null null null

Join the Arts Council for a series of after-hours discussions on controversial and taboo topics within the arts. Red Light Nights will be presented by guest lecturers and panelists, and will be held at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri in Downtown Cape Girardeau on select Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.

For more information, please call the Arts Council at 573-334-9233 or send us an email.


Presenter: Jennifer Bengtson
"Material Expressions of Migration, Violence, Community-building, and Childhood in the Pre-Columbian Central Illinois River Valley
February 15, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Jennifer Bengston, assistant professor of Anthropology at Southeast Missouri State University, will discuss her research of the Morton Village and Norris Farms #36 archeological sites near Havana, Illinois. Drawing on analyses of ceramic styles, skeletal trauma, and children's burials, she suggests that Morton Village residents from different cultural backgrounds created and expressed novel community identities within the contested social landscape of the 14th century Central Illinois River Valley.

Presenter: Conley Clark

"Making Space for Myself" 
March 15, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Conley Clark is the gallery manager at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri and an alumnus of Southeast Missouri State University, graduating with a B.F.A. in sculpture. Utilizing an interdisciplinary, concept-oriented approach that combines sculpture, performance, photography and digital arts as a means to interweave both personal and political messages, his work is a response to the societal constructs of masculinity and femininity within the LGBT communities. Often employing his own body as the subject, in combination with found materials and objects, Conley attempts to expose the absurdity of binarism, and to investigate the ideas power, gender identity, and sexuality.

Presenter: Shane Mizicko
"Found Objects as Musical Instruments" 
April 19, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Shane Mizicko is the Director of Percussion at Southeast Missouri State University. This lecture-performance will explore the role and influence of found objects in modern classical music. Found objects can be described as any commonplace item found in society... coffee cans, glass bottles, pieces of steel pipe, scraps of lumber, automobile brake drums, etc.

Presenter: Zack Tucker
"Digital Materiality and Empathetic Response" 
May 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Zack Tucker is a graduate student at the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign. According to Zack, today, it is easy to form connections with others through a complex web of systems and networks. Users send and receive signals from others with the goal of forming or maintaining some sort of emotional bond. While these signals may seem natural, they are often representative of a persona rather than the person themselves. Everyone has a relationship with a persona and everyone has a persona that they share with the world, but what happens when users invest this same emotional energy in a persona that they do not know in real life? This talk will explore the complicated role of the costumer creator through the lens of the critical design interventions in everyday life.


Presenters: Alejandra Mares, Juan José Huerta, and Xavier Moreno
August 31, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Printmakers Alejandra Mares, Juan José Huerta, and Xavier Moreno from León, Mexico will discuss how they strive to produce work using environmentally friendly materials and processes. Their work is on view in the exhibition, Convergentes, at Catapult Creative House from August 4-September 28.

Presenter: Candace Taylor
"Plant Based"
September 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Candace Taylor is an art major at Southeast Missouri State University, specializing in Ceramics. She will discuss her work and how and why she incorporates living organisms into the vessels she creates.

Presenter: Dr. Diane Wood
"The Value of Rare"
October 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Diane Wood is Professor of Biology at Southeast Missouri State University. She will discuss the concept of “rarity” and the price we are willing to pay for things deemed rare.

Presenter: Dr. Allen Gathman
"Wilderness as Art"
November 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Allen Gathman, retired Professor of Biology at Southeast Missouri State University, will discuss conservation as an art form. According to Gathman, “We tend to think of wilderness as the Earth in its natural state, untouched by human interference. Yet such spaces have not existed since the emergence of our species. We sculpt wild places to meet our own needs, desires, and aesthetics. We need to think of conservation as art and design for ourselves as well as other species, rather than restoration of a mythical pristine state.”


Presenter: Caitlin Kennedy
"Who Rescued Whom? The Art of Depression and Dogs"
February 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Cailtlin will present on how mental illness has affected her art and how having a companion animal has helped her to gain a grip on herself.

“Anxiety and depression have always been part of my life, and sometimes they get the better of me, and more recently they've been gaining ground. However, were it not for my dog, Brewster, I would be doing much worse. Everything I do, I do for him to give him a better life. This means having to make changes in my life in order to have the time and energy to complete my degree and enjoy art again, instead of sitting and being complacent. The past twelve months, art has not been a refuge like it used to be. It's been a challenge, an adversary, but having the comfort of a dog's unconditional love is giving me the courage to stand up and fight again.”

Presenter: Dave Carter
"More Than Surviving"

March 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm

In December of 1984, Dave was the victim of a head-on auto accident, that resulted in significant head injuries, impacted his life. The cord of Dave's talk will focus on how visual art/painting helped him to overcome the physical, mental, and spiritual crisis of a his head injury 30 years ago- and how those injuries currently impact his work.

"On the one hand, I enjoy producing traditional paintings of land and seascapes, portraits, and wildlife--surface considerations of what is pleasant to the eye and comforting to the spirit. On the other hand, I am moved by a desire to produce larger, abstracted works of strident colors and bold design—efforts to tickle the eye and stimulate the soul with something unexpected."

