Lunch with Artists: In Conversation Spring 2021 Lineup

In Conversation

Fridays, 12PM (Jan 29–April 16, 2021)

Everyone is welcome. No registration required.

Join us for a Friday noontime conversation series that takes the spirit of Arts & Context and Ruby Friday programs onto Zoom! Join faculty-invited visiting artists and artists from Duke Performances virtual Spring 2021 season for behind-the-scenes insights into their work.

Before life moved onto virtual platforms like Zoom, Duke Arts and Duke Performances hosted casual artist talks in Duke’s Rubenstein Arts Center and in a variety of Durham community venues like the Pinhook and Cocoa Cinnamon. We miss these opportunities to connect with our audiences and artists, and we hope you’ll join us for this new venture.


American Ballet Theatre

FRI, JAN 29, 12PM

In Conversation kicks off with Kara Medoff Barnett ’00—Durham native, Duke alumna, and executive director of the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) since 2016—for a conversation on leading America’s National Ballet Company through the pandemic. Barnett will be joined by James Whiteside, a principal dancer at ABT, to discuss the company’s resilience and the partnership between ABT and Duke University.

American ballet theatre event details

Black Theatre Matters

Fri, Feb 5, 12PM

In Conversation continues with “Black Theatre Matters,” a discussion with playwright and scholar Lisa B. Thompson. As the real-life drama of the Black Lives Matter movement unfolds around the country and the world, Thompson will discuss the continued relevance of Black theatre to the movement. Moderated by Mark Anthony Neal, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of African and African American Studies.

Black Theatre Matters event details

Learn Arts Funding from the Pros

Fri, Feb 12, 12PM

A panel of Duke faculty artists will discuss best practices regarding arts grants applications, including grant and research proposal writing, portfolio development, gathering supporting materials, asking for recommendations, and major funding opportunities at Duke. Moderated by Vice Provost for the Arts John Brown. This program is open to all, but is specifically designed for Duke undergraduates.

Arts funding event details

Telvin Wallace

Fri, Feb 19, 12PM

NYC-based interdisciplinary artist Telvin Wallace discusses his recent work and his emerging career. Wallace is a 2019 graduate of North Carolina Central University, where he received a BA in Studio Art with a focus on painting and printmaking. Through painting and portraiture, Wallace explores Black mental health and the human condition.

Telvin Wallace event details

Radical Repair Workshop

Fri, Feb 26, 12PM

Julia Gartrell introduces the “Radical Repair Workshop,” a traveling studio, gallery, and educational space housed in a vintage camper. Using repair as a platform for creative expression and material exploration, the RRW asks the question: Does repair have to be practical?

Radical Repair Workshop event details

Amir Sulaiman

Fri, March 5, 12PM

Acclaimed poet, activist, recording artist, and filmmaker Amir Sulaiman will read from and discuss his work, which viscerally and spiritually confronts themes of race, identity, suffering, healing, and love. Sulaiman’s reading caps a week of virtual engagements with the Duke and Durham community, including local K-12 students, as part of Duke Performances’ ongoing ‘Building Bridges: Muslims in America’ initiative.

Amir Sulaiman event details

John Felix Arnold III

Fri, March 12, 12PM

NYC-based artist John Felix Arnold III, the last resident artist in the Rubenstein Arts Center painting studio before the pandemic, discusses his work-in-progress in the Ruby, growing up in Durham, and his career pathway, and gives us a preview of his upcoming exhibition at Anchorlight in Raleigh (Mar 2021).

John Felix Arnold III event details

Natu Camara

Fri, March 19, 12PM

Singer-songwriter Natu Camara — known affectionately as the Tina Turner of Guinea — joins for a free public Zoom discussion covering her work, career, and activism in support of the education of girls and women throughout West Africa. The conversation officially kicks off Duke Performances’ annual Black Atlantic festival exploring the music and culture of the African diaspora through the Americas.

natu camara event details

Ballet Education & Body Image

Fri, March 26, 12PM

Courtney Liu ‘13, Broadway dancer and member of the inaugural cohort of Duke’s MFA in Dance, will present “SylphSense: Flow States, Body Image, and Ballet,” her choreographic and pedagogical masters research on flow states and their relation to body image and eating disturbances. The program includes Liu’s research, excerpts from her performance for this work, and, in closing, a brief Q & A.

Ballet education event details

Arts & Environmentalism

Fri, April 2, 12PM

The 2020-21 Bass Connections project team “Arts and the Anthropocene: Crisis and Resilience in North Carolina Waterways” explored how the arts can play a role in public advocacy and education in support of meaningful climate change interventions. They worked together to create an art installation opening in the Ruby courtyard in April 2021.

Arts & environmentalism event details


Fri, April 9, 12PM

On the heels of ‘Saint Cloud,’ one of 2020’s most critically acclaimed albums, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield sits down virtually with Kym Register, Loamlands leader and proprietor of cherished Durham venue The Pinhook, for a free public conversation. The two will explore a few of the overarching themes in Crutchfield’s work: a penchant for storytelling in songwriting, paths through DIY and punk scenes, and the enduring influence of Southernness and country music in her work.

waxahatchee event details

Tift Merritt & Allison Russell

Fri, April 16, 12PM

Tift Merritt and Allison Russell will offer an introduction to the many components of their performance collaboration, Hungry River, a project exploring the emotional history of North Carolina’s segregated asylum. This work-in-process showing functions as the first of many invitations for shared narrative and community response—a framework and sounding call for this site as catalysts for art and study and a rare opportunity to explore memory, trauma and resilience.

Merritt & Russell event details