You are here: American University Community Relations Newsletter April 2018 Neighborhood Newsletter

AU in the Neighborhood

April 2018

Hall of Science Pre-Construction Meeting April 3

Architectural rendering of Hall of Science building

Following the D.C. Zoning Commission’s approval of AU’s new Hall of Science building, the university has scheduled the project’s community pre-construction meeting for Tuesday, April 3 at 7 p.m. in Room 2 of the Mary Graydon Center.

AU will be joined at the meeting by the project’s construction management team from Whiting-Turner. The meeting will include an overview of the project, construction schedule, and potential community impacts. All are welcome to attend.

AU’s Hall of Science will be a three-story, 95,000 Gross Floor Area (GFA), state-of-the-art facility that relocates the university's biology, environmental sciences, chemistry, and neuroscience departments to a modern, centralized location. By bringing together these programs, the project aims to foster collaboration across various disciplines through shared space and research laboratories. The building is on track to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, a benefit to the campus, neighborhood, and District of Columbia.

Campus Beautification Day April 17

Volunteers on campus during Campus Beautification Day

April is Earth Month at American University, and we invite our neighbors to join us for our annual Campus Beautification Day (CBD).

This year, AU will celebrate its 25th Campus Beautification Day on April 17 (rain date: April 18). You can register for CBD at the flagpole area opposite the Mary Graydon Center entrance on the AU Quad starting at 8 a.m. the day of the event. CBD is a university tradition that incorporates campus beautification and sustainability goals. The most important aspect of the day is building and strengthening the AU community by bringing together staff, faculty, students, and neighbors.

CBD features a sustainability theme and this year’s activities will highlight AU's commitment to greening the campus. Wear comfortable clothing, closed-toe shoes, and we will supply the rest (gloves, water, T-shirt, and team leaders to guide you in participating in the various activities). Beautification activities wrap up at 11:45 a.m. with a barbeque in the AU Amphitheater. Campus Beautifiers all will be qualified to be entered to win a raffle prize at the barbeque. Simply fill out a raffle ticket at the registration desk and be present to win at the giveaway during the barbeque.

During Campus Beautification Day, there also will be an opportunity to purge personal e-waste. AU will collect e-waste next to the registration desks at the quad to be recycled.

For more information, contact Andrew Huff, Director of Community Relations, at or (202) 885-2167.

AU and Special Olympics Collaborate to Advance Research on Disability

American University and Special Olympics sign a collaboration agreement

American University and Special Olympics International have announced a new collaboration that will include research and educational initiatives focused on persons with intellectual disabilities. The collaboration also will provide substantial outreach opportunities for students and faculty. For the first time in the history of Special Olympics, AU students who currently are enrolled in the online Master of Science in Analytics program will analyze Special Olympics’ dataset of health information for persons with intellectual disabilities and develop predictive analytical models to inform Special Olympics programs worldwide. This unique collaboration coincides with the 50th anniversary year of Special Olympics and the unveiling of AU’s new strategic initiative on global disability and development, led by its Institute on Disability and Public Policy.

“American University is a leader in research, teaching, and service for people with disabilities,” said AU President Sylvia Mathews Burwell. “We are proud of our history of inclusive learning, and we are excited to partner with Special Olympics to increase our knowledge of disability and development across the United States and around the world.”

“As the world’s recognized leader in providing sporting opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics has been changing lives and attitudes since 1968,” said Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver. “We are delighted to partner with American University to advance public policies, data analytics, and collaborative research that will positively impact our vast network of athletes and the global disability community.”

The World Health Organization and the World Bank estimate that there are more than one billion people worldwide living with some form of physical, developmental, or intellectual disability. According to Special Olympics, approximately 6.5 million people in the U.S. and as many as 200 million people worldwide have an intellectual disability. The AU-Special Olympics collaboration will focus on the intersection of disability, development, communication, information technology, entrepreneurship, and public policy. The collaboration also will offer AU students for-credit internship opportunities with Special Olympics’ work in creating more inclusive communities with a specific focus in urban settings.

“AU and Special Olympics has already performed meaningful work together, including collaborating on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) iOS mobile app, accessible robotics for inclusive global governance, and student internships focused on inclusive cities and communities” said Professor Derrick Cogburn, Executive Director of the AU Institute on Disability and Public Policy. “We are excited about this next stage in our collaboration and look forward to visits by Special Olympics athletes and leaders to our campus and to providing opportunities for our students to visit the Special Olympics headquarters. This collaboration has the potential to bring a real change to millions of people around the world.”

