Director, writer and Peabody Award-winning animator Elizabeth Ito appeared on the Living Music Resource show on Nov. 8 as a special guest, followed by a performance from University of Mississippi students Izzy Arthurs, Taylor Wells, Cortez Goliday and Luke Antinnes.
Renowned for her work in the world of animation, Ito has been involved in creating “Astroboy” (2009), “Adventure Time” (2010) and “City of Ghosts” (2021).
“City of Ghosts,” an animated mockumentary series that debuted on Netflix in 2021, gave Ito the freedom to express herself and her community.
“I think about my city and about how much it has been gentrified and it’s still gentrifying. How do you capture what the good things are about it? We might want to tell children about learning and make a show about that,” Ito said. “It’s thinking about what I’m interested in at the moment and then figuring out how to translate that into something where I can make something. It doesn’t have to be for kids, but you just have to translate that into something that reflects how exciting it is to find out all this information.”
Nancy Maria Balach, host of LMR and chair of UM’s Department of Music, created a welcoming environment by conducting a fun interview and playing a game.
“I am committed to creating learning environments where students get to collaborate and have full ownership, and that’s what LMR live embodies,” Balach said. “And what’s really special about the episode today is featuring our residency artist Elizabeth Ito, who’s an animator and then being able to feature students as musical guests on the show.
Balach played a series of clips from “City of Ghosts” in which Ito and Balach took turns guessing what word comes next in each clip. After a series of clips and guesses, Ito proved to be the winner.
Each broadcast is organized by the LMR Dream Team. Led by Balach and Brady Bramlett, the group consists of UM students Ben Curry, Benton Donahue, Isabel Goad, Antoin Marshall and Maya Taylor.
Associate Director of the Sarah Isom Center Theresa Starkey explained the purpose of the SarahFest residency program, for which Ito served as the artist-in-residence.
“It is a great way to bridge the community and the university by bringing people together to learn about different things that are happening in the arts,” Starkey said. “We aim to showcase what students are doing and creating. It’s an opportunity to celebrate artists like Elizabeth Ito.”
The Isom Center strives to inspire inclusivity and unite the community in celebrating the arts.
“I’m happy and proud to collaborate with the Department of Music and Living Music Resource,” Starkey said. “This is one of the components of it, and we’re super thrilled to be able to bring a cohort together of six amazing students that come from disciplines across the campus to be able to work with a professional like Elizabeth.”
Editor’s Note: Brady Bramlett is a co-leader for the Living Music Resource show. Due to a reporting error, he was not listed in this position in an earlier version of this story.