Country Music Royalty Rosanne Cash Plays Boone’s Schaefer Center on April 9

March 25, 2022 – Boone, NC
 

BOONE, NC — The Schaefer Center Presents series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, welcomes award-winning singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash to Boone on Saturday, April 9 at 7pm. The iconic Americana artist will close out the 2021-22 season with a concert spanning new songs (“Crawl into the Promised Land”), revered classics (“Seven Year Ache”) and all the memories in between. For tickets and more information, visit TheSchaeferCenter.org or contact the Box Office at 828.262.4046.

Cash, a prized member of country music royalty, has released 15 albums of extraordinary songs that have earned four Grammy Awards and 12 nominations, as well as 21 Top 40 hits, including 11 chart-topping singles. Her acclaimed 2018 release, She Remembers Everything, a poetic, lush, and soulful collection of songs, marked a return to more personal songwriting after a trio of albums that explored her southern roots and family heritage — including 2014’s triple Grammy-winning masterpiece, The River & the Thread, and 2009’s The List (a list of songs given to her by her famous father, Johnny). Her 2020 single, “Crawl into the Promised Land,” was penned as a scathing yet hopeful ode to the resilience of the human spirit amid all the emotions of that unprecedented year. She has most recently written lyrics for an upcoming stage musical inspired by the 1979 film Norma Rae with husband and composer John Leventhal and book-writer John Weidman.

Initially created to promote She Remembers Everything, Cash’s current tour was among the slew of live events shuttered in early 2020. It resumed late last year, albeit in an environment that both artists and audiences are still getting used to. Cash is reflective post-pandemic. Following a performance at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in New Jersey in November 2011, she acknowledged that while shows have not sold out, her “motto is we play for those who come, not for those who didn’t come.”

Adding to an already exemplary resume, Cash is the author of four books, including the best-selling memoir Composed, which the Chicago Tribune called “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Oxford American, The Nation, and many more print and online publications. Bird on a Blade combines images by acclaimed artist Dan Rizzie with strands of lyrics from a variety of Cash’s songs.

Cash was awarded the SAG/AFTRA Lifetime Achievement Award for Sound Recordings in 2012 and received the 2014 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award in the Performing Arts. She was a Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist in the 2015–2016 season and also served as a 2015 artist-in-residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. That same year, she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2017–2018, she was a resident artistic director at SFJAZZ. Last year, Cash was awarded with the “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award by the Americana Music Association and received an honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music. She also became the 61st Edward MacDowell Medal recipient, awarded since 1960 to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to American culture. The first woman to win the medal in composition, working in Americana, rock, blues, folk, and pop, she joins a revered group of recipients who include Thornton Wilder (1960), Georgia O’Keeffe (1972), Toni Morrison (2016), and composers Aaron Copland (1961) and Stephen Sondheim (2013).

Buy Tickets
$40 Adults, $35 App State University Faculty/Staff, $25 Students.
Tickets are available to purchase at theschaefercenter.org, in person at the Schaefer Center box office (733 Rivers Street), or by calling 828-262-4046.

About “The Schaefer Center Presents”
“The Schaefer Center Presents” is a series offering campus and community audiences a diverse array of music, dance and theatre programming designed to enrich the cultural landscape of the Appalachian State University campus and surrounding area. By creating memorable performance experiences and related educational and outreach activities, the series promotes the power and excitement of the live performance experience; provides a “window on the world” through the artistry of nationally and internationally renowned artists; and showcases some of the finest artists of our nation and our region. Musical events range from symphony orchestra and chamber music performances to jazz, folk, traditional, international, and popular artists. Theatre productions run the gamut from serious drama to musical comedy. Dance performances offer an equally wide array of styles, from ballet to modern dance to international companies representing cultural traditions from around the world. For more information, visit http://theschaefercenter.org.

