A professor in New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Anna Deavere Smith also teaches courses on the art of listening at the NYU School of Law. She was previously Artist-in-Residence at MTV Networks and Ann O'Day Maples Professor of the Arts at Stanford University.
Following receipt of a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Fellowship in 1996, she became the Ford Foundation's first Artist-in-Residence. During that time, she founded and directed the Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue at Harvard University, a three-year experiment dedicated to supporting the development of art that deals with social issues in a cross-disciplinary atmosphere that includes artists, scholars, and audiences. The Institute, now sited at NYU, is in its second phase, disseminating materials about its findings.
Smith's work as playwright and actor has won her great respect. Her play Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities was runner-up for the 1993 Pulitzer Prize and earned her a Drama Desk Award and an Obie Award Special Citation. Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 received two Tony nominations, an Obie, a Drama Desk Award, and a Special Citation from the New York Drama Critics. She has appeared on film in Ivan Reitman's Dave, Jonathan Demme's Philadelphia, Robert Benton's The Human Stain, Christopher Columbus' Rent, and Rob Reiner's The American President. On television, she appeared in recurring roles on The West Wing and The Practice, and co-starred in Presidio Med.
In addition to her plays, she is the author of Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines and Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts – For Actors, Performers, Writers and Artists of Every Kind. She is currently developing a play about the resilience and vulnerability of the human body, inspired by her experience as Daniel James Visiting Professor at the Yale School of Medicine.
Developed by the Smith faculty team for her campus visit
it ethical to educate students within the isolated sanctuary of a
campus, or should interaction with the larger community (local,
national global) be a required component of a liberal arts education?
What are the most important skills needed if the global community is to be in a better place at the end of the 21st century than at the beginning?
Smith FACULTY TEAM LEADERS
Dr. Jennifer Cavenaugh, Warden Associate Professor of Theatre Arts & Dance
Dr. David Charles, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts & Dance