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NOVEMBER 12, 2020 - Chaired by Professor Katharine Coles of the English Department, this Town Hall addressed how the arts help us transform difficult or traumatic experiences by providing measured spaces in which we can encounter, cultivate, deepen, and create meaning.

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Resources By Panelist

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni is known as the "Queen of the Forest Canopy" and is a Biology Professor at the University of Utah. She explores life in the forest canopies of Costa Rica. She has published over 130 scientific articles and three scholarly books. Dr. Nadkarni is also a passionate communicator to people outside of academia. She brings science and conservation to faith-based groups, urban youth, artists, and incarcerated adults and youth. Dr. Nadkarni is a two-time TED speaker, a National Geographic Society Explorer, and has a “TreeTop Barbie” created by the Mattel Corporation in her image. Nadkarni has been featured in journals ranging from Science and the Journal of Ecology to Glamour and Playboy Magazine. Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Archie Carr Medal for Conservation, and the William Julius Wilson Award for Achievement in Social Justice.


Presentation Links:

Video West – Climbing a tree:
Video West – Fallen:
Canopy Confluences:

 V. Kim Martinez, MFA, Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Utah, since 2001. Her research interests include Painting and Drawing, Encaustic Painting, Community Murals, Foundry, Mosaics, and Video Animation. She received her terminal degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received the George L. & Ann Roman Siegel Foundation fellowship.

Professor Martinez is an enthusiastic educator and is committed to public engagement through the arts. In 2002, she envisioned a community mural course to provide students real-world experience to create, propose, and implement public art in the form of mural designs and site-specific painting throughout the Salt Lake City area. Martinez has received grants from The National Endowment for the Arts “Challenge America, Utah Transit Authority, City of South Salt Lake, Salt Lake County, University of Utah Residential Living Center, Primary Children’s Medical Center, the Utah Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Esperanza Elementary School,  Volunteers of America, Murray City, and Salt Lake County. Kim’s commitment to innovation and exploration of teaching methodologies is exemplified by an interdisciplinary undergraduate experience at the University of Utah’s Taft -Nicholson Center in Centennial Valley, Montana. The immersive residency incorporates intellectual growth, experimental painting techniques, and introduction to the ecology of landscapes to foster development of unexpected ways of ideating the rugged landscape of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to impact students’ conceptual, formal, and sustainability processes.

Martinez is the recipient of the College of Fine Arts Faculty Excellence Award, the University of Utah’s Tanner Humanities Center “Professors Off-Campus Project,” the “Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award,” Salt Lake City Mayors Visual Artist Award, recognizing her community involvement and contribution to the Utah Department of Corrections Women’s facility, Veterans Administration, First Step House, and Art Positive! In 2019, she was selected as one of the 15 most influential artists in Utah by 15 Bytes Magazine.

Tanesha Nicole is a Black queer non-binary activist and poet living in Minneapolis, MN by way of Salt Lake City, UT. In 2018 they graduated from Westminster College with a degree in Creative Writing. TaneshaNicole has been actively using poetry as a means of connecting with others and creating change since 2014. They have performed in venues all across the country, and in 2018 they placed 4th overall with their team at the National Poetry Slam Competition in Chicago. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Button Poetry, SLCC Bruin Voices Series, Write About Now, TEDx, Voicemail Poems, peculiar, Ink&Nebula, Prickly Pear Printing, and more. Currently, Tanesha serves as a Publishing Assistant for Button Poetry and in their spare time Tanesha can be found spending time with their partner, Anni, and pet cat, Mewspresso. 

Dominica Greene (she/her/hers) is a black woman making sense of the world through the participation, creation, and consumption of art... whatever art is. Greene holds a BFA in contemporary dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, 2016. She maintains close collaborative relationships with Helen Simoneau, Jasmine Hearn, Kayla Farrish, Burr Johnson, and Kate Wallich. She has toured domestically and internationally including festivals in Burkina Faso and China. She is a company member with the internationally renowned Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City. Greene proudly teaches Dance Church®, and has instructed classes in Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, and now manages the Salt Lake City team and all Dance Church® social media. Her research questions everything.

Phillip Bimstein uses the voices, natural sounds and culture of his adopted home in his compositions, and he practices politics with music in mind.“—NPR’s “All Things Considered”

Described by Outside Magazine as “America's only all-natural politician-composer,” Phillip Bimstein is an Emmy Award-winning composer (for Red Rock Rondo) and former two-term mayor of Springdale, Utah (where Parade Magazine dubbed him “The Man Who Brought Civility Back to Town”).

His music has been reviewed in Washington Post, Stereo Review, Billboard, Wired and The New York Times: "the irresistible charm of Mr. Bimstein’s music … (and) his uncanny knack for finding the music of everyday life." His compositions have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Abravanel Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Spoleto and Aspen Music Festivals, London's Royal Opera House, on NPR and (with his new wave band, Phil ‘n’ the Blanks) on MTV.

Bimstein’s frequently performed works include Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa, Cats in the Kitchen, Garland Hirschi’s Cows, Dark Winds Rising, The Bushy Wushy Rag, Lockdown!, Zion Canyon Song Cycle, and others.

Bimstein is an Assistant Professor in the University of Utah’s Honors College where he teaches “Radical Quiet,” “Kindness,” and “Composing a Community.” He is also a public speaker, including a recent TEDx Talk: “How to Practice Politics with Music in Mind.” He has served as board chair of Utah Humanities and vice-president of the American Music Center.

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Last Updated: 4/26/21