Thank You to Our Schaefer Center Presents Sponsors
Boone Tourism Development Authority, Allen Wealth Management, The Horton Hotel, Holiday Inn Express, Our State Magazine, High Country Radio, WDAV 89.9 FM, WFDD 88.5FM, WETS, WKSK The Farm, and WASU 90.5FM

CVNC Review: Contra-Tiempo—JoyUS JustUS

CONTRA-TIEMPO Brings Joy to a Young Audience With JoyUS JustUS

February 23, 2022 – Boone, NC

CONTRA-TIEMPO, a highly acclaimed Los Angeles-based dance theatre group, has performed throughout the U.S. and the Americas. Artistic director, dancer, and choreographer Ana Maria Alvarez and her group have been compared to Alvin Ailey – high praise indeed. But Contra-Tiempo goes further. In the 2018 evening-length composition JoyUS JustUS, Alvarez (a.k.a. Mama Activist) and her dancers shout to the world that “joy is the ultimate expression of resistance.” I had the good fortune to view several excerpts of JoyUSJustUS featured in a recorded program for on-demand streaming for kids. The work was performed through the Schaefer Center‘s APPlause! K-12 Performing Arts Series on the campus of Appalachian State University.

Alvarez has an impressive CV, including grants, fellowships and artistic residences for her work. She was named a Doris Duke Artist in 2020 and awarded an inaugural Dance/USA Artist Fellowship, among other accolades. Alvarez holds an MFA in choreography from UCLA and a BA from Oberlin College. What I find so remarkable is her ability to collaborate and connect with fellow dancers, musicians, and storytellers. Through this collective, she reaches out to the wider community.

This sixty-minute program retells stories of community members through dance. People who have been mistakenly referred to through the lens of “deficit-base” narratives come alive as artists, activists, and teachers. The dances, spoken word, music, percussion, and costumes jolted me into submission – to watch, clap and enjoy. Oh, and yes, to dance.

There are three excerpts from the dances that tell stories. The first, “Joy,” began with a soloist on the beach. Dressed in blue and white, she invited us into her space with open arms she arrived free and ready to begin a new story. Her muscles were strong, her face was fierce, her feet were swift, and her body was fluid. The simple drumming and humming kept her in center stage. A small fishing boat passed in the background as her undulating figure captured my imagination. Children who have visited North Carolina’s beaches will identify with this scene.

The dances evoked joy; including the second excerpt where individuals were captured through 21st-century digital magic. Salsa, hip-hop, and free-forms melded into dances originating from neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The videos enlightened me that dance takes place wherever there is a bit of space, even a small living room. Bare feet, sneakers, dance shoes – they all work. But dance can reflect deep sadness, regret, fortitude, and strength. The third excerpt included a “Black Lives Matter” sign, stories of personal hardship, loss, and family.

The last section began with a rhythm lesson using claves. These beautiful, resonant sticks commonly used in Afro-Cuban music are a favorite among drummers. CONTRA-TIEMPO taught a basic four-beat rhythm to clap in call and-response with the final dance.

Finally, children were invited to a “Call to Action” through rhythmically spoken word. The Study Guide for this event is well crafted and adaptable for K-12 students; it is also a snapshot of meaningful curriculum design for the arts. What better way to share their work than by teaching a rising generation of community leaders? Bravo!

I left my computer happier and more determined to use my voice as a writer. We are fortunate to be a nation of immigrants, and as long as we welcome our new neighbors with open arms, we are better for it.

When you are able, catch a performance of CONTRA-TIEMPO’s JoyUS JustUS. In the full-length version the audience will see costumes by Charlese AntoinetteEmily Orling‘s altar quilts, lighting by Tuce Yasak, music by d. Sabela grimes and Las Cafeteras, and more dancers who collaborated with Alvarez.

This program presented by the Schaefer Center is available until March 23. The performance is free, but registration is required here.

