SVPA Faculty Spotlight
The WCSU SVPA Faculty Spotlight is a recognition of the outstanding work being done by our esteemed faculty in the School of Visual and Performing Arts. We hope you take a moment to read about the accomplishments of the faculty members featured in this semester’s spotlight. We are extremely fortunate to have many faculty members with remarkable achievements in their field. We look forward to highlighting many more of these achievements in future editions of the WCSU SVPA Faculty Spotlight.
This semester’s SVPA Faculty Spotlight for the Department of Art is on David Boyajian. Boyajian is an artist, art instructor, and the owner of David Boyajian Sculpture Studio in New Fairfield, Connecticut. Boyajian is a longtime adjunct professor for the Department of Art at Western Connecticut State University. His teaching career has spanned over twenty years, including teaching positions at Silvermine School of Art and Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford. He has also taught metal, stone and wood sculpture at his studio for over 25 years.
Boyajian studied at Alfred University, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and earned his MFA from the Maryland Institute Rinehart School of Sculpture. He furthered his education by assisting acclaimed figurative sculptors Wolfgang Behl, Elbert Weinberg and Andrew Coppola.
Over the course of his thirty-plus-year career as an artist, Boyajian has shown his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including SculptureNow on The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, Massachusetts, Bull City Sculpture Show in Durham, North Carolina, and ‘Genesis,’ an outdoor solo show at the Robert Moses Sculpture Garden at Fordham University. ‘Genesis,’ received praise from bothThe New York Times and Review Magazine. “Boyajian’s buds and seeds rise well above the usual dross,” wrote Grace Glueck of The Times.
Boyajian’s numerous public commissions include “The Weaving Shuttle” and “The Eye of the Needle” at the Mansfield Town Square in Mansfield, Connecticut, “Lift,” a memorial to a former student at the Canterbury School in New Milford, and “Sanctuary” at the 9/11 Living Memorial at Sherwood Island for the state of Connecticut.
This August, Boyajian completed a residency at Buffalo Creek Arts Center in Gardnerville, Nevada for sculptors specializing in metal, wood, stone and mixed media. In addition, Boyajian’s sculpture titled ‘Unfurling’ was featured at the Reno Tahoe International Arts Show this past September.
Boyajian’ sculpture titled ‘XO’, seen here, was installed at the Renown Health Center for Advanced Medicine in Reno, Nevada in September 2021. This sculpture is made of stainless steel and stands 9 feet tall. To learn more about David and to view his work, visit www.davidboyajian.com.
This semester’s SVPA Faculty Spotlight for the Department of Music is on Dr. Matthew Doiron. Dr. Doiron is an Assistant Professor of Music and Music Education, and he is the coordinator of the Music Education program at WCSU. This is his sixth year teaching at WCSU. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Keene State College, a Master of Arts from Southern Oregon University and a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music.
Prior to his work at WCSU, Dr. Doiron was director of bands at Sanford High School in Sanford, Maine for 21 years. The SHS bands earned numerous distinctions including a USSBA New England regional marching championship and selection to the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade. In addition to his duties at SHS, Dr. Doiron was the music director of the Strafford Wind Symphony and the conductor of the basketball band at the University of New Hampshire. He was a teaching assistant and teacher of record at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music for four years while pursing his Pd.D. He has conducted bands, choruses, and orchestras throughout New England and New York including two performances with the Air Force Band of Liberty.
Dr. Doiron’s writings have been published by Oxford University Press and he has presented research and best-practice sessions at regional, national and international conferences throughout the United States and Europe. This past April, he led a session at the Connecticut Music Educators Association on diversifying repertoire and pedagogy.
Dr. Doiron was named the recipient of the 2022 Provost’s Award for Teaching, the highest level of recognition for teaching faculty at WCSU. “It is a huge honor. We work at an institution of people who are experts in their field and are good teachers. I work with a lot of people that I’m really impressed with, so to be recognized for excellence in that area is a humbling experience. It’s a joy to be here working with some of the finest music students coming out of high schools throughout Connecticut and New York.” To learn more about Dr. Doiron and the Provost’s Award, click here.
This semester’s SVPA Faculty Spotlight for the Department of Theatre Arts is on Elizabeth Popiel. Popiel is a tenured professor at WCSU specializing in theatre design, having joined the university full time in 2001. Courses she teaches includes scenic design, scenic art, puppetry and more. In addition to her work in the classroom, she also serves as scenic designer for multiple Department of Theatre Arts productions each year, and has overseen props, costumes and others. Popiel was the recipient of the first Student Government Association Faculty of the Year Award when the School of Visual and Performing Arts was in its first year (2008-2009). Prior to joining WCSU, Popiel taught at Colgate University, SUNY Purchase, and Dalton School in NYC.
She holds an MFA in Scenic Design from SUNY at Purchase College and a BA from Rhode Island College in Studio Art/Theatre. She has also studied at University of Memphis, Rhode Island School of Design and Arts Students League of New York.
Her professional credits include weekly designs for Good Morning America Weekend Edition since its start in 2004, for which she has received five Emmy Awards and the Edward R. Murrow Award. Her film credits include Assistant Set Decorator for Book of Henry, Assistant Art Director for Meet Joe Black, The Seagull, Bait, and The Devil’s Own, original designer for The View and set designer of countless television projects for ABC-TV, including Wide World of Sports, Monday Night Football, College Football Scoreboard, 20/20 and specials featuring Diana Sawyer and Rockin’ New Years Eve. Recently, she crafted much in props-artisanry for the upcoming films After Yang and Past Lives.
Selected professional Theatre design credits include work for Theatre for the New City, The Lambs Theatre, TBG Theatre, Theatre for the Open Eye, Soho Rep, Westport Country Playhouse, MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Trinity Rep in Rhode Island, Green Mountain Theatre Guild, Durham Summer Rep, Gilded Balloon/Edinburgh FRINGE Festival, and Connecticut Free Shakespeare. Liz is a proud member of United Scenic Artists local 829 IATSE (Scenic Design) and is a candidate for Local 52 (Set Decorator).
Liz has been a mentor to many students and designers while at WCSU, many of whom have gone on to receive M.F.A degrees and pursue professional careers in the industry. Most recently, Class of 2017 alum Andrew Gusciora made his Broadway debut as video programmer for The Kite Runner. Her impact on her students’ education and lives is immeasurable, and the School of Visual and Performing Arts is delighted to highlight her in this edition of the SVPA Faculty Spotlight.