Grad Voice: Voices of International Color Engaged
Grad Voice (GVoice) is a collective of recent students and alumni from SFAI’s MFA program who seek to elevate the voices of students in decision-making at SFAI, in particular the voices of graduate students of color and international students, who are often unheard. Formed in Spring 2020 by students Christopher Williams, Shara Mays, Oscar Lopez, Jasmine Zhang, and Kav Hambira together with faculty sponsor Orit Ben-Shitrit, GVoice adopts multiple methods and angles to advocate for the needs of students of color and international students in these unprecedented times of a global pandemic, civil unrest, and significant change in the fabric of SFAI as an institution.
Fueled by the mantra: “empathy and integrity is the key to unity,” GVoice responds to the current crises and ongoing challenges by fostering inclusive spaces for active engagement that bring these concerns to the forefront of ongoing discussions about SFAI’s current reality and future. From working with SFAI staff to organize Town Halls for international students and alumni to help support them in the midst of these challenging times, to conducting online discussions with alumni, faculty, and the wider community regarding diversity, cultural identity, racism, equality, joy, and the role of the arts and art education in engaging these concerns and concepts, GVoice goes further to amplify and extend the reach of these conversations to the broader public.
By bringing to light individual stories from the SFAI community and beyond, GVoice plays a critical role in nurturing a shared space where we may learn from the past and present to build a better and more inclusive future together, in the arts, everyday life, and everywhere in between.
We invite you to join the conversation by engaging with this collection below of several of the conversations and stories hosted thus far by GVoice on SFAI's Instagram and YouTube - and check back soon as more conversations are added:
GVoice Introduction/reflection, with Christopher Williams and Kav Hambira
Dewey Crumpler: A Casual Conversation about Black Art and Activism
Uncle Bobby X: The Role of the Art Community during the Black Lives Matter Movement
Simone Chanel, in conversation
Julia Fairbrother, in conversation
Barry Despenza, in conversation - Part 1
Barry Despenza, in conversation - Part 2
Lena Wright, in conversation
Image: Screenshots from conversations with Barry Despenza, Lena Wright, Dewey Crumpler, and Simone Chanel