• Anonymous 4

    Anonymous 4

    Music New York based a cappella quartet

    Anonymous 4 are an American female a cappella quartet, based in New York City. Their main performance genre is medieval music, although they have also premiered works by recent composers such as John Tavener and Steve Reich. They have performed in cities throughout North America, and have been regulars at major international festivals.

    Learn more about Anonymous 4.

  • Hanif Abdurraqib

    Hanif Abdurraqib

    Creative Writing Poet

    Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet and cultural critic whose work has appeared in Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. The Crown Ain't Worth Much was one of 2016's best-selling poetry collections, and his debut collections of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was published November 2017.

  • Steve Almond

    Steve Almond

    Creative Writing Author and essayist

    Steve Almond is the author of twelve books of fiction and nonfiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. For four years, Almond hosted the New York Times "Dear Sugars" podcast with New York Times bestselling author, Cheryl Strayed. His short stories have been anthologized widely, in the Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize and Best American Mysteries series.

  • American Brass Quintet American Brass Quintet

    American Brass Quintet American Brass Quintet

    Music Musicians

    The American Brass Quintet is internationally recognized as one of the premier chamber music ensembles of our time, celebrated for peerless leadership in the brass world. As 2013 recipient of Chamber Music America’s highest honor, the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award for significant and lasting contributions to the field, ABQ's rich history includes performances in Asia, Australia, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East and all fifty of the United States; a discography of nearly sixty recordings; and the premieres of over one hundred fifty contemporary brass works.

    The New York Times recently wrote that “among North American brass ensembles none is more venerable than the American Brass Quintet,” while Newsweek has hailed the ensemble as “the high priests of brass” and American Record Guide has called the ABQ “of all the brass quintets, the most distinguished.” Through its acclaimed performances, diverse programming, commissioning, extensive discography and educational mission, the American Brass Quintet has created a legacy unparalleled in the brass field.

  • Laurie Anderson

    Laurie Anderson

    Visual Arts Multi-media Artist

    Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned—and daring— creative pioneers. She is best known for her multimedia presentations and innovative use of technology. As writer, director, visual artist and vocalist she has created groundbreaking works that span the worlds of art, theater, and experimental music.

    Anderson's recording career, launched by “O Superman” in 1981, includes the soundtrack to her feature film “Home of the Brave” and “Life on a String” (2001). Her live shows range from simple spoken word to elaborate multi-media stage performances such as “Songs and Stories for Moby Dick” (1999). Anderson has published seven books and her visual work has been presented in major museums around the world.

    In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA which culminated in her 2004 touring solo performance “The End of the Moon”.  Recent projects include a series of audio-visual installations and a high definition film, “Hidden Inside Mountains,” created for World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. In 2007, she received the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for her outstanding contribution to the arts. In 2008, she completed a two-year worldwide tour of her performance piece, “Homeland”, which was released as an album on Nonesuch Records in June 2010. Anderson’s solo performance “Delusion” debuted at the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad in February 2010 and will continue to tour internationally into 2011.  In 2010, a retrospective of her visual and installation work opened in Sao Paulo, Brazil and later traveled to Rio de Janeiro. 

    In 2011, Anderson's exhibition of all new work, titled “Forty-Nine Days In the Bardo”, opened at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. That same year she was awarded the Pratt Institute’s Honorary Legends Award. Anderson's exhibition “Boat” curated by Vito Schnabel opened in May of 2012. She has recently finished residencies at both CAP in UCLA in Los Angeles and EMPAC in Troy, New York.  Her film “Heart of a Dog” was chosen as an official selection of the 2015 Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. In the same year, Anderson's exhibition “Habeas Corpus” opened at the Park Avenue Armory to wide critical acclaim and, in 2016, she was the recipient of Yoko Ono’s Courage Award for the Arts for that project. Anderson lives in New York City.

  • Jennifer Archibald

    Jennifer Archibald

    Dance Founder & Artistic Director of the Arch Dance Company

    JENNIFER ARCHIBALD is the founder and Artistic Director of the Arch Dance Company and Program Director of ArchCore40 Dance Intensives.  She is a graduate of The Alvin Ailey School and the Maggie Flanigan Acting Conservatory where she studied the Meisner Technique.   Archibald has choreographed for the Atlanta Ballet, Ailey II, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Kansas City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet II, Ballet Nashville; and worked commercially for Tommy Hilfiger, NIKE and MAC Cosmetics as well as chart-listed singers and actors. She was recently appointed as the first female Resident Choreographer in Cincinnati Ballet’s 40-year history. In 2018, she will be creating new works for Cincinnati Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, Ballet Nashville and Stockholm’s Balletakademien next season.  

    Archibald’s works have been performed at venues including New York’s City Center, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Aaron Davis Hall, Jacob’s Pillow Inside|Out Stage and Central Park’s Summerstage Mainstage. Jennifer was awarded a Choreographic Fellow for Ailey’s New Directions Choreography Lab under the direction of Robert Battle.  She is 2015′s Choreographic Winnings recipient by the Joffrey Ballet. She also choreographed “Seven”, a biographical work about Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee, commissioned by St. Louis based MADCODance Company.  Her new work “Delilah” is currently touring Scandinavia. Arch Dance Company’s “Chasing Shadows” will be remounted for Dallas Black Dance Theater for their 2018/19 season. Jennifer is currently an Acting Lecturer at the Yale School of Drama.

    In 2015, she was appointed as Guest Faculty Lecturer to develop the Hip Hop dance curriculum at Columbia/Barnard College. Jennifer is also a guest artist at several universities including Fordham/Ailey, Purchase College, Princeton, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of South Florida, Goucher College, Columbia College Chicago, and Bates College. In 2017, she premiered new works for Miami New World School of the Arts, South Carolina’s Governor’s School of the Arts, Ailey Fordham, Boston Conservatory, and Point Park. Internationally, she has taught master classes in Brazil, Bermuda, Canada, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden, France, Russia, Mexico, China, and Ecuador.

  • Aspen String Trio Aspen String Trio

    Aspen String Trio Aspen String Trio

    Music Musicians

    Consistently praised for their “masterful sensitivity” and “ultra-refined musicianship,” their “tight ensemble work” and “musical intelligence,” Aspen String Trio formed as summer artist teaching colleagues at Aspen Music Festival and School more than twenty years ago.  Formerly a member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, violinist David Perry now leads the Pro Arte Quartet, in residence at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he holds an endowed professorship; he is also concertmaster of the Chicago Philharmonic.  Violist Victoria Chiang is a member of the artist faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Music; formerly on the faculty of The Juilliard School and the Hartt School of Music, she previously served on the board of the American Viola Society.  Cellist Michael Mermagen is Associate Professor of Cello at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Formerly Associate Professor of Cello and Chamber Music at The Catholic University of America, he has served as Chamber Symphony Principal Cellist of the Aspen Music Festival and School for more than 25 years.

  • Signe Baumane

    Signe Baumane

    Visual Arts Animator, Filmmaker

    Signe Baumane is a Latvian-born independent filmmaker, artist, and animator, with an interest in a wide variety of narrative themes including sex, pregnancy, love, marriage, and the individual vs. society. Many of her films are told with a strong female point of view. She is not afraid to experiment, be provocative, or bring the most personal issues to light.

    Signe believes that animation is the perfect medium to tell layered complicated stories. She is fascinated by the ability of animation to incorporate a wide variety of art forms. Her latest projects--a feature film "Rocks In My Pockets" and "My Love Affair With Marriage"-- fuse animation with music, theater, science, photography, lighting, three-dimensional sets, and traditional hand-drawn animation.

    Signe is a New York Fellow for the Arts in Film and Guggenheim Fellow. Her 16 animated shorts have screened collectively at over 400 films festivals including Bernlinale, Sundance, and Annecy.  "Rocks in My Pockets" premiered at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2014, went to over 150 film festivals, and opened theatrically in the US through Zeitgeist Films. Since 2015, Signe has been working on 'My Love Affair With Marriage," which will be complete Spring 2021.

  • Charles Baxter

    Charles Baxter

    Creative Writing Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist

    Charles Baxter is the author of the novels The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light, and the story collections Gryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, and Harmony of the World.  The stories “Bravery” and “Charity,” which appear in There’s Something I Want You to Do, were included in Best American Short Stories. Baxter has also published essays on fiction collected in Burning Down the House and The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot, and has edited several books of essays. Baxter’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, and Harper’s, among other journals and magazines. 

    Baxter lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

  • Benjamin Beilman

    Benjamin Beilman

    Music Violinist

    Benjamin Beilman has won praise both for his passionate performances and deep rich tone which the Washington Post called “mightily impressive,” and The New York Times described as “muscular with a glint of violence.”

    In 2018-19 Beilman will appear with Symphony Orchestras in Oregon, Cincinnati, North Carolina and Indianapolis, and Orchestra St. Luke’s. He also play-directs both the Vancouver Symphony and the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Abroad, Mr. Beilman performs with the Cologne Philharmonie, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Bruckner Orchestra Linz, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Iceland Symphony and Nagoya Philharmonic in Japan.

    “Demons,” a new work written for Beilman and pianist Orion Weiss by Frederic Rzewski and commissioned by Music Accord, was premiered in 2018 at Baltimore’s Shriver Hall Concert Series, the Boston Celebrity Series and later presented in recital with the Gilmore Festival and Grand Teton Festival. Beilman and Weiss will continue to perform the work in recital during the 2018-19 season at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center and Spivey Hall. Other upcoming recital appearances include Wigmore Hall, Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Perelman Theater, and Carnegie Hall.

    Mr. Beilman garnered worldwide attention following his First Prize wins in both the 2010 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the 2010 Montréal International Musical Competition. He went on to receive a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a London Music Masters Award and an exclusive recording contract with Warner Classics. In 2016 he released his first disc for the label, titled Spectrum, featuring works by Stravinsky, Janáček and Schubert.

