TAMIU Fine and Performing Arts Students Will Benefit from Remarkable New Center this Fall

Students studying fine and performing arts at Texas A&M International University will have many reasons to smile this Fall.

That's because in addition to the $22 million Center for the Fine and Performing Arts that will open its doors with new classrooms, studios, practice rooms, an auditorium and theater, they will be able to seek degrees in three different music programs.

Currently, TAMIU's Department of Fine and Performing Arts offers degrees including Bachelor in Music, Bachelor of Arts with specialization in Music, and Bachelor in Music with All -Level Certification. In addition, students can minor in arts, dance and music.

Dr. Gilberto Soto, department chair, said that The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents recently approved the University's Bachelor of Arts Degree programs in Art and in Art with All-Level Certification.

"This means that we can now submit a request for approval to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board," Dr. Soto said, "Once the Coordinating Board approves the degrees, they can be offered at TAMIU."

Soto said this is an exciting time for students to study the arts at TAMIU.

"We will provide excellent educational opportunities for the fine arts that are now either unavailable or inadequately served in the region," he said, "The new Center will help reduce the massive Texas teacher shortage in art and music by making it possible for the first time for students in the area to earn degrees in fine arts without having to move away from home, an impossibility for the many low-income students of the area."

The Department of Fine and Performing Arts has grown rapidly during the last two years, Soto said.

"We served more than 1,000 students this past year," he said, "Compared from the last two years, we have increased enrollment more than 300 percent."

Students enrolling in the fine and performing arts programs mostly come from Laredo and surrounding areas including Zapata, Eagle Pass, Del Rio Cotulla, Hebbronville and Nuevo Laredo, Soto said.

The Department faculty is committed to bringing student success and come from diverse backgrounds, Soto said.

"The faculty of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts bring an array of music, dance and art experience from different areas of expertise and regions. They are from as far as Illinois, Seattle, Minnesota, Mexico, and as close as from Laredo, bringing so many backgrounds in music (voice, clarinet, flute, trumpet, piano, guitar), art (drawing, painting, art history, photography), and dance (flamenco, folklórico, modern)," he said.

The new Center will also make it possible for students and the community to participate and attend numerous artistic events that are life enriching.

"We will have the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra housed in this facility, and playing two concerts per year," Soto said, "In addition, we just recently launched the Distinguished Music Lecture Series, which will bring one to two concerts every year. Furthermore, we will have guest faculty recitals, student recitals, not to mention the long-time popular music and dance concerts we have organized for years, which will now be housed in our new facility."

An opening for the Center is scheduled August 21.

For further information about the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, programs and activities, please contact Dr. Gilberto Soto at 326- 2649, e-mail gsoto@tamiu.eduor visit offices located in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, room 217B.

With State budget cuts, the University is observing a four-day, 10-hour a day schedule this summer with office hours from 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Offices are closed Fridays.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu