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Notable Alumni in the Arts

Nelson, Martha (1952 - 2006)
Writer, Editor

Before taking over the helm of People magazine, Martha Nelson worked variously as a Staff Editor for the feminist magazine Ms., Editor-in-Chief of Women's Sports and Fitness and Savvy magazines, and Managing Editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society. In 1994, Nelson was managing editor through the launch of In Style magazine; during her term there, the new magazine's circulation more than tripled. Nelson became the managing editor of People in April of 2002. Under her watch, the magazine was honored for its coverage of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and it remains the most popular magazine in the world. Nelson was named one of the "World's Most Powerful Women" by Forbes for two years in a row, and she received a Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications. Learn more.

Nixon, Cynthia (1966 - )
Film, Theater

Prior to enrolling in Barnard, Nixon played a fourteen-year-old child hippie in the movie Little Darlings (1980) and appeared in the 1980 Broadway revival of The Philadelphia Story, for which she won a Theater World Award. She has since appeared in ten Broadway plays, including Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles (1989), Columbia alum Tony Kushner's Angels in America (1993) and Perestroika (1993), Indiscretions (1995), which earned her a Tony nomination, and Rabbit Hole (2006). Nixon is best known as the independent-minded, unsentimental Miranda on HBO's series Sex and the City, for which she won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2004. Among Nixon's more than twenty films are Amadeus (1984), The Pelican Brief (1993), Marvin's Room with Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep (1996), and Igby Goes Down (2002). Learn more.

Noguchi, Isamu (1904 - 1988)
Dance, Visual Arts
Sculptor, Designer, Architect

The son of a Japanese poet and an American writer, Noguchi fused Eastern influences, such as conceptions of space, with Western artistic traditions. After high school, Noguchi apprenticed under Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum. He began premedical studies at Columbia before devoting himself full-time to sculpture. In Paris, Noguchi trained with Constantin Brancusi and was exposed modern and abstract artists such as Alexander Calder and Morris Kantor. Notable works include History Mexico (at the Abelardo Rodriguez Market, Mexico City in 1936), News (at the Associated Press Building, New York, 1940), the gardens for UNESCO headquarters (Paris, 1958), and Red Cube (New York, 1968). Noguchi also worked as a set designer for George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham. Among his honors are the National Medal of Arts (1987) and induction to the Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasure (1988). The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Long Island City, New York, contains over two hundred and fifty of the artist's works. Learn more.

Notley, Alice (1945 - )
Poet, Editor

Among Notley's nearly twenty poetry titles are Incidentals in the Day World (1973), Alice Ordered Me to Be Made (1975), Waltzing Matilda (1981) and Mysteries of Small Houses (1998), for which she won the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Notley cites William Carlos Williams as a major influence; her work is praised for its humor and sensitivity to the nuances of relationships. Notley has received National Endowment for the Arts (1980) and Fund for Poetry grants (1987, 1989), as well as a Poetry Center Award (1982) and a GE Foundation award (1983). She has published an autobiography, Tell Me Again, (1981). Notley lives in Paris and edits the magazine Gare du Nord. Learn more.

Nugent, Frank (1908 - 1965)

Nugent worked for five years as a New York Times reporter and five years as a film critic before Twentieth-Century Fox invited him to work as a script doctor. He struck up a partnership with director John Ford, and the pair collaborated for years on John Wayne films like Writers Guild of America Best Western nominees Fort Apache (1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). The Quiet Man (1952) was a Writers Guild winner and Oscar nominee for best screenplay, and Mister Roberts (1955) won a Writers Guild Award for Best Comedy. Nugent's other screenplays include Trouble in the Glen (1953), starring Orson Welles, The Tall Men (1955), starring Clark Gable, and The Last Hurrah (1958), starring Spencer Tracy. Learn more.

Nunez, Sigrid

Nunez's debut novel, A Feather on the Breath of God, was a finalist for the 1995 PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction. Her other novels are Naked Sleeper (1996), Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury (1998) and For Rouenna (2001). Her fifth novel, The Last of Her Kind (2006), begins at Columbia University during the upheavals of the late 1960s. Among Nunez's honors are the Critic's Choice Award of the San Francisco Review of Books, a Whiting Writer's Award and two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was elected a Literature Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003, and Nunez spent 2005 at the American Academy in Berlin as a Berlin Prize Fellow. She has taught at several colleges and universities. Learn more.

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