    Beilman studied with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy. He plays the "Engleman" Stradivarius from 1709 generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

  • Eighth Blackbird

    Eighth Blackbird

    Music Contemporary Chamber Ensemble

    Eighth Blackbird, hailed as “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” (Chicago Tribune), began in 1996 as a group of six entrepreneurial Oberlin Conservatory students and quickly became “a brand-name defined by adventure, vibrancy and quality” (Detroit Free Press). Over the course of more than two decades, Eighth Blackbird has continually pushed at the edges of what it means to be a contemporary chamber ensemble, presenting distinct programs in Chicago, nationally, and internationally, reaching audiences totaling tens of thousands. The sextet has commissioned and premiered hundreds of works by composers both established and emerging, and have perpetuated the creation of music with profound impact, such as Steve Reich’s Double Sextet, which went on to win the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. The ensemble’s extensive recording history, primarily with Chicago’s Cedille Records, has produced more than a dozen acclaimed albums and four Grammy Awards for Best Small Ensemble/Chamber Music Performance, most recently in 2016 for Filament. Longstanding collaborative relationships have led to performances with some of the most well-regarded classical artists of today from heralded performers like Dawn Upshaw and Jeremy Denk, to seminal composers like Philip Glass and Nico Muhly. In recent projects, Eighth Blackbird has joined forces with composers and performers who defy the persistent distinction between classical and non­classical music, including works by The National’s Bryce Dessner and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Perry, and performances with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, My Brightest Diamond frontwoman Shara Nova, Will Oldham aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Iarla Ó Lionáird of The Gloaming, among others.

    Eighth Blackbird first gained wide recognition in 1998 as winners of the Concert Artists Guild Competition. Since 2000, the ensemble has called Chicago home, and has been committed to serving as both importer and exporter of world class artistic experiences to and from Chicago. A recent year-long pioneering residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, during which the ensemble served as a living installation with open rehearsals, performances, guest artists, and public talks, exemplified their stature as community influencers. Receiving the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, Chamber Music America’s inaugural Visionary Award, and being named Musical America’s 2017 Ensemble of the Year have supported Eighth Blackbird’s position as a catalyst for innovation in the new music ecosystem of Chicago and beyond.

  • Carolyn Bolton

    Carolyn Bolton

    Dance Dancer, choreographer, and teacher

    Carolyn Bolton (2005 Alum) is an American dancer, teacher, and choreographer from Columbia, South Carolina. Carolyn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance/Choreography from the University of South Carolina. Carolyn trained at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York and Bejart Ballet Lausanne before joining Rambert, the United Kingdom’s largest national contemporary dance company, in London, England, in 2013. Since joining Rambert, Carolyn has created three choreographic works which have been shown during Rambert’s Choreographic platform, Resolution 2017, at The Place, The National Theatre’s Riverstage, Rich Mix and The Future program, at The Lowry in Salford Quays. For the past two years she has performed as a guest at the Operaestate Festival Veneto Bassano del Grappa. Carolyn has also worked as a guest with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and has performed as a guest artist with Julie Cunningham and Company for their 2018 Barbican season.

  • Phillip Boykin

    Phillip Boykin

    Music Baritone

    Phillip Boykin, a native of Greenville, South Carolina, began his vocal and theater training at the P. W. Dwight E. Woods Repertory Theater for Youth, directed and created by his adopted father the late Dwight E. Woods; The Greenville Fine Arts Center; and The South Carolina Governor’s School of the Arts. His exceptional gifts led him to explore the musical worlds of Opera and Musical Theater. Boykin earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Hartt School of music at the University of Hartford and pursued a Master’s degree in Opera and Jazz Vocals at Howard University.
    In the course of his prestigious career, Boykin has toured both nationally and internationally, portraying the roles of Crown, Jake, and Jim in “Porgy and Bess” throughout Germany, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Europe, and the United States.  Mr Boykin is the recipient of a TONY Award, a Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critic’s Circle Award Nomination. He received the 2012 Theater World Award for his Outstanding Broadway Debut and the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award from his Alma Mater, The Hartt School.

  • Barry Brannum

    Barry Brannum

    Dance Dance Artist

    A 2009 Governor’s School Alum and 2017 Young Alumni Award Recipient, Barry Brannum is a dance artist whose practice encompasses performance, teaching, choreography, research (both scholarly and artistic), writing, and sound design. Since leaving the Governor’s School, Brannum has graduated from Princeton University in 2013 (AB cum laude, English; Certificate, Dance) and is currently a PhD candidate (ABD) in UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures / Dance.

    Brannum has worked with several LA-based performance makers, including Dorothy Dubrule, Jennie Mary-Tai Liu (Grand Lady Dance House), Lionel Popkin, Eliott Reed, Nickels Sunshine, Kristianne Salcines, Alexx Shilling, and Kevin Williamson. He appeared as a guest artist with Cullberg Ballet in Deborah Hay’s Figure a Sea, and will perform in the Los Angeles iteration of the Merce Cunningham Trust’s Night of 100 Solos: A Centenary Event in April 2019. He has shown his own choreography at Highways Performance Space, the Electric Lodge, Pieter, and NAVEL, among other venues.

  • Michael Brodeur

    Michael Brodeur

    Visual Arts Painter

    Michael Brodeur is Associate Professor in studio art (foundations, painting and drawing) at Furman University, Greenville SC. He was born in Claremont, NH and graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in art. He earned an M.F.A. in painting/drawing from Boston University where he studied with Philip Guston and James Weeks. Mr. Brodeur has exhibited nationally and internationally in solo and group shows including Contemporary Conversations, Works curated from the South Carolina Art Collection (Eleanor Heartney, curator), 701 Center for Contemporary Art, Columbia, SC, From America, Museum of Contemporary Art, Minsk Belarus, Mostra, Cortona Italy, The South Carolina Triennial 2001, From the Studio at the Greenville County Museum of Art, the Hortt Annual at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, the Greater Midwest International Exhibition XX at Central Missouri State University and the 2nd International Painting Exhibition Competition, Lessedra Gallery in Sofia Bulgaria. His work has appeared twice in New American Paintings, editions #58 and #100. 

    Among the public institutions that hold his work are The Emrys Foundation, Greenville SC, Columbia College in Columbia SC, LaMar Dodd Art Center at LaGrange College, LaGrange, GA, the South Carolina Arts Commission, The South Carolina State Museum and the Greenville County Museum of Art. His work is also in many private collections. He is a 1997 recipient of a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship. Mr. Brodeur’s teaching credits include Chair of the Foundations Program at the New England School of Art and Design in Boston, MA and faculty at Florida Atlantic University at Boca Raton, FL. He moved to Greenville in 1999 to create and chair the Visual Arts Department at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. His work is represented online at: http://michaelbrodeur.blogspot.com




  • Peter Carlin

    Peter Carlin

    Creative Writing Journalist, critic, and author

    Peter Ames Carlin is a writer and the author of several books, including HOMEWARD BOUND: THE LIFE OF PAUL SIMON, published in October 2016 and BRUCE, a biography of Bruce Springsteen published in October 2012. Carlin has also been a free-lance journalist, a senior writer at People in New York City, and a television columnist and feature writer at The Oregonian in Portland. A regular speaker on music, writing and popular culture, Carlin lives in Portland, Ore., with his wife and three children.

  • Sydney Cross

    Sydney Cross

    Visual Arts Printmaker

    Sydney A. Cross taught printmaking and art at Clemson University from 1981-2016 where she was awarded the title of Alumni Distinguished Professor of Art. After retiring from Clemson, she moved to Los Angeles and is currently an instructor at California State University, Northridge, CA.  She also serves on LA Print Society Board. She held the office President of the Southern Graphics Council International (1996-2000), the largest printmaking society in North America. She has received numerous awards including in 2017, the SGC International Printmaker Emeritus Award.  She has given many professional presentations at regional, national, and international conferences and symposiums including the Southeastern College Art Association conferences and the Print Odyssey conference in Cortona Italy in 2001. As an artist she has participated in several important portfolio exchanges, including Drawn from the McClung Museum, Suite X, Printer’s Almanac, Tempe Suite, Images 2010, and Drawn to Stone, a celebration of Two Hundred Years of Lithography.

    Her work has been exhibited regionally, nationally, and internationally and can be found in numerous collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Smithsonian Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, Boston Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MA, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA, The Museum of Fine Art, Antwerp, Belgium, and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

  • Margaret Curtis

    Margaret Curtis

    Visual Arts Visual Artist

    Born in Hamilton, Bermuda, Margaret Curtis is a painter and visual artist. She has been creating feminist-based work since the late 1980s. Curtis has been included in shows at The Brooklyn Museum, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Huntington Beach Art Center, The Mint Museum and The Wexner Center. Career highlights include being featured in Marcia Tucker’s 1994 Bad Girls exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in NYC; her work was curated by Lilli Wei and by Laurie Simmons; she enjoyed numerous solo and group shows at P.P.O.W. gallery in NYC where she was represented for many years. In addition to solo exhibitions throughout New York and the American South, her work was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at Stony Brook University in New York.

    Reviews and features of Curtis’ work have appeared in Art Forum, The New York Times, Art in America, Art News, Modern Painters, New Art Examiner, among others. Her work is in permanent collections throughout the United States. She was the recipient of Yale’s Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship and The Predmore Award from Duke University, as well as numerous residency awards. Curtis graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University. She taught painting at The School of Visual Arts in New York for several years, and has been on the boards of both The Flood Gallery in Asheville, NC, and The Upstairs Gallery in Tryon, NC, where she currently resides.

