Erie Arts & Culture announces Critical Conversations, a program that leverages the arts and humanities to prime conversations concerning social change. The program is intended to open channels of dialog, with content and conversations revolving around identity, equity, justice, and other topics that are often uncomfortable to approach yet too important to avoid. This program is part of the agency’s New Horizons initiative, with funding provided in part by the Erie Community Foundation.
Erie Arts & Culture has partnered with Edinboro University and the Northwestern Pennsylvania Artist Association (NPAA) for the first installment of Critical Conversations. Join us in reading Aruna D’Souza’s book “Whitewalling: Art, Race & Protest in 3 Acts.” Those reading the book will be invited to participate in online discussions based on the text being read. Conversations will occur through video conferencing and will be scheduled for four different occurrences.
Proposed dates for the group to virtually convene are outlined below:
April 21st: Introduction
April 28th: Act I
May 12th: Act II
May 26th: Act III
Proposed times are 4:30 - 6:30.
Then, at 6:00 PM on September 9, 2020, Edinboro University's Visiting Artist and Speaker Committee (VAS) will host a keynote presentation by D'Souza and a panel conversation. The panel will be moderated by Charlotte Wellman and is slated to include:
- Aruna D'Souza
- Leslie Sotomayor
- Rhonda Matthews
- Cheryl Rush Dix
Erie Arts & Culture has purchased 20 copies of D’Souza’s book. Those who would like a complimentary copy of the book should email Patrick Fisher ([email protected]) by 4/17/2020. Copies will be distributed on a first come first serve basis. Copies are also available online through Amazon and other retail outlets. Those who are interested in participating in the conversations should also contact Patrick because a Doodle poll will be distributed to determine the dates and times for video conferences.
D’Souza is a scholar of modern and contemporary culture and feminist theory. Her work appears regularly in 4Columns.org, where she is a member of the editorial advisory board, as well as in publications including the Wall Street Journal, ARTnews, Garage, Bookforum, Momus and Art Practical. D’Souza was also the 2020 juror of the Erie Art Museum’s annual Nicole and Harry Martin Spring Show, slated to open later this summer.
“Whitewalling: Art, Race & Protest in 3 Acts reflects on these three incidents in the long and troubled history of art and race in America. It lays bare how the art world―no less than the country at large―has persistently struggled with the politics of race, and the ways this struggle has influenced how museums, curators and artists wrestle with notions of free speech and the specter of censorship. Whitewalling takes a critical and intimate look at these three “acts” in the history of the American art scene and asks: when we speak of artistic freedom and the freedom of speech, who, exactly, is free to speak?”