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Spring Semester Celebrates Legends of Arts and Literature 

Gerard & Kelly's Reuseable Parts - Endless Love (Photo by John Houck) 

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 21, 2016) -- The legacy of author Zora Neale Hurston, seven Pulitzer Prize winners, and new art exhibitions headline the dynamic arts scene for spring 2016 at the University at Albany. With many cultural events that are free and open to the public, UAlbany boasts a vibrant arts community through onsite events at the New York State Writers Institute (NYSWI), the Performing Arts Center (PAC), and the University Art Museum.

The Performing Arts Center

• The PAC and the NYSWI have joined forces to present Eyes on Zora: The Life and Legacy of Zora Neale Hurston, a series of events presented January 29-31 as a joint venture with the Albany Public Library and Albany High School. Hurston was one of the most important and celebrated figures to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance. She was a prolific writer whose works defined the Black American experience.

Gerard & Kelly – The PAC and the University Art Museum have partnered to present a series of events from February 2 to April 2 focusing on Brennan Gerard & Ryan Kelly’s project-based installations and performances. Collaborating since 2003, the artists use choreography, writing and other media to address questions of sexuality, memory and the formation of a queer consciousness. Their work is represented in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum and the Hammer Museum, and their performances have been shown at the Whitney.

The University Art Museum

Keltie Ferris: Body Prints and Paintings – From February 2 through April 2, this exhibit showcases fresh and original large-scale abstractions, influenced by graffiti and modernist painting. A pixilated haze of neon, dark night tones, and tempered pastels is built up in layers of spray gun washes and palette knife zips. This layered approach to image-making can be seen in both the body prints and paintings.

Race, Love, and Labor: New Work from the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s Artist-in-Residency Program – Features photography, artist books, and video by 20 artists who probe the complexities of contemporary life through intimate revelations and with unflinching candor. Curated by Sarah Lewis, assistant professor, departments of history of art and architecture and African and African American Studies, Harvard University.

The New York State Writers Institute

The NYSWI will inaugurate New York State Author Edmund White and New York State Poet Yusef Komunyakaa on February 11 at 8 p.m. in Page Hall on the Downtown Campus. White is one of America’s finest prose writers and its leading author on Gay life. He is best known for his trilogy of autobiographical novels: A Boy’s Own Story (1982), The Beautiful Room Is Empty (1988), and The Farewell Symphony (1997). White is a member of both the American Academies of Arts and Letters, and Arts and Sciences. Yusef Komunyakaa is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, including Dien Cai Dau (1988), about his experiences in Vietnam; and Neon Vernacular (1993), winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for “extraordinary lifetime accomplishments” in 2001 and the 2011 Wallace Stevens Award of the Academy of American Poets.

Stephen Adly Guirgis, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, will present a reading Thursday, March 3, at 8 p.m. in the PAC Recital Hall. Guirgis, a graduate of UAlbany’s Theatre Department, won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for drama for his play Between Riverside and Crazy. His other plays include Jesus Hopped the A Train (2000), which received Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival Award, and Our Lady of 121st Street (2003). Guirgis was a member of the LAByrinth Theatre Company, where he worked with director and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and playwright John Patrick Shanley. The event is presented in conjunction with the department-wide reading project of UAlbany’s English Department. A seminar will also be offered at 4:15 p.m. that afternoon, also in the PAC Recital Hall.

• The 20th Annual Burian Lecture on April 18 at 8 p.m. in the PAC Recital Hall, will feature Tony Award-winning theatre director Pam MacKinnon. She received the 2013 Tony Award for Best Direction for the 50th Anniversary Broadway revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Charles Isherwood of The New York Times praised it for “superlative staging” and “the exhilaration of a fresh encounter with a great work of theater revitalized anew.” Widely hailed as a leading interpreter of Edward Albee’s work, MacKinnon also helmed the Broadway revival of Albee’s A Delicate Balance (2014-15). There will also be a seminar with MacKinnon at 4:15 p.m. earlier that day in the PAC Recital Hall. The Burian Lecture is cosponsored by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment and UAlbany’s Theatre Program.

For more information about these and other cultural events at UAlbany, please visit the University events calendar.

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