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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 16, 20009

UIMA's 'Word Painter' series kicks off with Sept. 24 readings

The first event in the University of Iowa Museum of Art's fall 2009 "Word Painter" reading series takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, in the Old Capitol Museum's Senate Chamber.

Cheyenne Nimes, a graduate student in the UI Nonfiction Writing Program and one of the UI Museum of Art's Fall 2009 "Word Painter" fellows, and Ryan Van Meter, who currently holds the 2009-10 Provost's Postgraduate Writing Fellowship in Nonfiction, will read from their recent works.

nimesNimes is originally from Valley Forge, Pa. Her first book, "Passing Through 90 Degrees," won the Michael Rubin Book award and garnered a fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her cross-genre novel "The Dead Elvis Ball" was a finalist in the Chiasmus Press' First Novel Contest and a semi-finalist in Starcherone Press' Experimental Novel Contest.

Nimes is currently writing about America's rivers: the good, the bad and the ugly. At the "Word Painters" program, she will read selections from her thesis statement, a group of nonfiction essays addressing issues of the world's water crises.

"As I learn more about rivers, I'm learning that the world is in bad shape when it comes to them," she said. "Six thousand people die a day because they don't have water. Many of our rivers are polluted and 50 percent of the world still does not have direct access to water lines. I chose to write about this issue, because I wanted to create something that I felt had meaning and might be able to have an impact."

Van Meter was born in St. Charles, Mo. He majored in English at the University of Missouri-Columbia and completed a master's degree in creative writing at DePaul University. He graduated last year from the UI Nonfiction Writing Program and his work has been published in The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, Arts & Letters and Fourth Genre.

For the "Word Painters" reading, he will present a piece called "Practice" from his essay collection "If You Knew Then What I Know Now," to be published by Sarabande Books in 2011. The autobiographical collection spans moments in Van Meter's life from the ages of 5 to 33 as he discovered his identity in the world of gender and sexuality. The essay "Practice" comes from Van Meter's childhood memories of his parents making him go to baseball practice against his wishes.

"I want the experiences in the book to feel authentic not only for people who have gone through them like I have," he said, "but also for the people around children who are struggling with that issue. It's not just the gay kid who feels the pain, it's everybody."

Created in the fall of 2006 to foster writing about the visual arts, the UIMA's collaborative writing program invites four UI Nonfiction Writing Program Master of Fine Arts candidates to think critically about the intersection of art and life.

UIMA "Word Painters" receive an honorarium to work on writing projects, including an art-based essay, and they read from their work throughout the academic year alongside well-known writers from the faculty of the UI's famed writing programs.

The Sept. 24 "Word Painter" reading is sponsored by Michael A and Agnes M. Apicella. For more information on the UI Museum of Art, including updated event listings, visit

The next "Word Painters" reading will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5 in the Old Capitol Museum Senate Chamber and will feature readings by Janet Hendrickson and Robin Hemley.

The Nonfiction Writing Program is part of the Department of English in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For more information visit

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: For additional arts information, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott, University Relations, 319-384-0037,; Writer: Claire Lekwa