New York-based artist, author, and speaker Christopher Beckman was in Indiana Tuesday and Wednesday, October 16 and 17, 2012, to meet with leaders representing a variety of organizations and concerns. The visit, organized by the Lively Arts in connection with its Ideas and Issues program, included several meetings, art critique sessions, and a private reception at the Artists Hand Gallery in downtown Indiana.
Beckman, one of New York’s most promising young contemporary artists, first rose to the national spotlight as a cast member of MTV’s ground-breaking reality television program Real World (Chicago 2001). Just nine months before he joined the cast, he ended a tumultuous 12-year period of alcohol and drug abuse that started when he was only 11 years old, and he has remained sober ever since.
Following his experience on Real World and realizing a gift and power to add a unique voice to those in recovery, Beckman authored a highly successful book titled Clean: A New Generation in Recovery Speaks Out (Hazelden, 2005). The book is part autobiography and part guide targeted to those in recovery and others dealing with loved ones affected by chemical dependency.
He has spoken at dozens of colleges and universities across the country from Yale to Pepperdine, Vermont to Washington, from all SUNY campuses to the University of Arizona, and dozens in between. His college lectures touch on issues that carry personal weight, including alcohol awareness, sexual orientation, and expressing his life through art.
Always in pursuit of his artistic talents, Beckman reignited his passion for creating art through painting, sculpture, and photography. His work has been shown in galleries, exhibits, fairs, and private collections across the globe.
Forthcoming exhibits include shows in Buenos Aires, Miami, and New York, to name just a few. His works have also been seen in a variety of other shows and galleries in Boston, New York, Long Island, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Lima, and more. He will also be represented at TEFAF 2013 in Maastricht, Netherlands, the world’s leading art and antiques fair.
Born in 1977 in Brockton, Mass., Beckman has appeared on Good Morning America, The View, and The Roseanne Show and has been interviewed by Diane Sawyer and Ellen DeGeneres, among others. In 2005, for their 20th anniversary issue, People magazine named Beckman one of the 100 “Sexiest Men Alive,” the first openly gay man to be named to the list. He has also worked as an actor and as a Ford Agency model for Polo Ralph Lauren and others.
Beckman’s activities in Indiana focused on exploring possibilities that would involve future visits that will more deeply and directly address the needs of different groups. Those attending the various activities included community representatives from the Indiana, Armstrong, Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission; Indiana Cares Campaign; PFLAG Indiana; Indiana Arts Council; Artists Hand Gallery; Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance; Indiana Art Association; and several local professional artists.
Campus departments and programs represented included the Department of Art, Student Art Association, National Art Educational Association, Kipp Gallery, University Museum, Department of Theater and Dance, Center for Student Life, the Counseling Center, Pride Alliance, the President’s Commission on GLBT Issues, the Safe Zone, Six O’Clock Series, Living-Learning Community, IUP Health and Awareness Center, and Office of Student Conduct.
The visit and activities were coordinated by the Lively Arts, a program of the College of Fine Arts, as part of its Ideas and Issues series. Ideas and Issues works to bring speakers to campus that address topical and current issues that are relevant in today’s society.