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Arts Equity Summit

April 1, 2022 | Virtual + Campus Commons

The College of Performing and Visual Arts is holding our first-ever Arts Equity Summit! UNC students, faculty, and staff will come together with several guest artists from across the country for a day of workshops, discussions, and performances that explore issues of equity in the arts.

All members of the campus community are welcome to attend. No registration or RSVP is required, so simply join the Vimeo links found below in the Schedule for virtual sessions or come to Campus Commons directly to attend in-person sessions.


Mission Statement

The College of Performing and Visual Arts, with UNC’s “Empower Inclusivity” strategic priority in mind, is holding the 2022 Arts Equity Summit as a vehicle for faculty, staff, and students to purposefully and mindfully explore issues of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the arts. As a community of performing and visual artists with a heritage of being at the forefront of change, we recognize that many existing systems of power grant privilege and access unequally, and we believe that equity is crucial to the long-term viability of the arts, our culture, and our community. Through lectures, concerts, listening sessions, and opportunities for reflection and connection, we aim both to celebrate our support of equity in the arts and to inspire students, faculty, and staff towards more equitable practices and ways of existing in their respective fields. We hope to provide resources, amplify voices, foster awareness, empower action, and create momentum for continuous growth.

Schedule

This event is set up to be virtual in the morning and in person in the afternoon. Please note that the virtual morning sessions are happening concurrently, with 2 sessions in each time block so that attendees can choose which one they prefer to attend. 

10–10:50am

Guest Artist Hideaki Tsutsui (Lighting Design)

Virtual Event

This virtual session with Hide is an informal Q&A-style discussion that will be moderated by one of our staff or faculty. This is your chance to ask questions of someone who is active in this field!

Join virtually


Guest Artist Ilana Morgan (Arts Education)

Virtual Event

This virtual session with Ilana is an informal Q&A-style discussion that will be moderated by one of our staff or faculty. This is your chance to ask questions of someone who is active in this field!

Join virtually

11–11:50am

Guest Artist Xavier Gilmore (Sound Art, Interdisciplinary Performance)

Virtual Event

This virtual session with Xavier is an informal Q&A-style discussion that will be moderated by one of our staff or faculty. This is your chance to ask questions of someone who is active in this field!

Join virtually


Guest Artist Jadd Tank (Dance, Choreography)

Virtual Event

This virtual session with Jadd is an informal Q&A-style discussion that will be moderated by one of our staff or faculty. This is your chance to ask questions of someone who is active in this field!

Join virtually

11:50am–1pm

Lunch Break + Travel to Campus Commons

1-4:30pm

Student Presenter Ann Adele Blasingame (Art and Design)

Campus Commons Atrium

These Are Bigger Fish to Fry
This is an art showcase of one artist's struggle as a marginalized voice. Attendees are encouraged to view the idoms of struggle in art with curiosity and take away what will most build the continued cause of equity in contemporary art and the world.

1-1:10pm

Guest Artist Embodiology® (Performance and Creativity Practice)

Virtual Event

Embodiology® is about advancing performance in all areas of human endeavor, no matter what the discipline or practice you pursue. You will learn in this session about their summer residency at UNC and scholarship opportunities to work with their team!

Join virtually

1:15-2:15pm

Guest Artist Cris Derksen (Cello, Composing)

Campus Commons Performance Hall

Derksen, who "braids the traditional and contemporary, weaving her classical background and her Indigenous ancestry together with new school electronics to create genre-defying music," will perform a short recital as well as interact with participants in a Q&A session.

Watch livestream

2:30-3:15pm

Student Presenter Zeah Loren (Theatre Arts and Dance)

Student Presenter Angel Garcia (Theatre Arts and Dance)

Campus Commons Performance Hall

Portal of Hoopla
Portal of Hoopla is a multimedia performance presentation exploring the trials of preserving the sanctity of black bodies and souls within white performance spaces.  Our protagonists find themselves traversing through a portal in which Eurocentricity censors' their expression. In order to to free themselves from their psychological shackles, self-created and otherwise, queer reimaginings of time and space must be employed to generate vessels of liberation. 

