The Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative (SBAC), a nonprofit organization that uses the unifying power of the arts to nurture inclusion and diversity across the regional arts and cultural landscape presents “The Black Experience in the Arts in Higher Education,” as part of its four-part Arts & Racial Justice / Discovery Series. The moderator for the event was Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton, director, Florida Center for PAInT, USF. Panelists are: Dr. Karen A. Holbrook, regional chancellor, USF, Sarasota-Manatee; Dr. Patricia Okker, president, New College of Florida; Dr. Carol Probstfeld, president, State College of Florida; and Dr. Larry Thompson, president, Ringling College of Art and Design. The event also featured faculty and students from area higher education institutions.
According to Michéle Des Verney Redwine, SBAC’s founder, the Arts and Racial Justice / Discovery Series provides a forum for artists and arts and civic leaders to participate in a dialogue Redwine describes as “courageous conversations.” The first panel, in January, explored issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the visual arts. The second panel, in March, focused on the performing arts. The third panel, in April, centered on issues of equity in the literary, film and media arts.
“Higher educational institutions are learning how to engage
in order to more effectively reach—and retain—people of color,” says Redwine. “What can schools do to positively influence and inspire underserved students of color? Experts agree more attention needs to be paid to barriers Black students face before they step foot on campus. These are some of the issues we’ll explore in this panel event.”
Other participants in this event included: Samone A. Hicks, adjunct professor at State College of Florida; Dr. Brenda N. Pinkney, director of diversity and inclusion at State College of Florida; Greg Rumph, vice principal at Booker High School; Dr. William G. Woodson, dean, Office of Outreach at New College of Florida; and students Jesse Clark (Ringling College), Ayeola Whitworth (New College, class 2021), Krystle Lemonias (USF graduate student), and Fred Brown (State College of Florida).
The Arts & Racial Justice/Discovery Series is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and is a collaboration with Florida Studio Theatre’s Diversity Forum Series.