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About the Princeton Atelier

In 1994 Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate and the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, introduced into Princeton’s creative arts curriculum a new seminar program at the University. Of her own work with musicians and composers Professor Morrison has said, “There is a powerful impetus to stretch and freshen one’s work by collaborating with artists in genres other than one’s own.” This conviction, along with a strong commitment to nurturing the creative talents of professional artists and her students, led Professor Morrison to create the Princeton Atelier.

The Atelier program brings professional artists to campus for intensive collaborative work with students and faculty. Collaborating Atelier artists select a project they want to explore and experiment with in the company of students before developing it for the professional art world. Now offered under the auspices of the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Atelier attracts students studying engineering, molecular biology, politics and architecture as well as the humanities and performing arts. The Atelier provides students rare opportunities to work on creative projects alongside important emerging artists and acknowledged masters. “It is the work, its toughness, its pleasure, beauty, experimentation,” Professor Morrison explains, “that makes the Atelier an unusual academic model.”

Distinguished poet Paul Muldoon, the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 Professor and former chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts, joined Toni Morrison as co-director of the Atelier in 2004. With Professor Morrison's transfer to emerita status in 2006, Professor Muldoon became director and Professor Morrison maintains an active role as consultant.

In addition to Professors Morrison and Muldoon, Princeton faculty Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Jeffery, Steve Mackey and chair of the Lewis Center Michael Cadden have led Atelier courses with collaborating artists from outside the University. Over the past decade, guest artists have included choreographer Jacques d’Amboise, vocal group Anonymous 4, percussionist Evelyn Glennie, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, novelist Gabriel García Márquez, visual artist Irina Nakhova, the Pig Iron Theatre Company, Bernice Johnson Reagon of Sweet Honey in the Rock and theater director Peter Sellars. Each course culminates in the public presentation of new work, and both the seminars and these final presentations have become vibrant mainstays of the University’s creative and performing arts scene.

Courses are open to all students by application and are generally offered in both the fall and spring semesters. Students receive general academic credit for Atelier seminars and frequently credit toward their work in the programs in visual arts, creative writing, music and theater and dance. For more information about the program, please call 609.258.3697 or email

The Princeton Atelier was endowed in 2009 through the generosity of a donor who has chosen to remain anonymous. The Atelier is additionally supported through The Newhouse Foundation, The Erik C. Blachford '89 Fund, The Schare-Pfaffenroth Endowment Fund, The Jordan Roth '97 Performance Fund and The Peter T. Joseph Foundation.


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