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Duke University Arts

Jan 29, 2015

Funding Available for Undergraduate Arts Projects

The Benenson Awards in the Arts provide funding for fees, travel and other educational expenses for arts-centered projects proposed by undergraduates. In the past, the Benenson Awards have supported projects such as: work with an NGO in an arts-based education program in Uganda; immersive and conservatory study in acting, opera, music, dance, and film; a dance/documentary audio ethnographic film installation at the American Dance Festival; the incorporation of technology and art with dance choreography; an interpretation of the Target icon into a multicolor landscape of circular shapes; a 10-15 minute film about the nation's interstate highway system completed with antiquated media. Applicants must be undergraduates in good standing in Trinity College or the Pratt School of Engineering; seniors may apply funds to projects planned for the one year period following graduation.

Approximately 20 awards are made each year; recent awards have ranged from $600-4500 with an average award size of $1800.

Fast Facts
Deadline: March 6, 2015, 11:59pm
Purpose: cover expenses of fees, travel, etc. for arts-centered projects
Eligibility: Trinity or Pratt students, including graduating seniors
Time Frame: Summer (or beyond)
Funding: up to $4500
Point of Contact: Dr. Melissa Malouf
Instructions and Application:


Nov 10, 2014

Salon: an evening of poetry

The Archive presents Salon, a night of poetry, music and a celebration of Duke’s literary scene, Friday, November 14, 6:30p in von der Heyden Pavilion on Duke's West Campus. 

The mission of Salon is to both showcase the extraordinary literary talent of both Duke's faculty and student population, and to encourage the appreciation and enjoyment of poetry. The program will include poetry readings by professors Nathaniel Mackey, David Need and Deborah Pope, and students Pete Moore, Jessica Stark and Damien-Adia Marassa; undergraduates Destiny Hemphill, Tony Lopez Jr., Hannah Moyles and Jason Fotso, a Rubenstein presentation of the archives of the Archive, musical performances from soloist Laura Quillen and a quartet of Jonah Yousif, Olivia Lin, Nathan Hsieh and Indy Rajan

Nathaniel Mackey works in the areas of modern and postmodern literature in the U.S. and the Caribbean, creative writing, poetry and poetics, and the intersection of literature and music. He is the author of several books of poetry, fiction and criticism, most recently Nod House (New Directions, 2011), Bass Cathedral (New Directions, 2008), and Paracritical Hinge: Essays, Talks, Notes, Interviews (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005), respectively. Strick: Song of the Andoumboulou 16-25, a compact disc recording of poems read with musical accompaniment (Royal Hartigan, percussion; Hafez Modirzadeh, reeds and flutes), was released in 1995 by Spoken Engine Company. He is editor of the literary magazine Hambone and coeditor, with Art Lange, of the anthology Moment's Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose (Coffee House Press, 1993).

David Need has taught at Duke University in the Department of Religion and the Slavic and Eurasian Studies Department since 1997. His poetry and essays on poetry have appeared in Hambone, Talisman, Golden Handcuffs Review, Spoke, and Oyster Boy.

Since 2009, he has curated an occasional long-poem reading series “Arcade Taberna.” David’s chapbook, “Offshore St. Mark,” is scheduled to be published by Three Count Pour 2014.



Deborah Pope has published A Separate Vision: Isolation in Contemporary Women's Poetry (LSU, 1984), Ties That Bind: Essays on Mothering and Patriarchy (University of Chicago Press, 1990), Fanatic Heart (LSU, 1992), Mortal World (LSU, 1995) and Falling Out of the Sky.

She is currently co-editing a series of writings on pedagogy and gender. Her primary interests are in 20th Century American poetry, women's poetry, feminist theory and creative writing.

Salon is hosted by The Archive with support from the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts.

For more informaton contact Andrew Tan-Delli Cicchi,




Oct 31, 2014

Rude Mechs Residency Brings Together Theater, Gaming, and Science


Now Now Oh Now (photo by Jeremy Lange)
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A Visiting Artist Grant from the Council for the Arts brought the celebrated Austin, Texas theater collective Rude Mechs to Duke this past September. Their ten-day residency culminated in eight sold-out performances of Now Now Oh Now, an intimate, immersive theatrical experience presented by Duke Performances in Sheafer Lab Theater. Rude Mechs treated each audience of thirty to a show that combined serious scientific content with the nerdy pleasures of interactive gaming and the undeniable satisfaction of Murder Mystery Theatre.

According to CVNC reviewer Kate Dobbs Ariail, Now Now Oh Now “shows and tells the importance of plays and playing in the great game of life.” In its final section, she wrote, the actors “engage the audience in a meditation on choice and chance and make a crystalline argument for beauty's crucial role in natural selection.”

Photos by Eric Oberstein

While on campus, Rude Mechs worked with students in several acting and production classes in the Theater Studies department. They also visited Legal Issues for the Performing Arts, a class taught by Dan Ellison, a local attorney, arts advocate, and Duke alum. They joined scientists at the Durham-based National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) for a lunchtime conversation about evolution and theater and they toured Erich Jarvis’s Neurobiology of Vocal Communication Lab.