Presenter: Rane Belling
"Break the Binary"

March 23, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Rane Belling is a Senior at Southeast Missouri State University. Their major is Communication studies, with a double major in social work and autism. Rane is the President of the campus organization, PRIDE, and a mentor in the LGBT Resource center, as well as serving as an RA for the past three years.

Rane will be discussing and shedding light on society’s mislabeling of gender identity as exclusive to either male or female. They will be performing a spoken word piece and use visuals to convey to the audience their struggle to fit into society’s gendered boxes. Specifically, Rane will share how the use of pronouns can be extremely important to someone’s identity; an aspect of everyday life that most don’t consider important, until confronted with a term that conflicts with their true self. Dropping a “she,” “he,” “her” or “him” doesn’t typically get a second thought in everyday conversation, but it’s time to reconsider the pronoun.

Presenter: Sharra Wagner
“Channeling Performance Energy”
April 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Sharra Wagner earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in clarinet performance in May 2013 from the University of Missouri–Kansas City while studying with Dr. Jane Carl. Originally from Eveleth, MN, she earned her Master of Music degree in clarinet performance from the University of Northern Iowa and her undergraduate degrees in Music and English from the University of Wisconsin–Superior, graduating summa cum laude.

Wagner will discuss the various methods she has used as a musician to channel extraneous performance energy.
“As a doctoral student, I experienced performance anxiety during my applied lessons. My hands would sweat and lock up, my breathing would become shallow, and my knees would shake. To combat these symptoms, I first had to address the underlying causes and then seek appropriate treatment. Unfortunately, the university I attended had no structure in place to address these common experiences, so I had to seek out and create a program for myself."

Presenters: Hilary Peterson, Amber Cook and Roxy Wellington
"Artists, Body Image,and Language
May 4, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Amber Marisa Cook, Assistant Professor of Costume Design, Hilary Peterson, Assistant Professor of Dance, and Roxanne Wellington, Assistant Professor of Acting will discuss ideas on how they approach body image when teaching and working with students in the performing arts. They will explore how the language we choose in our communications with students (and each other) affects artistic judgement, ability, aesthetics and overall mental and physical health.


Presenter: Dr. Tahsin Khalid

September 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm

During his presentation, Dr. Khalid will discuss what basic Islamic beliefs are including: what is the concept of God, various prophets, books, angels and the Hereafter. He will also present on Islamic religious practices such as daily prayers, annual fasting, paying charity and performing Hajj. Audience members will have the opportunity to dig a little deeper into issues with the faith that revolve around what Islam teaches its followers about relationships, interactions with parents, family, siblings, neighbors, animals and plants. Dr. Khalid also hopes to address the common question: Is there any connection between Islam and violence such as terrorism?

For those interested in how the arts tie into the Islamic faith, audience members will be treated to a review of the Quranic calligraphy, old written scriptures and pictures of religious architecture.

Presenter: Robert Towner

"The Word Made Sight"
October 27, 2016 at 7:00 p

After spending four decades preaching and teaching, Father Bob Towner traveled to the remote Hebridean isle where the Book of Kells was drawn and scribed, and found a different way to break open sacred and poetic texts. Silent words may be an oxymoron, but he will share how contemplative practice breathes new life into scraps of ancient scripture and poetry, and invites the viewer to quiet wonder.

Presenter: Jim Beise
"Creative Soul"
November 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm

During his presentation, Beise will speak about these experiences and of his fascination with the creative process, which he describes as “the glorious human capacity to imagine and then bring into existence something that was not.” The conversation will also explore thoughts around art, culture, and spirituality.

Beise states that “Art, in all its forms – either reproducing what has been seen, or constructing new forms, filling them with new meanings, expressing one’s experience, or imagining the experience of another – pushes us into thoughts and feelings that can resonate in the deepest parts of who we are.”

Presenters: Emily Thomason + Liz Coffey
"The Catholic, the Atheist, and Quiet"
December 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Thomason will present on how religion feeds her artwork and how it is practicing religion in the art world. Coffey will discuss how introspection without religion has influenced her own artwork while living within a religious region.


Presenter: Tyler Harris
February 18, 2016 at 7:00 pm

"Self - Love"
"Through my art I explore the idea of self-hate in the African American community. Racism is responsible for promoting self-hate and it is something that each individual must deal with. I myself have learned to convert this idea into self-love, which is also reflected in my art. I no longer think of my racial and ethnic background as a burden."

Tyler Harris is a senior at Southeast Missouri State University seeking a degree in art education and is a working artist with his works in several private collections. He has exhibited his work in the Vibes Exhibition at the Mad Art Gallery in St. Louis, and at Luminary Arts in their Nostalgia Exhibition, also in St. Louis. In 2015, he received an honorable mention for his painting, Queen, at the Southeast Missouri State University Student Juried Show. He has also been a guest speaker at Saxony High School and on a panel as a member of Diversity Peer Educators.