Watch livestream

3:30-4:30pm

Closing with Guest Artist Georgina Escobar (Playwrighting, Directing)

Campus Commons Performance Hall

In this creative and engaging workshop, Escobar speaks holistically around the topics of identity, topology and the ecospheric consciousness to shine light on creative activism by exploring environmental and transformative justice through the arts. Using real world experiences and writing prompts, Escobar explores how environmental justice, memory, and topology is connected to artistic practice and offers strategies for creatively engaging students and others in activism through the arts. 


Student Performer Edward W. Hardy (Violin)

Campus Commons Performance Hall

UNC doctoral candidate violinist Edward W. Hardy will perform his original solo violin composition, "Evolution–Inspired by the Evolution of Black Music."

Watch livestream

 

Guest Artists

Georgina Escobar

Georgina Escobar

Playwright and Director

Georgina Escobar is a queer Mexican playwright and maker of sci-femme narratives, ultra-human mythos and Frontera-funk stories. She works textually with the impossible to excavate Latin American perspectives & create genre-fiction with heart. She is a MacDowell Fellow, Djerassi Artist and recipient of the Darrell Ayers Award. Her work has been featured in the Kilroys List, The Texas Review, Los Bárbaros, McSweeney’s Anthology and New Passport Press. Her plays have been produced across the USA and internationally in Mexico, UK, Italy, Denmark and Sweden. Her work has been performed at INTAR, New York Children’s Theatre, Project Y, Clubbed Thumb, Lincoln Center, Bushwick Starr (NY), Two Rivers, Milagro, Aurora Theatre and the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center.

Learn more about Georgina Escobar

Cris Dirksen 

Cris Derksen

Cellist and Composer

Juno nominated Cris Derksen, originally from Northern Alberta, Canada, is an internationally respected Indigenous cellist and composer. Derksen braids the traditional and contemporary, weaving her classical background and her Indigenous ancestry together with new school electronics to create genre-defying music. 

As a composer she has her foot in many worlds working in choral, symphonic, film, theatre and dance, and is regularly commissioned by major Canadian orchestras and new music ensembles. As a performer Derksen performs nationally and internationally. Recent destinations include Hong Kong, Australia, Mongolia, Europe, Mexico and a whole lot of Canada: the place Derksen refers to as home. 

2021 commissions include pieces for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Ottawa's Chamberfest, the City of Toronto, Edmonton New Music, the Edmonton Symphony with support from the National Arts Centre, Vancouver's Blueridge Chamber Festival, Vancouver Transform Cabaret, and a 4-part docuseries for the Knowledge Network.  A new album of Cris Derksen’s works will be released in 2022.

Learn more about Cris Derksen

Ama Wray

Dr. S. Ama Wray

Dance Professor, Creator of Embodiology®

Creator of Embodiology® Dr S. Ama Wray is also a TEDx Speaker and Professor of Dance at the University of California, Irvine. Self-styled as a Performance Architect for over 30 years she has been performing, teaching, researching, speaking, choreographing and collaborating across three continents. In addition to her own work, she is the legal custodian for Jane Dudley’s seminal work Harmonica Breakdown (1938), re-staging it for repertory companies worldwide. Wray’s own work brings dance and live music back into closer alignment, collaborating with artists including Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Derek Bermel, Julian Joseph, OBE, Nicole Mitchell, Mojisola Adebayo and Kei Akagi. Recent work that reflects her vision to bring depth of understanding to heal social, environmental and historical wounds include: Covid-19: A Nature’s Trail, Jazz: The House that America Built (pt I & II), ‘Hire’ Knowledge and the Anthropocene, Muhammad Ali and Me and Moj of the Antarctic. Her award-winning movement methodology - Embodiology®, which arose from research into improvisation in West African performance is the creative method she employs. Dr Wray has given keynote talks on topics of creativity, human flourishing and indigenous knowledge at the United Nations, The Institute for Advance Study, Dance USA, World Dance Alliance, Florida International University and Temple University. The Embodiology® praxis enables an optimization of  creativity through engaging in distinctive breath-informed, rhythmic movement and music concepts. Stemming from this, JiM™ - Joy in Motion - was created at the outset of the COVID-19 social distancing mandate to support everyday people to transform their indoor isolation into spaces of ‘co-liberation’. For UC Irvine she provides a similarly inspired wellness services for faculty and staff, programmed by the Susan Samueli Institute for Integrative Health; and for CareHope College, Florida she provides support for remote students of nursing. Staying grounded in the endogenous and ancestral foundations of Embodiology®, the first NeuroArts symposium on her method took place at the Center for the Neurobiology for Learning and Memory in 2021. As a result, her creative practice is extending into clinical research with local, national and international colleagues, first exploring the methods as a form of wellness activity for healthcare students. Responding to the work’s ability to help people cope with stress and yield optimal capacity to problem-solve. Additionally, Wray has devised the Embodiology® Teacher Training program to meet with the diverse applications of this work. Literature on Embodiology® can be found in British Dance, Black Routes and The Oxford Handbook of Improvisation, with her own monograph coming soon. Her mantra “Your Life is not an Algorithm, Improvise!” has its roots in her fellowship from the UK’s National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts Fellow, where she began exploration into performance and technology creating Texterritory with Fleeta Siegal, produced by Future Physical. Digital terrains continue to be explored through AI 4 Afrika, an initiative she co-founded with choreographers, data scientists, scholars, and entrepreneurs in 2020 also at the height of the pandemic. Equal to all things is her zest for equity and justice – from plant life to humans; and The Africana Institute for Creativity, Recognition and Elevation is the interdisciplinary space where as Co-PI she fosters this intention.