  • Christopher Davenport

    Christopher Davenport

    Visual Arts Bookmaker

    Teaching artist Christopher Davenport uses film, photography, and handmade paper to create his works centered on Ecology, Place, Time, and the Power of the Collective Experience. Christopher teaches at the University of Alabama.

    Learn more about Davenport at https://pocketknifepress.com/

  • Thaddeus Davis

    Thaddeus Davis

    Dance Dancer, choreographer, and teacher

    Thaddeus Davis is the Co-Artistic Director of Wideman/Davis Dance and is currently on faculty as an Assistant Professor at The University of South Carolina.  Davis’ professional performance experience includes work with the following companies: Donald Byrd/The Group, Dance Theater of Harlem, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Fugate/Bahiri Ballet NY Dance Galaxy, Indianapolis Ballet, Fukuoka City Ballet, and Atlanta Dance Theater.  

    Davis has taught as a Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa and for the following professional dance companies and programs: Alley II, Boston Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Ballet Quorum, Portugal, Northwest Professional Dance Project, COCA , Ballet Austin, Ballet Classical Dominican, Dominican Republic, Spectrum Dance Theater, Steps on Broadway.

    Learn more about Thaddeus Davis.

  • Andrė De Shields

    Andrė De Shields

    Drama Actor, director, choreographer, and educator

    Three-time Tony-nominated actor and Broadway legend whose credits include The Wiz, Ain't Misbehavin', Play On!, The Full Monty, Hair, and Prymate

    Learn more about Andrė De Shields.

  • Marlanda Dekine

    Marlanda Dekine

    Creative Writing Poet

    Marlanda Dekine is a poet, a voice, and a presence. Her collection of poems, Thresh & Hold, won the 2021 New Southern Voices Poetry Prize at Hub City Press. Dekine is the creator of i am from a punch & a kiss, a multimedia book/mixtape project, and the founder of Speaking Down Barriers, a nonprofit working towards equity and justice. 
    She is the 2023 Spoken Word/Poetry Slam Fellow for South Carolina, the 2021 Castle of Our Skins Shirley Graham Du Bois Creative-in-Residence, a Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellow, Tin House Own Path Scholar, Emrys Scholar and a Watering Hole Fellow. Their work has been published in Root Work Journal, Oxford American, POETRY Magazine, Emergence Magazine, Southern Humanities Review and elsewhere.

  • Rita Dove

    Rita Dove

    Creative Writing Pulitzer Prize winner, U.S. Poet Laureate

    Rita Dove was the Governor's School's inaugural artist-in-residence for the 2018 Presidential Guest Artist series. During her two-day visit in Greenville, Dove spent time with Creative Writing students in the classroom and provided a school-wide artist talk and book signing. She also gave a free public reading from her latest work, Collected Poems, 1974-2004, and discussed her life's work.

    Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. A 1970 Presidential Scholar, she attended Miami University of Ohio, Universität Tübingen in Germany (as a Fulbright fellow) and the University of Iowa. In 1987 she received the Pulitzer Prize in poetry, from 1993-1995 she served as U.S. Poet Laureate, and from 2004-2006 as Poet Laureate of Virginia. Author of a novel, a short story collection, a book of essays, and nine volumes of poetry -- most recently Sonata Mulattica (winner of the 2010 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award) and Collected Poems 1974-2004 (winner of a 2017 NAACP Image Award and the 2017 Library of Virginia Award for Poetry) -- she also edited The Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry, which was published in 2011. Her song cycle Seven for Luck, with music by John Williams, was premiered by the Boston Symphony, and her play The Darker Face of the Earth had successful runs at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Kennedy Center in Washington and the Royal National Theatre in London, among other venues.

    Rita Dove's numerous honors include the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, Lifetime Achievement Medals from the Library of Virginia and the Fulbright Association, as well as 25 honorary doctorates, most recently from Yale University. In 1996 she received the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and in 2011 the National Medal of Arts from President Obama. She has served as president of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and as chancellor of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa, as well as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. A member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she is Commonwealth Professor at the University of Virginia. 

  • Maria Fabrizio

    Maria Fabrizio

    Visual Arts Illustrator and Designer

    Maria is an illustrator and designer who believes smart ideas make beautiful work.With an affection for process, she works by hand and on screen for projects large and small while trying to maintaining her daily illustration blog — Wordless News. Maria is based in the hot metropolis of Columbia, South Carolina, where she lives with her husband, son (Charlie) and daughter (Jacqueline “Q”) and a very chubby kitty. Maria brings more than 10 years of professional experience to bear and holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Graphic Design/Visual Communication. Some of her clients include: Oprah Magazine, NPR, Stat News, Kaiser Health News, Resources Magazine, Web MD Magazine, University of South Carolina, Rhode Island Monthly, Writer's Digest, Charleston City Paper, and Vox.

  • Garth Fagan

    Garth Fagan

    Dance Founder of Garth Fagan Dance, SCGSAH Presidential Guest Artist 2019

    Critics have called Garth Fagan “a true original,” “a genuine leader,” and “one of the great reformers of modern dance.” Fagan is the founder and artistic director of the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Garth Fagan Dance, now celebrating its 48th season. An “Irreplaceable Dance Treasure” Tony and Olivier Award winner, Fagan continually renews his own distinctive dance vocabulary, which draws on many sources: a sense of weight in modern dance, torso-centered movement and energy of Afro-Caribbean, the speed and precision of ballet, and the rule breaking experimentation of the postmoderns. “Originality has always been Mr. Fagan’s strong suit, not least in his transformation of recognizable idioms into a dance language that looks not only fresh but even idiosyncratic,” writes Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times.

    For his path-breaking choreography for Walt Disney’s The Lion King, Fagan was awarded the prestigious 1998 Tony Award for Best Choreography. He also received the 1998 Drama Desk Award, 1998 Outer Critics Circle Award, 1998 Astaire Award, 2000 Laurence Olivier Award, 2001 Ovation Award, and the 2004 Helpmann Award for his work on the Broadway musical, which opened in fall 1997 to extraordinary critical praise. Fagan’s distinguished work in the theater also includes the first fully staged production of the Duke Ellington street opera, Queenie Pie, at the Kennedy Center in 1986 and the opening production of Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival’s Shakespeare Marathon: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1988), set in Brazil and directed by A.J. Antoon.

    In the world of concert dance, Fagan choreographs primarily for Garth Fagan Dance. “An evening spent with Garth Fagan Dance is a humanity-affirming event” Victoria Looseleaf .  His work, Mudan 175/39, was named by The New York Times as the third of the top six dance watching moments of 2009. The company continues to be cited for its excellence and originality ”Consider the Fagan program a prime example of the versatility and sophistication of concert dance in this new century.”  The Los Angeles Times. Fagan has also produced commissions for a number of leading companies, including his first work on pointe, Footprints Dressed in Red, for Dance Theatre of Harlem; a solo for Judith Jamison, Scene Seen, for the debut of the Jamison Project; Jukebox for Alvin for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater;Never No Lament for the José Limon Company; and Ellington Elation, part of a triad of pieces commissioned by New York City Ballet in honor of Duke Ellington’s centenary and New York City Ballet’s 50th anniversary. In 2012 Lewis Segal wrote "...it was American master Garth Fagan who best fused technical virtuosity with conceptual depth... soul-deep conviction and spectacular flair….the indispensable dance experience of the year.”

    Fagan began his career when he toured Latin America with Ivy Baxter and her national dance company from Jamaica. Baxter and two other famed dance teachers from the Caribbean, Pearl Primus and Lavinia Williams, were major influences on Fagan. In New York City, Fagan studied with Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Mary Hinkson, and Alvin Ailey, who were all central to his development. Fagan was director of Detroit’s All-City Dance Company and principal soloist and choreographer for Detroit Contemporary Dance Company and Dance Theatre of Detroit.

    In October 2001, Fagan, a native of Jamaica, was presented with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander: a national honor bestowed upon him by the Jamaican government. In August 1998, he received that country’s Special Gold Musgrave Medal for his “Contribution to the World of Dance and Dance Theater” and at Prime Minister P.J. Patterson’s Independence Gala, Fagan was presented with the Prime Minister’s Award, a plate bearing the signatures of all the prime ministers of Jamaica, acknowledging his achievements.

    In 2012 Garth Fagan was selected as an “Irreplaceable Dance Treasure” by The Dance Heritage Coalition, An irreplaceable dance treasure has made a significant impact on dance as an art form, demonstrated artistic excellence, enriched the nation's cultural heritage, demonstrated the potential to enhance the lives of future generations and shown itself worthy of national and international recognition. In 2011, the Institute of Caribbean Studies, which celebrates excellence in literature, science, technology, community service, and corporate leadership, presented Fagan with the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2012, the University of Rochester and its Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies awarded The Frederick Douglass Medal to Fagan to acknowledge his scholarship and civic engagement that honor the Douglass' legacy. In Fall 2017, Garth received A Lifetime Achievement award from the American Dance Guild.

    He is a Chancellor’s Award-winning Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of the State University of New York, and taught for over three decades at the State University of New York at Brockport. In the fall of 2003, Fagan received the George Eastman Medal from the University of Rochester for “outstanding achievement and dedicated service.” He holds honorary doctorates from the Juilliard School, the University of Rochester, Nazareth College of Rochester, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. In 2001 he was the recipient of the Golden Plate Award and was inducted into the American Academy of Achievement. In 1996 he was named a Fulbright 50th Anniversary Distinguished Fellow. Fagan received the 2001 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a prestigious three-year choreography fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.  In recognition of his contribution to modern dance, Fagan has received the Dance Magazine Award for “significant contributions to dance during a distinguished career” and a Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement. Other awards include the Monarch Award from the National Council for Culture and Art, the Lillian Fairchild Award, and the Arts Achievement Award from his alma mater, Wayne State University.

