Written by: Jared Ragland
Media Contact: Shannon Thomason, firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Alabama at Birmingham students Bailey Barrow and Cima Khademi will lead three interdisciplinary salons this fall as part of the Arts& Initiative, to emphasize the importance of the arts in collaboration, social practice and community service.
Student-led and sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Art and Art History, the Arts& Initiative focuses on the idea that, when artistic, creative minds work together with scientific, analytical minds, great things can be accomplished. The initiative seeks to create a space and opportunity for students to realize the potential of interdisciplinary collaboration, to brainstorm creative ways to solve community issues and to work together to bring about real solutions.
Loosely based on the historical Parisian salon gatherings that promoted artistic performance and intellectual discussion, Arts& salons will combine theme-based student exhibitions and creative performances with topical presentations. Each salon will feature a panel discussion with a pair of professionals from an array of practices and research backgrounds, moderated by Barrow and Khademi. During each salon, students will be encouraged to develop creative, collaborative solutions for local community issues.
“Great minds don’t always have to think alike,” Barrow said. “In fact, minds that think differently and collaborate together tend to produce more well-rounded and lasting innovations. This is what Arts& aims to prove.”
At the end of the fall 2016 semester, students can submit their creative, community-building ideas in a competition juried by the semester’s salon panelists. The winning team will be awarded seed money to realize their idea during the spring 2017 semester.
The first of the three salons was held Wednesday, Sept. 14, in the UAB DAAH Project Space. The salon theme was “Arts & Science.” Featured panelists were UAB alumna and visual artist Merrilee Challiss in conversation with University of Florida biologist Jaimie Gillooly.
The second salon Wednesday, Oct. 12, focused on “Arts & the Public Sphere,” and the featured panelists were MAKEbhm’s founder Bruce Lanier and Birmingham Museum of Art Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Wassan Al-Khudhairi. DAAH sculpture students presented their in-progress public bicycle rack projects.
The third and final salon, “Arts& the Humanities,” is planned for 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, in the Department of Art and Art History’s Project Space, located on the ground floor of the UAB Humanities Building, 900 13th St. South.
The featured panelists will be music producer, conductor and University Professor of Music Henry Panion III, Ph.D., documentary filmmaker Michele Forman, and poet Adam Vines, all UAB faculty members. The Arts& the Humanities salon will focus on the interweaving of the arts within music, film and literature, and how these disciplines can collaborate in order to explore new ideas and be used within the community.
Panion teaches music theory and technology. He is best known for his work as conductor and arranger for superstar Stevie Wonder, for whose performances and recordings he has led many of the world’s most notable orchestras.
Forman is a director of UAB’s Media Studies Program and a documentary filmmaker who got her start as an executive in feature films. As director of Development at Spike Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, she was responsible for the acquisition and development of new projects, including “The Jackie Robinson Story” and “Summer of Sam.” Forman was associate producer on Lee’s Academy Award-nominated film “4 Little Girls,” a feature-length documentary for HBO about the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963.
Assistant Professor of English, and an avid fisherman, Vines specializes in modern and contemporary poetry and creative writing with secondary interests in early American and early modern English religious and political rhetoric, early modern English drama, ecological literature, and Southernism.
Arts& was formed by Barrow, Khademi and a team of four other students from partnering research-one institutions during the 2016 A2RU Emerging Creatives Summit in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While at the summit, Barrow, Khademi and their team created the Arts& Initiative and were awarded a $1,500 A2RU grant to implement their concept, which they hope will inspire and connect students across majors and backgrounds and encourage creative collaboration for the good of the community.
Barrow is a studio art major in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, focusing in graphic design. She recently received the 2016 Student of the Year award through the American Advertising Federation’s TEN Awards.
Khademi is a studio art major in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program with a focus in painting.