Office of the VP for Communications – Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

Arts & Culture

  1. What does a ‘public space’ become when the public is isolated?

    Why is it important to prioritize art-making as a way to alleviate anxiety and loneliness? How can art-making be considered a service? Artist Cullen Washington Jr., whose solo exhibition, ‘The Public Square,’ opened pre-pandemic, shares insights.

  2. Another time, another place

    This sentimental collection of essays by Peter Damm, BA ’71, takes you to a world of softly faded Polaroids and crackly AM radios. There are summer hijinks at Lake Michigan, poignant life lessons from the youngest of six Catholic children, and hilarious confessions that are both intimately personal and wholly relatable.

  3. If the shoe fits . . .

    How painting an abstract Nike AJ1 helped self-proclaimed ‘Adidas man’ Shane Ward, BFA ’96, claim his power — and his grace — as an artist, apprentice, and African American man in 2020.

  4. Vulnerability, gravitas in quarantine docs

    Instead of earning a stranger’s trust and documenting a moment in time for their final projects, students photographed loved ones in lockdown.

  5. Otto Penzler’s nirvana of noir

    This fiction guru/publisher has spent decades curating his Mysterious Press and Mysterious Bookshop. Penzler often consults with ‘regulars’ like Stephen King and James Patterson — and he suggests these thrillers to pass the pandemic.

  6. The perils of social media and self-delusion

    ‘New Yorker’ essayist Jia Tolentino, MFA ’14, explores the ‘peculiar effects’ of self-deception, self-destruction, and the performance of identity in ‘Trick Mirror.’

  7. Episode 36: The editor and the giants, featuring Jim Tobin

    Inside the Bentley archives, ‘Michigan Today’ historian Jim Tobin reads letters, telegrams, and handwritten notes between ‘Esquire’ magazine founder Arnold Gingrich, BA ’25, and two of his quirkiest contributors: Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. If you love language, you must listen. Utterly exquisite.

  8. The accidental cartoonist grows up

    Artist-turned-author Cathy Guisewite, BA ’72, pivots from comics to prose with a collection of wry and relatable essays about the absurdities of adulthood.

  9. Strike up the band

    More than 400 U-M alums are teaching ‘more than music’ in elementary, middle, and high school music classrooms throughout Michigan.