  • Diana Farfán

    Diana Farfán

    Visual Arts Ceramicist

    Diana Farfán is an award-winning ceramic sculptor and instructor, cultural agent and art coach advancing Latino artists in South Carolina. Diana is an instrumental leader and key player in this sector who works to make these artists’ voices louder and stronger in South Carolina by mentoring young Latino artists. An advocate for animal welfare and the natural environment, Diana supports local organizations by increasing awareness of Humane Education (HE) with emphasis on sensitizing the youth through the arts. Diana holds a B.A. in Graphic Design, a B.F.A. in Ceramic and Printmaking from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and a M.F.A. in Ceramic Sculpture from University of South Carolina. She has studied at the University of Anchorage (Alaska, U.S.A.), and at the Tainan National University of the Arts in Taiwan as an exchange student. She has exhibited her work at various art venues and has been an artist in residency. She is a member of the Liberty Fellowship and the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Through her figurative sculpture; Diana creates dramatic-poetic narratives, coated with a layer of humor about environmental, social and political issues.

  • Polly Gaillard

    Polly Gaillard

    Visual Arts Photographer

    Polly Gaillard is a fine art photographer, writer, and educator. For more than ten years, she has taught photography workshops and college courses including summer study abroad programs in Prague, Czech Republic, and Cortona, Italy. She currently teaches at Furman University in Greenville, SC. Polly received a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010. She has exhibited her fine art photographs nationally and published a limited edition artist book, Pressure Points, with a foreword by actress Jamie Lee Curtis. Polly's photographic skills traverse contemporary art, documentary, portrait, and traditional photographic practices. She lives in Greenville, SC with her daughter. 

  • Mark Godden

    Mark Godden

    Dance Choreographer and Dancer

    Award-winning, internationally acclaimed choreographer Mark Godden has been The HARID Conservatory’s resident choreographer since 1995. His relationship with HARID, however, began in 1992 when director Gordon Wright first invited him to create a new work for the students. Godden has returned each year since then to set new works on the students and his annual visits have become an integral part of the school’s curriculum.

    Godden danced professionally as a soloist with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and spent a brief period of time in Holland with Jiri Kylian’s renowned company, Nederlands Dans Theatre. He was resident choreographer of the RWB from 1991 until 1994, when he moved to Montreal and began working independently.

    Godden’s ballets have won awards at the Banff Festival of the Arts, the Varna and Helsinki International Ballet Competitions, and (for HARID) at the Youth America Grand Prix National Final in New York. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Choo San Goh Award. Several of his full-length ballets have been made into award-winning films. In addition to the many works he has created for HARID over the years, Godden has made ballets for Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens du Montreal, Ballet Florida, Ballet Gamonet, Compañia Nacional de Danza in Mexico, Ballet Contemporania in Argentina, Ballet Memphis, Alberta Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, BalletMet, American Repertory Ballet, Louisville Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and Northern Ballet Theater in England.

    Ballets created for The HARID Conservatory include Agram, Baffled Kings Composing, Capsize, Corazón de la Llama, Diversions, Fable, Gracioso, Laudon Loudon, Sarabande, Speaking in Tongues, Taal, Three-Quarter Moon, Tightrope, The Unanswered Question, What Can I Tell My Bones?, and Why Are You Here Today?

    Learn more about Mark Godden. 

    (Bio Credit: http://harid.edu/resident-choreographer/)

  • Megan Gogerty

    Megan Gogerty

    Drama Comedian and Playwright

    Megan Gogerty wrote LADY MACBETH AND HER PAL, MEGAN (Edinburgh Fringe; Cincy Fringe Audience Pick of the Fringe); BAD PANDA (Theatre Without Borders, Beijing; Iron Crow Theatre Co.; Original Works Publishing) and LOVE JERRY (NYMF Excellence in Writing Award). The Atlanta Journal-Constitution listed her solo show HILLARY CLINTON GOT ME PREGNANT in their yearly Top Ten Best Plays. Other plays include SAVE ME, DOLLY PARTON (Synchronicity Theatre; Creative Loafing’s Best Plays in Atlanta). Megan was a Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow, a WordBRIDGE alum, and she earned her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently teaches playwriting at the University of Iowa.

    Learn more about Megan Gogerty.

  • Latria Graham

    Latria Graham

    Creative Writing Magazine writer and cultural critic

    Latria Graham is a journalist and fifth-generation South Carolina farmer. Her work stands at the intersection of food, social justice, sports and culture. She’s written longform pieces about everything from farming to NASCAR. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and later earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from The New School in New York City. She is a three-time Best American Sports Writing notable for her stories on athletes in places of tension—primarily Standing Rock, ND and Flint, MI. She received a Bronze level CASE Award for her reporting on immigration policy and her work has been featured in the New York Times, the LA Times, The Guardian, espnW, Southern Living, and Garden & Gun. She is a contributing editor for Outdoor Retailer Magazine.

  • Jorie Graham

    Jorie Graham

    Creative Writing Poet

    Jorie Graham is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Hybrids of Plants and Ghosts (1980), Erosion (1983), The End of Beauty (1987), Region of Unlikeness (1991), The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974-1992 (1995) winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Never (2002), Sea Change (2008), Place (2012), winner of the Forward Poetry Prize for best collection, From the New World (2015), and Fast (2017), among others. She has taught for many years at Harvard University as the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, the first woman to hold this position.

  • Stephen Graham Jones

    Stephen Graham Jones

    Creative Writing Novelist

    Stephen Graham Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians. He has been an NEA fellowship recipient and been recipient of several awards including: the Ray Bradbury Award from the Los Angeles Times, the Bram Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Jesse Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, and the Alex Award from American Library Association. He is the Ivena Baldwin Professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.

  • Jean Grosser

    Jean Grosser

    Visual Arts Sculptor

    New York native Jean Grosser received a BA in History from Barnard College, a BFA in sculpture from Alfred State College of Ceramics and an MFA in sculpture from Ohio University, Athens.

    She currently resides in Hartsville, South Carolina where she is Professor of Art at Coker University. Her work is in the collections of the Freedom Rides Museum and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, AL. She has been the recipient of the Individual Artist’s Fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission and was a finalist for the Southern Arts Federation/National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowships in Sculpture. Her work, inspired by her interest in political activism, has been exhibited internationally.

  • Hillary Herndon

    Hillary Herndon

    Music Violist

    Violist Hillary Herndon has earned a national reputation for her brilliant playing, creative programming, and insightful teaching. She has been heard on NPR and PBS and has collaborated with some of the world’s foremost artists, including Carol Wincenc, James VanDermark, and Itzhak Perlman. Herndon is dedicated to expanding the repertoire for viola through commissions of new compositions as well as research, performance, and advocacy of little-known works. Her recitals often feature brand-new or unknown repertoire alongside the standard canon.

    A dedicated teacher, Herndon has a thriving studio at the University of Tennessee and has taught at the Sewanee, Monticello, and round top Summer Music Festivals. She is the director and founder of the Annual UT Viola Celebration, as well as co-founder of the Viola Winter Intensive.

    Herndon serves as President-Elect of the American Viola Society. She received her Master’s Degree from the Julliard School where she studied with Heidi Castleman, Hsin-Yun Huang and Misha Amory. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastman, where she studied with George Taylor and graduated with High Honors.

  • Miles Hoffman

    Miles Hoffman

    Music Violist, Conductor and Educator

    Violist Miles Hoffman is founder and artistic director of The American Chamber Players.  He made his New York recital debut in 1979 at the 92nd Street Y and has since appeared frequently around the country in recital, as a chamber musician, and as a soloist with many orchestras.  In 1982, he founded the Library of Congress Summer Chamber Festival, which he directed for nine years, and which led to the formation of the American Chamber Players. His musical commentary, “Coming to Terms,” was heard weekly throughout the United States for thirteen years – from 1989 to 2002 – on NPR’s Performance Today, and now, as Music Commentator for National Public Radio’s flagship news program, Morning Edition, he is regularly heard by a national audience of nearly 14 million people.  Mr. Hoffman is the author of The NPR Classical Music Companion: Terms and Concepts from A to Z, now in its tenth printing from the Houghton Mifflin Company.  

    Hoffman is a graduate of Yale University and the Juilliard School, and in 2003 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Centenary College of Louisiana in recognition of his achievements as a performer and educator. 

    (photo credit: Mary Noble Ours)

  • Gerri Houlian

    Gerri Houlian

    Dance Founding Chair

    Gerri Houlihan began her professional career at the Juilliard School, where she studied with Antony Tudor and members of the Martha Graham and José Limón dance companies. Professionally, she has performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company and Paul Sanasardo Dance Company and spent five years as a soloist with Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. From 1991 to 1999, she directed her own company in Miami. Houlihan joined the Florida State University faculty in 2007 and has taught contemporary and ballet technique, Senior Seminar, Teaching Methods, and Composition. She has been a longtime faculty member at the American Dance Festival, where she has served as Dean since 2013. 

    Photo  credit: Jon Nalon

  • Toni Jensen

    Toni Jensen

    Creative Writing Essayist

    Toni Jensen’s Carry is a memoir-in-essays about gun violence, land and Indigenous women’s lives (Ballantine, September 8, 2020). An NEA Creative Writing Fellowship recipient in 2020, Jensen's essays have appeared in Orion, Catapult and Ecotone. She is also the author of the short story collection From the Hilltop. She teaches at the University of Arkansas and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is Métis.

