VISITING ARTISTS & SCHOLARS COMMITTEE
The Visiting Artists and Scholars Committee brings respected established and emerging practitioners in the arts to present public lectures, conduct one-on-one critiques, lead small seminars or reading discussions, and share informal meals with students. All VASC lectures are free and open to the public.
The lecture programs are organized by the Visiting Artists and Scholars Committee (VASC). Run by BA, MA, and MFA students, the committee brings six to eight artists and scholars to speak on campus each year.
VISITING PROFESSORS OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
The William Wilson Corcoran Visiting Professor position builds on the school’s robust community engagement legacy and enables the Corcoran to drive social change at the local level. By engaging directly with the D.C. community, this position, as well as future Corcoran-backed programs, enhance the school’s ability to listen and respond to the city’s broader needs.
“This visiting professorship allows the Corcoran to bring exciting individuals that are committed to the role creativity plays in addressing complex issues,” explains Director Sanjit Sethi.
Funding for the position comes from a grant administered by the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Successive individuals selected for this role will be chosen from the expanding field of socially and publicly engaged art practice.
- 2019-2020: Molly Jane Udaya Sturges
- 2018-2019: Cristal Chanelle Truscott
- 2017-2018: Joseph Kunkel
- 2016-2017: Mel Chin
Molly Jane Udaya Sturges (composer/artistic director/performer/educator/facilitator) has worked with individuals, organizations, and communities around the globe for over twenty-five years focusing on creativity, healing, contemplative practice and social transformation.
Molly has created and directed many large-scale social practice projects including Founding Artistic Director/Co-founder of Lifesongs (an on-going collaborative program between musicians, youth, nursing homes residents and hospice participants), and Founding Artistic Director of Littleglobe, a diverse arts-in-community artist led non-profit based in New Mexico (www.littleglobe.org).
Selected past projects include: "Common Ground", a multi-year community building & multi-arts project with intergenerational participants from two Eastern Agency Diné communities and the rural village of Cuba, NM (New World Foundation and more); Composer/Artistic Director for SALVE, a music project with returning women veterans (National Hispanic Cultural Center); Artistic Director/Creator/Composer for "Memorylines", a multi-lingual community-sourced opera commissioned by The Santa Fe Opera; Creator/Director/Composer of "Moment", a five-month intergenerational multi-arts project with homeless older adults, artists and youth commissioned by The European Union Festival of Culture in Ireland.
Molly regularly creates a wide range of in-situ participatory creative activations uniquely designed for each collaborator and context. Recent activations include events with The Dalai Lama and The University of Wisconsin with as well as The Academy for Contemplative and Ethical Leadership/Mind & Life Institute. In the fall of 2019 she will be launching a new project, "Waking The Oracle", with students from Corcoran School of Art and Design and a range of community participants. Commissions and support for social practice projects have included; MAP Fund, EU Festival of Culture, Blackrock, Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Santa Fe Opera, The City of Evora (Portugal), Arts-In-Hospital (Scotland), and more.
In 2008 Molly was awarded the United States Artist Fellowship in Music. Her music is rooted in experimental and improvisational musical practices. Molly holds an MA in World Music Composition from Wesleyan University where she studied with MacArthur Fellow Anthony Braxton and the late great musical mystic Jon Barlow. As a performing vocalist, recording artist, and leader of creative music ensembles she has received numerous commissions and residencies. She has written and performed original music for a wide array of projects including music for dance companies, silent films, circuses and sound installations.
Molly served on the faculty in Arts & Ecology at the University of New Mexico for five years. In 2018 she joined the University of Colorado's CREST lab as a Creative Director for the pilot project of The Colorado Lullaby Project in collaboration with Carnegie Hall. She also leads workshops, master classes, and does public speaking on a range of topics including; creativity & aging, contemplative leadership, death & dying, participatory story-making, arts & climate justice, social imagination, intuitive literacy, and creativity and innovation.
A life-long student and teacher of contemplative and somatic practices including meditation, yoga and qigong, Molly integrates these sensibilities and practices into all of her work. She has been a devoted meditator for over 32 years. She is a certified mindfulness and leadership teacher with The Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute and teaches bi-annual meditation retreats.
Molly is currently serving as Artistic Director with the newly formed Elmfield Institute (www.elmfieldinstitute.com).
