The College of Fine Arts and Communications (CFAC) hosted its first concert and Q&A for the Listen Up! Series as part of the ongoing initiatives of the Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee. The series featured a live Q&A with Jazz Musician Wynton Marsalis, moderated by Dr. Jason Bergman. The Q&A followed a streamed concert with Marsalis over Zoom on Oct. 28.
As an effort to combat racism on BYU campus, many colleges have created new committees to promote equality and inclusion. The CFAC Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee has a list of ongoing initiatives found on its website. The Listen Up! Series will hold organized “hosted conversations, workshops and collaborations with professional artists and communicators of diverse backgrounds.”
The CFAC is creating initiatives that involve both students and faculty among the BYU community. The Listen Up! Series will assist in the goals by helping students become informed citizens, one of the goals determined by the Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee. “The guests in these series are professionals whose diverse experiences, research and art provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff in the college to listen and learn from their experiences,” said Bridget Benton, assistant dean of the CFAC and Bravo! producer.
Marsalis, the first performer of the series, is an accomplished Jazz musician, composer, and director of Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra. Marsalis has said “Jazz is a form of activism towards democratic imperatives,” making him the perfect guest to kick off this anticipated series.
“In his engagement with us on Oct. 28 we will have an opportunity to hear more about this philosophy, and hear a new work that focuses on the theme of freedom and democracy,” Benton said.
Associate Dean Amy Jensen spoke on behalf of the Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee when she said they are excited to start exciting ideas that align with President Worthen’s message of hope for campus and President Nelson’s initiative to “root out racism”.
“Each of these individuals brings unique perspectives and powerful life experience to their art-making processes or communications strategies,” Jensen said when discussing the Listen Up! Series. “I can’t wait to learn from them.”