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Sharp Viewpoint Speakers Series 2015-16

The Power of Art: How Image, Music, Theatre and Literature impact our World

How does art, in all of its many forms, impact the thoughts and actions of individuals around the world? How is our culture reflected in our art? How does art speak for the current generation and what kind of lasting impression does it leave for future generations? The 2015-2016 Sharp Viewpoint Speaker Series will invite speakers from a variety of arts disciplines to explore our line of inquiry: the power of art.

Art SpiegelmanWhat the %@&*! Happened to Comics?
Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer-Prize winning artist / illustrator and author
February 1, 7:00 p.m. 
Camp Concert Hall, Booker Hall of Music

Art Spiegelman has almost single-handedly brought comic books out of the toy closet and onto the literature shelves. In 1992, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his masterful Holocaust narrative Maus— which portrayed Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. Maus II continued the remarkable story of his parents’ survival of the Nazi regime and their lives later in America. His comics are best known for their shifting graphic styles, their formal complexity, and controversial content.  In his lecture Spiegelman takes his audience on a chronological tour of the evolution of comics, all the while explaining the value of this medium and why it should not be ignored. He believes that in our post-literate culture the importance of the comic is on the rise, for "comics echo the way the brain works. People think in iconographic images, not in holograms, and people think in bursts of language, not in paragraphs.”

A reception will follow the talk. This event is free and open to the public; no ticket is required.


Ronald CrutcherSpiral Up: Lessons in Music, Leadership, and Liberal Education
Dr. Ronald A Crutcher, President of the University of Richmond
Sunday, February 28, 7 p.m.
Booker Hall of Music, Camp Concert Hall.

Ronald A. Crutcher, a national leader in higher education, a distinguished classical musician, and an accomplished administrator, is the 10th President of the University of Richmond. He took office on July 1, 2015. He is also a professor of music.

Dr. Crutcher is President Emeritus of Wheaton College in Massachusetts. As president from 2004–14, he raised the institution’s profile; increased enrollment and diversity of the student body; created new interdisciplinary faculty positions and academic programs; and ensured the institution’s financial stability during a challenging economic period for all of higher education. Wheaton students consistently garnered prestigious academic honors including Truman, Marshall, Goldwater, Rhodes, and Fulbright Scholarships. Prior to Wheaton, Dr. Crutcher was Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Miami University of Ohio. 

A former member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and several other symphonies, he currently performs in the U.S. and Europe as a member of The Klemperer Trio with Erika Klemperer (violin) and Gordon Back (piano). He serves on the board of the Richmond Symphony and has served on the boards of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Berklee College of Music. Earlier in his career he was President of Chamber Music America, director of the highly ranked Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin, and dean of the Conservatory at the Cleveland Institute of Music. 

Dr. Crutcher was the first cellist to receive the doctor of musical arts degree from Yale, where he also earned his master’s degree. During his graduate study, he received a Fulbright Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship, and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Miami University, he has received honorary degrees from Wheaton College (Mass.), Colgate University, and Muhlenberg College.

A reception will follow the talk. This event is free and open to the public; no ticket is required.


Wil HaygoodThe Butler: Translating History from the Stage to the Screen
Wil Haygood, historian and author
Thursday, March 17, 7 p.m.
Modlin Center for the Arts, Alice Jepson Theatre

Best known as the author of the New York Times bestseller The Butler: A Witness to History, Wil Haygood is a distinguished writer whose career has spanned decades. He was an associate producer on the film adaptation of his book, The Butler, which drew from his Washington Post article, and starred Academy Award winners Forest Whittaker, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Robin Williams, Vanessa Redgrave and Jane Fonda, as well as the incomparable Oprah Winfrey. He worked for 30 years at two of the most premier papers in America (The Boston Globe and The Washington Post); during that time, he witnessed Nelson Mandela’s release after 27 years of imprisonment, was taken hostage by Somalian rebels, covered New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina for 33 straight days without a break, traveled with Barack Obama, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Haygood’s newest book is Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination that Changed America, a sweeping epic about the tumultuous, real-life events surrounding the heated appointment of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice, in 1967.

A reception will follow the talk. This event is free and open to the public; no ticket is required.


Jane ChuThe Transformational Power of the Arts
Dr. Jane Chu, Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
Thursday, April 14, 7 p.m.
Jepson Hall 120

Jane Chu is the eleventh chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. With a background in arts administration and philanthropy, Chairman Chu is also an accomplished artist and musician. She leads a dedicated and passionate group of people to support and fund the arts and creative activities in communities across the nation.

Chu was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, but was raised in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She studied music growing up, eventually receiving bachelor's degrees in piano performance and music education from Ouachita Baptist University, and master's degrees in music and piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. Additionally, Chu holds a master's degree in business administration from Rockhurst University and a PhD in philanthropic studies from Indiana University.

On the date marking the agency’s 50th anniversary – September 29, 2015 – Chairman Chu announced the details of her signature leadership initiative, Creativity Connects. The program will show how central the arts are to the country's creativity ecosystem; investigate how support systems for the arts have changed; and explore how the arts connect with other industries

"We have an opportunity to start a new dialogue on the ways in which the arts—and the ways the NEA supports the arts—are an essential component of our everyday lives," says Chu. "Although many may not realize it, the arts actively intersect with areas such as the economy, human development, and community vitality. The arts and artists who are funded and supported by the NEA are an integral part of the solution to the challenges we face in all parts of our society."

This event is free and open to the public; no ticket is required.

About the Sharp Series

The Richard L. Sharp Viewpoint Speakers Series was established in 2011 in honor of Richard L. Sharp, a nationally recognized entrepreneur, to present competing views on topics crucial to our nation and global society.

Sharp was a recognized thought leader and an exemplar of personal and professional integrity who served as a mentor to aspiring business and community leaders. His professional career included the founding of Applied Systems, Inc. in 1975. In 1982 he joined Circuit City as executive vice president and led its development as a national consumer electronics retailer from 1984 to 2002 and also served as president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board. Under his leadership, Circuit City developed into one of the nation’s Fortune 500 businesses.

Throughout the 1990s he masterminded Circuit City’s venture into CarMax, which revolutionized the automotive retail industry, growing it into the nation’s largest retailer of previously owned cars. He retired as chairman of the board in June 2007. Most recently he served as chairman of the board of Crocs, Inc. from 2005 to 2010. He was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease in late 2010 but continued to demonstrate his values of leading by example, helping shape the landscape of Virginia through his personal philanthropy, and by inspiring and motivating others to give back to their community. Sharp passed away on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at his home.