A Letter from the Executive Director

2015–16 marks the tenth season of Visions and Voices! Announced by President C. L. Max Nikias in 2005 upon his installation as provost and launched in 2006, Visions and Voices was created to enrich the academic experience of USC students through a deep engagement in the arts and humanities. President Nikias has said that “the arts and humanities are our teachers . . . they illumine our way.” The Visions and Voices initiative encourages USC students to expand their horizons and discover the transformative power of the arts and humanities in our lives.

In its first nine years, Visions and Voices has presented over 1,000 events attended by more than 240,000 people. The events have featured hundreds of extraordinary artists, including Quincy Jones, Spike Lee, Anna Deavere Smith, Ira Glass, Isabel Allende, Lily Tomlin, John Williams, Ai Weiwei, Robert Wilson, Frank Gehry, Twyla Tharp, the Tokyo String Quartet, Ice Cube, Shepard Fairey, Patti Smith, Pedro Almodóvar, David Sedaris, Guillermo Gomez-Peña, Wendy Whelan, John Waters, Zaha Hadid, Rita Moreno, and Elton John. We offer every Visions and Voices event free to USC students, and most are free to the general public as well. USC students have embraced Visions and Voices, noting that “Visions and Voices events are some of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had as an undergraduate,” and that the initiative has “changed the way I view the world around me.” Visions and Voices has quickly become a vital and vibrant part of the Trojan experience and campus life.

The initiative is unique not only because of its focus on students, but also because of its unparalleled commitment to campuswide participation, interdisciplinarity, and reflection. The majority of events presented by Visions and Voices are conceived and organized by faculty and deans from throughout the university, offering an incredible array of perspectives and ideas. Every Visions and Voices event includes an interactive component, providing opportunities for students and the community to engage with artists, reflect on their experiences at the events, and share their own voices.

I am proud to say that I have been the director of Visions and Voices since its inaugural season. I have had the great honor of working with numerous individuals who have been integral to the initiative’s success, including the Visions and Voices leadership, past and present: President C. L. Max Nikias, Dennis Cornell, Barry Glassner, Elizabeth Garrett, Michael Quick, Robin Romans, Tara McPherson, Madeline Puzo, and Adam Rosen; the Visions and Voices staff, including Eve NaRanong, Mary Megowan, Hector Catalan, Marie-Reine Velez, Steve Lin, and Karina Kletscher; numerous deans, faculty, and staff who have helped to conceive, select, and organize the Visions and Voices events; and thousands of students who have volunteered for the initiative and participated in the program.

Our tenth season of events features an exciting array of artists, including the remarkable author Junot Díaz, the stunning Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Serial host and creator Sarah Koenig, Tony Award–winning playwright Robert Schenkkan, legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones, the timeless Martha Graham Dance Company, acclaimed screenwriter Robert Towne, Irish supergroup The Gloaming, and many others. Thank you so much for your support of Visions and Voices. We look forward to celebrating our tenth season together. See you at the events!

Sincerely,

Daria Yudacufski
Executive Director
USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative