The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the Lied Center of Kansas $30,000 to support a multidisciplinary performing arts series during the 2017–18 season.
“We are thrilled to receive funding from the NEA in support of our project, Exploring Identities through Music, Movement and Word,” said Engagement/Education Director Anthea Scouffas. “This grant will allow us to present artists who use their work to explore diverse and marginalized identities. Working in collaboration with KU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Provost’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, community members will have the opportunity to explore issues relating to gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, religion, disabilities and basic inequalities through the work the artists will present at the Lied Center during this season.”
A Lied Center favorite, Black Violin, will begin the series. The group’s unique blend of classical, hip-hop, rock, R&B and Bluegrass has wowed Lied Center audiences on their previous two visits. They will be accompanied by ace turntable whiz DJ SPS, and a drummer and local string students will join them for one piece.
Next is slam poet champion and activist Andrea Gibson, who will perform a variety of works. Gibson will participate in workshops with various student groups focusing on the themes of privilege and race, including students from the English Department’s poetry and creative writing workshop sections.
Scott Turner Schofield will be presenting Becoming a Man in 127 EASY Steps. Schofield’s stories explore the drama and hilarity of living a new life in the “opposite” gender. “It’s important for me to say that I’m not telling anybody else’s story,” Schofield says. “But I know that other trans people say, ‘I can’t believe that somebody is finally out there telling that story. Nobody is doing that.’” While in Lawrence, Schofield will be meeting and working with transgender students as well as presenting workshops for students on intersectionality and the way the topics of biological sex, gender and sexuality are influenced by factors like race, socioeconomic status, geographical location and disability.
Theatre artist Rohina Malik will present UNVEILED: A One-Woman Play. Her performance features five different Muslim women characters who share their diverse experiences with intolerance, from a Moroccan-American lawyer to a West London rapper of South Asian origin. Malik will visit with KU’s Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies area to discuss obstacles faced by Muslim women in the U.S.
Frank Waln is an award-winning Sicangu Lakota hip-hop artist, music producer and activist from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, who now travels the world performing and hosting workshops focusing on self-empowerment and expression of truth. Waln has been a leader in the fight against the Keystone XL Pipeline. He will be performing as part of the 2018 KU Powwow and Indigenous Culture Festival.
The final artist, actor LeLand Gantt, will present his work Rhapsody in Black, a play that explores Gantt’s personal journey to understand and transcend racism in America. He will perform at both Lawrence high schools and will have discussions with students about his work.
To round out the project, working with KU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, there will be a speaker series inviting artists and local experts to address the intersections of the diverse groups they represent. This series will focus on KU students and will address the question of: “Where do I fit in?”