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ASU staff featured at 6th Summer ArtFest

July 25, 2012

One builds guitars, while another plays them. Another sews by night, while others see the world through a camera.

ASU staff members are a talented group, no doubt.

Meet some of your “artsy” colleagues during the sixth annual summer Staff ArtFest sponsored by The Devils’ Workshop. Events take place from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m., in various locations on the Tempe campus.

The schedule includes:

Wednesday, Aug. 1 – William Swayze, instructional specialist senior with the School of Dance, performs on the ASU Symphonic Carillon, located on the Lower Level of Old Main. Come and sit in the lower level lobby and listen to the music.

Swayze came to ASU in 1991 after a 25-year career as a professional pianist, bassist, percussionist, recording session and touring musician, and composer/arranger for film, advertising and industrial recording sessions in Detroit, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

An Improvisateur, Swayze honed the skill of “composing while performing” during engagements in musical theatre, Motown, jazz and as a pianist for vocal and instrumental soloists. He served as music director for more than 10 years for the improvisational comedy troupe “Open Forum/Contemporary Insanity.”

Thursday, Aug. 2 – Pamela Thompson Lefkowitz, an office specialist senior with University Business Services, will show her watercolors and talk about why she likes that particular art media, in the Emeritus College, Lower Level of Old Main.

Thompson Lefkowitz enjoys creating art with pencils, water media and various combinations of art tools. The daughter of an artist, she began drawing as a child and working with watercolor in a high school art class. She took her next class after turning 50, and art has been a source of joy, refreshment and relaxation for her for many years.

Thompson Lefkowitz is a member of the Scottsdale Artists League and the Tempe Artists Guild. She has been accepted into a number of juried art shows in the Phoenix area, including shows at ASU Gammage, Arizona Art Alliance and the Scottsdale Artists’ School.

Tuesday, Aug. 7 – Pamela Walrath, ASU’s asbestos program manager, discusses photography at the Emeritus College.

“I primarily shoot landscapes, floral and western scenes,” Walrath said. “I had the opportunity to photograph a cattle drive in northeast Arizona and participate in the cattle drive as well. I have traveled recently to Wisconsin, Utah and all over Arizona photographing the beautiful landscapes and wildflowers.”

Walrath is an Arizona native and says she has “loved photography since I was old enough to make a pinhole camera out of a Quaker Oats box and hold a camera.”

Wednesday, Aug. 8 – Debra Callaghan, secretary administrative, Clinical Psychology Center, will talk about how the ASU staff furloughs of several years ago got her into making fabric Furlough Bags, at the Emeritus College.

Callaghan learned to make her bags, which are 9-by-9-inches square when she took a quilting class on a furlough day, hence the name.

“I had been making these handbags out of cotton but when I was given access to discontinued drapery books and saw that they were just the right size for these bags, I took several of them home and got busy.” She also makes other styles of bags and a “tooth fairy” pillow for kids.

One of Callaghan’s bags is featured in the next edition of the Green Craft magazine, available Aug. 1. Her website is

Thursday, Aug. 9 – Joseph Blattman, a new assistant professor in the School of Life Sciences, will perform flamenco guitar at Union Stage, on the lower level of the Memorial Union. After experimenting with other styles of guitar, Blattman began studying solo flamenco guitar with Mario Amaya in Seattle, Wash., and has expanded his playing under the guidance of Ricardo de Cristobal in Tempe.

"Flamenco music is the traditional and poetic art of the gypsies, particularly those of southern Spain," Blattman said. "Flamenco guitar employs a vast array of unique percussive and rhythmic techniques that give the music its characteristic feel, including rasqueados (rapid flicking of the flingers across the strings) and golpes (striking the face of the guitar).  Styles of flamenco guitar range from brooding Soleares to feverish Bulerias and are meant to be accompaniment for dancers."

Tuesday, Aug. 14 – Mary Bankhead, business manager, Facilities/Property Management, Downtown Phoenix campus, who specializes in portrait photography, will offer tips on how to take better photography of family, friends, and nature. Those attending are welcome to bring their own cameras. This event is in the Emeritus College.

Bankhead earned a bachelor’s degree in art (graphic design) from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in College Student Affairs from Eastern Illinois University. Bankhead really enjoys capturing moments in people’s lives.
“Though it is a hobby and budding business, I get great joy out of photographing life events such as engagements, weddings, or parties. I get fulfillment in helping people realize how beautiful they really are through my photography. I love all types of photography, but my favorite to do are boudoir and engagement photography sessions. I love when the clients say how much they love my photography of them and how they feel like royalty or a model!”

Wednesday, Aug. 15 – Sheila Luna, program manager, Graduate Programs in English, will read and discuss her poetry and nonfiction writing, at the Emeritus College.

Luna has a bachelor’s degree in art history and a master of liberal studies from ASU. During her master’s program, she focused on creative nonfiction writing and is currently working on a memoir about her experience living in the wilderness of northwestern Montana. A chapter from her book in progress, “Scat(tered) Solitude,” appeared in Sotto Voce Magazine.

Thursday, Aug. 16 – Gary Beckert, events coordinator, ASU Gammage, will bring two styles of his handmade acoustic guitars and talk about the process of hand building instruments, different finishes, and the materials he uses, in the Emeritus College.

For more information about Staff ArtFest, contact Judith Smith, at 480-965-4821 or