Visiting Arts Professionals

Visiting Arts Professionals

Muse Scholars meet and interact with professionals from a diverse range of arts disciplines who are invited to campus to speak with students. Guests have included visual artists, composers and writers in addition to those on the business and marketing side of the arts. Please read below to read about some of the distinguished guests who have visited with the Muse Scholars.

Sheila Pepe, Sculptor/Visual Artist

Sheila Pepe is best known for crocheting her large-scale, ephemeral installations and sculpture made from domestic and industrial materials. For more than 30 years she has accumulated works in sculpture, installation, drawing and other singular and hybrid forms. Some are drawings that are sculpture—or sculpture that is furniture, fiber works that appear as paintings, and table top objects that look like models for monuments, and stand as votives for a secular religion. The cultural sources and the meanings twisted together are from canonical arts of the 20th century, home crafts, lesbian, queer and feminist aesthetics, 2nd Vatican Council American design, an array of Roman Catholic sources as well as their ancient precedents.

Pepe led Muses in an art making workshop in Spring of 2022.

Richard Crawford, Actor/Director and Founder of Movement Theater Studio, NYC

Richard led the freshmen Muses in a workshop on the creation of devised theater. Richard studied with Jacques Lecoq and was a founding member of the internationally-acclaimed New York physical theater ensemble The Flying Machine. He starred as Sergeant Thunder for two years on Broadway in War Horse. He is an award-winning director whose projects have included a Commedia dell’Arte version of Petrushka at Carnegie Hall; The Bourgeois Gentlemen at the UMN/Guthrie and Comedy of Errors at TheatreWorks, Colorado Springs. He also performed in the 2002 OBIE Winning [Sic] at Soho Rep, NYC, and as the lead in La Jolla Playhouse’s groundbreaking The Adding Machine in 2007. Richard has been teaching for the past 12 years in London, Paris, Santiago, Montreal, and New York and in 2010 founded Movement Theater Studio, NYC — the first studio based on the teachings of Jacques Lecoq in New York.

Will Bond, Actor and Founding Member of SITI Company

Will Bond visited the class just days after the Muses saw him perform in a revival of SITI Company’s classic work, THE MEDIUM, based on the work of Marshall McLuhan. With SITI company, Will has helped to create and perform in numerous landmarks of physical theater since the early 90s. In addition to playing at NY theater institutions like BAM, NYTW, NYLA, The Public, and Classic Stage company, Will has toured internationally, playing renowned international festivals in Japan, Colombia, Scotland, and elsewhere.

Jesse Green, Co-chief Theater Critic for the NYTimes

Jesse visited the Muses to give a talk about what it is like being a professional theater critic. From 2013 to 2017, Green was the theater critic for New York magazine, where he had also been a contributing editor, writing long-form features, since 2008. Before that, he wrote about theater and other cultural topics for the Arts & Leisure section of The New York Times while covering broader subjects for The New York Times Magazine. Articles he has written for these and many other publications have been recognized with nominations and prizes from the National Magazine Awards and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, among others.

William Anastasi, Conceptual Artist

Considered one of the founders of both Conceptual and Minimal Art, William Anastasi visited with the Muse Scholars during a special tour of the exhibit William Anastasi: Sound Works1963-2013 at the Leubsdorf Art Gallery at Hunter College. The Department of Art & Art History organized this special event.

One of the key figures in the development of Conceptual, Process and Minimal Art since the 1960s, Anastasi has investigated the status, autonomy and representational function of the art object.  Bringing together works from 1963 to the present, Sound Worksmarked the first comprehensive exhibition to focus exclusively on Anastasi’s varied use of and engagement with sound

Will Arbery, Playwright

Will Arbery is a playwright and filmmaker from Texas + Wyoming + seven sisters. His plays include Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Playwrights Horizons), Plano (Clubbed Thumb), Evanston Salt Costs Climbing (New Neighborhood), Wheelchair (3 Hole Press), and You Hateful Things (NYTW Dartmouth Residency). He’s currently under commission from Playwrights Horizons and Shadowcatcher Entertainment.  

