her membership in Phi Theta Kappa as well as being nominated (and becoming a member of) The National Society of Leadership.

She is currently pursuing her M.A. in Theatre from Regent University while teaching full time at Northwest as the Technical Director for the Fine Arts.

She has been pursuing theatre since the age of 15 and has participated in over 40 shows in playhouses and theatres from Senatobia, MS to Olympia, WA. She has performed many roles in theatre, onstage (from Demeter in CATS to Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) & backstage (Lighting Designer, Scenic Designer, Scenic Artist, Stage Manager, Production Manager, Director).

She will be managing and producing all events held in the Northwest Fine Arts Auditorium as well as

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