AU President Burwell, Special Olympics Chairman Shriver, and Special Olympics D.C. athlete Novie Craven commemorated the new agreement between the two institutions.

AU Brings Othello to Life for Wilson High School Students

AU theater students interact with the audience

Though Shakespeare finished writing Othello around 1603, the play still brings to life dramatic themes of striking relevance. Jealousy, racism, feelings of isolation – all topics that modern audiences will find relatable. However, would Othello interest a room full of high schoolers first thing in the morning? That was the question as the cast and crew of American University's sold-out production took to the Katzen Arts Center stage at 9:30 a.m. on March 1.

"This was probably our toughest audience," said director Caleen Sinnette Jennings, AU professor of theatre in the College of Arts and Sciences. "Children and high schoolers are basically like, 'If you don't grab my interest right away, I'll just tune out.'"

Whatever the challenges of holding the attention of the Wilson High School crowd, Jennings felt Othello would be valuable for them to see in person.

"The focus of this play is the black male. I know Wilson has a strong population of students of color, so I wanted the students to see the play in this context," Jennings said, referring to the production's mix of wardrobe and staging elements both modern and traditional.

"Many times, they're introduced to Shakespeare in the Elizabethan context," she said. "I'm trying to set it in a culture and in a semi-contemporary time to see what resonates."

"Semi-contemporary," meaning Shakespeare and the present world mixed together. Costumes featured both modern military garb and tights. Desdemona's old-fashioned wedding gown was accessorized with shoes a woman might wear today. The walls surrounding the stage were plastered with posters featuring black men who are prominent in society or important on a personal level to members of the cast and crew, an assignment they completed during the winter break.

"I tried to bridge the gap," Jennings said. "A little bit of Shakespeare's period, but the audience should feel these are people they know."

In addition to the costuming and staging, Jennings noted the subject matter of Othello might be especially meaningful to teenagers.

"This age group really understands inner turmoil – it's figuring out the relationship with their individual selves, and society, and family," she said. "We're still wrestling with those problems, and hopefully they don't feel so alone and so burdened with what's going on now."

Calendar and Events

AU Design Show

April 3 - 11, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Katzen Rotunda Gallery Exhibition

An exhibition of selected student design work from the next generation of leaders in graphic design. Free and open to the public.

Carol Brown Goldberg: Entanglement

April 3 - May 27, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Katzen Museum Third Floor Exhibition

Carol Brown Goldberg's exhibition offers vivid evidence of her artmaking as the convergence of intellect, emotion, and technique. Her paintings in the current exhibition - marked by images of dense, imagined foliage - are rooted in a unique interplay of tightly packed philosophical concepts and more ethereal poetic imaginings.

Francisco Toledo: Toledo Multiple

April 3 - May 27, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Katzen Museum Third Floor Exhibition

As Mexico's most prolific and influential graphic artist, Francisco Toledo has been exploring the fantastical and expanding the expressive range of his printmaking for more than 50 years. This exhibition encompasses a wide range of Toledo's work, revealing the progression and creative process evidenced in his printmaking. The exhibition also includes 21 works by both Mexican and foreign printmakers as part of Toledo's collection for the Instituto de Artes Graficas de Oaxaca (IAGO). These works have been influential in developing Toledo's creative vision and serve to contextualize the medium in a global art history.

Jiha Moon: Double Welcome, Most Everyone's Mad Here

April 3 - May 27, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

Jiha Moon's works address the intersection of imagery native to Korea, Japan, and China, and elements of the West to explore cross-cultural perceptions. Originally from Korea and presently based out of Atlanta, Moon's work addresses the nature of our current global identity as influenced by popular culture, technology, racial perceptions, and folklore. By melding the artistic traditions and iconic imagery of both East and West, Moon's work explores ideas of both the foreign and the familiar. This exhibition is presented as part of the Visiting Artist Program organized by AU Studio Art.

