Visiting Writers Series Presents ‘New Way of Seeing’

April 4, 2019

A testament to University of the Arts’ fostering of interdisciplinary study, the annual Visiting Writers Series gives students and visiting writers alike a distinct creative opportunity.

For each series event—which occur in both the fall and the spring each year—accomplished writers share their work through readings and discussions with students. Since the onset of the series in 2013, Illustration students have created posters to advertise each event and to represent the writer and often, their work. 

Visiting writer and UArts alum Carlos Rios talks with students.
Carlos Rios BFA ’14 (Writing for Film and TV) returned to UArts in March.

Carlos Rios BFA ’14 (Writing for Film and TV) returned to UArts in March, further underscoring the cross-collaboration that’s characteristic of UArts: The series features two screenwriters per year, benefiting Writing for Film and TV students in addition to Creative Writing majors. A Universal Pictures Emerging Writers Fellow, Rios has written for the TV series Colony on USA Network and is currently working for the forthcoming On Becoming a God in Central Florida

For the poster promoting Rios’ visit on March 19, Illustration major Melita Tirado took inspiration from his inclusion in the 2016 Black List—a list of the most-favored screenplays not yet in production, voted on by Hollywood executives—for a Western-themed screenplay titled Let the Evil Go West

“What I wanted to do with the poster was capture that Western look, as well as desolate space,” Tirado says. “And I decided that I wanted it to kind of resemble the person … so I created the environment to be a part of him.”

Tirado delivered a few sketches to Matt Curtius, associate professor of Illustration, who leads the collaborations each year. He selected a sketch, delivered some feedback and sent Tirado back to work. 

At UArts, how we promote an arts event is itself a work of art. – Zach Savich, program director, Creative Writing

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Rios' poster was illustrated by Melita Tirado.

“I’ve had Matt before as a professor, so we know pretty well how we work with each other,” Tirado explains. “He had some feedback on placements and creating hierarchy, and from there I finished the piece.”

Given the general lack of visual attention afforded most writers, the experience of portraiture is likely a novel one. Creative Writing Program Director Zach Savich says visiting writers are usually surprised by the posters, which they receive when they visit. Savich has recently begun documenting writers’ reactions to students’ interpretations of them. 

“These posters show that at UArts, how we promote an arts event is itself a work of art,” Savich says. “The posters help remind us that writers can inspire new ways of seeing. A literary reading isn't just a chance to see an author—it's an invitation to a live imaginative act that ripples across the arts.”

The next event in UArts’ Visiting Writers Series—Immigrant Voices: p.e. garcia, Nimisha Ladva and Afaq Mahmoud, moderated by author and Senior Lecturer Rahul Mehta—will be held April 11 at 7 p.m. in Terra Hall’s Connelly Auditorium. Learn more about this year’s Visiting Writers