The Arts Council takes great pride in our diverse community of artists, authors, and creatives of all disciplines. In Conversation is a curated series of discussions designed to celebrate and connect those who make art and those who love art! Breaking down the barriers between artist and art-appreciator, In Conversation delves into inspiration, studio practice, and artistic aspirations.
Visit our YouTube channel to watch previous In Conversation discussions!
FEBRUARY 9, 2021
Kayren Carter Mjumbe, President and Senior Curator for Museums in Motion, a traveling African American history museum. Based in Princeton, NJ, the organization was founded in 2016 with the mission of educating the country on the achievements of both legendary and unknown African Americans and culture. The enlightening and powerful exhibit has traveled to school districts and events in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Alabama. Kayren’s vision for the near future is to produce and host a series of cultural television programs highlighting the most captivating African American museums and historical sites in the United States.
JANUARY 5, 2021
Sarah Rasmussen started her first theater company at 14 in her hometown of Sisseton, South Dakota, after seeing a Garland Wright production. Since then she’s gone on to a directing, producing, and teaching career with critical acclaim for inventive storytelling and a generous exchange between actor and audience. Rasmussen is the former Artistic Director of the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis, MN where she commissioned, directed, and produced new work. She was recently named Star Tribune‘s Artist of the Year and is an inaugural recipient of the BOLD Leadership Circle grant. Directing credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Guthrie, Dallas Theater Center, Actors Theater of Louisville and La Jolla Playhouse. Awards include MN Theater Award for The Wolves, Princess Grace, an Ivey Award for Overall Excellence, Drama League and Fulbright fellowships. New work development with Playwrights’ Center, The O’Neill, The Lark, and many others. Alum of the Women’s Project, SoHo Rep., and Lincoln Center Directing Labs. She was formerly the Resident Director for Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab new work development program and Head of MFA Directing at the University of Texas at Austin. MFA from the University of California, San Diego. BA in English and Theater from St. Olaf College.
OCTOBER 20, 2020
Adam Welch is the Executive Director for the Arts Council of Princeton. Adam is an artist, critic, and educator. Adam’s art is about making and decoration. His writing examines the artists and activities of contemporary art. As an educator, Adam encourages students to inquire and create, examine worldviews and to awaken their understanding of self and the world and the relationship between the two.
Adam has participated in thirty-seven solo or group exhibitions in the United States over the past ten years, including at the Arts Council of Princeton, MoMA PS1 and White Columns in NYC, and AIR Gallery in Brooklyn, with solo exhibitions at the Hunterdon Art Museum, Kean University, Princeton Day School, and Northwestern College, and several curated, group, and invitational exhibitions throughout the United States. His art has been featured in four books including “The Best of 500 Ceramics: Celebrating a Decade in Clay” and” 500 Ceramic Sculptures: Contemporary Practice”, “Singular Works”, in the NCECA Biennial (Tampa Museum of Art) catalogue and has been reviewed in “Ceramics Art” and “Perception”, the Korean magazine “Monthly Ceramic Art”, and featured in “Ceramics Monthly”. Additionally, in the last ten years he has published forty-eight scholarly essays, reviews and catalogue essays.
SEPTEMBER 22, 2020
Barbara DiLorenzo graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration and studied painting at the Arts Students League of New York. She is the author-illustrator of RENATO THE LION (Viking/Penguin Random House), which was chosen as a Junior Library Guild Selection, and QUINCY (Little Bee), a Crystal Kite Award finalist. When she isn’t working on books, Barbara teaches at the Arts Council of Princeton and the New York Institute of Art + Design. She is a member of the Society of Illustrators and the co-president of the Children’s Book Illustrators Group of New York (CBIG). Barbara is represented by Rachel Orr of the Prospect Agency. Barbara lives with her family in central New Jersey. You can find her online at barbaradilorenzo.com, Twitter and Instagram.
