Columbia College Chicago Launches Art Making Series 'Collective Impact'

Clockwise from top, left: Dawoud Bey (Photo courtesy: MacArthur Foundation), Urban Bush Women (Photo courtesy: Hayim Heron, Ivan Neville, and Maria Gaspar's "Brown Brilliance Darkness Matter" (latter images courtesy of the artists).
Nationally renowned artists share their experiences in creating music, dance, and visual art toward fostering a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive society.

CHICAGO (September 10, 2018)—Songs of social justice, the impact of incarceration on communities of color, and stories spun from women’s relationship with their hair—Columbia College Chicago will present Collective Impact, a performing arts series in 2018-2019.

From Dumphstaphunk to Dawoud Bey, four nationally renowned artists will share their experiences in creating music, dance, and visual art that foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive society. The series of exhibitions and performances will be held on campus and open to the public.

Collective Impact will connect our students to artists who model conscientious community engagement and whose work is known for opening minds, eyes, and souls,” said Rosita M. Sands, interim Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts. “This type of exposure is one of the reasons our students choose Columbia College Chicago, as it provides meaningful interactions with professional artists who embody so much of what they care about.”

“Students, faculty, and the larger Chicago audience will have the opportunity to consider artistic practices that engage communities in discourse around social justice,” said Amy Mooney, associate professor of Art and Art History and curator of the series. “Each of our featured performers not only models exceptional creativity, but also strategies for fostering meaningful consideration of how to affect change through the arts.”

Cara Dehnert Huffman, Business and Entrepreneurship faculty member assigned to manage the Collective Impact project, said the new Columbia program is based on a framework developed by John Kania and Mark Kramer in an article published by Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011. More information on the collective impact framework is available at

“The framework provides a series of shared principles that together create the right conditions for organizations to collaborate and work across sectors to solve complex problems like social injustices,” Huffman said.

Each event will include a performance or exhibition and a lecture or talk-back with the artist. Artists will engage directly with Columbia students through classroom activities in which students will experience, discuss, and participate in the scope, means, and challenges of community engagement art practice.

Wednesday, October 24, 6 p.m.
Maria Gaspar
Lecture: Art Now! hosted by Columbia’s Art and Art History Department
Hokin Hall, Room 109
623 S. Wabash St.

Maria Gaspar is an interdisciplinary sculpture, sound, and performance artist. Gaspar’s 96 Acres project is a series of community-engaged, site-responsive installations that examine the impact of incarceration on communities of color at the Cook County Jail on Chicago’s West side. Gaspar will share the foundation and outcomes of her work and lead classroom discussions.

Friday, November 16, 7 p.m.
Ivan Neville
Performance (sponsored by Perkins Coie)
Music Center Concert Hall
1014 S. Michigan Ave.

Ivan Neville is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and singer, and leader of celebrated New Orleans-based band Dumpstaphunk. Neville’s career includes songs focused on social protest as both musical heritage and current political resistance. Neville will be an artist-in-residence at Columbia’s Music Department, where he will spend a week working with several ensembles and write, produce, and record an original song with the Recording and Performance Ensembles. The week will culminate in a live performance at the Music Center Concert Hall, featuring Neville and several of Columbia's student ensembles performing songs of social injustice.

Thursday, February 28March 2, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Urban Bush Women
Performance: Hair & Other Stories
The Dance Center
1306 S. Michigan Ave.

Urban Bush Women is a performance ensemble thatgalvanizes artists, activists, and audiences to project voices of the under-heard and people of color. The company’s reimagining of Hair & Other Stories will employ dance, music, and humor to address matters of self-image, race, gender identity, and economic inequities all through the lens of hair—primarily that of African American women. Members will lead master classes for students and classroom discussions about community engagement.

Thursday, April 11, 2019, 6 p.m.; Exhibition: April 11July 7, 2019
Dawoud Bey
Lecture: The Birmingham Project
Museum of Contemporary Photography
Ferguson Auditorium
600 S. Michigan Ave.

Dawoud Bey is an American photographer, MacArthur “genius grant” recipient, and a professor at Columbia College Chicago whose work focuses on African American portraiture. In 2012, Bey created The Birmingham Project—large-scale diptychs to commemorate the tragedy of September 15, 1963, when white supremacists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four black girls and injuring 22 others. Bey will present a lecture on his work and process to the public and will engage with Columbia students at the Museum of Contemporary Photography.


Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging, and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit


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