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Art & Soul: The Visual Arts - Local Activities And Information For Artists And Art Lovers

Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Joan Marcus

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the visual arts in our community.  WEMU’s Lisa Barry is joined by state and local arts leader Omari Rush and special guest Chrisstina Hamilton from the Penny Stamps Speaker Series, who outlines a number of unique theatre events they have planned for the new year.

COMING THIS MONTH FROM THE PENNY STAMPS SPEAKER SERIES (All events at the Michigan Theater.  FREE and open to the public)

Oskar Eustis: Theater and Democracy (Thursday, January 16 at 5:10 PM)

Oskar Eustis has served as artistic director of The Public Theater in New York City since 2005.  In the past four years, Eustis has produced two Tony Award-winning productions in the category of best musical (Fun Home and Hamilton), as well as two productions that won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (Hamilton and Sweat). Prior to his role at The Public, Eustis enjoyed a storied career that began at the Eureka Theatre Company in San Francisco (1986–1989), where he commissioned Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and directed its world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.  At The Public, Eustis directed the New York premieres of Rinne Groff’s Compulsion and The Ruby Sunrise; Larry Wright’s The Human Scale; Julius Caesar; Public Works Twelfth Night at Shakespeare in the Park; and Suzan-Lori Parks’ White Noise.  Additionally, he has founded numerous groundbreaking programs at The Public, including Public Works, Public Forum, the Emerging Writers Group, and the Mobile Unit.  Over the course of his career, Eustis has directed the world premieres of plays by Philip Kan Gotanda, David Henry Hwang, Emily Mann, Parks, Ellen McLaughlin, and Eduardo Machado, among many others.
Co-presented with University Musical Society (UMS).
Cullen Washington Jr.: Abstract Meditations on the Grid and Humanity (Thursday, January 23 at 5:10 PM)


Credit Cullen Washington, Jr.
Cullen Washington, Jr., “Agora 1,” 2017, mixed media collage on canvas.

Cullen Washington Jr.’s work offers meditations on human interconnectivity and “the universal framework that undergirds all things.”  
Fusing seemingly disparate concepts via the connective tissues of mixed media, Washington uses nonrepresentational abstraction to understand order, chaos, social relationships, and other natural phenomena.  
The work takes audiences on a vibrant journey through and with materiality — a concerted and haptic interplay between gestures of painting and drawing and the modes of reproduction. 
In the exhibition Cullen Washington Jr.: The Public Square, his most recent series, Agoras, explores the “agora” — the ancient Greek public space — as a central "gathering place" for activated assembly that functions as the heart of the commercial, spiritual, and political life in the city, where the displaced can find a place. 
Washington’s work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and has been exhibited at the Queens Museum in New York, the Saatchi Gallery in London, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.  
He has been an artist in residence at Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Yaddo artists’ community in New York, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation.  He has also received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award.
Presented in partnership with UMMA as part of the 2020 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium. 
Cullen Washington Jr.: The Public Square will be on view at UMMA January 25–May 17, 2020. 
Lead support for the UMMA exhibition Cullen Washington Jr.: The Public Square is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost, Michigan Medicine, and the Institute for the Humanities. Additional generous support is provided by the Department of the History of Art.

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, Len Niehoff, and John de Lancie: Theater of Justice(Thursday, January 30 at 5:10 PM)
This event brings together Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, legal scholar and practitioner Len Niehoff, and acclaimed actor John de Lancie to explore the work of the courts and the law; how the human impulse for narrative performance and drama informs the inner workings of the courtroom; and how the courtroom is represented on stage and screen.
Chief Justice Bridget McCormack joined the Michigan Supreme Court in January 2013, and became chief justice in January 2019.  As the chief justice, McCormack has promoted statewide initiatives devoted to improving the courts’ service to the public, and in particular delivering on a promise that courts are independent, accessible, engaged with their communities, and efficient. 
Len Niehoff is a nationally prominent law practitioner, professor, and scholar in three fields: media law and the First Amendment; higher education law; and trial and appellate litigation. Niehoff is working on a book about the Salem witch trials.
John de Lancie is best known for his role as “Q” on Star Trek: The Next Generation, however, his credits are numerous and include The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, The Fisher King, Breaking Bad, and The West Wing.  He was recently in a national tour of the “Scopes Monkey Trial” with Ed Asner where he played Clarence Darrow, and is the first recipient of the Clarence Darrow Award.  De Lancie is currently at work on a play about the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover School District trial.
Presented in partnership with University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA). This event heralds Witness Lab, a project by Roman J. Witt Artist in Residence Courtney McClellan.  This courtroom installation is activated from February 15 through May 17, 2020, in UMMA’s Stenn Gallery.


  • Credit Ann Arbor Art Center / annarborartcenter.org
    Artini 2020

    Artini 2020 (Friday, February 21)--Join us for the 12th Annual Artini, a fundraiser for the Ann Arbor Art Center!  Once again, the finest bars and restaurants in downtown Ann Arbor will compete to create the city’s most artful martini.  From 6:30pm to 10:00pm, visit participating establishments and taste carefully crafted and innovative cocktails designed by some of the city’s top mixologists.

  • Registration for Winter Art Classes at the Ann Arbor Art Center is now open.  More info can be found here.
  • Dong Kyu Kim, “The Stranger in Heaven” (January 28 – February 23 Kreft Center Gallery at Concordia University.  Reception for the Artist: Thursday, February 13, 7:00p.m. – 9:00p.m.) -- Dong Kyu Kim is an artist and fashion designer whose mixed media works are constructed of paper receipts and tickets and sewn by hand.  His work is inspired by Jogakbo, the traditional Korean craft of patching together scraps of fabric. His work asks questions about the impact of American capitalism on one’s values, and what motivates a person to want more and more.  It is an examination of the roots of our desires, and how we determine value.  The gallery is open to the public, free of charge, Tuesday – Friday | 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • NEA Grants Applications are now open.  For full details, click here.


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— 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 lbarryma@emich.edu

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
Omari Rush has a continually expanding role of service as both an artistic administrator and community leader, in part through his work as curator of public programs at the Ann Arbor Art Center.
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