Playwright, Actor, Professor Anna Deavere Smith initiates Presidential Fellows in the Arts series
The University of Chicago News Office
Feb. 1, 2005 Press Contact: Josh Schonwald
(773) 702-6421

Playwright, Actor, Professor Anna Deavere Smith initiates Presidential Fellows in the Arts series

Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith
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Anna Deavere Smith, called by Newsweek “the most exciting individual in American theater” for the singular manner in which her original theater pieces explore issues of race, community and character in America, will headline the inaugural event in the University of Chicago Presidential Fellows in the Arts Series. This series will present a cross-section of distinguished artists from a range of disciplines in varied formats, including lectures, workshops and moderated discussions. The series begins with Smith, a distinguished actor, playwright and professor, who will present “Snapshots: Glimpses of America in Change” on Tuesday, March 1, 2005 at 7 p.m. in Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St., on the University of Chicago campus.

Smith is highly regarded as the author and performer of two one-woman plays that examine racial tension in the United States: Fires in the Mirror (Obie Award-winner and runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize) and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (Obie Award-winner and Tony Award nominee). In receiving the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “genius” Fellowship, Smith was acknowledged for creating “a new form of theater – a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism and intimate reverie.”

In 1998, Smith founded the Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue at Harvard University. She is a tenured professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is affiliated with the NYU School of Law. Smith appears regularly on the TV series The West Wing, and has several films to her credit. She is the author of Talk to Me: Travels in Media & Politics and is currently working on two new books, Letter to a Young Artist and Art & Politics.

Tickets for Smith’s appearance, at $15 (general) and $5 (students with valid ID), are available by phone (773-702-8080), email ( or in person at the Box Office, 5720 S. Woodlawn Ave., which is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Presidential Fellows in the Arts Series seeks to showcase the vibrant traffic between artistic theory and practice that takes place at the University of Chicago and to foster the vitality of the arts on its Hyde Park campus. The series will bring to the University a varied roster of distinguished artists from all arts disciplines for short residencies. These will include a public presentation as well as a more intimate educational program for University students and faculty such as a workshop, seminar or master class. Each residency is organized and presented in collaboration with University of Chicago departments, centers and arts organizations. Smith's March residency is organized in partnership with the University’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. As part of her visit, Smith will participate in an informal conversation with students and faculty moderated by Jacqueline Stewart, Associate Professor in English Language & Literature, the Committee on Cinema & Media Studies, and the Committee on African & African-American Studies.

The University of Chicago Presidential Fellows in the Arts Series is made possible through the generosity of the Arts Planning Council and the Office of the President, University of Chicago.

Persons with disabilities who may need assistance may call in advance of the event, (773) 702-8080.
Last modified at 12:23 PM CST on Thursday, February 10, 2005.

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