Rashad Malik Davis is an award-winning author, illustrator, character designer, and educator from Lawrenceville, NJ. His work focuses on diversity and inclusion, fantasy, empathy, and emotional literacy for children and adults alike. He graduated from Tufts University in 2013 with degrees in Anthropology and Chinese Language & Culture, and then went on to pursue his dreams with a Master’s degree in Animation from the Savannah College of Art & Design. In 2017, Chapter 1 of the Carefree Like Me series won the Best Indie Book Award in the Children’s category. Chapter 2 of the same series won the 2019 Best Indie Illustration Award as well. He is currently at work on a graphic novel for young adults. Learn more by visiting Rashad’s website and Instagram.
AUGUST 11, 2020
Diana Weymar is an artist and activist. She grew up in the wilderness of Northern British Columbia, studied creative writing at Princeton University, and worked in film in New York City.
Diana was the Arts Council’s 2016 Anne Reeves Artist-in-Residence. While in residency with the ACP, Diana created Interwoven Stories, a community-based narrative stitching project featuring hundreds of 3-hole fabric “pages”, stitched with memories, places, and people by members of the Princeton community. By 2019, Interwoven Stories had expanded to an international capacity with the original project in Princeton inspiring people around the world to join the collective narrative.
Diana is also the creator of the Tiny Pricks Project . Contributors from around the world are stitching Donald Trump’s words into textiles, creating the material record of his presidency and of the movement against it. Tiny Pricks has received press in The New Yorker, BBC News, Financial Times, and more. The project is currently featured in Mixed Messages, a group show at Beacon Gallery (Boston, MA), bringing together multiple artists and their work around the concept of sexual violence.
Tiny Pricks Project holds a creative space in a tumultuous political climate. The collection counterbalances the impermanence of Twitter and other social media, and Trump’s statements as president through the use of textiles that embody warmth, craft, permanence, civility, and a shared history. The daintiness and integrity of each piece stand in stark contrast to his presidency.
Diana has worked on projects with Build Peace (in Nicosia, Bogota, Zurich, and Belfast), the Arts Council of Princeton, the Nantucket Atheneum, the W.E.B. Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst, the University of Puget Sound, The Zen Hospice Project (San Francisco), the Peddie School, Open Arts Space (Damascus, Syria), Trans Tipping Point Project (Victoria, BC), New York Textile Month, Textile Arts Center (Brooklyn, NY), The Wing (NYC and SF), and Alison Cornyn’s Incorrigibles project, as well as Syrian journalist and activist Mansour Omari. She is a judge/presenter for All Stitched Up at the University of Puget Sound. She has also curated exhibitions at the Princeton, NJ headquarters of Fortune 500 company, NRG Energy, and exhibits for the Arts Council of Princeton. Her work has been exhibited and collected in the United States and Canada. Diana will be in conversation with Timothy Andrews, art collector and major supporter of the ACP’s Artist-in-Residence program.
Photo: Yvnonne Tnt
JULY 25, 2020
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 contagion, numerous musical artists, from Alicia Keys to the Rolling Stones, have composed new songs fitting the times. But there is nothing new about popular music concerning plagues, epidemics, and contagions. Going back at least as far as the Black Death of the 14th century, a tradition of plague songs, in which musicians, high and low, have tried to render the sudden mass crisis of life and death. From across the centuries, those songs, far from depressing, touch us with a recognition of connections to a sometimes distant past — a recognition at once shocking, comforting, and uncanny — from the ballads of Boccaccio’s characters in The Decameron to the blues of Blind Willie Johnson and Memphis Minnie to the rock of Lou Reed.
This event was a special fundraising edition of the Arts Council’s popular ‘In Conversation’ series. John Weingart and Professor Sean Wilentz played and discussed some of their favorite songs of despair and perseverance, took questions from the audience, and opened up a conversation that will help us all face the continuing emergency.
Attendees received a specially curated Plague Playlist, and were entered into a raffle to win a copy of The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad, edited by Sean Wilentz and Greil Marcus, along with the book’s accompanying CD featuring 20 American folk ballads, performed by Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, and Mississippi John Hurt, and Bob Dylan.
John Weingart, Associate Director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, has since 1974 hosted the legendary program, Music You Can’t Hear On The Radio, one of the nation’s foremost eclectic folk music broadcasts, Sunday evenings from 5 to 8 on WPRB.
Sean Wilentz, George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton, is the author of, among other works, the New York Times and national bestseller, Bob Dylan in America. He co-edited The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad, with author Greil Marcus.
