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Photo of past Arts Alive SDSU event (Photo: Scott Hargrove/SDSU) Photo of past Arts Alive SDSU event (Photo: Scott Hargrove/SDSU)

Arts Alive SDSU Launches New Discovery Series

The series highlights intersections among arts, humanities and sciences, and will be woven into the SDSU curriculum and cultural centers on campus.
By Elizabeth Allison

Arts Alive SDSU has announced seven events that will comprise the first year of their newly launched Discovery Series beginning in fall 2020. The series features a selection of university-produced art exhibitions, performances, and film screenings that explore sociopolitical and cultural issues through the lens of the creative arts.
Designed to bridge the arts with the humanities and sciences, the Discovery Series promotes the arts as an impactful research practice that is integral to a comprehensive education.
To qualify for inclusion in the series, each art event must meet several criteria:
  • Be based in the university curriculum and feature the work of students enrolled in arts courses.
  • Address a sociopolitical or cultural theme relevant to a larger dialogue taking place on campus or in the community.
  • Include an interdisciplinary forum with representatives from a department in the humanities and/or sciences.
The series was developed under the leadership of Eric Smigel, Chair of Arts Alive SDSU and Professor of Music. “Research in any field requires curiosity and creativity,” Smigel said. “The Discovery Series will give students the opportunity to engage the arts as a way to explore ideas across different academic programs.”

Arts Alive SDSU will sponsor six to eight Discovery Series projects per academic year with a grant to support a guest artist residency, venue rental, or any other production expenses.

Discovering Connections Across Campus

Each Discovery Series event will receive support to bring celebrated artists and scholars to SDSU. By working closely with faculty and students from multiple academic departments, visiting experts will situate the arts in conversations taking place campuswide.
“The arts have an extraordinary power to prompt dialogue and cultivate empathy, encouraging us to consider an issue from multiple perspectives,” said Smigel. “By highlighting the rich interdisciplinary connections on campus, the Discovery Series celebrates the creative research of all our students and affirms the arts as a valuable educational resource available to the entire SDSU community.”
Events in the Discovery Series were selected by a committee with representatives from Arts Alive SDSU, The College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, The School of Music and Dance, The School of Theatre, Television, and Film, the School of Art and Design, the Division of Diversity and Innovation, and the Aztec Student Union Board.

2020-21 Discovery Series Schedule

For the inaugural season, the following seven events have been selected to be part of the series: 

Fall 2020

Two Lakes, Two Rivers 
Led by Dani Bedau, Associate Professor in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film
This theatre production offers complex scenarios relating to sexual consent among college-age students and will invite audiences to engage in pre- and post-show conversations.
Asian Film Festival Student Jury Showcase
Led by Brian Hu, Assistant Professor in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film
This student-curated film festival will bring short films from the San Diego Asian Film Festival to SDSU’s campus in two distinct 90-minute programs, which will address issues of ethnicity, identity, and media.
Led by Rob Meffe, Associate Professor in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film
A concert version of this musical theatre production will explore political and cultural relations between the United States and Russia during the Cold War through a fictionalized chess match.
We the People 
Led by Arzu Ozkal and Eva Struble, Associate Professors in the School of Art and Design
Organized as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Department of Women’s Studies, this exhibition features works by female artists from different generations who have focused on issues of feminism, gender equality, and stereotypes.

Spring 2021

Cloud 9 
Led by Jesca Prudencio, Assistant Professor in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film
This comedic theatre production will examine sexual identity in two different centuries, highlighting the parallels of colonial and sexual oppression while embracing conversations about identity.
Winds of Change 
Led by Shannon Kitelinger, Associate Professor in the School of Music and Dance
The SDSU Wind Symphony will perform musical compositions addressing the human condition as it relates to natural disasters, climate change, and other environmental issues.
El Puente de la Cancion 
Led by Arian Khaefi, Assistant Professor in the School of Music and Dance
The SDSU Chamber Choir will perform folk, classical, and modern repertoire by composers from Mexico and the United States, emphasizing the musical relationship of the border.