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AU in the Neighborhood

March 2018

Community Liaison Committee Meets March 5

Community Liaison Committee meeting

American University's Community Liaison Committee (CLC) will hold a quarterly meeting on Monday, March 5.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Abramson Family Founders Room in the School of International Service (SIS) building on the University's main campus at the corner of Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues, NW. Neighbors are invited to join AU staff at 6:30 p.m. for pre-meeting coffee and conversation. Parking for the meeting is available in the SIS garage.

The CLC was established to foster positive relations and to maintain regular communication between the university and its neighbors. As specified in the D.C. Zoning Commission Order for AU's 10-year Campus Plan, the CLC comprises individuals from neighboring community organizations and representatives from the university.

Additional information on the CLC, including meeting agendas and minutes can be found at

Community Audit Program Expansion Announced

A professor talking to students

American University now offers its Community Audit Program to more neighbors than ever. The audit program, which offers adults ages 60 and older, the opportunity to attend university courses on a noncredit basis, has expanded beyond the 20016 Zip Code to include 20007, 20008, and 20015.

Modeled after the Alumni Audit Program, auditors may listen to the same lectures and work from the same texts as enrolled students. For a modest fee of $100, $75 of which serves as a donation to the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, neighbors are provided with a rewarding way to enhance professional skills, take classes with popular professors, or delve into a new hobby and pursue a commitment to lifelong learning.

The Community Audit Program is coordinated by the Office of Alumni Relations, in conjunction with the Office of Community Relations.

"The Community Audit Program is another great benefit for those that live close to the University," said Andrew Huff, AU's Director of Community Relations. "Our neighbors have some very interesting experiences and life stories, so I believe our students and professors will learn just as much from the neighbors as our neighbors will learn from the class."

For additional information, please visit the Community Audit homepage or contact Chaney Doyle at 202-885-5960.

Join the Fifth Annual SOUL Corporate Basketball Challenge

AU basketball players and community members

On Saturday, March 17, the 5th Annual SOUL Corporate Basketball Challenge will take place at American University's Bender Arena. All funds raised from this event will support local low-income student-athletes attending DC Public Schools.

SOUL is a sports-based youth development program that collaborates with DC Public Schools, community-based organizations, companies, and local universities to create and implement educational opportunities that aim to break the cycle of poverty for low-income/at-risk youth.

SOUL was founded by DC native and American University graduate Donald Curtis. Initially, Curtis created SOUL to engage at-risk youth in a Ward 7 public housing community through basketball. Today, SOUL provides four youth development programs - College Access Study Hall, Sister Circle, Urban Sustainability Education, and its newest initiative, Young Men's Roundtable.

SOUL's impact transcends sports. In 2016, approximately 233 DC youth engaged with SOUL through direct programing. The program boasts a 100 percent graduation rate for participating students, with 20 SOUL students in the 2017 graduating class securing more than $1.1 million in scholarships through academic and athletic merit. Curtis explained, "Our goal is to have our students graduate from high school with a plan for their future."

The SOUL Corporate Basketball Challenge funds the organization's community impact. Each year, 16 companies participate in this one-day charity basketball tournament. All funds raised through the event are reinvested back into SOUL operations to advance youth work, create jobs, develop internships, and fund SOUL Scholarships. The current list of 5th Annual SOUL Corporate Basketball Challenge supporters includes The Education Advisory Board, Capitol Forum, CBRE, Comcast, Elevate&CO, Evolent Health, Inspire Capital, JLL, Koki Real Estate, PWC, Potomac Law Group, MedStar Health, Merrill Lynch, Smithsonian Institute, Urban Alliance, and Venable LLP.

SOUL founder Donald Curtis calls on the AU community for its support. To volunteer, donate, or participate in the basketball challenge, visit or contact the SOUL staff at

WAMU Acquires Local News Site DCist

A laptop with the DCist website open

WAMU recently announced that it has acquired the popular website, signaling a new investment in local news.

