University of Texas at Dallas: Team Creates Immersive Art Experience To Tell Eisemann’s Story

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The University of Texas at Dallas’ 3D Studio Lightsquad is working with the Charles W. Eisemann Center for Performing Arts and Corporate Presentations to creatively celebrate the center’s 20-year history.

“20 Years in 20 Minutes” is an immersive projection experience, prepared by UT Dallas students, that explores the center’s impact on the arts landscape of the city of Richardson and North Texas.

“It’s an opportunity to use our technologies to tell stories,” said Andrew Scott, associate professor of arts and technology in the School of Arts, Humanities, and Technology (AHT). “I think immersive experiences are much more interesting when they are used in the service of narrative storytelling.”

If You Go
What: “20 Years in 20 Minutes”
When: Sept. 9-30 (various times)
Where: Bank of America Hall at the Eisemann Center
Tickets: $20. They are available on the Eisemann Center website.

The “20 Years in 20 Minutes” presentation marks the second time that the Lightsquad has worked with the Eisemann Center on a signature art event. The first was “MotherBoard” in March 2020, which used 30-foot-long panels composed of steel, LED lighting and projection elements.

Both projects were funded from the Eisemann Edge Endowment Fund, created by Richardson philanthropists Ann and Charles Eisemann as a way to promote the intersection of technology with the visual and performing arts.

The projects are a continuation of a long partnership between the center and UT Dallas. In addition to the collaboration on art projects, Eisemann performers have interacted with UT Dallas students on the UTD campus, as well as at the center.

“It’s been a great relationship and a great partnership,” said Bruce MacPherson, managing director of the Eisemann Center. “We enjoy working with the students and the faculty, and we enjoy developing ideas with them.”

Scott said the Eisemann Edge projects provide UTD students with experiences that otherwise would be hard to attain.

“Almost all of the work was produced by our students,” Scott said. “They get to apply the things that they’ve learned in class. These are projects that, once they’re completed, the students can put them in their portfolios and say, ‘This is something that happened in the community that I worked on.’”

For the new project, the Lightsquad team interviewed a number of individuals who have been involved with the Eisemann Center. The presentation covers a number of topics but focuses on how important the Richardson community has been to the success of the center.

Roxanne Minnish MFA’11, associate professor of instruction in arts and technology in AHT and a leader of the Lightsquad, conducted several of the interviews with Eisemann Center stakeholders.

“They had such interesting stories,” Minnish said. “It was a great experience for me, and I hope that patrons will leave the presentation with a better appreciation of how important the center is for the North Texas community.”

Graduate student Bailey Vaughan BA’18 is one of the students who has worked on the project. This summer she also conducted interviews, along with shooting and editing video.

“I’m really excited about it,” she said. “This is going to be a strong story about not only the Eisemann Center, but Richardson as a whole. I think the immersive experience is just going to make it that much more impactful.”

Students will be on hand to operate each of the performances.

“I hope audiences will grasp the purpose, meaning and accomplishments of this institution — not just the building, but the people who come and go from this institution,” MacPherson said. “It’s an amenity that significantly benefits the city and the region.”

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