New faculty begin this fall

Clockwise from upper left: Katie Anania, Byron Anway, Jesse Fleming, Christina Kirk, Ash Smith, David Long and Nathan Koch.
Clockwise from upper left: Katie Anania, Byron Anway, Jesse Fleming, Christina Kirk, Ash Smith, David Long and Nathan Koch.

New faculty begin this fall

calendar icon13 Sep 2019    

The Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts welcomes the following new faculty this fall:

Katie Anania is assistant professor of art history in the School of Art, Art History & Design. She comes to Nebraska from Georgia College, where she was assistant professor of art history. Prior to her work at Georgia College, Anania was a 2018 Wallace Fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy.

Anania specializes in modern and contemporary art of the Americas, with a focus on ephemeral and transitory materials, such as paper, prints, packaging and food. She is currently working on two book-length projects. The first, “Out of Paper: Drawing, Environment and the Body in 1960s American Art,” examines the shifting position of drawing in American studio practice in the long 1960s. The second project investigates the use of food as material in Latin American performance art of the 1970s. She has recently presented research on design ethics and the U.S.-Mexico border, focusing on the ways that disposable and temporary objects can generate relations of care.

Anania received her Ph.D. and Master of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin, and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (magna cum laude).

Byron Anway is assistant professor of practice and foundations coordinator in the School of Art, Art History & Design. He has been a lecturer at Nebraska since 2011. He has also taught at Nebraska Wesleyan University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the International School of Brussels in Belgium and the American Academy-Casablanca in Morocco.

His work has been exhibited at the Joslyn Art Museum, the Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis, the Bunker Center for the Arts in Kansas City, and the Union for Contemporary Art, among others. His work has also been published in New American Paintings of the West (vol. 126, 136 and 138), International Painting Annual 8 and the Prairie Schooner (fall 2017).

Anway received his Master of Fine Arts in studio art from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and his Bachelor of Arts in art and education from Luther College.

Jesse Fleming, an acclaimed artist and filmmaker, is assistant professor of emerging media arts in the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts. He comes to Nebraska from San Francisco, where he was a lecturer of virtual reality at Stanford University. He has taught virtual reality, video, photography, design and mindfulness for creative process at UCLA from 2014-2017.

Over the last 15 years, he has developed a career in installation video, narrative and experimental storytelling, extended realities and education. His work has been shown at commercial galleries, public spaces, nonprofit galleries and cultural institutions, including the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; Borusan Contemporary in Istanbul, Turkey; the National Film Museum of Frankfurt, Germany; the San Francisco Symphony; the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; Creative Time in New York City; and West Hollywood Public Arts Commission (L.A. Freewaves). His most recent exhibition, “Tools for Natural Questions” is at Five Car Garage in Los Angeles this year. Fleming was listed by “Artforum” as one of the top 10 Los Angeles artists of 2014.

Fleming received his Master of Fine Arts in Design Media Arts from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and his Bachelor of Fine Arts in new genres from the San Francisco Art Institute. He also earned a teaching certification from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center at the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

For more information on his work, visit his website at

Christina Kirk is Professor and Director of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film and Executive Director of the Nebraska Repertory Theatre. Kirk was previously professor and chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, where she has taught since 1992. She has an M.F.A. degree in directing from Columbia University in New York and a B.F.A. degree in acting from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

Kirk’s directing credits include The Living Theatre, New Dramatists, assisting Liviu Ciulei at Arena Stage, and numerous productions for Otterbein University Theatre and Otterbein Summer Theatre.

She has performed at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, the Nebraska Repertory Theatre (“Something’s Afoot” and “Charley’s Aunt” in 1985), the Illinois Repertory Theatre, CATCO (Contemporary American Theatre Company), Otterbein University Theatre, Otterbein Summer Theatre and in the Joseph Jefferson award-winning “Kabuki Medea,” directed by Shozo Sato.

She performed the title roles of Claudel and Cleopatra at Columbus Dance Theatre. The production of “Claudel” received the Greater Columbus Arts Council Artistic Excellence Award, and “Cleopatra” was nominated for this same award.

Her one-woman show, “Conversations with Judith Malina,” which premiered at Columbus Dance Theatre, was featured in the March 2006 Theatre Journal.

Nathan Koch is assistant professor of bassoon and music theory in the Glenn Korff School of Music and the newest member of the resident faculty woodwind ensemble, the Moran Woodwind Quintet.

Prior to coming to Nebraska, Koch served on the faculty of Sam Houston State University, where he taught applied lessons in ear training courses, while maintaining an active freelancing career in the greater Houston area, including regular performances with the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, the Austin Symphony, the Austin Lyric Opera, the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Victoria Bach Festival.

In demand as a clinician, Koch has presented and performed at the conferences of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association and the International Double Reed Society (IDRS), most recently in Granada, Spain. He has served as a regular judge for the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Competition and a regional audition proctor for the National Repertory Orchestra.

Also an avid arranger and transcriber, Koch has several solo and chamber works published by TrevCo Music, the leading publisher of double reed literature in the country. An upcoming IDRS recital will also feature Koch performing his own transcription of Franck’s Violin Sonata in its entirety.

Koch earned his D.M.A. and M.M. degrees from The University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. from Wichita State University.

David Long is associate professor of theatre and head of the performance area in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. He comes to Nebraska from St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, where he was associate professor of theatre and artistic director for the award-winning Mary Moody Northern Theatre (MMNT) at St. Edward’s University.

Long (AEA, SAG/AFTRA, AGVA) is an actor, director and educator who has worked professionally throughout the U.S. and in Japan. His directing credits include the regional premiere of Love and Information, Tartuffe, On the Verge, Cloud 9 and Antigone. At MMNT, he has appeared as Neville Craven in The Secret Garden, John Proctor in The Crucible, Stone in City of Angels, Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac and Leo Frank in Parade.

He received his Master of Fine Arts in acting from the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program and his Bachelor of Arts in acting from California State University in Fullerton.

Long is also a member of the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) and has served as a fight director for several productions. He studied stage combat from David Boushey, founder of SAFD.

Ash Smith is assistant professor of emerging media art in the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts. Smith is an artist, designer and researcher who reimagines the future by using art and technology.

Smith comes to Nebraska from the University of California at San Diego, where she was a lecturer and the associate director of their Art and Technology program. She is also working on the speculative design team at Hyundai’s The Design Lab, where her work focuses on robotaxis and microbility.

In her work, Smith incorporates strategies of play and speculation to solve problems, re-imagine systems and build worlds to create interactive stories, mixed reality experiences, simulations and prototypes of the future. She has created “Candy Ego,” a sci-fi noir comedy feature film that will be released this year. Three vignettes from “Candy Ego” were included in an exhibition featuring the work of 42 artists from San Diego and Tijuana at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego in 2018.

Smith received her Master of Fine Arts in visual arts from the University of California at San Diego and a Master of Arts in performance studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She received her Bachelor of Arts in media and technology studies and media production from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has also completed a Spanish language immersion program at the University of Havana in Cuba.

For more on her work, visit her website at