Kumo: Miya Ando

April 3 - May 27, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

Miya Ando's artwork ranges from monochrome to subtle color palates, offering a glimpse of the immense calming energy of the infinite. Ando creates an immersive work that engages the viewers, bringing nature to mind, reminding the viewers of their own connection to - and place within - nature and nature's cycles. Her works bring attention to the fragility, the deep power, and the uncompromising force of nature via experiential art installations that create environments of reflection and wonder. Distinctive in her highly adept presentation of subtle realities, Ando's work has given her an international reputation as one of the most innovative working artists.

Michael Clark: Washington Artist

April 3 - May 27, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

Michael Clark (a.k.a. Clark Fox) has been an influential figure in the Washington, DC art world for more than 50 years. Dividing his time equally between the capital and New York City, Clark was not only a fly on the wall of the art world as the last half-century played out - he was in the middle of the action, making innovative works that draw their inspiration from movements as diverse as Pop Art, Op Art, Conceptual Art, Minimalism, and the Washington Color School.

Filmmaking for Decision Makers: A case study of American Resilience Project's Tidewater, & The Burden

April 3, 7 - 9:15 p.m.
Doyle Forman Theater

Join award-winning Director and Founder of American Resilience Project, Roger Sorkin for an evening of film and discussion about the importance of crafting stories that speak clearly to citizens as well as decision-makers and politicians. Since 2015, American Resilience Project, an innovative hybrid between a nonprofit organization and film production company, has produced films that cut through the partisan divide and serve as vital tools for achieving consensus around environmental challenges that are issues of national security and economic opportunity. The Burden and Tidewater have been screened at NATO Headquarters, the White House, Capitol Hill, State Houses across the country, and at the NASDAQ Stock Exchange - in addition to the traditional film festival circuit and public broadcasting. Hear from the director of both films to learn about how and why his films are made to speak to those in power. Free and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Yoga in the Galleries

April 4, 11, 18, 25, 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

April 4, 11, 18, 25 10 a.m., 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 ranging from 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.

"Trust Me - I'm a Reporter": Restoring Trust in News

April 4, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Doyle Forman Theater

Featured guests include Jackie Kucinich, D.C. bureau chief for The Daily Beast and a CNN contributor; Indira Lakshmanan, Newmark Chair in Journalism Ethics, Poynter, and columnist for The Boston Globe; and SOC Alum Dana Mattioli, Wall Street Journal Mergers & Acquisitions reporter. The event will be moderated by AU Professor Jane Hall. It is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis. Light refreshments will be served in the theater lobby after the program.

Fair Use for Filmmakers

April 5, 7 - 8 p.m.
Doyle Forman Theater

When is it OK to use copyrighted material in your film without licensing it? Do you need a lawyer to make the call? What if you have to break encryption to get access to it? And what if the owner doesn't agree? Does fair use apply to fiction film as well as documentary? Copyright expert Patricia Aufderheide, University Professor in the School of Communication, has clear answers for complex questions. Bring yours to this session.

Blood Wedding (Bodas De Sangre)

April 5 - 6, 8 - 10 p.m.; April 7, 2 - 4 p.m., 8 - 10 p.m.
Greenberg Theatre

A wedding between members of two respected families. Repressed passion between the bride and her ex-fiancé, a "bad boy" who's now married to her cousin. A decision that could prove the difference between life and death. Federico García Lorca's lyrical, and at times surreal, drama will take audiences on a profound journey exploring ways that heredity and environment interact with social customs and self-perceptions to determine our fates. Tickets: $10-15.

District Day: AU Women’s Lacrosse vs. Boston U.

April 7, 1 p.m.
Jacobs Field

Join neighbors and campus community to cheer on the AU Eagles! Each AU sports team has their own District Day, and it’s now the women’s lacrosse team’s turn.
Facebook Event Link:

"In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea" Book Launch

April 10, 7 p.m.
Constitution Hall, American University's East Campus (3501 Nebraska Ave., NW)

AU Professor Michael Brenner will discuss his new book, In Search of Israel: The History of an Idea. American historian Walter Laqueur calls the book a "must-read for everyone who is interested in the subject" of Zionism in the twentieth century. Co-sponsored by AU Center for Israel Studies, Department of History and Jewish Studies Program. A book sale and signing reception will follow discussion. Free and open to the public. RSVP:

In The Executioner's Shadow: Film Clips and Discussion

April 11, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Doyle Forman Theater

Documentary film clips will be shown, followed by a discussion and audience Q&A with filmmakers, SOC Professors Maggie Stogner and Rick Stack. Panelists will include Vicki Schieber, mother of a murder victim; Diann Rust-Tierney, head of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty; Karen Brassard, Boston Marathon bombing survivor; and Jerry Givens, former chief executioner of Virginia. Light refreshments in theater lobby before program begins. Free and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis.


