Walton Arts Center is proud to announce the Divide Light: Operatic Performance Costumes of Lesley Dill exhibition Tuesday, Feb. 11 through Sunday, April 13 in Joy Pratt Markham Gallery. An opening reception will be held Thursday, March 6 from 5pm to 7pm, with a screening of the opera, Divide Light, at 5:30 pm in Starr Theater. The event will take place at Walton Arts Center and is free and open to the public. 

Joy Pratt Markham Gallery Hours:

  • Monday-Friday, 9am to 6pm
  • Saturday, 12 to 4pm
  • One hour prior to performances
  • Gallery admission is FREE

Lesley Dill's opera Divide Light is based on the complete works of poet Emily Dickinson and explores a range of emotions from vulnerability and fear to ecstasy, joy and exhilaration. The opera premiered on Aug. 13, 2008 at the Montalvo Arts Center in San Jose, Calif. and featured performances by Del String Quartet; the 45-voices of The Choral Project; Jennifer Goltz, soprano; Kathleen Moss, mezzo soprano; and Andrew Eisenmann, baritone. The performers sing Dickinson's words and also wear Dill's costumes, which prominently feature the words of emotions explored throughout the piece. The set is a continuously moving video installation of poems and Dill's evocative black-and-white photographs. 

This is the first time the operatic performance costumes have been exhibited. Walton Arts Center will debut this exhibition in conjunction with Dill’s large-scale installation, Faith and the Devil, which will be on view at the University of Arkansas Fine Arts Gallery from March 3 until April 4. Dill will also host a guest lecture at the University of Arkansas at 6pm on March 4 in Stella Boyle Auditorium, with a reception prior at 5pm. Walton Arts Center and the University of Arkansas are pleased to present these exhibitions to the public and community-at-large. 

Dill has worked in a variety of other mediums, including sculpture, photography, printmaking and drawing. She is a native of New York and her work can be seen in institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the High Museum. An English major before becoming an artist, Dill explains that, “language is the touchstone, the pivot point of all my work.”


Film of the opera was made by Ed Robbins. Divide Light was commissioned by Montalvo Arts Center, and supported in part by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation Multi Arts Production Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for this exhibition is provided by the McIlroy Family Visiting Professorship in the performing and visual arts. For more information about this exhibit, click here.