The Washington NPR member station plans to revive the website, which ceased operations suddenly in November. The acquisition is part of a deal brokered by New York NPR station WNYC and DCist's former owner, New York billionaire Joe Ricketts.

"This was an opportunity that when we learned about it, it seemed like such a natural fit," said Andi McDaniel, WAMU's chief content officer. "The kind of community and neighborhood-level reporting that DCist does, and its beloved status locally, just aligned naturally with what our mission is."

WAMU will assume ownership of, its story archive and social media accounts. The current plan, McDaniel says, is to do a "slight refresh" on the site and relaunch it sometime this spring. WAMU will hire three full-time staffers to run the site.

DCist's abrupt closure last year stoked concerns among media observers about the uncertain future of local reporting in the Washington, DC region. At the time, Washington City Paper was struggling to find a new owner. The Current newspapers faced an unclear path, and two months later declared bankruptcy. DCist's demise appeared to signal a local news ecosystem in rapid decline.

McDaniel says WAMU's plan to resuscitate DCist complements the station's greater ambition to expand its regional news footprint.

"We think it's an opportunity to bring more to our listeners," McDaniel said, "and to people who maybe aren't already listeners."

Launched in 2004, DCist earned a reputation as a reliable and lively source of news about local politics, events, culture and entertainment. Its original reporting made waves, sometimes besting outlets with considerably more resources. Known as an incubator of local reporting talent, DCist was described by local site Greater Greater Washington as "millennials' local paper of record."

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Neighbors Invited to "Design Your Life for Success" with Chris Palmer

Chris Palmer with audience members

Neighbors now have the opportunity to enroll in Director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking Chris Palmer's popular course, Design Your Life For Success.

Inspiration for the course came from student Reagan Kolakowski at the School of Communication (SOC) who asked Palmer, "When are you going to give a class on the topic of how to find success and fulfillment in life, because I think it would be really helpful?"

Palmer took the idea to SOC Associate Dean Laura Bondurant and Associate Dean Bobbe Baggio at the School of Professional & Extended Studies, and together, they developed and launched the course. When it was first offered in fall 2016, Palmer expected 10 - 15 students, but the class swelled to 60.

"There is a deep hunger out there among students, staff, and faculty to grapple with the question 'What does an honorable, rewarding, and high-achieving life look like, and what is the best way to achieve it?'" Palmer said.

Palmer said that what he enjoys most about the course is the diversity of the participants and being able to help them find a more satisfying, less stressful life. He is a strong advocate for people helping one another to become successful. "I've learned that despite outward appearances, there is an incredible amount of suffering and pain just under the surface. We need to help each other more and show more empathy," he said.

AU Professorial Lecturer Sorángel Rodríguez-Velázquez said the energy from the non-credit course helped her understand her plans better, and inspired her to identify goals to launch her dream project.

"I am developing a workshop to share my experiences about how education changed my life and hopefully inspire others to follow their dreams. I also started to write a book about my journey," said Rodríguez-Velázquez.

Palmer already has made a note of what he wants his course to accomplish this semester.

"To have all the participants make significant progress on working out how to make sense of their lives, how to find fulfillment and peace, and how to spend more time on things that matter deeply to them," he said.

AU alumna Molly Doyle said that the course would be beneficial for any soon-to-be graduate, recent graduate, or young professional, as it helps mold one's career path to become successful.

"I hope many will take advantage of the opportunity to cut through traditional concepts of success and achievement, and get a head start on discovering and working towards what is meaningful to them," she said.

The workshop is free and open to the public. It will begin on Thursday, March 29 at 7 p.m. in MGC 203 - 205 and will consist of three weekly 90-minute sessions. To register, go to the Eventbrite page.

