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The Arts Council for Monterey County will honor Dr. Renee Curry at its annual Champions of the Arts gala on Jan. 19.

Renee CurryDr. Curry, a professor of English who teaches literary and film studies, will be honored in the professional category for her work as an arts advocate who was instrumental in bringing the CSU Summer Arts program to the Monterey Bay area.

"Hosting CSU Summer Arts here at CSUMB is something I worked toward for five years. I followed the events of Summer Arts at Fresno and became determined to bring this premier program to our campus," Dr. Curry said.

"I believe in Monterey as a hub for artists and envision CSUMB as a key participate in the arts. Summer Arts is a perfect match for our university and our community."

Other honorees are Tim Jackson, artistic director of the Monterey Jazz Festival (lifetime achievement award); Dr. Carl Christiansen (luminary); Henry Miller Memorial Library (nonprofit); John and Barbara Pekema (philanthropists); and Liz Sanchez and Hamish Tyler (volunteers).

According to the Arts Council, the event is a “tribute to the great work and inspiring spirit of our champions.

“We are proud to honor these exemplary leaders who have demonstrated such tremendous passion and commitment to the arts in Monterey County,” the council said.

Dr. Curry has been teaching and writing about literary and filmic arts for more than 25 years and is a recognized scholar in both fields. She is a full professor in the Division of Humanities and Communication and former dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

For the past three years, she has taught a popular class through the university’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute called “Tackling the Tough Ones Together.” The class – which fills up quickly – has covered works by William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett and, this semester, James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Her two most recent scholarly articles will be published in late 2012 and in 2013. One article addresses the role of whiteness in Woody Allen's films Manhattan, Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The second article explores race and identity in Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream.

She is the fourth faculty member at CSUMB to be honored by the Arts Council, joining 2007 honoree Jennifer Colby, 2009 honoree Amalia Mesa-Bains, and last year’s honoree Enid Baxter Blader.

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