Martha Ingram, VU Chancellor Zeppos Lead New Barnes & Noble Interview Series

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Is there a major figure on Nashville's arts scene you've ever wanted to hear from directly, up to and including the mayor himself? There's a good chance he or she is on the roster of "Stronger Arts/Stronger Cities," a new monthly interview series sponsored by Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt.

The forum is a one-hour talk in which civic arts leaders use their three favorite books to frame a discussion of the city's arts community, its overall importance, and their role within it. The talks will be recorded for broadcast at B&N by NECAT, the organization that oversees Nashville's public access, arts and education programming (i.e., Comcast Channels 9, 10 and 19).

Setting the caliber for the guests is the first presentation 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, which features Nashville Symphony CEO Alan Valentine. Coming talks will spotlight theater (Nashville Shakespeare Festival artistic director Denice Hicks, Feb. 13), film (Nashville Film Festival executive director Ted Crockett, March 20), and opera (Nashville Opera artistic director John Hoomes, July 17), with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam scheduled to close the series Nov. 20.

Of special note are a pair of powerful figures who rarely grant this kind of public interview: Vanderbilt Chancellor Nick Zeppos, on April 17, and billionaire philanthropist Martha Ingram, on May 15. It'll be especially interesting to find out if Ingram and Valentine publicly address their respective roles in one of the year's biggest arts stories, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra's precipitous financial woes last spring.

Full release below, along with the year's entire schedule.

Nashville Symphony CEO Alan Valentine kicks off a year-long series presented by Barnes & Noble Vanderbilt. Thursday, January 16 at 7 p.m., Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt welcomes Alan Valentine in for a very special lecture. Great company follows Alan's January appearance, with esteemed guests including Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, Philanthropist Martha Ingram, and even Nashville's own Mayor Karl Dean.

Stronger Arts/Stronger Cities will involve a one hour interview with leaders from Nashville's arts community as well as political leaders recorded for NECAT and takes place the third Thursday of each month during 2014. The interview will take place in front of a live audience inside Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt.

Each guest of honor will be asked about their role in the arts community, why they think art is so important to our city and how literary arts play a vital role in a person's life. The main topic will be centered around our guests 3 favorite books. The goal here is to excite the community about it's local arts scene and show them how important it is to our commerce and growth.

Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt offers free parking for all customers in the 2525 garage located directly behind the bookstore. For more information please contact John Lasiter, 615-414-4870.

January 16, 2014 at 7 pm — Alan Valentine, CEO Nashville Symphony
February 13, 2014 at 7 pm — Denice Hicks, Artistic Director Nashville Shakespeare Festival
March 20, 2014 at 7 pm — Ted Crockett, CEO Nashville Film Festival
April 17, 2014 at 7 pm — Chancellor Zeppos, Chancellor Vanderbilt University
May 15, 2014 at 7 pm — Martha Ingram, Nashville Philanthropist, Arts Advocate
June 19, 2014 at 7 pm — Kathleen O’Brien, CEO Tennessee Performing Arts Center
July 17, 2014 at 7 pm — John Hoomes, CEO Nashville Opera
August 21, 2014 at 7 pm — Paul Vasterling, CEO Nashville Ballet
September 18, 2014 at 7 pm — Karl Dean, Mayor of Nashville
October 16, 2014 at 7 pm — Tari Hughes, President Downtown Library
November 20, 2014 at 7 pm — Bill Haslam, Governor of Tennessee (penciled in schedule)

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