CIRCA Arts Alumni Spotlight: McKenzie Chinn and Angel Kristi Williams

Thursday November 12, 6pm – 7:30pm, Recording
Filmmaker, Actor & Poet McKenzie Chinn (Theatre ’06) and Filmmaker Angel Kristi Williams (Visual Arts ’05) will present and discuss the process behind recent films and will talk about their respective professional trajectories since graduating from UMBC.

McKenzie Chinn is a filmmaker, actor, poet, and educator based in Chicago. She is the writer, producer, and lead actor of the feature film Olympia, which premiered at the 2018 LA Film Festival and won multiple awards at festivals across the country including the Audience Award at the 2019 Bentonville Film Festival. She made her directorial debut in 2018 with the music video for Type Love from Chicago hip-hop artist Mykele Deville, and is in development for her narrative directorial debut with her short film A Real One. She has appeared in independent film and on television, including projects with Emmy-nominated director Sam Bailey, Fox’s Empire, and CBS’ The Red Line. On stage she has worked with Goodman and Steppenwolf Theatres, The Second City, Woolly Mammoth, The Studio Theatre, and others. An accomplished poet, McKenzie’s work has appeared in TriQuarterly, PANK, Rattle, Redivider, Crab Fat Magazine, and others, and has been nominated for multiple awards including a Pushcart Prize. She is part of the acclaimed Growing Concerns Poetry Collective whose releases include two albums – WE HERE: Thank you for Noticing (2017) and BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES (2020),  and the collection of poems and lyrics Five Fifths (Candor Arts, 2018). Olympia is available for streaming via Amazon as well as TubiTV.

Angel Kristi Williams is a filmmaker born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her BA in Visual Art, Film & Photography from UMBC. Her work has screened in art galleries, numerous festivals around the world and garnered the attention of Participant Media, before completion of her MFA at Columbia College Chicago. Her short film Charlotte, won the jury awards at Atlanta and Sarasota Film Festivals.  Angel is a 2014 Film Independent Project Involve Fellow, where she was the recipient of the Sony Pictures Diversity Fellowship. Her directorial debut feature film Really Love was selected to play in narrative competition at SXSW and won the Special Jury Recognition for Acting for co-stars Kofi Siriboe and Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing. Really Love premiered at the American Film Institute Festival on October 16.

Anti-Racism and Action: Our Roles Now (4th Session)

Fourth Drop-In Session:  Political Participation, Voting Bias, and Democracy
Friday October 30, 10am
The Dresher Center for the Humanities, Center for Social Science Scholarship, Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts and the Imaging Research Center invite you to attend the fourth Anti-Racism and Action: Our Roles Now Drop-in Session on Friday October 30th from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM to consider how we can continue to use our roles as faculty, staff, teachers, chairs/directors, graduate students, or mentors to work toward racial justice, social change, civic action, community action, and pedagogical engagement. The focus of this session will be a conversation about political participation, voting discrimination and voter suppression, and democracy, key issues as we look ahead to the upcoming presidential election.

CIRCA Presents: The Tool Book Project: Collaborative and Community Engaged Art

Thursday October 29th, 6-8pm Recording
Panelists: Sarah G. Sharp, Jaimes Mayhew & Lamont Stanley Bryant, Asha Canalos, Gina Goico

The Tool Book Project is a semi-annual publication by UMBC Visual Arts Professor Sarah G. Sharp that showcases art, writing, dialogue and critical discourse from an international group of artists and cultural producers. Tool Book is also a platform for sharing resources via curated gallery shows, readings, roundtable discussions, and other public events. Sales from the publication are donated to specific social and environmental justice organizations, providing a mode of direct action for artists and writers to exchange ideas and affect positive social change.

Panelists will discuss projects featured in The Tool Book Project Volume III: Work Book. New York based Gina Goico will discuss her publicly engaged artwork “Pelliza: Labor and Communities” which maps the social and emotional effects of global capitalism on culture, community and individual lives. Baltimore-based artist and educator Jaimes Mayhew and community psychology PhD candidate Lamont Stanley Bryant will discuss the confluences of their respective practices and their personal partnership as described in “Interdisciplinary Work in Relationships.” Albuquerque- based Asha Canalos will discuss “A Censorship Timeline: Hey, It’s Another State-sponsored Obfuscation in Cultural Real-Time,” which outlines an ongoing series of events in which zines that address social, health and environmental crises related to fracking in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico were censored by the New Mexico Museum of Art.

