June 16, 2024

The California Baptist University Shelby and Ferne Collinsworth School of Performing Arts launched a new program called BLNKCNVS on Oct. 15, creating an ongoing mentorship between CBU alumni and current students. BLNKCNVS is a mini concert series designed to help showcase the talent of the commercial music program and serves as a way for students to execute their careers through performance.

Executive producer Nathan C. Ooten is behind the launch of BLNKCNVS. Through the program, Ooten aims to build connections between students within the performing arts program and help them become successful in the field.

“I believe that right now walking the halls of the performing arts building are future Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winners,” Ooten said. “My vision is to create an ongoing mentorship loop between professionally successful alumni students who have gone on to achieve greatness in the performing arts and current students. ”

Marques Brown | CBU Banner Nathan Ooten, junior studio production major, prepares the cameras for the start of sophomore commercial performance major Cadence Barnett’s recorded performance.

Ooten envisioned the primary purpose of BLNKCNVS to be a space for a mini concert style stage that could exist on campus with two purposes in mind: “highlighting the talent of the student performers and producers as they move toward their professional careers, and adding layers to the program to help propel the School of Performance Arts towards the number one spot.”

As he began to envision this program, Ooten said he saw Dr. Thomas Brooks, director of commercial music studies, working exceptionally hard to push students toward becoming professionals and seeking a platform like BLNKCNVS.

“As each season is produced, the idea is for each one to top the season that came before it,” Ooten said. “Students involved in the production of BLNKCNVS can gain valuable experience as producers of a real production.”

Moena Jackson, junior music composition major and artistic director for BLNKCNVS, described her roles within the program and how her opportunity as an art director has led her to develop professional skills.

“Learning how to develop a platform and the details within the administration efforts was a very eye-opening string of events that no other class could replicate,” Jackson said.

As the new platform is designed to showcase the variety of talents that are within the school of music and to further highlight the developing commercial music sector of CBU, Jackson explained how working with the team makes BLNKCNVS effective.

“We are a team,” Jackson said. “This platform wouldn’t be the way it is without all of us contributing our individual talents and skill sets as: producers, musicians, managers, directors, etc. Collectively, we are BLNKCNVS and we hope that the artists that come perform on our platform feel like they are a part of the canvas as much we are.”

Jackson, who presented the idea of naming the platform BLNKCNVS, explained the meaning behind the name.

“BLNKCNVS is a metaphor to what every artist starts with when starting a new piece of art: an empty canvas waiting to be filled with their mediums and imagination,” Jackson said. “Every visual artist starts with a blank canvas, and our concept is that music does too. Our platform, being a literal white blank canvas stage and background, serves as the artistic canvas where the musicians and writers perform their sets.”

Kyle Blackburn, junior studio production major and creative director for BLNKCNVS, oversees artistic ideas and brings them to life.

“We wanted to give artists an opportunity to show the world what they brought to the music industry in what we called the ‘blank canvas,’” Blackburn said. “Through this platform, the people who have performed were given a platform to show who they were through musical expression and a visual set that we worked with them to design.”

BLNKCNVS is intended to help make a statement for students.

“Now that season one is complete, it is my hope that BLNKCNVS will grow and develop into a creative space that is second to none,” Ooten said. “The energy that is present at the School of Performing Arts is magnetic and will draw talent from around the world. It is my hope that BLNKCNVS will be there to capture the moment seasons to come.”

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