College of Fine Arts, School of Art, School of Dance, School of Music, School of Theatre, Film & Television

The College of Fine Arts will recognize many top achieving students on Sept. 29 for their academic success and talent at the CFA Achievement Awards Convocation at the Tornabene Theatre lobby and the adjacent theatre courtyard. The presentation begins at 3:15p. 

Student awardees will receive recognition for “Academic Distinction,” “Highest Academic Distinction” and “Creative Achievement.” The final award honors students from all four CFA schools, who have demonstrated scholarship, creativity, innovation, and a passion for the arts.

This year’s Creative Achievement Award winners include:

School of Art 

Ricardo Chavez
Graduate, Art History and Education and Art and Visual Culture Education 

Ricardo Chavez has been the recipient of awards as a PhD student in the School of Art. He recently has been named a Tyson Scholar in American Art for the fall semester at the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. He will spend a 15-week fellowship conducting research for his dissertation.   

Chavez’s dissertation project includes contemporary art history, specifically Lantinx and African American, within a history of pedagogical practices in art education. Outside of the classroom, he engages and reaches out to communities both within and outside the School of Art. 

“Ricardo is a truly gifted art historian and one of the Art History program’s most outstanding graduate students, in no small way because of his open, original, methodological, and thorough research capabilities and practices, and his strong work ethic in completing his research projects,” Dr. Paul Ivey said. 

Fatema Abizar Dawoodbhoy 
Undergraduate, Studio Art with an emphasis on Painting and Drawing 

Fatema Abizar has maintained a 4.0 GPA her entire time attending the University of Arizona, earning the highest distinction in her academics. Her work spans from her perception of herself in a western country as an immigrant to motherhood and domestic labor. She has built relationships with art galleries that support artists who are women and mothers. 

In 2022, she took a pigment dyeing and textiles course at Maiwa School of Textiles, which aided her independent study that led to large scale fabric drawings that anchored her solo exhibition in 2023 called, “The Shape of Our Hands,” at the Lionel Rombach Gallery.  

“With a work ethic unrivaled by her undergraduate peers, Fatema operates at a remarkably advanced level. Assignments are not just completed, but they are approached more holistically–she considers how her voice as an artist can be cultivated with each project,” Assistant Professor Angie Zielinski said. 

School of Dance 

Ana Carolina Brotons 
Graduate, Dance 

Ana Carolina Brotons is an emerging scholar, teacher, dancer, and choreographer. She has made significant contributions to the program through her technical skills and leadership. She has worked as a stage manager, stagehand, and sound technician during productions. Additionally, Brotons’ choreography was featured on the Stevie Eller Stage in Arise Student Spotlight, where her work showcased her unique artistic voice and deep understanding of contemporary dance practices. 

Additionally, Broton has shown her versatility as a dancer by performing in “Springs Dance Eternals” in Sam Watson’s Badoom Boom and served as a rehearsal director for Guest Choreographer Juel D. Lane’s piece in “Flow for Fall of Dance.” 

Associate Director Tamara Dyke-Compton said, “Her commitment to our program and her willingness to go above and beyond expectations have been invaluable to our community.” 

Tabitha Bruton 
Undergraduate, Dance 

Tabitha Bruton is not only a performer, she is also an innovator and researcher of dance, both creatively and theoretically. She seeks to find new ways to express herself and push the boundary of possibilities. Bruton’s work is always engaging, challenging, and thought provoking by blending the classical technique with contemporary sensibilities. 

“What sets Tabitha apart, however, is her unwavering dedication to her craft and her ability to inspire and motivate those around her. She possesses the acumen to bridge the abstract and concrete, both in the studio and in real life,” Thang Dao, visiting assistant professor, noted. 

As a natural leader, her contributions to the dance community is invaluable and her ability to motivate and inspire others has a ripple effect on the whole department. 

Fred Fox School of Music 

Michael Vince 
Graduate, Music 

Michael Vince is a student, an artistic practitioner on stage, and a creative collaborator behind the scenes. His skill as a composer and media artist allows him to speak cogently to other artists and develop thrilling immersive work. 

Currently, VInce is composing for his DMA project, where the premiere of his operatic piece will be performed as a site-specific production this spring. The year-long preparation is the first fully staged operatic piece written by a DMA student and it will allow collaboration from student colleagues in the College of FIne Arts.  

Associate Professor Cynthia Stokes said, “I am confident that Michael and his collaborators will demonstrate the possibility of what can be achieved creating cross-discipline artistic projects of excellence.”  

Kenny Kriha 
Undergraduate, Music 

Kenny Kriha is a bassoonist and  has performed in a variety of chamber groups and large ensembles. They boast technical authority over the bassoon and its auxiliary instrument, the contrabassoon. In the past year, Kriha was a semifinalist in the President’s Concerto Competition. Additionally as a queergender individual, one of their missions is to highlight the music of underrepresented groups. 

Outside of the classroom, Kriha is a member of 7Reed5 reed quintet, where they won a grant to commission new repertoire and has contributed to arranging new pieces for this new instrumentation. 

“I believe that their creation of their art has been an authentic conduit of self-expression. It shows in their performance style which is some of the most raw, honest, and captivating I have seen in my career,” Assistant Professor Dr. Marissa Olegario said.  

Riley Siegler

School of Theatre, Film & Television

Riley Siegler 
Undergraduate, Theatre Studies 

Riley Siegler is entering her second year as a key artist in the New Directions Festival, where her work as an actor, director, divisor, (Don’t Worry, It’s Just A Play) and playwright, (First Things First)  have been featured. Siegler’s creative outlet has remained flexible, immense, inspiring, and unique. They are unafraid to tackle difficult topics and concerns as a playwright.

They have worked within Invisibility SALON to create opportunities for students of color, served as Homecoming Chair of Mortar Board all while managing a job. 

“With only a handful of plays under their belt, Riley already has something to say, ancestors to invoke, structural innovations to carve, and something loud cleverly shaping itself from the heart,” Associate Professor Elaine Romero said.