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Thu, Oct 13


HowlRound Livestream

Art, Race & Dialogue

The second in the online series, "Animating Democracy: Reflecting Forward," this session examines the role of art to disrupt narratives, reveal complicity, deepen dialogue, and make progress toward truth and reconciliation. Featuring James Scruggs, Katrina Browne, and Kim Pevia.

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Art, Race & Dialogue
Art, Race & Dialogue

Time & Location

Oct 13, 2022, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM EDT

HowlRound Livestream


About the Event

REGISTER below to join us in the Zoom room, receive reminders, and request a FREE copy of the ground-breaking book Civic Dialogue, Arts & Culture: Findings from Animating Democracy.

Art, Race, & Dialogue

October 13, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. ET

In the context of countless murders of Black people, racially-motivated assaults on Asian and Arab Americans, and continuing systemic and structural racism against Black, Indigenous/First Nations, and people of color communities, art and artists can advance meaningful, transformative dialogue and racial reckoning. What should our expectations be for art as a change agent, and what is the role of dialogue in the pursuit? How can art be most potent and effective in disrupting entrenched patterns of thinking and feeling? What are the fulcrum points on the path to change? The artists and leaders in this session explore this path, from deepening understanding, to shifting minds and hearts, to healing historical wounds, to advancing actions, policies, and systemic and structural change. Addressing themes of emotional intelligence, culpability and complicity, apology and forgiveness, Kim Pevia will facilitate an exchange between artists Katrina Browne and James Scruggs. Through the lens of their radically different artistic approaches, they will examine the role of art to disrupt narratives, reveal complicity, deepen dialogue, and make progress toward truth and reconciliation.

With launching support from Animating Democracy, Katrina Browne produced and directed the documentary film Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, initially created for white audiences to support intragroup dialogue about white privilege. In the film, having learned that Katrina’s New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history, she and nine cousins retraced the Triangle Trade on a literal journey from Bristol, RI to Ghana, to Cuba, and gained powerful new perspectives on the historical and lasting impact of the trans-Atlantic slave trade on race relations and systemic racism in the U.S. today. The film has been widely disseminated for 15 years, with significant sustained involvement by Katrina and family members, as an educational and dialogue catalyst, in reparations efforts and other contexts.

James Scruggs creates large-scale, topical, theatrical, multi-media work looking at difficult issues of race and inequity, often deploying satire and humor to provoke emotion and thought. One of his past works, 3/Fifths’ Supremacyland, takes its name from the “three-fifths compromise” of 1787 which counted slaves as only three-fifths a person. In 3/Fifths, James created a radically interactive immersive experience of white privilege that lets you choose your race when you get in the door. In his multi-year, multi-project commitment to addressing race in the U.S., other works include: Disposable Men and Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show. While his work may implicate the viewer and cause discomfort, through creative devices he seeks to create an engaged space that does not harm. His new work in development explores what truth and reconciliation would look like in the U.S. if we achieved it.

About the Series:

Animating Democracy: Reflecting Forward is a FREE three-event series co-presented by Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, and Art2Action, livestreamed by HowlRound.

For more than two decades, Animating Democracy has created spaces for critical exchange and catalytic learning in the field. In supporting projects on the ground, so many issues and questions were raised and addressed by artists, cultural organizations, and their community partners. Many of these issues and questions persist, but in a changed and more charged context. In three Fall events, the Animating Democracy: Reflecting Forward series considers the practice and progress of community-based and socially/civically engaged art and culture over recent decades, and its promise, now and into the future. Each session brings together trailblazing artists and cultural leaders from Animating Democracy’s founding years with a new generation of leading-edge practitioners and thought leaders from the arts and other sectors. Through the lens of their work, featured speakers and artists will help articulate critical questions of the day, and for the future of arts and culture work, as a spark, invitation, and space for social and civic change.


SESSION 3: Artistic Imagination as a Force for Change

November 18, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. ET

Featuring: adrienne maree brown, author and writer-in-residence at the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, and choreographer Jawole Zollar, founder and visioning partner of Urban Bush Women, facilitated by culture strategist Sage Crump

Click here for more details about the Reflecting Forward series!

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