One student described to Duke Today the impact Rude Mechs' visit had on him:

Duke student Jon Payne has had just enough acting experience to be intrigued by the ethics of the craft. A visit by the Texas-based theater company Rude Mechs to his Introduction to Acting class was just what he needed.

“In the back of my head I have always debated the truthfulness of acting—whether or not what we’re doing on stage, pretending to be other people, is honest,” said Payne, a second-year student. “I’ve never heard anyone debate that in my classes but it was one of the first things the Rude Mechs wanted to discuss. It was a very eye-opening approach to the art and one I might not have heard without their class visit.”

The visiting artist program brings compelling artists in all genres to Duke not only to show their work but also to share the concept, technique and process behind it. According to Eric Oberstein, associate director of Duke Performances, artists are chosen because they are “comfortable engaging with students, good speakers, curious and interested in a deeper conversation.” Their formal and informal exchanges with students and the community complement and extend the work already being done on campus. As Jon Payne testified, those exchanges can be eye-opening.

Oct 30, 2014

Artstigators are the Crazies for the Arts at Duke

#artstigators create+innovate #mydukepath #dukebridge @dukeuniversity #ohduke @dukestudents

A video posted by Artstigators (@artstigators) on

As Duke Today's Ashley Mooney noted, artstigators are "a community of students, faculty, staff and alumni bringing together the organizations and individuals who make up Duke’s vibrant arts culture." Artstigating includes fun, pop-up events such as hosting the Poetry Fox at the Nasher and introducing students to alumni in the arts at Google Hangout LIVE.

Here are three ways to artstigate:

1. Email us at about events we can promote and any ideas or questions.
2. Follow us @artstigators on Instagram and Twitter and spread the word!
3. Tag photos/videos #artstigators to share your artstigating in action.

Artstigating is a way for students to build their own arts culture on campus, because every great university needs an energized and active arts community. More from Duke Today:

Sid Gopinath, sophomore computer science major and graduate of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center’s Duke in Silicon Valley program, said Artstigators is accessible to anyone who likes music, watches movies or just thinks about the arts, regardless of their major.

Let's make sculpture! #artstigators

A photo posted by Artstigators (@artstigators) on

“Duke hasn't really had a unifying art or arts theme for the campus,” Gopinath said. “By making Artstigators visible without being glaringly obvious, it becomes something everyone wants to do. And that makes the arts something that everyone wants to do.”


Even if students aren’t interested in pursuing a career in the arts, they can become involved with Artstigators to celebrate art for the sake of art while feeling like they are part of a greater community.

“Regardless of origin or purpose, any arts organization on this campus is entitled to equal representation within one unified core,” junior art history major Justin Sandulli said. “It is at the Artstigators' central crossroads that the fragments of Duke's splintered arts scene will fuse into one crackling, conspicuous, collaborative whole.​”



A photo posted by Artstigators (@artstigators) on


#Artstigators dig #poetryfox @dukeartsannex #dukeartsfestival #dukeimprov #dukestudents #pictureduke

A photo posted by Artstigators (@artstigators) on

Oct 27, 2014

Artist and Entrepreneurs Meet in Duke in Chicago

Duke in Chicago is a new six-week, two-course summer program for entrepreneurs who love the arts and for artists who want to become entrepreneurial. The program is offered by the Department of Theater Studies, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, and the Global Education Office for Undergraduates (GEO) of Duke University. It is open to students in the performing and visual arts and also those interested in business and management, economics and computer science. All will find that there is great deal to learn in Chicago—a thriving global center of international trade and commerce, unique as an arts center because of its booming storefront scene of small start-up companies.

In the current cultural landscape, artists must be entrepreneurs, and students with business acumen—who love the arts, but are not artists themselves—can make a career of it. Curiosity, self-motivation, agency, entrepreneurship, collaboration, fundraising, producing, and marketing are necessary skills. A project course challenges teams of students to collectively devise, prepare, produce, market, and present an arts-based event. A guest speaker course will introduce students to Chicago and connect them with professionals, including Duke alumni and potential mentors, who will speak about their own experience combining arts and entrepreneurship in such fields as theater, visual arts and advertising, film, music, dance, marketing and communications, writing, producing, performance, design, directing, and comedy. This class includes an internship/volunteering or performance/writing class component. Lectures will be held in DePaul University's new theatre building.

Students in the program can intern with organizations such as The Second City, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Joffrey Ballet. They hear from speakers like Welz Kauffman, president/CEO of Ravinia Festival, Martha Lavey, artistic director of Steppenwolf, and Theaster Gates, installation and social practice artist and founder of the Rebuild Foundation. And of course they visit the city's famous museums, attend performances across all tiers of the Chicago theater scene, and enjoy the free music, food, and art festivals.

The summer of 2014 was the program's inaugural year—read about the experience in the students' blog. For further information visit the program web site.

Oct 26, 2014

Duke Arts: Report to the Community

The 2013-14 academic year was an tremendous time for the arts at Duke. Highlights of the year are collected in our first report to the community. It documents the many ways our faculty and students have found to connect the arts to their other academic interests and to the community, a burgeoning entrepreneurial spirit in the arts, and the great range of interests shown by our students along with their remarkable accomplishments.

The report draws on our newsletter, which offers updates on the arts from the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts as well as Duke's academic arts departments, professional presenting organizations, and arts partners across campus. Please subscribe!


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