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Creative Conversations

Creative Conversations is a new program of the Arts Initiative that connects practitioners in the arts and cultural fields to students, faculty and staff. Recently, the Arts Initiative has welcomed leading artists like Valery Gergiev, Diane Paulus (‘97SOA), Suzan-Lori Parks, and Alex Kahn to campus.

Have an idea for a Creative Conversation? We want to hear from you! We invite arts professionals to share their artistic experiences in an interactive, discussion-based format. Send us an email at or visit during office hours to tell us who you’d like to invite to campus.

Recent Creative Conversations
Artist Talk & Reception with Maya Hayuk

Explore Maya Hayuk's new site-specific mural, part of her Chem Trails series, now on view in the lobby of Columbia's Miller Theatre. The evening began with an intimate talk with the artist about her process and influences, moderated by curator Deborah Cullen of Columbia's Wallach Art Gallery, and concluded with a reception held in the colorful shadow of Hayuk's massive mural.

Panel Discussion with Justin Davidson and Heidi Waleson

Music journalists Justin Davidson (The New Yorker) and Heidi Waleson (The Wall Street Journal) explored the craft, role, and importance of music criticism in contemporary journalism and in concert life in this candid discussion moderated by Professor Elaine Sisman.

Past Creative Conversations
Diane Paulus & Suzan-Lori Park in Conversation

Tony-nominated director Diane Paulus (‘97SOA) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Park came to campus last March to discuss their latest Broadway work, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, as well as their experience in their respective fields.

Large-Scale Event Production with Monica Moore

Monica Moore has helped produce New York City's iconic New Year's Eve in Times Square for the past nine years. She discussed her career to date and offered her thoughts on the challenges and benefits of being her own boss with an audience of students and staff.

Rafael Vargas-Suarez and Deborah Cullen discuss Vector Composition No. 1

Rafael Vargas-Suarez, creator of the site-specific work on view in the lobby of Miller Theatre, discussed the work and his other experiences as installation artist with Deborah Cullen, director and chief curator of the Wallach Art Gallery.