For more information or if you have any questions, you may contact Chris Palmer at

Calendar and Events

Frank DiPerna Retrospective

Now - March 11, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

This retrospective is a comprehensive survey of the artist's photographic work over more than forty years. Comprising multiple bodies of work beginning in 1974 continuing through today, each project was accomplished by using the most advanced technology of the time - from black and white to color film to the classic Polaroid SX-70 to digital color photography. The flow of work over decades reveals a careful eye that recorded - and at times choreographed - a changing yet consistent world transcending both time and place.

Katerina Vincourova: Arteria

Now - March 11, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Katzen Museum Third Floor Exhibition

Czech artist Katerina Vincourová focuses on the fragile nuances of interpersonal relations and at the same time abstracts such notions into an examination of networks and shifts in time and space. The exhibition Arteria becomes a holistic system, a large-scale spatial drawing, rather than a collection of individual art works. Vincourová intersects her minimalistic compositions with textiles or household objects, and plays out the notions of specificity, privacy, and emotional charge of individual components on one side, and the ability to observe them from a distance on the other.

Thomas Downing and the Sublime Decorative

Now - March 11, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Katzen Museum Third Floor Exhibition

Downing's distinctive geometrically organized canvases, executed during the height of the "Washington Color School" in the late 1950s and 1960s, constitute a singular and important body of work in twentieth century art. With the perspective of hindsight, Downing's elegant "circle/dot" compositions are seen to rival those of his great teacher, Morris Louis, and his better-known peer, Kenneth Noland. This presentation offers an opportunity to rediscover and savor the gorgeous and challenging work of this artist whose reputation is undergoing a major revision.

Vital Signs

Now - March 11, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

Abel Tilahun, a multidisciplinary artist from Ethiopia, explores universal human experience through the manifold meanings we associate with the human body, its parts, its sustenance, and its loftiest ambitions. The exhibition reflects the artist's skill in sculptural installation, video art, painting, and drawing.


Now - March 11, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

Brian Dailey's multiscreen video installation is the artist's investigation into the relationship between language, culture, and national identity and the challenges we face in our efforts to communicate key concepts across linguistic boundaries and national borders in the age of globalization. WORDS is the artist's creative summation of his global experiences, compelling viewers to come to terms with the fluid relationship between language and concept, between interpretation and meaning.

Friday Gallery Tours

March 2, 9, 16, 23, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Katzen AU Museum

Free, docent-led tours of the Spring Exhibitions are held every Friday. Tours highlight themes of the current exhibitions and last 45 minutes to one hour. Tours meet at the museum front desk at 11:30 a.m. No RSVP required. For more information, visit .

AU Symphony Orchestra: In Nature's Realm

March 4, 3 - 4 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall

To celebrate spring, the AU Symphony Orchestra presents works inspired by nature. The program takes its title from Antonín Dvorák's symphonic poem, In Nature's Realm, which will be paired with Beethoven's quirky Symphony No. 6 (Pastorale), which was inspired by the composer's retreats to the countryside in search of solace. The program will be rounded out with the prelude to Saint-Saens' rarely performed oratorio, Le Déluge, a musical setting of the well-known biblical story of the flood. Tickets: $5-10.

Women's Lacrosse vs. Old Dominion University

March 6, 3 - 5 p.m.
Jacobs Field

Yoga in the Galleries

March 7, 14, 21, 28, 10 a.m.
American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center

Led by certified Kripalu Yoga teacher Eva Blutinger, this yoga class provides mental clarity and relaxation in the peaceful surroundings of our art galleries. Please bring a mat. Cost is $10 for non-members, $5 for museum members, and free for members at the Associates level and above.

AU Farmers' Market

March 7, 14, 21, 28, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Quad Space in front of Mary Graydon Center

Every Wednesday, the quad space around the Mary Graydon building buzzes with activity as students, faculty, staff, and neighbors browse goods ranginfrom farm-fresh vegetables to homemade breads and desserts at the AU Farmers' Market. The market is a coordinated effort between AU and Pennsylvania-based Agora Farms. Girardot's Crumbs Bakery also offers a variety of fresh breads as well as chocolate chip cookies, mini pies, and cobblers.

