Arts logoJoin us for

The Dance of

Art and Science!


A year-long series of integrated arts and sciences events focusing on the study of the genome.


Take a look at the August dance!


Fall 2010

Spring 2011


Preface Logo 

  • 8/26. PREFACE, a new program designed to introduce incoming first-year students to JMU's academic culture, classes, and expectations, using The DNA Age as a tool. It is a 90-minute session in which students are expected to come to the classroom having prepared by reading articles from The DNA Age, journalist Amy Harmon's Pulitzer-prize winning series for the NY Times. See the Preface website for more info.
  • 8/26. DNA Dance.  Watch Art and Science merge! 4000 freshmen become DNA in a mass dance choreographed by the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. JMU Quad, 4:30 p.m. and again at 7:00 p.m. Free and open to the public. 
  • 8/29. 1787 Convocation.  The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange partners with JMU and FROGS to create a fantastic convocation experience in light of summer reading and in expectation of heightened attention to genetic knowledge and challenges this year.3:00 p.m. Convocation Center. 


  • 9/23 Public event. "Challenging The Rules: A Conversation About Creativity" 5:00 p.m. ISAT 159.  Scholar in Residence, Michael Singer talks with Visiting Artist Liz Lerman about collaborations across the arts and sciences
  • 9/29. Public lecture by visiting Scholar Kathy Takayama, Associate Director, Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, Brown University. The lecture entitled "Visualizing the Science of Genomics" is at 4:30 p.m. in CISAT/HHS 2301.  9/30 Faculty Workshop: "Decoding Your Discipline with Visuals" 8:00 a.m. ECL. Registration required at Kathy Takayama's  research background is in the regulation of RNA processing mechanisms. She holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Madison-Wisconsin and a faculty member of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Dr. Takayama joined the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning in 2007. Her current interests are in visualizations in science education; the pedagogical integration of art and science; and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). An artist, she has had a solo exhibit at the Canberra Contemporary Arts Space in Australia. For more info see:   


  • 10/25-29 Scholar in Residence, Michael Singer, returns.


  • 11/2-6. Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Choreographic Residency Fall Student Dance Recital
  • 11/29-12/3. Scholar in Residence, Michael Singer, returns again!


  • 12/3  The Chromo Zone: Photo-genetic Art. A collaborative show by the James Madison University Fall 2010 Advanced Color Photography Class, features the work of five Senior Photography Concentration students within the School of Art and Art History.   The show is the result of a semester’s worth of artistic endeavors and research on genetics and human genome related topics in tandem with the JMU Preface theme of The DNA Age. Smith House, 311 S. Main Street 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Exhibit open through January 2011.


  • 1/14-24. Artists from The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in residence at JMU. Activities include master classes for JMU students, local middle and high school students, and the Governor's School. 
  • 1/18. "An Evening of Poetry and Dance." LLDX in conjunction with Furious Flower Poetry Center. More information.
  • 1/20-1/23. Ferocious Beauty: Genome. Inspired by the mapping of the human genome, this multi-media dance piece is the result of a rare and unique collaboration between artists, scientists, and educators.  Performed by the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange at the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts.

Thursday, 1/20. JMU-only performance. Mainstage Theatre, 8PM.
Friday, 1/21. Public performance. Mainstage Theatre, 8PM.
Saturday, 1/22. JMU-only performance. Mainstage Theatre, 8PM.
Sunday, 1/23. Public performance. Mainstage Theatre, 3PM.
For tickets, visit the Forbes Center Box Office.



"In terms of the university, we are profoundly changed by this experience.  The bar is set now for having artists integrated into many aspects of campus life. It's been a terrific catalyst for interdisciplinary collaboration." Pamela Tatge, director of the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University, after the premiere of Ferocious Beauty: Genome.

  • 1/22.  “Art Imitates Life: The Dance of DNA, Decoding, & Doctoring” by Dr. Francis Collins, Director of National Institutes of Health and formerly Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. Collins is also author of Language of Life:  DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine (2010).  Concert Hall, 3PM.  Seating for this event will be limited. Seating in the concert hall will be available on a first come first serve basis. Overflow seating will be available in Forbes 1115. 


