Inaugural UpstART Festival explores how the arts permeate learning at U-M

March 26, 2014
Deborah Holdship


DATE: March 31-April 3 (2-9 p.m. Monday; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday; 2 p.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday; 7:30-10 p.m. Thursday)

EVENT: The inaugural UpstART Festival explores the dynamic ways in which the arts permeate and influence learning across all disciplines at U-M. By using the arts as both a prism and touchstone, participants will engage the disruptive and the beautiful—from expression to performance and from scholarship to research.

More than 40 artists, alumni, professors and students will deliver MTalks throughout UpstART, which is free to the public. Speakers include:

  • Neil Gabler, award-winning author, cultural historian and television commentator. He has written several books on entertainment, including “Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality,” currently used in college courses. His most recent book, “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination,” was a New York Times best-seller and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
  • Matthew Hittinger, poet and Hopwood Award winner. Hittinger is known for unique cross-disciplinary collaborations with video artists, painters and composers. He was named a 2012 Debut Poet on the annual list published by Poets & Writers Magazine.
  • Dominique Morisseau, award-winning playwright. In February, her play “Detroit ’67” won the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. The play looks at the Detroit riots of 1967 through the eyes of two black siblings and a battered white woman seeking refuge in their home.
  • Robert Root-Bernstein, visual artist and professor of physiology at Michigan State University. He studies the evolution of physiological control systems and autoimmune diseases, as well as science-arts interactions. He uses insights, skills and analogies from his artwork to inform his scientific research, most of which involves molecular shape interactions.

In addition, students with a passion for art (curricular or co-curricular) will showcase their work reflecting all forms of artistic expression: music, dance, visual art, theater, poetry and film. A free performance at the Power Center will close the four-day event.

Student visual work will be on exhibit in the Michigan League throughout the festival. An interactive art project will take place over a 10-day period through the end of the festival on Ingalls Mall.

PLACE: Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre (911 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor); North Campus Research Complex (2800 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor); Power Center for the Performing Arts (121 Fletcher St. Ann Arbor); Detroit Center (3663 Woodward Ave., Detroit)

SPONSOR: U-M Arts Consortium