  • Kate Jewett

    Kate Jewett

    Dance Dance Artist, Choreographer

    Kate Jewett is a dancer, teacher, and rehearsal director who has conducted master classes at various venues and performed all over Europe, Asia, Australia, and the U.S.  Her works have been performed at DeSales University, the United Nations, Park Avenue Armory, Milan, the Fabbrica Europa, and Performatica festivals. Named Director of Education and Outreach for Shen Wei Dance Arts in 2008, she has created a dance-in-education program for the New York City Schools. Jewett has been Rehearsal Director for the Shen Wei Dance Arts since January 2009.

  • Jasminn Johnson

    Jasminn Johnson

    Drama Drama Department Guest Artist - 2020

    Jasminn Johnson (Drama '12) is an actor and teaching artist based in New York City. Some of her recent credits include Off-Broadway: King Lear (New York Classical Theater) and Blues for An Alabama Sky (Keen Company) Twelfth Night (Shakespeare on The Sound). TV/Film:” The Equalizer” (CBS) “The Politician” (Netflix). 


    Since graduating from The Juilliard School’s Drama Division Jasminn has taught throughout New York City as the former Director of Education for Keen Company and coached for the National August Wilson Monologue Competition in which her student won first place at the 2020 New York City-Wide Competition. She is currently a Teaching Fellow at The Juilliard School’s Drama Division.

  • A. Van Jordan

    A. Van Jordan

    Creative Writing Poet

    A. Van Jordan is the author of four collections: Rise, which won the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award (Tia Chucha Press, 2001); M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A, (2005), which was listed as one the Best Books of 2005 by the London Times; Quantum Lyrics, (W.W. Norton, 2007); and The Cineaste (W.W. Norton,, 2013). Jordan has been awarded a Whiting Writers Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He is also the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and a United States Artists Fellowship. He is the Henry Rutgers Presidential Professor at Rutgers University-Newark.

  • David Kim

    David Kim

    Music Violinist

    Violinist David Kim was named concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1999. Born in Carbondale, IL, in 1963, he started playing the violin at the age of three, began studies with the famed pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at the age of eight, and later received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School. 

    Highlights of Mr. Kim’s 2019–20 season include appearing as soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra; teaching/performance residencies and master classes at the University of Texas at Austin, the Manhattan School of Music, Bob Jones University, the Taipei (Taiwan) Academy and Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival; continued appearances as concertmaster of the All-Star Orchestra on PBS stations across the United States and online at the Kahn Academy; as well as recitals, speaking engagements, and appearances with orchestras across the United States.

    Mr. Kim has been awarded honorary doctorates from Eastern University in suburban Philadelphia, the University of Rhode Island, and Dickinson College. His instruments are a J.B. Guadagnini from Milan, ca. 1757, on loan from The Philadelphia Orchestra, and a Michael Angelo Bergonzi from Cremona, ca. 1754.

  • Kelly King

    Kelly King

    Visual Arts Ceramicist

    Kelly King holds a BFA (Art Education) and an MFA (Ceramics) from the University of Georgia. She makes and teaches both sculptural and functional ceramics. Her hand-built ceramics fuse drawing, art history and narrative with a sculptural sensibility. Thematically, her work deals with the human impulse to arrange and organize the natural landscape. 

    King has taught in the college and community setting for over 18 years. She has led numerous workshops, including the Potter’s Council Series “Focus on Function” in Cincinnati, Ohio. She exhibits her work in galleries both regionally and nationally. Her sculpture and functional pottery have been featured in several art publications, including a feature article and cover photo in Ceramics Monthly. Originally from Georgia, she joined the Fine Arts Center in 2015. She holds a studio in her home in Greenville that she shares with her husband and two children.


  • Alonzo King

    Alonzo King

    Dance Founder of LINES Ballet, SCGSAH Presidential Guest Artist 2018

    Alonzo King has been called “a visionary choreographer, who is altering the way we look and think about movement." King calls his works ‘thought structures’. created by the manipulation of energies that exist in matter through laws, which govern the shapes and movement directions of everything that exists. Named as a choreographer with ”astonishing originality” by the New York Times, Alonzo King LINES Ballet has been guided by his unique artistic vision since 1982.
    King has works in the repertories of the Royal Swedish Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Ballet Bejart, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hong Kong Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and many others. He has collaborated with distinguished visual artists, musicians and composers across the globe including Pharaoh Sanders, James Campbell, Hamza El Din, Pawel Szymanski, Jason Moran, Charles Lloyd and Zakir Hussain.

    Renowned for his skill as a teacher, King was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Corps de Ballet International Teacher Conference in 2012. An internationally acclaimed guest ballet master, his training philosophy undergirds the educational programming at the Alonzo King LINES Dance Center of San Francisco, which includes the pre-professional Training Program, Summer Program, and BFA Program at the Dominican University of California.
    King’s work has been recognized for its impact on the cultural fabric of the company’s home in San Francisco, as well as internationally by the dance world’s most prestigious institutions. Named Choreographer of the Year by Danza & Danza in Italy and a Master of Choreography by the Kennedy Center in 2005, King is the recipient of the NEA Choreographer’s Fellowship, the Jacob’s Pillow Creativity Award, the Irvine Fellowship in Dance, the US Artist Award in Dance, NY Bessie Award, and the National Dance Project’s Residency and Touring Awards. In 2014, King was appointed to the advisory council of the newly established Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University; in 2015 he received the Doris Duke Artist Award in recognition of his ongoing contributions to the advancement of contemporary dance. Joining historic icons in the field, King was named one of America’s “Irreplaceable Dance Treasures” by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2015. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom presented the 2nd Annual Mayor’s Art Award to Alonzo King in October 2008. He also received the Barney Choreographic Prize from White Bird Dance in April 2013, numerous Isadora Duncan awards, the San Francisco Foundation’s 2007 Community Leadership Award, the Hero Award from Union Bank, the Lehman Award, and the Excellence Award from KGO.  In October 2012, the San Francisco Museum & Historical Society named Alonzo King a "San Francisco Treasure."

    He is a former commissioner for the city and county of San Francisco, and a writer and lecturer on the art of dance; his contributions appear in the books Masters of Movement: Portraits of American Choreographers and in Dance Masters: Interviews with Legends of Dance. In 2005 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Dominican University of California, the Green Honors Chair Professorship from Texas Christian University as well as an honorary Doctorate from CalArts.

  • Morten Lauridsen

    Morten Lauridsen

    Music Composer

    Morten Johannes Lauridsen (born February 27, 1943) is an American composer. A National Medal of Arts recipient (2007), he was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale (1994–2001) and has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 40 years.

    A native of the Pacific Northwest, Lauridsen worked as a Forest Service firefighter and lookout (on an isolated tower near Mt. St. Helens) and attended Whitman College before traveling south to study composition at the University of Southern California with Ingolf Dahl, Halsey Stevens, Robert Linn, and Harold Owen. He began teaching at USC in 1967 and has been on their faculty ever since.

    In 2006, Lauridsen was named an 'American Choral Master' by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2007 he received the National Medal of Arts from the President in a White House ceremony, "for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide."

    His works have been recorded on more than 200 CDs, five of which have received Grammy Award nominations.

    Learn more at Morten Lauridsen.

  • Ada Limon

    Ada Limon

    Creative Writing Poet

    Ada Limón is the author of five books of poetry, including The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and was named one of the top 5 poetry books of the year by the Washington Post. Her fourth book Bright Dead Things was named a finalist for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte Low Residency M.F.A program, and the online and summer programs for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She also works as a freelance writer in Lexington, Kentucky.


  • Sirui Liu

    Sirui Liu

    Dance Principal Dancer

    Born in Shanghai, China, Sirui Liu started her dance training with the Shanghai Dance School in the year 2000. After 7 years of training, she continued her studies at the Shanghai Dance College of Shanghai Theater Academy for four years. In 2011 Liu started her professional career in the United States with the Cincinnati Ballet as a Corp de Ballet member.  She was promoted to Principal with the company in 2017.  In 2009 Liu won the gold medal in the senior division at the Ninth Taolibei National Dance Competition in China. She also won the gold medal in the senior division at the Beijing International Ballet Competition in China in 2010. Sirui was included in Dance Magazine’s Top 25 Dancers to Watch in 2017.

    In 2011 Liu was invited to dance in the Hong Kong Ballet’s production of Swan Lake. In 2016 she got invited to dance in the Gala “Night of Ballet” in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Liu was a Guest Principal with the Los Angeles Ballet’s production of Bloom in 2022. She has danced several Pas de Deux including Black Swan, Don Quixote, Esmeralda, Diana and Acteon, Le Corsaire, Paquita, and Coppelia. Liu has performed principal roles such as Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Waltz girl in Balanchine’s Serenade, Tall girl in Balanchine’s Rubies, Cinderella in Cinderella, The Chosen One in Rite of Spring, Pas couple in Minus 16, amongst other ballets. 

    Ms. Liu has also worked with internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Annabelle Lope Ochoa, Helen Pickett, Val Caniparoli, Yuri Possokhov, Kirk Peterson, Nicolo Fonte, Garrett Smith, Justin Peck, Alejandro Cerrudo, Septime Webre, Trey Mcintyre, Ohad Naharin, Jennifer Archibald, Edwaard Liang, Ma Cong, Travis Wall, etc. 

    Liu is the Co-Founder of Active Royale.

  • Sonja Livingston

    Sonja Livingston


    Sonja Livingston's is the author of The Virgin of Prince Street: Expeditions into Devotion and Ghostbread, which won an AWP Book Prize for Nonfiction. Sonja’s two other essay collections, Ladies Night at the Dreamland and Queen of the Fall, combine history, memory and imagination to illuminate the lives of girls and women.  Her writing has been honored with a NYFA Fellowship, an Iowa Review Award, A VanderMey Nonfiction Prize, an Arts & Letters Essay Prize, and grants from Vermont Studio Center and The Deming Fund for Women.
    Sonja is an associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, and teaches in the Postgraduate Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has taught at the University of Memphis and in The Writing Workshops Abroad for the University of New Orleans in Edinburgh, San Miguel de Allende and Cork. She is married to the artist Jim Mott and splits her time between New York State and Virginia.

