A prolific inventor, a Grammy award-winning musician, a former child star turned thoughtful memoirist, a metalworker who brings together art and science, a sought-after designer and speaker, and a writer of stylish dystopias will discuss what they have in common at the Oct. 19 to 20 Idyllwild Arts Academy Alumni/Family Weekend and Open House.
What they all share turns out to be Idyllwild Arts Academy itself and the way the academy launched their exciting careers. Since it’s possible they’ll have too much to say, acclaimed television writer and producer Angelina Burnett, an academy alum from 1996, will be there as panel moderator to keep order — as she did for the cunning Dr. Lecter of “Hannibal,” and the perilous Cold War espionage of “The Americans.”
Inventor and entrepreneur Clay Alexander of the class of 1994, musician Orpheo McCord (’98), author and actor Mara Wilson (’05), metalworker Hawk-eye Glenn (’87), designer and speaker Clifton Alexander (’96), and writer and content producer Jake Tapleshay (’09) will explain how the academy’s distinctive union of intense arts training and innovative academics prepared them to succeed in today’s increasingly fluid work environment that rewards creativity and flexibility above all else.
All of these Idyllwild Arts alums have tales to tell that echo the talent to adapt shown by former theater major Wilson when she left behind her childhood acting success in “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993) and “Matilda” (1996) to write her 2016 memoir, “Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.”
Another theater major, Alexander, showed equal creativity and flexibility by going from lighting the academy’s drama productions to inventing General Electric’s LED light bulb, the GE Infusion™, to earning more than 80 patents worldwide, to brainstorming one of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2017, the temperature-control Ember Ceramic Mug carried by almost 5,000 Starbucks stores.
But these are only CliffsNotes. The full story to be told by the Alumni Panel on Oct. 20, also will need the valuable contributions of McCord, Glenn, Alexander and Tapleshay.
The free event is from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in the William M. Lowman Concert Hall on the Idyllwild Arts campus. Space is limited.
Photos courtesy Idyllwild Arts Academy