The Department of Visual Arts’ Fall 2023 Speaker Series

Last semester, the VPA hosted another successful rendition of their Speaker Series, featuring Eamon White, Charles Inouye, Mark Miller, and Emma Duffy-Comparone & Brittnie Aiello
Merrimack News

This past semester, the VPA hosted four Speaker Series events, discussing topics and subjects, which touched upon the various academic disciplines throughout the department. Information about each visitor and what their visit entailed is listed below.

VPA Speaker Series Posters for Mark Miller and Eamon White
VPA Speaker Series Posters for Mark Miller and Eamon White

Mark A. Miller

Miller is a Lecturer in Sacred Music at Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music and Divinity School, as well as Professor of Church Music, Director of Chapel, and Composer In-Residence at Drew University in Madison NJ. He is also Minister of Music of Christ Church (UCC & Am Baptist) in Summit, New Jersey.  

When visiting the College, Miller worked closely with Hugh Hinton, Merrimack’s Director of Campus Music Activities, and others within Campus Ministry, in coordinating a visit to Professor Laura Pruett’s music history class. Discussing his own musical and personal journey and finding his ‘authentic voice’ to the students, Miller also spent time with the Concert Choir who prepared and performed Miller’s anthem Draw the Circle Wide. His visit ended with a concert of his music for the Austin Scholars and others within the College’s community.

Eamon White

White is a past graduate of Merrimack College in Digital Design. Based out of Portland, Maine, his art is aimed at raising awareness for social justice issues with the goal of inspiring unity and togetherness.

White spent his time visiting Professor Nancy Wynn’s Visual Storytelling class, sharing his experience within the graphic design world. He discussed with students how he began in the field, the projects he now works on, and how students can get their own start in graphic design. One project he elaborated on was his work for the Black Lives Matter movement, and how the popularity of his memorial of George Floyd led him to create more designs of remembrance for Breonna Taylor, Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr., and Kobe Bryant. 

Lastly, he spoke about his athletic shoe design company, which looks to creatively represent various NFL players who then wear the artfully surface-designed shoes for charity events or games. These shoes have gotten so successful that, recently, he was asked to complete a large design set for the New England Patriots. More detail can be found on Eamon White’s Alumni page.

VPA Fall Speaker Series Posters for Charles Inouye and Emma Duffy-Comparone plus Brittnie Aiello
VPA Fall Speaker Series Posters for Charles Inouye and Emma Duffy-Comparone plus Brittnie Aiello

Charles Inouye

Inouye is the current Chair and Professor of International Literacy & Cultural Studies at Tufts University. Receiving his MA at Kobe University in Kobe, Japan, and later his PhD from Harvard, he holds a strong background in Japanese Culture and Literature.

During the course, Art History and Culture I, Inouye spoke about premodern and modern Japan and the ways ideology impacts visual culture. He compared how early on a belief in “animism” (which is the belief that all things have a living soul, moving beyond the material world into the supernatural world) led to high figurality and lyricism. Later with the development of modern consciousness and the influence of western realism, this belief moved to low figurality. After the devastation of World War II, Japan turned away from western visualization and moved into “neo-animism,” which created manga, Hello Kitty, and some of our most beloved animated films such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and more. 

Emma Duffy-Comparone & Brittnie Aiello

Duffy-Comparone and Aiello are faculty at Merrimack College. Duffy-Comparone is the Director of the Writers House and Associate Professor of English. Aiello is a Professor of Criminology, teaching for the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Their presentation intersected the course “Music and Politics,” where both women outlined how The Jail Education Project got started at the College, why it is valuable, how students can get involved themselves, and some future news about the program; i.e. the development of an Associate’s Degree. View more stories, or listen to “Podcast with the President” about The Jail Education Project on this News and Events page.

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