Steinhardt’s New Student Convocation Celebrates Artistic Expression and Activism

Steinhardt’s new students came together for the New Student Convocation on October 8th, a special event hosted by Dean Mary Brabeck.  “History, Art, and Action” was the topic of a panel discussion on the assigned freshman reading, The Amistad Rebellion by Marcus Rediker.

In The Amistad Rebellion, Rediker tells the story of how a small group of courageous Africans fought and won an epic battle against Cuban slaveholders and the pro-slavery governments of Spain and the United States, helping to inspire an interracial abolitionist  movement that was part of a grand, global struggle against slavery.

The panel, featuring Kristie Koenig, associate professor of occupational therapy, Jonathan Berger, clinical assistant professor of art, and Robert Cohen, professor of teaching and learning, and Patricia Carey, associate dean for student affairs, (left to right), was a chance for faculty members from diverse fields to discuss how history and activism coalesced in the work of Hale Woodruff,  whose six murals of the rebellion and the founding of Talladega College were the centerpiece of  the art exhibit, “Rising Up:  Hale Woorduff’s Murals at Talladega College,” on view at 80WSE gallery.

“Art can voice things you can’t voice in any other way,” said Cohen. “Hale Woodruff did with his paintbrush what Martin Luther King and Malcolm X did from the podium, challenging racism and refuting all of white America’s demeaning stereotypes about African Americans.”

The convocation also celebrated the creative spirit of Steinhardt students. Adam Cortez (Applied Psychology), Amanda Cabrera (Media, Culture, and Communication), and Oriana Miles (Educational Theatre), (left to right), were honored by theExpress Steinhardt!contest for artistic work inspired by the themes of The Amistad Rebellion.

Tammy Hsu, freshman class president, opened the programs with greetings from the Undergraduate Student Government (USG).

Read about Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College in Steinhardt At a Glance and The New York Times.

(Photo credit:  Debra Weinstein.)