James Franco to Headline President’s Speaker Series for the Arts

On April 17, renowned actor and producer James Franco will headline the third annual President’s Speaker Series for the Arts. He will join UVa’s Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa in a moderated conversation about what the arts mean to him. Franco will also answer student-submitted questions at the event, held at John Paul Jones Arena.

Courtesy: The Guardian
Courtesy: The Guardian 

Since its launch in 2013, the speaker series has brought global leaders in the arts to the University to discuss the national importance of the arts. The program has hosted multiple acclaimed actors in its three-year history, including actor and director Kevin Spacey and notable alumna Tina Fey.

Franco is notorious for his diverse career in the arts.  He is best known for his acting roles in a variety of films that span across genres, from playing a desperate Aron Ralston in 127 Hours to a pothead drug dealer in Pineapple Express. He began his career as leader actor in the TV cult-series Freaks and Geeks and later won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of James Dean in a TV biographical film.

His talents, however, stretch off screen. Franco is also a director, producer, writer, artist, and Broadway actor.  Since 2012, he has taught multiple classes in the realm of Media Studies at NYU and the University of Southern California. Currently he is teaching a film class to high school students in Palo Alto.

“James Franco’s noteworthy work as an actor, writer and filmmaker, his involvement in the arts community, and his appreciation for the importance of education and lifelong learning make him an ideal choice to be this year’s Presidential Speaker for the Arts,” UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan commented to UVA Today. “We look forward to welcoming him to Grounds and to hearing his remarks.”

The speech will be held at 4pm in the John Paul Jones arena. Tickets are available free to students and the public. Students may pick up tickets at the UVA Arts Box Office, the JPJ Box Office, or the ID Card Office at Observatory Hill Dining Hall. They will also be available online through ticketmaster starting March 16th, but website fees will apply.


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