UMBC is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive environment for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Captioning will be enabled for this event. Please contact us via circa@umbc.edu with questions and requests for disability-related accommodation.

Lamont in Deep Creek, Archival Inkjet Print, 2018, Jaimes Mayhew





Video still, “Pelliza Cotidiana: Mercado Modelo”, 2016, Gina GoicoLand Arts of the American West artists visit gas and oil development in Greater Chaco Canyon, NM, 2019, Asha Canalos and Jeannette Hart-Mann

Black Lunch Table

October 2, 12 – 1:30pm: Artist Talk and discussion Recording
October 9, 1 – 4pm: Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
October 16, 12 – 1:30pm: Roundtable Conversations

Black Lunch Table (BLT) is an oral-history archiving project whose primary aim is the production of discursive sites, wherein cultural producers engage in dialogue on a variety of critical issues. BLT animates discourse and initiates a democratic rewriting of contemporary history around and among the people living this history. Organized around literal and metaphorical lunch tables, BLT hosts roundtable sessions to provide both space and time for interdisciplinary and intergenerational discussions. Their signature Artists Roundtables invite Black artists to roundtable discussions, while their People’s Tables invites participation from all community members. The roundtable conversations are audio recorded, transcribed, and metadata tagged for integration into their growing online archive. The archive is an aggregator, cross-pollinating discourse among many individuals and institutions. BLT also hosts Wikipedia Edit-a-thons to mobilize the collective authoring of articles pertaining to the lives and works of Black artists.

BLT is supported by Creative Capital Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation, and the Wikimedia Foundation, and was founded by artists Heather Hart and Jina Valentine.

Heather Hart is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York exploring the power in thresholds, questioning dominant narratives and creating alternatives to them through viewer activation. She was awarded grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, NYFA, and Harpo Foundation. Hart’s work includes exhibits at Storm King Art Center, The Kohler Art Center, Eastern Illinois University, Greensboro, NC, Seattle Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, University of Toronto and a collaborative show at The Drawing Center. She studied at Skowhegan, Whitney ISP, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Princeton University in New Jersey and received her MFA from Rutgers University.

Jina Valentine is currently an Associate Professor in Printmedia at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her interdisciplinary practice is informed by the intuitive strategies of American folk artists and traditional craft techniques, and interweaves histories latent within found texts, objects, narratives, and spaces. She has exhibited at venues including The Drawing Center, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the CUE Foundation, and the Elizabeth Foundation. She has been awarded grants from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Art Matters, and the Graham Foundation. Jina received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and her MFA from Stanford University.

BLT events are made possible with additional support from the Department of Visual Arts at UMBC

Daniel Pesca: Artist Talk, Wednesday, September 23, 12 – 1:30pm Recording

UMBC Professor of Music Daniel Pesca will discuss the process of bringing new music to life, from the composer’s desk to the concert hall stage. He also explores the inspirations that spark his creativity, and the ways he transforms those concepts through his writing process. The talk will center around several works that he will present in recital at UMBC on Friday, September 25th.

Daniel Pesca is both a pianist and composer and has played the world premieres of over 100 works, many written for him. In the process, he has shared the stage with many renowned ensembles, and has appeared at the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, NYC’s Miller Theatre, Carnegie Hall, June in Buffalo, and international contemporary music festivals. He has performed as concerto soloist with the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Oberlin Sinfonietta, Aspen New Music Ensemble, and Slee Sinfonietta. His work is featured on recordings from Urtext Classics, Centaur, New Focus, CCCC, Nimbus, and Oberlin Records.

Professor Pesca is founding co-director, pianist, and composer for the Zohn Collective, a flexible new music ensemble. Since its inception in 2017, the ensemble has made several recordings and has appeared in concert at Oberlin, Notre Dame, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the University of Kentucky. Projects at Vanderbilt and the Beijing Modern Music Festival are scheduled for 2021. Daniel is also the founding pianist of the Grossman Ensemble, the resident new music ensemble at the University of Chicago. Since its formation in 2018, the ensemble has commissioned and premiered 20 new works, five of which appear on an album released in August 2020.

Previous to his appointment at UMBC, Professor Pesca was artist-in-residence at the University of Chicago, and held teaching positions at Ithaca College, Syracuse University, and Northeastern Illinois University. He received his Doctorate of Music Arts from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

Observatories: A collaboration between a photographer, a composer, and an audio engineer
Meet the Artists Recording
Friday September 11, 12 noon – 12 midnight, Vimeo Livestream

Dan Bailey’s Observatories series renders photographs with an expanded sense of time. It attempts to slow down to observe, reflect, and record landscapes – a rhythm that is more on a geologic time scale. The images presented in Dream Prayer Observatory are from one camera view on the southern coast of Tasmania taken over a period of 3 months.

