Thursday, April 7, 2022 at 4 p.m.
In-person at the Blacksburg Public Library or via Zoom

The School of Performing Arts at Virginia Tech presents “Art, Community, and Social Health,” a series of talks by nationally recognized artists and thought leaders on the power and practice of art and culture as essential elements of healthy communities.

These public presentations are meant to lead to open dialogue on the practical values of art as a core element for building strong communities.  These will be hybrid events. Guest speakers will be on Zoom. Audiences can gather either on Zoom or in person at the Blacksburg Public Library.

Molly Smith has been a leader in a new play development for over 30 years. She has been Artistic Director of Arena Stage since 1998. Her more than 30 directing credits at Arena Stage include large-scale musicals, new plays, and classics; most recently "Celia and Fidel" and "Newsies."

Her directorial work has also been seen around the country and Canada, including on Broadway (2014, "The Velocity of Autumn") and off-Broadway (2018, "The Originalist"), and at Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska, which she founded and ran from 1979-1998.

She is a great champion of new work. She led the re-invention of Arena Stage through the creation of the Mead Center for American Theater and positioning Arena Stage as a national center for American artists. Arena’s Power Plays Cycle will commission 25 writers over 10 years on stories of American politics and power from 1776 to the present decade.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, she developed the concept for two online films, "May 22, 2020," and "The 51st State," overseeing the production direction as well as directing pieces within the films. She also spearheaded a variety of other new online content, including a weekly talk show "Molly’ Salon," during the live performance hiatus.