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About the Series

Art Matters is an interview series conducted with local cultural practitioners between May and June 2020 in response to COVID-19 and the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.

As CAMD faculty and staff members Amy Halliday (Director, Center for the Arts and curator of Gallery 360), Rebekah E. Moore (Assistant Professor, Music and Graduate Coordinator, Arts Administration and Cultural Entrepreneurship) and Beau Kenyon (composer, consultant, and Lecturer in Arts Administration and Cultural Entrepreneurship) talk with artists, curators, dancers, activists, and educators the series highlights the ways in which the arts are—and continue to be—urgent, relevant, and rigorous, and provide entry points and models for students considering these questions and professions.

Short video extracts provide a glimpse into the conversation, and you can listen to the full discussion in audio format.

Black Artists and the Cultural Label of Care

Helina Metaferia and Sarah Stefana Smith talk to Amy Halliday about being Black artists in academia, organizing as part of one’s practice, the democracy of the digital, and questions of care, pace, and attention in the midst of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter.

Helina Metaferia is an interdisciplinary artist who exhibited in Gallery 360 in spring 2020, as well as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow/Assistant Professor at Brown University. Sarah Stefana Smith is an interdisciplinary scholar and visual artist. Their research communicates between the fields of Black art and culture, queer theory and affect studies, visuality and aesthetics. They are an assistant professor of Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College.

COVID-19 Impacts on Dance Education

Dance artists and teachers Jody Weber and Peter DiMuro talk to Rebekah E. Moore about the impacts of COVID-19 on dance education. They discuss finding new ways to connect and create, and what artists offer the world as we collectively endure this global crisis.

Jody Weber is a performer, choreographer and dance historian, and Professor and Department Chair of Dance at Bridgewater State University. Peter DiMuro is executive director of The Dance Complex, and works to cultivate dance/arts literacy, advocacy, and engagement.

The Role of Artists & Curators

Jen Mergel and Lucas Cowan talk to Beau Kenyon about the role and responsibility of artists and curators, the value of public spaces – even as ideas of the “public” shift during Covid – and the necessity of collaboration.

Lucas Cowan is Curator of Public Art for the Greenway Conservancy: he has a passion for working with artists to create installations in outdoor settings. Jen Mergel is an independent curator who has organized over 50 exhibitions for museum, academic, and public audiences. She was Guest Editor-at-Large for Boston Art Review’s The Public Art issue (2019).

Finding Connections that Drive You

David Guerra and Gabriel Sosa talk to Amy Halliday about the necessity of agility as cultural practitioners, and about their own non-linear and interdisciplinary career trajectories. They emphasize the importance of finding the questions and conversations that drive you, and forging connections with others.

David Guerra is a curator, artist and founder of A R E A multiformat gallery: he also recently founded the inaugural AREA CODE Art Fair, celebrating and supporting New England’s contemporary art in a time of Covid. Gabriel Sosa is a visual artist, linguist, and educator at MassArts: he was curator of performance art for the AREA CODE Art Fair, and is also a NOW+THERE public art accelerator artist for 2020.

Revolutionizing Creativity

Just one week after the murder of George Floyd, Christine Armstrong and Dzidzor Azaglo met with Rebekah Moore to discuss identity, faith, and African approaches to revolutionizing creativity. Armstrong’s video conferencing feed was a little unstable, so the short video excerpt features only Dzidzor Azaglo (but the audio features both guests).

Christine Armstrong is Managing Director of the Transformative Culture Project, which harnesses the economic power of creative arts for youth and community development. Dzidzor Azaglo is a performance poet, teaching artist, and Founder of the Black Cotton Club.