What are Arts Colleges Doing About Racism?

George Mason University, College of Visual and Performing Arts

  • A existing (fairly new) cross-disciplinary seminar series called Kritikos (under our Arts in Context banner) has been repurposed and dedicated to the exploration of anti-racist artmaking, pedagogy, institutional policy, and personal actions. It meets every Friday for 90 minutes. View

  • Academic units in CVPA have held or are planning to hold student/faculty listening sessions focusing on the experiences of our students of color.  The School of Music and School of Dance have already engaged in this process, and other programs are preparing to do so as the semester approaches. Facilitated faculty and staff conversations are occurring around anti-racism themes. A representative of Mason's Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education serves as facilitator. Next up is the professional staff of the Center for the Arts and the Hylton Performing Arts Center, so that our most public-facing operations can better meet the moment.

    Our academic units and professional venues are reviewing curricula and production/exhibition/presentation schedules to reflect BIPOC work and artists and concerns, in both immediate and long-range terms.

    Various units have posted resources to foster a deeper engagement with the issues that Black Lives Matter. View

  • A wonderful School of Theater student, Jordyn Campbell, organized a BLM rally in downtown Fairfax, which was peaceful and well-attended. View

  • Dean's statement from June 2, which appeared on all of our principal websites and on social media channels. View

  • A cross-campus program to place the legacy -- and statue -- of our namesake, George Mason, in historical context has led to what we think will be a transformative piece of public engagement around the theme of The Enslaved People of George Mason, creating a visual conversation between two of the people Mason owned as slaves and Mason himself.  The impetus for this large-scale project came about from an undergraduate research project led by Dr. Wendi Manuel-Scott, and the design and execution has been a multi-disciplinary endeavor.  The project began about 3 years ago and will be finished next year when Roger Wilkins Plaza reopens. View

Contact: Rick Davis
Dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts
Executive Director, Hylton Performing Arts Center
George Mason University
(703) 993-8878 | Email

Louisiana State University, College of Music and Dramatic Arts

We are forming the CMDA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to ensure that we are being thoughtful, deliberate, and intentional in our actions as we pursue our mission.  The CMDA DEI Committee will have three main objectives:

  1. Faculty Hiring – Members of the CMDA DEI Committee will serve as ambassadors for faculty hiring committees in the college.   A member of the committee will serve on each hiring committee within the college.  The committee will also explore best practices for recruiting, hiring, and retaining diverse faculty members.

  2. Student Experience – The committee will work with the CMDA Office of Student Success to ensure we are following best practices for recruiting and retaining diverse students and will help to ensure that the student experience while at LSU is welcoming, inclusive, and equitable. The DEI Committee may also choose to have a student committee as part of this particular initiative.

  3. Curriculum, Programming, and Representation – The committee will help to ensure that our curriculum contains a diversity of styles, cultures, and artistic works that expand beyond the traditional canon.  Likewise, the committee will advise on programming that is representative of diverse cultures and genres outside the traditional canon.  Finally, the committee will advise on hiring equal representation of guest artists, designers, directors, conductors, and composers.

Penn State THEATRE

  • We have cancelled our in-person fall season of theatre, and are soliciting proposals for socially-distanced indoor/outdoor performances revolving around the theme of racial justice.  So we are shifting to a new method of delivery, but also content to address this new global crisis.

Southern Oregon University

  • Our Theatre Program here at Southern Oregon University just received a letter from a number of our students and alums demanding changes to the program that better embraces the tenets of equity as being advanced by the BIPOC Project. The BIPOC Project aims to build authentic and lasting solidarity among Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), in order to undo Native invisibility, anti-Blackness, dismantle white supremacy and advance racial justice. https://www.thebipocproject.org/ Coming out of this project is a coalition of theater artists, known by the title of its first statement, “We See You, White American Theater,” https://www.weseeyouwat.com which has posted online a 29-page set of demands that, if adopted, would amount to a sweeping restructuring of the theater ecosystem in America. We have crafted a swift response from our theatre faculty to acknowledge the issues raised in the letter and that the Theatre Program embraces the desire to change and to develop a more equitable program reflected in the curriculum, play selections for production, casting, and study of more BIPOC artists and their works.

Contact: David Humphrey

Director of the Oregon Center for the Arts
Southern Oregon University