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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 23, 2004

Academic Year Opens With Year Of Arts, Humanities Celebration Sept. 7-9

The University of Iowa Year of the Arts and Humanities will kick off the fall semester with a three-day celebration including music, poetry, painting, lectures, discussions and more, Sept. 7-9 at locations campus-wide.

The celebration is designed to welcome students, faculty, staff and the community to a new school year and to generate enthusiasm and support for the Year of Arts and Humanities (YAH), which runs through June 2005.

"This celebration gives us the chance to hear from some of the most talented and creative personalities at work in the world today," said Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writing Program, professor of English and co-chair of the YAH Steering Committee. "When the Zhou Brothers, for example, China's most famous living artists, paint a 9' x 18' canvas before our eyes, we will see the creative process -- the life of discovery -- in action."

A complete schedule of events for the three-day celebration is available on the YAH website, Each day will bring readings, musical performances and panel discussions campus-wide. Other highlights include an opening ceremony and reception, Sept. 7 from 4 to 7:30 p.m. in the IMU Main Lounge, and a presentation and discussion of "The Life of Discovery" with vibraphonist and percussionist Stefon Harris and a panel of UI faculty on Sept. 8 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the UI Museum of Art.

The Opening Ceremony & Reception features an octet performance by the UI's resident Maia Quartet and Sioux City's Euclid Quartet, a new poem by Iowa Poet Laureate and UI Writers' Workshop faculty member Marvin Bell, a lecture from Ed Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation, and an art performance by the Zhou Brothers, who will create a painting as viewers look on. UI President David Skorton will make opening remarks and Anita Walker, Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, will introduce Iowa's new Poet Laureate.

Stefon Harris, a rising star in the world of jazz, will invite the "Life of Discovery" audience to participate with him as he composes music and talks about discovery and creativity from 4 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 8 at the UI Museum of Art. Immediately following that presentation, he will participate on a panel discussing "The Creative Process" with UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty members Marvin Bell (creative writing), Barbara Eckstein (English), Linda Kerber (history), Joni Kinsey (art & art history), and Deanna Carter (dance) and Tippie College of Business faculty member Kurt Anstreicher (management sciences).

"The Year of the Arts and Humanities will reach every corner of the state of Iowa, introducing diverse audiences to the riches of our various artistic heritages and the glories of our inheritance in the humanities," said Jay Semel, director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and co-chair of the YAH Steering Committee. "This promises to be a very exciting year."

Skorton's determination to increase public awareness and support of the rich tradition of arts and humanities on campus and statewide led him to declare academic year 2004-2005 the Year of Arts and Humanities, a time to celebrate that rich tradition and forge cultural linkages between the academic community and communities around the state.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,