Nov
17

You Kant Be Serious. All Art is Political.

As you can see from my last post, recently I’ve been chatting up some info I found in  “Ape to Apollo: Aesthetics and the Ideas of Race in the 18th Century” by David Bindman. I don’t recommend the book. It’s a slog and an apology of sorts for European Supremacy. But Bindman has done some important research; a good chunk of which is focused on Immanuel Kant, one of the major figures in European philosophy and known in no small part for his writings on aesthetics, which I think of as the values we use when deciding how we feel about

Nov
10

Talking Race as European arts injustices with the PA Education Policy & Leadership Center

Good people, last week I was given the honor to go to Harrisburg and present the keynote at the PA Education Policy and Leadership Center‘s 7th annual arts education symposium. My first keynote- heyyyyyy (update-that might not be true, but still, heyyyyyy). The topic I was given, arts education and social justice, was nice and roomy, but it also left me struggling with what I wanted to say. At first, I actually wasn’t even sure I had much to say to a primarily European descended group that worked primarily with children of European descent in suburban public schools. My work

Oct
5

Symphonies Are Not Normal

Please click here for an article by Ian David Moss “On the Cultural Specificity of Symphony Orchestras”. Over the past year, I have been talking with Ian and he has been talking back about the way European descended arts organizations are named and not named in conversations about racism in the arts, how they are normalized at the penalty of the rest of us, how they imagine themselves and are imagined by funders and researchers as “mainstream” rather than “a stream” and the way that frame facilitates the higher level of resources they absorb from the arts funding ecosystem, particularly so

Sep
19

Masculinity as Movement

Today, for 75 minutes, I will be a University Professor, like my partner, Bonnie (: I’m subbing for an out of town friend for the course The Psychology of Gender, facilitating a conversation about masculinity. Curious what kinds of ideas on masculinity do the students see in Capoeira Angola,  the dance of Ogum, and the stepping of my  brothers, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. We’ll look and “read” (too keep it real artsy) the following: Brief excerpts of this film on Mestre Pastinha: Uma Vida Pela Capoeira A bit of this video of a roda (the circle in which capoeira is played) celebrating

Jul
17

What’s Next For Our Work on Racial Equity in Arts Funding?

An update on the PA Arts Council (PCA) budget for 2017-18 as it pertains to equitable payments to African, Latino, Asian, Arab and Native Arts (ALAANA) arts organizations. You will remember from my earlier post that 96 of the 100 largest arts budgets that are in the state system are predominantly white led when considering the majority of their board, staff, and how they define their art form. Unfortunately, for the time being, we have to rely on my categorization of these organizations because neither the State, nor data collection organizations like Data Arts include race in the variety of methods

Jun
23

Pennsylvania HR 400: Examining Systemic Racism in Public Arts Funding

Hoping this makes a contribution to the work of disrupting systemic racism in the arts please see here PA House Resolution 400  sponsored by Rep. Jake Wheatley to conduct a study on the potential racial, age and geographic bias in the funding formula that determines how operating support is distributed by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (AOAP Arts Orgs Arts Programs). I serve on the Council (PCA) and, after saying for the better part of a year that the funding formula privileged white, large budget, older arts organizations and being told that I needed to note that I was only

May
24

Welcome To Hillombo

Thank you for coming to Hillombo! After decades of working, succeeding and failing in building culture and community, while working in almost all-manners of Pittsburgh’s non-profit sector: philanthropy, arts, community development, out of school time programming, community organizing and education, Bonnie and I have formed Hillombo LLC. to “Lift Black perspectives, negotiate and build alternatives to systemic racism and capitalism, in the memory of our ancestors, for the benefit of Black people.” We are excited and curious about where our mission will take us! In the short term, we will be working with foundations and grantmakers that are developing strategies with grantee partners,