Alumni in the arts share career journeys

Nov. 21, 2016 noon

Princeton University alumni working in the arts are sharing their career journeys and personal stories in the Lewis Center for the Arts' new profile series, Alumni POV. The series celebrates the accomplishments of arts alumni working in a broad range of disciplines, providing an intimate perspective on their daily lives and careers, in their own words.

The ongoing series is produced, filmed and edited by the Lewis Center's Angel Gardner and Zohar Lavi-Hasson, with original music composed by Andrea Grody of the Class of 2011. 

Design: Andy Chen and Waqas Jawaid

Andy Chen, of the Class of 2009, and Waqas Jawaid, of the Class of 2010, have been creative and professional partners since meeting at Princeton nine years ago. Although Chen majored in sociology and Jawaid concentrated in architecture, their similar artistic interests united through Princeton's Student Design Agency. In this Alumni POV, Chen and Jawaid discuss how their design philosophy has evolved at Isometric Studio, a visual identity and graphic design consultancy they founded in 2013 with a core mission to promote inclusion, equality and progress. The story of their working relationship is shown through the realization of one of their recent projects, an exhibition on Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh that ran through October 2016 at Morven Museum & Garden in Princeton.

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Andy Chen, of the Class of 2009, and Waqas Jawaid, of the Class of 2010, have formed Isometric Studio, which creates design that promotes inclusion, equality and progress. (Videos by Angel Gardner and Zohar Lavi-Hasson, Lewis Center for the Arts)

Poetry: Jane Hirshfield

Poet Jane Hirshfield, of the Class of 1973 — Princeton's first graduating class of women — studied with writers Anthony Burgess, Theodore Weiss, Gary Snyder and faculty in the Program in East Asian Studies as she crafted her own major in creative writing and literary translation. In this Alumni POV, Hirshfield shares how from an early age, poems were her vessel through which she understood herself and the world. Now as an acclaimed author of eight collections of poetry, she can see how her education at Princeton and her time at a Zen monastery invited her to pay attention to her surroundings and ultimately to live her life as a poet — a "person of words." 

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Poet Jane Hirshfield, of the Class of 1973, discusses a series of encounters at Princeton that encouraged her writing and her interest in Zen.

Visual art: Mary Weatherford

Visual artist Mary Weatherford, of the Class of 1984, initially came to Princeton on a theater scholarship. After joining Theatre Intime and studying dance and architecture, she immersed herself in visual arts courses where she learned about art history, color theory, painting and "careful looking." Five years after graduation, she had her first exhibition at PS1 in New York City. In this Alumni POV, Weatherford recounts how her work has evolved to the present day, and how she is now combining neon light and paint on the canvas to represent "the complex symphony of human experience." 

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Mary Weatherford, of the Class of 1984, studied theater, dance, architecture and painting at Princeton, and said, "When I left Princeton, I knew I wanted to be an artist."

Theater: Rob Melrose and Paige Rogers

Theater artists Rob Melrose, of the Class of 1992, and Paige Rogers, of the Class of 1989, met at Princeton and have been together — personally and professionally — ever since. Their shared experiences at the University included producing shows with Theatre Intime and running the Princeton Summer Theater. In 1999, they founded their own experimental theater company, The Cutting Ball Theater, in San Francisco. 

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Rob Melrose, of the Class of 1992, and Paige Rogers, of the Class of 1989, share their passion for supporting experimental work and re-imagining classics through their theater company.

Conservation: Abbie Vandivere

Abbie Vandivere, of the Class of 2001, came to Princeton to be a dentist, but a class visit to the Princeton University Art Museum's conservation lab inspired her to change her professional trajectory. She pursued a career as a paintings conservator and now works for the Mauritshuis museum in the Netherlands. In this Alumni POV, Vandivere provides us a glimpse into the technical process of restoring a painting and shares the thrill of discovery that comes from researching, treating and restoring Old Masters.

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Abbie Vandivere, of the Class of 2001, combined science and art in her academic pursuits at Princeton and continues to do so in her career in art conservation.