April 12, 7:30 - 9 p.m.
Katzen AU Museum

The musical collective INTERFERENCE will present contemporary and classical works that draw connections to the notion of process music, including minimalism, algorithmic music, and chance determination. Featuring a combination of acoustic and digital musical instruments, computer performers, and visual components, INTERFERENCE explores this terrain with a distinct inter-media focus. Free and open to the public.

Women's Soccer vs. UMBC (exhibition)

April 14, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Reeves Field

Gallery Talk with Michael Clark

April 14, 5 - 6 p.m.
Katzen AU Museum

Join us in the Alper Space for a conversation with Michael Clark, Jim Harithas, former director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in the 1960s and current director of the Station Museum of Art in Houston, and Paul Richard, art critic for The Washington Post from 1967-2009, to discuss Clark's paintings that embrace and evade categorization within the sphere of the contemporary. Free and open to all interested in Washington art. Space is limited. RSVP required:

Spring Opening Reception

April 14, 6 - 9 p.m.
Katzen AU Museum

Mix and mingle with fellow museum patrons and meet the artists and curators behind the six new Spring exhibitions at the Opening Reception. Free and open to the public.

Women's Lacrosse vs. United States Naval Academy

April 18, 4 - 6 p.m.
Jacobs Field

"The Post" Film Clips and Discussion

April 19, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Doyle Forman Theater

Light refreshments in theater lobby after program.

The program will include film clips and discussion of Katharine Graham and the Graham family's courage, the Pentagon Papers case, women in media, and the challenges faced by newspapers and investigative journalism today. Featured guests include Katharine Weymouth, former The Washington Post publisher and granddaughter of Katharine Graham; and Kimbriell Kelly, investigative reporter for The Washington Post. Discussion moderated by AU Professor Jane Hall. Free and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Dance Works: AU Dance Company in Concert

April 20 - 21, 8 - 9:30 p.m.
Greenberg Theatre

The AU Dance Company presents the annual Spring Dance Concert, featuring choreography by AU students, faculty, and guest artists. Also participate in a post-concert discussion with the choreographers. Tickets: $10-15.

AU Chorus and AUSO: Centenary Celebration

April 21, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.; April 22, 3 - 4 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall

AU Chorus and AU Symphony Orchestra commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein with his timeless masterpiece, Chichester Psalms. The program also includes works by Mahler and Elgar and concludes with Antonín Dvorák's Te Deum for chorus and orchestra. Tickets: $5-10


April 22, 1 - 3 p.m.
Katzen AU Museum

Join us for an age-appropriate tour and hands-on art-making workshop inspired by one of the current exhibitions. Recommended for ages 5-12. Cost is $10 per child. Registration and additional information:

Women's Lacrosse vs. Lafayette College

April 25, 1 - 3 p.m.
Jacobs Field

Gallery Talk: Carol Brown Goldberg

April 26, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Katzen AU Museum

Washington artist Carol Brown Goldberg will discuss the intersection of philosophy and poetry in her ethereal images of densely-packed foliage. Free and open to the public.

Theatre/Musical Theatre Capstone

April 26 - 27, 8 - 10 p.m.; April 28, 2 - 4 p.m., 8 - 10 p.m.
Katzen Studio Theatre

Graduating theatre and musical theatre students present an original work inspired by The Odyssey. (This production contains mature themes.) Tickets: $10-15

AU Jazz Orchestra: Spring Swing

April 27, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall

The AU Jazz Orchestra plays swingin' big band jazz. Tickets: $5-10

Women's Lacrosse vs. Lehigh University

April 28, 12 - 2 p.m.
Jacobs Field

AU Symphonic Band: Impact

April 29, 3 - 4 p.m.
Abramson Family Recital Hall

Join the AU Symphonic Band for an exciting program of new favorites, with an emphasis on percussion instruments, in what is sure to be a rousing show. Tickets: $5-10