CVNC Review: An Evening with Sarah Jones

The Many, Many Roles of Sarah Jones at ASU’s Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

October 7, 2021 – Boone, NC

At Appalachian State University’s Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts and live-streamed, An Evening with Sarah Jones showcased the raw talent and poignant messages of Tony Award®-winning Sarah Jones‘ multi-character, one-woman shows – and what an evening it was! 

Sarah Jones is an American performer, writer, comedian, and activist identified as “a master of the genre” by The New York Times. Jones is known for her Broadway hit Bridge & Tunnel, originally produced by Oscar®-winner Meryl Streep, and her critically-acclaimed 2016 stage production of Sell/Buy/Date, which is currently being developed into a documentary and will mark Jones’ directorial debut. With multiple mainstage TED Talks that have garnered millions of views, performances for President and First Lady Obama, and historic performances worldwide as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Jones mirrors her onstage, multi-character technique in real-life by assuming just as many roles offstage as on. 

Originally slated to perform at An Appalachian Summer Festival in July of 2021, the actress’ rescheduled performance surely delighted the audience’s pent-up anticipation and demonstrated the premise of her national acclaim. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this was Jones’ first live show in two years, so she, too, felt the anticipation and expressed excitement to be back in the theater and welcome her characters to the stage! Introduced by Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer as a personal friend, Jones walked on stage and immediately thanked the audience for getting her out of her house amid the pandemic. 

To start the hourlong show, Jones explained that all her characters are inspired by real-life individuals, and varying from an elderly Jewish woman to an indigenous Native American man to an overly enthusiastic female college student, they make up quite the diverse bunch! As Jones inhabited each of the nine characters that made an appearance, new accessories and all, she expressed their assorted, distinct perspectives and offered to the audience different approaches to, advice on, and views of social justice issues. Her crafty comedy and local humor, which was wisely woven into her performance, added comedic relief that the audience grasped onto as they considered the delicate topics of prejudice, race, and ignorance. The performer invited the spectators to consider the hard questions circulating in our society today, such as “Is it possible to right all the wrongs of the past?” and “Who am I within the realm of activism?” 

Her characters made suggestions on how to improve human-to-human interaction both nationally and globally. Many of their messages struck deep as the audience applauded at the conclusion of each. The female Dominican American character presented the act of giving the benefit of the doubt, for when someone has an accent and therefore does not sound like you, “their heart beats same as yours.” The male indigenous Native American character suggested the way to heal America is to look at its origins, and through him, Jones acknowledged the native land on which Appalachian State University’s campus, including the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, is built. Her Raleigh, North Carolina-raised character, Ms. Lady, made an appearance – her first in ten years – to remind that much racism, particularly slavery, is of the immediate past and those affected as well as their descendant relatives still “carry it in their body,” they are still affected by it. An overall message of all the characters, including these three and Jones herself, was to approach the justice issues present today, and our connection to them, with love.

The stories told by Jones’ characters were meant to make the audience feel uncomfortable; this discomfort demonstrated her assertion that, “We are inextricably linked to everyone else.” No matter one’s race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, everyone can find one of Jones’ characters to relate to, and for those who seem more distant, we can listen and grow. Such was the theme of the evening: asking ourselves and others the hard questions, for if we do not, how will we evade repeating history?

The audience was actively engaged throughout the entire performance. Jones’ characters even included local observations by commenting on the incessant rain witnessed in Boone all week, referencing the town’s 97% White population, and, as the elderly female Jewish character, asking if there is a synagogue in town. To conclude the evening, Jones invited members of the audience to ask her questions to which she responded in character or as herself. The audience was so eager and bursting with questions that Jones ran out of time trying to answer them all. Her advice to the students in the audience aspiring to be professional performers was to embrace vulnerability and find those with which you feel supported: “Vulnerability is the new strength!”

