At CAM, there is a need to find the resources for turning words into action—for greater mutual understanding. Here we support research, creative work, teaching, learning, and service that will address the steep social challenges and cultural barriers that continue to challenge us as a nation.
While CU Denver and the College of Arts & Media have student enrollment data to show diversity in race, genre, and ethnicity—that is not enough. We are empowered to contribute to better understanding through our academic, professional, and creative endeavors, and most of all --as vital contributors to the betterment of our changing society.
With this I charge CAM students, graduates, and faculty: your roles as agents of the artistic experience must be to foster individual creative self-awareness, expression, and personal growth and to reach out and explore the potential of emerging areas of public consciousness and social accountability.
Dean Laurence Kaptain
“In general, [there is an ability to influence change] artists have that most people don’t have,” said Storm Gloor, associate professor of Music & Entertainment Industry Studies at the University of Colorado Denver, as quoted to the Denver Post, July 20, 2020
Visual Arts students in Michelle Carpenter's Motion 2 class were asked to complete a motion graphic public service announcement about a topic they were passionate about addressing. Students researched their topics and were tasked with prompting a call to action. Two excellent examples of topics tackling race are posted below.
Systemic racism is a term commonly used to describe the everyday challenges faced by black, indigenous, and people or color. Marisela Guillen breaks down the phrase.
How do we remove the barriers that keep us from talking about race? Huitzilli Rosalia takes on the tough conversation of white fragility.
Art has long been used as a catalyst for activism. It is a powerful way creatives respond to the current events, take collective action, and make sense of the world. Many members of the CAM community have recently shared their own artistic expressions in response to the recent tragedies we have witnessed.
Associate Professor, Quintin Gonzalez, is one of these artists. His portrait of Black Lives Matter movement co-founder, Alicia Garza, provides a compelling visualization and an opportunity to create room for thought-provoking discussion and inspiration to act.
This cast bronze piece, Two Americas, looks at how the same word can have separate meanings or associations for different people. The viewer can look at the same brand on different cowhides and associate their personal inclusion in either one. Cast bronze brands have been created for this series. The use of cowhides serves to remind the viewer of the history of branding and the lasting mark of these burns.
Brohman states, "Historically branding was a physical act of burning
that was done as a permanent symbol of ownership. In contemporary times
the term is used to denote product or corporate identity. This work is
part of a series that explores the creation of 'branding' in the digital
age of social media and identity politics. I have created a body of
work entitled 'Identity Branding Series', which uses contemporary
language to denote personal identity or public perception.
CAM has engaged Activist-in-Residence and Special Advisor to the Dean, Katie Leonard. Katie is a Denver native and lead organizer for Anti-Racist Club Colorado.