On Radcliffe Day 2013, hundreds of alumnae/i, fellows, and friends gathered to celebrate the arts with a morning panel that united leaders across the visual arts, writing, music, and theater. The panel was immediately followed by the annual Radcliffe Day lunch, featuring an address by Jane Alexander, who was honored as an individual whose life and work have significantly and positively influenced society. Videos of both the panel and the lunch are now online.
Past Radcliffe Days have featured leaders in their fields, including the feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem; the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor; and the renowned novelist and critic Margaret Atwood.
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“From Artist to Audience”
Diane Paulus ’88
Diane Paulus is the artistic director at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) and a professor of the practice of theater in Harvard University’s English department. At the A.R.T., her groundbreaking work—including The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and Prometheus Bound—has transformed the audience experience.
Elizabeth Alexander RI '08
The poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher Elizabeth Alexander composed the renowned poem “Praise Song for the Day” and delivered it at the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. She is the chair of the Department of African American Studies at Yale University.
Beverly McIver RI ’03
Painter Beverly McIver, who produces art that consistently examines racial, gender, and social identity, is a professor of art at North Carolina Central University. She and her sister Renee were the focus of the powerful 2012 documentary Raising Renee, directed by Jeanne Jordan BI ’93, RI ’03. Jordan met McIver in 2003 at the Radcliffe Institute when they were both fellows.
Mark Robbins RI ’03
Mark Robbins is the executive director of the International Center of Photography, an institution dedicated to the practice and understanding of photography in all its forms. He is an artist who uses photography to examine people and their built environment. Previously, Robbins was the dean of Syracuse University’s School of Architecture and served as the director of design at the NEA.
Augusta Read Thomas BI ’91
Augusta Read Thomas is among the world’s most accomplished and original contemporary composers. The American Academy of Arts and Letters cited the “unbridled passion and fierce poetry” embodied in her works and recognized her as “one of the most recognizable and widely loved figures in American music.”
Radcliffe Day Address
Actor and Arts Advocate
Jane Alexander has shown courage as an actor and as a champion for the arts during her tenure as the head of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) from 1993 to 1997. Alexander’s acting roles—including The Great White Hope, which confronted race and segregation in the Jim Crow era, All the President’s Men, and Kramer vs. Kramer—have earned four Oscar nominations, seven Tony nominations and one win, and nine Emmy nominations and two wins. As the first working artist to chair the NEA, Alexander fought to protect arts funding in the 1990s when it came under fire by Congress.
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Dancers (2010) was painted by Bevil Conway, who is an associate professor of neuroscience at Wellesley College, a lecturer on neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, and an artist. He was the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute in 2010–2011.
His research, published in more than two dozen articles and a book, examines the neural basis for visual behavior, with a focus on color. His art explores the limits of visualization, cultural metamorphosis, and concepts of beauty and the sublime.
This painting depicts performers in the Mark Morris Dance Group at their studio in Brooklyn, New York. Conway and Morris met through Harvard’s Society of Fellows and became good friends. Conway was given extraordinary access to the dancers’ rehearsals, which resulted in many watercolors and etchings, including the image for Radcliffe Day 2013.
For more information about Bevil Conway, his art, and his research, visit his website.