Perspectives and Perceptions – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Perspectives and Perceptions

The Colleges Peer Education in Human Relations program joins the Geneva Human Rights Commission for a weekend of artistic exploration.

March 28, 2002 Geneva, N.Y. – Designed to bring artistic statement, understanding and appreciation to the entire community, but especially to communities of color, “Perceptions and Perspectives” will explore cinematic and literary artistic expressions through the lens of ethnic experience. A full weekend of events will allow audiences and participants the opportunity to interact and share the arts. Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Peer Education director Donna Albro said, “It is our hope that all members of the audience will gain or deepen an appreciation of art and that some will be encouraged to produce art of their own.”

“Perceptions and Perspectives” opens on Friday, April 5, with a performance by a drumming troupe at 7 p.m. at the Park Presbyterian Church. Following the performance, Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Mark D. Gearan will moderate a “Conversation with Farai Chideya.” Chideya is a former ABC News correspondent, CNN political analyst, and writer for MTV and for “Newsweek” who was named to Newsweek’s “Century Club” of 100 people to watch. She is currently the anchor of “Pure Oxygen,” a prime time show on the new Oxygen network.

On Saturday morning from 10 a.m until noon and again in the afternoon from 2 until 4 p.m., a series of workshops will be held on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus. Among the presenters and topics:
• Dr. Frances Kendall, a consultant who deals with work force diversity issues, on “White Privilege,” in Demarest 117B;
• Dr. Cris Cullinan, currently responsible for faculty and other employee training and development at the University of Oregon, on “Class,” in the Sanford Room;
• Tim Sams, assistant dean and director of the Black Cultural Workshop at Swartmore College, on “Leadership in a Cultural Context,” in Demarest 309;
• Jimmy Santiago Baca leading poetry workshops (further information on Baca below);

At 2 p.m. Karen Baer, director of the Geneva Human Rights Commission, will lead a panel discussion with artists, Kym Ragusa and Kesha Bruce. The panel discussion will be held in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library on the HWS campus. Anyone interested in attending any of the morning or afternoon discussion sessions is asked to call (315) 781-3706 or e-mail to assure a space. Exact locations of each program will be given at that time.

At 7 p.m. on Saturday evening, the weekend’s events will conclude with a combination of performances that will be held at the Park Presbyterian Church. The first guest will be Kym Ragusa, a New York-based filmmaker, curator, teacher and writer who will screen her film “Fuori/Outside.” The 15-minute film explores the powerful bond between two women, the filmmaker and her Calabrese grandmother—one marginalized by color and the other by age.

Next, poet Cornelius Eady will read from his book “Brutal Imagination.” The author of seven volumes of poetry and the recipient of many awards and prizes, Eady is currently visiting professor of creative writing at City College of New York. The poems from “Brutal Imagination” confront the subject of black men in America. In them he uses wit, inventiveness and anger to combine harsh images with the sweetly ordinary.

Concluding the evening event will be a reading by Chicano poet and memoirist Jimmy Santiago Baca. Baca is the winner of the Pushcart Prize and the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award, and has been called one of the best poets in America today. He will read from his memoir “A Place to Stand.” The book explores Baca’s struggle to free himself from the bonds of illiteracy while incarcerated, and in it he gives voice to the issues of both incarceration and his Hispanic background.

All three performances are sure to elicit strong feelings among audience members and discussion will be encouraged.

The weekend of events is sponsored by the Teaching Colleagues Practicum class of the Colleges Peer Education in Human Relations program, the Geneva Human Rights Commission, and the Hobart and William Smith Offices of the President and Provost. The program is made possible through funding by the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program, a state agency administered by Finger Lakes Arts Grants and Services (FLAGS).

All events are free and the public is encouraged to attend. Donations of canned goods for area food pantries at Friday night’s event will be gratefully accepted.

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