Composer Linda Dusman began to study the Paganini Caprices in response to a request from violinist Airi Yoshioka for a new solo work. At the same time, the plight of children in the Mideast immigrating with their families drew her to listen to an Arabic lullaby, which used a similar mode to the 6th Paganini Caprice. The combination in Dream Prayer Lullaby ultimately became three-fold: a dream of a peaceful integration of peoples as they are forced from one land to another, a prayer that this dream might be realized, and a lullaby to comfort the children who suffer and wait.

Alan Wonneberger recorded and spatialized Airi Yoshioka’s performance Dream Prayer Lullaby as the audio component of Dream Prayer Observatory. Convolution reverb places the violin in the Great Pyramid, while the work slowly “migrates” in stereo space.

This 12-hour limited release of the piece serves as a fundraiser for the following non-profits devoted to improving the quality of life for children and the planet:

UNICEF for child refugees and migrants

Retriever Essentials – to support UMBC students in need

Kids Rights

Friends of the Earth

Anti-Racism and Action: Our Roles Now, Third Drop-In Session:  Health Disparities and COVID-19, Friday September 11th, 1pm

The Dresher Center for the Humanities, Center for Social Science Scholarship, Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts and the Imaging Research Center invite you to attend the third Anti-Racism and Action: Our Roles Now Drop-in Session on Friday September 11th at 1:00 P.M. to consider how we can continue to use our roles as faculty, staff, teachers, chairs/directors, graduate students, or mentors to work toward racial justice, social change, civic action, community action, and pedagogical engagement. This session follows the momentum started in the first two Anti-Racism and Action sessions held on June 12 and July 24. The focus of this session will be a conversation about Health Disparities and COVID-19. COVID-19 is yet another phenomenon where people experience tragic neglect and mistreatment that reveal structural inequities caused by racist systems. In this Drop-In Session we will discuss research efforts by faculty to help policymakers and other stakeholders see how the dynamics of a racialized society produce such deleterious effects. In addition to specific projects, we will orient discussion toward further defining the unique and critical role university-based research can have in meeting the challenges or the pandemic.

Anti-Racism and Action: Our Roles Now, Second Drop-in Session: Monuments, Friday, July 24, 2020, 1:00 PM

The Dresher Center for the Humanities, Center for Social Science Scholarship, and Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts invite you to attend the second Anti-Racism and Action: Our Roles Now Drop-in Session on Friday July 24th at 1:00 P.M. to consider how we can continue to use our roles as faculty, teachers, chairs/directors, graduate students, or mentors to work toward racial justice, social change, civic action, community action, and pedagogical engagement. This session follows the momentum started in the first Anti-Racism and Action session held on June 12. We will discuss how we can continue anti-racism work on our campus and in our communities as we transition from summer to the fall semester. One focus of this session will be a discussion of memorials, including the removal of monuments in Baltimore and across the country, from the perspective of art history, African American history, and social justice. We will also consider potential ways to carry the work forward by partnering with local schools.

Stacy Wolf: Beyond Broadway: The Pleasure and Promise of Musical Theatre in America
UMBC Theatre Department, CIRCA and the Dresher Center for the Humanities
Wednesday, March 11th, 4:00 p.m.
PAHB 216

Stacy Wolf, Princeton University professor of theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts and director of the new Program in Music Theater will discuss her book Beyond Broadway: The Pleasure and Promise of Musical Theatre in America The idea of American musical theatre conjures up images of bright lights and big city, but its lifeblood is found in local and amateur productions. Wolf considers the widespread presence and persistence of musical theatre in U.S. culture, and examines it as a live, pleasurable, participatory experience. The talk will conclude with an interview featuring members of the UMBC Musical Theatre Club. This event is cosponsored by the UMBC Theatre Department, CIRCA and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.

Professor Wolf is a musical theatre scholar devoted to queer identity and feminism in performance, She has written Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical (Oxford University Press, 2011), A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical (University of Michigan Press, 2002), and co-edited The Oxford Handbook of the American Musical (with Raymond Knapp and Mitchell Morris, 2011). She has published articles on theatre spectatorship, performance pedagogy, and musical theatre in many journals including Theatre Journal, Modern Drama, and Camera Obscura and was a former editor of Theatre Topics: A Journal of Pedagogy and Praxis. She has worked as a director and dramaturg.