Art & Soul: The Visual Arts - Penny Stamps Speaker Series Shares Content Differently During Pandemic

Feb 11, 2021

Behind the Walls
Credit Penny Stamps Speaker Series /

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the visual arts.  Lisa Barry, along with state and local arts leader Omari Rush, talk with Chrisstina Hamilton, director of the Penny Stamps Speaker Series at the University of Michigan.

Penny Stamps Speaker series director Chrisstina Hamilton
Credit Chrisstina Hamilton


Since no in-person events are happening due to the pandemic, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series has evolved in a number of different ways.  Chrisstina Hamilton says they are busy creating new content but are sharing it online or with their public television content partner, Detroit Public TV.  

Every Friday, a new event is shared and can be watched when it's most convenient for those interested.  Hamilton says she misses the in-person energy and connection from pre-pandemic speaker events but says this new way of sharing the series has its benefits as well, including sharing some previously recorded events that were never shared before and convincing artists she's been asking to participate for years to finally agree to do so. 



The Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series brings respected leaders and innovators from a broad spectrum of creative fields direct to your screen of choice with the support of our partners, Detroit Public Television and PBS Books.

All speaker series events will be webcast on Fridays at 8 pm EST here and at  You can also watch the talks and join the conversation on the Penny Stamps Series Facebook page.

Upcoming Speaker Series events include:


Candy Chang
Credit Penny Stamps Speaker Series /


  • "Candy Chang: Transforming Our Cities" (Friday, February 12): Through the activation of public spaces around the world, Taiwanese-American artist Candy Chang creates work that examines the dynamics between society and the psyche, the threshold between isolation and community, and the ways shared places can cultivate reflection, perspective, and kinship.

Behind the Wall
Credit Penny Stamps Speaker Series /


  • "Jaume Plensa: Can You Hear Me?" (Friday, February 19): “Can You Hear Me?” is a documentary film that follows internationally celebrated Spanish artist Jaume Plensa for a year and a half, offering audiences an unfiltered look into his artistic process.

Sophia Brueckner suit
Credit Penny Stamps Speaker Series /


  • "Sophia Brueckner: Sci-Fi Prototyping and Critical Optimism" (Friday, February 26): Inseparable from computers since the age of two, Sophia Brueckner believes she is a cyborg.  As a software engineer at Google, she designed and built products used by tens of millions.  At the Rhode Island School of Design and the MIT Media Lab, she researched the simultaneously empowering and controlling aspects of technology with a focus on tangible and social interfaces. 


**Special thanks to Paul Keller for providing the Art & Soul theme music.**

Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support.  Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving.

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at