Hideaki Tsutsui

Hideaki Tsuitsui

Lighting Designer

Hideaki is from Sapporo, Japan earned a Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design at Florida State University and is a member of USA829.  

New York credits include Lantern Floating for Peace at Lincoln Center, Tony Award winning Choreographer Garth Fagan’s 40th anniversary piece; Thanks 40 at Joyce theatre, Mikel Rouse’s Gravity Radio at Brooklyn Academy of Music, three seasons as the principle LD for the Midtown International Theatre Festival where he designed numerous productions such as Rhinoceros and City of Dreams. He also designed lighting for Osvaldo Golijov's La Pasión Según San Marcos at Brooklyn Academy of Music and National Tour of Moscow Circus USA tour. He was also the Assistant Lighting Designer for Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer on OMNIUM GATHERUM.  

Hideaki has been working internationally as the Lighting Designer/Director for shows such as Cook, Dixon and Young (formally known as Three Mo’ Tenors), Sing Along Santa in Seoul, Korea, Failing Kansas in Melbourne Australia. Hideaki is also the Lighting Designer for Mikel Rouse’s Cameraworld, Music for Minorities, and The End of Cinematics, which had a successful run in NYC and Westend. It was also featured in Live Design Magazine and Prague Quadrennial 2007.   

Before he joined University of Texas at El Paso as the lighting design professor, he was the lighting designer and VP of Operations at Eggshell Light Company in Hawaii, where he designed over 100 corporate events, concerts and television shows.  A few of the events he designed for were; PBS Hawaii, Cindy Lauper, Nissin Cup Noodle, General Motors, Boeing, Coors, LPGA, Subaru, Kaiser Permanente, KTC Japan, and FENDI.  In 2011, Hideaki was one of the lighting designers to work on APEC 2011 conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. Recent projects include Sweeney Todd at Madison Opera, Mikel Rouse’s The Demo World Premier at Stanford and Virginia Arts Festival 20th Anniversary Gala, which featured some of the greatest dance companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Mark Morris Dance Group, Tokyo Ballet,  Birmingham Royal Ballet and Richmond Ballet. Hideaki continues to work such events as Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii, which attracts 50,000 spectators each year and NCAA final Four Promotional Videos for CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting Systems, which works have been broadcasted nationally and internationally.

Ilana Morgan

Ilana Morgan

Dance Professor

Ilana Morgan, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at Texas Woman’s University in the Department of Dance. She teaches dance pedagogy and theory courses, coordinates the MA in Dance, the BA in Dance with Teacher Certification, and mentors and guides student teachers and graduate students. Her research focuses on dance education as social justice with incarcerated and detained youth and contributes to the field of dance in areas such as restorative and trauma informed practices for the dance classroom, and choreography as an expressive wellness practice. This research and advocacy considers issues of confinement and freedom, governmental approaches to rehabilitation, juvenile justice, autonomy, democracy, and trauma-informed pedagogy. She has published articles in the Journal of Dance Education, the Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship, and a chapter in Dance Education and Responsible Citizenship: Promoting Civic Engagement through Effective Dance Pedagogies. Additionally, she also serves as the Director of the Community Dance Center at Texas Woman’s University in the commitment to provide low-cost, high quality dance classes for local community members.

