CCFA Adds Two Distinguished Professionals to Faculty

Contact: Kimberly Rogers

April 21, 2015 - Two departments in the University of Memphis College of Communication and Fine Arts have named distinguished members to their faculty – Tom Shadyac, successful Hollywood director, and Kevin Sharp, director of Dixon Gallery and Gardens.

Shadyac is the new filmmaker in residence in the Department of Communication, and Sharp has been appointed joint faculty member by the Department of Art.

Shadyac's resume includes films starring Jim Carrey, Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy in the hit movies Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Patch Adams and The Nutty Professor. Shadyac has been teaching at the U of M since 2013, donating his services, time and resources.

"The filmmaker in residence title is a small act we can make to recognize the remarkable effort and philanthropic resources that he has provided and continues to offer," said Leroy Dorsey, chair of the Department of Communication.

Shadyac's course, Storytelling and Life, is a popular one, often filling up within minutes of the start of registration. Initially the class was set up for 25 students. Since its inception, it has grown and this spring was moved to a 95-seat classroom to accommodate student expansion.

The popularity of the class is attributed to his hands-on, real world sensibility to the arts, which energizes his students and the faculty. He encourages the University's mission of engaged scholarship by having his students participate in community service-related projects for area schools.

Shadyac's appointment is a 10-year renewable one. In addition, he continues to teach at Colorado University, flying to Memphis weekly for his one-night, special topics course.

Sharp will hold a six-year appointment as joint faculty member, and will teach and serve on thesis/dissertation committees. Hired in 2007, Sharp's administration has led to many significant contributions to Dixon. The annual budget has increased more than $1 million, more than 300 works of fine and decorative art have been added to the permanent collection, and he led a successful $4.5 million campaign to endow a Dixon directorship. In addition, he expanded the visibility of Dixon through collaborations with museums such as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Petit Palais in Paris, France, and Saint Louis Art Museum.

Before joining Dixon, Sharp served as director of Visual Arts at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon, Ill., curator of American Art at Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla., and research curator at the Art Institute of Chicago.

"We are very pleased to welcome Kevin Sharp to our faculty," said Richard A. Lou, Department of Art chair. "Mr. Sharp has brought tremendous vision to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens that has produced a wonderful vitality with the Dixon's direct engagement with the contemporary arts community and the underserved populations in the region. It has been inspiring to observe all of these transformations take place in the very short time that he has been here."

For more information about Shadyac's appointment, call the Department of Communication at 901-678-2565. For more information about Sharp's appointment, call the Department of Art at 901-678-2216.