The DMA Arts & Letters Live series is thrilled to celebrate its 25th season—our silver anniversary—in 2016! As the DMA’s literary and performing arts series, we are known for presenting literary icons, and this year is no different, with authors from Hanya Yanagihara (author of one of the most talked about books of 2015), Erik Larson, Dave Isay, Daniel James Brown, Rainn Wilson, Elizabeth Gilbert, Padma Lakshmi, and Kate Tempest, just to name a few. We’re kicking off the season with an award-winning duo of “Memoiristas” on January 11: Mary Karr, who will discuss her new book The Art of Memoir, and Tony and Emmy Award–winning actor Mary-Louise Parker, who will play Mary Karr in Showtime’s forthcoming series Lit.
This year you may notice a new look on the cover of our season brochure, which you can view online or pick up in person the next time you visit the Museum. The DMA hosts a staff art show every two years, and I’ve always admired Cathy Davis-Famous’s (you’ve probably all met Cathy on a visit to the DMA; she is always ready with a smile and warm hello at our Visitor Services Desk) whimsical paper dolls made out of discarded exhibition rack cards and notecards. So, I invited her to create a special cover for our 25th season brochure. Here’s what she has to say about designing it:
“When I was asked if I would be interested in creating a design feature for the cover of the DMA Arts & Letters Live brochure celebrating its 25th anniversary, I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe it–what an honor to be considered for this milestone event. During the fifteen years that I’ve been a part of the DMA, there has always been an impressive lineup of authors and great books. One of my favorite moments is meeting Nanny McPhee’s Emma Thompson at the booksigning table, where I made her burst into a roaring laugh when I told her that I still cry with her at the end of Sense and Sensibility when she finds out Edward Ferris isn’t married. I’ll never forget that!
“I was supplied with an large stack of images of many book covers of great authors, titles, illustrators, and photography, so much to choose from. Then the excitement gave way to stress and the pressure of coming up with a design worthy of this 25th year recognition.
“I had two or three ideas in mind, so I looked through past projects for inspiration but kept going back to what I enjoy creating the most, “Paperdolls.” I needed an image that could display a variety of covers. With the space that I had to work within, the best design would be the likeness of a Marie Antoinette–style, 17th-century fashion big skirt.
“I proceeded to clip out images of book covers and arranged them and rearranged them until the pattern was suitable. Then I began to piece the paper images onto the template of the doll parts using paper glue, tweezers, and a toothpick. Time intensive but gratifying, she is outfitted with some of Arts & Letters Live’s best! Thanks for letting me be a part of the celebration.”
The 25th season promises to deliver several exciting one-of-a-kind experiences. We hope you enjoy this star-studded special anniversary season as much as we enjoyed bringing together these award-winning authors, actors, and performers. Visit DMA.org now to see our entire season and purchase your tickets.
Carolyn Bess is the Director of Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA; Cathy Davis-Famous is a Visitor Services Representative at the Museum.