The Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA) at Texas A&M University provides arts opportunities to students, faculty, and staff of Texas A&M University as well as the larger Bryan/College Station community. The AVPA primarily produces guest artists residencies and public performances and offers grants to support faculty research and curriculum development relating to our mission. The AVPA is governed by a 12-member Advisory Board. Also, check out our friends.


 James Gurney, Dinotopia Lecture

October 23 at 7 pm in Geren Auditorium, Langford Architecture Center, Building B

Free Admission.  Reception to Follow.

The Academy for the Visual & Performing Arts is proud to present a lecture by James Gurney.  Author and illustrator of the children’s classic Dinotopia, Mr. Gurney will talk about his work as a freelance illustrator.  The lecture will be October 23 at 7 PM in the Geren Auditorium in Langford Architecture Center, Building B, on the Texas A&M Campus.  This is a free lecture open to the public.

James Gurney, artist and author, is best known for his illustrated book series Dinotopia. He specializes in painting realistic images of scenes that can’t be photographed, from dinosaurs to ancient civilizations. He is also a dedicated plein air (outdoor) painter and sketcher, believing that making studies directly from observation fuels his imagination.

A California native, Gurney is the son of a mechanical engineer. He taught himself to draw by reading books about the illustrators Norman Rockwell and Howard Pyle. Gurney studied archaeology at the University of California at Berkeley, receiving a degree in anthropology with Phi Beta Kappa honors. Prompted by a cross-country adventure on freight trains, he co-authored The Artist’s Guide to Sketching in 1982. During the same period, he worked as a background painter for the animated film Fire and Ice, co-produced by Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta.

His freelance illustration career began with paperback book covers, where he developed his characteristic realistic renderings of fantastic scenes, often using posed models and handmade maquettes for reference. His has worked on more than a dozen assignments for National Geographic magazine, painting reconstructions of Moche, Kushite, and Etruscan civilizations. The inspiration that came from researching these scenes of ancient life led to a series of lost world paintings, including ”Dinosaur Parade” and ”Waterfall City.” With the encouragement of retired publishers Ian and Betty Ballantine, he committed two years’ time to writing and illustrating Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time, which was published in 1992.

Solo exhibitions of his artwork have been presented at The Smithsonian Institution, The Norman Rockwell Museum, The Norton Museum of Art, The Delaware Art Museum, and other venues. He is a popular lecturer at art schools, movie studios and game companies, and he teaches occasional workshops. His most recent book, Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter (2010) was Amazon’s #1 bestselling book on painting for over 52 weeks and is based on his daily blog


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The AVPA is starting it’s own listserv database to better inform you about upcoming events through a regular newsletter.  You will find information on the performers and lecturers, find out more about the different art forms, and learn more behind the scene information on what we offer the Texas A&M community and BCS area.  To join the AVPA Listserv, please send an email to and in the BODY put:  SUBSCRIBE avpa firstname lastname.