Join us for the release of Stephen Nachmanovitch’s book The Art of Is. A signing will follow. This event is free and open to the public.
From Martin Luther King’s improvised speech about his dream, to the story of a medieval Japanese woman who fends off an attacker with a paper sword, the theme that unites the stories in The Art of Is is doing what we can with what we have—whether we have a microphone and an enraptured audience, or a sword in our face and nothing but a blank sheet of paper in our hand. Improvising is not a special act of genius of which few are capable but is in fact the natural activity of all humans, whether we’re driving a car or holding a conversation. People who might claim they could never improvise negotiate these tasks with fluidity and ease every day.
The Art of Is connects the creative process with its social and moral dimensions—approaching improvising both as a personal practice and a framework of mind to improve creative engagement with the world. Art and the art-making process can influence our relationship with ourselves, with those around us, and by extension with society as a whole. The Art of Is shows us how improv thrives on our mistakes and how we integrate them into the flow of our lives.
Dr. Stephen Nachmanovitch is the author of The Art of Is and Free Play. He performs and teaches internationally as an improvisational violinist, lecturer, workshop leader, and multimedia artist. He holds degrees from Harvard and the University of California. His work spans many fields, exploring the spiritual and social underpinnings of art. He lives with his family in Charlottesville, Virginia. Find out more about his work at freeplay.com.