PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University will kick off Art a la Carte, a series of noontime art lectures, at 12:10 p.m. Thursdays in the Compton Union Building, Cascade Room 123. The fall series beginning Sept. 19 will feature two events in September and three in November.

The series opens with Chris Watts, professor of fine arts. He will discuss the various influences behind his art based on rationalistic and obscure systems. The unique presentation will include musical compositions based on his experiments with numbers.

Music instructor Paul Smith will present “Maqam and Mysticism: Freedom and Structure in Middle Eastern Music, Carpets and Culture” on Sept. 26. He will speak about a number of aesthetic traditions in Islamic cultures and how they regard improvisation as an essential component of artistic expression.

The series resumes Nov. 7 when conservation specialist and book artist Gudrun Aurand presents “Cultural Influences on Book Binding and Paper Production.” He will discuss how the availability of materials, the type of writing and other cultural conditions affect the technology of book production.

“The Private and the Public World of Islam” will be the featured discussion Nov. 14. Robert Staab, a WSU history instructor, will present images of sites he visited in Turkey, and how the images found in geometry, calligraphy and Arabesque aid in our understanding of Islam. The program will feature Turkish cuisine. Please call (509) 335-2313 for ticket and reservation information.

The series will conclude Nov. 21 when Kim Andersen, professor at WSU’s Honor College, discusses “Traveling Spirits: Hans Christian Andersen and Soren Kierkegaard.” Hans Christian Andersen traveled throughout Europe while Kierkegaard (an Andersen critic) rarely left Copenhagen. She will discuss perspectives from their adventures as well as their art and thinking.

The WSU Museum of Art and the Office of Campus Involvement are sponsoring the series. Signing for the hearing impaired is available on request by phoning (509) 335-2313 by noon the Monday before the desired program. All the lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Marty Mullen of the Office of Campus Involvement at (509) 335-2313 or mullen@wsu.edu. Contact Anna-Maria Shannon of the Museum of Art at (509) 335-1910.