Cristal Chanelle Truscott is a playwright, director, scholar, educator, culture worker, facilitator and founder of the touring company, Progress Theatre (PT). As a playwright and director she creates “NeoSpirituals,” or acapella musicals using, "SoulWork," the generative method she developed from generations-old African American performance traditions. Her plays (PEACHES, 'MEMBUH, and The Burnin') blend pop-culture and academic conversations, fusing genre from Negro Spirituals and Folklore to Blues, R&B and Hip Hop to produce performances that span and straddle time between histories and the present to support the healing of communities. Most recently, she received the 2018 NEFA National Theatre Project Grant (New England Foundation for the Arts) to support her next play, Plantation Remix, a site-responsive piece to be performed at historic plantations and related sites to revisit, raze, rehabilitate and reimagine the separatist genre of U.S. plantation tourism. Her artistic work has garnered recognition, publication and grants from the likes of the 2019 Creative Capital Award, the MAP Fund, Ford Foundation, Theatre Communications Group, National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts and the National Performance Network’s Creation Fund Grant. She is a recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Artist Award, which honors artists who are influential in the shaping of powerful creative movements in contemporary dance, jazz, theatre and related multidisciplinary work. Visit progresstheatre.com to learn more.
As a scholar, Dr. Truscott's research focus explores representations of spiritual diversity in African American Theatre before 1950, most recently featured in The Routledge Companion to African American Theater and Performance (2018). She has served as Assistant Editor of the performance journal, TDR: The Drama Review; Associate Editor for Azizah Magazine; and on the editorial boards of the publications Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory and Black Masks Magazine: Theater and Entertainment.
As an educator, she has been a professor, lecturer and speaker at various universities and arts programs including Spelman College, San Francisco State University, Prairie View A&M University (where she served as Theatre Program Director and Department Head of Music & Theatre), NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia University and internationally at Wits University in South Africa, and Albeda College, DOX Theater Group and Theatre RAST in The Netherlands. Truscott has been teaching and training artists and engaging communities using her methodology and pedagogy, SoulWork, in master classes, workshops and courses in university, professional, arts-based and international settings for over 15 years.
She completed her BFA in Theatre with a minor in Africana Studies from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts; and her Master of Arts and Doctoral degrees from NYU’s Department of Performance Studies.
Joseph Kunkel is a community designer and educator working on building capacity in Indian Country. His professional career has centered on community-based design, ranging from material research and fabrication, to community-based planning, design and development. His core design practices include, culturally appropriate design, community engagement, healthy housing design, design thinking, capacity building, urban mapping and way-finding design, native-to- place architecture, master and comprehensive planning. He is also a Northern Cheyenne Tribal Member.
Kunkel’s most recent work has been to research and share exemplary Native American Indian housing projects and processes nationwide and build and develop emerging best practices, which has lead to the development of an online Health Homes Road Map for affordable housing development in Indian Country,
funded by HUD’s Policy, Development, and Research Office. As an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow, Joseph worked directly with the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative (SNCC), and the Santo Domingo Tribal Housing Authority (SDTHA). At the SDTHA Joseph assisted with the planning and development of a 41 unit Low-Income- Housing-Tax- Credit development, along with leading the housing comprehensive master plan, which started with an Our Town grant funded by the National Endowments for the Arts, and has led to an ArtPlace America grant award.
Kunkel's spring exhibition, Bridging Boundaries, features critical conversations that investigate, re-imagine and create alternatives to physical and non-physical divisions by focusing on works of art and architecture that reconcile or otherwise address polarized geographies. It explore works of art across a spectrum of design tactics, ranging from policy to the development of alternative building typologies, to demonstrate how architecture and design can create spaces for unification and negotiation.
Mel Chin was born in Houston, Texas in 1951. Chin’s art, which is both analytical and poetic, evades easy classification. He is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas.
Chin also insinuates art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and even popular television, investigating how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility. He developed Revival Field (1989-ongoing), a project that has been a pioneer in the field of “green remediation,” the use of plants to remove toxic, heavy metals from the soil. From 1995-1998 he formed the collective, the GALA Committee, that produced In the Name of the Place, a conceptual public art project conducted on American prime-time television. In KNOWMAD, Chin worked with software engineers to create a video game based on rug patterns of nomadic people facing cultural disappearance. His film, 9-11/9-11, a hand-drawn, 24 minute, joint Chilean/USA Production, won the prestigious Pedro Sienna Award, for Best Animation, National Council for the Arts and Cultures, Chile, in 2007. Chin also promotes “works of art” that have the ultimate effect of benefiting science, as in Revival Field, and also in the recent Operation Paydirt/Fundred Dollar Bill Project, an attempt to make New Orleans a lead-safe city. These projects are consistent with a conceptual philosophy, which emphasizes the practice of art to include sculpting and bridging the natural and social ecology.
Chin’s work was documented in the popular PBS program, Art of the 21st Century. Chin has received numerous awards and grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, Art Matters, Creative Capital, and the Penny McCall, Pollock/Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Rockefeller and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundations, among others.