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Faces and Voices: Finishing School Orientation

By Catherine Shook

Throughout the run of this production, a dynamic lineup of special events will offer everyone a chance to live in the world of Shrew. Designed to look like the open-air markets of Padua and curated to appeal to savvy, contemporary customers, the Piazza d’Amore will host unique shopping, show-related discussions, special performances and culinary events. At the same time, Padua Finishing School will offer artistic workshops that encourage life-long learners to explore new things.  To help orient you in this brand new world of commerce, creativity and community thriving in the Harman lobbies, we want to give you the chance to meet just a few of the workshop leaders at Padua Finishing School—learn about their artistic approaches, their inspirations and how they fit into your community.

Brenda Zhang: Paper Cut-Outs
Artist, Designer and Educator based in Philadelphia, PA
Finishing School Workshop: Tuesday, June 7, 5:30–6:30 p.m.


Papercutting is traditionally performed by female practitioners and has a strong presence in non-Western weddings. As a female-identified, Chinese-American artist, Brenda views the art-form as an intersection of gender and culture. She is deeply interested in investigating what we count as natural or built; how we draw the lines between the two; and what it means that as people we count as both. Recently inspired by Henri Matisse’s later work in papercuts, Brenda also loves artist-artisans of all cultures who worked in historical periods when art was fully embedded in society, believing that art objects ought to be lived with rather than existing in a vacuum.

Linny Giffin: Weaving for Beginners
Artisan based in Washington, D.C.
Finishing School Workshop: Friday, May 20, 5:30–7:30 p.m.


You name anything made of yarn, and Linny will teach you how to make it! Linny’s motivation right now is to create a community of women who are making, sharing skills and using their hands. Believing women hold a lot of power and that femininity has been undervalued in recent culture, Linny wants to bring value to the natural strengths and curiosities of femininity. In her workshops, above all else, she hopes everyone can slow down, enjoy being at the table and appreciate the process of making.

Rebekah Pineda: Collecting Artwork
Collector based at Hamiltonian Artists, Washington, D.C.
Finishing School Workshop: Friday, June 24, 5:30–7:00 p.m.


Rebekah works for Hamiltonian Artists, a nonprofit which supports emerging artists. Through its unique investment into the next generation, Hamiltonian helps artists develop important business skills, engage in professional experiences and gain visibility to support and sustain a long-term career in the arts. In her workshops, she hopes people learn how to find emerging artists and learn the importance of collectors in maintaining a culturally rich community. Hamiltonian has supported 50 individual artists in 2016 alone and has reached thousands of individuals through free programming over the past nine years.

Susannah Compton: Botanical Perfume
Artisan based in Washington, D.C.
Finishing School Workshop: Friday, June 3, 5:30–7:30 p.m.


Working with plant-based distillations and precious absolutes, what you smell in Susannah’s handcrafted perfumes comes from real flowers, herbs and other botanical aromatics. In the perfume industry, most fragrances come from synthetic scents, but Susannah prefers the depth, complexity and life force that botanical essences have. In her workshops, Susannah hopes people will engage with their sense of smell in a new way, learn that creativity can be applied to scent and remember that our sense of smell, a direct line to emotion, memory and our most elemental desires, truly has the ability to transport us like nothing else.

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