Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) has confirmed the first two events as part of The Artist-Activist: Centering Black Voices speaker series. The new series is a free and public opportunity for Mason students, faculty, and staff, as well as the greater community to engage in dialogue around creative process, activism, and racism. Filmmaker, musician, speaker, and activist Bree Newsome will be joined by student filmmaker and fellow activist Taj Kokayi (Mason Film and T.V. Studies Program BA 2022) on October 20 at 7 p.m. Choreographer, dance industry expert, and author Theresa Ruth Howard will co-host the second event with anti-racist theater advocate Nicole Brewer on December 1 at 7 p.m.
This series puts this spotlight on the essential intersection between the creative sector and social justice movements. Using their artistic practice as a jumping off point, these speakers seek to ignite meaningful dialogue within our community, inspiring actionable tools for change. The conversations are free and open to the public, and will be streamed online as part of Mason Arts at Home and Hylton at Home, in collaboration with the Center for the Arts and the Hylton Performing Arts Center.
“As part of an institution of higher learning, we aspire for our performing arts centers to serve as creative classrooms for community members and students alike,” shared Adrienne Bryant Godwin, Director of Programming for the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “Our artistic programming can—and should—inspire us to think deeply about ourselves and our society. The Artist-Activist: Centering Black Voices explores timely and critical issues on the intersection of race, social justice, and the creative sector.”
Godwin continued, “I invited a group of incredible Mason faculty to curate a series featuring artists whose creative practice is inspired by their commitment to social justice, and vice versa. This cohort shared my belief that we must actively create opportunities to have honest, compassionate, and challenging conversations around race. We hope that the series will provide a platform for citizens of all ages and backgrounds to explore issues defining our past, present, and future.”
The curatorial cohort of Mason professors includes Rachel Debuque (CVPA School of Art and Design), Roger Jeffrey (CVPA School of Dance), Nikyatu Jusu (CVPA Film and Video Studies Program), Patricia Miller (CVPA Reva and Sid Dewberry Family School of Music), Sherrice Mojgani (CVPA School of Theater), Michael Nickens (CVPA Reva and Sid Dewberry Family School of Music), Wendi Manuel-Scott (College of Humanities and Social Sciences Integrative Studies and History), Boris Willis (CVPA Game Design Program).
The Artist-Activist: Centering Black Voices spring events will be announced at a later date. The events will be held digitally and will feature opportunities for live questions from the viewing audience via Facebook and YouTube.
The Artist-Activist: Centering Black Voices is produced by the College of Visual and Performing Arts, as a part of the Arts in Context series.
The Artist-Activist: Centering Black Voices with Bree Newsome
Tuesday, October 20 at 7 p.m.
The Artist-Activist: Centering Black Voices with Theresa Ruth Howard and Nicole Brewer
Tuesday, December 1 at 7 p.m.