Leading Women in the Arts

The Leading Women in the Arts series was launched at the Weissman Center for Leadership in collaboration with the InterArts Council in Spring 2006. This engaging program reflects the center's support of public presentations by scholars, artists, writers, and practitioners that engage the academic work of the college with the public sphere.

Invited guest artists are featured in public campus discussions about the interconnections between creative expression of all forms and cultural transformations.

Claudine Rankine’s “Citizen: An American Lyric” is the 2017 Common Read and will be discussed by Mount Holyoke’s class of 2021 as part of Orientation events.

2017–18: Claudia Rankine

Rankine is the author of the 2017 Common Read “Citizen: An American Lyric” and “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely”.

2016–17: Patrizia von Brandenstein

von Brandenstein worked as both a scenic artist and costume designer, with credits including “Between the Lines” and “Saturday Night Fever”.
Artist Carrie Mae Weems. Photo courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Fall 2014: Carrie May Weems

Weems has been developing a complex body of art that has employed photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation, and video over 25 years.

Spring 2014: Billie Tsien

Tsien, a New York City architect, lectured on “A Building is a Verb” and presented several recent projects including the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

Fall 2012: Francine Prose

Prose has published more than 20 books, including the novel Blue Angel (2000), a satire about sexual harassment on college campuses.

Spring 2011: Meredith Monk

Monk, a composer, singer, director and creator of new opera, is a pioneer in what is called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance”.