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Arts, Theater & Film

Art and Activism


Wednesday, the legendary choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones is among our guests. We recorded a conversation last night at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City. We were also joined by playwright Taylor Mac and director Niegel Smith. It was a conversation about getting an audience to be part of the process. We also talked about the ways artists are often activists, and what it will mean to make art at this transitional moment in American culture.

This event was the Tanner Humanities Center's 2017 David P. Gardner Lecture in the Humanities & Fine Arts.


  • Bill T. Jones is a choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer. Among his many honors he received the National Medal of Arts in 2013 and was named a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow in 1994. Last year, he won the Human Right’s Campaign Visibility Award. He’s artistic director and co-founder of Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Company and artistic director of New York Live Arts.

  • Taylor Mac is a playwright, actor, performance artist, director and producer. Mac’s preferred prounoun is “judy,” and judy is the author of seventeen full-length plays and performance pieces. This past Saturday, Mac performed a section of judy’s concert A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. Judy is also a current Guggenheim fellow.

  • Niegel Smith is a theater director and performance artist. He’s artistic director of The Flea, a theater group based in New York City. He’s also associate artistic director of the group Elastic City and “ringleader” of the activist group Willing Participant. Smith has directed Taylor Mac’s play Hir and judy’s 24-Decade History Of Popular Music, and was associate director of Bill T. Jones’ musical Fela!