“We want to use the power of the arts to reshape the world in which we want to live – not merely to replicate the current state of affairs.” This statement from Bryant Keith Alexander, dean of LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts (CFA) speaks to the radical philosophy at the heart of the college’s teaching and practice. 

Central to that philosophy is the college’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism (DEIA), motivating a major reevaluation of internal processes and teaching practices across all areas of the college. These initiatives within the CFA Theatre Arts program have recently been endorsed by a generous grant from The Hearst Foundations, which will allow the program to deepen its support of students from underrepresented demographic groups, with a particular emphasis on the BIPOC community (Black, Indigenous, people of color).

The grant will impact the Theatre Arts program in three primary ways. These include increasing the diversity of the student body by providing scholarships for minority, low-income, or first-generation students; enhancing the quality and range of programming that highlights experiences of the BIPOC community; and empowering staff and faculty to implement DEIA best practices, by providing in-depth training and the cultivation of an ethic of awareness. 

Daphnie Sicre, assistant professor of theatre arts, is one of several teacher-scholars who are enacting waves of change within the department. “We’ve also been reaching out to hire more professors from the BIPOC community as well as CFA alumni who engage directly with our students on productions. It’s so important to create these spaces of interaction and mentorship.” With this in mind, Sicre and her colleague Christopher Murillo were instrumental in spearheading the PRISM Speaker Series at CFA, one of the initiatives that will be expanded with funding from The Hearst Foundations. “Our inaugural season focused on Black theatre artists whose work foregrounds issues of racial and social justice,” she explained. “The series started on Zoom, but now we’re hoping to hold in-person workshops and to bring the program back at a higher level.”

Full story at LMU website.