Ask Dr. Carter

What outreach programs are in the works at the Arts Factory to connect its programs to the community?

The Department of Visual, Performing and Communication Arts has several outreach programs with schools and organizations in Charlotte’s Northwest Corridor as well as arts organizations on the local, regional and national levels. The University has partnered with On Q Performing Arts Inc., which is Charlotte’s non-profit theatre company dedicated to performing works that reflect the Black experience. On Q has an office at the Arts Factory and presented its season performances in the Arts Factory’s black box theatre. Along with the On Q partnership, we have established a partnership with one of the nation’s foremost African American theatre companies, Penumbra Theatre, in St. Paul, Minn. As part of this partnership, Mr. Lou Bellamy, Penumbra’s founder and artistic director, collaborates with the JCSU Visual, Performing and Communications department faculty to develop programs based on the concept of theatre for social change. These programs have a strong community outreach component, particularly within Charlotte’s Northwest Corridor. As a result of the collaboration among On Q, Penumbra Theatre and the University, our students have opportunities for growth and development through local performances and Penumbra’s summer institute.

Mr. Hasaan Kirkland, associate professor of fine art and a visual artist, is participating in a community grant titled Gathering Place Project Outreach, a training and outreach initiative of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission of the North Carolina Arts Council. The program offers training opportunities for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to create a new generation of heritage practitioners. The program also serves and supports institutions that preserve, promote and protect African American history, arts and culture in North Carolina, by providing statewide assistance in connecting and growing community, organizational, and individual skill-sets among and for African American museum spaces. The goal is to facilitate the growth of best practices for North Carolina's African American museum spaces which include cultural centers, archives, historic schools, historic homes, historic cemeteries, galleries and libraries.

Dr. Cindy Kistenberg, associate professor of visual, performing and communication arts, has also been active in reaching out to the community through theatre projects that promote social change, particularly among children and youth. Recently, Dr. Kistenberg took five JCSU student poets who are members of the Black Ink Monks campus organization to the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, N.C. to merge creative arts with teaching skills. Dr. Kistenberg has also worked with JCSU students on other projects that engage middle and high school students who live along the Northwest Corridor and projects with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

This answer was posted on: 7/11/2013 9:47 am