With her stock of social commentary, witty comedy, and her captivating manner of inhabiting her characters’ personalities, voices, and gestures alike, Jones expertly explored the hard questions and guided the audience to think critically about our society and social justice. Her work beautifully displayed the power that theatre holds, especially when utilized to combine entertainment with activism.

The Schaefer Center for Performing Arts: An Evening with Sarah Jones
$25 Adult, $20 faculty/staff, $5 students, FREE for all App State students (ticket issued with proof of student I.D.) Livestream: $15 per household — Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts , 828-262-4046 , http://theschaefercenter.org — 7:00 PM

Anna Deavere Smith’s Answers to Adversity

REVIEW: Grace and Kindness Glow in Anna Deavere Smith’s Answers to Adversity

February 4, 2021 – Boone, NC:

Winner of multiple Drama Desk Awards for her plays – and her solo performances in them – Anna Deavere Smith has forged a unique synthesis from her skills as a playwright, actress, journalist, and teacher. Her groundbreaking monologues, Fires in the Mirror (1992) and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (1994), were skillfully edited from hundreds of interviews that Smith taped with people involved in two distinctively American events, the Crown Heights race riots of 1991 and the Los Angeles rioting of 1992 that followed the acquittal of police officers who had brutally beaten Rodney King. After compacting the taped interviews into taut monologues, Smith channeled each of her characters in performances of carefully crafted mimicry. In artfully distilling the essence of her characters, Smith cumulatively distills us with her art in a fascinating, unique way.

On a webcast presented by The Schaefer Center for Performing Arts at Appalachian State University, “An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith: Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity,” Smith came onscreen in a way that freshly meshed theatre, lecture, pedagogy, and discussion. Dr. Paulette Marty, a theatre arts professor at App State, introduced Smith, instantly departing from normal theatre presentation. Marty and Smith joined in laying the groundwork for the evening’s theme, chosen so aptly in the face of earth-shattering events that have rocked us all in the past year – for Smith had prologues of her own that preceded each of her three extended portraits. Of course, such a video conference would be a staid affair in 2021 without a stream of chatter rolling along the margin of our screens. Viewers of this free webstream had a chatroom for making comments – and afterwards, as Marty interviewed Smith, the professor lifted some of her questions from that chatline.

Apparently, a side benefit of all of Smith’s research is all the prime leftovers she can deliver from those hundreds of interviews. For her rendezvous with App State, to which she linked live from New York, Smith had distillations of interviews she had taped while researching Let Me Down Easy (2008). These dated back to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and included sitdowns with Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and the late Congressman John Lewis, who walked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King in the famed 1965 Selma March.

Before these well-known figures, Smith introduced us to Kiersta Kurtz-Burke, a white physician who worked at a charity hospital in New Orleans in the midst of the Katrina disaster. Smith wove together two strands of the Kurtzberg interview in crafting her monologue, a description of the “worst asshole” she had run across in her hospital work, followed by recollections of her patients’ cynical stoicism during the Katrina ordeal. That worst person turned out to be a doctor who was her superior: he not only demonstrated absolute coldness and distaste toward his patients, but when Kurtzberg called him out on his poisonous attitude, he declared that she would inevitably come to feel the same way in time. When Katrina inundated New Orleans, Kurtzberg watched the city’s reaction unfold as private hospitals were evacuated and the charity hospital was abandoned. Worse, they opened the levees on that part of town in order to save the more valuable real estate. It was not only revelatory to Kurtzberg that her patients, overwhelmingly Black, would be treated with such disregard and disdain, but also that these unfortunates were not at all surprised, telling her in advance that the unthinkable would happen.

