Lecture will explore the role of art, culture and creativity in Providence’s development
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism today announced the Annual Senator Claiborne Pell Lecture on Arts and Humanities titled “What is Cultural Justice.” The lecture will be held on Wednesday, December 13 at 5:00pm in the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Islandm, located at 393 Broad Street. The event is free and open to the public, but seating will be limited.
“Senator Pell believed that the arts, humanities, and education were key ingredients for a community’s fabric,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “In Providence, we recognize that the cultural life of the Creative Capital is enriched when residents and visitors have access to diverse forms of arts and humanities experiences. We are excited to welcome Carlton Turner and offer this special program to the public.”
Honoring Rhode Island’s late United States Senator Claiborne Pell, who was instrumental in the development of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, this year’s Pell Lecture will focus on the question, “What is Cultural Justice?” Carlton Turner (AlternateROOTS, M.U.G.A.B.E.E.) will provide the keynote address followed by a panel discussion with Karen Allen Baxter (Brown University’s Rites and Reason Theatre Africana Studies), Anjel Newman (AS220 Youth; performer), Sabrina Chaudhary (Stay silent PVD, Trade Pop-Up) and Ian Cozzens (New Urban Arts; artist and designer).
“As a nationally recognized humanist and arts administrator, Carlton Turner’s work at the intersection of arts and social justice connects equity, culture, and community building,” said Stephanie Fortunato, Director of the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism. “His experiences and insight make him uniquely capable of honoring the pioneering work of the late Senator Claiborne Pell.” Turner is widely recognized for his legacy at ROOTS, his work as co-founder and co-artistic director of M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction), and his service on the boards of the First People’s Fund, New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project, and the Highlander Center for Research and Education.
The lecture honors the late Claiborne Pell (1918-2009), who represented Rhode Island in the United States Senate from 1961 to 1997. He is remembered for being a champion of education, the arts and humanities. Senator Pell was the main sponsor of the Pell Grant, a financial aid program for college students. Established in 2009, the event localizes Senator Pell’s vision for the nation and invites the community to come together to celebrate the role of art, culture and creativity in the capital city’s development.
Pell Lecture spotlight key aspects of the six community-wide goals outlined in Creative Providence: A cultural plan for the creative sector. Past lectures have honed in on social and economic benefits associated with making space for arts and culture in real estate development; presented ideas and creative solutions for complex urban issues; focused on diversifying cultural participation; explored creative placemaking nationally and in Providence; and looked at how other cities are nurturing arts education to develop a creative, 21st century ready workforce.
The 2017 Senator Pell Lecture “What is Cultural Justice?” is presented by the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, produced in collaboration with the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Rhode Island Foundation, Alliance of Artist Communities, Rhode Island LISC, Trinity Repertory Company, Brown University Rites and Reason Theatre Africana Studies, College Unbound, and The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities + Cultural Heritage with support from AS220 and The Dean Hotel.
Carlton Turner| AlternateROOTS, M.U.G.A.B.E.E.
Carlton Turner is the Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS, a regional non-profit arts organization based in the South supporting artists working at the intersection of arts and social justice. Turner is co-founder and co-artistic director of the group M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction). M.U.G.A.B.E.E. is a Mississippi-based performing arts group that blends jazz, hip-hop, spoken word poetry and soul music together with non-traditional storytelling and a member of the Progress Theatre Ensemble.
Turner is currently on the board of Appalshop, First People’s Fund, and Imagining America, an advisory member to the National Theater Project at New England Foundation for the Arts and Michael Rohd’s Catalyst Initiative. Turner is a member of the We Shall Overcome Fund Advisory Board at the Highlander Center for Research and Education, a steering committee member of the Arts x Culture x Social Justice Network, and former Network of Ensemble Theaters steering committee member.
Sabrina Chaudhary | stay silent PVD
Sabrina Chaudhary is co-founder of stay silent PVD, an organization that focuses on creative projects, producing events and marketing. Since the December 2012 launch of stay silent PVD, she and her partner Jason Almeida have produced the summer festival series Day Trill, and events such as #AuxSocial, Bounce House, CHUNES!, Eggs Over, HOMEGROWN and Luv U Better. stay silent PVD has also grown into a creative collective frequently collaborating with artists Cam Bells + Hil Holla, in-house art director, Andrew White of Beyond All Reach, while also providing space for many brands and creatives from across the country through Trade Pop-Up, the non-profit organization they founded in December 2014.
Anjel Newmann | AS220
Anjel Newman, also known as emcee Medusah Black, is the director of AS220 Youth. She is an accomplished artist and arts administrator who has shepherded a dynamic integration of workforce development and arts education opportunities at one of Providence’s flagship anchor institutions.
Ian Cozzens | New Urban Arts, Artist/Designer
Ian Cozzens is a printer, designer, carpenter, artist, and teacher living and working in Providence, Rhode Island, who loves to talk about creating spaces, how to make awesomeness happen in the world, and everything in between.
Karen Allen Baxter | Rites & Reason
Karen Allen Baxter is the managing director of Rites and Reason Theatre in the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University, where she produces each season’s productions and programs. Baxter also curates and produces The Black Lavender Experience (BLX), theater and conversation sparked by queer artists of color, and spearheads the Tougaloo-BLX student exchange. She started her career at the New Lafayette Theatre in Harlem. Baxter managed reggae artists Bob Marley & The Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, and Burning Spear. She co-produced the Grammy-nominated album Reggae Sunsplash – A Tribute to Bob Marley. From 1987 to 1999, she produced the Annual AUDELCO Awards that honor Black Theatre excellence. She was also the executive director of Frank Silvera Writers’ Workshop. Baxter holds a bachelor’s in sociology from the City University of New York, an arts management certificate from Harvard University, and a masters in arts management from Lesley University. Baxter was awarded a two-year scholarship by August Wilson and completed the Minority Business Executive Program at Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck School of Business.
Gina Rodriguez-Drix | City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism
Gina Rodriguez-Drix is the Department’s Cultural Affairs Manager responsible for stewarding the City’s cultural plan and policies. She has been doing innovative work around cultural equity throughout her career, at Expansion Arts, through the Department’s cross-sector creative placemaking initiatives, including the Illuminating Trinity project, with the Community Innovation Lab, and through her work on the Kresge FreshLo Sowing Place project.
ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF ART, CULTURE + TOURISM:
The Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (AC+T) ensures the continued development of a vibrant and creative city by integrating arts and culture into community life, while showcasing Providence as an international cultural destination. The Department works to support, engage, and encourage the creative sector’s participation in civic life.