  • Sonja Livingston

    Sonja Livingston

    Creative Writing Memoirist

    Sonja Livingston's is the author of The Virgin of Prince Street: Expeditions into Devotion and Ghostbread, which won an AWP Book Prize for Nonfiction. Sonja’s two other essay collections, Ladies' Night at the Dreamland and Queen of the Fall, combine history, memory and imagination to illuminate the lives of girls and women.  Her writing has been honored with a NYFA Fellowship, an Iowa Review Award, A VanderMey Nonfiction Prize, an Arts & Letters Essay Prize, and grants from Vermont Studio Center and The Deming Fund for Women.

    Sonja is an associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, and teaches in the Postgraduate Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has taught at the University of Memphis and in The Writing Workshops Abroad for the University of New Orleans in Edinburgh, San Miguel de Allende and Cork. She is married to the artist Jim Mott and splits her time between New York State and Virginia.

  • Roxanne Lyst

    Roxanne Lyst

    Dance Dance Artist

    A native of Annapolis, MD, Roxanne began her professional dance training in Washington D.C. under the mentorship of Alfred Dove and Adrian Bolton. She continued her studies at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and as a fellowship student at the Ailey School and earned a Master of Fine. Arts from Hollins University. Lyst has been a member of AILEY II, The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO), and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT). She has toured nationally and internationally performing works choreographed by Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison, Robert Battle, Twyla Tharp, Ulysses Dove, Lar Lubavitch, Paul Taylor, Ron Brown, Mauro Bigonzetti, Alonzo King, and many more. She has performed independently with Hope Boykin Dance, DANCE IQUAL, and Waheed Works. At PHILADANCO and AAADT, Lyst taught company classes and master classes around the world.

  • Stephanie Martinez

    Stephanie Martinez

    Dance Choreographer, Dancer

    Stephanie Martinez is an award-winning Chicago dance artist with over 30 years professional performing experience. Her 2009 choreographic debut, AviMar, for Luna Negra Dance Theatre’s 10th anniversary season instantly secured her status as a sought-after dancemaker. She has since traveled the country as a master teacher and professional choreographer, working with dance companies and university departments in addition to a wide number of reputable ensembles local to her native Chicago.

    photo credit: Cheryl Mann

  • Rebecca McClanahan

    Rebecca McClanahan

    Creative Writing Author

    Rebecca McClanahan is the author of ten books, most recently The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change and a revised edition of Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively, which has sold over 40,000 copies and is used as a text in many writing programs. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, Boulevard, The Sun, and in anthologies published by Doubleday, Norton, Putnam, Penguin, Beacon, St. Martin’s, and numerous other publishers.

    Recipient of the Wood Prize from Poetry, a Pushcart Prize, and the Glasgow Award in nonfiction for The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings, she has also been awarded a N.C. Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, a MacDowell Colony fellowship, and four literary fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, among other honors and awards.

    McClanahan, who was the 2015 Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University, currently teaches in the MFA programs of Queens University (Charlotte) and Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, Washington, and serves on the faculty of the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop.  She lives in Charlotte, N.C. with her husband, video producer Donald Devet.

  • Brian McSween

    Brian McSween

    Dance Dance Artist

    Brian McSween was born and raised in Charlotte, NC where he began dancing in ballet, tap and jazz at the Charlotte City Ballet. He attended the Joffrey Ballet School for two summers before being accepted into the school, and the Joffrey Concert Dancers under full scholarship. He worked seasonally with Joffrey, ABT, and Grand Rapids Ballet before joining Aspen Ballet Company full time. After two years, he returned to the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago where he performed varied roles throughout the repertoire. McSween has also worked with Complexions: A Concept in Dance, has taught around the country and has choreographed for Charlotte City Ballet. He was seen in the Robert Altman film “The Company”, and was the advanced ballet instructor for ChiArts, Chicago’s performing arts high school. McSween returned to the Joffrey Ballet School in the summer of 2010 as a teacher and choreographer.

  • Armon Means

    Armon Means

    Visual Arts Photographer

    Armon A. Means is an adjunct Photography Professor / Teaching Artist in Nashville, TN, and representative for Sprint Systems of Photography. He received his BFA from The Cleveland Institute of Art (’99) and an MFA from Cranbrook Art Academy (’02), both in Photography. Means is currently on faculty at Belmont University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Watkins College of Art and Design, and has taught extensively across the Midwest and Southeast. His work centers on ideas of cultural / minority identity and environmental influence. Means' work is represented in numerous permanent and private collections and exhibited throughout the United States with international exhibitions in Thailand, France, Hungary, and various group exhibitions, including the Chiang Mai International Festival of Photography.

  • Rosa Mercedes

    Rosa Mercedes

    Dance Dancer, Choreographer

    Founder and artistic director of Duende Ballet Español, Rosa Mercedes is recognized for her expertise in all styles of Spanish dance, including flamenco, bolero school, folklore and classical Spanish Dance. Hailed by Dance Magazine as a “virtuoso,” she has performed in the most important theaters throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Canada as both soloist and principal dancer.  Mercedes has also enjoyed an extensive career in opera, being featured as both a choreographer and dancer with the Metropolitan Opera, Opera di Roma, and the Seattle Opera among others. For the past thirty years, she has taught dance workshops around the world, and is the recipient of the Dance Miami Choreographer’s Fellowship and the ACCA Critics Choice Award.

  • Steven Nevitt

    Steven Nevitt

    Visual Arts Visual Artist

    Steven Nevitt is a professor of art at Columbia College in Columbia, SC, where he serves as Division Head of the Art and Communication Studies Program and chair of the Art Program. Nevitt holds a BFA from the University of South Carolina and an MA from the State University of New York.  His artwork has been represented in over 250 exhibitions worldwide, including one-man shows at the Havens Gallery in Columbia SC, McDonald Gallery in Charlotte NC, McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina, Richland County Library, Sumter Museum of Art, Theatre Gallery in High Point NC, USC Coastal Regional Campus (now Coastal Carolina University), USC Lancaster, among others.

  • Susan Orleans

    Susan Orleans

    Creative Writing Essayist, Nonfiction Writer

    Susan Orlean began contributing to The New Yorker in 1987 and became a staff writer in 1992. Her subjects have included umbrella inventors, origami artists, the figure skater Tonya Harding, the basketball star Felipe Lopez, treadmill desks, taxidermy, and gospel choirs. She has also written extensively about animals, including show dogs, racing pigeons, animal actors, oxen, donkeys, mules, and back-yard chickens. Before joining The New Yorker, she was a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and at Vogue; she has also written for the Times Magazine, Spy, Esquire, and Outside

    She is the author of eight books, including: The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People, My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who’s Been  Everywhere, Red Sox and Bluefish, Saturday Night, The Orchard Thief, which inspired the Spike Jonze movie Adaptation, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, and, most recently, The Library Book, which was nominated for the Andrew Carnegie Nonfiction Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She was a 2004 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and, in 2012, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Michigan. She has served as a judge for the National Book Awards and is the chair of the Literary Journalism Program at the Banff Centre.

  • Mark Ostoich

    Mark Ostoich

    Music Oboe

    Mark Ostoich has been a faculty member with the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM) since 1996. In connection with CCM, Ostoich has served as artist-faculty of the CCM Spoleto Festival in Spoleto Italy, as well as the Lucca Festival and Opera Theatre of Lucca (Italy) and CCM’s Grandin Festival. He performs extensively in solo and chamber music settings and is in demand as a recitalist and clinician for master classes. Along with clarinetist Steve Cohen of Northwestern University, and bassoonist William Ludwig of Indiana University, Ostoich performs and tours regularly as the Trio Cayenne and Lyric Winds.

    Ostoich has an extensive orchestral background and is frequently called upon to perform with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, Columbus Symphony, Columbus ProMusica and Dayton Philharmonic. He has performed as second oboe of the New York Philharmonic, associate principal of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, second oboe in the Cleveland Orchestra and principal oboe of the Louisiana (New Orleans) Philharmonic. He has held the principal oboe position of the Santa Fe Opera, was principal oboist of the Jacksonville Symphony for 12 seasons and was the principal oboist of the Baton Rouge Symphony for 13 seasons.

  • Bill Plympton

    Bill Plympton

    Visual Arts Animator and cartoonist

    Bill Plympton is an American animator, graphic designer, cartoonist, and filmmaker. Plympton is best known for his 1987 Academy Award-nominated short Your Face and his series of shorts Guard Dog, Guide Dog, Hot Dog, and Horn Dog. His illustrations and cartoons have been published in The New York Times and the weekly newspaper The Village Voice, as well as in the magazines Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Penthouse, and National Lampoon. Plympton's animated work has been seen on MTV in the late 80's and early 90's, in music video's for Kanye West and Weird Al Yankovic, and in multiple Simpsons episodes.

    Learn more about Plympton at http://www.plymptoons.com/

  • David Rambo

    David Rambo

    Drama Playwright

    David Rambo is a writer for television series such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 'V', Revolution, and Empire, and an author of award-winning plays including God's Man In Texas, The Lady with All the Answers, and The Ice-Breaker. Learn more about David Rambo

  • Emily Ramirez

    Emily Ramirez

    Dance Dance Artist

    Emily Ramirez grew up in Katy, TX.   After seeing professional dancers on an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood when she was 2, she informed her mother that she would be a ballerina. She trained at Adamson Ballet School, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX, and Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy. After a rewarding decade-long career dancing and choreographing in professional ballet companies, she transitioned to performing in the professional musical theatre world. Since then she has added voiceover, film, and writing to her arsenal. She's currently a freelance artist in a suburb of Chicago.

