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Billings earns New Mexico State's Crouch Award

Jim Billings, coordinator and set designer in the Theatre Arts Department of New Mexico State University, is this year's recipient of the Ralph B. Crouch Memorial Award.



Jim Billings, coordinator and set designer in the Department of Theatre Arts at New Mexico State University, is this year's recipient of the Ralph B. Crouch Memorial Award. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

New Mexico State President Jay Gogue will present the award at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, in the Dona Room of Corbett Center Student Union.

Billings has designed the scenery and lighting for a number of university productions, including "The Cripple of Inishmaan," "Much Ado About Nothing," "Philadelphia Story," and "Antigone." He also designed a set for New Mexico State's Southwest Border Culture Institute, lights for its Dance Ensemble, and sets and lights for the Dona Ana Lyric Opera. He is a consultant for the renovation of the Rio Grande Theatre in Las Cruces' downtown mall, wrote Theatre Arts Department Head Ruth Cantrell.

Billings single-handedly set up a scenographics lab -- a dedicated computer lab for the visualization of designs -- in the loft of the theater department's scene shop. As a result of his efforts, software developers have donated $25,000 worth of graphics software to the lab and a new course, Computer Scenographics, has been created. Besides the scenographics course, Billings teaches light, set and scenic painting courses in the department, Cantrell said.

Although Billings' job description lists him as "professional staff," he is an active member of the theater department's teaching faculty. A number of his students have gone on to careers in the theater and motion pictures, wrote Richard J. Rundell, professor of German and a head of the theater department from 1987 to 1990.

The award is named in honor of Ralph B. Crouch, a former head of the university's mathematics department and former associate dean of the graduate school. It is given each year to a current or living former New Mexico State employee who has made an outstanding contribution to the university community.

Photo is available at http://ucommphoto.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/billings_jim.jpg.
CUTLINE: Jim Billings, coordinator and set designer in the Department of Theatre Arts at New Mexico State University, is this year's recipient of the Ralph B. Crouch Memorial Award. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Jack King
April 23, 2002