Fresno Exhibit Puts Spotlight on Costume Designs of Professor Dunya Ramcova

FRESNO, CA — "Uncommon Threads," the final Community Art Reach exhibit of 2004, is opening this Thursday, Dec. 2, with a special reception at the UC Merced Center in Fresno. Scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit will feature the costume designs of Dunya Ramicova, a UC Merced professor in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts and an Emmy award-winning designer.

"Through experiencing this exhibit, I hope that people will get a general idea of the process involved with costume design," Ramicova said.

Ramicova has designed costumes for more than 150 productions, including theatre, opera, ballet, dance, film and television in the United States and Europe. Her work has appeared at the Covent Garden in London, the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York City, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, New York City Opera, the Salzburger Festspiele in Austria, and San Francisco Opera. Her current design work includes two world premieres: "An American Tragedy" for the Metropolitan Opera and "Doctor Atomic" for the San Francisco Opera.

"At first I really wanted to be a painter, but my parents thought I wouldn't be able to make a living at it - and they were probably correct," said Ramicova, a native of the former Czechoslovakia. "The theater, however, is in my blood. My mother was an actress, and I've always loved actors."

Prior to becoming one of UC Merced's founding faculty members in July 2004, Ramicova taught costume design at Yale School of Drama, Harvard University, UC Santa Barbara and, most recently, UCLA. At UC Merced, she also is helping shape development of the World Cultures Institute, a signature research institute of the campus.

Ramicova said she is particularly excited that the costume designs of three of her former students - Sarah LeFeber, Jeannique Prospere and Helene Siebrits - will be featured in the Fresno exhibit as well.

"I am so proud of these students. All of them are better designers than I am, which is every teacher's dream."

In addition, the "Uncommon Threads" exhibit will include a variety of unique, two- and three-dimensional, mixed-media arts and crafts that incorporate the use of fabrics, fibers, and textiles. Other participating artists include Donnalee Dunne, Aimee Frost, Jacqueline Kurtt, Jean Ray Laury, Phyllis Mayer, Julie Mitchell, Sally Stallings and Nancy Youdelman.

Fabric samples also will accompany several of the featured costume designs.

Community ArtReach is presented as part of the University of California's commitment to public service in the San Joaquin Valley. The program is a collaborative effort by UC Office of the President and UC Merced staff members, community volunteers and participating artists. The program's aim is to support and encourage the creativity of Valley artists and present fine works of art to the community.

"Uncommon Threads" will run through Feb. 3, 2005 at Fresno's UC Merced Center, located at 550 East Shaw Ave. across from Fashion Fair Mall. Members of the public are invited to view the exhibit free of charge during the center's regular business hours.

For additional information about Community ArtReach, please call Jeanie Smith at (559) 241-7510.

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