Fueling Inspiration at VCUarts

Dear Members of the VCUarts Community,

As we approach midterm, I hope that your Spring semester endeavors are rewarding and challenging in all kinds of ways, and for all the reasons that we collectively embark on creative practice and research.

Potentially fueling your inspiration and curiosity, I’d like to bring your attention to a number of upcoming events, many of them developed through the 2016-17 Inclusion Infusion Initiative, which drew a terrific response to our calls for proposals that would bring artists, performers, and scholars whose work offers a catalyst for dialogue about diverse aspects of identity—culture, class, race, gender, sexuality, religion. The initiative was developed in response to students’ interests in how current and historical social issues have been variously experienced and interpreted. It’s also meant to expose students to ways that the arts expand our awareness of diversity, celebrate a multitude of identities, and challenge us to redress inequities.

For example, this Friday, February 24, the one-day symposium “Shaping Bodies” hosts Cassils, Chelsey Johnson, Jenni Sorkin and Kara Thompson – artists and scholars who are engaged in conversations around the body, gender identity, race, social justice and material culture/histories. The distinguished speakers will present their individual research, followed by an open-table guided discussion with attendees. Times and locations for the Symposium, as well as information for all 16 events funded through the Inclusion Infusion Initiative, are listed on the VCUarts online calendar—insert “inclusion” into the search box.

Also upcoming, on March 15 & 16 the biennial Tasmeem conference hosted at the VCUQ campus. It’s always a lively conference, and with this year’s theme “analogue living in a digital world,” it’s particularly appropriate that a majilis making project, hosted by mOb  at the Depot, will be livestreamed.

Shortly thereafter, we’ll be full swing into end of the year student exhibitions and performances, with the undergraduate juried fine arts exhibition opening on March 24. For the most up-to-date information, keep your eye on email, social media, and our events page. I hope to see many of you out and about—connecting with one another, taking advantage of unique events, and celebrating one another’s accomplishments.

James Frazier, EdD, MFA
Interim Dean, School of the Arts
Virginia Commonwealth University


Interim Dean
James Frazier, Ed.D., M.F.A.


James’ Bio

James Frazier, Ed.D., M.F.A. is the interim dean for the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of the Arts, and the special assistant to the provost at the VCU School of the Arts in Qatar. He is a tenured professor and a former chair of the Department of Dance and Choreography.Frazier serves as a visiting evaluator for the dance accrediting body – the National Association of Schools of Dance, and he held the elected offices of president and secretary of the Council of Dance Administrators. He also serves as co-chair of the Diversity Task Force of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, sits on both the board of the celebrated American Dance Festival (where he served as co-dean 2010-13) and that of the American College Dance Association (ACDA). In addition, he maintains an ongoing professional relationship with the highly acclaimed New York-based performance ensemble Urban Bush Women, assisting on special projects.

Frazier’s previous academic appointments include: visiting assistant professor of Dance History, Florida State University; associate artistic director, Dance Institute of Washington (District of Columbia); publicity coordinator for the Urban Bush Women Summer Dance Institute; and adjunct appointments as a dance instructor at Florida A & M University, Florida State University, Temple University and Montgomery College.

As a professional dance artist, Frazier performed and toured with Kokuma Dance Theatre Company, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and was a founding member of Edgeworks Dance Theater. He has worked as a guest or creative collaborator with many others, performing nationally, including engagements at Jacob’s Pillow, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Dance Place, Philadelphia’s Prince Music Theater and The Joyce (SoHo), among others. He is a past recipient of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Choreographic Fellowship, and in 2009 he was commissioned to create a new ballet on the Richmond Ballet Company.

Frazier earned an Ed.D. in Dance at Temple University and both a M.F.A. in Dance and a B.S. in Marketing from Florida State University. In 2006, he was awarded the Alma Hawkins Award for Excellence in Dance Education for emerging leadership in the field by the Council of Dance Administrators.


February 23, 2017