If we thought that these were the darkest perceptions we would need to entertain, Smith’s portrait of Bryan Stevenson proved us wrong. Since founding the Equal Justice Initiative, Smith reminded us, Stevenson has opened the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, commemorating nearly 4,400 victims of “racial terror lynchings” between 1877 and 1950. What Smith then concluded about America is piercing, damning, and true – more indelibly now since January 6: we are a post-genocidal society. Smith’s interview with Stevenson spotlighted a failed attempt to obtain a stay of execution for a prisoner on death row who was intellectually disabled. This is the kind of work Stevenson has dedicated his career to performing, as well as the famed case, exonerating a wrongly convicted murderer, that became the cornerstone of his memoir, Just Mercy, and the film derived from that book. The question that Stevenson repeatedly asked in court with respect to the intellectually disabled, “Why do we kill broken people?” morphed into another question when the Supreme Court rejected his appeal at the eleventh hour. “Why do I do this?” His self-reflection yielded a brutally honest answer, “Because I’m broken, too.” This realization was illuminated by a childhood memory of the frustration, violence, and humiliation that broke out when he, his mother, and the Black community stood in line – at the back of the line – waiting to be vaccinated for polio. Like his mom, Stevenson concluded, he was seeking a way not to be silent about this perennial brokenness.

The portrait of Congressman Lewis, eulogized just last summer by three former American presidents at Ebenezer Baptist Church, was the most hopeful and conciliatory in Smith’s trilogy. “Brother” also featured the most rewarding stretch of Smith’s acting skills as she adapted Lewis’ slow, distinctively accented drawl. He spoke of his yearly pilgrimage to Selma, a ritual that included stopovers in Birmingham and Montgomery, but unexpectedly, the moments of grace that he gleaned from this commemoration shone a spotlight on White people upstaging him. The first was the current Montgomery police chief, who publicly apologized for the beating that his department had inflicted upon him decades earlier. It was the first such apology that Lewis could remember. What touched Lewis equally was that the police chief took off his badge and offered it to him. Then the moments of grace, for when Lewis answered, “I cannot accept your badge – I’m not worthy.” The chief insisted, saying, “I can get another.” An additional opportunity to forgive came to Lewis after an event that had happened even longer ago, on May 9, 1961, when the future Congressman was brutalized in Rock Hill. The son of one of those cops came to Lewis’ office to ask for forgiveness, and Lewis granted it immediately. They hugged, called each other brother, and by Lewis’ count, met 49 times afterwards.

While the post-performance discussion wasn’t my prime reason for attending, it provided a soft landing from the heights of Lewis’ moments of grace and a chance to hear some of Smith’s views head-on. Among the topics she tackled so ably, in response to Marty’s probing and pertinent questions, were the pathology of America’s police, the media’s addiction to big pharma and the auto industry, the plight of Black artists, the need for a public health rethink, and the enduring need for theatre now and post-pandemic. She even dropped a suggestion on Marty, App State, and academia to deal with our times. “You might laugh,” she said, “but we need a department of kindness.” Out of nowhere, there was a religious distinction to be made. “Jesus wasn’t nice. He was kind.”

Q&A with BalletX Co-Founder Christine Cox

Q&A with BalletX Co-Founder Christine Cox

On Thursday, Feb. 25 at 8pm, the Schaefer Center Presents virtual spring season features BalletX, one of the country’s most acclaimed contemporary ballet companies. The online event will include a recorded introduction by company co-founder Christine Cox, a documentary film in celebration of BalletX’s 15th anniversary season, and two popular mixed rep selections, “Increasing” and “Fancy Free.” Below Cox discusses how she and the company went “big and bold” in response to creating during a pandemic, embraced new challenges, and “are in it for the long haul.”

SCHAEFER CENTER PRESENTS: How has the company adjusted creatively and physically to the challenges of performing and creating during COVID, especially during this anniversary season?

CHRISTINE COX: I knew we had a long hard road ahead of us when making the decision to pivot the company to the virtual presentation of our work. I also had an intense sense of duty to do whatever it took to keep on supporting the dancers, staff and artists we had commissioned. Then the crazy idea came to go big and bold, by commissioning 15 new works in honor of our 15th anniversary season. The entire team at BalletX bonded together to do whatever it took to make it work. 

