VCU Press Release:
The Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts is raising its students’ level of social-identity engagement through its Inclusion Infusion Initiative. Through the $100,000 initiative, faculty and students have proposed programs to bring to campus artists, performers and scholars whose work is a catalyst for dialogue about diverse aspects of identity — such as culture, class, race, gender, sexuality and religion.
Inclusion Infusion 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.
“The overarching objective has been to create an environment where issues of diversity and inclusion are a regular topic of conversation, at the forefront of people’s minds rather than something at the margins,” said James Frazier, Ed.D., interim dean of the School of the Arts.
Among the 16 proposals that have been selected for funding, a range of topics will be explored, including race and representation, sexual identity and creative practice, artmaking and social change, violence and reconciliation, virtual reality and empathy, and cultural tradition and gendered identity.
Friday, March 17, 7 to 9 p.m.
Iridian Gallery, 1407 Sherwood Ave.
Cobi Moules and Cupid Ojala present their two-person show, chaired by Chris Norris, faculty member of the VCU School of the Arts Art Foundation Program.
Monday, March 20, 10 a.m. to noon
Commons Theater, 907 Floyd Ave.
Cobi Moules and Cupid Ojala present back-to-back lectures. Explorations of queer and transgender identity are the focus of Moules’ work, navigating the complexity of individual experience through documentation, the subtle reimagining of physicality and the creation of fantasy worlds. Ojala’s work focuses on the visibility of queer bodies, tropes of masculinity and exploration of erotic territory as experienced in a transgendered body.
Salsa for Social Change – John Santos
Monday, March 20, noon to 7:50 p.m. (VCU students only)
Tuesday, March 21, 8 to 10 p.m. (open the public; tickets are $7 advance, $10 at the door and free with VCU student ID)
W.E Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, 922 Park Ave.
As part of his three-day artist-in-residency, seven-time Grammy-nominated percussionist John Santos, one of the foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music in the world today, will present “Salsa for Social Change,” which draws upon the historical role of salsa music and its precursors as documenter of a social reality from the perspective of resistance — and how that positive thread remained vital despite commercial, industry and other internal and external pressures.
O.J.: Made in America
Saturday, April 15, and Saturday, April 22, noon to 4:30 p.m.
Grace Street Theater, 934 W. Grace St.
A screening of the eight-hour documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” which explores issues of race and celebrity through the life of O.J. Simpson, whose trial for the murder of his wife brought attention to the stark divide between white and black America in the mid-1990s. The April 22 screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring producer Ezra Edelman, Nick Forester and VCU faculty talking about issues of marginalized identities, social justice, athletics, law, journalism and the media.
For more information on the Inclusion Infusion Initiative, visit http://arts.vcu.edu/inclusion-
infusion/. Additional events in this series can be found at http://arts.vcu.edu/calendar/ events/ by searching “Inclusion.”