Creative Arts Department Statement of Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

To the Stetson community: 

Inspired by our colleagues in the Department of Environmental Science and Studies, the undersigned faculty and staff members of the Creative Arts Department want to publicly affirm our support for the demands of the Black Lives Matter movement. We commit to proactively transforming our classrooms, studios, galleries, and theaters into anti-racist spaces and using their power to help end centuries of racial injustice in our community.  

Despite the many ways in which the arts have been instrumental in activism, in amplifying previously unheard voices, and in humanizing difference, our fields have historically privileged white, male voices. We are deeply committed to leveraging our positions, privileges, and areas of expertise to help create a campus environment in which all students feel safe, valued, and capable of flourishing. We pledge to do the following: 

  • Expose students to the work of myriad non-white artists. Ensure this exposure is not limited to historically significant works and includes contemporary artists. Ensure this exposure is not limited to artists making work about race, but artists of color who are making work about a wide array of subject matter and human experience.  
  • Equip our students with the tools and knowledge to speak meaningfully about issues of race in our fields and in works of art.  
  • Critically examine our syllabi and curricula, and ask ourselves how we can make changes to further equity and inclusion in our teaching and policies. 
  • Actively reach out to diverse networks to solicit applications for future job openingsensuring our candidate pool includes an ethnic/racial makeup that reflects our population. 
  • Bring visiting artists/designers/lecturers, exhibitions, and theater productions to campus that fill in the gaps of our own experience and identities as a predominantly white faculty. 
  • Pursue relationships with local Black communities and learn how we can make our public exhibitions and performances more inviting to all.  
  • Publicly own our failings and missteps and attempt to resist defensiveness when called out on these failings. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.  

Acknowledging our own implicit bias and blind spots, we ask our peers and our students to help hold us accountable to these commitments and bring to our awareness other ways in which our department can help excise white supremacy from our institution. 

Signed: 

Luca Molnar, Assistant Professor of Studio Art 

James Pearson, Director, Hand Art Center 

Madison Creech, Visiting Assistant Professor of Digital Arts 

Sandra Koop, Adjunct Professor of Studio Art 

Julie Schmitt, Professor of Theatre Arts 

Chaz Underriner, Assistant Professor of Digital Arts 

Katie Baczeski, Visiting Assistant Professor of Studio Art 

Trevin Cooper, Adjunct Professor of Theatre Arts 

Matt Roberts, Associate Professor of Digital Arts 

Laura Glander, Administrative Support to the Creative Arts Department 

Nathan Wolek, Professor of Digital Arts 

Ken McCoy, Professor of Theatre Arts 

Brian Boland, Adjunct Professor of Digital Arts 

Krista Franco, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts 

Patrick Pieri, Technical Director of Theatre Arts

Katya Kudryavtseva, Associate Professor of Art History