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African-American Arts Faculty Showcased In ‘We Got Next’

Stacey Robinson, professor of graphic arts at the U of I's School of Art + Design, created the artwork for the "We Got Next" web page, and will appear in the series July 30.

This summer, there’s been a lot of discussion about racism, anti-black violence and injustice. Now African-Americans on the faculty of the University of Illinois’ College of Fine and Applied Arts are sharing their perspectives in a 5-part online showcase called “We Got Next” that you’re invited to attend virtually.

Prof. Taylor talked about “We Got Next” with Illinois Newsroom’s Jim Meadows, explaining that inspiration came from the nation’s response to the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

At the first “We Got Next” presentation on July 23, U of I dance professor C. Kemal  Nance said Black faculty are an untapped potential.

“You think about it: Black people have been here for 400 years,” said Nance. “Since Jamestown, we were supposed to be cattle. And I stand before you as a Ph.D.-granted faculty member. If a people can manage to survive, even in a nation that is hell-bent on killing them, what else can we do?”

“We Got Next” features dance, music, graphic arts and other forms of art, presented and discussed in what’s described as a summer salon, held online via Zoom on Thursday evenings through August 20.  The presentations are archived for viewing on the College of Fine and Applied Arts YouTube page.

The inaugural session of “We Got Next” featured Nance performing in 2016 with a colleague, dance professor Endalyn Taylor, in a piece called “Chalk Lines”, created in reaction to the police killing of Freddie Gray. Also appearing was U of I alumnus Tim Davis, an artist and gallery owner in Washington D.C.

Prof. Taylor, formerly with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, is the organizer of “We Got Next”, in her position as a Dean’s Fellow researching Black and Afro-diasporic Arts.

The July 30 session will feature music education Prof. Joyce McCall and graphic arts Prof. Stacey Robinson, whose artwork is featured on the “We Got Next” web page. You can register to watch the session on Zoom. The session begins at 7 p.m. 

Follow Jim Meadows on Twitter: @WILLJimMeadows 

Picture of Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focus talk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.

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