Scenic painter shares expertise with Northwestern theatre, art students

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Scenic painter shares expertise with Northwestern theatre, art students

visiting artist

Scenic artist Jessica Goerold shows theatre and art students at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva some of the brushes she uses.

About 20 Northwestern Oklahoma State University theatre and art students were treated to a two-day intensive workshop in scenic painting Sept. 5-6.

The workshop, taught by visiting artist Jessica Goerold, a scenic painter originally from upstate New York, began on Friday night and lasted all day Saturday in Herod Hall auditorium.

Goerold brought a list of accolades and experiences and shared her expertise with the students during the workshop.

While completing her undergraduate degree in European Cultural studies and theatre at University of New Hampshire, Goerold had the opportunity to help the drama department and paint backdrops for Syracuse Stage, a professional theatre serving the Greater Central New York community.  She spent her summers painting for Opera Seratoga, utilizing a completely different style of painting.

Goerold pursued her master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Vermont (UVM), but has considered herself a professional painter since 2007, although she is no longer full-time.


This 4 foot by 12 foot painting is the product of about eight hours of work by Hanson Long, Waynoka senior, and Jordan Lyles, Sapulpa junior, during the recent scenic painting workshop at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

“I’ve had a pretty wide range of painting experiences,” Goerold said. “From opera to musicals, the sets are all completely different.  Opera sets are big, bold and ostentatious while musical sets are more imaginative and ‘painterly’ we call it, meaning you can tell it’s fake and cartoonish.  Most of the plays I’ve worked at we’ve really put an emphasis on the set looking very realistic.”

Although this was the first workshop Goerold taught by herself, she has helped her boss at Syracuse Stage with similar events, where he did the teaching and she assisted with the hands-on part of the workshop.  Goerold said her focus was to teach the students the basics first, like wood grains and bricks, and the importance of being able to blend the styles of their peers from many small sections into one large set.

Kimberly Weast, professor of theatre at Northwestern, said she couldn’t have been happier with the workshop.

“Jessica is an extremely talented artist,” Weast said. “The students gained valuable information and experience through her tutelage and expertise.  I’m very grateful she traveled from New York and Syracuse Stage to share her knowledge and skill.”