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