The Aspen Institute Arts Program is pleased to announce that photographer and artist JR, organist Cameron Carpenter, and actor Goldie Hawn will serve as its 2015 Harman-Eisner Artists in Residence.

In this role, JR, Carpenter, and Hawn will participate at the Aspen Ideas Festival (June 28 – July 4) and engage in Institute activities throughout the year in New York, Washington, DC, and elsewhere.

“The artist-in-residence program creates opportunities for good work through the arts, and it is a tremendous opportunity to have JR, Cameron Carpenter, and Goldie Hawn this year to push forward the role of the arts in service to society at large,” said Damian Woetzel, director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program. “I am looking forward to working with each of these extraordinary artists in bringing their uniquely powerful voices to bear on the issues we face today.”

The “Pervasive Art” of JR talks about commitment, freedom, identity, and limit and has appeared everywhere from Paris City Hall to favelas in Rio. In Face 2 Face, the biggest illegal exhibition ever, JR posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities, and on the both sides of the Security fence / Separation wall. In 2008, he embarked for a long international trip for Women Are Heroes, a project in which he underlined the dignity of women who are often the targets of conflicts. His international participatory art project Inside Out, which allows people to get their picture and paste it to support an idea, a project, an action and share their experience, will come to Ideas Festival this summer.

Cameron Carpenter’s repertoire — from the complete works of J. S. Bach to film scores to his original compositions — is probably the largest and most diverse of any organist. He is the first “concert organist” in history to prefer the digital organ to the pipe organ, and to champion it as the future of the instrument. In 2014, Cameron launched his International Touring Organ — a monumental cross-genre digital organ built by Marshall & Ogletree to his own design — in extensive tours in Europe and the USA. His Sony Music debut album, If You Could Read My Mind, entered Billboard’s Traditional Classical chart at No. 1 on its US release. He is the first solo organist ever nominated for a Grammy Award for a solo album, and has spoken and debated at think tanks and conferences including TED, IdeaCity, and The Entertainment Gathering.

“I hope to bring to this year’s Festival a contribution worthy of the astounding brainpower that will attend,” Carpenter said. “The organ, a multi-dimensional medium for the expression of emotion through the machine, is a cultural and historic entity that needs representation in such environs, and I take that charge seriously.”

In 2003, Academy Award–winning actress Goldie Hawn founded The Hawn Foundation, a public charity with a mission to equip children with the social and emotional skills they need to lead smarter, healthier, and happier lives. The Foundation is tasked with applying cutting-edge scientific research to create education programs that support the social and emotional development of children. It developed MindUP, an evidence-based curriculum and teaching model for grades K–8 that provides children with the tools to help them understand and improve their own emotions, moods, and behaviors, as well as reduce stress and anxiety, sharpen concentration, build confidence, increase empathy, and improve academic performance. In 2009 Goldie Hawn was presented by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) with a special award for her work to increase public understanding of mental health.

“The Aspen Ideas Festival gives a voice to all aspects of our worlds challenges, delivering solutions and cutting-edge scientific discoveries,” said Hawn. “I am thrilled to be sharing time on the stage with Michael Eisner in the Arts section to share how cinema can impact awareness and lift the human spirit.”

The Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence program was inaugurated in July 2006 to ensure that the valuable ideas and perspectives of leading artists are shared in the Institute’s ongoing “Great Conversation” — in discussions related to arts and culture, but also in those related to the myriad other vital issues the program addresses, from urban development, education, and race to citizenship, domestic politics, and foreign policy. Previous Harman-Eisner Artists in Residence have included Memphis jookin master Lil Buck, actress Alfre Woodard, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, director Julie Taymor, architect Elizabeth Diller, conductor Robert Spano, dancer and current Arts Program Director Damian Woetzel, author Tobias Wolff, painter Chuck Close, actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, stage director Stephen Wadsworth, and opera singer Jessye Norman.

“Goldie Hawn, Cameron Carpenter, and JR are not only three of the most interesting, diverse, and compelling artists in America today, but they also are people who are interested in utilizing their talents to provide access and opportunity for those in our society who are in danger of being left behind,” said Michael D. Eisner, Institute trustee and chair of its Committee on the Arts. “I couldn’t be more excited to have them join us as at the Aspen Institute this year.”

The Aspen Institute Arts Program was established to support and invigorate the arts in America, and to return the arts to the center of the Aspen Institute’s “Great Conversation.” Directed by Damian Woetzel, it brings together artists, advocates, educators, managers, foundations, and government officials to exchange ideas and develop policies and programs that strengthen the reciprocal relationship between the arts and society. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, click here.

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