Women's Lacrosse vs. Gardner Webb

March 9, 1 - 3 p.m.
Jacobs Field

Artists Lecture with Chris Antemann

March 11, 2 - 3 p.m.
Katzen AU Museum

In conjunction with the James Renick Alliance's Distinguished Lecture series on local artists, Chris Antemann will discuss the contemporary commentary of his figurative pieces in the guise of 18th-century figures. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Women's Lacrosse vs. George Washington University

March 14, 3 - 5 p.m.
Jacobs Field

Women's Lacrosse vs. Bucknell University

March 18, 1 - 3 p.m.
Jacobs Field

The Best Environmental Feature Films from Hollywood

March 20, 7 - 9 p.m.
Doyle Forman Theater

Founder and Director at the Center for Environmental Filmmaking and film producer Chris Palmer will describe, with lots of clips, the best environmental feature films of all time from Hollywood, illustrating his remarks with compelling footage. He also will screen the winners of this year's Eco-Comedy Video Competition, co-sponsored by AU's Center for Environmental Filmmaking and The Nature Conservancy. A reception with light refreshments will be held at 6:30 p.m., and the event will begin at 7 p.m. Free and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Evolution of Organic

March 23, 7 - 9:15 p.m.
Doyle Forman Theater

From filmmaker Mark Kitchell (Berkeley in the Sixties, A Fierce Green Fire) comes a new film: Evolution of Organic. It's the story of organic agriculture, told by those who built the movement. A motley crew of back-to-the-landers, spiritual seekers and farmers' sons and daughters reject chemical farming and set out to explore organic alternatives. It's a heartfelt journey of change, from a small band of rebels to a cultural transformation in the way we grow and eat food. By now, organic has gone mainstream, split into an industry oriented towards bringing organic to all people and a movement that has realized a vision of sustainable agriculture. It's the most popular and successful outgrowth of the environmental impulse of the last fifty years. A discussion, moderated by Chris Palmer, founder and director at the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, with a panel of local organic farmers and organic food distributors will follow the screening. Free and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis.

The Gorenman Bach Project

March 24, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall

Internationally acclaimed pianist, and AU musician-in-residence, Yuliya Gorenman performs a monumental masterwork of the Western classical canon: Johann Sebastian Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I. Rarely performed in a single concert, this work has challenged and inspired artists and audiences for almost three centuries. This performance marks Ms. Gorenman's 20th year with American University, an impressive milestone in an ongoing musical journey. Tickets: $10-25. Website:

Healing Baltimore's Harbor: A Pipe Dream?

March 27, 7 - 9:15 p.m.
Doyle Forman Theater

This documentary - conceived, written, produced, shot, directed, and edited by students in Environmental & Wildlife Production class - will air during Maryland Public Television's Chesapeake Bay Week in April. The film examines Baltimore's aged and crumbling sewage and storm water infrastructure that continues to pollute the city's harbor. A panel discussion, hosted by Chris Palmer, founder and director at the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, will follow the screening. Panelists will include student filmmakers and Professor Mike English, who taught at the Center for Environmental Filmmaking.

Moving Statues: Towards an Eighteenth-Century Ontology of the Antique

March 28, 3 - 4 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall

While masterworks of ancient sculpture had long been the focus of admiration, the second half of the eighteenth century witnessed a sea change in how these objects were viewed and how they were mobilized for thinking through questions of aesthetics. Professor Sarah Betzer probes the key elements at the heart of antique sculpture's newly consolidated artistic and art philosophical centrality by way of interlocking circuits of objects and artists, viewers, and collectors, during the golden age of the Grand Tour. Free and open to the public.

Women's Lacrosse vs. Lafayette College

March 31, 1 - 3 p.m.
Jacobs Field