For those curious about the inspirations of artists in all fields and how their work evolves, The Michigan Theater holds free Thursday lectures featuring guests to this end. The Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Visitors Series, which was founded in 1998, brings in visiting artists, designers and others to speak on behalf of their accomplishments and their work. Art and Design Prof. Janie Paul will continued the series yesterday with her lecture “Creating Place, Creating Resistance.”

“The Penny Stamps Series talks are ways for students and others to gain access to a wide variety of arts and to fields related to art,” Paul said. “My talk is really geared towards students and what they care about.”

The lecture also had extra weight for Paul: a professor must give a tenure talk – in which they present their work to the University – to become a permanent instructor.

In the recent past, guests like writer and performer Marga Gomez, artist Nikki S. Lee and the design team of the Royal Shakespeare Company have been participants of the Penny Stamps Series. The enthusiasm of Kate West, director of communications for the School of Art and Design, stems from her belief in the lectures’ importance to the University community.

“The series expands knowledge of the work of artists and designers, and offers a closer look at the ways art and design link with other disciplines across the University, ranging from the life sciences, to anthropology, to philosophy, and American culture,” West said in an e-mail.

Paul talked about her own art in her lecture, which highlights her work outside of the studio.

Paul has spent a fair amount of time working at the community level in the region, and she said her art reflects that work. Among other things, she works with the Prison Creative Art Project (PCAP), an annual show exhibiting the work of imprisoned artists.

Paul teaches also with the Detroit Connection, which allows students and others to teach art classes in Detroit elementary schools. Experiences like “the very fundamental parts of drawing and painting” have been humbling for her.

“I’m facilitating art experiences for those at the margins of society. I combine my work in the studio with my work in the community,” she said. “I work with issues that affect all of us, like prisons and education, issues that are relevant for anybody.”

The Penny Stamps Series has included photographers, journalists and astronomers, among other experts in fields of interest to students.

“For art and design students, (the series) offers exemplars of their future, with opportunities to see and hear about the work of emerging and established creative professionals,” West said.

“Creating Place, Creating Resistance”

At the Michigan Theater

Jan. 23

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