Inside the Creative Brain at Colorado College’s 2018 Cornerstone Arts Week

    Plan to be entertained and intellectually stimulated as the annual Cornerstone Arts Week features a noteworthy lineup built around creativity and neuroscience. Plus, here’s a complete schedule.

    Tanya Tagaq. Photo by Shelagh Howard.

    The first thing you should know about the packed lineup of speakers and performers for this year’s Cornerstone Arts Week at Colorado College, Jan. 29 through Feb. 3, is that all of it falls within the theme, “What is the creative brain?” Each year organizers like to review what classes are taking place at the time of the event, and this year they found that many were being offered in creativity and neuroscience, says Tom Lindblade, Colorado College professor of theatre and organizer of this 17th year of programming.

    “We have a really good neuroscience program,” Lindblade says. “So I approached them and asked if we could do something that’s interdisciplinary with neuroscience and psychology and the arts. Bob Jacobs and Laurie Driscoll, who are the two neuroscience professors, were really up for it.”

    It makes sense then that one of the keynote speakers during the week is neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky. The professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University is a MacArthur “Genius” fellow, as well as a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the national Museum of Kenya. Sapolsky is also the author of several works of nonfiction, including Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping and 2017’s Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. For Cornerstone Arts Week, Sapolsky will present “The Biology of Human Creativity: Are Our Tools That Much Better Than Chimps?”

    Robert Sapolsky. Photo by Thompson McClellan Photography

    In addition to Sapolsky, there will be two other keynotes: a talk by Lynda Barry and an artistic presentation by Tanya Tagaq.

    Barry is well-known in the world of comics thanks to a 30-year run of her comic strip “Ernie Pook’s Comeek” in alternative newsweeklies across the country. The New York Times has described her as “among this country’s greatest conjoiners of words and images, known for plumbing all kinds of touchy subjects in cartoons, comic strips and novels, both graphic and illustrated.” Her “Writing the Unthinkable” workshop, designed especially for nonwriters, was the subject of a New York Times Magazine article and is the basis for her award-winning book, What It Is, which is also the title of her presentation at CC.

    lynda barry will appear at colorado college cornerstone arts week
    Lynda Barry. Photo Courtesy of Lynda Barry

    Tagaq, whom Lindblade describes an “an amazing Inuit musician, improviser and performer,” will perform a live accompaniment to the film Nanook of the North with a small ensemble. Considered the world’s first major work of nonfiction filmmaking, Nanook presents silent images of life in an early 20th-century Inuit community in Northern Quebec. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) commissioned Tagaq in concert with Nanook of the North, and the performance premiered in 2012 at TIFF to critical acclaim.

    The next thing you should know about Cornerstone Arts Week is that it’s not over until it’s over. Other events include a Music at Midday performance; “The Creative Brain,” a student-designed and curated installation; and a film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a romantic science fiction comedy-drama by Charlie Kaufman.

    The final two nights of the week feature performances of The Man Who…, a play inspired by the 1985 book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by neurologist Oliver Sacks.

    “It’s basically a meditation on how remarkable the human brain is from an artistic standpoint,” Lindblade says.

    And the final thing you should know about Cornerstone Arts Week? All events are free and open to the public. “You just show up,” says Lindblade.


    Complete Schedule: 2018 Cornerstone Arts Week at Colorado College

    Find more details at coloradocollege.edu.

    Monday, Jan. 29
    Performance: Tanya Tagaq, “In Concert with Nanook of the North,” 7 p.m., Celeste Theatre, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

    Tuesday, Jan. 30
    Keynote Lecture #1: Robert Sapolsky, “The Biology of Human Creativity: Are Our Tools That Much Better Than Chimps?,” 7 p.m., Celeste Theatre, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

    cartoon by Lynda Barry, appearing at CC Cornerstone Arts Week
    Near Sighted Monkey by Lynda Barry.

    Wednesday, Jan. 31
    Music-at-Midday: Music by CC creators, 12:15 p.m., Packard Hall, 5 W. Cache La Poudre St.

    Student Installations: “The Creative Brain,” curated by CC students, 5-7 p.m., Main Space, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

    Film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, written by Charlie Kaufman, introduced by CC students, 7 p.m., Screening Room, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

    Thursday, Feb. 1
    Keynote Lecture #2: Lynda Barry, “What It Is,” 7 p.m., Celeste Theatre, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

    Friday, Feb. 2
    Theatre: “The Man Who…,” 7 p.m., Studio C, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

    Saturday, Feb. 3
    Theatre: “The Man Who…,” 7 p.m., Studio C, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

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