From various walks of the artistic spectrum, these dynamic women gather to discuss the triumphs, challenges and rewards of their chosen professions. It’s an opportunity to be inspired by the personal stories of these women and hopefully inspire burgeoning artists to continue on their path. Bring a sack lunch.
Invited Guests include:
Mary Lou Zelazny, Painter A painter and Adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Zelazny’s resume boasts a long history of thought provoking and intricate work. Zelazny’s paintings combine collage, realist imagery and traditional painting technique, creating images weaving narrative, humor and sexuality. Zelazny work has been exhibited in multiple solo and group shows throughout her career. Her latest exhibition, Altogether Mutable, was the artist’s first ever retrospective and featured seventy works spanning the Zelazny’s thirty year career.
Nnedi Okorafor, Author Author Nnedi Okorafor was born in the United States to two Igbo (Nigerian) immigrant parents. Though American-born, Nnedi’s muse is Nigeria. A writer of fiction, Okorafor has most often been compared to the likes of Octavia Butler. Her debut novel Zahrah the Windseeker won the Wole Soyinka prize for Literature and her second novel, The Shadow Speaker, was an NAACP Image Award nominee and a Tiptree Honor Book. She is also the 2008 winner of the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa. Okorafor holds a PhD in English and is a professor at Chicago State University. Nnedi is the author of three novels, with two more scheduled for release in 2010.
Erin Carlisle Norton, Dance Performer/Choreographer A native of the Pittsburgh area, Erin came to Chicago in 2003, quickly becoming involved in the city’s performance community. With experience as a guest dancer for Felix Ruckhart and Jennifer Monson/BirdBrain Dance among others, Erin knew that while dancing the works of others is fulfilling, she would rather be leading her own work. From this, Erin founded The Moving Architects, a dance performance company focused on creating connections between bodies in motion, location as well as historical and physical experience. Their latest piece, Stops on the Line, draws inspiration from the architecture and history of Chicago’s Union Station.
Sydney Chatman, Theater Director/Producer Sydney is one-half of the dynamic duo of co-founders of The Tofu Chitlin’ Circuit, a theater conservatory located in the Bronzeville District of Chicago and is committed to producing theatrical plays that explore gravity and compassion within stories. The Tofu Chitlin’ Circuit draws on the strength and veracity of Chicago’s community of theater professionals and audience. According to the group’s philosophy “Every performance that we do and every dialog we have, with other theater artists, is an opportunity to learn and educate with each other.” The group also hosts a monthly “A La Carte” discussion group, where the community at large is invited to debate current topics in theater. Most recently, Sydney Assistant Directed Harry Lennix, on the play St. James Infirmary, by Brian Tucker, produced by Congo Square Theatre.