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John V. Brown, Jr., J.D.

Vice Provost for the Arts

Director of the Jazz Program

Professor of the Practice of Music

Bassist, composer, educator and actor John Brown is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and currently resides in Durham, NC. He is a graduate of the School of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

John joined Duke University’s music department as an adjunct instructor in 2001, becoming assistant professor of the practice of music and director of the Duke Jazz Program in 2003. That same year he founded Jazz @ the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, a weekly live jazz jam session open to campus and community, now driven by student leadership in the Duke University Union.  He began his tenure as Duke’s first full-time Vice Provost for the Arts on July 1, 2020.

Ask John Brown about:

  • Jazz @ the Mary Lou
  • Student collaborations with the VPA office
  • The life of a performer

Katy Clune

Director of Communications

Katy Clune is director of communications for Duke Arts. She has more than ten years of experience in designing strategic communications and audience engagement for cultural institutions. She is currently a member of the City of Durham’s Cultural Advisory Board and the board for Mill Stage at Golden Belt Arts. She has a BA in art history from the University of California-Berkeley (2008) and a MA in folklore from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (2015). Growing up in the Foreign Service meant moving internationally every few years—since moving to NC in 2013 she has very much enjoyed “growing roots.” Learn more about her work here.

Ask Katy Clune about:

  • Freelancing
  • What is folklore, anyway?
  • Growing flowers from seed
  • Avoiding burnout

Amy Unell

Senior Director, Arts Engagement & Partnership

Amy Unell works with the Office of the Vice Provost of the Arts to curate and promote initiatives in all facets of arts education at Duke. In her addition to her role at the VPA office, she also serves as a catalyst and liaison to create, connect and collaborate in arts entrepreneurship through Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Duke Alumni.

A proud Midwesterner at heart, Amy was born and raised in Kansas City and is an avid Cameron Crazy.

Ask Amy Unell about:

Kevin Erixson

Director of DukeCreate

Manager of the Creative Arts Student Team

Kevin Erixson is the Director of DukeCreate and Manager of the Creative Arts Student Team (CAST) program. Prior to his work in the Vice Provost for the Arts Office, he served in a number of roles at Duke in Housing and Residence Life and the University Center of Activities and Events. Kevin has master’s degrees in Music Performance and Student Personnel Administration, and he’s grateful this role allows him to combine his passion for the arts with the opportunity to connect with students in meaningful ways.  In his free time, he enjoys hiking and exploring Durham food spots with his partner, Emily, and dog, Duke.

Ask Kevin Erixson about:

  • How to get involved in the arts (or other student groups) on campus
  • Durham restaurants
  • Pursuing artistic careers/professional endeavors
  • Duke basketball trivia
  • The value of a liberal arts education

Bill Fick

Lecturing Fellow in the Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies

Assistant Director for Visual and Studio Art at the Rubenstein Arts Center

Bill Fick has always been creative and enjoyed making things. He grew up in Venezuela until he was 14 and travelled a lot with his family. He was exposed to many different cultures, especially in the arts and architecture. He also learned Spanish mostly from television and the street so his early pop culture exposure was through a Latin American lens. Bill studied at Duke (‘86) and majored in Art. He then completed his MFA (Painting and Printmaking) at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ask Bill Fick about:

  • Printmaking
  • Pursuing a career in the arts
  • Living abroad

Nina Wilder

Arts Administration Fellow

Nina is a 2020 Duke English graduate from Raleigh, N.C. and the current arts administration fellow. As a Duke student, Nina was the editor of The Chronicle’s arts & culture section, Recess, and spent a semester in NYC with the Duke in New York program.

In her free time, Nina enjoys taking photos, watching movies, and being stumped by the NYTimes crossword.

Ask Nina Wilder about:

  • Getting involved in Duke Arts
  • The Chronicle/Recess
  • Fun things to do in North Carolina