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School of Music

The College of Fine Arts and Communications Announces Chair and Director Appointments

Joe Ostraff, Diane Reich and Brent Barson will begin their new leadership roles in the college in July, with Curt Holman continuing on as Department of Dance chair

Ed Adams, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, has announced the appointment of two new chairs and one new director, as well as one reappointed chair for the college. Joe Ostraff will replace Gary Barton as chair of the Department of Art, Diane Thueson Reich will replace Kirt Saville as director of the School of Music and Brent Barson will replace Eric Gillett as chair of the Department of Design. All of the appointments will take effect July 1, 2020. In addition, Curt Holman, who has been serving as chair of the Department of Dance, has been reappointed for another three years. “I have great appreciation for those who have filled these leadership appointments so diligently,” Adams said. “Each has made sacrifices and taken the time to serve the needs of the students, faculty and staff in their respective areas. We have all been blessed by their leadership, and I know they will continue to have a significant impact on the college. We also look forward to the contributions of those in new leadership roles.”

Joe Ostraff received an MFA from the University of Washington. He taught at Snow College as well as Timpview, Alta and South Sevier High Schools before coming to BYU in 1993. During his career, Ostraff has primarily taught painting, drawing and advanced studio courses. He has directed or co-directed numerous collaborative projects between BYU and international programs, which has involved hundreds of students and faculty and resulted in more than 30 international, national and regional exhibitions. Ostraff has been the recipient of numerous art awards and artist residencies. In 2017, he received the College of Fine Arts and Communications Excellence in Scholarship/Creative Works award. In addition, he has been awarded the Utah Arts Council Visual Arts Fellowship three times and was recently the recipient of an international fellowship, which included a two-month artist residency in Ballinglen, Ireland. “Through his almost 27 years as an art faculty member at BYU, Ostraff has developed a deep understanding of the programs, curriculum, and educational needs of the department,” Adams said. “His dedication to creativity, art making and collaboration is motivating. He is an enthusiastic and impassioned educator who cares deeply about students and works tirelessly to assist them in their growth and development.”

Diane Thueson Reich studied as an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas and graduated from Utah State University Magna Cum Laude. She went on to earn her master’s and doctorate degrees from the Indiana University School of Music. During her studies, Reich taught at Utah State and Indiana and later became the director of opera at Central Washington University in 2002. Reich has been the winner of regional and national vocal competitions, as well as an invited soloist and clinician in international venues. She came to BYU in 2007. During her time in the BYU School of Music, Reich has made many contributions, including eight years as vocal division coordinator. Since 2013, more than 40 of her students have received top placements in regional, national and international competitions or auditions, and have been awarded professional singing roles after graduation; others have gone on to prestigious masters and doctoral programs. “Through our interviews with the faculty in the School of Music, it was evident that Reich has the respect and admiration of her colleagues and staff of the school,” Adams said. “She is a prime example of one who exemplifies affirmative support of the university’s mission and Aims of a BYU Education. Her outreach in the community, regionally, nationally and internationally indicates a vocal and musical authority worthy of esteem and station.”

Brent Barson graduated from BYU in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design prior to receiving an MFA in media design from the Art Center College of Design. He returned to BYU in 2004 as a visiting assistant professor and became an assistant professor in 2007. Since beginning at BYU, Barson has become the graphic design program leader, where he advises more than 100 first-year non-major students each year regarding their application portfolios. He also assists graphic design students by helping to place them in internships and jobs. In 2014, Barson received the Randall L. Morgan Teaching and Learning Faculty Fellowship at BYU. He has also received awards for his opening titles created for a variety of independent films and motion graphics for the Typophile Film Festival, which work has also been exhibited internationally. In addition, Barson was recognized at the 2017 London Film Awards for his film “Ghost Beats,” which was awarded Best Animated Film. “Barson has been a bold advocate for the needs of the department and students,” Adams said. “The level of trust and rapport Barson attains with students goes beyond the normal classroom experience, and is an exceptional example of his commitment and service. He is active in the graphic design professional arena and has shown his dedication to the Aims of a BYU Education and university mission.”

Curt Holman attended BYU for his undergraduate and graduate schooling, receiving a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1989 and a master’s degree in dance in 1996. During his time as an undergraduate, Holman was a member of the BYU Ballroom Dance Company, and he and his wife later competed professionally as ballroom dancers for seven years. The couple were the US, British and World Finalists in Professional Cabaret Dancing numerous times. In more than 25 years as a dance faculty member at BYU, Holman has served on numerous committees, including ballroom area administrator, associate dance department chair and Ballroom Dance Company artistic director. Holman is Dual Licentiate with Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance and is certified as a national and world class adjudicator with the National Dance Council of America. “So many good things have happened during Holman’s first three years as chair,” Adams said. “The Leona Holbrook Endowment, the BFA in Dance, helping strengthen the MDT program, the new lobby space, working to protect and preserve mid-semester tours, working to strengthen CDT and many excellent faculty hires. And there are more great things to come.”