Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Center for the Performing Arts creates equity, diversity and inclusion plan

The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State has announced its position on the importance of diversity in the performing arts and the steps the organization is taking to make that statement matter.

The Center for the Performing Arts believes Black lives matter and commits to acting against racism and discrimination, and to embrace empathy and open dialogue. This stance complements the center’s longtime embrace of the values of equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and among the programs made available to patrons and the community.

“I am pleased that this statement, and its associated action steps, was developed by all the staff at the Center for the Performing Arts through an open and transparent process led by a cross-unit team,” center Director George Trudeau said. “We all felt it was important to put forth a strong statement, but to also develop and share actions that we are now taking that align with our statement on equity, diversity and inclusion.”

The Center for the Performing Arts is planning a variety of programs designed to celebrate Black artists in the coming season. The Fierce Urgency Festival, a partnership with musician and bandleader Michael Mwenso, will include “Meeting the Moment,” a monthly series of online conversations between Mwenso and other Black artists; a series of future performances by Mwenso’s jazz-funk band The Shakes; and an artistic work by dance troupe Step Afrika! commissioned by the center.

“The Center for the Performing Arts has a long history of leveraging the performing arts to act as an agent of change to promote equity, inclusion and diversity,” said Amy Dupain Vashaw, the center’s audience and program development director. “Building on that legacy, we are so excited to launch the Fierce Urgency Festival. So named for Dr. Martin Luther King’s expression of his feeling the need to address the national divide—in this historical case, the divided public opinion of the Vietnam War—in an urgent and comprehensive way. The festival represents the center’s way of addressing this urgency in the manner that we know best—through the performing arts.”

Read the center’s full statement. 

The Center for the Performing Arts will announce more details about “Meeting the Moment with Michael Mwenso” guest artists, the Fierce Urgency Festival and additional arts program opportunities in the coming weeks. Become an Arts Insider to stay up to date on the center’s virtual programming.