  • Ron Rash

    Ron Rash

    Creative Writing Novelist, Short Story Writer, Poet

    Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestseller Serena and Above the Waterfall, in addition to four prizewinning novels, including The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; four collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University.

  • Robert Rearden

    Robert Rearden

    Music Horn

    Robert Rearden joined the National Symphony Orchestra in 2016. He served as principal horn of the Florida Orchestra from 2010 to 2016 and was a member of the New World Symphony from 2006 to 2010. He has performed regularly as a guest musician with the Cleveland Orchestra since 2004, including multiple recordings and tours of Europe, Asia, and the U.S., and was a long-term substitute with the orchestra in the 2014-2015 season. Rearden has performed as guest principal horn with the New York Philharmonic, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Rearden has also performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, All-Star Orchestra, Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, and with the Mainly Mozart, Britt, Artosphere, Steamboat Springs, Spoleto USA, and Eastern music festival orchestras. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina as a student of Robert Pruzin and earned a Master of Music degree and artist diploma at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Eli Epstein and Richard Solis. He also studied with Julie Landsman and with David Wakefield. He was a fellowship recipient at Tanglewood and the Aspen Music Festival. While with the Florida Orchestra, Rearden performed the Nocturno by Franz Strauss in a transcription for horn and orchestra by Teddy Abrams with Abrams conducting, and the Horn Concerto No. 2 by Richard Strauss with conductor Stuart Malina. He was a featured artist at the 2017 Southeast Horn Workshop. Rearden teaches horn at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • Howard Jarell Rochelle

    Howard Jarell Rochelle

    Dance Dance Artist

    Jarell Rochelle is a visual movement artist, actor, and inspirational speaker with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Sam Houston State University. Rochelle's artistic credits include being a two-time Vegas finalist on FOX's hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance. He has also worked with Grammy-nominated recording artist Angie Stone, The Harlem Globe Trotters, Dance Houston, Groundworks, Son Kiss'd Dance Theater, and award-winning directors Shawn Welling and Larry Carell.

    While remaining a critically-acclaimed movement artist in Houston, he performed as a featured speaker alongside poet Jerome Washington in a piece entitled "Boxes" at TedX Youth in 2014, which marked his transition from a movement artist to a speaking artist. In 2019, he made his official speaking debut as a guest artist at TEDXGreenville, and was awarded as "speaker of the night" at TEDXGVL's open mic night. When not performing, Rochelle is constantly refining his techniques, not only as a performing artist, but as a renowned speaker.


  • Ryan Roth

    Ryan Roth

    Visual Arts Visual Artist

    Ryan Roth teaches drawing, painting, and animation at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, SC. Before joining the FIne Arts Center, Roth taught at The Ohio State University, Denison University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and The University of Georgia. He lived for a time in New York City working as an artist and for the top antique framer in the nation, Eli Wilner & Company, whose clients included the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, the White House, Yale University, the New-York Historical Society, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, as well as many top collectors. Mr. Roth managed the graphic design of the company, creating digital mock-ups as well as installing, fitting and framing some of the world’s most famous paintings. Ryan Roth earned his BFA from Valdosta State University and got his MFA in Drawing and Painting at The University of Georgia. Mr. Roth continues to exhibit work in New York and across the Southeast. He has also participated in international exhibits in Europe and China. 

  • Adam Sadberry

    Adam Sadberry

    Music Flutist

    Flutist Adam W. Sadberry is known for his radiant, lyrical playing. He’s committed to expanding the Black diaspora in the classical music world through promoting equity, representation, music education, and commissioning music that tells stories of the Black diaspora, and he undertakes this in his role as acting principal flutist of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Concert Artists Guild roster.

    Along with maintaining a private flute studio, Adam has taught and mentored through non-profit organizations that provide free resources to underserved communities including Raise the Bar and Memphis Music Initiative. He is also on the board of the Umoja Flute Institute, an organization that creates community and resources for flutists of African descent.

    Adam holds a degree from the Eastman School of Music and held an orchestra fellowship with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and his playing can be heard on the soundtrack of Disney’s The Lion King (2019).

  • Lissette Salgado-Lucas

    Lissette Salgado-Lucas

    Dance Teacher and Choreographer

    Miami, Florida native, Lissette Salgado-Lucas, has danced with the Joffrey Ballet, the Miami City Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet where she became Principal dancer. Salgado retired as a dancer in Winnipeg, Canada and was asked to join Artistic Dance Center in Miami as the Assistant Director, a position that she currently holds. She has guest taught at the North Carolina School of the Arts, South Carolina Governor’s School of the Arts and Humanities, Laguna Beach Dance Theater and Dillard High School for the Performing Arts. Furthermore, she has been invited to teach master classes and workshops as well as judge in statewide competitions. Lissette and her husband David are the Founders/Directors of Shake the Ground, The Ultimate Dance Competition and the sister company Universal Ballet Competition.

  • John Patrick Shanley

    John Patrick Shanley

    Creative Writing Playwright, Director, Screenwriter

    An accomplished and award-winning writer and director, John Patrick Shanley has written extensively for film and the stage. The screen adaptation of his play "Doubt", written and directed by Shanley, earned him 2009 Academy Award and Writers Guild Award nominations for best adapted screenplay. While on Broadway, "Doubt" won numerous awards, including the Tony, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, The Drama League Award, the Drama Desk Award and the Pulitzer.

    Shanley's original screenplays include: "Five Corners",  "Moonstruck", for which he won an Oscar and a Writers Guild Award, "The January Manand "Joe Versus the Volcano", which he also directed. 

    His long list of acclaimed plays, many of which he directed in their original productions, includes: "Defiance", "Savage In Limbo", "The Dreamer Examines His Pillow", "Beggars In the House of Plenty", "Where's My Money", "Italian American Reconciliation", "Four Dogs And A Bone", "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea" and "Dirty Story", which earned Shanley a Drama Desk nomination.

  • David Shields

    David Shields

    Creative Writing Fiction Writer, Essayist

    David Shields is the author of twenty-two books, including Reality Hunger, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead, Black Planet, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Other People: Takes & Mistakes. The film adaptation of I Think You’re Totally Wrong: A Quarrel was released by First Pond Entertainment in 2017. Nobody Hates Trump More Than Trump: An Intervention was published in 2018; The Trouble With Men: Reflections on Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn, and Power is forthcoming in March 2019. 

  • David Shiffrin

    David Shiffrin

    Music Clarinet

    One of only two wind players to receive the Avery Fisher Prize since the award’s inception in 1974, David Shiffrin is in constant demand as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, and chamber music collaborator. 

    Shifrin has appeared with the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras and the Dallas, Seattle, Houston, Milwaukee, Detroit and Denver symphonies, and internationally with orchestras in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. In addition, he has served as principal clarinetist with the Cleveland Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra (under Stokowski), the Honolulu and Dallas symphonies and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and New York Chamber Symphony. 

    Shifrin joined the faculty at the Yale School of Music in 1987 and was appointed Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Yale and Yale's annual concert series at Carnegie Hall in September 2008.  He has also served on the faculties of The Juilliard School, University of Southern California, University of Michigan, Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Hawaii. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary professorship at China's Central Conservatory in Beijing.

  • Curtis Sittenfeld

    Curtis Sittenfeld

    Creative Writing Novelist

    Curtis Sittenfeld is the bestselling author of five novels: Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, Sisterland, and Eligible. Her first story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It, was published in 2018 and picked for Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club. Her books have been selected by The New York Times, Time, Entertainment Weekly, and People for their “Ten Best Books of the Year” lists, optioned for television and film, and translated into thirty languages. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Esquire, and her non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times, Time, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Slate, and on “This American Life.” A graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Curtis has interviewed Michelle Obama for Time; appeared as a guest on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” CBS’s “Early Show,” and PBS’s Newshour; and twice been a strangely easy “Jeopardy!” answer.

  • Augusto Soledade

    Augusto Soledade

    Dance Choreographer

    Augusto Soledade, a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow, is the Founder Artistic Director and resident choreographer for Augusto Soledade Brazzdance, formally known as Brazz Dance Theater Incorporated, in Miami. Soledade is the winner of the 2012 Knight Arts Challenge Grant in support of the Miami Dance Mecca Project, six-time winner of the Miami-Dade Choreographer’s Fellowship and two-time winner of the State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship. He is a 1998 M.F.A. Graduate from SUNY Brockport. Augusto Soledade, a native of Bahia, Brazil, started his dance training at the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil in a program with strong modern dance emphasis and has trained with Garth Fagan and Clyde Morgan. 

  • Jonathan Spigner

    Jonathan Spigner

    Dance Hong Kong Ballet

    Born in South Carolina, Jonathan Spigner trained at the South Carolina Governor’s School of Arts and Humanities and at Académie Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo. He joined Hong Kong Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2010 and was named Coryphée in 2014. He assumed the additional role of Pilates Instructor for the Company in 2017.

    With Hong Kong Ballet, Spigner has danced featured roles including Fritz and Spanish Doll in Terence Kohler’s The Nutcracker, Puss in Boots in Cynthia Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty, Gamache in Nina Ananiashvili’s Don Quixote, St Gaudins in Val Caniparoli's Lady of the Camellias, Executed Prince in Natalie Weir’s Turandot, Young Uncle Tak in Yuri Ng’s Firecracker and Factory Boss in Yuh Egami and Hu Song Wei Ricky's Carmen. He has also performed in John Meehan's Swan Lake, Ronald Hynd's Coppélia, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Jiří Kylián's Petite Mort, Nacho Duato’s Castrati, Jorma Elo's Shape of Glow, Fei Bo’s Shenren Chang and Edwaard Liang’s Sacred Thread.

