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Our 2023 Keynote Speakers

Nancy Silberkleit

Co-CEO, Archie Comics Publications

Nancy Silberkleit

Nancy Silberkleit, daughter-in-law of Louis H. Silberkleit one of the founders of Archie Comics Publications, stepped into her role as Co-CEO of the company in 2009 with a vision that the comic book as a graphic novel is a valuable tool for developing literacy among first-time readers and instilling a love of reading for everyone. As a former public school educator, homemaker and mother, she knows the importance of learning to read and coined a personal motto that “Children+Comic Books=Reading, Knowledge and Confidence.”

She is the wife of the late Michael Silberkleit, who was the son of Archie Comics founder Louis Silberkleit, who with his partner John L. Goldwater founded Archie Comics in 1942.  

She furthers her agenda of why comic books are needed in classrooms and libraries with her fervent belief that comic books can be used to engage a variety of learners, while promoting literacy and a love of reading. She feels strongly that the graphic comic book format helps to enrich and develop the creative mind.

She taught art for over 20 years and has seen the power of comics to encourage literacy and creativity in children. Children love to read comic books and graphic novels and often endeavor to mimic the format with their own creations. Comics teach children about storytelling and exploring their artistic abilities through illustration. It is a natural progression for children, as a bridge to reading from the picture books of their younger years.

Herb Weaver

Herb Weaver

An artist and art educator for four decades ranging from middle school to the college level, I strive to take art off the pedestal and into the daily lives of those who view my art. With a focus on the medium of ceramic sculpture, I intend for the artwork to make statements about life circumstances, sometimes whimsical, often political, and hopefully thought-provoking.

My work has been exhibited in over 200 shows throughout the United States and abroad. Having lived in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Georgia, I identify myself as a "fringe Appalachian," and am currently living in a house my wife and I built near Singers Glen, Virginia. Because of my background in residential construction, I am keenly curious about the intersection of building practices, architecture, and sculpture in regard to spatial awareness.

Coupled with that directive are issues that involve “passages”… and how proverbial doors, windows, and hallways might be incorporated in such works. Compositionally, as a point of interest, I am drawn to the concept of “reliquary” and how one might integrate items that are of precious importance.


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