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Summer Speaker Series

Sunday, July 8, 2018

9:45am - 10:45am

Fiedler Atrium

Art: Connecting Humanity & the Divine

How do humanity and the divine connect? Join us for a 4-week series with a variety of artists, creatives and theologians as we explore how art might help us explore transcendence with God and connection with each other.

Sunday, July 8

“Love Your Neighbor As Yourself: Theater, Democracy & Empathy” – Kevin Moriarty

Kevin Moriarty traces the history of theater from its roots in religious ceremonies in Ancient Greece in 500 B.C.E. to its practice in contemporary Dallas, exploring how narrative drama can promote empathy, strengthen the foundations of democracy and inspire respect for our shared humanity.

Click here for Bio.

Kevin Moriarty is the Enloe/Rose Artistic Director of Dallas Theater Center, where his work as a director includes: It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s SupermanThe Who’s TommyThe Wiz; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Henry IV; King Lear; The Tempest; Fat Pig; his original adaptation of A Christmas CarolOedipus el ReyMedeaElectraColossal; All the Way and The Great SocietyInherit the Wind; and Hair.  Since 2007 he has led DTC through many new initiatives, including the move into the Wyly Theatre; the establishment of the Brierley Resident Acting Company; the creation of Public Work Dallas; an extensive series of new play productions; community collaborations with North Texas Food Bank, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, and most of the region’s theater companies; and multi-year partnerships with Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts and SMU Meadows School of the Arts. Before joining DTC, Kevin served as the artistic director of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY, for seven years. From 2002-2007 Kevin was the Head of Directing for the Brown University/Trinity Rep MFA Program in Providence, RI, and he was an Associate Artist at Trinity Rep Company. He made his operatic directing debut with The Lighthouse for The Dallas Opera in 2012 and directed The Marriage of Figaro in 2014. Kevin has served as a public school music teacher at La Crescent High School in La Crescent, MN, and as an Associate Professor at Brown University. Kevin is the Chair of the Dallas Arts District; President of the Board for Theatre Communications Group; a member of the Booker T. Washington Advisory Board and the Dallas Assembly; a recipient of a Drama League directing fellowship; and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


Sunday, July 15

“Art in Practice” – Ebony Lewis

Ebony Lewis was born on July 30 from humble beginnings in Greenville Mississippi but has lived most of her life in Cedar Hill Texas.  She attended Texas A&M Commerce University where she received her BFA with a emphasis in painting, as well as a M.Ed. Ebony currently lives in Dallas TX where she continues to participate in various art shows and galleries around Dallas and the US. Lewis is also active in her current Dallas community where she has recently earned a project with the Mayor Star Council Bus stop project where she collaborated with Dart and sponsors Neiman Marcus in creating a instillation in the Historic South Dallas neighborhood of Queen City.  Her goal is to continue to create beautiful works of art while impacting her community in a positive way.

Click here for Artist's Statement.

I am a two-dimensional artist specializing in acrylic painting; to me I am destined to become successful when it comes to art.  I completely understand that road blocks and trials and tribulations may come my way but a dream deferred is not a dream lost. What inspires me to paint stems from a variety of things I think about art like a competition and where one person lacks in natural talent they make up for in hard work and work ethic.  I feel that I have a combination of both but I always paint with a chip on my shoulder knowing that someone may be working just as hard or even harder than me. It is my goal to subdue the viewer into my world and allow them to experience the art not just look at it.

Whenever I start a piece of work I tend to go through a fairly in depth process I gather information from books or a story. I recently have been using social media as source material. As of now my medium of choice tends to be acrylic paint.  The process also includes vigor’s amounts of sketches and photographs to add physicality to the ideas roaming around my head. My more expressive work stems from any particular emotion or desire majority of the time its ambition and drive to achieve your goals. I try to convey a constant conflict of wanting to do the right things but temptation is always around the constant push and pull of everyday life that we all experience.

My current body of work is about many things, but as a whole I try to speak on controlling the thoughts of positive and negative (good vs evil)  and the struggle it takes to think for ourselves. In my work there is tons of symbolism such as robots and birds. The robots represent oppression and the bird symbolizes freedom.  I would sum it up with one statement “Freedom from mind control”. That simply means if we allow society to always tell us who we are or what we should be doing or how we should measure success, then we will never learn who we truly are. I do not believe in assimilating not even to my own work so I am always redefining and discovering new ways to pursue this journey of life. “All hard work has profit but mere talk leads to nothing.”


“Art in Practice” – Janeil Engelstad

Janeil Engelstad’s work is guided by the following question: What do I do in the world that makes a generative and positive contribution to people and the planet? Intentional, creative action that align Spirit, Passion and Purpose underpins her work and the larger construct of envisioning and helping to create a world where those traditionally excluded gain agency and access. Her process for this work, which can be as valuable as the outcome, involves embedding herself in communities, extensive research, collaboration and building coalitions between universities, government agencies, NGOs and others. In addition to producing her own projects, Engelstad is the Founding Director of Make Art with Purpose (MAP), an organization that produces artist led projects that address social and environmental concerns.

Sunday, July 22

“Fielding His Position”: Disability, the Divine & Baseball as Art” – Rev. Justin Hancock

How a man with a disability finds rhythms of prayer, spiritual connection, and a balanced life through a personal connection to the game of baseball.

Click here for Bio.

Rev. Justin Hancock is a graduate of Perkins School of Theology with a Masters in Christian Ministries and an ordained Deacon appointed to the North Texas Conference. He has a passion for helping people discover who God designed them to be. He has worked with young adults as a director at the Texas Tech Wesley Foundation and as college pastor at St. Johns UMC in Lubbock, TX. Justin and his wife, Lisa, are on a journey to discover where God can be found in every type of community.



Sunday, July 29

“Art & Faith Together” – Dr. Andy Stoker

As we complete our journey of Art: Connecting Humanity & the Divine, there is an invitation from our Creator to fully embrace the beauty around us and the creativity within us. What does our faith say about creativity? Complete your summer journey of touching the Sacred through art.

Click here for Bio.

Dr. Stoker is the Senior Minister of First United Methodist Church of Dallas, Texas. Serving in this position of leadership in the heart of downtown Dallas since 2013, he has forged strong partnerships with the Dallas Mayor’s Office, the Dallas Arts District, and the Dallas Independent School District. His formidable leadership skills and passion for equality combined with his research in theology and family systems give Dr. Stoker a unique and clarion voice in the areas of social justice, advocacy, community outreach and racial reconciliation.


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