2018 Distinguished Speaker Series

The Distinguished Speaker Series at Crystal Bridges invites visitors to hear from internationally acclaimed leaders who inspire new ways of thinking about art, architecture, and nature.


Friday

April

6

7-8pm

Patrisse Khan Cullors

Co-Founder of #BlackLivesMatter

Artist and activist Patrisse Khan Cullors inspires audiences to action with her passionate views on the racial, gender, and sexual-orientation discriminations; issues that are also explored in the temporary exhibition, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power. Already an established community organizer and performance artist, Cullors and her co-founders ignited a national conversation about social injustices when they created the Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in 2013, which quickly evolved into a powerful global movement. Resolute in her vision of a world where the lives and contributions of all individuals are recognized equally, Cullors adeptly communicates the adversities inflicted by social injustice as she educates and inspires others to work together to promote inclusiveness and equality. Cullors will unveil her new book, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, followed by a book signing.

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Friday

May

11

7-8pm

Deborah Butterfield

Artist

Renowned American artist Deborah Butterfield has been captivated by horses all her life. She combined this captivation with her interest in art and material while studying art at the University of California, Davis. Constructed in wood and cast in bronze, her life-size sculptures have been exhibited in museums worldwide, including her work Redstick, on view as part of Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection. She has become a master of three-dimensional horse images, building her sculptures with no sketches or maquettes, working directly with wood pieces or found metal scraps. Horses remain at the core of her life and artwork today. In this lecture, Butterfield will speak about her work, career, philosophy, creative process, and more.

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Friday

July

27

7-8pm

Toni Tipton-Martin

Chef and Author

Toni Tipton-Martin is a culinary journalist, author, and community activist who has dedicated her career to building a healthier community. She is the author of The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks, celebrating the important legacy of African American cooks and their cookbooks. A renowned author, she is the winner of a 2016 James Beard Book Award, the 2016 Art of Eating Prize, and the recipient of a 2015 Certificate of Outstanding Contribution to Publishing from the Black Caucus of the Library Association. Tipton-Martin was invited twice by First Lady Michelle Obama to the White House and was the first African American Food Editor of a major daily newspaper, The Cleveland Plain Dealer. She was the nutrition writer for The Los Angeles Times and a contributing editor to Heart and Soul Magazine. A signing of The Jemima Code will follow the lecture.

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Wednesday

September

12

7-8pm

Jeffrey Seller

Producer of Hamilton

Jeffrey Seller is the lead producer of the Broadway hit musical, Hamilton! Spanning the divide between art, commerce, and digital media, Seller’s popular theater productions of Hamilton, Rent, Avenue Q, and In the Heights have reinvigorated Broadway into the mainstream. The producer will weigh in on what makes a hit, the role of live theater in the digital age, and his work to make American musicals more accessible. With increasingly expensive Broadway prices, Seller and his co-producer invented Broadway's groundbreaking rush ticket policy to give young audiences more affordable options for Broadway shows. In June 2016, Hamilton received 11 Tony awards from a record-breaking 16 nominations, including a Best Musical win for Sellers, his fourth Tony Award overall.

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Thursday

November

8

7-8pm

Julie Mehretu

Artist

Known for her monumental works, Julie Mehretu is a renowned painter based in New York. The artist’s work, Retopistics: A Renegade Excavation is the largest canvas in Crystal Bridges’ collection—measuring 17 feet long and just over 8 feet tall. The artist completed the diptych painting HOWL, eon (I, II), a large-scale commission for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Haas Atrium. Mehretu uses rich layers of paint and drawings, inspired by elements of  geography and architecture, and describes her canvases as “story maps of no location." In 2015, Mehretu won the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the US Department of State Medal of Arts, presented by Secretary of State John Kerry.  Her work has appeared in major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and has also participated in the Sydney Biennale,the Bienal de São Paulo, and Whitney Biennial.

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Friday

December

7

7-8pm

Bryan Stevenson

Founder of Equal Justice Initiative

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. In addition to defending some of the country's most marginalized people, Bryan and the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is also creating public memorials to confront a legacy of slavery and discrimination. In April 2018, the Initiative will open The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, a museum built on the site of a former slave warehouse in Downtown Montgomery, and the nation's first national memorial to victims of lynching titled The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, one of the nation's most ambitious projects relating to the history of racial terror lynchings. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned. He has successfully argued several cases in the United States Supreme Court, and he recently won a historic ruling stating that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for children ages 17 or younger are unconstitutional. He is the recent author of the New York Times bestseller Just Mercy, named by Time Magazine as one of the 10 Best Books of Nonfiction in 2014.

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