Muses not only got a chance to see Heroes of the Fourth Turning at Playwrights Horizons, they had an opportunity to meet Arbery when he visited their HUM 201 classroom the following week. The play, set at a late-night gathering of friends associated with a conservative Catholic college in Wyoming, received rapturous reviews and packed houses. The playwright visited the Muses to answer student questions about the origins and development of his play Heroes of the Fourth Turning, as well as the political implications of telling such a story on the New York stage.

Gino Francesconi, Director, Archives & Rose Museum, Carnegie Hall

Gino Francesconi has given the Muses unbelievable behind-the-scene tours at Carnegie Hall over the past few years. Francesconi began his association with Carnegie Hall as an usher, in 1974.  While attending school with piano and conducting as his primary focus, he held various positions at the Hall including backstage artist attendant where he assisted hundreds of artists who appeared at the Main Hall. In 1986, he undertook the responsibility of establishing Carnegie Hall’s archives in anticipation of the Hall’s 1990-91 centennial season. Since no archives existed prior to 1986, much of the Hall’s documented history was lost.

So much material was gathered that nine separate exhibitions were presented throughout New York City that season.In addition to a permanent exhibition of Carnegie Hall, Francesconi has curated more than 25 temporary exhibitions in the museum displaying more than $100 million worth of loaned music manuscripts never before on display in the United States. In January 2012, the Archives was awarded grants for a three-year project to digitize its major collections.

Jeanine Tesori, Theatre Composer

American musical theatre composer, arranger, pianist and conductor Jeanine Tesori visited with the Muse Scholars to discuss her work on that year’s production of Violet, the revival of her 1997 musical by the same title. The Muse Scholars attended Violet on Broadway, which won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. In later years, Muses saw her Tony winning musical Fun Home on Broadway.

Tesori has been thrice nominated for the Tony for her Broadway scores: Twelfth Night (1998) at Lincoln Center, Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002) at the Marquis, and Caroline, or Change (2004) at the Eugene O’Neill. The 1997 producation of Violet was nominated for seven Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding New Musical and won the Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, and a Special Obie Citation for Tesori’s music. In the field of film, she has composed new songs for The Emperor’s New Groove 2: Kronk’s New Groove (2005), Wrestling With Angels (the 2006 documentary about Tony Kushner), Shrek the Third (2007), and three animated Disney DVDs (Mulan IILilo and Stitch IIThe Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning). She also wrote the scores for Show Business: The Road to Broadway (2007) and Nights in Rodanthe (2008).

Lucy Thurber, Playwright, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

Lucy Thurber visited to lead a theatre workshop to prepare the students for themes they would encounter in Pitbulls, a production the students saw at Rattlestick’s playhouse in Manhattan.

Lucy Thurber is the author of twelve plays including: Where We’re BornAshvilleScarcityKillers and Other FamilyStayBottom of The WorldMonstrosityDillingham CityThe LocusThe InsurgentsPerry Street and The Unfinished. Rattlestick Playwrights Theater has produced five of her plays, Where We’re BornKillers and Other FamilyAshvilleScarcity, and Stay, and produced a critically acclaimed revival of Killers and Other Family in 2009. Lucy has been commissioned by Playwrights Horizons, Yale Rep, The Contemporary American Theater Festival and Houses On The Moon. She also teaches playwriting at NYU.

Michael Vahrenwald, Photographer

Michael Vahrenwald visited with the Muse Scholars  to discuss his photography, which has been shown at a variety of venues including the Whitney Museum, The Walker Art Center, The Carnegie Museum of Art, the Yale School of Architecture and the Nerman Museum.

He currently teaches Photography at The Cooper Union and The Hartford Art School, where he is an Assistant Professor. He has previously taught at Bard College, Sarah Lawrence College, The International Center of Photography and  SUNY Purchase. He studied fine art at The Cooper Union and Photography at Yale University. His work has been published in Blind Spot, Camera Austria, Flash Art, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek and is featured in the Philosophical book: Looking Away, Phenomenality and Dissatisfaction, Kant to Adorno by Rei Terada: Harvard University Press.