Xavier Gilmore

Xavier Gilmore

Interdisciplinary Artist and Producer

Xavier Gilmore is an interdisciplinary artist and producer who works in sound, traditional mediums and collaborative performance. Through his work, he explores ideas on dissent, abstraction and social topography. He has exhibited regionally and internationally at Artpace, Southwest School of Art, Museo Soumaya and the McNay, among others. Gilmore holds a BFA from UTSA and studied at School of the Art Institute Chicago, and Universidad de Las Américas Puebla, Cholula, México.

JADD TANK

Jadd Tank

Performing Artist and Choreographer

My passion for choreography and dance lies in the exploration of boundless possibilities in which objects,
bodies and events relate to each other: the spaces we create and the identities that spaces create for us.
Nurtured by the cultural intersection of Lebanese and Midwestern traditions, I am approaching contemporary performance art and creation with an aesthetic that reflects a versatile mélange – Mediterranean culture, dramaturgy, architecture and postmodern movement techniques. 

Performance-wise, I have toured and worked internationally with my own creations and those of Maqamat Dance Company, 2019 Dorris Duke Artist award winner Michelle Ellsworth, Alias Guilherme Botelho, Marcel Leemann, and Cristina Goletti.

I have collaborated, choreographed and performed in music videos of Vladimir Kurumilian, Mashrou’ Leila and the digital works of Design House T Sakhi and Dubai-based director Dei El-Ayoubi. In addition, I choreographed for director Susan Youssef’s feature films Marjoun & The Flying Headscarf (2019) and Amsterdam to Anatolia (2019).

In 2016 I presented a TEDx performative talk at the Sziget Festival. I have been a featured choreographer
and performer for the 2017 and 2018 Focus on Mediterranean Choreography series in Italy – performing
my solo Liberté Toujours and duet Bourgeois-Z in Castiglioncello, Spoleto and Vicenza.

Student Presenters

AnneAdele Blassingame

Ann Adele Blassingame

These Are Bigger Fish to Fry
This is an art showcase of one artist's struggle as a marginalized voice. Attendees are encouraged to view the idoms of struggle in art with curiosity and take away what will most build the continued cause of equity in contemporary art and the world.

Ann Blassingame is an artist currently attending the University of Northern Colorado for their Art & Design B.A. with an emphasis in Printmaking. They are in their third year and also plan on completing a minor in Anthropology. Through their work, Blassingame reflects on their life and their traumas to create pieces representative of themselves while encompassing current issues in the world such as gender inequality, LGBTQ+ rights, and racial inequality issues. Blassingame was raised in the Denver-metro area by two photographers. They have several years of experience in portrait, wedding, and family photography along with videography. They are well versed in several Adobe suite products including Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere Pro. Blassingame worked under her mother’s photography business, Valerie Lee Photography, for several years before leaving to attend school. Currently, Blassingame works at the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center as the Arts, Archives, and Affinity Groups Coordinator. Blassingame has been curating pieces of work from queer students to present in a gallery format. At the same time, Blassingame is working towards becoming a tattoo artist in order to create a positive change in the industry.  

 

Angel Garcia

Portal of Hoopla
Portal of Hoopla is a multimedia performance presentation exploring the trials of preserving the sanctity of black bodies and souls within white performance spaces.  Our protagonists find themselves traversing through a portal in which Eurocentricity censors' their expression. In order to to free themselves from their psychological shackles, self-created and otherwise, queer reimaginings of time and space must be employed to generate vessels of liberation. 

Zeah Edmonds

Zeah Loren

Portal of Hoopla
Portal of Hoopla is a multimedia performance presentation exploring the trials of preserving the sanctity of black bodies and souls within white performance spaces.  Our protagonists find themselves traversing through a portal in which Eurocentricity censors' their expression. In order to to free themselves from their psychological shackles, self-created and otherwise, queer reimaginings of time and space must be employed to generate vessels of liberation. 