JULY 7, 2020
Mario Moore (b. 1987) is a Detroit native currently residing in New York City. Moore received a BFA in Illustration from the College for Creative Studies (2009) and an MFA in Painting from the Yale School of Art (2013). He has participated as an artist-in-residence at Knox College, Fountainhead residency, and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
Moore’s work has afforded him many opportunities– from multiple exhibitions and featured articles including the New York Times. His work is included in several public and private collections which include the Detroit Institute of Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Some of his solo show exhibits have been seen at the David Klein Gallery and The Urban Institute of Contemporary Art. His work is also included in Fired Up! Ready to Go! Finding Beauty, Demanding Equity: An African American Life in Art (2017) and The Studio Museum in Harlem’s catalog, Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art(2014). He has recently been awarded a Princeton Hodder Fellowship for 2018-2019.
Photo: Hope L. VanCleaf
Mario was in conversation with James Steward, Director of the Princeton University Art Museum.
JUNE 23, 2020
DeConcini is an artist living in Lambertville, New Jersey. She primarily works as a Scenic Artist, painting theatrical sets most recently at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ. As someone who can be called on to paint anything at any time, she spends hours outside of work, studying the world around her. About her waterscape and cloudscape series she says: “I like to paint everywhere I go. It captures the mood and energy of the place. In these sketches, I’ve always felt water has eluded me. I was never able to capture them well. I started these series in an effort to improve on my waterscapes and clouds. The best way to improve is to practice.”
She starts in small scale – sometimes as small as 3”x 3” – and works up. She has done a similar series with leaves. She also has done several series on reclaimed wood, as well as works with plaster and resin.
Susan has had several individual shows in the area. Susan’s Waterscapes as well as her works with Plaster & Resin were most recently displayed at the Princeton Public Library from December 2019 through February 2020. She has created many works for the Art of the Script series at McCarter Theatre, which displays paintings that are inspired by the shows onstage. In early 2019, she displayed her waterscapes and cloudscapes at Small Word Coffee in Princeton. She has participated in Garden State Watercolor Society’s 2018 & 2019 Juried shows, as well as this last years Member Show. She has displayed her Autumn Leaf Portraits at the Boro Bean in Hopewell.
Jansma earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1986 from the Kansas City Art Institute. He went on to be awarded his Masters of Fine Arts in 1988 from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. James was Artist-in-Residence in Ceramics at Peters Valley Craft Center in Layton, New Jersey from 1988-1998. He was a Lecturer at Princeton University where he taught the Ceramics Program from 1992-2003. He has exhibited work as a Visiting Artist in South Korea in 2003 and 2006, and Japan in 2008. James Jansma received a 2018 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and a previous recipient in 2007, 1998
and 1990. He is currently Ceramic Arts Instructor at Fort Dix Military Installation in New Jersey. James is represented by Morpeth Contemporary Fine Arts in Hopewell, New Jersey.
MAY 26, 2020
Mira DeMartino, awarded sculptor, presents empowerment through Artfirmations. Over a decade ago, Mira developed a technique of sculpting she calls AlumnixArt, consisting mostly of hand-hammered aluminum. Using this technique, she explores the area of modern spirituality and challenges viewers to connect with their potential of self-empowerment through art.
MAY 12, 2020
Léni Paquet-Morante is a landscape painter whose paintings address issues of isolation, privacy, and boundaries through visual metaphor found in landscape forms. “These paintings center on bodies of water and the intimacies they convey despite and/or because of the forces and landforms that define them. Rivers, tide, tide pools, estuaries, and intriguing topography are constants. My practice includes making drawings which are small and deliberate, and paintings which are large and expressionistically rendered.”
APRIL 28, 2020
Marlon Davila, known as 7oveChild, is influenced by surrealism, the bright vibrant colors of his Latin American culture, as well as the works of Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, and Picasso. Marlon was the ACP’s Fall Artist-in-Residence behind the Journey mural at Lupita’s Groceries at Leigh Avenue & John Street. This talk details Marlon’s inspiration and artistic journey, the process of mural painting, working as an artist-in-residence, and new work.