The role of art in the Black Lives Matter movement.
February 22, 2016

ASU professors spearhead community event highlighting the role of art in social justice

The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 when the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin prompted an international outcry on social media under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Since then, the movement has expanded physically — there are currently at least 23 Black Lives Matter chapters in the U.S., Canada and Ghana — and diversified its tactics for combatting injustice.

This month Nia Witherspoon, an assistant professor of theater in the ASU School of Film, Dance and TheatreThe School of Film, Dance and Theatre is part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts., is highlighting the role of the arts as a necessary component of the Black Lives Matter movement and movements for social justice more generally. 

“We have to reconceptualize what we think of as art when we’re talking about black art,” said Witherspoon (pictured above). “Black art is absolutely fundamental and essential to black life.” 

In conjunction with Mary Stephens, producing director of ASU’s Performance in the BorderlandsPerformance in the Borderlands is an initiative of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre at Arizona State University., Witherspoon has staged a series of workshops, performances and other events under the banner BlackARTSMatter, which will take place Feb. 19–28 throughout the Valley. 

Mesa Arts Center, Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Black Theatre Troupe and South Mountain Community College are also involved, making BlackARTSMatter a community-driven event.

Check out the full event listing here or visit the Facebook event page.

Communications Program Coordinator , ASU Art Museum