SCP: What has been learned as a company, as individual dancers, as creators by navigating these challenges?

CC: As a company we have learned that we are far more resilient than we thought, we learned that this art form is a lifeline for not only us but for our growing community, we learned that working together and caring for each other really do matter. Each dancer took on new aspects of the job, like creating dances, making films, developing editing skills and learning how to fundraise. The dancer also greatly appreciated the fact that we were able to keep working and instead of losing their job they gained perspective and insight into what it takes to keep a company alive during a worldwide pandemic. 

SCP: What does it mean to the dancers to be able to connect with a virtual audience as we look forward to a return to live performances?

CC: The dancers have been at the heart of our pivot as a company, because instead of dragging their feet and being annoyed at all the new things we were asking them to do, they embraced the challenges and brought new ideas. The dancers cannot wait to be back performing live for an audience. We are in it for the long haul and cannot wait to have the energy and spirit out in the house of a real theater. 

 

BalletX is FREE, but advance registration is required. Register here.

“The Schaefer Center Presents” Features Actor-Playwright Anna Deavere Smith in a Livestream Presentation of “Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity”

“The Schaefer Center Presents” Features Actor-Playwright Anna Deavere Smith in a Livestream Presentation of “Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity”
The award-winning Smith kicks off the spring season on Thursday, Feb. 4 with a live performance that blends “theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.”

BOONE, NC — The Schaefer Center Presents (SCP) performing arts series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, kicks off its Spring 2021 virtual season with An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith: Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity, Thursday, Feb. 4 at 8pm. This one-time livestream event with celebrated playwright/actor/educator Smith features moderation from the Schaefer Center stage by Dr. Paulette Marty, Professor of Theatre Arts at Appalachian State University. Ms. Smith will begin the evening with a storytelling presentation live from her home in New York City. An interactive Q&A session will follow the performance. The event is free, but registration is required. The event is supported in part by the Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series at App State.

“Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity” was developed following research for Smith’s play Let Me Down Easy, wherein the playwright interviewed people in the U.S. and abroad who demonstrated grace in the face of dramatic challenges. Smith observed that, while we live in a winner-take-all society, part of our potential as humans is our potential for compassion and our resilience in the face of adversity. This storytelling speech celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, the power of empathy, the strength of imagination, and hope. 

Smith uses her singular brand of theatre to explore issues of community, character, and diversity in America. The MacArthur Foundation honored her with the “Genius” Fellowship for creating “a new form of theatre — a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.”

“I’m so grateful to have the chance to talk to one of my heroes,” says Marty, who has taught Smith’s work in her classrooms for decades, and as a result, approaches the event with a unique frame of reference. “Her thought-provoking, moving plays are great fodder for class discussions about the power and function of the arts in society. Watching Smith’s plays has changed the way I think about current events. Because the characters in her plays offer many different perspectives on an issue, they have inspired me to wonder how unheard people have been affected by events in the news. Reading a news story, I’ll ask myself, ‘How must her parents feel right now?’ or ‘What happened to the people who witnessed this?’ or ‘What’s it like for him to be alone in that place?. I trace those questions back to hearing about people’s experiences in her plays.”

The Q&A session between Smith and Marty will follow the presentation of Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity. Viewers are encouraged to put questions into the chat for Smith to address if time permits at the end of the regularly scheduled discussion. The virtual event is free of charge, but advance registration is required here. All registrants will receive a link to access the event both the day before and one hour prior to the performance.

TWILIGHT: LOST ANGELES FREE FILM SCREENING
As a complimentary companion piece to Smith’s appearance with the performing arts series, the acclaimed film adaption of Smith’s Tony-nominated play Twilight: Los Angeles is available to view at any time now through Feb. 4. The film tackles issues of race and social inequality that have become touchstones of her work. It can be accessed here


ABOUT ANNA DEAVERE SMITH
Playwright, actor, and educator Anna Deavere Smith uses her singular brand of theatre to explore issues of community, character, and diversity in America. The MacArthur Foundation honored Smith with the “Genius” Fellowship for creating “a new form of theatre — a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.”

