NKU School of the Arts launches virtual roundtable of community conversations, exchange of ideas

Northern Kentucky University’s School of the Arts (SOTA) has launched a Summit Series, a new virtual roundtable. Led by SOTA’s Michael Hatton and Daryl Harris, the series hosts guest professionals in the arts to prompt conversation and the exchange of ideas.

Meghan Bennett

The first topic kicked off on Oct. 7 with Experiencing Race in the Arts: Battles and Biases. Harris and Hatton talked with Gee Horton, a visual artist and Mercantile Library’s first African American Artist-in-Residence, Jaime Morales-Matos, a music director of Central Ohio Symphony, and Darnell Pierre Benjamin, a dancer, director, choreographer, educator with Pones and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

“We need to provide our students with opportunities to respond to the events, movements, especially the Black Lives Matter Movement, and subsequent climate around the heightened racial tensions this summer,” said Harris.

The next session begins on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. to discuss Arts in the Age of Me Too: Women in the Arts. Guests include:

•Meghan Bennett, NKU faculty member and a classical flautist;

•Kim Popa, NKU alumna and executive director and co-founder of Pones, which provides artistic opportunities for community growth by creating engaging new ways for audiences to experience dance;

Kayla Upthegrove

•Kayla Upthegrove, NKU alumna and the first African American female jazz saxophonist to work in Greater Cincinnati.

The final session of the Summit Series is on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. The final topic focuses on Equity and Allyship: LGBTQ+ in the Arts. Along with a student panel, Ronnie Gladden breaks down his diversity leadership work and research.

Gladden coined the term, transgracial theory, which embodies the intersection of the transgender and transracial phenomena.

Dan Davidson, aka Sparkle Leigh, will join Dr. Gladden. He recently was quoted in Cincinnati Magazine as saying, “Remember to breathe. Maybe that’s enough, that little reminder to keep grounded and keep going. When I wasn’t able to be that, Sparkle was.”

Community members are invited to join SOTA’s Summit Series. To learn more and to register, visit the NKU Theatre + Dance Facebook page.

Northern Kentucky University

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