DMACC establishes Simon Estes School of Fine Arts

Simon Estes Fine Arts announcement, April 2019

A new school year brings many changes, professors, books and of course classes. In April of this year, DMACC saw the creation of the new “Simon Estes School of Fine Arts.”  Named after famous opera singer and Iowan Simon Estes, the school sheds light on DMACC programs that have been growing in the past years. The school will also create entirely new programs.

On the Ankeny campus, we will see two flagship programs: Music and Theatre.

Carl Lindberg, Program Chair of the Ankeny DMACC Theatre Department, had much to say about the school’s foundation.  “First of all, I am incredibly excited that DMACC is working toward a more unified and strong presence in the realm of arts education. Those who participate in arts education will be the leaders of tomorrow,” Lindberg said via email.

Lindberg expressed concern about arts programs being cut across the board at many colleges and universities, saying, “As automation and technology continue to push the job market to professions dependent upon creativity, communication, and empathy, I think we’ll find that we at DMACC can be on the forefront of this new wave of humanities-based jobs.”

Carl started as an adjunct professor in 2017.  In his opening season, the department had only two shows, one each semester.  Now their season has grown to include five shows: two in the fall and spring, and one in the summer.

James Thompson, who has a doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Iowa, is relatively new to the DMACC Ankeny campus.

Thompson says he’s grateful for the support the DMACC administration has shown the music department; enrollment continues to rise, and Thompson is optimistic that the naming of the Simon Estes School of Fine Arts will only result in more students to get involved in the various courses the department already offers.

Thomspon also expressed via email: “As far as music is concerned, we have already seen an expansion in the course offerings.  We now have a solidified articulation agreement with Grand View University,  that allows students to complete a comprehensive two-year music course sequence at DMACC and then seamlessly transfer to Grand View for the remaining two years.” In the future, Thompson hopes to add even more course offerings and certificate programs.

Simon Estes has been giving voice lessons and lecturing at DMACC for three years.  He is a world-renowned opera singer, has performed around the globe, and held leading roles in several well known shows.

The newly-named school will add new courses that will create comprehensive two-year programs in both music and theatre.  It will also invest more resources and equipment for the programs, as well as forming new articulation agreements with four-year colleges, to better allow student transfers.

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