My name is Zeah Loren Edmonds, I am an Acting Major with a double minor in Writing and Film Studies. My artistic voice challenges the norm by radiating truth and effervescent unity.

UNC Productions include: Jukebox's Eat, Play, SingSoapbox's Johnny Boy, Female Figures, Se7vnOut of the Woods, Omi & UnspokenASU's Taste of Africa/ Operation Cheesecake's In the Heights2020 Speaks & SweatAn Electronic Wonderland Host and A Night to Remember: A Modern Melodrama in Jazz Time

My next performance, Akeelah and the Bee will run April 28th- 30th @7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 1st @ 2 p.m. in Langworthy Theater. 

Once I graduate, I will travel the world and explore theatrical and performance traditions outside of the Eurocentric or Westernized lens. After that, I will be heavily immersed within the entertainment industry. 

I would not be here without my family's fearless, driven, passionate mindset. I specifically want to thank my Mom, Sisters, Poppa Long, and Grandmothers for their constant love, support, and patience.

Edward W. Hardy, violin

Edward W. Hardy

UNC doctoral candidate violinist Edward W. Hardy will perform his original solo violin composition, "Evolution–Inspired by the Evolution of Black Music."

Edward W. Hardy (born January 12, 1992) is a critically acclaimed Black and Puerto Rican composer, music director, virtuoso violinist and violist and is one of the foremost exponents of solo violin repertoire for theatrical productions. At the age of 25, "Hardy (was) one of the youngest composers to ever be accepted into the Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison Composer Residency and one of the most prominent composer/ violinists in New York City" - BroadwayWorld. “Edward W. Hardy, who composed the omnipresent music, plays the violin superbly.” – The New York Times. He has “Vigor, Control And Expressiveness." - The Post and Courier. Hardy is “Mesmerizing” - Manhattan With A Twist and also performs in a style that is “serene, dreamy, and soulful with velvety panache” - The Millbrook Independent. As the composer, music director and violinist of the smash hit Off-Broadway show The Woodsman Hardy’s show was a recipient of the 2016 Obie Award, the 2014 Jim Henson Foundation Grant and was broadcast on PBS stations four separate times, streamed on BroadwayHD and major music producer Jim McElwaine produced Hardy’s album “The Woodsman Original Off-Broadway Solo Recording” which continues to be sold and streamed in countries such as the United States, Mexico, United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, France, Hong Kong, Argentina, Ireland, and  Germany.

Currently,  Edward's discography contains 8 singles, 1 album, and his list of original compositions include works for solo violin, voice, harp, piano, string quartet, string trio, string duo, Latin ensemble, and soundtracks for film and stage.

Edward has an extensive performance history ranging from solo violin performances for the Congressional Black Caucus/ opening of the African-American Smithsonian Museum, Hublot, MAC Cosmetics, Haute Living, special performances for rap legends 50 Cent, Nas, Justin Bieber, Hailey Bieber, Usher, Russell Westbrook, Kehlani, and legendary hockey player Alexander Ovechkin, to sharing the stage with famous artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Kygo, André De Shields, Damien Sneed, Regina Carter, Norm Lewis, Joshua Bell, John Blake Jr., Mark O'Connor, and Radmila Lolly. Performance venues include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, WQXR, The Greene Space, The Apollo Theater, Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, Charleston Museum, The Cutting Room, The Public Theater's Joe's Pub, Amanyara, and many others.

Edward is a proud member of Local 802 Musicians Union, Dramatist Guild of America, ASCAP and is affiliated with the Sphinx Organization, Exploring the Metropolis, the Gateways Music Festival. He is also the founder and artistic director of the Omnipresent Music Festival - BIPOC Musicians Festival, and the digital marketing director and artistic advisor of Beethoven in the Rockies. Master of Music, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College CUNY, cum laude, Bachelor of Music, SUNY Purchase, cum laude. Edward is a Doctoral candidate/ graduate teaching assistant in Violin Performance at the University of Northern Colorado under the mentorship of Dr. Jubal Fulks.