Best known for crafting more than 15 one-woman shows drawn from hundreds of interviews, Smith turns these conversations into scripts and transforms herself onstage into an astonishing number of characters. In her speaking events, Smith discusses the many “complex identities of America,” and interweaves her discussions with portrayals of people she has interviewed to illustrate the diversity of emotions and points of view on controversial issues.

Her most recent play, Notes from the Field, looks at the School-to-Prison Pipeline and injustice and inequality in low-income communities. Winner of an Obie Award and the 2017 Nortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show, Notes from the Field was named one of the Top 10 Plays of the year by Time magazine. The paperback adaptation of Notes from the Field is a collection of students and teachers, counselors and congressmen, preachers and prisoners, discussing their direct and indirect experiences with the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

In 2012, Smith was awarded the National Humanities Medal, presented by President Obama and in 2015, she was named the Jefferson Lecturer, the nation’s highest honor in the humanities. She also is the recipient of the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and most recently, the 2017 Ridenhour Courage Prize and the George Polk Career Award for authentic journalism.

Smith’s breakthrough plays, Fires in the Mirror, a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize, and the Tony-nominated Twilight: Los Angeles, tackle issues of race and social inequality that have become touchstones of her work. Her portrayals of patients and medical professionals in Let Me Down Easy delivered a vivid look at healthcare in the United States.

Currently, Smith appears on ABC’s hit series Black-ish and the ABC legal drama For the People. She is probably most recognizable as the hospital administrator on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie and the National Security Advisor on NBC’s The West Wing. Her films include The American PresidentRachel Getting Married, and Philadelphia.

Smith is the founding director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, which was launched at Harvard University and is now housed at New York University, where she is a Professor at Tisch School of the Arts. Her books include Letters to a Young Artist and Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines

She has been an Artist-in-Residence at MTV Networks, the Ford Foundation, and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Smith was appointed to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2017 U.S. Mayors Challenge Committee, a nationwide competition urging innovative solutions for the toughest issues confronting U.S. cities. She holds honorary degrees from Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Julliard, among others.

The Schaefer Center Presents… SPRING 2021 Virtual Season
Events are FREE; advance registration is required at theschaefercenter.org. All registrants will receive a link to access the event both the day before and one hour prior to the performance.

Thank you to our SPC sponsors:
The Horton Hotel, Creekside Electronics, Boone Tourism Development Authority, Our State Magazine, Spectrum Reach, High Country Radio, WDAV 89.9 FM, WFDD 88.5FM and WASU 90.5FM.
**The 2020-21 Schaefer Center Presents season is funded in part by a grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. www.NCArts.org 

About “The Schaefer Center Presents”
“The Schaefer Center Presents” is a series offering campus and community audiences a diverse array of music, dance and theatre programming designed to enrich the cultural landscape of the Appalachian State University campus and surrounding area. By creating memorable performance experiences and related educational and outreach activities, the series promotes the power and excitement of the live performance experience; provides a “window on the world” through the artistry of nationally and internationally renowned artists; and showcases some of the finest artists of our nation and our region. Musical events range from symphony orchestra and chamber music performances to jazz, folk, traditional, international, and popular artists. Theatre productions run the gamut from serious drama to musical comedy. Dance performances offer an equally wide array of styles, from ballet to modern dance to international companies representing cultural traditions from around the world. For more information, visit http://theschaefercenter.org.

EVENT RELEASE

Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs
An Appalachian Summer Festival
Appalachian State University
PO Box 32045
Boone, NC  28608-2045

Jan. 15, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information contact: Allison West, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, 828-262-6084, ext. 107 or westal1@appstate.edu.

For event details, visit theschaefercenter.org.