The Creative Life



The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at UAlbany

The Creative Life series is a major arts initiative of the University Art Museum, New York State Writers Institute and UAlbany Performing Arts Center in conjunction with WAMC Public Radio. Sponsored by The University at Albany Foundation, the series features live onstage interviews conducted by WAMC’s "Roundtable" host Joe Donahue with artists of national and international prominence in conversation about their creative inspiration, their craft, their careers and the demands of sustaining an artistic practice over time. A question and answer period closes each program.  All Creative Life events are free and open to the public. 

Creative Life guests span the creative disciplines including writing, music, dance, choreography, visual arts, architecture, theatre, filmmaking and more.  The series celebrates the depth and range of artistic practices, helps to demystify the creative process for the audience and explores what it means to dedicate one’s life to a creative pursuit.  It is also intended to bring attention to the vibrant arts community on the University at Albany campus. 

Major support for The Creative Life is provided by The University at Albany Foundation with additional support from University Auxiliary Services.  


Our most recent guest was photographer William Wegman on Februry 27,2024. 

two individuals sit on stage in front of a large screen and before audience members

William Wegman is a beloved American artist known throughout the world for photographs and videos that feature his Weimaraner dogs in a variety of costumes and poses. His work is held in the permanent collections of major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The author of many books for children, Wegman is also the creator of numerous short segments featuring his dogs for Sesame Street. His new book is William Wegman: Writing by Artist (2022), his first collection to focus on his multifaceted and deeply funny relationship to language, spanning the early 1970s to the present.

Past Guests and Archived Conversations:


William Wegman - February 27, 2024
Creator of Sesame Street segments


Susanna Hoffs - November 7, 2023
Founder of the Bangles
Singer & guitarist
Fiction author

Jane Curtin - April 29, 2023
Original cast member of Saturday Night Live


Lucy Sante - October 18, 2022
Art critc
Cultural commentator


Ruth Reichl - October 5, 2021
Food writer
Culinary editor

Debbie Millman - November 2, 2021
Podcast host
UAlbany alum

Roxane Gay - November 2, 2021
Social activist


Jhumpa Lahiri - January 30, 2020
Acclaimed author
Pulitzer Prize winner
Novelist and short-story writer 


Philippe Petit - October 3, 2019
High wire artist
Star of Man on Wire

Rakim - October 28, 2019
Rapper and MC
Part of the rap duo Eric B. & Rakim

Susan Orlean - March 1, 2019
Author of The Orchid Thief

Paul Reiser - April 4, 2019 
Actor & author
Star of Mad About You






Bibbe Hansen - September 5, 2018
Performance artist
Star of Andy Warhol films

Jean Shin - November 1, 2018
Noted sculptor
Art curator
Public installation artist

Esmeralda Santiago - November 8, 2018
Author & essayist
Social activist
Documentary film writer

Garth Fagan - March 28, 2018
Lion King Choreographer
Tony Award winner
Dance company founder

Patti LuPone - April 26, 2018
Actress, singer, Broadway star
Grammy & Tony Award winner
New York Times best-selling author


Lois Lowry - November 10, 2017
Author of The Giver & Number the Stars
Newbery Medal winner
Leading voice of children's literature

Regina Carter - February 11, 2017
Violin virtuoso
Jazz artist and improviser
MacArthur Fellow

David Salle - March 23, 2017
Renowned painter
Film and stage designer
Author on fine art


Joyce Carol Oates - September 15, 2016
Novelist, poet and essayist
Pulitzer Prize finalist
New York Times best-selling author

Savion Glover - October 15, 2016
Dancer, choreographer and hoofer
Tony Award nominee and winner
Broadway, television and film star