Acuff Chair of Excellence
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The Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence

The 2017-18 Acuff Chair of Excellence is Sonya Clark, internationally renowned textile artist

One-day student exhibit and public reception
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Exhibit open 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Exhibit open and public reception 7:00-9:00 pm

The APSU Department of Art + Design and Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts celebrate this year’s Acuff Chair of Excellence, Sonya Clark, with an exhibition of work created by students in the course, Measuring Histories. The exhibition will be in The New Gallery for a one-day only event, opening on May 2 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The exhibit will reopen with a free public reception from 7 - 9 p.m, where Sonya Clark and student artists will be present. Click here for complete details.

In 1985, country music legend Roy Acuff generously established an endowment to enrich the arts community at APSU and in Clarksville Montgomery County. The result was the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence, which brings regionally and nationally acclaimed artists to APSU to share their expertise with students and the community in a dynamic atmosphere of unrestricted experimentation. 

About Sonya Clark, artist

Sonya ClarkAward-winning textile artist, Sonya Clark, will return to the campus of Austin Peay State University (APSU) as the 2017-2018 Acuff Chair of Excellence. Clark was selected as the 2017-2018 Acuff Chair of Excellence by the faculty of the Department of Art and Design at APSU after an overwhelmingly positive response to her first APSU visit in March of 2017 as part of the CECA Visiting Artist Lecture series.  

This Spring, Clark will be facilitating a course for APSU art students entitled Measuring Histories, which will be an in-depth extension of her featured PBS Art Assignment episode of the same name. The course will be co-taught by Clark, APSU professor Billy Renkl, and APSU Director of Galleries, Michael Dickens. A culminating exhibition of the work created during the course will take place at the end of the Spring semester. The exhibit will be open to the public; more details will announced as they become available. 

Clark is known for using a variety of materials, including human hair, flags, currency, and combs, to address race, culture, class, and history in her work. She is a Distinguished Research Fellow in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. From 2006 – 2017 she served as chair for the Craft/Material Studies Department. In 2016, Clark was awarded a university-wide Distinguished Scholars Award.  She was previously the Baldwin-Bascom Professor of Creative Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Clark holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, and in 2011 she was awarded their first mid-career Distinguished Alumni Award. She also holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA from Amherst College. In 2015, she was awarded an honorary doctorate.

Sonya Clark Aqua AllureClark is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and has exhibited her work in more than 300 museums and galleries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas. Her work has been favorably reviewed in several publications, including the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Italian Vogue, Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, and Huffington Post. For more information on Sonya Clark, visit

 Aqua Allure by Sonya Clark

Former recipients of the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence include:

Dorothy Allison (2016-2017) - Creative Writing

Second City Fully Loaded (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Cheryl Sanders Cirq du Soliel (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Axis Dance Company (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Rick Berger (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Jeanette Lovetri, Somatic Voice Specialist (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Lishi Lou and Lucky, Too (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

David Weinstein (2015-2016) - Theatre & Dance

Charles Niedich (2014-15) - Music

Willie Anthony Waters (2014-15) - Music

Anna Celenza (2014-15) - Music

Orchid Ensemble  (2014-15) - Music

Jo-Michael Scheibe (2014-15) - Music

Rhonda Larson (2014-15) - Music

Scott McCloud (2013-14)  - American cartoonist and comics theorist, author of the classic study, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art .

David Huddle (2012-13) - Esteemed poet, fiction writer, and essayist.

Rachel Keebler (2011-12) - Theatre Design

Sarah Haas (2011-12) - Dance

Second City (2011-12) - Theatre Performance

Peiling Kao (2011-12) - Dance

Tim Miller (2011-12) - Theatre Performance

Keith Fitzpatrick (2011-12) - Dance

Anne Marie Duggan (2011-12) - Lighting Design

Anthony Zerbe (2011-12) - Theatre Performance

The Ying Quartet (2010–11) - String Quartet

Sydney Guillaume (2010–11) - Composer and vocalist

William Bennett (2010–11) - World-renowned flutist

Paul Schoenfield (2010–11) - Composer and pianist

Clifton Ware (2010–11) - Internationally known vocal pedagogue, master teacher, tenor soloist and author.

Ian Berry (2009-10) - Contemporary art specialist, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs and Curator at The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.

Louise Erdrich (2008-09) - Renowned author of twelve novels as well as volumes of poetry, children's books, and a memoir of early motherhood. 

Lawrence Goldhuber (2007-08) - Choreographer, dancer, actor, and performance artist who has worked in New York for more than 20 years.

The Second City Touring Company (2007-08) - Premiere comedy club, theatre, and school for improvisation.

Mark Block (2007-08) - The Southeast's premiere and most selective modeling and talent agency.

Annmarie Duggan (2007-08) - Nationally recognized Lighting Designer

Karen E. Maguire (2007-08) - Highly accomplished actress, writer, teacher, director, and producer.

7 Stages Inc./Bernard Koltes (2007-08) - A non-profit theatre company that focuses on social, political, and spiritual values of contemporary culture.

Cantus (2006-07) - An artist led, professional a cappela vocal ensemble with eight male members. 

Bodo Igesz (2006-07) - Famed opera singer and stage director of the Metropolitan Opera. 

Tony Plog (2006-07) - Conductor and composer with commissioned works from ensembles around the globe. 

John L.Whitwell (2006-07) - Director of bands, Professor of Music and Chair of the Conducting Area at Michigan State University. 

Lee Hoiby (2006-07) - American classical pianist and composer, one of the most notable living composers of classical vocal music. 

Linda Norlen (2005-06) – Graphic designer and critic.

Michael Blumenthal (2004-05) – Internationally renowned poet and memoirist, author of Against Romance and All My Fathers and Mothers.

Louis Fantasia (2003-04) – Internationally prominent actor, director, producer, theatre critic and arts commentator.

Elizabeth Walton Vercoe (2002-03) – Prominent 20th century composer.

Carol Scott-Kassner (2002-03) – Nationally known author of music education literature.

George McCauley (2001-02) – acclaimed ceramicist.

David Bradley (2000-01) – African American scholar and novelist, author of The Chaneysville Incident.

Kelly Morgan (1999-00) – nationally prominent actor, director, producer, choreographer, teacher and administrator in stage, film and television.

Dalton Baldwin (1998-99) – internationally acclaimed pianist.

Matthew Harp Allen (1998-99) – ethnomusicologist.

Donna Loewy (1998-99) – vocal coach/accompanist.

David Holsinger (1998-99) – eminent band composer.

Frederic Goossen (1998-99) – nationally known composer/music theorist.

Cedric Dent (1998-99) – Grammy award-winning singer, pianist, arranger, conductor and producer.

Frances Whitehead (1997-98) – internationally acclaimed sculptor.

Carolyn Forche' (1996-97) – poet and global champion of the oppressed and downtrodden.

Elizabeth Van Dyke (1995-96) – multi-award winning actress and director.

Tim Gerber (1994-95) – music educator and co-author of the popular text, Music! Its Role and Importance in our Lives.

Jim Nutt (1993-94) – internationally distinguished painter.

John Haines (1992-93) – two-time Guggenheim Fellow, poet and essayist.

Howard Stein (1991-92) – internationally acclaimed thespian, playwright and author.

Ron Nelson (1990-91) – nationally known composer of choral, band and orchestral works.

Ted Orland (1988-89) – nationally recognized photographer/artist.

David Madden (1987-88) – Southern fiction writer, playwright, critic and author.

Arthur Kopit (1986-87) – internationally acclaimed American playwright.