SFUAD 2012-2013 Artists for Positive Social Change Series to Focus on “Art and Political Activism”

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Lauren Eichmann

Santa Fe, N.M.—Aug. 23, 2012— Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD) announced that the theme of its 2012–­2013 Artists for Positive Social Change series will be “Art and Political Activism.”

SFUAD’s Artists for Positive Social Change series, launched in 2011, is a university-wide series of events, courses, lectures and performances exploring a specific theme relevant to society and the work of artists who push the creative boundaries of their profession.

“This year we are focusing on artists whose work takes on political issues,” said David Scheinbaum, SFUAD’s director of photography, who is leading the initiative. “Since it’s an election year, it’s good to bring forth a dialogue on campus that highlights the historical context of art and political activism.”

The first event in the series will be a multimedia presentation, Barbarians at the Gate – Stravinsky, Diaghilev & the Ballets Russes, a narration by arts supporter and musician Tom Maguire. Barbarians at the Gate dramatically explores the artisticexplosion that Serge Diaghilev unleashed on Western Europe as he brought first visual arts, then opera, and finally ballet from his native Russia to the salons and theatres of Paris. In stunning visuals accompanied by music clips, Barbarians at the Gate traces not only the history of the Ballets Russes company, but also its effect on other art forms in the early 20th century.

“Through the Ballets Russes, Diaghilev caused quite an upheaval in the art and cultural world of Paris and, by extension, Western Europe in the first quarter of the 20th Century,” said Maguire. “The costume, stage designs and musical scores of the Ballets Russes changed many things in Paris, even haute couture and interior design. Cultural expressions from the east were almost universally unknown in Western Europe when the Paris Exposition of 1900 opened and brought the Eiffel Tower and film to an audience of nearly 50 million people. In the decades that followed the societal changes that accompanied this march into the modern world were greatly accelerated at a truly 20th century pace with the emergence of the Ballets Russes.”

The presentation features the work of composers Stravinsky, Ravel, Milhaud, Satie, Debussy and Prokofiev; visual artists Benois, Picasso, Rouault, Matisse, de Chirico, Bakst and Braque; and choreographers Fokine, Massine, Nijinsky and Balanchine. Maguire chronicles the influence of their work on the artistic life of Europe in general and Paris in particular, and he also notes the aristocrats, donors and sponsors who made their work possible.

What: Lecture and Q&A of Barbarians at the Gate—Stravinsky, Diaghilev & the Ballets Russes by Tom Maguire; Introduction presented by John Weckesser, chair of SFUAD’s Performing Arts Department

When: Saturday, Sept. 8 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Tipton Hall, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, 1600 St. Michael’s Dr., Santa Fe, N.M.

“Art and politics have both been around for a long time, so having someone on campus who will discuss such an early art movement that relates to a political agenda is a good starting point for this year’s series,” added Scheinbaum. “Tom is a great musician and a very active member of the local community. He’s personable, energetic and fun. It should be a fantastic event.”

Although the event is primarily geared toward SFUAD students, the public is also encouraged to attend free of charge. Last year’s Artists for Positive Social Change series focused on the genre of hip-hop as a major influence on today’s culture and social fabric as well as the work of hip-hop artists who push the boundaries of their medium. The year of hip-hop culminated with a symposium and concert by the legendary hip-hop group Public Enemy.

For more information about Artists for Positive Social Change, visit

About Artists for Positive Social Change

Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s Artists for Positive Social Change is a groundbreaking, university-wide series of events, lectures and performances that highlights one theme each year as part of a five-year initiative. All departments of the university engage in an in-depth exploration of the chosen theme, discussing the work of relevant artists who have respectfully and fearlessly pushed the creative boundaries of their medium. During the initiative’s inaugural 2011–2012 academic year, Artists for Positive Social Change focused on hip-hop not just as entertainment, but as a significant form of communication and a cultural force around the world.

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