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Reviving smart conversation

Monday, February 13, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:54 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, salons were places where people who appreciated humanities and fine arts could meet to talk in an intimate setting. It is that setting that MU’s Center for Arts and Humanities is trying to revive with its Winter 2006 Salon Series.

The series will focus only on the arts and humanities because so much of the attention on campus these days is on science, said Elaine Lawless, the center’s director.

“You don’t hear much about our music, art or theater faculty,” said Lawless.

The late-afternoon events are different than lectures because they are smaller and more intimate, Lawless said. Faculty members who are spotlighted are allowed to come in and not only show off what they have done but interact with the audience.

“The idea is to get people noticing what’s going on, get some light refreshments and get to know MU faculty,” Lawless said.

So far, the series has featured professor emerita Win Horner on memoir writing and a performance by music professor and saxophonist Leo Saguiguit along with the Missouri Quintet.

The next event, Thursday, will feature professor emerita Margaret Sayers Peden, who translates the works of author Isabel Allende, and doctoral theater student David Eshelman.

The Salon Series is expected to take place every semester, Lawless said. She and other staffers are writing a grant to bring faculty from other campuses as featured guests.

The Salon Series, which meets in the 137-year-old Conley House, is a place for the campus and community to meet on an equal basis, Lawless said.

“It’s really nice,” she said. “The faculty love being noticed.”


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