Presenters: Diversity Peer Educators
March 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm

"Disruptive Thinking"
The Diversity Peer Educators from Southeast Missouri State University, along with faculty advisor Natalie Sandoval, have worked together to coordinate a 2-hr comprehensive presentation at the Arts Council. A select panel of group members will open the session with an interactive activity aiming to help the audience identify and acknowledge difficult questions. The group hopes to get people thinking about these challenging conversations that we, as a society, often avoid but so desperately need to have. The opening icebreaker activity will be followed by a panel discussion where the group hopes challenging questions will continue to be addressed, and a mutual understanding can be reached. The ultimate goal is a constructive conversation and safe environment where relationships can be built.

Presenter: Malcolm McCrae
April 7, 2016 at 7:00 pm

"The Art of Saving Lives"
Malcolm McCrae is an artist, author, speaker and educator who focuses his efforts on serving youth that are categorized as ‘At-Risk’. He has been a leader as an airbrush artist for over 15 years, producing a number of instructional videos and books. As a self-taught artist Malcolm remembers how difficult it was for him as a creative kid growing up being labeled with ADHD. His memoir To Live, To Create to Inspire: "How art saved my life" depicts his journey from sleeping in an abandoned building as a teen in the unforgiving Ohio winters, to his rise as a successful artist, instructor and motivational speaker.

During his presentation, Malcolm will touch on his upbringing and how his experiences growing up in Milwaukee have shaped him to be able to reach today’s youth. He will also provide insight into how to best reach those categorized as ‘At-Risk’ and how important the arts are as a tool to inspire them

Presenters: Jimmie Miller
May 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm

"Jimmie Miller and Hip Hop Dance"
The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri will host their last Red Light Night of this season with the topic “Hip Hop Culture and Dance” featuring Jimmie Miller, local dancer and choreographer.

Jimmie Miller, originally from St. Louis, currently resides in Cape Girardeau with his wife Ashley Miller and their beautiful baby daughter. Miller spends his days working as a Jr. Web Developer at Red Letter Communications, a local marketing and communications firm with national accounts. In the evenings, Miller teaches Hip Hop dance classes at Dance Extensions. His love for dance began when he was 10, when his mother got him involved in the performing arts as a praise dancer in the church. He says he bounced around from genre to genre until he stumbled upon hip-hop and ‘fell in love’.

During his presentation, Miller will touch on the past and present of the Hip Hop Dance Culture. He will start his discussion with the birth of Hip Hop and how it has morphed into the cultural phenomenon that it is today, and will also talk about how his personal experiences with the genre have shaped him as an artist. Miller will conclude his session with a Q & A session open to audience members.



Presenter: Dr. Joni Hand
August 13, 2015 at 7:00 pm

Monkeys, Mice, and Mayhem! All can be found in the margins of medieval manuscripts. Even books that were used for private religious devotion were often embellished with seemingly irreverent imagery. Dr. Joni Hand will show examples of these naughty margins as she discusses why medieval people reveled in these frivolous additions to their prayer books.

ART ON TRIAL: Censorship versus Freedom of Expression
Presenter: Dr. Kenneth Stilson
September 10, 2015 at 7:00 pm

Join Dr. Kenneth Stilson at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri for the second presentation of the Red Light Night Speaker Series. His discussion is entitled Art on Trial: Censorship vs. Freedom of Expression. During several theatrical productions, Dr. Stilson has encountered censorship first- hand in the Southeast Missouri community. Dr. Stilson will speak of these experiences and conclude the session with a Q & A, open to audience members.

Presenters: Ashley Sexton and LeeAnn Luebbers
October 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm

In American culture gender roles can no longer be casually presumed, and it is becoming evident that views of gender identity are also evolving. Art students LeeAnn Luebbers and Ashley Sexton will lead a conversation discussing how they use their artwork to address gender identity. Luebbers is a digital artist, portraying transgender narratives and gender queer individuals in her animations and comic books. Sexton’s artwork tackles the “big F-word in today’s society:” femininity. Her work ranges from large-scale metal sculptures to time based performance work.

"I KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT" : Redefining the Freedom of Sexual Expression in the Age of Disco
Presenter: Dr. Joel Rhodes
October 8, 2015 at 7:00 pm

A look at the artistic space created by the 1970’s sexual revolution – and facilitated legally by the Miller vs. California Supreme Court decision – which made it permissible to portray sexuality more bluntly and honestly in art, fiction, stage, and screen.

DARKLY LIT: The Controversial Canon of Naughty Novels
Presenter: Dr. Susan Swartwout & Panel
December 10, 2015

Join Dr. Susan Swartwout and a panel comprised of Dr. James Brubaker, Dr. Dan Crocker and Dr. Chase Dimock as they discuss comparisons between risky topics in historical and contemporary literature. The session will conclude with a Q & A, open to audience members.