  • 2/1. "Looking Closely: Images by Artists and Scientists" This exhibition presents images that cross the divide between science and art in both process and product. Last semester, Biology students enrolled in BIO 432 “Light Microscopy,” were given a semester-long assignment, in which they were required to bring to class found objects to look at under the microscope, photograph them, and finally, to post them to a class photoblog ( The images turned out to be surprisingly abstract and beautiful and became the basis for a collaboration with students enrolled in ART 362 Digital Photography. The two classes visited each others' labs, learning different methods of framing, capturing and enhancing photographs. This exhibition presents the work of these two classes and demonstrates the different ways in which artists and scientists can contextualize and display their images. Opening reception, 11AM to 1PM, Roop Hall 208. Refreshments will be served, all are welcome.  The exhibit runs from February 1 to April 5.


  • 2/4 - 12:20 - 1:10 p.m. Burruss Hall Rm 238.  Interested in learning more about the genome and its connections to medicine? Dr. Andrew McCallion of the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will be presenting:  "Taking Apart the Genome to See How it Works: Applying Functional Genetics to Development and Disease" Learn more about Dr. McCallion here. 

  • 2/15 - 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Wilson Hall Auditorium. Public presentation by Amy Harmon, Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times journalist.   Thousands of JMU students read Harmon’s award-winning series of articles, The DNA Age, as part of their Freshmen orientation program. Together, the sixteen articles highlight the impact of current human gene technology by exploring both the exciting uses and potential abuses of this new form of medical information in the 21st century. They ask us to think about issues concerning identity, ethics, birth rights, privacy, access, and more. Please join us for an exciting conversation with the author.  Event is approved for GHTH 100 Passport Credit.


  • 2/23 - Madison Debate Society. The topic is “Resolved: Biometric identification of those entering the United States is justified.”  Biometric identification is a process by which a person can be identified by his unique physiological characteristics. To do this, data about the defining characteristic, for example the points where the ridges of a fingerprint split or end, is usually enrolled and stored in a database. Then, when the person wishes to be identified, the characteristic is scanned so that a computer compare it to the data already stored in the database. Fingerprinting is the most common form of biometric identification, but retinal scans and handprint scans are also used. Should the US employ biometrics at airports and other points of entry? What are the pros and cons? Miller 1101 at 8:00 p.m.



  • 3/01 - 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. HHS 2301. Open to the public. , “Ethical Dilemmas: Case Studies of Genetic Conditions in Reproductive Medicine.”  A symposium jointly presented by the University of Virginia School of Medicine (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine and Genetics) and James Madison University (College of Integrated Science and Technology, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, and Department of Biology). Description: The practice of clinical medicine inherently involves ethical conflicts. This is particularly true when genetic concerns or diagnoses are involved. In this presentation, a series of clinical cases will be used to illustrate how ethical conflicts are encountered and dealt with in the practice of reproductive medicine. In addition to reviewing ethical principles, obstetric and pediatric perspectives on various cases will be examined.  Presenters: Devereux N. Saller, M.S., M.D. Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UVa. Saller specializes in high-risk pregnancies, genetics, prenatal diagnosis, and genetic screening. Logan B. Karns, M.S. Clinical Lecturer and Clinical Associate, Center for Biomedical Ethics at UVa. Karns specializes in prenatal diagnosis and biomedical ethics with individuals and couples who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Her research interests are with ethical issues in genetics and genetic counseling. Tim Bloss, PhD. Assistant Professor of Biology at JMU. Bloss teaches courses in Genetics and Development. Cathy Slusher, M.D. Obstetrician/ Gynecologist with Harrisonburg OB/GYN Associates. Slusher works with families in the Harrisonburg community and is familiar with particular cases here. Megan Imholt, M.D. Pediatrician at Valley Children’s Clinic. Imholt also works with Harrisonburg-area families and will speak to local cases.