Santa Fe, N.M.—Aug. 23, 2011—Santa Fe University of Art and Design announced the launch of Artists for Positive Social Change, a groundbreaking, university-wide series of events, courses, lectures and performances. Each academic year, the university will focus on the exploration of a specific genre that is relevant to society and the artists within the genre that have respectfully and fearlessly pushed the creative boundaries of their profession.
Led by Photography Department Chair David Scheinbaum, the first annual Artists for Positive Social Change series for the 2011–2012 academic year will focus on the genre of hip-hop as a major influence on today’s culture and social fabric as well as work of hip-hop artists who push the boundaries of their medium. The year of hip-hop will begin in September and end with a three-day capstone symposium and performance on campus in May 2012.
“This program broadens the real-world relevance of our curriculum in an innovative way,” Scheinbaum explained. “So much of teaching is theoretical. It’s important to teach theory, but it’s even more important for students to meet the players and see what it’s like to lead lives in artistic professions. This series brings artists to campus who have had a major impact on their chosen fields by pushing the respective boundaries and have exhibited excellence and creativity in their approach to ethics, creative ideas, professionalism, quality.”
Scheinbaum chose the subject of hip-hop to launch the series for personal reasons. “My personal photographic work is steeped in hip-hop,” he said. “For the past 12 years, I’ve photographed hip-hop artists with positive messages.” He led the development of the Artists for Positive Social Change series in part as a way to share his experiences with an audience larger than his own classroom.
Elements of hip-hop culture, genre and practice will be discussed in courses in every department. Series-specific courses will include the study of rap lyrics as poetry in the Creative Writing and Literature Department; a course on the production of music videos through the Moving Image Arts Department; a series of workshops and performances in the Contemporary Music Department; and a study of the “art” of hip-hop culture, including graffiti and dance, through the Art and Theatre departments.
Performance is another exciting component of the program. A yet-to-be-announced roster of hip-hop artists will visit the campus to give lectures, participate in discussions, perform and—most importantly—meet and talk with students. In May, students will have the opportunity to attend a three-day capstone event that features guest lectures by academics and scholars and concludes with a performance by a prominent hip-hop group.
“Many of the artists I work with have a strong sense of social responsibility,” Scheinbaum said. “That’s an overriding theme of this first series. Hip-hop music often addresses community issues and social responsibility. These artists are a voice for this generation and bringing them onto campus is an exciting way to offer an innovative, motivating curriculum to the students.”
Future series will draw on artists from different disciplines, including poetry, theater and film. Scheinbaum said, “This program will epitomize our teaching: artists who are pushing the boundaries, sticking to their ethics and producing work of quality and relevance.”