    Since joining the Company, Spigner has premièred choreographic works at Hong Kong Ballet's Choreographers’ Showcase, including Passion Flower (2016), Days Gone By (2015), Wepart (2014), Overview Effect (2012) and (The Wonderful Known Tick) (2011). He also choreographed SoLo(2013). Spigner received awards from Youth America Grand Prix regional competitions in 2004, 2008 and 2009.

  • Yekwon Sunwoo

    Yekwon Sunwoo

    Music World Renowned Pianist

    Gold medalist of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, 28-year-old pianist Yekwon Sunwoo has been hailed for “his total command over the instrument and its expressiveness” (San Francisco Examiner). A powerful and virtuosic performer, he also, in his own words, “strives to reach for the truth and pure beauty in music,” and hopes to convey those fundamental emotions to audiences.

    Born in Anyang, South Korea, Mr. Sunwoo began learning piano at age 8. He gave both his recital and orchestra debuts in 2004 in Seoul before moving to the United States in 2005 to study with Seymour Lipkin at the Curtis Institute of Music. He earned his bachelor’s degree there, his master’s at The Juilliard School with Robert McDonald, and his artist diploma at the Mannes School of Music with Richard Goode. He currently studies under Bernd Goetzke in Hannover. Mr. Sunwoo credits each for their guidance in his artistic development and approach, and honored the late Mr. Lipkin by performing his cadenza during his Semifinal Round performance of the Mozart Piano Concerto in C Major, K. 467.

    Learn more about Yekwon Sunwoo.


  • Louise Toppin

    Louise Toppin

    Music Soprano

    Louise Toppin has received critical acclaim for her operatic, orchestral, and oratorio performances in the United States, Europe, Czech Republic, Sweden, Uruguay, Scotland, China, England, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Bermuda, Japan, and Spain.

    Toppin’s opera roles include: the title role in the world premiere of the opera Luyala by William Banfield, Treemonisha in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, Mary in William Grant Still’s Highway One, Maria in the world premiere of Joel Feigin’s opera Twelfth Night, the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute, Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Clara in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. She most recently was contracted to sing Clara in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess for Baltimore Opera, Opera Carolina, and Piedmont Opera companies.

  • Peter Turchi

    Peter Turchi

    Creative Writing Fiction Writer, Essayist

    Peter Turchi is the author of six books and the co-editor of three anthologies. His books include: A Muse and A Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and MagicMaps of the Imagination: The Writer as CartographerSuburban Journals: The Sketchbooks, Drawings, and Prints of Charles Ritchie, in collaboration with the artist; a novel, The Girls Next Door; a collection of stories, Magician; and The Pirate Prince, co-written with Cape Cod treasure hunter Barry Clifford, about Clifford’s discovery of the pirate ship Whydah. 

    He has also co-edited with Andrea Barret A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on their Craft; The Story Behind the Story: 26 Stories by Contemporary Writers and How They Work; and, with Charles Baxter, Bringing the Devil to His Knees: The Craft of Fiction and the Writing Life. Turchi has received Washington College’s Sophie Kerr Prize, an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award, North Carolina’s Sir Walter Raleigh Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

    Born in Baltimore, Turchi earned his BA at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, and his MFA at the University of Arizona. He currently teaches nonfiction and fiction at the University of Houston, and fiction in Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. 

  • Ellen Bryant Voight

    Ellen Bryant Voight

    Creative Writing Poet

    Ellen Bryant Voigt grew up on her family's farm in rural Virginia. She earned her BA from Converse College and MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her most recent collections include Headwaters (2013), Messenger: New and Selected Poems 1976-2006, and Shadow of Heaven (2002). She has also written a collection of essays, The Flexible Lyric (1999), and with Gregory Orr co-edited Poets Teaching Poets: Self and the World (1996), a selection of essays on writing.

    Bryant Voigt was a founder of the Goddard College low-residency MFA program, the first MFA program of its kind, and has also taught at Iowa Wesleyan College and MIT. She served as poet laureate of Vermont for four years. She has received grants from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2015 she was awarded a MacArthur fellowship. She has lived in Vermont for many years.

  • Ross White

    Ross White

    Creative Writing Author, Poet, Podcaster

    Ross White is the author of Charm Offensive, winner of the Sexton Prize for Poetry, and three chapbooks, Valley of Want, How We Came Upon the Colony and The Polite Society. He is the director of Bull City Press, an independent publisher of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, where he hosts The Chapbook, a podcast devoted to chapbooks. He teaches creative writing, podcasting, publishing, and grammar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Tin House, and The Southern Review, among others. With Matthew Olzmann, he edited Another & Another: An Anthology from the Grind Daily Writing Series. He also has a boutique design firm, Spock & Associates, and a weekly trivia show and podcast, Trivia Escape Pod. 

  • Enid Williams

    Enid Williams

    Visual Arts Painter

    Enid Williams received her M.F.A. in painting from Kent State University in 1996 and her B.A. in studio art from the University of Toledo in 1992. In 2012 she was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, recognizing her as an artist of significant achievement. Williams continues to explore the use of kinetic circles and particles interwoven in a primarily white void, a signature characteristic that she describes as both matrix and backdrop. This recurring construct allows for a multitude of visual scenarios to occur. Her meticulously rendered images are informed by a diverse framework that is both contemporary and historical: science, literary conventions, color perception charts, the works of Abstract Expressionists and Op Art are often referenced in titles. These influences have largely inspired the optical complexity and spatial ambiguity of her work. Also citing time as a theme, Williams draws attention to the arrested representation of time in these images and the paradoxically slower but still moving time a viewer may experience when engaging the work. For Williams, this becomes an expression of our attempt at controlling time or preventing change.

    Since 1998, Enid has instructed studio classes at Kent State University, Youngstown State University, and the University of Akron in Ohio. She currently teaches design, painting, drawing and printmaking at the Benson Campus of Greenville Technical College in Greer, SC and maintains her studio practice in Greenville, SC.

  • Jeremy Wilson

    Jeremy Wilson

    Music Trombone

    Jeremy Wilson is Associate Professor of Trombone at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music. Prior to his appointment at Blair, he was a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and its sister organization, the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. He joined those orchestras at the age of 25 after winning what was his first-ever orchestral audition, and in 2010 became one of just a handful of Americans to have ever been made a full member of the Vienna Philharmonic Society.  

    Wilson is an active soloist and clinician. He has been a featured guest artist at the International Trombone Festival, the American Trombone Workshop and the Trombones de Costa Rica Festival, and has given many solo recitals, concerto performances, master classes and lectures around the United States. Wilson has won numerous solo competitions, including the International Trombone Association’s Frank Smith Competition and the Eastern Trombone Workshop National Solo Competition, which he won four consecutive times. 

  • Mark Yancich

    Mark Yancich

    Music Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Principal Timpanist

    Mark Yancich, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Principal Timpanist (Walter H. Bunzl Chair) since 1981, is active as publisher, clinician, and teacher at Emory University. He annually hosts the Mark Yancich Timpani Class and in 1991 founded The Atlanta Percussion Seminar.  

    Yancich is on the faculty and performs at the Aspen Music Festival. He can be heard on more than 100 recordings with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, including most of the great choral repertoire with Robert Shaw conducting. Yancich is featured on the performance video of James Oliverio's Timpani Concerto No. 1 and the “Art of Timpani” educational DVDs entitled "Changing & Tuning Plastic Timpani Heads," "Tucking Calfskin Timpani Heads with Cloyd Duff," and "Sewing Felt Timpani Sticks."  

    Yancich has appeared as guest timpanist with the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Minnesota, and Ft. Worth Symphonies, as well as soloist with other orchestras performing Oliverio’s Timpani Concerto No. 1, Phillip Glass’s Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and most recently playing the world premiere of Oliverio’s DYNASTY: Double Timpani Concerto with his brother, Paul, in both Atlanta and Cleveland. 

    Yancich’s teachers include Cloyd Duff, Richard Wiener, Saul Goodman, Ruth Cahn, Bill Cahn, and Vinnie Ruggiero. Prior to joining the ASO, he was Principal Percussionist and Timpanist of orchestras in Caracas and Maracaibo, Venezuela, and also taught percussion in El Sistema. He is married to Atlanta Symphony Orchestra violinist Lisa Yancich.

  • Michael York

    Michael York

    Drama Actor

    Film: The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet, Cabaret, The Three Musketeers, Logan’s Run, The Island of Dr. Moreau. Broadway: Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Bent, The Crucible. 

    Learn more about Michael York.

  • Joseph Young

    Joseph Young

    Music Conductor

    Joseph Young is Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony, Artistic Director of Ensembles for the Peabody Conservatory, and Resident Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra–USA at Carnegie Hall.   In recent years, he has made appearances with the Saint Louis Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony,and Detroit Symphony, among others in the U.S. and Europe. 

    In his most recent role, Young served as the Assistant Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony where he conducted more than 50 concerts per season. Mr. Young also served as the Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, where he was the driving force behind the ensemble’s artistic growth.  Previous appointments have included Resident Conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, and the League of American Orchestras Conducting Fellow with Buffalo Philharmonic and Baltimore Symphony.

    Young is a recipient of the 2015 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award for young conductors, an award he also won in 2008, and 2014.  In 2013, Young was a Semi-finalist in the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition (Bamberg, Germany). In 2011, he was one out of six conductors featured in the League of American Orchestras' prestigious Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview.

    Young completed graduate studies with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar at the Peabody Conservatory in 2009, earning an artist's diploma in conducting.  He has been mentored by many world-renowned conductors including Jorma Panula, Robert Spano and Marin Alsop, with whom he continues to maintain a close relationship.

    (photo credit: Jeff Roffman)